Shades of winter
It was a dreary wet day in York when we set off for Wales, so we were hoping for better weather in the west. We arrived in the dark and surprisingly it wasn't actually raining, but it obviously had been as there were big puddles on the single track road as we travelled up the valley. It was a beautiful moonlit evening, the full moon guiding us home, sometimes directly in front, sometimes obscured by the filigree tracery of the leafless trees.
Half an hour later though we noticed there was a very definite chill in the air and sure enough the boiler had gone off. P steeled himself for the worst and set off outside to reset it and bingo, after a few tries it seemed to get going again. However, this was short lived and after another twenty minutes we were again without any heat except for the wood stove and the Rayburn. This is an old stone house which takes time to warm up anyway, so we were a tad upset that we'd be off to bed in sub zero temperatures upstairs, but hey ho there was nothing we could do about it so we hunkered down till the morning. On waking up the whole landscape had been transformed into a winter wonderland - glittering and sparkling beneath a thick layer of frost.
Back in the house, it's time for coffee in front of the fire, after taking off my wet boots which you can see drying on the rail in the inglenook. I knew I should have worn my wellies but true to form, I rarely take the sensible path and went for short-term comfort and warmth over long-term dry feet!
The good news is that the original heating engineer rang back this morning and he says he's coming today, so fingers crossed, maybe we'll be basking in hot baths and effortless heat before the day is out. Thanks for dropping by x
Brrrrr... it felt cold so first thing to do was phone our heating engineer who'd recently serviced the boiler. Our hearts sank when there was a recorded message saying there was sickness in the family, he was away and didn't know when he'd be back. So Plan B was implemented and P rang around the valley to find a different engineer who could come and fix the boiler. Eventually one was found who said he'd ring the following morning to say when he would come. So another day of no heat loomed, with much stoking up of the wood stoves and Rayburn to try to get some real heat going that might even penetrate upstairs.
|Grasses in the barn garden|
It was a clear, crisp, if cold sunny morning, so at this point I decided to wrap up and go for a walk around the garden, on the assumption that it would definitely be warmer than sitting inside. And I'm so glad I did. I usually find it hard to enthuse about the January garden, but yesterday the colours were just perfect and the garden was resplendent in her winter hues.
Had to be extra careful walking up the back steps by the herbs as there's much slate paving and it's treacherous when wet.
|Love to see the rosemary and sage still going strong in January|
The corsican hellebore below is just about the only plant that's blooming in the whole garden.
Grasses add movement and elegance to a garden and many will stay upright all the way through till spring.
Another favourite is hydrangeas, which manage to look gorgeous no matter which time of year it is. Their papery flowers add a delicious delicacy to the garden and I can never have enough of them.
|Hydrangeas and beech hedge|
Nearly back now past the old cartwheels in the wheel garden. Box hedges are a useful ploy which many garden designers use to punctuate the garden, to create rhythm and give year round form and colour. Our place in Wales has big skies and large craggy hills with outcrops of slate jutting out above the horizon. It's easy to forget you're in a garden and just focus on the big picture. But I love plants, so I've developed ways of bringing the eye back to the detail too, and a splash of the formal now and again never fails to snatch the attention back.
|Two cartwheels found onsite - |
a reminder of the history of the place
|Django always knows the warmest spot|