Christmas, a frustrating and sad winter season, but progress in the end …

Doing Christmas differently Our immediate family decided that we would do Christmas differently many years ago. Both my children have lived abroad, either working in an industry where Christmas was a key busy period (skiing) or in out of the way places where travel back home wasn’t necessarily available. As a family we approach each new year afresh, not expecting anything of each other and … Continue reading Christmas, a frustrating and sad winter season, but progress in the end …

A sense of arrival

We hear architects and garden designers talking a lot about “a sense of arrival”, how to make an entrance feel important or welcoming. A range of different devices are offered from matching topiarised bay trees in square faux lead pots, one either side of a glossily painted front door, to sweeping driveways and avenues at the other extreme. Event organisers and holiday tour companies also talk about … Continue reading A sense of arrival

Grinding, harrowing, and musings on blog frequency

Like many bloggers, the gaps between my postings have been varied and often far too long. I have sworn to myself that I’ll never use the words “sorry I haven’t posted for ages”, “wow, I’m back at last”, “It’s been far too long”, or similar. I’ve spent some time considering how to write, when to write, how often to write, illustrations to include. I’ve known … Continue reading Grinding, harrowing, and musings on blog frequency

The tree work draws to a close, vineyards, badgers, and glorious autumn

My four nights at the house last week went all too quickly. There is always so much to pack into the time over and above our normal life which doesn’t go away  (i.e. work which I mostly do from home, whichever home I’m at). On this particular trip I also wanted to visit a couple of vineyards, Chateau la Verriere because the red wine we’d bought in … Continue reading The tree work draws to a close, vineyards, badgers, and glorious autumn

Parham House Harvest Fair: a gloriously sunny day in West Sussex

There is a beautiful sense of counterpoint to our dual lives, each strand differing from, yet complementing, the other. Our lives in West Sussex are lived in a tiny modern house with a garden smaller than most people’s pools in south-west France. So we tend to go out garden visiting (Garden Bothering?) at the weekends when based in Sussex. Sometimes we will visit an NGS garden, … Continue reading Parham House Harvest Fair: a gloriously sunny day in West Sussex

The tree surgeons have arrived

  Last Thursday the tree surgeons arrived, two days earlier than originally planned, in order to prepare for Monday’s ErDF disconnection of the mains electricity which runs across the site. I had already decided to make a flying visit, arriving on Sunday (on hand for Monday just in case of issues) and staying for two nights. Sadly this meant cutting short a weekend with some of … Continue reading The tree surgeons have arrived

Trees: a decision has been made on the future of the poplars

After many emails back and forth, meetings at the house, and several other site visits by the tree surgeon and his associates who have also had meetings, phone calls, and exchanged emails with various people and departments at ERDF the decision has been made. 30 poplars will be felled and removed from site, with all roots being either dug or ground out (depending on location). Some … Continue reading Trees: a decision has been made on the future of the poplars

Trees at Les Vinsonneaux 2 – fruit, nuts, and ornamentals

Fruit and nuts Eating warm, ripe fruit, in the sunshine, straight from one’s own trees is an intense joy that we discovered last summer. We probably won’t be able to grow much, if any, vegetables and salad as we are not at the house full-time, but we can enjoy fruit and nuts we’ve grown ourselves, and we’ve inherited a few useful trees. We’ve inherited a lovely … Continue reading Trees at Les Vinsonneaux 2 – fruit, nuts, and ornamentals

Trees at Les Vinsonneux (1) – the big beasts

We have inherited a number of trees at Les Vinsonneaux. The estate agent poetically spoke of “driving up through your own parkland” … but that is rather grandiose language to describe what we have which is actually a real mish-mash. There may have been reasons why trees were planted in their positions; but I suspect there was little rationale. They are what they are where they … Continue reading Trees at Les Vinsonneux (1) – the big beasts

Visiting the house in March, continuing the theme of our life, warts and all

      It has been an interesting few weeks in our family. Darling Daughter returned to work after maternity leave. She has a responsible job involving standing up for those who don’t have a voice any other way, and we are proud of her for her commitment to the dispossessed. Returning to work inevitably meant that GrandBoy Number 4 started at nursery. At the … Continue reading Visiting the house in March, continuing the theme of our life, warts and all