Tuesday, 24 April 2012

April showers

Al Jolsen once sung a song about 'April showers' which feels rather appropriate at the moment.  It feels as if it has rained constantly for months, although it must only have been a few weeks of it and it is most needed.  The garden at Hazel Cottage is a vivid shade of green, other than the muddy tracks that are forming across the lawn.  We often watch the blackbirds hopping about the garden in the rain, feasting on the worms and insects and hopefully keeping the slug population down.

Life is not a highway strewn with flowers,
Still it holds a goodly share of bliss,
When the sun gives way to April showers,
Here is the point you should never miss.

Though April showers may come your way,
They bring the flowers that bloom in May.
So if it's raining, have no regrets,
Because it isn't raining rain, you know, (It's raining violets)

It seems that we have the gulf stream to blame for these April showers - as it moves northwards in early Spring, it allows large depressions to come in, bringing in downpours of rain and hail and very changeable weather.   In the midst of all this rain, it is useful to look ahead and be glad that all this rain is helping towards everything bloom and grow in the summertime.

We were out in the countryside at the weekend and Mr C took some lovely pictures of the birds in the trees and the gardens at Mottisfont. The only blue skies we've seen around here in weeks.

The Gardens at Mottisfont

Monday, 16 April 2012

Off to a slow start

Sunday, and the rains held off for our first car boot scouting party of the season. We were up far too early for a weekend but with high hopes of finding some bits and pieces at the car boot sale near Brockenhurst.

Those who attend these things regularly will know that it's always a hit and miss affair. Sometimes you'll come away laden with goods and then another week you leave empty handed after several circuits desperately trying to spot that treasure you must have missed first time round.

We arrived just after 7.30 to find the place already busy despite the cold. It was freezing! A biting wind cutting through the layers. But we're made of hardier stuff when it comes to rummaging for old things.

The very first aisle we found this picture.

I initially picked it up for the frame but after doing a bit of research we may keep the picture as well. The photo is of the New Forest Agisters and looks pre-First World War. According to the trusty interweb, the agisters are employed by the verderers to help manage the New forest stock - ponies, cattle etc - which the commoners are allowed to let graze in the forest. A further search through a well known genealogical website and in the 1911 census 3 men from the villages of Burley and Boldre give their occupation as 'agister'. Mrs C's ancestors hail from those parts. We can but hope that one of those pictured is a distant relation or at least knew the family.

And then....nothing! Despite the number of stalls, many of which had bits and pieces of interest, there was nothing that we really wanted. How many Woods Beryl Ware cups and saucers or stoneware pots can one house really need? We did spot a couple of stone planters we quite liked...only they'd been sold. We later found the buyers...our in-laws who had beaten us to them!

So home for a much needed mug of tea. In the garden meanwhile things have been sprouting among the herbs

The weekend over and we're already looking forward to the next one. A country fair at Mottisfont.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Patchwork cushion joy

After a morning at our local church helping to clear up the garden, I  came home determined to finish my patchwork cushion.  Mr C and I had put together the design a couple of weeks back:-

I started sewing it a week ago but had been too busy since and was dubious about my ability to even complete it.  I am a complete novice at anything other than basic hand sewing but really want to make pretty homemade items for Hazel Cottage and figure that even if I'm not particularly good, I am at least learning!  Even though I struggled at times, and it isn't as exact as it should be, I am incredibly proud of the end result!


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Supposing him to be the gardener...

It was a rather busy Easter weekend with seemingly little time spent at Hazel Cottage.  I spent most of Good Friday at choir practice for a performance of Maunder's Olivet to Calvary in the evening, and we visited family and friends on Easter Sunday.  We did manage to fit in a lovely walk on the sunday and came across these beautiful flowers along the roadside.


We also saw a little egret wading in a local creek, although he was too far away for my camera to cope well.  We had some excitement the other week when we spotted three goldfinches in the hazel tree in one go!

Easter Monday brought April rain that was much needed, but kept us indoors all day.  This did mean that I finally had time to start my patchwork cushion.  If it works out, I will post a picture...

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The bees are buzzing in the trees

The cold spell forecast has yet to arrive at Hazel Cottage. A lovely warm day in the garden planting and weeding, surrounded by dozens of bees buzzing around the blossoms.