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Archive for July, 2008

Angel Seat, The Chalice Well, Glastonbury

When I went to Glastonbury today with my friends from Scotland Lorraine said she’d like to visit the Chalice Well, which is en route to the Tor.  I’d never been there before and we were given a friendly welcome on the gate before strolling into the garden itself.  It immediately became apparent that we had to talk quietly as people were drifting in and out of the plants in a contemplative mood and there were signs informing us that it was a place of peaceful thoughts.  Lorraine was the only one of us who braved the healing pool, mainly because she only had sandals on and I couldn’t be bothered to take off my boots and socks!  She pronounced it …. now what were her exact words?  I know one of them was “freezing”, but there were several others.  There were lots of flowers so I was in my element with the camera.  We stopped to drink the water at the Lion’s Head and although both Lorraine and Andrew said it was fine, I could smell the iron in it before I sipped it and tasted it even more when I did.  According to Lorraine, the water in Scotland tastes like that most of the time.  The wall and floor at the Lion’s Head were orange, and now I knew why.

The rest of the day was spent wandering through Glastonbury with lunch at a small restaurant on the way back to the town.  Although it threatened frequently we were lucky as the rain held off until we were almost home.  It was a good day.  They go back tomorrow but I’ll be visiting them in Glasgow in September.

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For Gordon’s 50th birthday last year I bought him an inflatable hot-tub.  He’s always had a hankering for a hot-tub but the ‘real’ ones are way out of our price range so when I came across this one I thought it would be the perfect gift for a landmark birthday.  He was thrilled with it, put it in the hall (still in the box, obviously) and there it sat for the next nine months until he had ‘five minutes’ to sort it out!  (This is one of his more popular expressions – “I’ll do it when I have five minutes”.)  Recently, he decided to build it a hut with decking, walls to keep the wind out and a roof of some kind to stop the rain.  Yesterday, despite the absence of a finished wall or roof he inflated the tub, filled it with water and started the heating process.  He’s very chuffed with himself.

I’m not keen, to be honest.  I never enjoyed swimming and rarely bother with a bath, preferring a quick shower, but now he’s built it a hut and everything he’ll be very disappointed if I don’t actually want to sit in it so it looks like I may have to bite the bullet and literally take the plunge!

Several of the warning stickers cause me a bit of concern though.  One loudly proclaims the dangers of diving into this hot-tub with the pretty obvious warning of ‘shallow water’, but the one I found most amusing was this.

In case you can’t see it clearly it says: WARNING: Always check to make sure there are no people or animals inside the spa before putting on the spa cover, failure to do so may cause drowning and/or suffocation, and result in injury or death.

Do you suppose this happens often?  Do people zip their loved ones under the cover then miss them later as in “where do you suppose the cat has gone?” or “who was last to see dad?”

Phew, good job they warned us.  You never know.

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We were visited today by my Scottish penfriend Lorraine and her fiance Andrew so I thought I’d post this photo of a thistle in their honour.  It’s always a bit nerve-wracking to meet a penfriend although this is the second time I’ve met Lorraine since 1993 when we started writing.  The last time was about six years ago, but we talk on the phone and e-mail regularly, and still write the occasional letter if we feel like doing things the old-fashioned way.  I was pleased when she asked me to be her matron of honour at their marriage in September 2009.

I was nervous before they arrived, but within five minutes we were chatting away and a couple of hours passed very quickly.  We’re going to Glastonbury on Thursday and I’m looking forward to it.

In the evening I met up with a friend at Prezzo’s in Bridgwater where we chatted the evening away, so I spent most of the day in conversation with friends.  I can think of a lot of less entertaining ways to spend my time.

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Monday 28 July 2008

Why do you suppose this plant looks so picturesque when it’s growing in a hedgerow and so evil when it’s choking the life out of your garden plants?

One of life’s mysteries!

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Sunday 27 July 2008

Not much happened on Friday so I didn’t bore you with that.  Yesterday we spent the day socialising, something we do now and again, although not as often as I’d like.  This is Gordon and my friend (and fellow grove-dweller) Vivien although I’m not quite sure what they’re discussing.  If Gordon was a fisherman, I’d say fishing maybe, but he isn’t!  In case you’re wondering, yes, Gordon does have a missing digit from a circular-saw accident years ago.  I feel it only fair to Viv to point out that she was sat with the wind behind her, hence the windswept-look and even though it was a warm breeze, it was fairly strong.

This was taken at another neighbour’s birthday party which was also an occasion to christen his new garage.  It was doubling as a barbecue hut and kept the food from being blown off the table.  He was off on one side praising his wife for her organisational skills and she was praising him for his barbecue skills, but they both did an excellent job!

Later that day we went on to a fly-in at Westonzoyland where Gordon is a member of the microlight club.  He’s still in training, but one of these days (if Daniel and I have anything to do with it) he’ll get his licence.  He finds excuses to stay on the farm even though we say we can manage perfectly well without him.  Yesterday Daniel managed on his own for the best part of the day so we can use that as a good reason for him to go down to the airfield more often.

I found a new word yesterday.  Generally I hate ‘new’ words, especially those that convey two things at once, but this one was rather apt.  ‘STAYCATION’.  It’s what you have when you take time off work to spend at home.  I quite like it – it’s better than my pet hate ‘EDUTAINMENT’ – something that is both educational and entertaining at the same time.

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Hung on the wall of an outbuilding and forgotten about, this brush reminded me of a blue flower: indeed, while small within the camera screen that’s exactly what it looked like.  The texture’s great though, isn’t it?

When I went down the road the signs had been resurrected after being toppled by the mower.  I don’t know whether mower guy did that or someone from the council came out, but I have noticed that these tractor drivers are most reluctant to leave the haven of the cab for anything.  The last time the verge was mown (at the end of the summer last year) there was a dead badger in the long grass that had been there for several months, judging from the state of it when the flailer picked up the body and flung it into the centre of the road where it stayed for more than a couple of days.  No-one wanted to touch it and it became a habit to wind up the windows on approach!  It disappeared eventually, much to everyone’s relief.  I think there’s a department somewhere that deal with road-kill and generally dead things where they shouldn’t be.

We were told an amusing story several years ago when a cow and a sheep washed up on Burnham beach after high tides.  (Despite starting like a joke, it’s a true story.)  A van was dispatched and although the sheep was small enough to be lifted and put into the back, obviously the cow wasn’t so one of the pair offered to go back to the depot to fetch something more suitable.  Left alone on the beach, the other workman had time to think and came up with a solution.  Tying a tow-rope around the legs of the cow he dragged it behind the van along the beach, along the coast road, through the town and into the depot – this was at the height of the tourist season, apparently!  The council were inundated with complaints!

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Blackberries-to-be

Yesterday while driving home we were overrun with signs about resurfacing the road although the only evidence we could see was a lighter colour on the surface of the side lanes that lead off our main road and reach dead-ends.  Today a tractor and hedger/flailer came along to cut the sides of the road.  What is this?  We’re so used to tatty roads and overgrown verges that two acts of council in two days was almost more than we could bear.

The amusing thing was, the tractor driver either didn’t see or had little regard for the signs balanced on their posts and stuck into the grass verge warning about loose gravel and yes, you’ve guessed it, he just chopped them off!

D’you reckon they’ll dock his pay?  Somehow I doubt it.

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