Return of the blog

It’s been a while. Seeing as how we’re in the late stage of one of those rare, near-perfect summers in the middle of middle England, though, it’s time to re-boot and take stock. First a look back at the interim since September 2013, beginning with a sample from last year’s harvest:


Boltardy, Crimson King, Golden


Borlotti beans

An October chestnut gathering expedition to Crackley Wood, with transatlantic help:

IMG_4485Isobel with chestnut

Putting the allotment to bed in November:

Putting allotment to bed

Seasonal cheer in the dark days:

Community hut Xmas tree

Inauguration of the new community hut, an idea of Volutina’s carried to completion with the help of many hands

N & K at Saxon Mill


The ritual New Year’s hail to the light from a hilltop in Ilmington:

Ilmington shadows

Spring visitors:



Late January, Aston Cantlow. Thanks for visiting, Aunt Gretchen!


Glad too that Erika and John could visit. Herewith the album cover for our new band, Vichy Douche Slab (name inspired by object in the spa museum, Leamington). We will literally rock you.

The allotment in mid-April:


New fruit trees, apple and pear


A lichtsome Easter voyage up to Glasgow, the isle of Mull and Iona, to see our friends before the oil wars break out at Gretna Green after this September’s referendum:


Bird? Plane? Independence?


Sketching en plein air


This may be the solution for our shed roof


Hebrides or the Med?


Front garden in Iona


Fragment of the abbey on Iona


Our column outside the Iona PO

An early May gathering at the new community hut:


Constructing an insect house with Bonnie’s help

Later in the month we stayed in London courtesy of visiting grandparents, checking out this year’s borders at Kew Gardens:


In June an al fresco supper of peas, beans and strawberries:


And harvesting sweet peas in July.



So, the weather

Consider the word ‘seasonal‘ – what meaning does it have in our Anthropocene-era, world-out-of-balance corner of the Eurasian landmass? Two months ago we had ourselves some seasonally appropriate snowfall – and availed ourselves of it:

Sledding on January 20th – that's cool

Sledding on January 20th – that’s cool

And last week, after long weather delays, we had the seasonally appropriate snow-along-the-bough effect of ornamental plum blossom:

Loveliest of trees, barring the cherry

Loveliest of trees, barring the cherry

But now we’re enjoying the longest sustained cold snap of the winter, except the first day of spring arrived last Wednesday. So it’s déjà-vu all over again:

Où sont les neiges d'antan? Right here

Où sont les neiges d’antan? Right here

We’re not alone, however, as friends in the US assure us:

This is how we do it Stateside

This is how we do it Stateside

And more than once, on the trudge across Old Milverton hillside, we found ourselves murmuring: ‘Just like in the old country.’ Viz., sledding now –


And then –

Digital StillCamera

We even came across a wolf, which appeared to have wandered out of the Canadian taiga –


And it was clear she was reveling in her element.


As were other creatures of the snowy wastes.


The traveller owns the grateful sense
Of sweetness near, he knows not whence,
And, pausing, takes with forehead bare
The benediction of the air.

(Whittier, Snow-Bound)