Saturday, 30 July 2016

The first week of the holidays

So far, so good, I would say. No dramas, no big days out, just gentle pottering around the house one day alternated with short trips to places nearby the next. We've seen friends and family, visited parks, had some nice walks, eaten a cream tea. My diary and days are full.

The cream tea was enjoyed with my sister and her girls at a local farm which is opposite my maternal grandparents' old house. It was a place we used to visit with them every time we stayed when we were little; we used to take apples and carrots for the horses and would be allowed to look around the farm - even watching the birth of a calf once. We looked at their old house as we walked down the lane, talked about them. Happy, happy memories, made sweeter by time and nostalgia, and a growing realisation as I get older of how precious childhood it, and how lucky I am to have had the childhood that I did. Anyway, it's still a working farm and now has it's own tea shop and line of homemade ice cream. The milk in the jug had an actual film of cream on the top. It was all delicious. 

Bella and Angus are settling down into the longer, freer days of the school holidays and are getting better at amusing themselves. And when they're not, and I really need to get on with something, there is the iPad or tv. It's all fine. It's all about balance.

Last Sunday we had a lovely walk around Bosham, a favourite place of mine, and a picnic lunch.

I remember it as sunnier than these pictures suggest, but even on overcast days, when the tide is out and the mud flats exposed, it has so much charm. I love this place, all these villages around Chichester harbour, with their flint buildings and old cottages.

Plus the houses and gardens are so pretty here, especially right now.

Our own hollyhocks are looking sensational, I have to say.

They are about 7 feet tall and I've had to tie them to canes to stop them leaning, but they look wonderful in their position at the back of a deep border, against the fence. I wish I had more.

The other main activity in our garden right now is this. The net has been angled so that stray balls - and there are many - hit the walls and windows at the back of the house, not the hollyhocks (can you imagine?!). My windows are covered in the marks left by a muddy football, but watching Angus play from the kitchen window makes me very happy indeed. 

Our home days have been spent doing housework, cooking and completing little jobs here and there. I found some felt balls I used to have strung up in our old house in Leeds, and re-threaded them to hang on the mantel. I like the colour they bring to the room. 

The dining room end of the kitchen/diner is now finished and I've had fun arranging books, pictures and hanging planters. I will show it all to you soon. 

I made pesto yesterday. I bought three basil plants from Aldi about a month ago and left them in pots on the kitchen windowsill, watering them every couple of days.

They went crazy and grew like mad, resulting in a lot of fresh pesto. We had some last night with tagliatelle and it was delicious. Plus, that green! 

The weather has turned cooler and overcast over the last few days. I hope that's not summer over with. I was just starting to get used to the warm days. We have house guests arriving today for a couple of nights, and when they go, more come. I will just have time to change the sheets on the spare bed! Then the kids and I will go to London to a few days to stay with my friend Abigail. It's all go, but in a nice way.

I hope you are all well and enjoying the holidays. Thank you so much for your comments, they do mean a great deal to me. I am looking forward to some quiet time at home again soon to catch up with all your summer goings-on. 


  1. Some of the best days have no commitments at all, just puttering. Loved your photos and hope you enjoy your trip to London.

  2. Lovely pictures, and some great inspiration for the basil plant currently languishing on our window-sill. The Husband is particularly grateful as pesto is one of his favourites! x

  3. Bosham is always so pretty and we are so lucky to have one of my oldest friends now living there right on the shore (I know, I know, they sold a house in Putney ...). After our big mistake we have started to house search again in West Sussex. Your basil pesto looks fab - I made my first batch this week which we ate with bucatini pasta and the first French beans. Allotment grown basil is something else and mine has romped away during the recent heatwave. Love the sweet photo of Angus kicking the ball, I have so many photos and memories like that. Don't forget to save some hollyhock seed so you can have even more plants next year!

  4. Muddy ball marks all over my window too. The ball goes in the pond then thwacks against the window in spectacular fashion. It sounds like you've had an excellent week. You have reminded me that I haven't had a cream tea in ages. Must remedy that without delay. The hollyhocks are gorgeous, your garden is doing beautifully I think. I hope you have another good week Gillian. CJ xx

  5. Sounds like you have the balance just right for the holidays and hopefully the weather will be pretty good through them. Your hollyhocks are looking gorgeous & good idea having the net for Angus facing away from them. Relax, enjoy & take care.

  6. It's looking really good so far, Gillian. Your hollyhocks are stunning. I don't grow any myself but I always stop to look at them whenever I see any. I'm glad you're all having fun already this summer, I hope it only gets better and better. Enjoy.

  7. It does not sound as if you are going to get that "quiet time at home to catch up" anytime soon... But all your activities sound very nice!
    Like you, I know how lucky I am to have had the wonderful childhood I did have, the kind I wish every kid could enjoy, with loving parents and grandparents around.
    Here in North Yorkshire, we've had some rain in between, but yesterday was absolutely gorgeous (although not quite as warm as some people seemed to be thinking - they were wearing flipflops and tiny tops and shorts!) and today looks the same.
    Enjoy the holidays!

  8. Glad you're enjoying the summer holidays. We stopped at Bosham a couple of weeks ago for breakfast, it holds special memories for me as I used to go there a lot with my aunt, it's a beautiful place.
    I have one hollyhock and I'm nurturing it along as best I can, protecting it from oncoming footballs, courtesy of my lovely grandsons.

  9. Your holidays sound great to far! I hope many more of days like these will follow!

    Yum, the tea/scones look to good! Make me want to travel to GB to have some.....

    Take care
    Crochet Between Worlds

  10. Sounds like pretty much the perfect start to the summer holidays. Love the hollyhocks, they look so dramatic. Enjoy the time with your house guests x

  11. Looks like your summers going well so far, the photo's and hollyhocks are stunning
    Clare x

  12. Sounds like perfect summer days and gentle activities. Bosham looks as beautiful as usual and your hollyhocks are wonderful. Hopefully if their seeds drop you will have more next year!

  13. This sounds like a pretty perfect summer holiday to me. I hope it continues to be just like the first week. x

  14. Summer holidays at your house sound lovely, I hope they continue in the same vein. Love those hollyhocks, they're really easy to grow if you want more or they may even seed themselves around a bit. Enjoy the rest of the week xx

  15. This sounds pretty perfect to me. My problem isn't balls against windows anymore, it's the dog with his wagging tail that ruins the flowers within his reach and his wet nose against the patio door, it's a good job we love him ha! The pesto looks gorgeous and your hollyhocks are so pretty. Hope the rest of the holidays go so well xxx

  16. Your gentle summer days look lovely! I love summer holidays like that, and so far ours has been just that - gentle days, lazy times interspersed with action. Oh, and ice creams and iced coffee. Gorgeous hollyhocks... do hope still safe from footballs! I am having the same problem with the tomato plants... so far they are safe...

  17. Happy holidays, Gillian! I hope they continue as well as they've started :-) xx

  18. oh those hollyhocks. oh my.
    hope week two of the hols is just as lovely x

  19. Hi Gillian, the pace of summer holidays are great aren't they. We are back from Portugal and all laundered! birthday cake to make now! Jo x

  20. Wonderful photos, Gillian. May you continue to enjoy the summer holidays!
    Margaret P


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