12 June 2022

It’s been a bit of a mixed week but generally trending in the right direction. Some lovely sunny days at the end of the week – much needed as we had to prepare our garden for the annual Moreton Pinkney Garden Club summer garden competition!

But first, a bit more about our holiday in Wales. Nick, Adam and I started planning for this expedition last October – it sounded like a good idea at the time! And we did manage to keep it from Penny until just a few days before we left. The week was perfect – Annabelle and Jessie’s half term break coincided with Penny’s 70th birthday and Jessie’s sixth on the Saturday followed on the Monday by Julieta’s 100 Day birthday (a very big deal, you might remember, in China). As if that wasn’t enough, it was Ava’s birthday on Friday 3 June. So, three generations and four birthdays to celebrate.

The house we had for the week was fabulous – an old farmhouse with part of the barn converted – in the absolute middle of nowhere. It was well off the beaten track – a couple of miles off the main road down a very narrow track with a stupendous view.

Mallwyd was the nearest village about three of four miles away. Dolgellau and Machynlleth were the nearest towns, each of which was about half an hour away. Best of all we had pretty decent weather. We went on some great walks and to a very dog friendly beach (twice). We also, for Jessie’s benefit more than anyone else’s I suspect, went on a miniature steam train ride which was fun. The journey lasts 45 minutes, they tell you. What they don’t tell you is that the actual journey goes for ten minutes down the line and then stops while they shunt the locomotive around to the other end of the train. Then, 25 minutes later the train departs on the return journey! Never mind, there’s lot of gifts and souvenirs available in the gift shop!

It was a great week and great fun all round – the birthday girls seemed to enjoy themselves and that’s what matters, I guess.

We’ve been frantically busy this week – yesterday (Saturday) was the annual Moreton Pinkney Garden competition and, as you might imagine, all hands were required even though my hands are not particularly handy. We enter the competition each year not with any expectation of winning anything – some of our neighbours’ gardens are exceedingly gorgeous; ours is merely gorgeous. Rather, we enter so that we can go round the other gardens and share a glass of wine or seven with our fellow competitors.

Stop Press: Lady Penelope’s grasses and flower border came second in the Best Flower Border category. And, there were considerably more than two entries!

Penelope finally was able to find some wisteria for the pergola after months of fruitless searching. She has wanted a white variety which is very fragrant but this seemed to be utterly unavailable anywhere. She finally saw an advertisement in the RHS magazine and was on the phone to the nursery in a heartbeat. She was delighted to be able to order and pay for two plants – it was only when she tried to provide her delivery details that a minor obstacle arose – they don’t deliver! So, a mid-week trip to Ipswich (about a three-hour drive) was required. Ironically, both of our recent short breaks in Suffolk were within about ten miles of Ipswich. The plants do look good though and no doubt will do what Penelope desires of them.

Daisy continues to delight – she and I had a lovely walk across the wheat fields at the top of Plumpton Lane – she only ran like a wild dervish through the wheat on a couple of occasions.

We were to have gone on our first “real” outing in the camper van this past week but the weather was looking decidedly uncooperative so we’ve postponed it until this week – we leave tomorrow for a couple of nights at a campsite in Hampshire so that we can visit our friend Mary. Nick came across last Sunday and between us we managed to erect the “drive-away” awning. I have fond memories of my father attempting to erect a tent on one of our early family camping expeditions. Many of you know this story – we had borrowed a tent from some neighbours and my mother suggested that my father might like to have a practice at erecting it in the back yard. Naturally, my father wouldn’t hear of such nonsense. When it came to putting it up for the first time he struggled in vain for about an hour before finally giving up. We were then flooded out that night. I was determined not to repeat that experience.

With Adam’s help, we finished Penelope’s Patio Pergola over the weekend. We still need to set some wire tensioners to ensure that it stays more or less vertical and square and Ms Playchute needs to secure the grape vines that will be planted at the corners to provide the shade required. It’s turned out OK.

And finally, don’t you simply love the sound of babies laughing? Enjoy Julieta discovering how fun it is to laugh.

Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, be careful, wear a f**king facemask in crowded places and keep your distance. And keep safe.

Lots of love to you all,


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