Saturday, 30 April 2011


There's something about sheds that really appeals to me. I think it's the huge variety you get of buildings that are essentially 'just' garden sheds, combined with the myriad of uses people find for them. Some people using them for storing gardening stuff, some as an escape from everything, some as a place to work. I gather that authors tend to be particularly fond of sheds and other outbuildings as workspaces and I can see why. My dad uses his shed for just about everything. It's a shrine to ingenuity with stuff stored in every possible space. I love it.

And it's so covered with clematis that in the summer from some angles you can barely see it. It's a Stealth Shed.

Dad is the master of ingenuity and constructs garden buildings and storage whenever they're needed, such as the lean-to to the side of the main shed, and of course the sitooterie:

..which naturally is a place where you 'sit oot' (click here for a different take on the concept!). That's not a great picture as it was taken in the spring before growth really get going - in summer it's a beautiful green place to sit in the shade or indeed if it's raining and you still want to sit oot. Mum and Dad like to have their coffee 'outside' a lot so they're often in there or in the greenhouse. They have a washing-line in the sitooterie too for airing stuff on wet days. I should do something like that. We used to have neighbours who had what was essentially a car-port minus the car with washing-lines strung up. Here in the wet west of Scotland it meant they had their washing out much more than the rest of us. I don't suppose it dried completely but even if it had to have a few minutes in the tumble drier to finish it off it'd still have that fresh smell. Mmmmmm.

My garden is too small for a shed unfortunately. We already have the kids' trampoline taking up space, along with the PVC mini-greenhouse, and the gradually rotting and disintegrating playhouse. I have a wishlist as long as my arm, both for plants and bigger stuff like shed and greenhouse, but I'd really need a Tardis garden for all the stuff I'd like to cram in. And to go off at another tangent, now I'm imagining a courtyard garden in the middle of the Tardis - how cool would that be? I'm hoping that when my Beloved's sold a motorbike there'll be more room in the garage for my gardening equipment (where do my trowels go? Do they migrate?) and dyeing stuff. Our neighbours recently got a shed and I have Shed Envy.

One of my favourite garden buildings - it's really too much of a stretch to describe it as a mere 'shed' - is Puck's Hut in the Formal Garden at Benmore Botanic Garden near Dunoon. I suppose it's more of a summer house really but it's just such a nice design and looks so right in its setting, which is interesting because that's not its original setting. It used to be in Puck's Glen but was moved down to Benmore at some point.

It's got just a hint of moominhouse about it! I like it so much I bought the postcard:

I have the postcard up on my pinboard now, along with other things that make me smile.

Sunday, 10 April 2011


We got the warm weather, we got the sunshine!

I'm a bit weather-obsessed at the moment aren't I? How blissfully relaxing to sit in the sunshine in the garden though. Yesterday and today were beautiful - in fact I had to stop myself from doing all sorts of gardening things more suited to the end of May, because we're still likely to get a few frosts, but honestly it felt like summer. My brother came over and sat in the garden chatting for most of the afternoon; the cats stalked tiny insects; the kids bounced on the trampoline; Miss Mouse decided she wanted to eat her dinner in the garden - how could I refuse?

On that note I'll just refer you to my second post from my picture-a-day blog which includes my favourite and very appropriate poem.

On an Adventure - part three

Heron! I love herons! And oyster-catchers, but I couldn't get close enough to get pics of those.

Fortunately seaweedy rocks don't move so I could get a misty loch shot. We went to Dunoon that day and it poured the whole time so no photos of that. But I went to the wool-shop I went to last time and got some more King Cole Riot for the blanket I'm knitting, so not a wash-out. And I got the kids some books in a charity-shop :-). We've done very well for kids books in charity shops recently.

And finally we headed home the following day in even more torrential rain. This was at the Rest and Be Thankful again - where the warning signs were flashing as there was a higher risk of landslides and falling rocks. Unnerving!

So.. between rain and falling into burns and splashing along the shore and what have you, our soggiest adventure yet. Come to the West of Scotland in the Spring!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

On an Adventure - part two

Rain rain rain rain rain rain. Rain.

We went to Inveraray Castle (which looked a bit green, most odd) in the rain. Photography isn't allowed inside so I only have a few pictures of outside, but they're good fun - love the windows!

The unfortunate thing about visiting such a place with my kids however is that I can't tell you a thing about the history of the place. No idea how old it is or anything. Fortunately it's all there on the website so I can read it leisure without an impatient four-year-old person saying 'Come on.. this way.. hurry up..'

It really did absolutely bucket down the whole time we were there. We'd had to stop in Inveraray to buy new wellies for Miss Mouse as she'd fallen in the burn the previous afternoon and her boots were sodden on the inside. Those new boots ended up being the icon of our little break yet I don't have a picture of them. I should have a close-up of them in their gorgeous pink brightness.

Anyway, just as we got back to where we were staying the sun came out, so the Boy and I went out for a wander to take some pictures and find some treasures on the beach. As I grew up close to the sea (and I'm talking metres) it was lovely to spend some time pottering around the shore with the Boy. Last time we were there we saw some huge starfish from the jetty but this time the sea was too choppy and the seaweed too thick to see as much.

Ah, a bit of gorgeous colour!

Friday, 8 April 2011

On an Adventure - part one

It's the schools' Spring Holiday at the moment (not 'Easter' holiday because they go back to school before Easter then have a long weekend the Easter weekend, it's all very confusing) and the kids and I went off to Loch Fyne again with my mother-in-law. I gather from Facebook-friends in England and from other blogs that England has had some glorious weather. Let's just say that our weather was... different.

The west coast of Scotland is notoriously wet anyway and it went all out to prove it while we were away. It poured down down all the way to the Rest and Be Thankful at which most unlikely place the sun came out and it remained sunny for the rest of the way. We got out for a walk along the shore in the afternoon though the weather was changeable..

.. hail shower on our side of the loch, sunshine on the other! Sorry about the slanting horizon, I have a real problem with this - I get it right when I can concentrate on it but not when I'm being hailed on! I'm very glad I splashed out on a new jacket before we went. Actually I'm very chuffed with the new coat, it has pockets all over the place, is long enough to cover my legs a bit , and has a peak to the hood. I'm very bad at buying coats and tend to wear tatty old ones until they actually disintegrate or buy some cheap ill-fitting rubbish which isn't practical.

Along the shore is a memorial to a student who drowned here aged 20 in 1926. It's a simple memorial but rather nice to think that Donald Eric MacKay isn't completely forgotten even though he was so young when he died and didn't get a chance to do anything. I wonder what he would have become?

I love the lichen patterns and colour on both monument and boulder.

The sun came out again.. That's the kids with my mother-in-law, her partner and his very soppy dog. It looks like a picture from a Visit Scotland brochure or something! The dog was clarted with mud by the time we got back from our walk and we had to pick ticks off her too. It reminded me of picking fleas off our cat's ears when I was a kid - he was a great rabbitter and was always picking up rabbit fleas.

Look at that sky!

I'd forgotten to pack my wellies so was just wearing walking-shoes and at one point we had to cross a fairly wide burn so I paddled and went barefoot from then on. Look at my peelie-wally feet!

And yes, I checked my legs for ticks too. Thankfully none!

So what do we think the weather did next?