to the sea again

Flowers picked by my friend Penny and the children for my birthday, in a jug I picked up for £2 at a car boot sale yesterday. This reminds me that a while back I promised to write a post about my junk shop china habit, and I will, very soon, but first a post about the weekend which began with us crossing this bridge…

which, as usual, I failed to photograph properly. And, as usual, on crossing it, I was compelled to bang on about how it makes me think of Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures. Joe pointed out that this is what I always do as we cross this bridge. Naturally I rallied with the fact that he always points this out. It is a ritual we observe faithfully.

Except of course when we end up on this bridge when we are really meant to be on the other bridge, a bit further up. On those occasions all thoughts of Barbara Hepworth are lost in the blizzard of ill feeling that rages between driver and co-pilot.  This photo was taken on the return journey last night, just as Joe asked if we were going to have that conversation again. I felt we had to. So we did, but in a slightly deflated way. But not deflated enough to mar the general sense of wellbeing that a weekend by the sea in the company of good friends engenders.

We stayed in a friend’s cottage in Stackpole, and I will post the link when I find it as it really is a fabulous place – incredibly pretty, and the perfect base for all sorts of beachy fun. The weekend involved a lot of food, a lot of wine, two cakes, neither of which was made by me, but one of which was for me (43 yesterday, which is why I got the flowers), and the children got to drink a bit of this (what were we thinking?).

On saturday we walked to the beach via sun-baked fields and cool, shady woods.

And Sunday was spent at a vast car boot sale where I bought the little jug and a few other pieces of china as well as these plants –

Geum coccineum ‘Cooky’, a bargain at £2.50, and a hybrid geranium ‘Red Admiral’, which I thought was psilostemon when I spotted it, for £4. Money well spent I think.

Better pictures of both to follow, but for now soggy bathing costumes, sandy wet suits and a dog freshly released from kennels (aka Mutlins, because she LOVES it so) need to be sorted out.

P.S. Thank you to everyone who so sweetly wished me well in my exams – such a relief that they are over. I feel as though the summer holidays have begun, for me at least.


My RHS level 2 course finished last week, and yesterday I sat my final four exams (against the doctor’s orders due to a bizarre revision-induced hand problem, all of which started with an equally bizarre drama of broken sash-cord some weeks ago). Today I celebrated this achievement in a rather odd fashion: by accompanying my youngest daughter on her class trip to Weston-Super-Mare. What was I thinking? Surely after all that revision and frustration and boredom (and pain) I deserved more of a treat.

But it was good fun and I was embarrassed to discover that I was the only parent on the trip who had never been to Weston before. Naturally I was quick to blame Joe. A day trip to Weston was a regular ‘treat’ throughout his childhood, and back then the place had little to offer apart from seagulls, sunburn, a few mangy donkeys and mild peril in the form of large areas of sinking sand. Consequently Weston was not on his list of fun things to do with your family. But unfortunately for Joe, it is now quite high up my list. Weston still offers seagulls, sunburn and sinking sand (a somewhat sinister feature for such a popular resort, and not, one would think, entirely compatible with a relaxed day out at the beach), but the donkeys are no longer mangy.

And despite the town’s air of having stalled some point back in the middle of last century, the place has real charm. And in amongst the predictable seaside tat – which most of us, if we are honest, are really rather fond of – there are lots of surprises.

I wasn’t able to find out why this iron creature is looking hungrily at the children on the beach, or who made it. I assumed he was one of the Wonders of Weston, but it seems that he’s not. I’ve googled a bit, but to no avail. Obviously I need to head back again to find out. I may even go on my own, which would be a real treat.