High Summer Downpour

Well it has been a real mixed bag of weather this summer. Its either very warm (or as the press likes to call it a scorching heatwave which they seem to apply to any temp above 18C) or to put it bluntly its hammering it down so hard that Noah should be building a boat.

Really have missed the Cosmos this year. Last year we had them filling all the beds and they give that colour and bloom you need in August when all the early flowers have  done there thing. My experiment of starting them off in the cold frame in March was an unmitigated disaster - resulting in not a single seed shooting; and as I forgot to open the frames on a couple of sunny days I now have  a collection of melted seed trays. Live and learn - I'll either order them in as plugs next time or start them indoors again (not ideal)

The Roses though are doing superbly. Even the climbers and ramblers this year are putting on a second showing whilst the continuous varieties have just been - well - continuous. Two newcomers for this year from David Austin are a these Lichfield Angels.

Inside a couple of changes  to the downstairs cloakroom. It used to have solid oak tops which really didn't work in any practical sense due to the amount of water spillage that the badly designed sink caused  and the cottage seaside theme was a bit 'meh'.  So out with the wood and in with a classy marble - and a  new sink. Farrow and Balls "downpipe estate eggshell" is used on the panels  to make the white porcelain & radiators pop and the marble shine. The wallpaper is Kelda Scion. This has transformed this room from twee seaside to classic modern.

A few Reads of Summer 17 part #1

I don't know about the rest of you but reading a book one of the greatest simple pleasures that exist (true - its best enjoyed with the water gently lapping against the hull as you cruise on to your next destination - but tucked up in bed or in front of the fire works just as well). So here's a quick list of some of my favourites from this year as well as some old classics.

Alan Bennett 'Keeping On Keeping On' - technically 2016 but this is one of those books I just love to have by the side of the bed (In fact this weighty brick of a book even sailed across the Atlantic and down the East Coast of America with us) which you can read about here. I still dip into it randomly now and find I'm screaming with laughter. He is simply unique - grumpier with age I think - but simply superb. PS If it's your first dip into the diaries 'Untold Stories' is a little less grumpy.

Ian Rankin `Rather be the Devil` Rebus is back. To be fair/biased  I find  Rankin and Rebus just never disappoint;  there's a lashing of old nostalgia,  a thick fog of Scottish atmosphere and the promise of more to come

Emily Bronte 'Wuthering Heights' - I revisited this book after we enjoyed a visit to Howarth inspired by the highlight of last Christmases TV films - Sally Wainwrights moving 'We Walk Invisible' . I so much enjoyed it more than my first read many years ago; I felt like I understood the writer more and more as I read it. I also really recommend this Norton edition though as  it includes a lot of her best poetry (just bring a magnifying glass though the text is tiny).

Amy Snow (by Tracy Rees). It can't all be good - I just happened to get stuck with this one on a Baltic Cruise - lured by the Richard and Judy awards promotion on Amazon and the fact it was less than a few shillings as a Kindle download. Great set up but basically turns into a never ending Mills and Boon waste of cloud space.

Stephen King (End of Watch) - The final part of the Bill Hodges Trilogy. A slightly weak final installment that took  one left turn too many back into familiar WTF Stephen King territory for me - but as a trilogy its been a great ride. Stephen King is one of those authors where the ride will either thrill me with page turning  tension and atmosphere (Joyland, The Shining, Salems Lot, 11.23.63 to name a few ) or bore me to hell and back (Under the Dome, Duma Key, The Mist) -  J has a theory that a lot of his books are great short stories only; having read some of his short stories (Four past Midnight) I have to agree.