Arrivals and departures


  • Frothy, abundant swathes of cow parsley are lining the hedgerows and verges and lending a certain romance to the landscape.
  • Hawthorn blossom is covering the hedges in its white flowers (and wafting its love-it-or-hate-it scent).
  • The swallows have returned and are getting ready to nest again in the goat shed (I wrote about them last year here).
  • As I sat in the car waiting for my daughter to finish her ballet class in town yesterday evening, I watched a flock of swifts wheeling about and scything through the sky and it lifted my heart. There were always loads each summer when we lived in London but we don’t often see them here on the cliffs and I miss them.
  • Our Californian poppies have started flowering – many of these are self-sown but they’re easy to pull out from where I don’t want them. Other flowers that are exceedingly generous with their presence here are borage, Ammi, Nigella, Cerinthe major, Linaria, forget-me-nots, nasturtiums. I mostly let them do what they want because I am very relaxed in my approach to the garden. Controlled chaos is the order of the day. (Much like indoors.)


  • Apart from a few stalwart ‘Queen of Night’, the tulips are over for another year. They’ve been wonderful but it’s time to snap off the fat seed pods developing atop the stems and let the leaves photosynthesise away and pump nutrients back into the bulbs as they fade. I am intending to dig most of them up and store them somewhere dark, dry and cool until November when I’ll replant those that are still plump and healthy. But I say that every year…
  • Today is Leavers’ Day at school and my eldest boy’s last day. He’ll go back in to sit his A-levels but his time in the school system is over. No more lessons. He and his friends spent yesterday afternoon and very early this morning ‘decorating’ the school in readiness for a morning of chaos and fun. I hope we managed to dissuade them from some of the more extreme pranks they’d planned but I am waiting slightly nervously to hear how it went. It’s a last hurrah before the exams. He has mixed feelings about leaving school – he’s definitely outgrown the place but feels sad it’s come to an end. Any end of an era is unsettling. I also have mixed feelings about this so I am keeping as busy as it is possible to be. After 18 plus years of three children at home, they’re about to start fledging…
  • My 16-yr-old son also has his final day at school today and will be on study leave from Monday. Again, he’ll go back in to school to take his GCSEs (which started with a ‘terrible’ French speaking exam this Wednesday) but formal school is over until September when he’ll be in the sixth form (as long as he does well enough in the exams!). It’s all go here.

I have a packed weekend ahead – village duties, gardening, plant fairs (I may indulge) and calming my teenagers. Wishing you a lovely one.

7 thoughts on “Arrivals and departures

  1. Good to hear your news and thoughts, summer plus spring have converged in my garden and surroundings all a bit over the top but gorgeous. My thoughts and prayers are with the boys . Cards on the way lots of love Joy xx

    Sent from my iPad



  2. I always felt that students in the lull between the end of formal school and the start of exams were a bit like swallows lining up on the wires before they fly away. So many possibilities ahead.
    The cow parsley is just wonderful at the moment and I love your description.
    Enjoy your weekend. Anne


  3. Some big moments coming up for you and yours. I hope your boys enjoy their last days at school. Lovely that you have swifts. My eldest saw one the other day, but the ones that nest over the road here aren’t about yet. I hope they’ll return though. Have a good weekend. I like the sound of ‘village duties’. And very impressed that you have controlled the chaos, it’s something I aspire to. Make sure you treat yourself to a little something at the plant sale. CJ xx


  4. Lovely post as ever.
    My daughter has the last exam of her degree next Tuesday and we both feel her three uni years have gone faster than the two in the sixth form.
    Enjoy every minute with your teens – blink and they’ll be gone.


  5. Thought for a moment that it was going to be those white cliffs disappearing! 😉 End of eras with offspring must be a strange feeling – for various reasons it all happened quite suddenly here (not in a bad way) and we were suddenly empty nesters. Interesting to read about your bird sightings too. Hope all goes well with exams and such


  6. An enjoyable post Sam – hope you are having a relaxing weekend before the exam panic begins. Good luck to your boys! I have never managed to grow California poppies, so I consider you lucky to have so many you can pull some out! 🙂


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