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.