Saturday, 29 December 2012

Rain, rain, go away

It's been a fairly miserable holiday so far, hasn't it? Rain, rain and more rain leave the to-do list growing ever longer and me suffering a severe case of cabin fever wanting to get outside and do stuff. Not to mention the garden starting to resemble a giant puddle. It doesn't help that both of us here at Cooks Lane has been struck down by the lurgy for more than a week, so there's only a few days left to start work on projects before it's back to work! Still, on the bright side that's lots of time for plans and schemes for 2013 and we've got a few ideas up our sleeves for making Cooks Lane better than ever. It's all very exciting in a slightly scary way... In the meantime, here's a sunny picture to cheer us all up from the rain:

Sunday, 2 December 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Who knew there were so many versions of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Spend any time at craft fairs in the run-up to Christmas, and you'll be AMAZED. It may be only December 2, but we are pretty near the end of the Christmas fair run for this year, believe it or not. Which is good in a way, I always end up spending more than I intend to because there's so much lovely crafts around! Our Christmas soaps have been going well this year, which I'm really pleased about, and we are just about to get the appalling website sorted, thanks to the very lovely Alex. New year, new look! Here's a glimpse of a couple of our new soaps - our next fair is at Stamford Christmas Market on Sunday, December 9, and then we'll be at Ashby Farmers' Market on Saturday, December 15. Come and say hi! And if you can't make it, then just send us an email at and we'll get back to you.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

St Swithin's Day

The sun came out! hurrah.
Cheers, St Swithin. Now, we just need to get rid of all the snails and slugs...

Saturday, 14 July 2012

mud glorious mud

If someone says, "there's no such thing as the wrong weather, just inappropriate clothes" once more I will have to resist the urge to swear loudly. There is such a thing as the wrong weather. It's called days and days of rain when it's supposed to be summer. July? Pah, I want my money back. We're back from a few days in the south west where the three-day Healing Festival - our first time there, lots of tarot reading, cool stalls and very nice people - turned into a bit of a mudbath, as you can see:
This is the ground outside the main marquee on the third day:
Despite all this, our stall - complete with new cabinet which Richard made, doesn't it look good? - was looking packed and we had lots of compliments about the soaps (sooo relieved!) and the herbs, too. They weren't minding the rain a bit and the meadowsweet, for one, was in its element.
Although the miserable mud did, quite understandably, put some people off visiting it was a lovely event and there were even a few brave souls camping in the field/swimming pool next door. I met the brilliant Lynn Round of Twisted Willows and saw these cheeky chaps from the wildlife rescue next door:
We spent the next couple of days after the festival visiting Glastonbury nearby - the Chalice Well Gardens had the most amazing relaxing feel to them, so much so I almost drifted off while there, and the view from the windswept Tor was worth the wobbly legs on the climb up: The tower:
The view:
At Chalice Well:
Another favourite was Lyte Carey Manor, which once belonged to a herbalist and is now preserved by the National Trust. I'm not usually a fan of the super-formal gardens but this approach worked a treat. The sun even came out:
Inside, there were a series of 'rooms' most of which were sadly closed that day owing to flooding. We did, however, see the borders and this magnificent clary sage:
It's St Swithin's Day tomorrow. According to legend if it rains tomorrow, it'll rain for the next 40 days. Seeing as we've already had that, would it be all right for some sunshine? Please?

Thursday, 21 June 2012

meetings with remarkable trees

One of the nicest things about doing craft fairs is that you get to visit places that you'd normally never go. Castle Ashby, in neighbouring Northamptonshire, was one - a stately home (not open to the public) and a garden (which is, hurrah). The craft fair was in huge marquees in what was the walled garden, now just a massive lawn. It was enormous, so goodness knows how many mouths it had to feed once upon a time! The gardens themselves were formal affairs: lots of clipped box and yew, long, blooming borders peppered with heavily scented roses. But my favourites were the trees. Enormous, gnarled and genuinely awe-inspiring. Fab fact: It's home to the UK's largest weeping beech tree which is so large it has chains holding it up, which you can't see on this picture. And I just loved the horse chestnut with its branches reaching to the ground:

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Spring is sprung

Can you feel it? That almost imperceptible shift in the atmosphere? Even the sunlight seems different and there's a more optimistic vibe in the air. Spring arrived on Tuesday morning, although far too early for me - at 5am I was still in the land of nod. But it's amazing how much has just burst into life in the garden. There's the primrose...
The damson has burst into bud, on Tuesday
The bees are out...
And the frog spawn is back in the pond! Hurrah


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