Monday, 21 July 2014

Barbara's Garden

Barbara's garden is slap bang in the centre of St Ives, halfway up a cobbled hill and hidden behind high walls. If it wasn't for the sign, you'd probably walk straight past it's entrance. It is a secret haven amid the tightly packed streets and narrow houses. To take a walk around Barbara's garden is an experience not quickly forgotten. I have wandered here many, many times. There is always something new to look at. Depending on the time of year, the sculptures either blend in or stand out in the garden. The weather and even the time of day has it's own impact on them, creating light and shade in different places.

You are enticed to reach out and touch these tactile forms. I have to carry something or thrust hands in pockets, because you. are. not. allowed. It's a shame, but I understand. Almost. I don't think Barbara would mind. I think that she created her garden not just as a showcase, but as a place where senses can come alive. So I content myself with photography, and trying to take abstracts of the abstract. I can still get close and look at the shapes and colours. And I can run my hand hand along the plants as I walk around, and listen to them rustling in the gentle breeze, casting shadows in the sun.

I peer into her workshop and see her overalls hung in a line on pegs. I look at all the tools of her trade. I think how dusty it must have been. How physical the work. How satisfying to see something emerge from a block of stone or wood or slate. How it must have felt to see the result of your hard labour sit so peacefully among the plants. I sit in her sun room, and conjure up an image of this tiny formidable woman. Busy, always busy I think. I hope that she was able to stop and pause every now and again. I hope that she was able to just be in this beautiful space.

I am very fond of Barbara.

Leanne xx

Friday, 18 July 2014


Is it Friday again?

I'm mourning the loss of my beautiful sweet peas today. They were struck down during the wild storm we had here in St Ives last night. It didn't occur to me that the garden would be affected while I was exclaiming at the fork lightning lighting up the bay. But them and about a million palm leaves have to be attended to in a moment. The storm hasn't broke the humidity either, or else my personal thermostat has gone ballistic. I think the phrase is sweating cobs.

I thought I'd share some simple pared back happy things from my week. We truck on here. Taking life as it comes. Mostly.

Fruits of one's labour
Late breakfast
Picking our own
Den building

In my fantasy life, the one where I live at Trevail Mill and spend my days in overalls and wellies wandering around my immaculate small holding, I am totally self sufficient. In my real life, the one where I struggle to get my head around having an allotment plot and quite often forget to water my tomatoes, I am amazed whenever I am able to pluck an edible form its' plant. Just some of the produce from this week. I have bounteous blueberries too, although I have decided to share them with a rather persistent Blackbird.

I treated myself to a large cappuccino with an extra shot, and a sausage sandwich with white bread, butter and HP sauce. I ate it overlooking Porthmeor beach in the shadow of the Tate. It was divine. No really, it was. I think I might have made lip smacking noises.

Pops and I have been to our local pick your own. We needed a lot of strawberries, and the slugs have laid waste to ours. For every success in the garden, there is also something that doesn't fulfill it's promise. It's good for me. I have to relinquish my need to control. I have to just go with the flow of the garden, help it as much as I can, and hope for the best. Olly would only pick the biggest strawberries that he could find. I may have eaten quite a few. They factor that in when you pay for them, right?

When I was little and it was raining, or when all other options had been explored, my Mum would get out the 'den cloth.' I think it was probably a super sized dust sheet. She would drape it over the dining room table, make me and my sister a plate of snacks, and shoo us under. It was her last resort when we were getting under her feet during the holidays. Olly likes a den too. I have been quite grateful for that this week. Excuse his slightly on show bare bottom. He is usually nude at home. I like this picture, because this is how life actually is for me. And most of you I suspect. You should have seen the mess at the other end of the room.


It's all go this weekend. Olly has his nursery barbecue. I am out for a meal with lovely ladies. And we are hoping to take that trip in Betty to Godrevy, although the weatherman has told me we won't be.

Have a wonderful weekend. Be good.

Leanne xx

I've just realised that I haven't credited Gillian, who is the instigator of the weekly happy. Sorry matey xx

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Godrevy Again

Come on CT, tell me which Blue she is. Silver Studded? Or Common?

If you live here, or if you are visiting anytime soon, I urge you to go to Godrevy. Like a lot of the coastline of West Cornwall, this is an area owned and preserved by the National Trust (I think that the beach and the lighthouse are privately owned). Olly and I walked Honey there yesterday. I thought it would make a change from the dunes. And I had stared at the lighthouse from Sam's window this morning. She looked bright and welcoming in the early morning sun. And she seemed to beckon me over. It's what I told myself as I drove there anyway.

The headland overlooking the lighthouse was swathed in a violet carpet. It shimmered in the morning sunshine and contrasted beautifully with the blue sky above. You know when something is so other worldly that you find yourself catching your breath? When you have to do a double take, just to make sure that what you saw was real? No wonder Granny wanted her ashes to be scattered here. She must have known that she would always be surrounded by great beauty.

Olly bug hunted while I jumped around trying to take photos of the butterflies. I am determined to get better at it, even though I had to concede that maybe jumping was no way to score that money shot. There were hundreds of them flitting to and fro over the coastal heath land. I wondered if there had been a spate of Gatekeepers emerging from their cocoons, there were so many. I watched them chase off bigger butterflies, claiming territories as their own. Olly was fascinated by the orange beetles that were all over the plant life (CT has advised that they are probably soldier beetles. It's what we are calling them now anyway). They were "joined up" he said, as he watched them getting frisky on the flowers.

We watched a young Kestrel for the longest time. She was sat on a rocky outcrop minding her own business and preening her feathers. It was priceless. I thought for a moment that she was a baby, but then she flew up and away. You often see Kestrels here, but the joy never diminishes. There were a great many rabbits too. As I child I remember the delight at seeing the fluffy tail of a rabbit as it bounded away out of sight. I saw the same delight in Olly as he saw not one, but several running into the safety of the gorse bushes. There were Buzzards wheeling overhead and Crows walking shiftily around the top of the headland. We looked for seals, but they must have been out fishing. Olly was convinced that he saw a shark. It was a buoy. At least I hope it was....there are basking sharks spotted from time to time around here.

I was quite reluctant to go to Honey's date with the dog groomer. I could have stayed all day. I think Olly would have been quite happy to as well. I'm thinking that perhaps we will come back this weekend in Betty. The car park doesn't close until ten. We could get up to all sorts. I've always wanted to watch the sun set over Godrevy.

I wish you could join me.

Leanne xx

there are no filters on those photos. It really is that beautiful.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Rolling Waves


On Sunday, on the spur of the moment, we went to Portreath. We went to meet family and celebrate an Uncle's birthday. Sun, sea and a barbecue. What could be better than that? The sun was glorious. There was a squally breeze, which helped to whip up the incoming tide. The boys and their cousins wasted no time. They ran to meet the foamy surf and dared the waves. They splashed and jumped and dunked themselves over and over again. 

They only left the water for their tea. Burgers and sausages. Fairy cakes and jelly babies. They sat enveloped in towels, shivering slightly. Olly's lips a rather fetching shade of blue. I wish I had thought to bring Alfie's bathing shorts. He wanted to go in the sea for the first time in a year. No matter. He waded in fully clothed, and dried out in minutes. Once full they rushed the waves once more. Olly was even more gun ho this time, and went under. He was in no danger in the shallows, but I held my breath. Up he came coughing and spluttering. He shook those wonderful wet curls and dived back into the waves. 

They don't come along very often, these magical impromptu days. This one didn't start until late afternoon. It carried on until late. It was possibly one of the loveliest days of the year so far. And a total antidote to the @%^$£ week that preceded it. I wish our trip to Portreath could be bottled. So that when the gloom descends, it can be opened up as a reminder to everyone (but mainly me) that our life here is awesome. Our trials are intense moments. But the good stuff far outweighs the bad.


I am blessed. I really am. Lovely people visiting my blog, and leaving words of support and encouragement. One thing about me is that I find it nigh on impossible to leave it at the door. Self restraint? I wish I had some. I often wish that I could separate parts of my life from this blog. It's a hotch potch of stuff, often written on a whim. The odd planned post thrown in for good measure. It's not particularly sophisticated that's for sure. Honest? Yes. Quite often bored of the sound of my own voice? Yes. Hoping that you forgive my indulgence and ridiculousness? Yes!

Leanne xx

Saturday, 12 July 2014


Hello lovelies. And hello to new followers, you are most welcome.

This week has been a bit shit to tell you the truth. I don't know if it's tiredness, or hormones, or both. We are in the land of the cross here, I can tell you. Lots of fighting and cheeky/naughty behaviour. Boundaries being pushed big time. I have this fuzzy head, which is often a precursor to spiraling down into the blues. Everything has gone to pot.

I was told the other day that I try too hard to be a 'good' Mum. That I exhaust myself by trying to do too much, and the net result seems to be that my children demand more and more, without showing any gratitude or respect. It was a pretty damming indictment of myself and my children. I didn't like hearing it, and it took a while to process what was meant. It's true that I have huge internal struggles about motherhood. It doesn't come easily to me. When I read accounts of the surge of love mothers felt for their new born, I don't get it. I was just too exhausted. I am always too exhausted. I'm exhausted right now. I battle with the stay at home Mum role a lot. I see it as my job, and I want to do it to the best of my ability, when good enough would probably do for about ninety percent of the time.

At times like these I find that my mind gravitates to the negative. Everything is hard work. I doubt all of my abilities, and I wonder about my place in the world and how it just didn't pan out the way I thought it might. I can feel huge resentment towards, well anyone really. My mind starts playing tricks on me, as I question it all and the urge to runaway from it all wells up inside me. Do you ever get that feeling? The urge to flee. It's horrible isn't it? Well I am getting it a lot this week.

I'm not influenced by the media. The only thing I buy into is that my hair will become full and lustrous if I buy the right shampoo. I don't think that if I fill my house with mason jars, peonies or succulents, my life will be enriched in any way. I don't believe that being a size eight with a washboard stomach will bring me inner peace and happiness. I quietly laugh to myself at some of the 'lifestyle' blogs and magazines and shows out there. I am the most uncool person you are ever likely to meet, if being cool means reading feminist literature whilst cooking quinoa burgers on a open pit fire in the middle of a meadow and then diving into the river for a spot of wild swimming.

But I am influenced by the way other people present themselves and their children. Particularly when it comes to the behaviour of their children. Although I know that it is not possible that their children are perfectly behaved all of the time, there is a little bit of me that holds it up as a mirror to my own. I am a pretty honest person, and if my boys are being little bleeders (which is a lot of the time) then I will voice it. Experience has shown me that most people are not as honest. Either that or I really am a mother to the three biggest brats in Cornwall. And what is the deal with other people thinking that they can voice an opinion on the behaviour of your children, or float praise of their own at the expense of yours? I just don't get it. I don't get it after seventeen years of parenting. All I know that it either pisses me off or deeply hurts me, depending on how am I feeling.

Oh dear! Sorry about that. Excuse the mad ranting. It's that time of year I guess. Don't take me too seriously. Honestly I always feel better after one of these rants. And I am the world's most contrary person at times ;) And I've just bragged big style on Facebook just now.....


Just a few happy things. There are little gems there. I need to hold onto them really tightly at the moment. My eyes are open. I know the signs. I know I need to take a step back and breathe and turn my destructive thinking patterns around.

A gift from CJ
Gold for Alf
Ice Pops

Alfie and his mate Thai

Last week I met fellow blogger CJ. She writes at Above The River. Perhaps you already follow her tales of raising three boys, growing on her allotment and general musings on life. She is what I call an honest blogger. She is funny and down to earth and meeting her in real life was an absolute pleasure. She gave me this mug as a gift. One of my first ever posts was about breaking the exact same mug, and how upset I was. I am originally from Bristol, and a big part of my heart still belongs there. I was so touched that she had read the post, and remembered. What an absolute babe she is.

Alfie and I have been locking horns big time lately. God how that boy can get under my skin. He is really struggling with the minefield that is being an almost teen in secondary school. His confidence at all levels has really taken a hit. But he is also demonstrating behaviour that cannot be excused. He was ribbed at the start of his club championships. He was told that he would 'be owned' by all the other green belts. He took all the banter very seriously, and almost bailed on the tournament. But he told gold in his category. A huge confidence boost for him. He smiled and looked happy for the first time in ages. It's all you need sometimes isn't it?

I have sunflowers in the garden. They haven't been chewed through by the snails. They are a beautiful addition, and always remind me of growing them at school. Such a simple, honest plant. There aren't fancy and frou frou, and I love them all the more for it.

My last happy, if you can picture it, is sat in the garden after school sucking on an ice pop. I love ice pops. I devoured them when I was pregnant with Alfie. I remember buying them after school and eating them on the bus home. Again a simple honest treat. You can keep your Magnums, I'll have an ice pop any day.

Have a lovely weekend

Leanne xx

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Flight behaviour

I read CJ's post with interest yesterday. She wrote about the come down she was feeling after her holiday. I certainly felt the same this morning, as I came back down to earth with a bump. It was aided and abetted by the daily loggerhead with Alfie. The weekend already seems so far away.

I really didn't want to do the mundane this morning. I knew that I should clean the bathrooms, cut the grass, go to the supermarket and generally get the house into order. But I really couldn't be bothered. So I assigned myself just two jobs; ironing and unblocking the upstairs loo. I figured that I deserved some time out after they were completed, and so I proposed to Olly that we go butterfly spotting. With the dogs. And some chocolate and a juice box. He jumped at the chance. Well wouldn't you?

I have documented the walk we took before, but it's always different. The foxgloves are all but over, the flowers climb further up the stem and are replaced with soft green seed pods. The blackberry bushes are unfurling their pink and white flowers, which are enjoyed by many different pollinators. In fact the sound of buzzing and the amount of flying insects was quite amazing.. The pink campion are still in flower, but their seed pods are mature. We rattled them and Olly enjoyed scattering the seed. Different types of grasses are abundant now, and it enveloped us as we walked down the path towards the cliffs.

There were a great many orange beetles crawling all over the hogweed. At least I think that's what it was. It is similar to cow parsley, although it's chunkier and less wafty. I think there may have been angelica too, but my plant identification is still scant. I did see scabious and kidney vetch growing out of the ancient Cornish hedges that border the fields. Along with thistles and yellow flowers which are all lumped together as dandelions, even though they obviously aren't. I thought afterwards that I should take close ups of all of these, and identify them later. I have a book.

There were butterflies. They were everywhere in fact, and very busy they were too. An abundance of Red Admirals flitting here and there, barely pausing for breath. We spotted Speckled Woods and Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and what may have been either a painted lady or a larger fritillary. They were too quick for me to photograph, and Olly and the dogs were impatient to keep moving. We also disturbed quite a few day flying moths. White with black speckles. At least I think they may be moths. I need to ask my moth and butterfly guru, CT.

The weather turned as we walked, and spots of rain turned into a rather heavy downpour. Olly insisted that I carry him back to the start of the footpath. He really is too big to carry for any long distance, but I obliged. Time is short with this one. I shall miss our ambling walks together when he starts school in September. Who will I be able to point things out to. Who else will enjoy shaking the campion seed pods or playing the "tree in the summer" game with the grasses? Who will laugh at the daft orange bugs with me, and watch the farmer and his dog herd the cattle from one field into another?

As usual I am writing this post after I have put Pops to bed. It's been mayhem here this afternoon. Lots of teenage hideousness that I won't bore you with. Suffice to say I am frazzled. If it's another fine day tomorrow, I am returning to the hedgerows. I shall record the plants and try capture the butterflies. I think that may help to strengthen my resolve and my nerves for life here.

Leanne xx