Sunday, June 28, 2015

Half Finished.

Hello, I'm still here, just running hard to keep up with life and in a state of half finishedness in lots of things.

A few weeks ago I decided to prune the 'hedge' of eleagnus, cornus kousa and choisya but couldn't bring myself to cut the cornus as it was about to flower - so I have a half pruned hedge with a large tree growing out of one side!

Not sure if you can see it on this picture but it's the tall shrub with white bracts on in the middle at the back, what you can't see is the large gap to the right of it where the rest of the 'hedge' used to be!

The bracts are beautiful but almost impossible to see from anywhere apart from my study window as they are so high up!

I also have a half finished stairs and landing - I ripped the carpet up a few weeks ago and have so far sanded, filled and undercoated.


half finished
I can't paint the floor properly until the decorator has painted the walls, ceiling and woodwork etc.

But the roses have finally come out properly, so I'll leave you with a few beauties from last week:

William Shakespeare

Lady Emma Hamilton

The Generous Gardener

Fighting Temeraire

Now tomorrow I have an appointment a conference involving a new frock and these little beauties by Kurt Geiger.

Do I have a shoe habit? You bet I do.  Do I care? Not one little bit!

Friday, June 12, 2015

24 Hours in.... Birthday Land - Part 2

Following on from my incredible night at Springwatch Unsprung I meandered my way back across Suffolk to Minsmere the next morning to spend the day there for my birthday treat (this had been planned for months, well before I was offered the Unsprung tickets).

The views across the reserve are fantastic.  I didn't get to hear a bittern booming as I'd hoped to, but I did see 3 fly over from one of the hides which was an incredible sight.

Minsmere has many different habitats including reed beds and wetlands where I saw many avocets and avocet chicks.

Those of you who watched the Springwatch series will know that an unlikely star of the show turned out to be a 5cm long stickleback, named by the presenters as Spineless Si.  From the boardwalk to the Island Mere hide it was really easy to see him as the cameras indicated where he was - I couldn't get a photo of him due to the placement of the camera and the sun, but i did get this one of his 'friend' Frisky Phil (the object in the top right of the photo is the underwater camera filming him).

I walked for miles, not just watching birds and sticklebacks but also enjoying the wild flowers including this southern marsh orchid.

I also tested the cafe out and confirm that the cake is excellent (well it was my birthday!),

and whilst I ate it I sat and watched the sand martins flying in and out of the cliffs.

I saw lots of other wildlife, including a great white egret and a crested grebe.  It was a fabulous day and I can honestly say it's one of the best birthdays I've ever had.  

If you ever get the chance to visit Minsmere I can highly recommend it, it's part of an area of outstanding natural beauty which includes 155 square miles of wetlands, heaths, woodlands, coastline  and pretty towns, managed by the RSPB, the National Trust and Suffolk Wildlife Trust amongst others - you could easily spend a week here and not get bored!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

24 Hours in.... Birthday Land - Part 1

It was my birthday this week, it was a big one, and something VERY special happened. Last week I was watching Springwatch Unsprung and tweeted this:

It was favourited by a BBC Radio Suffolk journalist and I didn't think anything more about it until last Saturday when I received a message from the same journalist (Jon Wright) asking me if I'd like tickets for Unsprung on Wednesday.  Would I!!!!

Details of the evening were sent and my excitement levels grew daily!

I asked my neighbour Jill if she'd like to come with me and we left here at 4.45 for the 1.5hr drive across Suffolk to Minsmere.

When we arrived we met up with Radio Suffolk journalists Jon Wright and Etholle George and they recorded the first part of an interview with us.

Jill, Etholle and me

We then had our briefing with the producer and were taken over to the BBC production village to watch some of the main programme as it was being transmitted.

At 8.40 we were led through the woods to the back of the studio where we waited until the main programme ended. As I'd volunteered to contribute a dialect word during Unsprung I was told exactly where I had to stand.  We started to creep into place while they were filming the end of Springwatch as on Wednesdays Unsprung is on BBC2, as opposed to the red button, so there was very little time to get everyone in.

I couldn't believe my luck! I'd ended up right next to Chris Packham, with Robert MacFarlane and Alison Steadman just to my right!

Being in the audience was amazing - the set was fantastically detailed (throw back to my dance career always make me interested in sets and the technicalities of shows) and the camera men and sound engineers moved at such speed.  

All of the guests were really interesting, and as someone who loves language and linguistics I was especially fascinated by Robert MacFarlane.  I was so thrilled to be able to contribute the dialect word for ladybird, a Bishy Barnabee.

After the end credits rolled we all left the set and we met up with Jon and Etholle to record the final part of the interview.  

The interview was broadcast on the breakfast show the next day (1:54:29) but as this link won't last past a month I've put the interview below:

It was a fantastic experience, thanks totally to BBC Radio Suffolk - a birthday to remember!

The actual Unsprung programme is available on BBC player until the beginning of July.

I went back to Minsmere the next day to spend my birthday there, but that's another blog post :-)