6 July 2024

Japandi Bedroom Makeover


Do you want a break from politics and British summer weather? Read on...

Another mural? Are you pulling my leg?”

Colin was back last month to decorate our master bedroom. I was quite fond of the Laura Ashley Iris wallpaper that was here when we moved in almost six years ago but Paul disliked it and it was his decision to finally get the room redecorated. On a whim I ordered a Japanese style mural back in February and have since discovered that Japandi (a fusion of Japanese and Scandinavian) is very much the thing right now.

before - with Laura Ashley wallpaper

In preparation we took the oversized pelmet and full length curtains down and the room instantly felt lighter and more spacious. I am tempted to just keep the Roman blinds in the bay window without curtains but even with blackout lining they don't completely keep the room in darkness when we are sleeping. Just not sure what to do with the window dressing yet. The original wardrobes were boxed in and the natural wood colour goes well with the mural. I am pleased I took a stand against getting them painted or replaced. 

A low level wooden platform bed would definitely be in keeping with the Japandi trend but then I think about bruised shins on the edge of the bed and low level is probably not wise at my age.  How about a slatted headboard then?  Nope, too much dust would collect.

So at the moment it's looking very minimalist and fresh. Not everyone's cup of tea but I'm very pleased with the result. Rick's old bed has been banished from the room and he now happily sleeps on a futon like rug. Perhaps I should buy Paul a kimono.

26 May 2024


We only called in to the supermarket to buy some bread but I couldn't resist adding the tiny, pathetic potted Acer into my shopping trolley when I saw it shivering in the wind outside the store.  "I thought we said we weren't going to buy anymore pot plants," Paul admonished me.

Our terrace runs the whole length of the bungalow.  When we first arrived six years ago it was completely overgrown but once we had pulled out all the weeds we were left with a huge, stark expanse of stone slabs.  I asked Paul to remove some of the slabs to break up the hard surface but the ground was solid underneath and it was difficult to plant the ornamental grasses we had bought.  And so began my quest to have potted shrubs in various groups across the terrace.

In France our courtyard was filled with pots of brightly coloured geranium and lavender that looked stunning against the honey coloured stone of the property.  Here in Lincolnshire I wanted a more subdued palette using architectural plants.  My choice of plants has been limited due to the cool climate on the east coast but the spikey Cordylines and lush Fatsia Japonica plants have done well.  The terrace faces south so we have to be careful that the hostas and ferns don't get too much bright sunshine.  The Callistemon (Bottle Brush plant) comes into the garden room during the winter and many of the less hardy plants get moved into the garage so the pots have to be of a size that Paul can manhandle.  I would love to have giant Ali Baba pots but I get a stern "No!"

I went outside between showers this morning to take some pics...

baby fern needs a new pot

parsley and chives

tiny acer almost invisible in front of the hostas

Rick hiding in the bamboo

6 May 2024

Another sunny day, another ride

No punctures this morning and we had a uneventful 34 km ride out through the Lincolnshire countryside.  After all that exercise I felt it was okay to stretch out on my sun lounger and reward myself with an ice cold gin and tonic and a few nibbles.  

5 May 2024

Bike Ride


It was a beautiful morning when I took Rick out for his walk, still a bit misty with the sun just starting to break through. I planned to go for a leisurely bike ride after giving Rick his breakfast and Paul said he would cut his gym ride short and come with me.  I felt quite energetic as we set off and managed to get a personal best time climbing the steep Ahoy There! Hill out of the village. I did it in 55 seconds (Kat does it in 30!).

The cycling felt more like pleasure than exercise, although we had to to be careful to dodge potholes and loose gravel. It was still early so there wasn't much traffic about. Plenty of birdsong and crazy pheasants running around; we saw two hares in a field, they must have been mature males going by the size of them.  All was going well until, about 13 kms into the ride just north of Brandy Wharf, Paul got a puncture. “No problem,” he said, “I've got a spare tube with me.” But unfortunately he had forgotten his bicycle pump so that most definitely was a problem. 

missing bicycle pump

I left Paul at the roadside while I continued the ride towards home alone, another 13 kms or so, to collect the car so I could return and rescue him. Rick was delighted to see me so I decided to put him in his crate so that he could come for a ride in the car. It was only as I approached Brandy Wharf that I realised there wouldn't be enough room in the back of the car for both the bike and the crate!

No matter, the crate is collapsible and Rick was more than happy to sit in the footwell at the front of the car on the return journey. What a palaver!

24 April 2024


This spell of cold weather is getting tiresome; a blast of Arctic air streaming from the north down the east coast has created bitterly cold conditions.  I am still wrapped up in winter gear when I take Rick out for his early morning walk and I just feel so sorry for the young lambs huddled up against their mums in the sheep field.  Still, we always knew that Lincolnshire was not going to be a tropical paradise when we moved here and, some consolation, I see that it's just as cold in the French Perigord this week.

Paul is having to cover all the Hostas and wrap things up in the greenhouse at night.  Tender new growth on the Fatsia Japonica has been burnt by the late frosts but there is abundant blossom on the apple trees so it looks like we shall have a bumper crop of apples later this year.

Wishing for some warm, dry weather so we can sit outside and enjoy the garden.

27 March 2024

Nothing goes to waste

I had quite a lot of fabric left over from the re-covered chair (I ordered extra to allow for any mistakes!) so I decided to make a couple of cushions.  The zip fastenings were tricky but I was quite pleased with the result.

They are destined for the master bedroom that is getting a makeover in June.

After a glorious sunny morning the clouds have rolled in.  Hot cross buns and a cup of tea are being served as an antidote to this chilly, gloomy afternoon.

21 March 2024

Lark or an Owl

 Are you a lark or an owl?  Up at dawn and early to bed or a late riser but still lively at night?

I am most definitely a lark.  Full of energy in the morning but flagging by mid afternoon and ready for bed at 10.00 p.m or earlier.  This morning I got up just after 6.00 and had cereal and a cup of tea, then out for Rick's morning walk around the village.  It was blissfully quiet apart from the dawn chorus (lots of blackbirds around here) and I didn't meet any other dog walkers today.

Back home I stripped the bed and put a load of washing on.  No rain forecast so I might get the sheets dry outside.  Then I boiled up a litre of milk and made a batch of yoghurt, I let the jars sit in the incubator for about 7 hours or so.  I love natural unsweetened yoghurt and this is so easy to make.  Then I chopped a whole load of bacon, onions, mushrooms and beef to go in the slow cooker for a Boeuf Bourguignon.  In France this would be typically served with a green salad and French fries but my English tribe prefer it with mashed potato and veg.  Whichever way it's a favourite in this household and the slow cooker ensures that the meat is always succulent with a rich and tasty sauce.

dinner bubbling away in the slow cooker

yoghurt doing its thing

By the time I had finished cooking the washing was ready to hang and it was coffee time.  Now what am I going to do for the rest of the day apart from write this blog?  Ah, just remembered.  I have a Dyson upright cleaner to re-assemble.  I took it apart yesterday to wash the filters and de-tangle the brush head.  I always have to get the handbook out to figure out where the filters are hiding, hate this task.

laundry day

By lunch time I shall be running out of steam.  Early afternoon I will do some core exercises for half an hour and then it will be time to sit down and relax with a book or watch some television and Rick will see that as a signal to jump on my lap for cuddles.  It also gives him a clear view of the driveway and he can look out for the postman.  What is it about a red post van that turns this mild mannered dog into a barking lunatic?  Never a dull moment!  (Rick is also a lark and likes to go to bed early).

Rick waiting for the postman