Tuesday, 31 August 2021

South-west corner of Scotland

In the midst of a world full of chaos it seems almost frivilous to write about completing a section of my Coast by Campervan project, but if 'Bag End' is to be a (mostly) complete reminder of life for me to review in my dotage, then here goes nothing 😜.

At the start of my trip the incomplete line around the map of South West Scotland looked like this:

By the time I returned home it was filled in much better:

Day one was a long but simple trip up the motorway to Glasgow. Gads, I am out of practice at driving in "the real world"; the section of motorway between the end of the M74 and junction 29 of the M8 required significant concentration to stay in the correct lane and I gave thanks to Suzie SatNav whom I don't usually bother with. But it was worth it to arrive in Greenock and Gourock and look at the volcanic remains dotted along the Clyde which pleased the geology nerd in the driving seat a great deal! For some reason I have no photos even though I am sure I took some, so I must have deleted them accidentally . . . it's weird but I cannot even find them in the Deleted folders. Cue Twilight Zone music. ðŸŽķ 🎞 ðŸŽĩ

I had an overnight at the CAMC site in Ayr which is one of the best kept sites I have ever seen, and the staff their are an absolute credit to their employer and themselves. Shame really that I had no reason to stay longer. The following morning's drive down the coast from Ayr back into the Mull of Galloway was an absolute geology delight, but once again driving took priority over photos and I forgot to change out the dashcam card so it's all been overwritten! The weirdest part of the journey was the A719 at Turnberry which goes straight through a certain golfcourse . . . I knew it was coming, I knew it would be ghastly but nothing can prepare you quite for the incongruity of Trumpville in the Scottish countryside. You could try Google streetview ðŸĪŠ.

And then back to New England Bay where time slows down and activity (almost) comes to a full stop. A very relaxing few days of peace and quiet - despite it being school holiday time and the site fully booked there was no noise and no screaming kids running around, it is not that sort of place.

The "usual" activites were accomplished - Port Logan, Castle Kennedy Gardens, Logan Botanic garden, Ardwell, and lots of time with the Kindle and bugger all else.

There is nothing here to give scale, but those gunnera leaves are each about 3 metres across!

A lovely sunny day for my drive home and I took a scenic detour and filled in a section of coast from Gatehouse of Fleet to Gretna, most of which we have been along in the car on previous outings but Bill and I have never covered that route. It was a delightful day with a couple of interesting stops, particularly Dundrennan Abbey.

In an ideal world I would be picking up the next section of coast where I left off the previous trip but sometimes it is just not going to work like that, but as long as I cover all of it, eventually, I shall feel able to honestly say "I've done the lot" - but having started 28 months ago (April 2019) and not yet made as much progress as I expected, it will be quite some time before I can say "finished". Lucky me, what a tiresome burden I have given myself ðŸĪĢ 😁 .

Sunday, 29 August 2021

I really ought to . . .

. . . get organised. It is three weeks since I last blogged and that's not intentional, but everytime I think about writing a post I am either too tired to do it right there & then, or in the middle of something else.

Since I last posted there has been had another week in Scotland which wasn’t too bad even though the campsites were busy and the weather was 'variable' but I was able to complete another good section of coast (note to self - blog post required!) In the week I have been back I have been been going hell-for-leather in the garden trying to make a start on Autumn clear up whilst the weather is kind (yes, it is that time of year again).

But under the surface I am overwhelmed by it all - Covid, insufficient HGV drivers, politics, the economy, and now Afghanistan. I have always been a ‘busy all the time on the go’ person and that is fine if I can eventually reach the end of the work and look back and think “ah, that’s done now” but this is a big garden and the house always requires maintainance somewhere or another and sometimes I wonder if I will ever reach the end.

BUT I am not complaining - and daily I consider where I am compared to half the world and give thanks. Looking what is happening in Afghanistan beggars belief - I have nothing to grumble about . . . the sight of people standing in a channel filled with sewage trying to leave the country because that is a better option than staying in their homeland is almost unthinkable and that is just the tip of a particularly vile iceberg. I found a short piece written by Stuart Ramsay (Sky TV) saying that some of the things they had seen and filmed will never be shown because they are considered too upsetting for snowflake Western viewers . . . we are only getting the sanitised version.

So here are random garden snaps which should not require a pre-viewing warning:

Getting very close to a glut of runner beans and blueberries, which is why I don't mind the wasps moving in:

THIS is why grumbling is unacceptable - I can drive my nice safe car to a nice safe grocery store (without a male escort) and pick up whatever we need:

The greenhouse has turned into a dahlia jungle, but it's beautiful:

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

The ugly truth

Last week I shared a picture of the seating area next to my Big Pond and you were so kind in your comments about how lovely it looked.

The ugly truth however, is that in reality it was looking dirty, tatty, messy and not really conducive to a relaxing sit with a good book. As usual I missed the real 'before' picture of out-of-control hedging which had grown through the metal supports and made the deck about a metre smaller than it really is.

A consequence of tons and tons of manure and mulch over the years means the already decent soil is rich and holds moisture and plants generally grow very well.

A consequence of tons and tons of manure and mulch over the years means that plants grow like Topsy and pruning is a never-ending job which I am not good enough at. It's a bit Mad-Eye Moody - "Constant vigilence!" and I am rubbish at it.

But a very determined hour with the big loppers to try to persuade laurel and wisteria that we need to co-exist in this space, and two passes with the pressure washer, and NOW it is looking picture-ready.

What the non-gardener might see as lush growth around the pond is, sadly, rampant out of control growth which is out-competing smaller plants and blocking the view of the water in many areas. So that's the next massive demolition job which awaits . . . but first I need to show you what we have done to the area around the pond, which might be the next post if I can get myself organised.