Monday, 27 August 2012

Notes from Bramble Cottage...

It looks like we shall miss summer completely this year! Fifteen degrees centigrade does not count as a summer temperature and it will be interesting when the rainfall statistics are finally published to see if it has been as wet as it has seemed to be. Today I have finally managed to collect most of the parts of an old aluminium greenhouse which I was first offered just before we headed off on our tour of sisters holiday in May. The frames were buried in a jungle if new tree shoots and nettles and were a struggle to unbolt into their parts for transport, my nails have not seen ingrained dirt or been so broken for an age…. I doubt that I shall build anything like the original but adapt the parts into a lean to building against the north wall in the vegetable garden. After this horrible summer it will be good to have somewhere sheltered and able to warm up with any sun which does shine, we have a short enough growing season here at Bramble Cottage as it is.

This year was always going to be poor for vegetables from the garden since I was forbidden from doing gardening at the necessary time and then we were away for the start of the growing season. I gave a bag of vegetable seeds and the garden key to a neighbour to do as he wished with the hope of some share in the harvest. While we were away the rain was horrendous and he hardly got more than a few potatoes and a small patch of broad beans into the mud, the weeds loved the rain but he did not keep them under control as promised!

Thankfully there was time to net the soft fruit when we returned from holiday, it more or less looks after itself from year to year with just a little pruning. For several years we did not net the fruit against the birds because some always find a way in but are too stupid to get out again and distress Betty who hears then from her kitchen. I have watched the birds pretend that they can’t find the open door as aI try to get them out of the cage only to find that a small group get together to lift the stone weighted netting as a team! At first the experiment worked fine with more than enough fruit for us, just a bit less for friends to pick when we have had our fill then last year the birds just ate everything…

Black currants were picked and frozen whole if not made into ice cream or eaten straight away. The red currants have mostly been stewed down for juice which will be mad into jelly to eat with dishes like venison if I can only find the jam jars which have been tidied away! The first brambles were picked a week ago and now they are ripening as fast as we can eat them.

My niece in France is always complaining that spring only lasts a couple of days and she never gets to wear the clothes she likes so much, here I have to be resigned to not getting to wear several summer tops bought this year while the woolen cardigan, a present from a knitwear designer friend has had continuous wear all summer since the house has never warmed up. Four favourite dresses hang on the picture rail for immediate action if the sun comes out for a few hours, on the bright side they are not going to be worn out any day soon.

Rain does at least give me the excuse to lounge about and read though not the fifty shades of creepy sadistic creep which seems so popular worldwide Does that make me dull or just too much of a feminist?

Here ends the report from Bramble Cottage...


  1. Same problems down in Sussex! Rain-loving weeds galore, and not enough reliable sunshine to make a summer dress standard wear.

    That said, it is obviously a milder place to be. I have actually worn shorts in the garden from time to time, in between showers.


  2. And a nice report is it too! I must say you grow plenty of fruit in your garden. The problem you have with a bumper harvest, which no doubt would have been even larger but for the rain, is quite a familiar one, you either have to try to eat it all, give it away or store it some way. Still you can always make jams and jellies when and if you find the jars!

    Shirley Anne x

  3. All the sunshine we've had and I've only got two or three tiny tomatoes to show for it. I know where the blackberries are but forget to take something to put them in when we go for a walk.

    Hope you have a good autumn

  4. A typical lovely post, Caroline. I do love the pictures. Everything is so lush and green!!!

    Here, the last rain we had was in early June, so nothing is lush and green. Perhaps a few drops today. With the Mediterranean climate we have here, it means irrigation to get things to grow.

    I do miss the rain and the cozy winter days. When it does rain here, it generally comes down in buckets.

    Calie xxx


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