A Nature Lesson


On another overcast morning Jackie and I tidied up the garden with secateurs and broom while Aaron and Sean completed the building of the log shelter. Later, Jackie did some more planting and pruning as I carted clippings and branches to the compost and dump bags.

This afternoon I returned to the scanning of the negatives of the 1985 holiday in Instow.

Stump and barbed wire 1985

A fine fossilised scarecrow in a field was revealed as a gnarled stump crossed by barbed wire.

Bees on kniphofia 1985

Bees congregated on kniphofia.

Roof repairs 1985

A roofer was hard at work in the August heat. This seemed to me to be some traditional method merging slate with other materials. Were they being refurbished or replaced altogether, like those next door? I would be happy to learn from anyone with knowledge of this.

Jessica and Louisa 1985 1Jessica and Louisa 2Jessica and Louisa 1985 3Jessiac and Louisa 4

Our holiday home was a short walk from these houses. Here, Jessica sits with Louisa on the wall featured yesterday, introducing her to the wonders of nature. Tall irises stand proud while yellow roses ramble along the stones.

Jessica and Sam 1985

Sam took his turn, too.

For dinner this evening, Jackie produced lemon chicken with chilli and garlic; swede and potato mash; broccoli; and sautéed leeks, peppers, mushrooms and courgettes. This was followed by rhubarb pastries and ice cream. The Culinary Queen drank a blend of Bavaria and Hoegaarden, and I drank Foremost Hawke’s Bay syrah 2015.


  1. I used to have a recurrent dream where the ceiling of my childhood home was falling in (any readers care to interpret that). Anyway, in that roofing photo I can’t even see a ceiling under the rafters. I suppose it’s because most English houses have an attic, whereas Australian one’s usually do not. But also no sarking or other insulation. Is it usual just to lay the slate or tiles directly on to the roofing beams? The flower photos have just clarity I thought they were with your new camera. And the family shots are just so sweet. Especially Sam coming in for a cuddle.

  2. Sam coming in for a cuddle brought tears to my eyes. Very sweet photos on the wall. The roof is a mystery. I echo, Gwendoline in noticing the lack of anything under the slates. It looks a bit scary–for those above and those below!

    1. Without knowing how old the original roof/house was, it’s quite possible that, back in 1985, i was unlagged. There must have been many properties with no roof insulation. If the loft/attic wasn’t used for storage, any insulation may have been effectively ceiling-insulation for the storey below (easier to install: you just lay it down on the attic floor), and the detritus of broken slates prevents seeing into the space down to floor-level.

  3. Wonderful photos, Derrick. The stump in the top photo really does look like some sort of figure. The series of photos with Jessica and Louisa (and Sam) are lovely.

  4. The fossilised scarecrow is really scary. I don’t want to see it at night :))
    I love the photos with Jessica and Louisa. Beautiful memories, Derrick <3

  5. Love that gnarled stump image, derrick. The roofer looks to really have his work cut out, especially in the heat of the day. Hope he has some sunscreen on his back. Lovely family photos again.

  6. Jessica on the wall looks enchanting and such a precious memory of Louisa and Sam with her. The best part of pictures is how it can refresh and help memories last forever.
    On your next post, I loved all the diversity in chairs and their placement.i liked the dark blue and the elaborate metal one with loops.
    Hope that you are having a wonderful week, Derrick. 🙂

  7. If I came across that scarecrow while walking down some street here in a foggy night or morning in October, people would see Ginene Nagel running down the street in the opposite direction.

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