24 Mar 2017

Five on Friday

Hello everyone. We've been in Italy where we were grateful for some dry, sunny weather so that we could give the house a good airing, do some more work in the garden, see the family and generally relax. I'll be sharing more over the next few blog posts, but today I'm joining in Five on Friday Weekly Meetup which from this week onwards is being hosted by Tricky and Carly who have the interesting blog, F.A.S.T (Family Attempting To Survive The Times).
Regular followers of my blog will find my photos of the Italian garden familiar as I've been sharing the work over the years, mainly in the Spring and the Autumn.  In recent years we've been able to maintain the upkeep of the garden with outside help so that all that needs to be done is the cutting of the grass and the pruning of the trees, vines and shrubs. There's less to do in the Springtime as in the Autumn when there are the grapes to collect and fallen leaves to sweep up and as we were in Italy in November we found that the grass was still short after having hired someone with a tractor to mow it for us and, therefore,  it didn't need cutting this time.

1. views from the front garden

2. views from the side garden and drive

3. the back garden

The fig tree was pruned one  - this one is 'the mother' of the tree we have in our UK garden.

4. wild flowers and daffodils

There are wild flowers growing in the grass - grape hyacinths,
a variety of lily, flowering herbs.

5. The pruning of the vines, shrubs and trees - most of the vines were pruned in November. 
They need to be pruned before the sap rises.

pruning some of the apple trees

The twigs will be used as kindling in the wood burning stove
when they dry out.

We decided to cut down the ornamental cypress trees as they need
 so much effort to keep trimmed down to a manageable level.
So far three of them have been cut down leaving some branches
 that will be kept at a low height.

Branches were stacked in a corner of the garden. Other branches
 and logs are stored in the cantina/garage.

3 Mar 2017

Five on Friday

Hello everyone.  Being Friday it's that time again when we get together for the Five on Friday linkup, the first of a new month!  Happy March to you all!   We are grateful to Amy for organising the linkup. The linkup is here if you would like to join in or see who is participating this week. Tricky and Carly of FAST blog will be taking on and hosting the Five on Friday meetup link on the 24th March, which is much appreciated.

I'm taking a blogging break next week, but I hope to participate in Five on Friday meetup at the end of the month. This Friday I'm sharing some of what I've been doing at home and locally over the last few weeks.

I finished the embroidery that I started when we were taking
a holiday in Italy in November. 

I've been working on my crocheting and finished off the edges
of this blanket after sewing in the strands of yarn on the back.
(I shall continue working on the one in grey, mocha brown and blue
 yarn as it needs a lot more squares crocheted before it's a complete blanket).

On a sunny morning this week I walked in the local park,
went into the library to take some books back before 
going to meet a friend.  It was good to see the crocuses out.
There were yellow crocuses elsewhere as well as these pretty 
mauve and purple ones.

My friend and I went and had a cup of tea and a chat
in one of the tea rooms near the park. We haven't seen one another
 for a while so we had lots of news to catch up on.

Thank you for visiting, for your interest and your kind comments left on my blog posts. Until the next time we meet I wish you peaceful days.

2 Mar 2017

A walk by the river in Reading town

Hello everyone. I hope your week is going well.  Thank you for your recent visits to my blog and for your comments.
Today I'm sharing the walk along the river in Reading when our grandson had the day off from work. He's the one that's the sous-chef de cuisine working in the restaurant of an hotel in the St. James's Place district of London.  He works hard with long hours working and travelling and, therefore, time off is spent resting.  A walk was a good way to relax and for us to enjoy his company after not seeing him for a long time. Once more our daughter drove us and she parked in Hills Meadow car park, which was convenient for our walk along the north side of the river and then along the tow path on the south bank.  We used the new Christchurch foot and cycle bridge to cross the river (not shown on the map below as it was only opened in May 2016). Then we crossed the river again at Caversham Lock to get back to the car park.

the towpath in Christchurch Meadow
The building with the blue spiral staircases are the offices of Thames Water and there are other modern offices and apartment buildings along this stretch of water on the Reading side of the river.

We walked across Christchurch Meadow playing fields.  I remember the small building in the above photo and the open air paddling pool from when I was a child.  I vaguely remember coming here with cousins and our parents in the warmer weather.  Summer always seemed to be sunnier back then! There weren't any leisure centres with swimming pools and I remember we would take a bus with these relatives out to a neighbouring town to an open air swimming pool which we favoured over the one here as it meant a day out with a picnic.

The new Christchurch Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists must make it convenient for commuters to get across the river from Reading railway station which can be accessed through an alleyway on the south bank, although it doesn't solve the problem of traffic flow and congestion at certain times on Caversham Bridge and Reading Bridge. I expect the footbridge was built to encourage walking and cycling rather than using a car if you lived locally.

My husband and daughter waited for grandson and I to catch up since we were taking photos.  I'm always lagging behind on these walks!

Fry's Island taken from the bridge
and below a view of the river and Caversham Bridge

a good view of the span of Christchurch Bridge

Reading Bridge

a view of Caversham Lock and weir through Reading Bridge

We walked through the arch of the bridge and on to Caversham Lock.

Across the river is Hills Meadow and the car park.
The yellow and green barge, 'Whittingtons Tea Barge', is static although it can be used for cruising and for occasions such as for parties and wedding events. It's run by a couple, Andrew and Lesley and Andrew is a descendant, apparently, of the famous Dick Whittington. They do cream teas and other refreshments as well as catering for small groups. A place to remember as it must be pleasant in the Summer months. The boat was actually built in 2012 and is a wide beam canal barge.

Caversham Lock

I was pleased to see the monkey puzzle tree as I'm sure as a child we used to call the island on which the lock keeper's house and the Thames Environmental Agency buildings are located 'Monkey/Monkey Puzzle Island'.  Our grandson comes here quite often on his way to a place where he goes fishing further down the river at Sonning-on-Thames (Sonning Eye) and enjoys seeing the wild life in the area. I think he was interested to hear what I remembered of past times.

View Island and Heron Island can be accessed by walking along the path of the weir.

The water is so calm on this side of the weir looking back to Reading Bridge.

rushing water on the other side

The wooden bridge leads onto View Island where the vegetation being kept in its natural state encourages wild life.

the back water and houses on Heron Island with View Island (to the right)

This is a good habitat for water birds and other creatures to live and breed and is a quiet spot for ramblers yet not far away are the recreational grounds of Hills Meadow.
In one corner is Hills Meadow Skate Park which was being well used during the school half term.

I hope you enjoyed the walk.  Wishing you a good day.