Bookworm

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“There’s so much more to a book than just the reading.” – Maurice Sendak

Nothing better than reading a good book outside, this is a photo taken a couple of years ago, but today the kids and I spent an hour in the garden reading in the sunshine in the evening. My daughter Divergent by Veronica Roth, my son Stormbreaker by Alex Rider and myself A Painted House by John Grisham.

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Red Hot Chillis

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“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse

This month seems to be flying by, we have been spending so much more time outside, (well not the kids as they did before too as can be proved by the tans they have even after wearing high factor sun protection). Yes the weather has helped a lot, but even on my really busy late workdays I have made sure that either first thing in the morning or after I get home I do not just check in online to relax; instead I have been heading outdoors minus all electronics. Downside of this means that my blog has been a little neglected, plus side I feel more relaxed.

Day eleven saw us repotting our chillis, peppers and tomatoes in the garden as they had outgrown the indoor pots. We then had fun with the water hose making sure that all the plants in pots had water. As the weather is now so much nicer they now sit outside on our patio and hopefully this year we have a wonderful fruitful harvest 🙂

I think I may have to do a few catch up posts next week as I am now 7 days behind posting, 8 if I count today. So many photos have been taken to accompany our days wild. This weekend we have lots planned that we are ALL so looking forward to.

Whistle stop fun

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He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.” – Socrates

We had fun making music in the garden using blades of grass, it took a few minutes for my kids to get any sound, but when the did we managed to get three different pitches and had a lot of fun making tunes and laughing as we did.

If you want to have a go then just pluck a blade of grass that’s at least about 5cm long. Find the toughest grass you can with the widest blade. Then lay the blade across the outside of one thumb. Press the outside of the other thumb against the first thumb—first, the base of the thumb, and then the tip. This should create a small pocket between your thumbs, with the blade of grass stretched flat in between. The blade needs to be fairly taut for it to work. Next blow into the pocket (try making a small slit with your lips); this should vibrate the grass and make a sound. Moving the tips of your thumbs back and forth makes the grass pull more or less taut, changing the pitch. I think I will need to play catch up soon as I now have six posts to write to catch up on my 30 Days Wild.

Cloud spotting

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Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.” – William Wordsworth

Whilst outside each day so far this month I have been watching the clouds and discussing with my children cloud formations. Today we lay on the grass in our garden and watched the clouds above us having fun seeing items in the formations – we saw amongst many things a dolphin, a crab, a pirate ship and a fairy. 15 minutes and kids with great imaginations = BLISS

All the photos below are taken with my iphone as I always have this with me, I will be taking photos like this each day for the rest of the month and then plan to do a collage of them at the end.

1st June 2015

2nd June 2015

3rd June 2015

4th June 2015

5th June 2015

6th June 2015

7th June 2015

8th June 2015

9th June 2015

Flutterby dreams 

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“In all things of nature there is something of the marvellous.” – Aristotle

I love watching butterflies, such delicate beauties. When the butterflies are at RHS Wisley, near where I live, at the start of the year, I always try to visit and spend a little time watching and photographing them. 30 Days Wild prompted me to try and raise some to release in our garden so that my children can see first hand the life cycle.

We went in search of some eggs, but after an hour or so searching in and around our road we decided we would “cheat” and I sent off for some painted lady caterpillars. They arrived yesterday, but as my children were away I talked about them with them on their return today as we discussed the characteristic of the caterpillars and watched them as they moved about inside the pot. So far we have 6 healthy caterpillars, lets hope they all survive (I have been told that we may only have about 3 transform), I will keep my fingers crossed for all six of them.

Tide time

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“Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself.” – Annie Leibovitz

Eeek, I took a little longer off posting than I had intended this time, it was supposed to just be the weekend, but one thing led to another and somehow it is now Wednesday, where do the days go?!? I have been making sure that I spend at least 15 minutes outside each day and will continue to post about each of my 30 days Wild (even if I do end up posting about them in July!). I must say though that so far I feel so much better for it and I am sleeping so much better at night too, it may just be a coincidence, but I do not think so!

The sun was shining brightly on Saturday morning, our children were both away, my daughter in Normandy and my son camping with Cubs in a clearing in a woodland area in Surrey. We made the most of the good weather and headed out in our convertible, roof down, coast bound to go for a walk.

We started in East Wittering parking by the shops then headed to the beach. The tide was relatively high so we could see very little of the sand so our walk started along the public pathway which is a shingle covered footpath that enables a better look at the houses that lie close to the shoreline. These vary in style considerably from ramshackle huts to wonderfully magnificent manor houses and even a stunning thatched cottage. There is a lot of development taking place at the moment, old buildings either being converted or taken down and replaced with modern seaside abodes. For part of the way the large houses with their wonderful gardens and shore are separated by a moat-like ditch with everything from plain wooden walkways to ornate arched bridges crossing the divide. It is quite noticeable that the houses become more ornate and bigger as you walk from East to West.

In some gardens, plants stand like works of art sculpted, shaped and bent by the constant onshore wind and while in others driftwood has been collected and then form makeshift sculptures that decorate the gardens amongst the spare plant life

We passed many dogwalkers and people setting up camp beside the groynes with there windbreakers sheltering them from the ever increasing wind.

In the distance across the water towering above the other high-rise buildings I recognise Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower, I have not been yet, but have seen it in the distance from many places I have visited including from the coast on the Isle of Wight.

The two Witterings, East and West, lie on the coast in the south-western corner of the peninsula – East Wittering a cheerful holiday place and West Wittering a pretty little village that stretches a broad sandy toe towards the Isle of Wight and juts a marshy elbow into the wide waters of Chichester Harbour.

It is not far at all from East to West Wittering and the line between the two is easy to spot as the footpath changes from shingle to the fine sand that produces sculptured soft dunes that alter considerably with the elements.

As such we quickly passed through East Wittering and headed towards the sand, taking our shoes off and walking in the water, feeling the coldness between or toes. We walked across the wide, sunny stretch of beach. People are everywhere – sitting on the sand, erecting windbreaks, riding bikes, building sand castles, running down to the water, paddling, swimming, surfing, kite surfing and flying kites from the shore. It is a beautiful day, I could not help thinking that this will be a wonderful place to come later in the year with less people around to take photos as it is so pretty.

This beach seems to go on for ever, just beautiful. We walked up past the Beach huts to find a large car park near by and stopped briefly for an ice cream to cool us down before heading on. So many people are arriving and leaving. Barbeques are being lit. Picnics are in progress. A group of friends are obviously celebrating someones 30th birthday (because of the banner held high), sitting near their cars, guitars in hand singing, drinking and laughing, just enjoying themselves.

This area was saved from commercial development by local residents who formed a company and purchased the land. In late 1951 it became known that the Church Commissioners were in discussion with either Billy Butlin or the National Union of Mineworkers with a view to establishing a holiday complex at West Wittering. The Commissioners then owned the foreshore and nearby coastal farming land. To avoid losing the wonderful local landscape 126 residents subscribed to a new company and the West Wittering Estate Limited was born. In July 1952, the company bought the land for £20,546.14.9d The company’s main objectives was then and remains to this day; ‘the preservation of the beach and waters adjoining the company’s land for the safe and peaceful enjoyment of the public and the preservation of the rural and undeveloped nature of the company’s property and its surroundings’.

We rounded the great tide-exposed sand flats off West Wittering and turned north along the dunes that make up the club-shaped East Head. Shaggy with marram grass, these sand dunes – a National Trust nature reserve – are constantly shifting under the subtle but unceasing pressure of the wind and tide.

The outer edge of East Head faces Chichester Harbour and forms a beautiful sandy beach. The sheltered inner face of the spit, in contrast, is all dun-coloured marsh and curling creeks.

We decide not to walk to the end of the dunes as time was getting on and we still had to head back towards our car, we walked through the car park to see what was here and came across three flags at the entrance, the British Flag, American and Canadian. The two plaques underneath read:

This memorial has been built to mark the 50th anniversary of the ‘D’ Day landings in Normandy on 6th June 1944.

It is dedicated the the Allied Armed who trained in this area and who lost their lives in the liberation of Europe.

We Will remember them.

(on a rectangular plaque on top)

followed by

To the glory of God and in thankful commemoration on the 50th Anniversary of Victory over Tyranny in the Second World War 1939-1945

This Memorial is given by The Parish of West Wittering 1995

Lest We Forget

(underneath on an upside down triangle plaque)

This was quite a timely visit for us being exactly 51 years to the day since the ‘D’ Day Landings!

On heading out of West Wittering this time the tide had turned and we could see not just stones at East Wittering, but a large expanse of sand, so we walked as far as we could along the on the sand close to the shore, stepping over the groynes as we passed.

We will definitely be visiting this area again soon, but bringing our children with us. They would love it here, as there is so much to see and do.

As the colours on the beach were so gorgeous and bold on this day I have also included this post for the Weekly Photo Challenge on the Daily Post where the theme is “vivid”, yes I have converted some to black and white, but lots of the other photos show the wonderful colours along this picturesque section on the West Sussex coastline.

Relaxing in the garden

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“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.” – Jules Renard

It was a very early start this morning as my daughter headed off on a school trip to France and then I spent the rest of the morning (on my day off work) packing for my son to go on cub camp this evening. I know that my two kids are going to have a wild time in the outdoors for the next couple of days, so I needed to plan something just for myself and my husband.

As I sat in my garden planning and then with a cup of green tea and a good book, I noticed in the corner of my eye a squirrel on my bird feeders, as I looked up he caught my eye and then darted off on my wall. About 3 minutes later back he came only to notice me again and then proceeded to scamper off again. This happened about six times with him watching me all along, it really made me smile to watch him, as unlike most of the other squirrels that come into my garden he was just so shy.

It is amazing what you can hear when you just sit quietly outside, I really need to learn some bird sounds as I heard at least five different ones as I relaxed. I have recorded the sounds on my phone so when I have a free moment I will work out what they were.

Over the last week or so we have purposely left our lawn to grow, the buttercups and daisies were not far behind which gives me an easy place to get photos of insects.

Garden Life

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“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” – Hans Christian Andersen

After work and running my son to his football clubs I returned home at 8pm and decided I would spend 15 minutes in my garden to relax and collect my thoughts from the day.

It definitely worked and I felt so much better after my busy day, I felt so much calmer. Although I was a little frustrated with my photos as my focusing was a little off today for some reason, I sure hope it is not my lens!