We arrived back at Le Hot five weeks ago, to find everything looking very lush from all the rain of the last few weeks. Some of the roses were heavy with sodden petals, but most had been relishing the weather and were in glorious full bloom. As were all the clematis who were clearly enjoying themselves immensely.
We were thrilled to find that, for the first time ever, the storks in our garden had managed to raise three strong chicks in their enormous nest on the telegraph pole. Very sadly, there was a really wild storm a fortnight after we arrived, and it blew one of the storklings out of the nest – it must have been taken quickly by a fox, being unable to fly at that point. The remaining two look happy and strong – and the nest looks very crowded, especially when the parents fly in with food for them!
The kestrels at the end of the barn have three youngsters this year, and the moorhens on the pond have four – looking like black tennis-balls with enormous feet, as they scamper over the drive and the lily pads! Many fewer swallows this year, and none have nested in ‘Sebastian’, the covered area outside the back door; there is a lot of concern in the press that climate change is affecting their ability to re-fuel on their long migration North every spring.
We achieved a mountain of work before 11 Eastbourne friends arrived on June 23 to stay for 5 days, and we held a musical lunch party for 40 on Sunday June 26. Here’s a flavour of some of the tasks we got through:
Managed to get various things fixed like the ride-on lawn-mower, the immersion heater, the landline phone, the white metal bench, the leak from the Chambrot Room shower etc. ; cleaned the house from top to bottom, altered a parasol and stand for the new seating area in the Purple Borders; masses of mowing, strimming, cutting-back etc. etc.; filling the planters on the terrace, completely re-doing Nigel’s herb bed, using the brazier for small safe bonfires of rubbish; testing air-beds (the mice had holed them – aaargghhh!) and erecting a tent for the campers………and so on, and so on……
The five days with the Corridor Club here were brilliant fun, and included a couple of restaurant meals, a lot of drinking and laughing in the garden, and a 9-course Black Tie dinner on the Saturday night.
The Sunday lunch party was blessed with lovely weather, perfect music from the Spad Trio, and relaxed and happy atmosphere – phew!
The weather has been hot and cold, wet and dry, windy and still, cloudy and sunny – we have barely had two days together the same, so far!
Thirty lovely Belgian gardeners from the ‘Cercle Horticole’ spent the morning here on June 30, and on July 5th we are looking forward to hosting the gardeners of the Cotentin Cote Jardins Association for a picnic.
The Cotentin Cote Jardins folk were here for a picnic on July 5, again blessed with good weather, and plenty of stork action!
Since then, blazing weather has meant that we have confined gardening activities to the early mornings, and spent the afternoons doing jobs and writing etc. inside the house. The grass is turning brown, of course, and the veg patch is starting to suffer badly from lack of water, which we are beginning to ration out carefully.
The family will start arriving on July 22, once the schools have broken up for the summer holidays – can’t wait!
Our next projects are to re-roof the summer-house with lighter tiles, build an extension on the treehouse, and re-plant the Arbutus and Corner beds in the Cottage Garden. All exhausting, all enjoyable – on we go………..!!