Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Torteval Scarecrow Festival 2010

There were a few political statements in the Scarecrow Festival this year. This one was called 'BP slicks across the Pond!' It came complete with oil slick, hence the plastic drop sheet.

This was Mr Bee's favourite 'Le Tour De Torteval'. Mr Bee has become a great supporter of the Scarecrow Festival. He loves coming as much as the kids.

This was Granddad's favourite - 'Hung Parliament'. You can just see the Australian green and gold hats Mr Bee bought the kids when he went to The Oval to watch Australia vs England, the fifth test in The Ashes.

This one was one of my favourites. I can't remember the exact name, as I have lost the program we were given at the start of the walk but the Mad Hatter complete with silver teapots was very well done; very Johnny Depp.

B3 loved the Cheshire Cat too.

This one won second prize. It was hung with bird feeders filled with nuts, which are a staple bird food here in Guernsey. It was decorated with a variety of little birds. There was a recorded message about how to feed birds which was playing on a loop. Its name? The Nuts So Scary Crow of course.

I was a little concerned when I read the name of this fine fellow. I kept telling myself this was a family event so I need not be worried. He was called 'The Peeping Tom'. As the festival is held in the lanes around Torteval quite often you can not see where the next entry is so I was preparing to leap in front of anything inappropriate, fortunately once I saw him I realised I was being rather ridiculous. I blame it on sunstroke; nothing wrong with me!

This Medusa entry was named something clever to do with Gorgons. B2 really liked this one, especially all the snakes.

This family have entered every year we have come. Their entries are always clever and push the concept of 'scarecrowiness' to its limits. It was called 'Eye Saw'. It came with an accompanying poem about the dangers of modern architecture ruining Guernsey's traditional look.

'N.E. Old Iron' pushed the definition of a scarecrow as well. B1 always has plenty to say about whether it is truly a scarecrow and whether it should be aloud to compete in the competition. This was awarded a Highly Commended ribbon. They were lucky B1 wasn't one of the judges :)

B3 loved Fifi and Friends. She chatted away telling me all about them, who was who and who was friends and who wasn't. Fifi is a TV series made by the creator of Bob the Builder. Apparently when he sold the rights to Bob the Builder he decided to make a show specifically for little girls and came up with Fifi and the Flower Tots; what a smart and very wealthy man he must be judging by the number of little girls sporty Fifi clothes, including B3.

The kids, and Granddad, loved this one. 'Full Moon' was perhaps one of the most photographed entries of the whole show. All the kids thought it was THE BEST!

Here we have the First Prize winner, 'Traditional Torteval Scarecrow'. What a handsome fellow he is too.

We finished the day with a bounce on the jumping castle, a rummage through the jumble sale and an ice-cream.

My Dad was here with us this year and seemed to really enjoy the festival and the walk through the lanes. Dad always comments on the fact that there are very few places to walk without cars. In the Isle of Man there are kilometers and kilometers of walks, all with public access. In Guernsey nearly everything is private land so I think it was a nice change for him to wander the lanes and realise that although there are no truly wilderness areas here there are still quite places to amble.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Secret Garden in the heart of Town

Mr Bee spotted this open garden advertised in the Globe. It coincided with the week my Dad visited in June. 'La Bigoterie' opened its doors from 2.00-5.00pm on 19th June with all funds going towards helping the Guernsey Alzheimer's Association. Fortunately the way was clearly signed otherwise we might not have found it.

What a view! It must less than 100 meters, as the crow flies, to the Harbour. We had the kids with us so we didn't linger near where they were serving tea and cakes to avoid the whinging.

Such a wonderful, uninterrupted view of Castle Cornet. We made sure we arrived early as we have been to quite a few open gardens in Guernsey and on a fine day, as this was, they are very, very popular.

This was one of the loveliest flowers on the day. I have tried to grow foxgloves, white ones, but the sea breeze at Bumble Bee Cottage has other ideas and they ended up bending over so much that you couldn't see them over our front wall. I have since seen some rather good metal plant supports so I may give them another go.

I love blue and lime green together in a garden. We have a few beds with this colour combination. I have never grown Irises, as I have always thought of them as fussy plants, however I have seen them on a gardening show recently and they claimed that they are easy to grow.

The Garden comprised of four graduated tiers down the hill. The first tier was housed the entry gate and car park. The second tier held the house and largest lawned area with large swathes of flowers beds. Tier Three was the orchard (which you can see in the background) and a formal hedged garden, complete with Roman statue. and the fourth tier was the vegetable garden, sheds and large pond.

This is the view from the fourth level. What you can see is 'The Maze' , also called 'Commercial Arcade'. It is not really very maze like comprising of four intersecting alleyways which run off the High Street. This house really is in the centre of town but you would never even know it was there whilst you shopped below.

The arcade holds all manner of shops. They were originally built in Victorian times and the original plan was to enclose the entire area under a glass domed roof. Unfortunately the developers ran out of money and the roof was never added. It is such a shame as it would have been such a lovely place to shop during winter and would be a wonderful venue for weekend markets in all types of weather. We would not have had to worry on this day however as it was truly spectacular.

As you can see the crowds were starting to arrive by now. This is the view of the length of the third tier.

The orchard was my favourite part of the garden as although it wasn't that large it seemed to exude the very essence of 'The Secret Garden'; high stone walls, gnarled fruit trees. It was a lovely place.

The view looking out toward the Town Church across Commercial Arcade and out to the Causeway which leads to both Castle Cornet and the Lighthouse.

Here is a shot through the entry to the vegetable garden with some naughty little pixie dashing through.

We left the garden via the fourth level gate which lead to a side road which was literally 10 metres to the High Street; there is alot to be said for the wonderful privacy high stone walls grant.

A new French patisserie and ice-creamer had opened up in Town so we took the kids and Granddad for a well deserved Saturday afternoon treat.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tourist Season is upon us

These photos were taken in July in St Peter Port.

The cruise ships that visit Guernsey are truly enormous.

They are much taller than the buildings in town. There is a height restriction here and, I believe, buildings can not be taller than four storeys.

As you can see the visitors harbour is chock-a-block.

Tourism only counts for 3% of Guernsey's GDP.

The locals still seem to think it counts for alot more - still living in the bucket and spade holiday days of yesteryear!

Monday, August 9, 2010

August Hydrangeas

Thankyou for everyone’s kind comments on my previous post.

No, I have not given up posting it is just that it has been simply manic at Bumble Bee Cottage.

School finished two weeks ago.

The approach of the end of the school year (July in Guernsey) seems to signify that more and more and more needs to be jammed into each and every school day; so instead of things calmly drawing to a close the kids end the year hyped and ready to go, full of the expectation that the holidays will offer a similar amount of non-stop activity.

Fortunately for me, just four days into the start of this summer holiday, visitors arrived.

My Aunty Sue and her grandson (my second cousin, I suppose) arrived for a week and then as a surprise for my Aunty Sue my Dad came to stay as well.

Their holidays overlapped by two days so there was a fair bit of bed shuffling going on but we managed to squeeze everyone in.

My Dad left today on the 12 o’clock to Manchester. He should be putting his feet up in the Isle of Man enjoying a well earned cup of tea as I write this.

So this, my first post for six or so weeks is simply to say ‘hello long time no see.’

My next few posts will be about what we have been up to these last few weeks and what has been going on in this 65 kilometre square piece of land in the middle (well slightly off centre really) of the Channel.

These hydrangeas were photographed on the weekend in the southern parish of Torteval.

I like the faded ones best :)