05 April, 2009

Update on Spring

I have little doubt that folk around the world will be chewing their fingers in eagerness to know how our amazing rhubarby thing is getting on!

The answer is, I reckon, . . . quite well!

. . . given that the earlier photograph was taken a mere twenty-one days ago! I suddenly realized that there is no clue about scale in this shot so it could be 'read' as being a few inches wide. I therefore ran out with a measuring stick and found that the thing is about 1.5m wide as of Sunday evening! This is, of course, only the beginning. It will become dramatically wider and then the flowers will start. Much taller than me these get. Never fear, I may be persuaded to record further progress!

On a gentler note . . . in fact quite extraordinarily gentle, it seems to me . . . the exquisite Fritillary is still alone in the garden but has delightfully emerged as twins.

Just a couple more shots of corners of the domain.

I must admit that this exquisite view of the stream that flows through our place is just a bit misleading, in that it is rather 'exquisitely' composed to imply that is chuckles and meanders its way like this for yards if not miles and again the scale is deceptive. Having admitted to this I feel wonderfully blessed to have it running as it does through our garden and it DOES chuckle ecstatically!

Finally, an oriental corner . . . with that tree I photographed last year in extravagant blossom again.

In this little pond, there have been, for a number of years, two increasingly splendid goldfish. This winter we really thought they had been taken away by the heron, the stoat or whatever (a fate that befell their 10 little chums in the early years), but, BEHOLD, we have seen them both gliding about pretending to be very grand koi!

03 April, 2009

Abbey with Post Office Attached

This is Frances, doing some posting (in the photograph above) and (below) getting a rare 'post' in edgeways!

I wonder how many of all those wonderful people who order our books realise how the parcels begin their journey. Post Offices all over the country have been disappearing to the distress of many - and then sometimes they reappear in unlikely guises in pubs and even churches, I understand. Ours was for a short time a part of a pub which then closed down and now we have what must be the most spectacular of all post offices - this van in the car park next to Tintern Abbey. It travels to several villages and at the appointed hours appears here on all weekdays except Wednesday. Though one might be a little doubtful of the efficiency of such an enterprise, we have known parcels to leave Tintern at 3.30pm and be delivered in Orkney the following day. Journeys to London sometimes take a little longer even though it is so much nearer.

Keeping down the costs of sending parcels is one of the constant tasks of 'the other half'. We have recently discovered that for parcels containing more than a single book (up to 10kgs) they can be collected directly from the house and delivered in the UK within 48 hours for about £8 which seems good. Overseas is not so easy now because the firm with whom we have dealt for many years has just been taken over and is causing us nightmares with soaring prices, lengthy delivery times and staff who don't seem to know what they are doing. I hear you say, like most take overs . . . perhaps, but not with our books please! The post office van takes away all our mail and parcels of single books (which is the greater part of our operation given that we mostly function as a mail order company) - so, long may they flourish and keep going in these difficult times.