She polished up nicely

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Front of house done. Some exfoliating, subtle makeup and some jewellery and years have tumbled away. There were some awkward silences when we first showed photos of the house, but we knew she had a pretty face!

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It seemed like a good idea to have a rhododendron either side of the door. Now we have responsibilities out the front as well! We’ll feel like proper grown-ups if we manage to keep them alive for 12 months.

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When I grow up…

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…I want to be just like this:

We’ve just planted our second bougainvillea after mkI met with a chilly end this winter. As usual we didn’t have a frost, but the nights were cold enough for a tender young bougainvillea naively planted on a warm November’s day, to meet its end. So, the bougainvillea is dead, long live the bougainvillea! MkII has tougher looking leaves and should be big and strong enough to cope with next winter. Oh of course, 28ºC a week ago does not mean winter is over. Just after planting mkII, we had a biting cold snap which meant I had to wrap the little fella in a hessian sack for warmth. We had hail and cold winds blowing off the icy mountains. Friends not more than 3/4 hour sensible drive from here had snow. I hear stories of less than 1/2 an hour for that drive, but I don’t want to challenge it for fear of being an entry in the next edition of the Darwin Awards! The second photo is of a magnificent specimen down the road from us.

Of course you want me to tell you the origin of the name bougainvillea. No it isn’t Bogan (for the Aussies reading), “an uncouth or unsophisticated person regarded as being of low social status”. The name comes from a French explorer, Louis Antoine de Bougainville who lead the first French circumnavigation of this little planet covered in water that we call Earth.

Our garden is suddenly looking as we always wanted it to look, and then some. Well, in certain spots because other areas we haven’t attempted to tackle yet. Or if we’ve made an attempt, we got bored and moved on to something more interesting. One day I’ll finish varnishing the porch timbers. It was built two years ago.

Custom filters, Le Parfait and a crazy lady

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Take one phone camera, a dirty windscreen and pair of sunglasses for that apocalyptic sky look then combine. Look for a sign (nothing religious happened, so settled for road sign), powerlines, vapour trails and some mountains. Take photo.

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I was so proud of this shot I emailed it to my old photography teacher in the Netherlands. He has already rejected the colour and sent his version back to me in B&W! Phew, glad I wasn’t being marked.

Going for teacher’s pet, so this next one is B&W. Sometimes reflections and shadows are better than the original object. In this case the lovely old typography on a Le Parfait jar. Le Parfait started in the 1930’s and 50% of the glass used in new jars is recycled. Bet you didn’t know that. Now you can drop it into conversations!

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And I leave you with this. A particular lady I live with, separates the half peanuts from the whole before eating. They also have to be separated by a kind of DNZ (de-nutted-zone) which I can only presume is so no cross contamination occurs. This deeply worrying. Putting all kitchen knives in a locked cabinet.

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Sea of fog

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This time of year the valleys can start the day with a thick covering of fog. Sometimes around 9.00am what appears to be a bright and cheery start to the day can turn grey and slightly spookie as the sun retreats behind the thick rising fog. This transformation is rapid as a view like this can change within half an hour. Then as quickly as it rose, the fog gives in as the sun fights back. The day starts again!

Warm air from the Atlantic, cool air dropping off the mountains and probably something to do with dew point is why this happens. Dew point is our answer for all weather, temperature and humidity goings on that we don’t understand.

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PS. If you want a larger view, click on the pic.