This morning Lord and Lady Mantle introduced me to three giant cacti, wondering where we could fit them into their planting scheme.   Not quite sure where they will best slot into the general “Game of Thrones meets The Only Way is Essex” ambience.

Lord Mantle was looking fine in his natty hat though.

Fair Weather

Just to put you at your ease Lady Mantle, I will not be naming names.  All I am going to say is that after tea break only one person returned with me out into the garden, into the deluge and the storm and battled the ferocious monsters that had been summoned up by the weather gods.  And one other person stayed inside pretending to be busy.

No names, Lady Mantle, you are quite safe from retribution.

A Right Pear

Pear blossom

You know that you have selected your clients well when, as you are poised to scatter some wildflower seed in their garden, you say “I think to mark this occasion you should perform a interpretative dance”.   And they do.  Lord and Lady M, you are brill.

Here is some pear blossom.  Also brill.

Tail End

It started well.  A drive in the early morning sun as Exmoor looms large in the distance is rarely a chore.   Arriving at The Mantles Estate my civet poo coffee was freshly brewed and only slightly less warm than my welcome.  The twin magnolias battled to outdo each other’s beauty.   Sparrows squabbled over prime real estate in the meld of clematis/wisteria.  All was well in the world.

Lord Mantle is on a mission.  It is called “tame the iris in the pond”. This Iris pseudoacorus, innocently planted several years ago, has become a island, so large the resident frogs recently declared independence from the Principality of Kemacott.   This behaviour cannot be tolerated, these flags need to be culled.  Too large to manhandle, His Lordship had a cunning plan.  He bought a winch.  Are warning bells ringing?  They should be.

As we worked on our own jobs in the garden, myself and Her Ladyship were on high alert, ready to assist when needed.   Which we were.  We pulled, we pushed, we gave advice that was very well received (fib), we used broom handles and scaffolding planks as levers, we returned to our duties as necessary.  The chief engineer was patient and methodical.  “Can you just pull on this strap?”  he asked in his pretty please voice.   “Of course” I replied “It would be an honour”.

Really I should sue.  Look at their faces of concern.

I had an extra cheese roll at lunch time.  It seems it is more important than ever to pad out my tail end.   My amble posterior saved me once again.



A welcome gap in the weather.  After leaving the main road, en route to The Mantles’ estate, I spied a buzzard perching on a post at the side of the road.  I cut my speed and approached slowly, coming to a halt next to this beautiful raptor who, other than giving me a derisory glance, paid little heed.  Just as I drew my camera he looked me in the eye, and said “no paparazzi”,  effortlessly gliding across the field to find a little more privacy.

Back to Work

Pulmonaria offinalis

Apart from a rather dodgy, frankly terrifying in parts, but then I am a scaredycat, journey to work, today was everything I could wish for a first day back to work.

Lord Mantle picked me and my tools up from the car park at the top of the road where we marvelled at the views across the channel to the snow topped Brecons.  We spent a sun blessed morning pruning apple trees and roses, distributing the garden compost I had sorted on my last visit (many moons ago) and reaquainting ourselves.

On the way home I popped by to hatch plans with co-conspirators on a yet-to-be-confessed event being held in a couple of weeks time.  After wandering around a star filled garden, in fine company, escorted by a handsome tabby, I returned home.  The slush and ice had mainly thawed and the demon low sun has risen enough to enhance not to blind.

All was well.