Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Monday, 28 August 2017

A (not so brilliant) British Summer in the Countryside

It's odd, for once, to be on the receiving end of sailing blogs from tropical islands whilst we endure a pretty mediocre British summer so it's a case of getting a taste of our own medicine, we suppose. We are certainly missing the sailing life, such wonderful photos of Vanuatu on Bravo's blog, for example, (http://svbravo.blogspot.co.uk) are making us a a little jealous but at the same time serve to remind that it's only a couple of months before we are back aboard Maunie.

Mind you, after a warm and dry start to the summer here, August's wet and often chilly weather has come as a bit of a change but it's been good for the garden as we continue to work hard to get it back under control. Didn't expect the timber from a dead apple tree that we felled to be loaded into the wood-burner so early, though!

In between the rain showers, Di has been digging for victory up at the top of the garden to re-shape an earth bank that was just full of weeds. Turned out it was full of other things as well:

The rusty remains of about five car exhaust pipes were unearthed!
After this major excavation, the bank was re-shaped and we bought lawn turf from a local grower for an instant improvement. A month of rain later and it has bedded in very nicely.

The patio umbrella in the last photo shows that the weather hasn't been all bad and, for once, the August Bank Holiday has delivered warm sunshine rather than the usual disappointing rain so we've really enjoyed a brief return of summer. BBQ's on the patio, drinks with old friends in the garden and a wonderful walk along the coast, then up to the village for a traditional Sunday roast lunch reminded us that, in the right weather, this part of Somerset is really one of the best places to be. Certainly the fruit on the trees and bushes thinks so; our apples are getting ready to pick:

.... but there are rather more arriving hourly at Graham's work:

Katy apples (the earliest variety) in the hopper at Thatchers Cider
Meanwhile the hedgerows (and, unfortunately, some of our garden borders) are full of ripening blackberries. Blackberry and apple pies ahoy!

Our circular walk took us through the ancient hamlet of East Quantoxhead, a place that hasn't changed much with time and which also provided an automotive memory-lane moment for Graham:

East Quantoxhead duckpond

Thatched cottages, all belonging to the Lutteral Estate

The first family car that Graham can remember was a Bedford Dormobile like this (though ours was red with a white stripe). It had a 3-speed, steering column mounted gearshift - known as "Three on the Tree"......

..... as opposed to "Four on the Floor" for the Morris Minor, a later and equally rust-prone Keating family vehicle.

The newly re-opened Hood Arms in Kilve - great food!
Just as with sailing, though, these moments of sunshine, relaxation and good living are interrupted by maintenance jobs, all of which turn out to be more challenging than expected. "I'll just have a go at a couple of little patches of loose paint on that wall", said Graham......

What did I start here? More to do...
Job done


  1. Ditto said Bedford van and Moggie. And my God you two should be on DIY rescue, your work ethic is amazing. You can come round and do our jobs anytime! Enjoy the best of Blighty while you can. Txx

  2. Dartmouth regatta was great this weekend, the good weather helped.