August in the UK is school holiday time and millions of visitors flock down to the south-west following the narrow ribbon that flows between Exeter and Penzance known to all as the A30, with the widening scheme around Bodmin causing current hold-ups and then the single lane section between Carland Cross to Chiveton Cross north of Truro (plans to widen this section are proposed for a start date of 2019/20) ensures that travellers arrive in West Penwith weary of sitting in their cars for hours on end.

My Surrey family limped in during the second week of the month, wisely they chose to travel mid-week to avoid the Friday/Saturday changeover days. I say limped because their car developed a fault on the way and could only travel slowly and noisily. Fortunately the VW garage in Helston came to the rescue and I loaned them my car for a few days so they could get out and about. It felt very strange to be without a car.

The weather during the first week was grey and cloudy, but the second week improved with only one damp start that quickly disappeared to leave the glorious summer-blue skies. Beaches were packed, car-parks were packed, roads were… well I think you get the picture.

kynance cove
Kynance Cove in August

I stayed mainly at home, pootling in the garden, cooking dinner for when the sunburned, salty, sandy holiday-makers arrived home. The Olympics were there to tune in to, Murray gave me palpitations as usual and it seemed as if ‘God Save the Queen’ was playing constantly.

Sunsets were glorious, walks up the hill a given, though on one evening when my daughter, grandson and I cut through the closest (empty so we believed) field we were discovered by a herd of boisterous young bullocks who were plotting just around the corner of a wall. They were very curious. As they started walking towards us, we started walking calmly, but quickly towards the stile, talking loudly as talking is supposed to calm them. They move pretty damn quick and I was cut off behind a bush with one bullock watching me closely. Heart fluttering as the rest of the herd gathered around I made a dash for the stile, my daughter grabbed my hand and yanked me up, my grandson bravely waved his arms – from the top of the stile! This was not a dignified experience. We took a longer route home.

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Boys on the run…

Meadowsweet and Spirea Japonica have attracted bees and butterflies to the garden and the flowering mint is popular with flies and other pollinators. Orange crocosmia lines the lanes and although I have some in my garden it is a bit scruffy. The Japanese Anemone open – they are pink – chocolate cosmos and agapanthus start to bloom and I spend hours in the garden with my camera and secateurs. Nasturtiums run wild in the veggie plot and my borage is in flower.

Plaintive mewing overhead signifies buzzards in the area and one afternoon four of them were directly overhead. Practically impossible to get a photo as they are so far away, but so exciting to hear them. Hanging out the washing has never been so much fun.

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Swifts or possibly house or sand martins also arrive to devour the insects in the courtyard. Large and small white butterflies, red admirals, painted ladies and one peacock butterfly have been seen. The whites have been laying eggs on my nasturtiums and kale which has been all but destroyed by the emerging caterpillars. Bright green in the case of the small white, yellow striped are the large whites. I have removed several hundred, but allowed the larger ones to continue to munch their way through the nasturtiums. I love butterflies, but concede that these are very much pests.

I also seem to have a thornless blackberry at the rear of the garden so all I need now is an apple tree and I will be all set for blackberry and apple crumble! Meanwhile the rhubarb and the blackberries provide me with breakfast with the addition of yogurt and a sprinkle of locally made granola from the farm shop.

Speckled Wood Butterfly
Speckled Wood Butterfly

Speaking of farm shops, when visiting with my granddaughters this month we went for a stroll around to see the animals they keep there. The piglets were the cutest, playing chase around their house, butting and scrambling over one another and being boisterous. One was pushed through the low fence and yells of “grandma, help it” rang out whilst they moved quickly away! Why me and not their mother? I have no idea, but have you ever tried picking up a squealing, squirming piglet? Anyway I did manage to get him back into the field. Youngest granddaughter was not happy that we eat them (the farm make their own sausages and bacon which is VERY tasty), I explained that if we didn’t then farmers wouldn’t bother to breed them so in a way eating them is a good thing. She wasn’t very convinced, but plaintively conceded that she does rather like sausages.

piglets
Sausages?

One weekend we were subjected to a day of shooting as the farmer hired help to shoot the crows. I question whether this is even legal, but apparently it is. I hoped they wouldn’t shoot my magpies. The crows kept out of the way most of the day, and cloud cover helped, but they do appear to have moved on since, despite the fact that I don’t think that many were shot. Someone must have spread the word…

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My sweet peas have eventually grown and are in flower at the moment. Pale pink, white and some flushed with a deeper pink all smelling deliciously like sweet peas should are a change from my usual darker colours. Next year I’ll start them off earlier. Now waiting for bulbs to arrive so I can plant some pots of tulips for next spring. There is always something to look forward to.

And finally, even the ‘bird bath’ got a makeover as the girls decorated the edges with beach pebbles.

A natural birdbath
A natural birdbath

The house sparrows seem to like it and even a Siskin (I think) popped down for a drink.

(I shall be away most of September so there won’t be much happening on the Cornwall blog, but I may manage to post on the others if I have time and if I have wifi – otherwise I shall see you all at the end of the month.)

The Cardinal is continuing his photo project throughout 2016 – a blogging event, a monthly photo challenge. Read his blog for the new rules this year (he is running two versions) and to view his interpretation and those of other participants.

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29 thoughts on “Monthly Photo Challenge: August

  1. When we were children we always went to the West Country for hols. In those days there was no motorway and the A30 was single carriageway all the way. There was always a snarl up getting around Exeter which caused my Dad to invent a new national competition- British Traffic Jam of the year. We reckoned that was probably it, although the road past Stonehenge would (even till recently) have come a close second. Happy Days. Your grand kids will remember those holidays for the rest of their lives.
    Mind you, the beaches were never as crowded in our youth…although we were route marched miles with picnic to avoid any body else😀

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    1. I remember those days Jenny – mum used to brew up a pot of tea on the grass verge by the roadside on a little meths burner! I shall never forget that smell!

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      1. We did the same thing. The car (a 1938 Wolesley, old even at that the time) was always getting punctures, or boiling over. On the way to Penryn every year from London, we stayed overnight in Somerset at a B&B because the traffic jams were so bad. And that was 1956-1962!

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  2. You have obviously arrived in a soul-home. This post is rich in delights and noticings. I especially love the pinks of the sweet peas and piglets; the wood butterfly; and your account of the encounter with boisterous bullocks. Travel pleasantly and see you whenever!

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    1. It has been very much a ‘stayathome’ month so I am surprised I had so much to write about. I managed to do a lot of reading out in the garden too, catching those lovely rays. I’m not one for crowded beaches. I shall use October to do some beach wandering if the weather is kind. And now you come to mention it I do seem to have a lot of pink in this post.

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      1. Oh, gosh Meg, my reading is quite frivolous – usually crime or thrillers – but recently I have been reading a couple of gardening books! Designing a Mediterranean Garden and one about natural plants! I have a list of far too many plants for my small space, but it is nice to dream 🙂

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  3. A lovely illustrated roundup of your month, Jude. Despite the summer tourists, Cornwall is coming good for you, it seems. I have learned to avoid cows. I thought they were docile and compliant. I was very wrong! Enjoy your holiday month.
    Regards as always, Pete. x

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  4. I feel like I just had a short visit in the countryside 🙂 Your camera has been very busy.
    First, Wales, now Cornwall … your posts make me want to visit … but if I ever do make it over there, I’ll make a point of avoiding August 🙂

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    1. Yes, best to avoid this month. Personally I find April and May the nicest months to visit Cornwall as it specialises in spring gardens. Autumn isn’t bad either as long as the weather behaves!

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  5. Loved reading this, Jude…reminders of childhood holidays amongst all your ‘noticings’ as Meg put it! Love the story of those testosterone fuelled bullocks, but it clearly wasn’t fun for you

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  6. Bullocks are okay if you stay calm 🙂 and piglets are way to cute for sausages especially when Linda McCartney makes them. So you’ll be away for ages, I’ll miss you, but enjoy and share all when you get back!

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  7. It’s like reading an episode of the Archers. 🙂 🙂 As I’ve said before, contentment suits you. Love that last butterfly shot! We had pause today at a big ‘beware the bull’ sign on a gate, but fortunately it referred to an adjacent field. Phew! Whatever will you do without your garden for 3 weeks and who’ll keep an eye on it for you?

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  8. An August visit with you in Cornwall has been a delightful respite from the worst time of the school year for us. It’s been a cold, wet winter and the kids are stir crazy from being kept inside. But only one more week and it’s school holidays for two weeks! Enjoy your time away, Jude. 🙂

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  9. You are getting to be quite the rural lassy Jude, hob nobbling with bullocks and rescuing piglets, the photo of them is so cute and your garden is a riot of colour, shows you have been very busy in that department and getting down and dirty, but how rewarding it must be.

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