I can’t remember a year when the covers for the swing seats have been put away for so long. From late May until mid-August our summer days have been virtually cloudless, even if it did rain it was the vertical sort and the awnings did their job of keeping the cushions, books and magazines dry, if the upholstery did get wet, the warmth soon dried them off very quickly. Apparently the long term forecast for the next four years is hot and sunny, not sure I believe it completely, but here’s hoping.
I saw a graph on television which showed the weather in the UK is warming year on year and much to my amazement it seems that those of my childhood were not as balmy as I remember. Mother always claimed she turned navy blue watching us play on the beach at Filey during the summer holidays, I certainly remember the grown-ups huddled behind a wind break with fortifying flasks of tea into which something stronger was added whilst we dug sandcastles and played in the sea. Every year we had handstand competitions and going by the photos of the time, legs never got straighter nor bodies less bent and I don’t remember there being a ‘prize’ for whoever won, that would have been indulgent! Some years ago my sister and I took two of the grandchildren to Whitby where we sat reminiscing on the beach and also ‘turned navy blue’ whilst the girls, clad only in swimsuits happily wiled away the hours splashing, ducking the waves and digging holes to Australia…
Swing Seat Side Panels
Last year we removed the side panels on the three seater swing seat leaving the awning on so it was open all round yet shaded quite why we didn’t do so this year, I really don’t know. The two seater at the bottom of the garden is now nine years old and last winter we left it there to cope with rain, snow and frost; there is no sign of fading or wear and tear on the cushion covers, side panels or awning. The frame too is fine and has taken not harm. The cover I am afraid is looking a bit sad and sorry, the squirrels have had a go a nibbling holes at the back and sides, about four small ones, we haven’t put on a new one as the material itself if still doing its job of being waterproof, also this part of the garden is very sheltered and less affected by driving winds so there doesn’t seem any point renewing it, it continues waterproof and so will remain there for many a year to come.
Hot summer photo shoot
All our models on the web site are very obliging family and friends with their dogs; the cost of hiring professionals is extortionate and however well planned the schedule, gremlins will do their best to destroy your forward planning. The day we chose was hot, hot, hot and very sunny with the odd cloud, however this not good for photographs; it was either too overcast or too sunny for most of the day. Charlotte, our photographer, not only specialises in photographing in natural light but she has had endless patience and plenty of ideas which meant we didn’t have to hire a studio with all the paraphernalia of extra lighting and scene changes, the swing seats live in different parts of the garden so we simply decamped everyone to where they were needed. We kept up the morale of all our models with either tea, wine or canine treats and settled in for a long day.
Anyone who has been organising an outdoor shoot will understand the frustrations involved, especially with children and animals. Posing naturally is an art and asking people to smile is like asking them to concentrate on solving a fiendishly tricky maths question, up comes a look of intensity with a sort of grim leer and it becomes obvious why photographers click away like mad taking hundreds of photos and ultimately pick out just one or two. The dogs were great provided we didn’t ask them to pose for too long. Poppy the Collie could be bent into any shape provided she was rewarded with regularly catching and chasing her ball. Fred, the Sheltie is so affable and pleased to have anyone fussing round him he will stay immobile for as long as needed if laid gently on a comfortable cushion and Ripley, the very smart Labrador was unsure, he did what was asked but had suddenly had enough and lay upside down refusing any more celebrity attention. Mr Darcy, the Dachshund was just 5 months old so keeping still was not on his agenda, he got fed up with titbits and the excitement of being at a party with other dogs was beyond his wildest dreams; regarded with distain and ignored by his fellow models did nothing to dampen his enthusiasm for a game until he suddenly flopped on the grass and fell asleep!
We have two hens only now, the one you see in the photo is nearly nine years old, and she is a Rhode Island Red. She arrived eight years ago with seven sisters, one by one seven came to grief and she was left on her own, she was lonely until we were given a timely gift of a battery rescue hen and they now wander round the garden together chatting away and pecking the odd tasty flower head morsel whilst scratting around for insects. Last week we moved their hutch down into the goat’s pen as she has lost her sole mate, Mathilda the horse who was with us for twenty two years but died last month, so then the goat was lonely! Goodness, keeping everyone contented here is a full time job ….
The return of the cover
The overall cover for the swing seat is back on and although we have had the most balmy, calm evenings recently, it looks as if we are getting back to normal as rain is forecast for the rest of the week. Heigh ho, we will all remember the summer of 2018 which for a while we could believe to be our normal climate, but that was just a trick of Mother Nature when she decided to give us a taste of what a British summer can be like….. and we would like it again, please!