RIP John Weldon Cale – JJ Cale

I was very much saddened to hear of the death of JJ Cale. He was 74 and died of a heart attack.

JJ Cale helped found the “Tulsa Sound”,  a fusion of blues, rockabilly, and country. Whilst mainly known for his guitar playing, JJ Cale also played  piano, keyboards, bass, drums.

He was a prolific singer / song writer and many of his songs were covered by other artists. These included covers by musicians such as “After Midnight” and “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton, “Clyde” by Waylon Jennings and “Call Me the Breeze” by Lynyrd Skynyrd and Johnny Cash. Other artists that have recorded Cale’s work include Carlos Santana, Tom Petty and Randy Crawford. JJ Cales  songs could be best described as laid back, mellow, yet with a driving groove and over the years he has collaborated with many artists. Many more, including Neil Young, Bryan Ferry and Mark Knopfler, cite him as one of the influences of their own music.

Once again the world has lost a major talent. But, thanks to his magic, the world is a richer place and his influences on other current musicians ensures that his legacy is carried forward.

And folks, if you don’t know the works of JJ Cale, there are over twenty albums out there for you to dip into.

View From The Conservatory

Well not really. It’s been too hot to sit in the conservatory, other than late at night and then you can’t see anything. In fact the conservatory, at night ,used to freak out my granddaughter because she couldn’t see if anyone was looking in. With the lights on the windows pretty much turn into mirrors.

Anyway, the conservatory, is pretty much just a link into the garden and I just wanted to share some snaps taken this morning. So here goes.

If you have read my post from yesterday, we are getting our garden back in shape after some harsh clearing which also meant the severe cutting back of our rose bushes. We have several roses which had gotten pretty straggly over the years. They had all been cut, more or less, back to the main stem (trunk in some cases) feeding from the graft point. Much to our surprise they are all coming back to bush form at the rate of an express train. So much so that we have our first bloom. And here for your delectation is a picture..

Yellor Rose - I just wish you could smell the scent.
Yellow Rose – I just wish you could smell the scent.

just along from the rose we have a Lavatera which is also busy blooming. This one is in a pot, we have had them before but they don’t seem to like our soil and none survived. But this one is giving us a beautiful splash of pink.

Lavatera - Candy Floss
Lavatera – Candy Floss

This variety claims to be “Candy Floss” according to the tag supplied by Keydell Nurseries, the garden centre from which we purchased this example.

A first for us this year is growing tomatoes in a hanging basket. One of our baskets is ripe for picking while the other is still in that transition mode betwixt flower and green fruit. Here is a shot of the crop ready for picking so far.


I don’t know the variety but the plants are producing small but sweet and juicy tomatoes.

Last, but by no means least, I present to you a frequent visitor to our garden. No name, no breed variety, not ours.

Not happy to have been discovered
Not happy to have been discovered
Why are you pointing that thing at me ?

I had just sat down with a cup of coffee when I saw this black shadow sneaking up into our apple tree. I managed to get in close without scaring kitty into a panicked descent which wouldn’t have ended well for either of us.

Bye bye for now folks.

We Are Getting Our Garden Back Together, Slowly

After a couple of years of near total neglect we are starting to get our garden back together. Last year was such a crap year weather wise and I was so wacked out from work that I really didn’t feel like gardening. They say “You reap what you sow”. Well we are reaping the rewards for all that lack of maintenance.

All green, before we started the clearance.
All green, before we started the clearance.

Like a lot of big projects it takes a relatively small catalyst to get the ball rolling. In our case it was the state of the perimeter fence. This fence has not had any treatment since it was erected over twenty years ago and, apart from taking an outward lean following a storm in 1988, it has served us well.

A list that started in 1988 and has slowly increased over the years. A bit like the tower in Pisa.
A list that started in 1988 and has slowly increased over the years. A bit like the tower in Pisa.

So we bit the bullet, got a quote and ordered a new fence. Well just the back part which is seventy-five feet long. There is another fifty feet or so, which is in much better shape, but we’ll save that for another day.

Having made the decision we set about clearing the way for the new fence. The contractors would dismantle the existing fence but we thought we would clear as much of the over growth, brambles and ivy, as we could. After a couple of body shattering weekends we had cleared almost all of our side of the fence and I had also made an attempt on the outside so as to give the fencing contractors as clear a space to work in as I could.

So that's what the fence looks like.
So that’s what the fence looks like.
I cut myself a gateway to the outside world.

I have to say that the old fencing didn’t look quite as bad as I thought it would once it was undressed. I knew the posts were rotten at ground level but apart from a couple of arris rails the timber was still sound.

At this stage we were pretty much ready for the contractors to come and get started although they weren’t due for a few days.

Come the due date and there was no sign and I had to phone them to find out that they had buggered off to do another “emergency” job and hadn’t bothered to let me know. Erection day was renegotiated for a week hence with me grumbling under my breath that should they miss that start date then they would be out on their ear. After all, no money had changed hands at this time. Anyway one week later they arrived and set to work.

Out with the old and in with the new.
Out with the old and in with the new.
Nearly there. Only a few more feet to meet up with my neighbours back fence.

The previous photos show the progress at the end of the first day.

By noon the following day they had completed the fence. All was looking good. The shine was taken off, a little, later in the day when my neighbour came round complaining that he had a hole in his fence.

For some reason the guys hadn’t linked my fence to my neighbours, leaving a gap just over a foot wide. My neighbour has a small covered area in the corner of his garden which hid this “gap” from view. Well except that his son could see it when sat in a deck chair. It seems that the new fence has equal spaced posts where the original didn’t. So the guys finished the fence with the new equidistant posts. Out of sight from me in my garden. Out of sight from their boss who didn’t climb over the fence to check their work. Anyway, one phone call and he had them back the next day to complete the job.

New fence, new plants. Getting our garden back.
New fence, new plants. Getting our garden back.

Its amazing how big the garden looks now that all that ivy and other green stuff has been cut back. I’ve also cut back a lot of overhanging branches from the trees so we have more space vertically. A couple of trips to the garden centre to add a splash of colour and we are getting our garden back together, slowly.


Aint that the truth.

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