Post Comment Love 30 Sept - 2 Oct 2016

Hello there, and how is it Friday again so soon?  Welcome back to #PoCoLo, the friendly place to link up any post you've written in the past week that could do with some extra love. This week we've got another fab #BloggerShowcase for you, below you'll find a summary about our blogger and her social links, but for the full story pop over to Morgan's blog.

How's your week been?

I've had a busy one, well the weekend was especially busy. On Saturday we had a night out (I know!) celebrating my Korfball club's seventieth anniversary and I hit the dancefloor. Infact I even persuaded MOH onto to the dancefloor too, but don't tell anyone he danced to S Club, he didn't manage any of the actions to Reach, but one step at a time, hey.  If you've not heard of Korfball before it's a mixed sport, sort of a cross between basketball and netball and great fun. I don't play regularly (well at all) any more, but I do get invited to the parties, which seems a good deal to me.

Sunday was also busy, we started with a ride over to Excel and the Homebuilding and Renovating Show on the cable car. Then we headed up to the London Design Fair in the Old Truman Brewery - a fascinating building and a great show. I took plenty of photos, and have several blog posts coming up on that and we walked a fair way too. We ended our day with a fabulous meal in Dishoom, my first time there and most certainly not my last.

My photo this week is one from Shoreditch where these brightly coloured stacked picnic benches caught my eye. I'm still not sure if they are benches being stored or a modern art installation. But I liked them either way!

Blogger Showcase: Fionnuala from My Kitchen Notebook, Three Sons Later and The Inconspicuous Blog

Yes Fionnuala's a busy lady!  I regularly read Fionnuala's Three Sons Later and marvel at her talent for making things effortlessly chic, and have read her third blog The Inconspicuous Blog as well, but hadn't made the connection until she got in touch. I love the tagline and ethos behind this blog - for the quiet little blogs of the world  - Fionnuala says it's meant as a resource for hobby bloggers to find reassurance and guidance when things get too much and is an alternative to the big bloggers advice. Her original blog, My Kitchen Notebook, is a new-to-me blog and after a quick browse I'm pretty sure I'll be going back to try some of the recipes.

Connect with Fionnuala here

Facebook  -  Pinterest  -  Instagram  -  Three Sons Later on Twitter  - The Inconspicuous Blog on Twitter

Let's talk innovative fences

Yes, not just any fence, an innovative one. You might be wondering what that is because, well, a fence is a fence right? Wrong. But it's a fair assumption to make. Most of us, me included have wooden fences in our back gardens, and potentially a different type of boundary marker in our front gardens - we have brick walls and railings, which at this time of year are great for capturing dewy spiders webs, but that's a different story.

Let's concentrate on those wooden often back garden fences, you know the sort that come in panels and have thin wood overlapped and nailed onto a frame. They're not the sturdiest of things are they? Nor the most resilient.

In our garden our fences - and we have quite a few of them - have come a cropper with various storms and we finally bit the bullet and replaced the whole thing back in 2014. But already one of the end panels is showing sign of wear and tear. Thankfully it's at the far end of our garden and hidden by the laurel tree, but even so we know we'll need to replace that before the rest of the fence.

I think animals - most likely foxes, given recent history - have been burrowing underneath it and on their way causing damage to the outer frame. We know our fence posts are secure, and it's relatively easy to pop in another fence panel, but after two years it's not really a long-term solution is it.

So when I read about this metal fence by Colourfence, I was intrigued. It sounded innovative, and let's be honest there aren't as many innovative garden products on the market as there are for our homes. Or if there are I've not seen many of them. Expandable, flexible hoses spring to mind, but I don't have one of those. Ratchet pruners, they're pretty innovative and are fab - I do have some of those, but I'm not overrun with ideas, maybe I just take them for granted.

But anyway, what does a metal fence look like.  Well let's take a look.

Photo credit: Colourfence

Photo credit: Colourfence

Yes, it looks like a fence. I'm a big fan of trellis on the top of fences for some extra privacy, so that works for me. There is a non-trellis, or plain version but for me that doesn't have the same charm. And unlike the wooden fences there's a twenty-five year guarantee, that would definitely tick my long-term requirements. As well as being durable and guaranteed, as it's made from steel it's also strong.

True that "my" foxes could still dig underneath it, but I suspect they'd not damage it in the same way as a wooden fence. And the biggest tip I've found for preventing foxes digging is to dig a trench and fill that with bricks and scrunched up chicken wire, because where foxes are concerned it's all about prevention. If you make it hard for them they'll try somewhere else. That's clearly not so good for the neighbours, but hey ho!

Photo credit: Colourfence

Photo credit: Colourfence

There are four colours available: brown, green, blue and cream. I've chosen blue and cream photos to share with you because to me these look the least industrial and would be what I'd be more likely to go for. What I think is good, and quite honestly unusual, is that all of the single colour panels are the same price.

I do have a thing for Corten steel at the moment, and I think it'd be great to have a fence in that finish. Although that's likely to be more expensive, so I think I'd need a smaller garden first!

The other useful thing to note is that if you need a custom height or width, or have a sloping garden then this can be cut to fit your garden; the potential downside is that because it's a specialised system you can't fit it yourself and will need to use one of Colourfence's installers. Although on their website they say they have a fully trained franchise network of installers, rather than usual casual contractors so that they can provide the best customer experience.  

They also say a metal fence, while more expensive than a wooden fence, probably won't cost you as much as you think. And I think there's definitely something in that, even wooden fences aren't cheap and think about how many times you'd replace one in twenty five years.

Definitely worth looking into and doing the maths if you're after a long term solution.

Photo credit: Colourfence

Photo credit: Colourfence

What do you think, would you consider installing a metal fence? Or do you already have one and are converted? Leave a comment and let me know.

 

This is a collaborative post but all views and opinions are my own.

A wet and windy cycle to Amboise

After spending a good few days in Blois looking around the Chateaux de Blois, de Chambord (twice) and de Cheverny and much more beside, it was time to pack up our panniers and head back along the Loire à Velo and onto Amboise. But with the car in the car park at Blois, it made sense to leave the clothes we knew we wouldn't need, as sadly the weather had changed.

So leaving flip flops, vest tops, some clean clothes for the last day or so of our trip along with the wine we bought at Chambord, we left Blois in our waterproofs. And typically this was our longest cycle. I wasn't looking forward to the next 43km.

After a good breakfast - well a girl needs fuel - we cycled over the river and turned right cycling along the banks of the Loire until we reached this.

This Loire a Velo path was slightly shut

Yes, that was the path. It looks quite wet, doesn't it?  While we were contemplating our next move, I was distracted momentarily by the poppies. Realising that wasn't going to help us progress we turned back to the path, and the map to see what our next move should be. In the distance we could see people approaching from the other direction, getting so far, turning back and heading along what looked to be the road on our map we'd identified. We had a plan, so we were off again.

admiring the poppies while we pondered our next move

After about 20km we were approaching Chaumont-sur-Loire, which our guide book told us was "well worth the effort required to climb the outcrop on which it is perched" and originally it had been on my list of chateaus to visit. But as it coincided with a long cycle we'd decided against it, and with the weather on the day we were cycling past I was pleased. And it was up the top of a hill, so while it looked pretty with blue skies in the book, our reality was much greyer.

Chaumont-sur-Loire in the distance and the mist

I was keen though to try and get some decent photos, so I parked my bike under a tree - I didn't want a wet saddle - and went off in search of some photos. It wasn't long though before I was back and keen to get going again, it was just too misty and bleurgh to capture the postcard shots.

Pausing for a photo stop
looking up towards the chateau

The path was directing us back down towards the river. I didn't like the look of the path down, and hesitated. That's before we realised that too was flooded. So we stayed on the quiet road and cycled parallel to the path instead.

Another path that's flooded on the Loire a Velo path

It was slow going that day. And actually the rain wasn't that bad, it was warm - or warm enough at this stage of the ride and there was plenty still to see. Another stop had me wondering about this forest. It had clearly been planted, as each tree was equal distance apart. I was fascinated because whichever angle I stood, there were lines...

looking through the forest
Trees  planted in rows, whichever way you looked

But there was still more cycling to be done. The guidebook warned us that the next section would be "almost completely deserted" and "exposed to the wind and the sun."  Sadly there was no sun, but it was right on the rest of it. This section was wet and windy, and now I just wanted to be in Amboise. There were hills too, mostly but not always up. 

But we got there and arrived in Amboise above the town, so the good news was that it was all downhill from here.  For most of that I had my brakes on though as there were a few sharp bends. The Loire à Velo path led us into the car park in the town and we opted to head towards the pretty town centre. 

arriving in the town at Amboise
Chateau d'Amboise

Having seen the main street and the Chateau d'Amboise it was time to locate our hotel. There was a handy hotel locator map outside the chateau, and it was then we realised we still had some cycling to do. Out of town, uphill. Up three of them to be precise, but by the end of our stay in Amboise I was mostly cycling up them. Slowly, but cycling nonetheless.

Wrought iron gates full of character
And a wall that's equally characterful

We walked back into the town that evening, and it took us twenty minutes, so we were quite a way out of town. But it was a pretty town - just look at the charm of those gates and that wall -  and well worth that walk, even in the rain. And I even spotted a passionflower. I really must get one for my garden, they are the strangest looking flowers, but still beautiful. 

A passionflower

So after our five hours on the road, with a moving time of just under four hours, I was pleased to be in the warm and dry. And pleased to have secured the ok from MOH to introduce some tactical pannier packing for our next "with luggage" cycle. But first I needed to recover as next up was our trip to Chenonceau. And yes, another chateau. But more on that next time.