Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Autumn surprises and the ultimate disguise!

Thanks to our very mild autumn a lot of flowers are still blooming away and providing some glorious colour for the gardens. Here is an old wooden trough I planted up in May, it's doing even better now and is overflowing with fuchsias and impatiens.

This nasturtium found a shady place and is providing a lovely splash of colour in a dull corner.

Have you guessed what it is yet?! Yes, it is a cotoneaster - but it's actually providing a disguise. Believe it or not, underneath this is our coal bunker! As I've yet to see a coal bunker which is pleasing to look at (although I don't doubt there are some out there!) I decided many years ago to allow the cotoneaster to grow over it. It does receive a haircut at this time of year so I can get the coal out of the little door at the front. We had our first delivery of the season last week and the coalman asked the same question he asks every year - have you cut that triffid back?!! It's always a joint effort when he calls - it takes two of us to raise the lid (it's like something out of Thunderbirds!) and hold it there while he empties the coal into the bunker.

Whilst I'm on the subject, that's another thing I love about living the 'vintage way' - people in traditional services and trades are such great characters and go out of their way to help. Our coalman has to come through the house to get to our coal bunker, avoiding all my textiles and vintage bits and pieces on the way and never dropping so much as a sprinkle of coal dust! How's that for service?

Do you still have a service or delivery which you would class as traditional or 'vintage'?


  1. I do buy my milk in glass bottles (Oberweiss) but it's not delivered alas. I think they do delivery in the Chicago burbs, but not the city.

  2. Hi Clare

    No traditional deliveries here, sadly, but there are still one or two vaguely traditional shops locally which are a joy to visit, although rumour has it they're all set for a facelift.

    How lovely to see some colour in the garden on such a dreary and dismal day.

    Sue x

  3. I still get milk delivered every day and at the weekend - its here at 5.15am every day except Sunday and he is lovely. I will carry on when I move as well - I always think if he gets thro' in bad weather you can always have a cuppa in a crisis. I buy my meat from a traditional butcher in the town and my fruit and veg from our market and farmers market ( I work on the North Yorkshire Local Produce website ) so I have a commitment to support local produce where I can. We have two butchers and they are excellent. We, like everywhere else are losing our traditional shops in what is a popular market town - the old hardware shop went last year - they tend to disappear when the owners retire don't they. We do have Lewis & Cooper's here which is called the Harrods of the North! Its an upmarket grocer but very traditional and if you are a foodie you would love it. We also have Barkers a family owned department store. We try and buy our electrical goods in Maxwells another family store, they are competitive and have a good knowledge of their goods and they know you when you go in!! I also make sure I support the excellent family newsagent we have instead of the national chains - though I do like to go into WHSmiths that comes from it being a special shop in Redcar when I was little - I got my books and Sindy clothes! The family shop has as good a range of mags. We have a coal merchant in the village and if I get my planned house I shall nedd him for my front room fire. My husband is in charge of the markets in our area (local council) and they are really struggling these days with places like the pound shops and discount shops. The trouble is when you are a lady of a certain age you remember the old ways and shops and service. I hear people say that they shop in our town because it has a 'proper' high street and they think the shops are friendly.

  4. We will be getting rid of the coal bucker but have gained an oil tank. No more visits from the coal man/ Oil man was nice and liked captain rupert. I liked leaving the cash in an envelope for the coal man. Our local town has a butchers, a bakers and a green grocers and a funny type of general stores that mainly sells polish stuff. It is nice not to rely on a big supermarket. It just takes along time to walk between them

  5. How pretty your vintage home is. I hope you don't mind but I have been lurking since last week....just thoroughly relishing the warmth of your space.

  6. Your garden is beautiful!

  7. Hi Clare,

    I have my milk and papers delivered daily. My vegetables are delivered weekly from the local farmer. The fish man comes weekly. We have the butcher and baker five minutes walk away in the town as well as a very good hardware shop (open 7 days). The electrical store is family owned and been there for years. My washing machine broke down not long ago. I went down to our local electrical shop, bought one and it was delivered and installed before I returned home from doing the shopping. Yes, the same morning! No delivery charge and the cost to buy it was cheaper than the big firms!! The farmers market comes monthly. I can have my logs delivered from the sawmill up the road or coal from the next town.

    Yours has to be one of the best disguised bunkers I've ever seen. I have seen one beautifully painted, though!

    Pauline x

  8. I've loved reading and catching up with your last few posts. I especially love the fabric boxes you have collected. We have a fish man who calls on a Wednesday morning for me to buy fish but that is all sadly. I remember as a child the bread man and the fruit and veg man calling round every week for my Mum to buy her goods!
    Love the piccies of the garden, the colours are so beautful this year.


  9. Hi Claire,

    Your garden still looks wonderful, how do you do it? mine gave up the ghost half way through summer!

    I will defenitley be stopping by for an update on the clock house and the finished article, can't wait!


  10. Hi Clare, we have our chimney swept every other year (father and son) - they always ask me to go outside to watch the brushes poking from our chimney and for me to make a wish. I found out a number of years ago that they used to sweep my husbands childhood home, what a coincidence as I picked them out of the yellow pages!

  11. You're lucky that have all these lovely flowers this late. Here the beds look brown and disgusting right now LOL.
    Love Elzie

  12. We had the chimney sweep round yesterday and he is a mine of wonderful information - best, cheapest and driest log suppliers etc and he never leaves any mess behind - perfect!
    Kim x
    PS your garden is looking very pretty - still!

  13. No special deliveries here...We have propane delivered to our tank, but we never see the delivery man.

    Well, I do have special pick ups though. I am a mosaic artist and sell my art from my website. I have the best DHL Ground, Postman and Fed Ex Man around! They are so great.

  14. Hi Clare,
    Love your coal bunker disguise! We have an old brick built bunker, but it is no longer used to store coal - maybe I should think of a disguise for ours too.

    I have to echo some of your other comments. The chimney sweep is about the only 'vintage' vistor we have. I used to have a door stop milk delivery....but the big supermarkets have put him out of business...sad.

    Niki x

  15. Your coal guy must be quite the perfectionist so as to not even sprinkle your things with soot!

    We use to have milk delivered to out doors when I was a kid. Infact, I was reminiscing with a few neighbors about that yesterday.

    Love your flowers Clare!


  16. Dear Clare,
    The postman is the only delivery in my area.
    My gardens have yet to be nipped by frost too. It will come any night now.
    I am gathering seeds and beginning to get ready for winter.
    Your flowers look pretty.

  17. Beautiful photos ... love the atmosphere.

  18. haha, very good of the coalman!!
    No i don`t have a delivery you still can call traditional or vintage. But when i was younger i lived in the middle of Norway, we always got milk bottles on our doorstep. I really miss that!!I guess those days are gone for good. Every thing has to be practical, fast and cheap these days. But i really love living natural, environmentally friendly and grow my own products. Though i haven`t had the space or possibility for it here. But i have made bigger plans for my new place in Norway next year. I really love the idea to live at the country side,grow your own vegetables, herbs and bake your own bread, get eggs from your chickens..well, this was a bit outside your subject, but i consider this way of living a bit Vintage too :)Your garden looks so lovely Clare!

  19. We have a wonderful mail man and newspaper delivery person....I bribe them with cookies in the boxes every so often :^)
    My oldest son lives on a property replete with many pecan trees. He not only keeps us supplied with pecans for eating and baking, but he brings us loads of pecan wood...cut to fit our fireplace!!! Delivery doesn't get any better than that!! and I get to play with the granddaughters while he and my hubby unload the wood!