Sunday, 31 December 2017


In December, we added a couple of new things to the Duck Inn to celebrate the end of another year. Dave (our contractor who has created many parts of the cottages) and his girlfriend Betty (our painter) replaced our old laminated PARKING signs with this lovely new piece of art.
Dave is quick to point out that he was not aiming for a perfect oval when he cut out the background....he actually wanted a duck egg shape, which we think he achieved!
The Duck started as a bit of 3D garden art, propped up in a planter. Betty rescued it and restored  its colours.

Those of you who have stayed in Willow Cottage have enjoyed building fires in the wood fireplace for years. 
In 2017, as we all got older and tired of splitting logs, slicing cedar shakes into shingles, carrying wood up the stairs and ashes down, we made the decision to SWITCH TO GAS
.....just in time for Christmas.
 We wanted a new fireplace that resembled the old wood one as much as possible, so it took a long time to find the perfect substitute. We think this one sets just the right tone,
 and guests love the comforting heat it radiates. 
As an added bonus, it has a remote control.
Allen's heron is happy beside it and wishes you all

Thursday, 24 August 2017


Back in 1996, the Willow Cottage balcony looked like this....and we looked a lot younger!
To provide some shade, we went through many umbrellas....some vanished.....blown away in winter storms
There was no hint of ivy on the staircase then!
 But we all knew there was no stopping its growth 
and it soon began to creep up
                       Once it started to cover the shade awning,
 Allen and Henk got out the serious garden tools.
And cut it down!
We added some curtains to create shade.
And are enjoying the new view
Cora and I love to put favourite sayings on the office bulletin board and we think this little tale of the balcony changing back to a new version of its old self is a small example of what T.S. Eliott meant in this maxim!


Sunday, 9 July 2017


Allen wanted his in a spot where all sides of it could be seen!
Even the little fish get their moment in the sun.
 It has a fierce end....where the birds are expected to nest.
And a peaceful one, which is my favourite.

Cora chose to hang hers in the old cherry tree, 
where it is almost dwarfed by all the greenery around it.
But it looks pretty content in these closeups
 The lucky birds that choose to make it home 
will have first choice of the cherries!

 And our new lawn is flourishing, except for this boggy corner
 where the grass really had no chance.
Allen and Cora decided that it would make a good place 
to display all this driftwood that hasn't been carved yet!
 Perhaps someone will turn this piece into a companion for the Big Boned Gal.
Or sculpt a new creature from this one!
What do you see in it?


Wednesday, 31 May 2017


And this year we brought two!
This one is Allen's birthday present....a bit of Monty Python
This sweet one is for Cora, who endured one of the worst winters on the river while we enjoyed the sun in La Paz
We don't have hanging spots for these yet,
 but they will join the others in our garden.
This Painted Lady
hangs in a secluded spot next to our driveway.
The birds love her.
This Hacienda is happy among the wisteria and clematis 
in the pergola where I park my car. 
I see a nesting pair flit in and out....will there be babies?
The Cheshire Cat loves the Willow Tree
 This fanciful Duck Inn which Allen hung in the Canoe Shelter
has it's own Mexican Palomas on the porch!

The birdhouses are made by our La Paz friends, 
Judy and Alex.
He builds them, she does the painting....and of course they have dozens in their charming garden. Judy created this collage of some that have birds nesting happily inside.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


If you visited the Duck Inn this winter, you will have 
seen how the rainiest months on record have turned 
our once lush lawn into something closer to a swamp.
Even The Big Boned Gal was 
not amused by her surroundings.
As the rain increased, so did 
the strange mix of vegetation popping up.
From Mexico....thank you Telmex for the free long distance calls....we put our heads together with Cora 
and decided that it was time to do something! 
Luckily, a small local landscaping company 
was both recommended and available! 
They arrived within a week with a truckload of soil....
.....which was spread the old fashioned way 
after the old lawn was ripped out!
They brought another truckload....of sod....a variety which promises to do well in partial shade....all in neat tidy rolls.
By mid day, they were rolling it into place....
....quickly surrounding The Gal.
When RAIN forced them to quit for the day, 
she was already looking happier.
Next morning, a quick finish and we had a new LAWN.
Cora began taking "After" pictures and sending them our way.
This shot, taken later in the day, shows why 
we need grass that will thrive in shade.
One week later, and Cora has already given the lawn 
its first mowing....and added a new table!
And now we're ready for some May Flowers.

Monday, 20 February 2017


And if you believe that, 
there's a bridge that we could sell you!
Seriously, the last time it snowed in 
February was Valentine's Day, 1998!
This year it began with a light dusting 
on this cedar tree by our door.
  And then went on for what seemed like months to Cora. 
Even the parrots in the office were not amused.
The view from the other office windows was equally white.
 Large snowflakes fell on the river.
 And kept falling until everything was 
 huddled under a snow quilt.
On the lawn, it covered all the brave little crocuses 
and other tender bulbs that had just poked their heads up. 
 The driveway, walkways and cars were not immune.
The archway is covered with 
red cotoneaster berries for the birds to eat,
but the robins couldn't find them this time.
 Cora kept the snow shovel at the ready outside the door.. that she could keep as much clear as possible
But she gave up when it came to the back steps!
 The snow is gone now, washed away by fierce rains,
but this February certainly broke the records!