Holidaying at Home


Today is the first full day of the kids’ summer break. If you’d like to know how we plan to spend the next few weeks – and why –  please check out my guest post at Goodlife Zen, Staycation: How far Away is Happiness? See the table in the corner of the photo? That’s where I’m hoping to spend a few hours today!

This is the  narrow strip of garden outside the kitchen door; I designed and planted it to feel like the path winds into secret spaces, and laid the paving slabs at 45 degrees to make the space seem wider. I call it the pathio – wider than a path, not a very big patio!

garden path2

Enjoy your day – however you decide to spend it!


  1. On my Perspectives on Life blog, I made a brief comment and linked to the Staycations… post. However, I had to post a correction today because I credited Mary for it instead of you.
    My apologies Janice.

    Love your creativity with that small space outside your kitchen door.

    Cheryl Wright´s last blog post..Saturday Soirée – Let’s give thanks

    1. It is a very happy space; I think that’s why blackbirds nested here last month. Happy bugs make for happy birds and that does it for me every time. I shriek and phone folk when I see squirrels on our fence and my husband nearly wet himself laughing one night when I was so happy to see a hedgehog I took it out a little tray of mixed food because I have no cat or dog food and didn’t know what else they’re supposed to like eating. “Grapes”, he said, “You hear that a lot, hedgehogs eating grapes as a midnight snack. ;))

  2. No worries, Cheryl. I admire your integrity and am happy you liked the post and honoured that you mentioned it.

    Sometimes I wish I could do a science fiction-y thing and beam up all of the people who visit here and have drinks and cupcakes and snacks out the back!

    I appreciate your comments on the post. One of my proper jobs is coaching folk about anything involving their homelives. My niche, if you could call it that, is helping folk declutter by phone and also redesigning their spaces for them based on photos and scanned diagrams they send combined with the coaching we do. The coaching always uncovers what they’d really love, what works, what doesn’t and how they’d love to feel in the space. Why did I mention that? 45 degree zigzag paved paths have always been a great way to create the illusion of space and my curved lawns have been successful too. I also do rooms, kitchens and studies. Anything folk need an outsider’s eye with and someone who can feel their soul’s longing. Someday this summer I’ll post before and after photos of the unweeded wildbird wilderness that is the tiny back pathio and its unpruned borders. The birds like me blogging – I’ve let things go a bit!

  3. I can’t seem to get back to Golden Zen to respond to your comment to my comment, so I’ll respond here.

    I had to laugh at your response about wanting to vacation at my place (Quebec, Canada), because as I was reading your post I was thinking “Oooooo…someone in Scotland!!! Note to self: potential person to visit and show us the sites.” *grin*

    Eliza´s last blog post..Understanding weight gain after 40

    1. A few folk have said they either haven’t been able to get in to comment over at Mary’s or haven’t been able to get in at all.

      We thought of emigrating to the Vancouver area a few years ago. I have some very special friends there and, of course, have assumed that everyone there – and in Canada – must be like that. Do you say ‘aboot’? I have cravings to do a tour of all the places in North America that I know folk in.

      1. Okay, so I had to say ‘about’ out loud to myself in order to answer your question, and nope we do not say aboot. We do say “eh?”. I’ll give you that stereotype. Now, if you were in the Maritimes, you might just maybe hear someone say “it’s aboot time”. And in the Ottawa Valley, you will hear “G’day, eh?” I live right on the border of Ontario, in Quebec, so I am exposed to franglish (although the French will totally deny this!). But seriously, I am pretty sure it is not proper French to say le weekend, or mon job, or le hot dog. Oh, but I could go on and on 🙂

        So, um, you do know that Vancouver is a full 5 day’s drive away from Quebec, right? People never seem to grasp the size of Canada and think they can zip from Charlottetown to Vancouver in a day’s drive.

        Eliza´s last blog post..Understanding weight gain after 40

        1. I am only 3 hours from Vancouver BC and I don’t say “aboot”
          Quebec is beautiful too… Canada is a huge place to visit..and the states in the USA are all much bigger than folks expect too.

          1. Eliza and Patricia,
            Maybe it’s just the way I’ve transcribed it, but that one vowel sound alone always alerts me to Canadians because I love it and it almost sounds Scottish. I’ve had many a pleased Canadian tell me they’re surprised a European can tell the difference; most folk just assume that everyone’s from the USA. (I work on the phone with a lot of Canadians.)

            Loads of Scots moved to Hamilton, Ontario, and we have family members who travelled cross country from Vancouver by train. Spectacular photos! I know The States and Canada are vast. That’s why I want to visit everyone I know over there – as an excuse to have a VERY… LONG… HOLIDAY some day! 😉

  4. Love the staycation! We are into week 2 of summer break. My schedule is totally off and it’s actually a bit fun! I love sleeping in and not rushing around in the morning. We are exploring our city more…

    Hope you have a wonderful day too 😉

    Caroline´s last blog post..Wilted

    1. The sleeping in bit is one of the things I was looking forward to – only today I woke up early and my husband and I had a quiet breakfast while the kids were still sleeping. Lovely in an unexpected way. No schedule is good too!

  5. I love your pathio! Do you know one of my favorite things to do is to check out landscaping books from the library and plan out my dream yard? I love winding paths and lots of foliage. I want to come hang out!

    Randi´s last blog post..Sunday Serenity 6-28-09

    1. It doesn’t surprise me at all! If you ever need any input on flowering evergreens, let me know.

      Like I was saying to Cheryl, if I get really good at quantum physics, I could transport everyone’s love/light particles over here for a garden tea party!

    1. Me, too. Only we just called them the school holidays. And that meant five or six weeks of staying outside till the sun went down. A few summers, when we had more money, we went to a Scottish seaside town and spent two weeks in a rented caravan. If we couldn’t go away anywhere, we’d just get two buses and travel to the nearest seaside for the day. So many of my most powerful, happy memories are associated with the sea.

      I’m glad you like the pathio! I’m looking forward to the day I can sit on that beautiful red chair you painted recently. 😉

  6. Janice,
    I love your pathio garden to secret places….I am not staycationing! this year, that has been my whole life! so I am adventuring to your spot…I thought you lived in Florida! not Scotland!….woe is me!

    Can I connect with you? I will need to figure out the email thing again…

    Lovely flowers – I love flowers 🙂

    Patricia´s last blog post..The Magic WANT!

  7. I’ll email you tomorrow – my brain’s fogging over now; I need to log off soon. But I’m warning you, I’m a sh** travel advisor.

    When we were young, we didn’t have a car so I didn’t get to know the place. Then I left home at 17 , went to uni then lived in other countries. Since we’ve moved here, we’ve had no excuse except kid exhaustion! I could, however, guide you round all of the villages on the mountain and around the coast in Greece where I lived!

  8. Janice,
    You do not need to ferry me around…I thought I might just find a way to connect and enjoy a drink!….I am more interested in meeting people, the tour will get me around!

    Patricia´s last blog post..The Magic WANT!

  9. I knew you didn’t expect ferried! Maybe tour advisor means something different there. I just meant I’d be rubbish at giving you advice about making the best of your tme here. I didn’t know you were going on a tour; I thought you and your daughter were planning it yourselves and I was starting to feel all guilty already for not being able to tell you about sneaky, beautiful places to go to that only Scots (proper knowledgable Scots!) would know about. Phew! The connecting, chatting, drinking part’s easy!

    1. Looks like we have a deal…we were walking Scotland at first but now are doing a castles and highland’s tour will lots of breaks along the way….we did try to drive andrewghayes the travel blogger in Edinburgh nearly crazy while he was writing a million posts about the arts festival and the Gathering, but now we are just meeting him for a drink also!
      Much better this way…you can stay at my house any time you would like a visit…here. We will raises the glasses high!

      Patricia´s last blog post..The Magic WANT!

  10. LOL no you transcribed aboot properly. That is how people write it when they are describing how Canadians say it. So, this set me off on another binge of saying ‘about’ out loud (and it’s okay, there’s only the cats here at the moment to think I’m crazy), and came to the conclusion that perhaps I do say it that way, and just don’t really know it!

    Eliza´s last blog post..Understanding weight gain after 40

  11. Yes! Staycation! I love digging in the dirt in my yard- I also love dreaming of new plants I will plant, and trees (we just bought this house last year). My outdoor space is so important! I love the secret garden feel of your space- this is something I plan on doing with my space as well, I want several little paths and mini gardens- my husband thinks I am crazy but I want to replace our grass with moss- this is very native to here and would grow great, plus no lawn mowing! I spend a lot of time outside so I love to plant native plants that will attract wildlife- this is a great teacher for the kids as well! Ella already has her one small area with calendula and chamomile as her main plants. O- I better slow down, I could go on about plants forever! Enjoy your holiday!!!

    Angie´s last blog post..0711ddebe7fd2b92.jpg

  12. @Eliza,
    You had me going around saying it too, and then trying to find ways to transcribe it…aboowt was the closest I got! You’ll need to get a video up on YouTube someday with a dozen different Canadian accents so that we non-North Americans can tell the nuances apart! Happy backdated Canada day, by the way.

    I love the designing and positioning more than the actual digging and planting. 😉 I pressganged my husband into planting the bushes and trees, but I did lay all of those paving slabs with him. I love your passion for plants; it shows in everything you write!

    I used to help people prepare to become certified coaches, and two of the things that worried them were how to demonstrate all the required skills in their 30 minute recorded sessions, and if ‘their style’ was what the examiners were looking for. I wrote this piece to reassure them that there are many wonderful styles of coaching; I think you’d enjoy it:

    Some day, you’ll be sitting here breathing in the fresh, green air …relaxing.

    That’s spooky… I enjoyed sharing these photos so much, I took the camera out into the garden last night, after we’d eaten at that table, and tried to capture the smell of my garden, mainly the honeysuckle and jasmine. Their scent is strongest when it goes cooler after a hot, muggy day.

    *You can tell by this long, multiple @ reply that I still keep forgetting I have threaded comments now.

  13. Hi Janice,
    This looks like a wonderful space to just “be” in. Especially the feeling of secret spaces…very much, I feel this connection to soul when I read that. Very awesome! Enjoy your time in this spot…

    Lance´s last blog post..Set The Rebel Free

    1. Thanks, Lance! Any time you’re in Scotland, email me and you can come for a chill-out!

      I had a woosh of giddy excitement when I read your comment; I suddenly realised that I can tell folk where bits of my pieces are set! That table in the top left corner of the first photo is where I was sitting when the piece called Birdsong came to me. In the second photo, in the top right hand corner, just behind a leaf of that castor oil bush, is the small window ledge where the blackbirds nested in Birds, Bees and Blogging.

  14. We live in the heart of tourist country in Lancaster County, PA.
    It is not often that we go the places the tourists go but just last week we took a ride on the Strasburg Railroad. It was great!

    I look forward to time at home with the entire family. To be able to truly enjoy our home without an early rise time and to complete those fun projects that we never quite get around to.

    Becky K.
    Hospitality Lane

    Becky K.´s last blog post..More Longwood Garden Photos

    1. Nice to meet you Becky! I think what you said about having no early rise time is crucial; just to know we have that freedom. I look forward to checking out your photos. One good thing about international blogging is the passport it gives you to enjoy inspiring photos from all over the world.

  15. Marc wheeled himself out to the garden and paused to take in his surroundings.

    “Beautiful garden” he thought to himself, “Nice, wide and winding path. Wonder where it leads.”

    With barely an effort he continued his way down the path until he spotted it. Just ahead of him was a bench, somewhat concealed from view. It was the ideal place to sit. A place to reflect on his own thoughts and reconnect with nature.

    As he took up residence at the table he wondered if anyone was going to join him.

    1. She caught a glimpse of wheel glinting in the sun, a glass of red wine sitting on the hardwood slatted table and followed the path that wound its way through heucheras and elephant eared bergenias, rhododendrons and mock orange blossom. His smile was as sunny as the daffodils of his homeland.

      Of course I’d come join you! Would you like a coffee while you’re out there basking in the sun? A piece of home made carrot cake? And by the way, don’t mind the bees. They’ve heard they’re fussed over and loved here so they bring their friends!

      1. “I don’t drink coffee.” he replied with a heartfelt smile, “Never acquired a taste for the stuff. Wouldn’t say no to a tea though.”

        “Oh and the cake sound delicious!”

        Marc’s smile turned into an impish grin. He leaned back in his chair, stretching his back and shoulders. The warm, afternoon sun radiated onto his face and he inhaled deeply through his nose before letting it back out through his mouth.

        Eyes closed and ears open, his concious mind became aware of the buzzing of the bees.

        “Strangely relaxing.” he said softly.

  16. They sat and chatted over slices of rich moist carrot cake – ‘smug cake’, she called it – as she refilled the mismatched cups from a large jolly blue teapot.

    I’ve just had an idea, she exclaimed suddenly. Why don’t you describe your back garden! Lots of folk don’t know how beautiful Wales is, the Gower penisula, the stunning beaches, the hills and valleys, the heart stirring sound of miners’ choirs and brass bands…

    1. “The sound of sheep.” he finished her sentence with that cheeky grin of his.

      It was suddenly replaced by a contemplative frown.

      “Not a bad idea. I haven’t been to the Gower in years. Would be nice to go there again.”

      1. Didn’t mean to make you frown! Just fancied reading a cyber trip to Wales – all the sightseeing/smelling/hearing pleasure, none of the cost!

        1. “Oh. No need to apologise Janice. Just thinking some things through.”

          Marc rubbed his chin, deep in thought.

          “Been feeling lost lately. Really lost. Where better to find my way again I thought, than by sitting in my friend’s garden hearing what she has to say.”

  17. She arrived like the morning breeze through a tall field of Iowa sunflowers. “What’s up?” she asked, helping herself to a piece of carrot cake.

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