Saturday was Iris’s sixth birthday so we celebrated with a pirate party at Plunton. We had a great time getting to know Iris’s lovely new school friends and were thrilled to be joined by friends and family from Glasgow. Iris’s birthday seems to symbolically mark the end of summer, often coinciding with the first autumn cool spell and so it proved again. The weather meant we had to cancel outdoor plans but Plunton seemed to magically expand to contain the marauding pirates treasure hunting, sword fighting and island hopping.

Today we attempted an indoor activity – antique hunting or at least furniture hunting as we are on the look out for a linen press and a fire surround. Unfortunately both the places nearby that claimed online to be open were shut! So we had lunch at Marrbury Smokehouse and had a look at Carsluith Castle – a Jacobean ruined castle on the banks of the Solway.By the time we got home the sun had come out to stay so I put some bolognese in the Rayburn to slow cook and Matt and I set to work on the flower bed beneath the lounge window. We dug out weeds and dead shrubs, leaving a pruned rose and a blue-flowered hardy geranium. Wonderful Rachel had brought several of our old window boxes with her from the allotment so we restocked it with lavender, mint, creeping chamomile and white geraniums. We also discovered some primroses and spring bulbs which we replanted. More dry weather means preparing a few more beds for herbs and for our veg patch.