Melanie’s June Journeys

Welcome to Melanie’s June Journeys blog. And what a month! I thought we were busy last month, but this month has been pretty epic too. It began with a good friends hen do on a cruise ship to Cherbourg! Did you know that the Titanic’s first stop on its fateful voyage was to Cherbourg? Thankfully our ship and the hen party made it back to tell the tale, although it was a bit choppy on the journey home!

As you can see the ship was huge. 19 floors and a millions ways to get lost…well easy for me, I’m not great at directions at the best of times!

Melanie's June Journeys

The dress code for arrival in Southampton was of course Sailors! This was our little gang, I only knew two of the girls, the bride being one of them, so it was quite daunting meeting lots of new people. Not to mention leaving Nicholas and Lily behind. I don’t think I have been apart from them for about 10 years, we are together at work and at home, so that was quite hard. But thankfully the girls made it easy to relax.

Hen Cruise to Cherbourg

Himalayan Rope Bridge

During our time on the ship we explored all the decks, there was so much to do and see. However on the ships app, it showed an assault course rope bridge. I suggested to my friend that I might like to have a go and Yvonne was extremely kind to say … “I will keep my feet firmly on the ground but I will go with you”! It took us a while to find it, the ship was quite a maze, but when we did, I saw kids hopping around over the rope bridges and was like yeah!! Get me up there!!

We waited in the queue for ages, and while waiting I befriended two lovely ladies in front of me who had done this kind of thing before. We had our harnesses fitted and climbed the steps. Got up to the top… I hadn’t realised how windy it was. That’s when I thought… oh no, what have I let myself in for!!!

The Himalayan Rope Bridge

The ladies who were in front of me, went across the first bridge and I stood there watching thinking, how on earth am I going to do this?! I shouted across to them, ‘Can you stay there till I have come across?’ ‘YES’ came back the reply!! They were the absolute nicest ladies, they waited for me at every step and gave me encouragement all the way around.


The photo below shows me on one side of the bridge and one of the ladies going across on the other side. There were always two options to choose from, only one person allowed on each bridge at a time.

Melanie's June Journeys

I’d like to say the bridge below looked easy, but with the wind, none of it was easy! I had my hood up to stop the wind blowing my hair in my eyes so I could see! I’m sure if I had another go now, I would be a lot more confident.

The Rope Bridge

Here is a photo of us at the end… very relieved!!. I have no idea who they were, but a chance passing in life, I will be eternally grateful for them being there. Also I have to thank Yvonne as she was chief photographer and so very lovely to wait for me.. and get me a big glass of wine at the end. I feel sometimes you have to push yourself in life and I am so pleased I did it.

Courageous gals on a mission!

The Ships Gym

One of the girls was a runner like me and we both checked out the gym on the first day we arrived. The second morning we decided to meet at the gym for an early morning session which started at 7am. This seemed ok when arranging it.. but come midnight after a long day, realising that by the morning we would be in France on French time… … which meant actually going to the gym at 6am English time… and getting up at 5am…which seemed impossible after a hugely long day. But once awake and showered and navigated to the right floor, it was wonderful. The morning was started with a circuit of the gyms equipment….

Melanie's June Journeys

Followed by a 20 minute sunrise stretch with a lovely gym instructor. It was the perfect way to start the day. If only I could remember the stretches, I should be doing them daily!

Sunrise Stretch and 7am

We then did a gentle 5k around the ships track… stopping every now and again for photos and selfies with the view of Cherbourg behind.

Running around the ship

The ships track was excellent, it was quite grippy and perfect for a run, although we did manage to get around the ship quite fast. We certainly worked up an appetite for breakfast.

Melanie's June Journeys

Of course we did quite a bit of partying too, saw some of Cherbourg, went on a Merry-go-Round, saw a tribute Abba band… plus I got lost on the ship a few times.. but on the whole I would definitely do another cruise. To Norway perhaps. One for the bucket list.

Beautiful sunset over the sea

Final Update on Logs!

When I returned from the hen do, my mission was to finish the logs. Nicholas was on hand when I needed help. I wanted to do the main bulk of it so that he didn’t do too much and feel unwell. For him with his Long Covid, the action of standing up and then bending over or crouching down constantly can really bring on his symptoms and it is not nice for him. So if I could do as many of the rounds that I could, I would. Plus of course wheelbarrow them back up the garden and stack them.

Logs, Logs and more logs

Here is a photo of a split pile. I couldn’t do too many in one day as I knew that I still had to stack them and didn’t want them left out too long if it rained. And believe me, although it looks a beautiful day in the photo below, the following day it did rain!!

Melanie's June Journeys

The log splitter is a very hardy tool. It takes a while for the main blade to travel to the log to split it, but it saves a lot of physical work and energy than doing it by hand, I could never do even half of this with an axe. The amount of logs we had to split, id have been there for the whole summer.

Stack of split logs

The Log Sheds are Full!

So here is the shed full to the brim. I feel really pleased that its finally all done. We have overspilling logs in the tool shed as they didn’t all fit in the woodshed, but there is a system in place for when we start using them in the winter so we can get the space back in the tool shed. Id like to say roll on winter but I really feel that with our dreadful summer, it wont be long and we will start having a fire in the evenings again in the cottage.

My nice, tidy shed

Melanie’s June Journeys – The Big Tidy

The pile of wood we had stored in front of the tool shed is now chopped and the front of the shed is clear. The next project is to clad this shed as the wood is rotting. Watch this space!!

Clear of logs! Cant believe it! Nor can Lily

I was also able to clear the chickens pen of pallets, which housed the last lot of wood rounds. I could sort their pen out properly and make them a sturdy gateway and a proper path down to the shed. We are all ready for the winter now.

Path to the tool shed

Harvey very kindly helped us cut the remaining pallets up with his mini chainsaw which was so much faster than us with our reciprocating saw. We only have the large panels you can see behind Harvey, left now. However we may well devise a better composting area later on in the year. We always run out of space for grass and clippings. Another watch this space!!

Harvey cutting pallets

And finally as a treat for all Harvey’s hard work, I made sweet waffles for us all, with bananas in a toffee sauce, blueberries, strawberries, Greek yogurt and some Nutella on the side! Heavenly!

Sweet waffles


It’s June – obviously as it’s Melanie’s June Journeys blog! But we have rarely had any good summer days yet. I took some time out after the cruise to get the lawn mowed and the garden a bit tidy. When the sun does shine, it really makes the world of difference to the garden.

Melanie's June Journeys

The clematis was still out and the Delphinium was in full bloom. It has done well this year with a number of flower spikes. It’s right by the cottage back door so its well admired as I go in and out all the time. Beautiful flowers.


The pond is doing well and the lily’s are about to flower. The frogspawn didn’t do very well this year. I’m not sure why but we didn’t have that much and I’m not certain it all hatched. But we do still hear frogs so they are there, along with the newts.

Wildlife pond

The lupins are doing well too. Its all the rain, they love it! You might just be able to see the fine rain when I took this photo.


The Squirrels

The squirrels are very happy. My neighbour feeds the birds and the squirrels clear up all the peanuts and seeds that the birds drop. I think he has counted 5 in his garden. This one was sitting on our fence watching from above. We do feed the birds but he cant really get to our feeder. In fact if he does and Lily sees… the chase is on. They are very wise though and are always too high for her.


The Peony was in full bloom this month too, however I do find the iPhones camera doesn’t handle the reds of flowers very well. Such a shame, but it does show how amazing the flower was.


And finally in Melanie’s June Journeys garden news, the grass we sewed is actually starting to grow! This is the area where the chickens were for the last few years so it is not surprising it is taking a while to regenerate. Its looking really lovely, hopefully another update next month.

Melanie's June Journeys

Melanie’s June Journeys – Lily Grooming

Lily was groomed this month too and so while she was there we took the opportunity to have lunch at The Warren in Carmarthen. It was the first time we had been there since Covid and very nice it was too. Actually probably the best meal we have had in the 4 years since covid!

Melanie and Nicholas

Nicholas had the toasted focaccia melt and I had pasta with beef. All home made from organic and high welfare sources. Plus a side of chips…!

Melanie's June Journeys The Warren

When we collected Lily we took her for a little walk at the Abergwilli Amgeddfa. The weather was beautiful and she even sported a buttercup when we sat on a downed tree for a rest.

Lily Tibetan terrier

She looked beautiful when we collected her, she even looked beautiful on her walk… we won’t mention her slipping knee deep into the wildlife pond when she got home on the trail of wildlife sniffs!!

Melanie's June Journeys

We hope you have enjoyed our Melanie’s June Journeys. Don’t forget this month Harvey and I also walked from Aberaeron to Lampeter and you can follow our adventures on my previous blog post here – Aberaeron to Lampeter Walk. It’s very nearly July already and we have a lot of work on the cottage and garden planned so that news will be shared in my July blog.. coming soon! Stay happy and healthy and see you next month!

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