Out There: Playing Tarzan ends with a fall

Mark climbing a tree
Mark climbing a tree
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Tree climbing really ought to be the preserve of small boys, not men in their 30s.

Try telling that to my husband Mark (Sparky), though.

Our cat Mittens got stuck up a laburnum tree on Sunday morning so Sparky decided to be a have-a-go-hero.

“I was brilliant at climbing trees when I was a boy,” he boasted.

However, when he tried to scale the spindly tree he ran into a spot of bother: “Oh my hip, oh my back,” he cried.After a few painful moments he reached the top of the tree and tried to grab Mittens.

But Mittens resisted and Sparky was left hanging in mid air.

Eventually Mittens found her way down but poor old Sparky plummeted onto a flower bed.

Luckily there were no broken bones but it was a close shave.

We also spent a good part of Sunday morning cutting back overgrown foliage next to the Artle beck which runs along the bottom of our garden. Sparky tried to saw down a small conifer but when it looked as if he might faint his uncle came to the rescue with a chainsaw.

Ever since a storm drain was built further up the beck, the bottom of the garden has been suffering from severe erosion. I’m starting to worry that after a particularly heavy flood we’ll find the whole thing washed away. In the meantime, I’m looking into ways of reinforcing the bank to halt the erosion.

While we were working away we were lucky enough to spot a kingfisher which lives on the beck. It flitted up and down the dark brown beck, thrilling us with flashes of its blue and orange plumage.

The weather was so warm and sunny on Saturday and Sunday that it felt as if summer had made a brief return. Our flower borders were humming with life as insects did their best to gather pollen before the end of the season.

I also paid a visit to the Ashton Hall Garden Centre near Lancaster at the weekend.

As I walked around the centre’s beautiful walled garden I was delighted to see dozens of butterflies on the flowers.

The centre had an Apple Day on Sunday which, I’m told, was a great success.

The Ashton Hall Garden Centre certainly has to be one of the loveliest in the UK – and the meals on offer in the cafe are superb. I can highly recommend them.