Thursday, 29 June 2017

Thursday

Good morning!  The morning sun is shining for the first time in several days which is most cheering although it's not all that warm and I was happy to snuggle under the quilt overnight.

The biggie this week is that Alex has done his last A level exam and has now officially left school.  Ten years ago, if you had asked me if Al would ever do A levels, let alone have plans for higher education, I'd have laughed in your face and then hidden in a corner to cry, but since then he has transferred from special to mainstream schooling, doing five years at Baddow High, creating a niche for himself and winning several awards along the way and is now hoping to read mathematics at uni.  Absolutely amazing.  He has confounded expectations all the way along and, whether or not he actually gets the required grades, he has been brilliant.

Enough of that!  In allotment news, it looks as if we have a new neighbour.  On one side, the plot is very well cared for but the other side has been ownerless and is rather a mess.  We have strimmed over it to keep the grasses and weeds down but nothing else and I had hopes of harvesting the brambles that are growing there!
No more though.  Last night Beth went along to do a few things and there was the allotment manager with an elderly gentleman, showing him his 'new' plot and, I gather, saying some extremely nice things about our plot.  The difference three months makes, eh?  Beth seized the moment and now has permission for me to be a key holder as well as her.

Veg wise, Beth picked another courgette and says that by the weekend there should be some for me too.  Cheers!  She also picked some chard leaves for the guinea pig - no, not ours, we don't have one, a little friend's pet.  I wonder what chard is like - must look up some recipes.  Diane, do you have any nice cooking ideas?

As for me, I spent the day feeling better, did some work around the house, caught up on some sleep and did the usual tuition plus one swapped from today!  After a great night's sleep, I now feel ready for anything which is just as well because I have a very full day.  This morning is a governors' course on the needs of the most and least able.  That's in town.  Then I'm nanny helping in school after which I am straight into a meeting followed by two lots of tuition.  I'll be ready for bed tonight, that's for sure.  It's just as well tomorrow is relatively clear, isn't it?

Given that it's such a busy day, I had better stop now and get going with the usual.  Bath, dressed, breakfast, bit of housework!  See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Wednesday

I'm rather late today.  In fact, I can't remember when I last did my blog in the afternoon.  I felt a bit urky this morning so have been taking things easy.

The painter chap has just finished the shed and as much of the fence as he can do so I thought I'd take and share some photos - yes, more photos - of stuff out there.  Having a neat fence/shed does make a difference to how everything looks, for sure, as well as protecting the wood..


Firstly the spuds.  Two bags of Charlottes, found on the allotments but not needed there . . .


. . . and one bag of King Edwards, planted as an afterthought after some sprouted in my fridge.  There's more to come up here but they will be late as they were late in.  In fact, they were all late in really.



Next are the tomatoes.  All doing well although I'm wondering if we will be getting a blight warning.  Dad's had one today.
Three different types, three different colours - or they will/should be anyway.





The sweet peas are growing fast but no sign of flowers yet.  I wonder if I need to nip out the tops or something.  Must google for information!



Next door there is a lovely birch tree that delightfully shades the end of the garden.  I love sitting under it, enjoying the dappled sunlight.



Here's the bit where I want to lift up a few of these slabs to make a bit of a growing area only I haven't decided which slabs I want lifting yet.  It will be a sort of geometric edge as I'm not cutting any of the slabs and I think it will really look rather nice.  It won't be done until Autumn though, after the harvest.



And finally, the strawberry thingy is starting to look nice as the lobelia comes into flower.  I'm so glad I didn't throw it out now.  The strawberries aren't bad either!


Back tomorrow!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Tuesday

Apologies for being so late with this.

I've been down the allotment (where else) and we picked our first courgette.  A most confused courgette too that can't decide if it is yellow or green.


Beth and I were sitting on the bench under the tree at the back and wondered if the fruit on the tree was edible.  It's ween there for years but we've not 'noticed' it before.

I brought a bit home, took a photo and asked on Facebook and it seems that it is a 'cherry plum, or plum myrobalan, so called because the fruits are plums that look quite like cherries and, yes, it's edible.  Brilliant.


Looks nice, doesn't it?

That's it for today - short and sweet.  Have a great day.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Monday

Another new day, another new week.  It's fresh outside and I've just closed the French window.  My toes are cold but I can't be bothered to go up and find my slippers so it can't be all that bad, can it?

I did allotment duty yesterday - 90 minutes of weeding, hoeing and watering and very peaceful and restful it was too.  After that I came home and started sorting out some of the cupboards.  I've made a decision about what to keep.  You see, for various reasons, I have several sets of china/tableware.  There's the main set that I use all the time, there's the set that Gordon and I had for best before the divorce, there's some fine, pretty stuff and then there's a load of chunky white stuff from Matalan that I got so, so cheaply when I knew I was having a load of family round for Christmas and didn't have enough.  Utterly ridiculous to have so much, I know.

Originally I was planning to sell on the old best stuff but you know what, I really love it.  I loved it when I first saw it, coming home from school, in the window of a shop in Lewisham and I've never stopped loving it since.  I haven't used it much because it's in a bit of an awkward-to-get-to cupboard and anyway, you can't get it any more unless you go to those expensive china replacement companies (I was thinking to sell it to them).

On the other hand, part from a few bits of the white stuff that I do use regularly, I wouldn't miss it one little bit.  It's 'cheap', clunky and - well, you get the idea.

So I have decided to donate the white set to the local hospice shop where, I am sure, they will get some use from it one way or another.  And I have resolved to use the Reflections tableware much more often, just as I am now using the Edinburgh crystal and the pretty china!  I love it, it makes me feel good and, although I am not a Kon-Whatsit person, it 'sparks joy'.
And there's that connection to a happy past too!

So, with any luck, I should get all that white stuff out of the house this week.

Later on yesterday I tied up the tomatoes again (inches every day now!) and made a very tasty dinner with sardines!

Today is busy.  The plasterer is coming at eight and, while he works, I will get on with cupboard clearing.  This afternoon, I am in school, Nanny-helping.  In the evening I am off to some Governors' Training all about assessment which, oddly enough, I am quite looking forward to.  No allotment today unless it turns really hot, in which case I will go and water.

There's fragrant smells coming from the kitchen as I have cooked some rhubarb.  I'd better go and deal with that and then I must get going so as to be ready for eight.
Have a great day.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Sunday

Cool, cloudy and comfortable.  That's this morning round here!  We also had rain yesterday evening which wasn't much but better than nothing.

First thing, I went shopping.  I didn't have loads to get but I needed to visit several shops so off I went and two hours later I was home and putting it all away.  Very strangely, a cookery book and a couple of magazines seemed to have jumped into my bag so that gave me something to read later on in the day and for the next week too.  After that I didn't really fancy the allotment so I didn't.

I might have given the allotment a miss yesterday but I did catch up with my washing and ironing.  The latter was way too hot for comfort over last week but I'd got to the point of needing to iron something before putting it on so I girded up my loins, as the saying goes, and got stuck in.  I did two loads of washing as it was a great drying day and now the ironing basket is empty, both of old and new ironing.

The tomatoes in the garden are really making progress now.  Every kind now has lots of flowers and mini fruit, even the mystery Italian tomatoes.  They obviously love the heat.

Today I MUST do some weeding and I must also start clearing the cupboards downstairs.  Next Monday (not tomorrow), I am having most of downstairs decorated plus up the stairs and the landing.  So all the cupboards have to be cleared so that they can be moved.  It's going to be very disruptive, but it's a good opportunity to have another sort out and it will be lovely when it's all done.  Tomorrow the plasterer is coming to deal with the artex in the hall and downstairs loo so I guess I will need to do a fair amount of dusting and sweeping afterwards.

Well, sitting here won't get any of the jobs done, will it?  Breakfast first and then bath, after which I must work!  I wonder how much I will get done today.


Saturday, 24 June 2017

Saturday

Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to another weekend.  It's cool and cloudy here - the first time in many days that the sun has not been shining - and a bit of rain is forecast although I will believe that when I see it!

Yesterday really was a lovely day.  It was fine and sunny, but fresh and breezy and that oppressive heat had disappeared overnight.  I met Beth down the allotment and we pottered around gently.  I weeded and watered and she strimmed and then tackled the table and benches at the back.  It had been uncovered for a while and was coated in bird poo!  She had a strong scrubbing brush, loads of water and some antibacterial spray and before she got going with that, she tightened all the screws and nuts and bolts.  I forgot to take a photo of the finished table/chairs - they now needs painting anyway - but we had bought a fairly substantial cover so I took a photo of them covered.

On top are a couple of broken slabs, to keep it on until we get round to drawing up the strings round the bottom.
Well done, Beth.

This summer we are going to re-paint the shed using Cuprinol Garden Shades and we will do the table and benches at the same time, either in the same colour or a toning colour.  We've got a lot of choice.
https://www.cuprinol.co.uk/garden_colour/colour_selector/index.jsp
I quite like the sage and seagrass but am also rather taken with the blue and violet shades.  I don't think Beth will let me though!

I wasn't home long before the cleaner turned up and an hour later I had a nice, clean downstairs.  I sat outside and read for a while, then came in and just generally pottered sleepily.  I shouldn't be sleepy, I slept really well Thursday night, but maybe the previous restless nights had caught up.  Anyway, I was in bed before nine and had another lovely, cool, cosy night waking after five.  That's a lie in!

Today I am going shopping, then allotmenting (finishing weeding round the potatoes and then watering, weather permitting) and after that it is probably going to be yet another very lazy day!  I could get used to this, you know!

I'll finish off with two flower photos.  The green beans are starting to flower and the cucumber has five flowers (or it did yesterday).  A promise of good things to come.




Friday, 23 June 2017

Friday

Morning, everyone.  What a lovely night's sleep.  It has cooled down considerably and it was bliss to be able to snuggle down under the quilt again after having to sleep on top for so long.  I opened both French windows earlier and have closed one again!  It was so, so hot yesterday lunch time and afternoon, or maybe I mean humid, rather than hot.  Uncomfortable, anyway.  It is lovely now.

It's been a very busy old week and I am so glad that today is an empty day - nothing in the diary at all.  OK, the cleaners are coming to do downstairs so I have a bit of tidying up to do and I'm going down the allotment this morning but that's not the same.  I'm feeling footloose and fancy free - no teaching, no meetings, nothing but things I choose to do.  Splendid.

Beth and I worked on weed attack yesterday.  It took a while because we removed the netting from the peas, gently cleared the weeds from around them (we had to be so, so careful), tied them up against the canes, creating a sort of trellis so they climb up against that rather than up the netting, and then replaced the netting.  I know the weeds will be back - it is now the bindweed rather than the ground elder that's the big problem, but patience is a virtue and we have plenty of that.  While we were doing that, there were a few drops of rain and while we were having coffee it intensified so we cleared and left.  Sadly, it didn't come to anything so it's still watering cans at the ready!

Today we are planting on the four runner bean plants I have left, making a sort of wigwam for them to grow up.  We won't get much from them, I know, but it's better than throwing away the little plants (and it will look as if we know what we are doing!)

We've been taking regular full view photos of the allotment so here's some showing progress, to bore you!  :-)


The beginning of April - oh, dear!  No wonder the chap next door (to the left) wasn't happy.


Starting to attack the weeds.  We did the front first to make the whole thing look better!


Some of the cage has gone, the weeds at the front are being held back, and we've started attacking behind the cage.


We have planting!


Taken on Wednesday.  Everything is coming up well (including those pesky weeds) and it's full of hope!


Better stop - I have a living room to tidy before I have my bath and get dressed and then an allotment to tend!  Strimmer day today!


Edited to add one I took an hour ago.  Different angle.