Sunday, 25 July 2021

Sunday

 Good morning, everyone.  It's a dull old start to the day although it doesn't look as if we had any rain overnight and we didn't really have loads yesterday, just enough to make me decide there was no need to go to the allotment.   Today there are storms forecast, especially later on in the afternoon and I have to say it does feel more humid than yesterday already.

What did I do yesterday?  Well, the short answer is 'not a lot'.  I got two loads of washing done but the second load is still in the machine so that's on the list for today.  I did some cooking and some clearing up afterwards - does anyone else seem to generate an awful lot of mess while cooking? - and that was about it.  I didn't feel particularly tired, just very lazy!

I've just stepped out into the back garden to take a good close look at the tomatoes, checking for suspicious blotches on leaves or stems (definitely a risk in the warm, humid, damp weather) and noticed that although the sungolds have won the race to first picked, several other plants are also now changing colour.  Maybe a fortnight?   Yes, later than usual, but I can wait.  They'll be so good when they start.

Also, the cucumbers are producing mightily again after a bit of a lull.  I can see salads will be on the menu a lot this coming week.  Must look up pickled cucumbers!

And my other thought as I looked around was that the bulbs in one of the planters now being over and done, I think I will top it up a bit and sow some dwarf French beans in that as well as down the allotment.  May as well use the space.  It's a manky old pot, probably on its last legs, but even so, it's there to be used.

On to today.

Washing and ironing, of course.  Sowing some seeds.  I might take a wander down to the allotment to check and pick sweet peas - they are coming thick and fast now and if you don't pick them, they stop flowering.  And I could also dig up some potatoes, just a few, while the ground is damper and softer.  Meal planning is on the cards and tuition planning as one of my students usually carries on over the holiday and I have two sessions with them this coming week (for very good and valid reasons).  We'll probably have a maths day and an English day.

The garden strawberries are throwing out runners in all directions.  Some I can divert to where I want them as I'm doing down the allotment, while some will just get clipped off.  Strawberries are such generous plants when it comes to reproduction.  I'd love a bigger area for all those free plants really.

I nearly forgot - yesterday I put in a Morrison's delivery order and it's coming at between ten and eleven so I will be well stocked with fruit again.  I was running a bit short.  Better make sure I am washed, dressed and respectable by then.

So that's today - another fairly slow, gentle, lazy day (in the nicest possible way) that won't spoil whatever the weather throws at us.  What has it been like in your parts?

Have a good one, whatever your plans  xx


Saturday, 24 July 2021

Saturday

 Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday turned out a lot cooler and more pleasant and overnight I felt positively chilly when I woke to find the duvet on the floor!  Sitting here now, it is getting darker and darker and the rain has started.  It's cool and fresh and, apart from the rain, pleasant.

Yesterday morning went very much as planned.  Slimming World was great fun although a few regulars were away on holiday.  To my shock, I had lost two pounds.  I have no idea how, but this losing weight thing is a funny old business, never as simple as 2+2=4.

Then I drove on to Lindsey's where I loosened up the old calves and ankles on the cross trainer and the cycle before the massage.  Things are definitely more comfortable as the days go by although I am still being extremely careful.  The walking isn't quite right yet, there's no 'springiness', no power yet so we need to work on getting that back - carefully!  The cross trainer helps so much that we discussed one of those pedal things - Lindsey calls it an 'under desk cycle' which I can use while I'm sitting.  As it happens, another of her clients has one she doesn't need (she has another which she uses) so I'm hoping to but that off her.  I think it will help.

Finally I drove back into town, picked up my meds and came home.
That took all morning so breakfast turned into brunch!

In the afternoon, I had intended watering the allotment when the cleaners came but I had a bit of a crash.  Suddenly I felt really weary and lacking in energy which I guess is just a reaction to the last month or so.  A good snooze and I was fine again.  The allotment is getting a good watering now anyway!

Things are moving on in the garden.  There are blueberries and cucumbers to pick, more strawberries are coming on and . . . 

. . . almost enough sungolds for my lunchtime salad.  They will look very attractive halved and mixed with some red ones from the shop and the cucumber.

I'm so looking forward to being able to go out each morning, pick a bowlful and have some fried and on toast for breakfast.  So delicious!

Chris very kindly gave me a bag of redcurrants that she picked from her bushes in the garden.  They are in the freezer while I decide what to do with them.  I'm wondering about jam as there's enough for one pot or I might look up a recipe for blackcurrant cordial.  Or - I like this idea - blackcurrant vodka or gin. 

Today is a take it easy day.  There's some bedding to wash and I will bring the tumble dryer into service as outside drying ain't gonna happen!  I can catch up on my YouTube channels, do some menu planning, read and generally potter and chill.  That's the life!

Well, it's still raining and I need another coffee so I will stop and let you go.  Have a great day, whatever the weather, and stay dry, safe and happy.  xx


Friday, 23 July 2021

Friday

 Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday was another warm and sunny day although, I think, less humid than Wednesday.  Today just looks like being nice and warm, around 21C, not too uncomfortably hot - lovely for sitting out in the garden with a cold drink and a good book.  The fine weather is due to break tomorrow which will be good for allotment and garden, especially allotment where watering cans can't replace a good rainfall.

I got myself into town before nine yesterday.  It was a toss up which car park to use so I decided not to use the multi-storey one because of the stairs.  I'm still not confident coming down stairs and nor are my calves!  The distance to walk was around the same really.
I went to Boots first to get my meds but they weren't there.  There was no record of them.  Boots advised me to go to the surgery to check.  OK.  On the way back, I stopped off at Timpson's as I have two watches that needed new batteries and one had a cracked face.  The bill came to more than the watches are worth but I like them and there was no other reason to throw them out.  They now have lifetime batteries so should see me out.

It took around fifteen minutes so while he was doing it, I went on the the bank and got the tax rebate cheque paid in.  Nice.

Then back to Timpson's to collect the watches and back to the car.  All in all, it was around a mile, not that far, but the furthest I have tried since I did whatever-it-was to my lower legs and I was delighted that they coped well.  I could feel it and the springiness is only coming back slowly, but they felt no worse at the end that at the start and we fine through the day.  I must do some more gentle walking, I think.

So I drove on the the surgery to ask about my meds.  They had no record either so I must have not completed my online request properly, silly me.  However, the receptionist was so very helpful.  I know that generally they get a bad press but she couldn't have been more kind, understanding and helpful.  They have arranged a one off to the chemist beside the surgery and from now on my meds will come to the pharmacy in Morrisons so no more need to trudge into town.  I really should have sorted that one out ages ago.
It was also good to see that the surgery is now open so if I ever need to I can pop down there.
So my silly mistake had positive benefits.

Then it was round to Chris' for a cold drink and a good old chat on her decking.  I do enjoy these chats so much.  We set the world to rights as friends do!

I waited until about five before going to the allotment by which time it was a bit cooler and fresher.  I only watered and picked some sweet peas for Chris.  Oh, and munched a few raspberries.  The new plants are supposed to be Autumn fruiting but I think I know what's happened - Autumn fruiting plants fruit on the same year's growth while the Spring/Summer ones fruit on the previous year's growth.  Because these canes are new in, they are actually fruiting on old growth which is what the bare canes were.  Next year it will be different because, in the early Spring, one cuts the canes right down and the new growth comes from under the soil.
Does that make sense?
What does make sense is that they are a most delicious berry, large and juice.  They are called Autumn Treasure.

Today is a busy morning and a relaxed afternoon.

First of all, it's Slimming World.  This week has been difficult, obviously, with all that was going on emotionally as well as in other ways, so I think I am looking at a gain but not to worry, these things happen, don't they?
Then I am straight off to Lindsey's for the second half hour of personal training.  This will consist of some time on the cross trainer and exercise bike to loosen up and strengthen the calf muscles, followed by some massage.  It really has helped so much and it's great that Lindsey is so flexible.
Once that's finished, I will pop to the surgery, park there, go to the next door chemist and get those meds.
Then it's home to get the place ready for my lovely cleaners before relaxing in the garden.
When the cleaners come, I like to get out of their way, so that's when I will do allotment watering duty.
I've also indulged in a Hello Fresh box for the weekend and beyond and that's due to come today, plus a small air-con type thingy which I will tell you about if it's any good.  The reviews are good but, sadly, you can't rely on them being genuine.

Well, it's been a right old ramble today without any photos to lighten the load.  If you made it to the end, well done!  Have a great day, stay cool and hydrated and safe.  xx

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Thursday

 Good morning.  It is delightfully cool and refreshing this morning with a slightly hazy (that's the word I was searching for yesterday) sky and a promise of warmth to come.  It's a dressing gown and slippers morning but it will warm up.

I've started picking tomatoes.  It's just the sungolds at present, the others are taking longer, and there's not enough to warrant taking even a small bowl out, just enough to pick, wipe over and pop in the mouth for a burst of juicy sweetness.  So lovely!
No sign of blight (touch wood) at present.

Yesterday was a good day.

At ten, Jeff came and worked on the front strip.  Bless him, it was rather hot and two chilled diet cokes went down a treat.  I must remember to water my front now.  It's looking quite nice right now with lots of different things all higgledy piggledy with some pink poppies threading through the whole lot, self seeded but very much wanted.  The crocosmia is in flower, bright scarlet splashes against the brickwork and other, cooler colours, contrast nicely.  It's not special, it's not designed, it's a little bit country cottage, I suppose, and I rather like the effect; I'm sure it gives pleasure to my neighbours over the other side of the cul de sac (when they can see it).  The one thing that spoils the effect is the car standing space which is the original concrete, very scruffy now and, as soon as my inheritance comes through (i.e. next year sometime), I'm going to have it paved over properly to match everywhere else.

I trundled off to Lindsey's over lunch time and had my massage and a bit of exercise.  We have decided the best way forward for now is to do two half hours each week, each session consisting of some lower leg strengthening work on the cross trainer and the exercise bike (I can use both of them without any discomfort now and they get the muscles moving and they feel so much better afterwards) and massage.  Works for me, it all felt a lot easier afterwards yesterday.  

When I came home from Mum and Dad's, I brought with me some flowers that we bought on Monday to brighten the living room up on Tuesday.  They are now looking colourful on my sideboard.


Although we had no flowers at the funeral, the directors make up a little pot as standard, which we were given at the end.  It's very pretty, as you can see, and the glass cube it is in will be useful.


Yesterday afternoon, Beth and I popped down to the allotment.  First of all we took all the leaves off the potatoes.  Hopefully, that safeguards them to a certain degree from getting the blight that is rampaging through the allotment site this year. 
The leaves looked a bit suspicious but the stems were OK so fingers crossed.  We decided it was too hot to dig up any more spuds!

Beth then rested in the shade and I sowed some French dwarf bean seeds.  They should be up pretty quickly if they behave like last years' sowing behaved.  We'll do a later sowing too as they do go on into Autumn.

Everything else seems to be ticking over nicely.  We saw signs that the baby corn is about to throw up the first of the fruit and there are loads of flowers on the runner beans.  The broad beans are pretty much over now and I will have them up at some point soon and give that area a good old weeding and forking over and, maybe, dig in some manure from the communal - er - supply!

And finally we watered everything and picked the sweet peas which are doing amazingly well now.  We both had a bunch to bring home.  Lovely!

Today isn't all that busy really.

I need to go into town first thing.  A bit of a nuisance but it has to be done as I am right out of my blood pressure meds now (they are waiting for me in Boots) and I have that tax rebate cheque to pay in.  I also want to get some soluble aspirin as they can be sprayed over tomatoes to help prevent blight (thanks for the tip - I forget who it was but I'm very grateful).  However I do it, I will have to walk a fair old way and my calves and ankles will not thank me, but needs must and I can rest up afterwards.  And there are plenty of benches if I need to take a break.

At some point in the morning, I am popping over the road to Chris' for coffee and a good chat.  I'm looking forward to that.

I have to do allotment duty, of course.  Taking off the potato leaves has revealed many sneaky weeds which need to be dealt with.  I'll probably water first and that will make it easier to get them up - the ground is quite hard right now.

The rest of the day will be housework, ironing and generally just pottering around doing necessary stuff.  I wonder how hot it will get today.
I'd better stop and do my Facebook duties (admin daily posts, etc).  Hoping you all have a really pleasant day with no hassles.
Stay cool!  xx





Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Wednesday

 Good morning, everyone.   It is another warm and semi-cunny start to the day although the skies are a bit - oh, what's the word? - not totally blue.  Not overcast, just not clear.  As I was driving home yesterday afternoon, there was a short and heavy shower here; I could see the evidence on roads and in the puddles, but I went through nothing, dry all the way.  Then it cheered up again and felt less hot and stuffy.  

I have two days to cover so here goes.  The drive up early on Monday was lovely.  Bright, sunny and not too hot.  There were various bits of paperwork to co-sign and I drove over to M&S in Biggleswade ro get stuff for Tuesday's lunch.  It might be a bit more, M&S, but they do some lovely foods and I felt I had a great selection of salads, packets and container of foods that would just need opening and popped onto dishes with just a few things to warm up.  

In the afternoon John had managed to get all three agents that were valuing for probate and the official contents valuer to come over at staggered intervals and by the afternoon we had a good idea of the house value and also which agency we want to ask to handle the actual sale, when the time comes.  To our relief, the contents valuer turned out to be a lovely lady around the same age as my two who looked around very thoroughly, wasn't the least bit concerned that we'd already started clearing and said no, she didn't need to see photos of what had already been handed out, thank you.  As expected, there's very little real value in the contents which is fine because tax will have to be paid on the value, even though we're not selling any of it.

I am so very grateful for your lovely, kind messages of support.  You've helped to see me through it all.
The funeral itself was as I know Dad wanted it to be because he mentioned it several times and modelled it for Mum's funeral.  Malcolm's words about Dad were just so lovely and the Methodist order of service is not at all 'fussy'.  Yes, there were tears and John and I supported each other through it, but there was no regret in those tears, just a huge sense of loss and a gladness that we had such a super Dad (and Mum).

Then it was back to what I will always call 'Mum and Dad's house' where John did social duties while I whizzed around opening container and getting everything out.  It was a nice spread  and, although I feared I had way too much, by the time people had gone back for seconds and John had taken some for his journey back (seven hours or so) and dinner, there was hardly anything left at all.  Phew.

I gave everywhere a good tidy up, set the good old dishwasher, made sure the fridge had nothing in it that would turn nasty before my next visit and then forgot to take my bananas from the fruit bowl.  Ooops.  I'll let Gail know and she can have them, if she wants, when she comes tomorrow.

Then, in the evening, back at home, Dave, Anna, Beth and Alex came over and we had take away Chinese, wine and a good old chat.  I was glad not to be alone.  Beth and Al have stayed overnight and are still upstairs, sleeping sweetly, I hope.

And so we move on.  Dad tried to make all matters pertaining to his 'estate' as simple as possible but it can't be that simple given that he has left a fair old bit in house value and investments.  John is taking the lead in all of that with my support, and I thank him very much for it.  Numbers are not my forte.

I can start clearing again now but, as I've said before, there's time.  All the agents advised us to keep the furniture and some of the books, ornaments, etc, in place so that it looks home-like which confirmed what we'd already planned to do.  It helps so much that we don't have to make any sudden decisions about anything.  Yes, it drags things out, but the whole probate thing is a process that can't be rushed and one has to do it all by the book.

Today is what I am thinking of as the first day moving forward again.  Funerals give a sense of closure, don't they?
So - Beth and Al are here and will go home late afternoon, I expect.  I have personal training at midday and them Beth and I will be allotment bound to water and de-leaf the potatoes in order to do our best to prevent them from getting blighted.  Fingers crossed.  If I can find the seeds, I will sow the first lot of dwarf French beans which grow so quickly and should be giving us lovely little beans in around a month's time and through the autumn.  Lovely!

I'm just off into the garden now to give the pots their breakfast watering.  Have a great day, stay cool and carry on!  xx

Monday, 19 July 2021

Monday

 Hi, everyone.  I did mean to post this morning but things took longer and now here I am up at Dad's and it is the afternoon.  Sorry.

It's Dad's funeral tomorrow so I won't be posting but I'll be back on Wednesday.


Normally I would say stay warm but right now it's stay cool and be safe.  xx

Sunday, 18 July 2021

Sunday

 Good morning, everyone.  It's very early Sunday morning and I'm wide awake which is rather a nuisance.  It's still dark so I can't tell how the day will start but the forecast is very good so that's lovely.  Yesterday was warm and sunny with a gentle breeze - absolutely delightful, it was.

Yesterday was a gentle day.  I got the washing done and dried but couldn't be bothered to iron it in the evening, so that's on today's list of Things To Do.  

After lunch, Beth arrived and we set off down the allotment to work and chat.

We dug up two potato plants and got these which we thought was a pretty good result.  I've taken about a third and Beth had the rest - she has Alex to feed and I will be away for a couple of days. 
If the rest is as good, we will have plenty of potatoes over the summer.








Very sadly, the tomatoes at the allotment have got blight so we had them all up yesterday.  Eight plants.  However, they weren't happy where they were and weren't doing nearly as well as the ones at home.  We noticed that on the next door plot, his tomatoes also looked suspiciously blighted and that he had cut all the tops off his rows of potatoes so we suspect he's having the same problem.  We had a good look at our potatoes and they look OK but we might cut off the tops anyway, as a precautionary measure.  What do you think?
It's been so very wet, I'm not entirely surprised, but we haven't been troubled with blight for several years so it's an unwelcomed surprise.
My home tomatoes seem OK but I am keeping a very close eye on them now - I washed my hands very thoroughly when I got home.  There are now three ripening tomatoes, one of which might be ready to pick today - a sungold which are my favourites.

The broad beans are nearly finished.  There's probably one more good picking and then they will come out which will leave quite a gap.  I could plant another row of dwarf French beans or - oh, I don't know, I must look up what can be planted now or take a trip down to the garden centre and see what they have,  Any suggestions?

Beth and I had a great long chat together - we always do at the allotment.  It seems to encourage confidences.  Because she now works, the only time we can get together is Saturdays and Sunday and recently I have not been around at weekends.  We were there for over two hours and really didn't do that much work.  We dug the potatoes, picked broad beans, pulled rhubarb.  Beth went home with all three plus a bunch of sweet peas while I just had potatoes.  I also managed to strim all round and we watered, of course.

Today is a day to myself.  I have the aforementioned ironing, the usual houseworky things and allotment.  As I got the strimming done, today I will  just run the mower over the grass which should do it for the coming week.  Apart from that, it's just watering, unless I start on the potato tops.  We plan to do that on Wednesday though, as Beth has compassionate leave, and there's no sign of blight on them right now - at least there wasn't.

Finally, I want to get completely packed and ready to leave for Dad's early tomorrow morning.  John's travelling down today but for him it is a day's driving.  There's a lot going on tomorrow with regard to the house.

So that's my day - it sounds busier than it is really going to be and there will be plenty of time to relax in the sunshine and just chill.
Hoping you have a great day too.  xx