Thursday, 17 August 2017

Extra comments

I've just read that you don't need to blanch green beans before freezing.  Three cheers!

And I have just tried an apple from the allotment tree.  Not totally ripe, OK, it's a bit early, but really delicious.

And finally - it was so dark because it was raining so the allotment grass will just have to stay long for today!


Good morning, everyone.  It's just started getting light, emphasising to me that Summer is drawing to a close and Autumn is getting ever nearer.  We're almost two months away from the longest day, after all.  I do love sitting here, watching it get lighter and lighter as blackness turns to shadows and silhouettes which gradually take on colour and the minutes creep by.

Yesterday was an incredibly busy day.  After a few days of not picking, there were thousands (OK, slight exaggeration there) of runner beans and tomatoes to pick as well as some sweet peas to fragrance the house.  I dealt with the runners by prepping and freezing most of them, keeping out one portion which I enjoyed for dinner.  I plan to deal with the tomatoes today.

Then I went to the allotment and oh, my goodness!  I came back with a huge bag of green beans, some cucumber, courgettes, a few apples, more runners and - at last - six baby corn cobs.  Yes, the corn is finally ready to harvest and how delicious they were!

After a week of neglect, the grass is knee high so I will be taking an early trip this morning with mower in tow!  The weeds, surprisingly enough, are not too bad, which is good.

I managed to get two loads of washing done and nearly all the contents of the ironing basket sorted too.  There's now just a couple of sheets to do!

Today is also jam packed with stuff.  House work (very necessary), dealing with all that garden and allotment produce (must look up how to freeze green beans - do they need blanching?) finishing off the ironing and going into town to Lakeland for various things for me and for a friend.

But first - coffee and then my hair needs washing!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017


Good morning, everyone.  I know the weather is expected to bread but at the moment it is lovely and sunny.  Very cheering.

I can't go into details because it's not my story to tell, but life has suddenly got a bit (lot) more complicated so if I seem a bit 'out of it', that's why!

I shall be going home this morning which I'm looking forward to, being a right home-body at heart and am hoping that there will be plenty of runners and tomatoes to pick and enjoy.  I'm not looking forward to opening the fridge door as I left in a hurry so am quite expecting to be attacked by a mouldy monster when I do.  Luckily, I have plenty of disinfectant to hand!  😃

I went online yesterday and found, on Amazon, a source of cotton sheeting that I can use to line and back the duvet cover I am making.  I bought loads as I'm pretty sure I will be making a bed spread to match.  I have plenty of plain, white pillowcases so am resisting that temptation.  I have taken a few photos but left my camera at home!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017


I'll be back properly tomorrow or Thursday at the latest - just saying so readers don't worry.

Sunday, 13 August 2017


. . . and it is living up to its name.  The sun is shining bravely (and it's chilly), the windows are open (yes, chilly) and everything is fresh!  Yesterday was lovely, hopefully today will be the same.

I made great progress with the patchwork for the quilt yesterday.  The squares are all made (it's a 3 x 5 so I made 15) and I've stitched them together vertically.  I just need to do the horizontal joining now.  It's fitted remarkably well with only a few glitches.  Mind you, I didn't do much else (apart from planning) so this afternoon is loaded with all the other stuff .

I took this part way through yesterday.  It looks reasonably random which is what I wanted and it gives you the general idea.  It will be a duvet cover so no quilting.

So - today is . . .
bit more sewing
early allotment (I can now I have a key) for mowing and picking
bread making
an hour of tuition (a one off, because of me being ill)
more sewing

So a busy day but I'm going to enjoy the early morning first.  A shame it's not quite warm enough to enjoy my coffee outside but never mind, I gather warmer weather is coming and then we will complain that it's too hot.

Saturday, 12 August 2017


Good morning and welcome to the weekend.  The sun is trying to shine out there but it's still chilly so it's a dressing gown and slippers sort of morning again.
Yesterday was gorgeous - a sunny and breezy day, a two loads of washing on the line day.  I've caught up with the washing, something that has been sadly neglected for a week, and now I just have to catch up with the ironing as well.  Easier said than done.

I got going on my disappearing nine blocks and have made six that are 15" x 15" (more or less).  They take longer than one would expect what with the fitting and the ironing of seams but I'm in the swing of things now and should do the rest today.  I have loads of squares cut, far too many, so will probably end up making pillow cases to match as well!  Once I have sewn the blocks together I'll take a photos so you can see.  It's supposed to look random, I hope it does anyway, but there is a method to it.

Half way through the day, I took time out to go to Hobbycraft.  I got the thread I need to finish off the T shirts, some needles, a couple of marking pencils (I wanted tailor's chalk but there wasn't any - do they still do it, I wonder), some thinner pins for more delicate fabric and a couple of seam unpickers as we seem to have lost the one we had and it's a fairly essential bit of kit!  I then had a stroll around but nothing really called to me!

I carried on sewing through the evening but stopped after a while because of the lack of natural light.  I watched Only Connect and actually managed to get some of the connection, very rare for me!  I do like that programme: it is a mental challenge, unlike a lot of the more fancy ones with big prizes and screaming audiences to try to hide the fact that the actual questions are rubbish.

A couple of days ago my lovely neighbours had two of their trees trimmed right back - not the one between our two gardens but the ones the other side.  It's made a huge difference both to the amount of light in my house and garden but also to how much country view I have.  They will thicken up again and grow back over time and they do look a bit sad at present, but they should be fine next year and the extra light is appreciated.

Well, today is one of two I have 'blocked off' in my diary.  They are days for me to do my stuff in the middle of a busy time.  Of course, when I did that, I didn't realise that this last week was going to be a awash with cancellations but never mind.  I won't be doing anything special, just the usual things, but without anything else to worry about.

So, today is sewing, allotment (heaven only knows what condition I will find it in), my garden, ironing . . . oh, you get the idea, I am sure.  I wonder if I will get the patchwork blocks finished.  I must start looking for sheeting for the lining and the backing which will probably cost a fortune but never mind! Oh, and I have bread to make too.

I'd better get going then!

Friday, 11 August 2017


Friday already!  This week has flashed by (or maybe I mean crashed by), what with being away and then being unwell.  Where have the days gone?  We're a third of the way through August already!

Good morning, all.  It's a slightly misty, rather chilly start to the day and I have spoilt myself by letting her heating click on.  I don't do that very often but I think I'm still feeling a bit cold from not eating much (if you know what I mean).  However, all's well now so I have planned a full day's meals, albeit smallish ones.

It was nice to spend the day with Beth here and also nice to have Alex here pm.  He took himself off to Norwich earlier on in the week for a 'fact finding' holiday, booked into a central hotel and explored buses to the university, things to see and do, etc.  For an autistic person it was remarkable - he's coming on in leaps and bounds in his independence and confidence.  He had a brilliant time one way and another.

When Beth got home there was something waiting for her.  This.
Woo hoo.
Well done, Beth!

Today is a day to myself.  I've finished cutting out the squares for the disappearing nine square duvet cover I want to make and I think I have enough to make a bedspread too.  They're not quilts, just machine patchwork, and there's no pattern as such apart from the nine block, it's just how it comes.  We shall see how it all works out!

Before I lose myself in sewing, I have a house to tidy before the cleaners arrive.  There's not a lot of mess but best to sort it before it gets too bad.

So I'd better get going!

Thursday, 10 August 2017


Good morning!  It's quite dull outside but, thank goodness, the rain stopped overnight and things are drying up.  It's a while since we had a day's rain like that - great for the allotment and garden but maybe not so great for the fields of corn waiting to be harvested.  It was cold too, cold enough to turn on the heating come the evening, southern softie that I am!

Yesterday was a day of gradually feeling better as the day progressed, of tentatively eating and hoping it would stay put.  It did (not that I ate much) and I've had a superb night's sleep too

I've looked back and don't seem to have mentioned that I've paid off the rest of my holiday so it's definitely happening now.  A week staying in a little cottage in a village in the northern edge of the Chatsworth Estate with loads of interesting and lovely places nearby.  I do love that part of the world.
Now I am busy making a list of Things To Do.

Back to yesterday, as I was feeling weak and woolly, I brought down a load of T shirts that are too long and started the process of turning them up.  It's not a job that takes much thought of skill, just a bit of measuring, plenty of tacking, a machine with a stretch stitch and the right coloured cotton.  I was lucky in that I only need to get cotton for two colours - the rest all matched nicely with what I have and most of them are now upstairs again, waiting to be worn.  A job well done, I think, even if it did take me several hours.

Today Beth is over as we have some bags to make for someone.  I've cancelled tuition for the week - the 48 hour rule, you know, plus having seen children brought back to school as soon as their symptoms have gone, only to see them sent home again a few hours later, having spread their bugs far and wide, poor kids!

It still feels cold, or maybe that's just me, so I'm looking forward to a hot bath before getting dressed for the day.  But first, coffee!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


Well, that was a wasted day!  Feeling unwell isn't funny, especially the V&D type but things seem to have settled now and by the time I get round to eating a little something again, I should be fine.

The rain is tipping down, reflecting my mood quite well, but it feels warmer than yesterday, thank goodness.  I don;t expect to snuggle under my fleece in the summer!

I had a very pleasant weekend with my Mum and Dad.  We didn't do an awful lot, just a trip to the health food shop, but it was nice and companionable.  The journey home was good too.  No hold ups apart from at the usual places. Little Hadham and Bishops Stortford.  I did a bit of shopping when I got home which is good because I don't think I could cope today!

When I got back, the garden had obviously made the best of my absence and I picked loads of tomatoes and runner beans plus a few carrots (not to self - plant more carrots next year!).  I intended to deal with the runners yesterday but didn't, so that's on today's list together with catching up with the washing.  A shame about the rain but the tumble dryer will have to earn its keep for once.

Regular readers might possibly remember that a while ago I posted a photo of a mysterious plant that was coming up where I had planted a passion flower that never came to anything followed by two that a friend very kindly gave me which also never came to anything.  I concluded that it was just the wrong place or I was the wrong person and decided to let the hostas spread a bit.
It (the plant) didn't look like a passion plant - the leaves weren't right, for instance, and it was growing so slowly but I left it in situ because, you know, a plant . . .
So I was delighted to see, on Monday, that it has sent out another leaf and that leaf is very definitely a passion flower leaf.  See . . .
 . . . so it will be interesting to see what happens now!

And the hostas can stay too.  They've been lovely this year partly because I got the slug pellets down in time.

I shudder to think of what the allotment will look like but I'm not looking today and can't tomorrow so Friday will be weeding and harvesting, I guess, and maybe planting out some more leeks.

It's stopped raining so I've opened the windows and it is colder than I thought.  They will be closed again soon; I just wanted to get some fresh air in.

Because of the bug, I have cancelled most of my tuition this week - there are some things one should keep to oneself.  So I have an unexpected free day today and I may very well get out the sewing machine and work on a couple of projects I have on the go.  And sleep, probably, from time to time.   See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017


If it's not one thing, it's another, isn't it?  I've woken up this morning with a rather fierce tummy upset so this will be short!  Hopefully I will post a proper entry later on.

Monday, 7 August 2017


Good morning, everyone.  Apologies for the silence.  I've been away for a few days, visiting family but things are back to normal now and I will be home shortly.
Back tomorrow!

Friday, 4 August 2017


Good morning, everyone.  It looks as if it might be a pleasant enough day today - the clouds are high and there's a fresh breeze.  Not particularly warm yet, but you never know.  Yesterday was pleasant at time but the fairly stiff breeze made it uncomfortable to sit out which was a shame.  Fingers crossed for better weather to come.

Yesterday I made some dough and then wandered off to Aldi while the dough rose.  When I got back it was about time to knock it back and I added some chopped walnuts and mixed seeds before baking and it was absolutely delicious.  I posted about the recipe here.

The kitchen is in a reasonable state now (minor miracle) and ready for the cleaners.  The rest of the house is getting there; most of the mess is superficial and easily sorted.

After an early morning tuition, I have time to potter around, sorting things out, without breaking into too much of a sweat which is a situation I hope I will always appreciate after so many years of weekend rushing around.

In the garden, the runners are running, the tomatoes are blushing, I'm picking sweet peas and anemones - and on the allotment I suspect the courgettes are romping away too.  In a very small way, definitely the good life.

Before tuition, I want to start off another load so when I get back, it will be ready to knock back, etc.  It's going to be another nut and seed effort, for some friends.  I can see that I shall be making it fairly often.

Well, time is marching on and there's plenty to do so I'll wish you a happy and productive day and say goodbye for now.

Thursday, 3 August 2017


It was lovely and sunny when I woke this morning and still bright when I arrived at Aldi to do some non-food shopping but, oh, dear, it's rapidly dulling off now and the wind is getting up.  Maybe we're due more rain after the shedload we had yesterday afternoon and evening.  I have the windows open, the paint pong is reducing and I'm keeping an eye on what's going on outside.  I had to rush the washing in yesterday and was glad I'd noticed.

Also I set to and dealt with the rhubarb.  It took ages but now I have ten pots of very delicious rhubarb jam and an equal amount just washed, chopped and frozen for another time.  Well worth the effort

Today I'm sorting out the kitchen yet again, then I have a load of ironing to do and a house to tidy for the cleaners tomorrow.

So I'd better get back to work again, hadn't I?

Wednesday, 2 August 2017


Good morning, everyone.  It's cloudy but yesterday turned out very pleasant so fingers crossed for today as well.

I have a surprise visitor - grandson, Alex, came to dinner and is now still fast asleep upstairs.  So I had to buzz around quickly to increase the quantities of my dinner and to make up a bed.  Nice surprise though.

Before then I'd done quite a lot of my list with the rest carried over to today.

A short entry because there's plenty to do!  Back tomorrow.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017


. . . and a pinch and a punch for the first of the month to all my readers.  :-)

After a comparatively chilly overnight (under the covers all night), it started sunny but is dulling over now.  However, the forecast isn't all that bad so fingers crossed as I have a whole stack of washing and drying to do.

In fact, it's a busy day all round.
Looking at my list I have to . . .
do the old finances, work out how much can go into savings and reconcile (is that the right word) the statement with my records
make bread
weed the front patch
do a bit of lesson planning
the aforementioned washing and drying
sort out the kitchen (it hasn't really recovered from Sunday yet)
deal with stacks of rhubarb
< sigh >

Yesterday, after a couple of tuitions (should've been three but there was illness), my lovely friend Julia came round for a chat and stayed for lunch.  Nothing special, just toast and jam, but it was home made bread and home made jam so tasty!
Then I met Beth at the allotment and, between ouches, we sorted out the rhubarb and dug up some more potatoes.  My hips were still achey from last week (just a bit - I can be a drama queen at times) and poor old Beth had a stiff neck, presumably from sleeping awkwardly.
The rhubarb will now be left to do its own thing until next year.
Just for once, there weren't many courgettes which was a relief.  There were, however, enough green beans for us both plus plenty of potatoes.

We needed a bin bag for the rhubarb so you can imagine how much there is.  Some will be too tough but there will be enough to make some jam plus some in the freezer for next winter.  Nice.

Then we finally got round to going to the allotment office and now I am official.  I have my own allotment key at long, long last!  Now I can go very early morning and let myself in.  Three cheers.

I'm planning to make a potato bake today with allotment veg and passata made last year.  It should taste really very good indeed.  So satisfying.

Well, I'd better get going if I am to stand any chance of making inroads into the list.  Wish me luck!