Saturday, 25 June 2022


 Today's garden happy  I was spoilt for choice but, as I've done a garden update for the back, this is from the front.

The first Crocosmia Lucifer, a tall, startlingly red crocosmia that was totally out of place at the back where I first put it so I replanted some of it (it's quite invasive) round the front where it seems happy enough.  This one has sort of fallen over so it's over the concrete but the others are more upright under the kitchen window.  There's loads of flower heads coming so it will look great!
(By the way, I am still pulling shoots up from the back bed, several years after moving it - definitely a survivor, even in my garden)

Good morning, one and all.  We seem to have had some rain overnight but it's looking promising for today.  The sun is starting to make itself known and it feels lovely and mild.

Yesterday was a funny old mixture of sun, cloud and, at one point, even a few drops of rain.  They made us afternoon cakers move hurriedly under the big canopy but they didn't amount to anything much.

Slimming World was, as almost always, a very enjoyable time.  We're a lively bunch and, with my new hearing aids, I'm picking up loads more so able to join in more.  It's great!

Then I finished off the two cakes but I'm so sorry, I totally forgot to take any photos so you will just have to imagine a coffee and walnut sponge and a fairly classic Victoria sponge, both looking absolutely delicious.  There's just something about the look of a home made cake, isn't there . . .

I had booked myself a holiday at the Potters resort in Hopton (where I went in March) but would much rather go to the nearer one at Five Lakes, now it is open.  I decided nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I got into an online 'chat' with someone there and managed to change my reservation from November at Hopton to the beginning of February next year at Five Lakes.  It's a bit more expensive but that's OK.
I have to say, the person I 'spoke' to, James, couldn't have been more helpful.  He bent over backward to be accommodating and to explain everything.  I was very impressed and gave 5* feedback afterwards.
I was relieved to have got that done.

Then I rushed off to Faith's for the Macmillan cake-fest and had a really lovely afternoon.  Faith taught with me for a number of years and she was my 'cover' when I had my coordinator time, my PPA and my management time and we got on very well.
A couple of other ex-colleagues were there too - there should have been three but one has Covid, poor lady - and we had a glorious time reminiscing about this, that and the other as well as getting to know others.
I had very Good Intentions which didn't quite hold up but, none the less, I was better than I could have been.  Faith had made a big jug of not-Pimms and everyone was raving about it, amazed at how like Pimms it is - so it's not just me that thinks that.

By the time I get home, I was shattered!  Such a pleasant day, one way and another, with a bit of achievement thrown into the mix.

Thankfully, today is quieter.  I'm meeting some others from the group for a walk from Tower Gardens to Central Park and back again this morning while this afternoon is really just chilling and enjoying the fine weather (fingers crossed).  I have books and magazines to read, meals to plan, telly and YouTube to catch up on and some washing, drying and ironing to get done - oh, and a new recipe to try.
It's going to be a good day.
How about you?  What are your plans for the weekend?  Have a good'un, whatever they are and be happy.  xx

Garden update

 Mostly taken a few minutes ago so the light isn't great bit it gives you an idea.

I don't usually rate Aldi's plants when they have them.  They are uncared for and weedy (mostly) but they had a trolley of these - some were peppers (red or yellow) ands chillies which looked in great condition and reasonably priced too.
Now, I never have any luck with peppers but I just had to so I had a good nosey and picked out this red pepper.
Those of you who are good at this - is the pot large enough?  I have a bigger one ready but I'm not sure, given my success rates with peppers is 0% at the moment.

I've grown chillies before very successfully but still have plenty of chillies, both in the freezer and dried, to last a year!
The sweet corn is doing nicely.  It's just a shame about the two that didn't make it and I have no idea why.  I just hope they are grouped enough for pollination now.

I've not grown sweet corn before so my fingers are crossed.
One of Julia's plants, the only bush one from her.  She said it should be prolific and early.  Certainly there are hundreds of flowers but, as yet, no babies that I can see.

And one of mine - or, rather, one from the garden centre.  I think one could call these children rather than babies now.  They are the Shirley variety.
Still growing very, very slowly at present but the plant is sending out plenty of leafage and looks happy (fingers crossed).

I decided not to pinch them off and leave it to the plant.  That may be wrong . . .  :-)
And here's the first cucumber, probably as long as it will be and starting to plump out.   I should think I'll be eating it later next week.
There's plenty of babies but none snapping at its heels.  Gluts come later and I find once you actually pick one, the plant seems to accelerate some of the others.  The drive to reproduce, I guess.

(That enterprising snail has been removed!)
One of five little Braeburns.  The sixth fell off, sadly.
And some Flamencos.  The fruit looks good but the leaves and, in fact, the whole tree don't.  I'm sure it has got something but I have no idea what.  Oh, well, time will tell and I will do a bit of reading up.
This is the only ornamental grass I have; the garden really isn't big enough but once the flower heads emerge, as they are now, it looks so very pretty and adds a bit of height.

Yes, that's tomato food on the left - Saturday is food day!
This was one of the bedding flowers Val gave me and they're doing nicely, given that I didn't plant them out for ages, poor things.
The pinks are pinking nicely.
Now, this is my other lupin, bought a few weeks ago.  It was sold as one plant so I was surprised to see that the two flower heads are different colours and, when I looked carefully at the bottom, it's two plants very close together.   I'll let them be for this season but when they stop flowering, I will see if I can separate them and, perhaps, one can go round the front - I'll think about that.

Two for the price of one can't be bad.

So that's the back garden on 25-06-22.  It's at the time when it looks its nicest, all fresh and green and happy.  It's not bad for a small patch, I think.  Certainly, it's making me happy.  xx

Friday, 24 June 2022


 Today's happy is not a garden one, it's a phew, thank goodness one.  Taken yesterday and I know the edges are ragged but butter icing covers a multitude of ragged edges, not to mention making them look so much higher and substantial!  I'm just thankful they didn't flop.

I'll try and remember to take a photo once I've iced them.

Good morning, one and all.  It's a dull start to the day today and Beeb seems to think it's going to stay that way with some sunny intervals.  A bit like yesterday, in fact.  It's still warm though and looks to be continuing warm for some days to come.

As you can see above, I made my cakes and they both came out fine.  I've also mixed up the icing and it's ready to meet its cake although that won't be until after Slimming World.
I had to get some more icing sugar, annoyingly, and I met Faith outside Morrisons.  She said no need to bring the cakes early, just bring them when I show up so that's what I will do.  It makes the morning a lot simpler.

The freebie groove class was fin.  I like the new routines - she's taken out a couple of things I didn't really like (not that I said anything) and I felt I'd had a good workout by the end.

Later on, Lindsey sent a message round to all her groups that she's 'negotiated' a fun and fitness long weekend at Potters Five Lakes at the end of April/beginning of May.  Guess who is top of the 'I'm going' list.   So that's one holiday/short break sorted for next year.

Today is simple.  Slimming World, cake icing and a Macmillan get together.  It should be really pleasant and I'm very much looking forward to it.

Have a really good day, everyone, and take care.  xx

Thursday, 23 June 2022


 Today's garden happy - the cucumber that didn't drop off.  This was the titchy little cucumber that was on the plant when I bought it and I expected it to fall off while the plant was recovering.  However, as you can see, it didn't.  I wonder if I might be picking my first cucumber of the year next week?

The photo makes it look bigger than it really is, mind you.

Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday was, again, absolutely gorgeous but today is more of a mixture with sun, sunny intervals and rain all expected and a yellow warning of storms.  What will be, will be, so I'll see how it all develops.  My biggest decision is whether to leave the covered egg chair out or bring it in!

I did a very silly thing yesterday.  I drove over to the Clock Tower precinct to do my shopping in M&S and Aldi.  At the checkout, I packed away my shopping, looked in my purse for my card and - ah!  Not there.  No panic, I knew where it was, thank goodness, but it was rather embarrassing although, in true M&S style, they brushed it under the carpet, explained the procedure quickly, gave me a slip with a code and said my shopping would be at the service desk when I got back with my card, don't worry, it happens a lot, it's fine . . . etc.  
Because I felt a bit flustered, as one does, it wasn't until I got home that I remembered I actually had enough cash in my purse to pay for that plus anything I wanted from Aldi too.  So I wasted petrol on an unnecessary journey home and back, darn it!
I felt very silly!

I know I said just one garden photo a day, but I've moved the egg chair into the space where the compost bin was, just for now, with a pot of bamboo beside it.  It looks a bit sparse in the photo but it's in a lovely, shady spot under next door's overhanging birch branches and will be a very pleasant place to chill.
(It would look better if I'd taken the cover off, I know!)

Apart from that, I got the ironing done and I enjoyed a chatty personal training session with lovely Lindsey.  It was quite hot so I did a fair bit of resting and relaxing to stay cool.  I got the ironing done though.

Today was going to be rather busy but now it isn't.
Chris and I were going to go to Lathcoats to pick strawberries but Chris had to pull out as her mum is under the weather.  I thought I would go on my own but received the daily email from Lathcoats saying that they were closing PYO to allow more fruit to ripen.  Fair enough but a bit disappointing because I can't go tomorrow and the weekend is busy so it's next Monday at the earliest and what's the betting next Monday will be closed again after heavy weekend picking. 
Oh, well, that's life.

Later on, I have a freebie Groove session.  Lindsey is recording her new routines and finds it easier to do it with a 'class' there - more natural and less of a performance - so she asks for volunteers and I always offer.  I love a free session!

But the biggie today is making some cakes.  I can make a reasonable cake but don't do so all that often nowadays, it only being me here and - you know, Slimming World, etc.
However, my friend, Faith, is having a MacMillan tea/coffee afternoon tomorrow so I offered to provide some cake.  As I think I've already said, I am making a coffee and walnut cake and I thought I would make a classic Victoria sponge with strawberry jam and butter icing too.  
Must dig out my cake tins.

Well, time to stop and get my kitchen into some sort of order before baking.  Have a wonderful day, stay cool, stay safe and keeeeeeep smiling!  xx

Wednesday, 22 June 2022


 Today's garden happy (but taken on Monday)

Monday morning I got out early and sorted out the compost bin.  You can see where it was in the first photo - it looks a lot better now it's dried up and been re-swept.  Now the bin is t'other side of the gate and, when the time comes and I have dealt with the remaining clutter, there's room for a second bin so I can have one on the go and one to fill, just like proper gardeners!
I might take a look and see if I can maybe find some slightly smaller ones.  We will see.  
Anyway, the clematis can stay there and will fulfil its original purpose which is to take the eye away from the bins.
I also have four good pots filled with compost (maybe for the fuchsia cuttings?) and various existing plantings have been thoroughly mulched.
Why move it?  Because the garden room will use up about two thirds of that space, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered.

After all that - a very good morning to you all.  We're having such gorgeous weather this week; wall-to-wall sunshine and temperatures between 20 and 25C which is perfect for us in the UK.  Perfect for me, anyway!

Yesterday was another good day.  I went to Groove just after nine and am definitely building up my stamina a bit as the weeks have progressed.  I'm not as bouncy as some but comparing is silly; I can see personal progress and that is what matters.   I have a nice variety of different activity now.  Monday is circuits which is a sort of HIIT thing, Tuesday is aerobic based and Wednesday is specifically targeted to my individual needs.  Then there's the swimming too.  
Anyway - Groove was good.  It's the end of the five week block so there will be new routines and music next Tuesday.  Lindsey records each new block in her own studio for people who can't make the class and has started asking for volunteers to be a 'class' because her delivery is more natural in a class context so I've volunteered again - I'm always up for a freebie!

Then the lovely Sharon arrived and worked magic with my hair again, bless her.  I'm so lucky to have her as my hairdresser; she's so good and so lovely and friendly.  It looked great when she'd finished which is the reason why I decided not to go swimming and spoil it all!
And talking of swimming, although it is supposed to be July, this sponsored swim, people have already started so I think I will too.  I won't count the distance I have already done but from now on . . .

I did a bit of gardening, a bit of housework and two loads of washing that dried beautifully in the sunshine.  No ironing though - I'll do that today.

My new neighbours seem really nice.  Yesterday, K was pressure washing his front and he did mine at the same time.  So very kind.

Apart from ironing today, I need to do a shop because I'm making cakes for a Macmillan Coffee Day on Friday so need some ingredients.  Apart from a coffee and walnut cake, I am not sure what else to make so must have a think before I make my list.
I didn't do any clothes sorting so I'll do that and I only managed half an hour of last night's Back in Time before giving up and going to bed so will finish watching that today.
Finally, there's personal training later in the afternoon.
All in all, a nice, normal day.  Normal is great!

Have a lovely, normal, pleasant day today.  Take care and be safe.  xx

Tuesday, 21 June 2022


 Today's garden happy.

I love lupins.  So pretty and, if you remember to dead head them, they just keep coming.

Good morning.  After a gorgeous day yesterday, we have another gorgeous day expected today although at the moment it is quite cool and very refreshing.  Luvverly!

I started the day off with some garden stuff and now the compost bin has been moved, I have plenty of good compost in pots and an empty (more or less) bin to refill.  I'll post the photos tomorrow.
It took a fair old time but now it's done and I'm glad it's one.

I sorted through a whole load of photos yesterday and found lots of family stuff, of course, including this - Mum and Dad on their wedding day.  Typical of the time and how lovely.

Circuits was good, as usual.  Afterwards, I had planned to go for a swim but, when it came to it, I was so weary I didn't go.  I came home, did some housework and continued sorting out photos.  There were also some cardboard filing cases packed with visitors' booklets of various places around the UK - posh ones of Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, slightly less posh ones of places like Chatsworth and Beauleigh, and so on.  I went through them but have kept most of them for more detailed reading; they look interesting.

The weariness continued; I was hoping to watch the new Back In Time series which started last night, but by half past seven I was losing the fight to stay awake so I went to bed and didn't wake again until past six this morning.  I've recorded the programme so can catch up later.

Today is more of the same really.  Bit of garden, bit of housework, Groove aerobics . . . that sort of thing.  One different thing - Sharon is round to sort out my hair, bless her.
What I really need to start doing is sorting through some of my clothes.  What with the weather being up and dawn and ditto for my weight, everything's got rather muddled up and needs re-sorting.  There's very little, if anything, to discard but it's all in a right old muddle.  
As I didn't go swimming yesterday, I'm rather hoping to go this afternoon although it seems a shame to mess up my newly done hair.  Oh, well, a bit of a blo-dry and an iron will get it back to shape again, I am sure.

I've already done the watering and nipped out some side shoots.  They are so easy to miss unless you look for them and then, suddenly, you find half your plants have two fruiting stems rather than just the one!

Hopefully, you are having the same fine weather as we are here.  Have a wonderful day and stay safe - there's still a lot of Covid around.  xx

Monday, 20 June 2022


 Today's garden happy - well, happies as you're getting two for the price of one today.

Pretty Sweet Williams.  They always remind me of Mum and Dad who loved them and I always loved that Kate had Sweet Williams in her bouquet when she married Prince William.
The two-for-one.
Following on from yesterday, yes, they are definitely females so proper courgettes - actually three of them, not two.  You can see a male front left and, I think, another front going right - quite different.

Wonder if they will drop off, being the first fruits.  Time will tell.  But how lovely to have three coming along.  Happy!

Good morning, everyone. 
It's Monday.  One day away from the longest day of the year.  I find that hard to realise - it only seems a few days ago that we were grumbling about the dark and gloomy mornings and evenings!  It is quite chilly at the moment - comparatively chilly, anyway - but is forecast to warm up and brighten up into quite a nice day.  Hope so!

Yesterday was a most pleasant day.  I was pretty tired after Saturday's clearing, sorting and making decisions so took things very easy most of the day.
I went out for lunch so wore my new blue dress (with appropriate - er - support underneath) and felt great!  We went to the Hare and I enjoyed a superfoods salad.  I'd asked for a smaller plate one but the bigger one came so now I have two more portions, brought home in a doggy bag, in containers in the freezer which will give me two good lunches during the week.  Nice.
And that was about it really.  I looked through some photos, got the mess in the kitchen cleared up and just chilled.

Today there's more clearing and going through stuff, I have circuits and then I'm going for a swim.  It was so nice doing that last week so it may become a regular thing which I now can do as I don't have tuition any more.  Here is some washing but I think I might leave that until tomorrow.
And that's about it.

No, just thought of one more thing - I want to get the compost bin moved as mentioned in yesterday's garden update.  That shouldn't take long.

Well, have a great day, everyone.  Enjoy the hopefully fine weather and be good!  xx