Friday 31 October 2014


Well, what a surprise!  After the Jack Petchey award ceremony about which I wrote several weeks ago now, I went online and filled in a questionnaire about it.  At the end it said if I wanted to be entered for a prize draw, to fill in my email address.  I nearly didn't, not ever having had any luck with things like that but, at the last moment, thought 'oh, what the heck' and did.
I only got an email yesterday telling me I have won £50 of High Street vouchers!  How lovely.
I have no idea which shops they cover but there's bound to be somewhere I shop.

After that bit of good news, here's the rest.

It was a funny old day, weather wise, yesterday.  Sunny, then raining, then damp and slightly misty.  November without the cold.  I didn't have to go out until evening though, so that was OK.  I ploughed my way through a whole load of marking and levelling and can see light at the end of the tunnel now.

We have an addition - no, additions - to the family.  Beth's tonkinese cat, Indigo, has had six beautiful kittens.  All very exciting and mother and babes are doing well.

In the evening we went out to a place called the Millstream and had a very pleasant meal.  A very pleasant waitress gave us plenty of attention but it was hard to keep serious over one bit.
Me:  I'd like a black coffee, please.
Her:  Would you like milk with that?
Me:  er - no thanks!
Civilisation is a wondrous thing!

Today I'm off for some serious shopping.  But first - more work! Better get going.

Thursday 30 October 2014


It was probably just as well I couldn't see out yesterday morning because it turned out to be a most dull and dismal day with some heavy rain in the afternoon.  Today is supposed to be better, fingers crossed.  It's too early to tell yet.

I have almost finished the little jacket:  just the button band and collar and then the sewing up, which is often the hardest part with the need for as flat a seam as possible.   Maybe today will see it done apart from the buttons which I have to buy.

I also got on with more marking and levelling which has to be done.  Again, it went well, it just all takes time!

I had some fun (sad, I know) looking up recipes.  However did we manage before Internet came along?  Anyway, I found some likely looking ones including a chestnut soup which I want to try out at some point soon.  I have a couple of vacu packs of the little beauties that must need using up by now.  If it's anything like as delicious as it looks, it will join the list of 'useful Christmas recipes'.

Sorry to use the dreaded C word, but I have a friend coming to stay very soon and will be doing her a Christmas dinner, turkey and all, so it's in my thoughts right now.

Overall, yesterday was a lovely, restful day and, hopefully, today will be the same.  I like half term breaks!

Wishing you a safe journey, Diane .  .  .

Wednesday 29 October 2014


Good morning!.  I've taken a peek out but can't see what the weather is doing as it's too dark.  It's supposed to be very wet all day according to various forecasts so I will snuggle down indoors and get on with some marking and levelling.  After all, it has to be done and this is an opportunity.

I heard back from Morrisons who said 'I have passed this on to management and they will be looking to sort this out'.  They're also sending me some 'goodwill gesture' vouchers.  Can't say no to that, can I? In this day and age, even a free fiver is well worth having and I doubt it will be much more than that!  I shall be keeping an eye on things though and will be back in touch if they don't sort out those paving stones.  'Looking to sort this out' doesn't sound as definite as I would like.

I'm getting on with that knitting although I made a very silly mistake yesterday.  For small items, I like to knit both sleeves together, on the same needles using two balls of wool, obviously.  Well, I did the wrist and increased for the main part and found that one sleeve didn't have enough stitches - I had cast on too few.  Talk about feeling silly.  So I now have to rework that bit before I can carry on.  Fortunately it is small and won't take more than a short time.

Before all that though, I need coffee .  .  .

Tuesday 28 October 2014


Good morning!  I have no idea what the weather is like as I've not looked out.  I'm being very decadent and typing this on the laptop in bed which feels very lazy.  Shame I don't have a maid to serve me my coffee, isn't it?

I started on my freezer audit yesterday and managed to get the contents of the front opening freezer sorted, more or less.  That, of course, is the easier of the two but it's the one I tend to put the soups and meals in so it was very helpful.  All I shall say is that I shouldn't need to do much meal shopping until way after Christmas.

I rootled in the chest freezer a bit and found a chicken I was looking for months ago.  I think I will have that next weekend.  I also found some packs of beef mince so must have a think about that to make with that.  I might keep it until Christmas and make something to contrast with the turkey.

I also started on my next knitting project - a little cardigan/jacket made in a nice basket weave stitch that took me ages to get into.  It shouldn't have, it is dead easy, but I was very tired.  Got it now so should make progress today!

The aches are lessening, thank goodness.  I slept well which is the big thing.  I'm hoping to go shopping today, with friends, so can't let a few aches and pains get the better of me.

But first - coffee!

Monday 27 October 2014


It's Monday morning, past 7:30 and I am still in my bed clothes with an empty coffee mug beside me.  Yay!!!   It seems to be sunny out there from what I can see through the crack in the curtains and it feels great!

Yesterday was a day of happenings.

First of all, I went to Morrisons almost as soon as it opened.  As I neared the trolley shed, I stepped on a very uneven couple of paving stones, over went my ankle (as it tends to do), then it sprang back, unbalancing me, the knee of the other leg (the knee that's been causing me problems) wrenched and I fell headlong into the end of the trolleys, fortunately grabbing one as I fell and banging my face on my hand, not on the handle.  Ouch - and one feels such an idiot.  I've had any number of falls from my dodgy ankles in my lifetime and it is still embarrassing.  After doing my shopping I went to talk to the youngster in charge.  Well, he looked like a youngster but then doesn't everyone when you get to my age?  I showed him the uneven surface and whinged but, to be honest, my main concern is for the elderly folk who live in accommodation just over the road and who use the shop regularly.

I got a very polite response and a promise to have it logged but when I got home I contacted 'Central Office' or whatever it's called and now I await a response.

Unfortunately, through the day the aches got worse and worse.  I think I wrenched my back when I grabbed at the trolley and then twisted as my face hit my hand.  So now it's ouch, oooh, inhale and hold, etc!  It'll easy off in time but I shall have another whinge when Morrisons gets in tough and even more if they don't.

That was the drama of the day.  The rest is nice.

In the interests of getting some rationality into the freezer I took out some mince (which turned out to be pork mince), some mixed veg, some chickpeas, some of the rather over chillied tomato sauce made a few weeks ago and, with bits and bobs that need using up in the fridge, made some pork and chickpea chili.  It tastes good and that's six portions in the freezer for easy evening meals.l

Beth and Alex came round and had coffee while Alex did his hour.  That was nice.  Then, in the evening, we all went out to the Hare for a meal together.  That was also lovely.

So a bit of a day.  Today should be nicer, fingers crossed.

Sunday 26 October 2014


Good morning.  It's a dull, slightly damp morning but maybe it will clear up a bit later.  I haven't yet checked the forecast for the day so have no idea what may happen.

It was clocks back overnight, of course.  I woke early so it was extra early today, which is great because it gives more more time.  No, it doesn't really, of course, it just feels as if it does.  So the bread is proving and the many chopped tomatoes are slow roasting in the oven ready to be sieved into gorgeousness when they have thickened down.

After picking such a load of tomatoes last weekend, I left them and sure enough, most of the ripened.  A few bad patches appeared and they have been cut off and chucked, but it is amazing how many I had to roast.  There's still a few more to pick and sort and I am going to ask Alex to do that today when he comes over to do his hour.  Then I can deal with them this week.

I had a soup session yesterday as followers of my other blog will realise.  I had made some lentil and veg soup and decided to thicken it up a bit so I added some frozen mixed veg, a chopped up chicken breast and some orzo (rice shaped pasta) and gave it all a boil up and, my goodness, it made a most delicious tasting thick, chunky soup.  A full meal in its own right and most satisfying.  I shall do that again.  There's several portions frozen as well as what I had last night.

I also got stuck in to some knitting and managed to nearly finish a little garment.  Not going to say what, in case, but it is very cute!

Today is a Special Day.  Beth's birthday.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BETH!   Have a lovely day.

Must check if the bread is ready to bake.  Have a good day, everyone.

Saturday 25 October 2014


 . . . and a very early start, despite it being half term break.  Sometimes this early waking irritates the socks off me and  sometimes it's very useful.  I'm not too annoyed this morning and will probably go back up for another snooze in a little while.

What does feel nice is the lack of that 'pressing' feeling - the need to plan, mark, evaluate, etc.  With nine days ahead of me, there's no urgency.  I will do a bit, of course.  For a start I have Big Writes to mark and that can take for ages, but there's time and enough for that, thank goodness.

Today's plans are both definite and rather indefinite.  The house is clean (thank you, L) and there's meals and plenty available so I don't have to think too hard about the coming week.  There's knitting to do, ironing (shame), washing and drying (and I put them in that order because I'm afraid the ironing has built up again), a bedroom to tidy (when isn't there?) and a fridge to clear (more soup on the way?).  I may or may not get all of that done, depending on how long I sleep and what's on the telly.   It feels good.

I've just thought of another diversion - I had Jack Monroe's new book, A Year in 120 Recipes' on order to be delivered the day it came out so on Thursday I arrived home to be greeted by a package on my doormat.  Yay!  I didn't really have time or energy to do more than a flick through although I have several already marked for trying out.

I went bonkers yesterday and made some soup early morning.  You see, I had these carrots that were going off and I had a bit of time and a Thermomix!  It turned out jolly good so I've written it up and will post it on the recipe blog.  Guess what I'm having for lunch today!!!

I'd better get the second mug of coffee made and the bread on.  I know man cannot live by . . . etc, but it certainly helps!  A couple of weeks ago Morrison's had strong flour reduced so I bought several bags of the stuff.  Unfortunately, now I have run out of my Dove yeast, the sort you can buy in bags, so I really need to take a trip over to Lathcoats to get some more.  Isn't life hard sometimes?  While I'm there I might just be tempted by some fresh eggs (must remember to take the egg boxes with me) or some of their own apples.  Oh, the hardship!

Now for that coffee!

Friday 24 October 2014


So here we are, last day of a very long half term, waking stupidly early (yet again) and thinking longingly of caffeine to get me through the day.  It was quite a warm night here, I think.  However much I love snuggling under my duvet, I can't sleep when I am hot and I spent quite a lot of last night on, not under, the quilt.

It is SEN day so my planning is all ready for my cover teacher.  Maths, reading, big write and some finishing off.  PE bags have gone home, etc.

It's all go, isn't it?  Now for that coffee.  And I have some veg that needs using up so I may have a go at carrot, sweet potato and lentil soup.  That sounds good.

Thursday 23 October 2014


Good mornings, everyone.  I thought it was going to be warmer but it seems to have been a chilly night and I was glad I could snuggle under my duvet and stay cosy.  Even the children are beginning to comment that it is cold.  it isn't really, of course, it is just the contrast and the wind makes is feel cooler than it really is.

Yesterday went OK.  We got loads done which is always satisfying and not, if I can get it all into my format and with my comments on, I will have a clear conscience during the break.

Have a good day, everyone.

I've just come back in to say that Google seems to have put Capcha (or whatever it is called) back on my blog.  I will leave it there for a while because it was taking a while to clear the spam out of the 'spam box' each day.  I hope it isn't too much of a nuisance.

Wednesday 22 October 2014


It was a very blustery day yesterday with some very sharp but short-lived showers and some glorious sunshine.  A typical autumn day, in fact, and the leaves were swirling and whirling around as if they were being chased by somewhing terrifying.
No, not the children!

Mind you, thinking about it . . .

Consultation evenings are over and done now.  We are all so very weary but half term is now just three school days away.  I have plenty of knitting to get on with and, as I have some 10% off codes, I am eyeing Deramore's web site somewhat covetously!  

Today is Wednesday (just in case you hadn't realised).  Reading Revelry, Violins, Library . . . all lovely things that our children are so fortunate to experience.  I'm particularly proud of our music provision.  Not in a personal sense because it is nothing to do with me but just because our younger children are so lucky to have this opportunity to experience playing a musical instrument.  It won't suit everyone but how do you know if you don't try?  They all get the opportunity to try. 
How I am going to miss it all when I go.

 I'd have loved it when I was their age.  I have 'dabbled' in instruments all my life.  I tried viola at secondary, oboe (gorgeous instrument) at college, then did OK at treble and descant recorders and, of course, piano, as a main (and basic) instrument.  Perhaps I will be able to take up recorder again.  I'd like that.  I'm not thinking of more exams, just playing for the sheer pleasure of making music.

When in Morrison's yesterday evening I got another bag of  soup veg.  Not necessarily for soup this time although you never know!  Generally my soups tend to be smooth and silky (thank you, Thermione) but I am wondering about a more chunky, chicken-y, mini-casserole-y sort of production.  Just pondering right now but I do have some nice chicken  bits in the freezer, not to mention some chopped peppers, and so on.  I just need some inspiration really.

Ah well, coffee calleth and I need to respond.   Whoever you are, have a splendid day with loads of success and minimal failure.  

Tuesday 21 October 2014


Good morning.  How's the wind where you are?  I wandered sleepily out to the freezer to get today's soup and bread and butter out and it was breezy, nothing more.  I'm not sure when this not-a-hurricane-any-more is due here though.  Hoping it won't get any worse and that all my readers stay safe and sound.

Must go  - a lot to do and no time to get it done!  Have a lovely day.

Monday 20 October 2014


I had a great night's sleep which is wonderful seeing as I have things on my mind.  Fortunately, I got all the planning, reports and marking done and dusted and it feels really good.

Apart from working on and off, I did a bit of clearing of my freezer (a bit each time I go out to it seems to be doing the trick, not to mention re-acquainting me with what is inside!)  In the process I found four wee pots of sliced leeks, left over from Live Below The Line and not used.  I was going to chuck them away but decided to try a soup (yes, another soup), leek and potato.  Unfortunately the potatoes in the fridge were - er - over, so I used half a can of value spuds I had in the cupboard and the results were pretty good.  I've posted it in my other blog, link to the left in here.

Together with what I've found in the freezer, I have enough soups to see me through school lunches until well into November now.

That was about it really.  Not the most exciting of weekends but in five days it will be half term so I can chill then.

Sunday 19 October 2014


Good morning.  It's very damp outside with rain overnight and I gather we may be due for some rough weather early in the week with rain and high winds.  Ah, well, what will be, will be!

Yesterday was hard work day and I got a lot done.  I had forgotten Alex was over while Beth went to a tutorial.  He decided he would do his hour's gardening so I set him to pulling up and stripping some of the tomato plants: the pear shaped ones and the accidental hundreds and thousands.  There's a fair number of fruits that might ripen indoors or could make chutney.  The bed the tomatoes were in looks a lot better now.  The others will have to go soon as well, when I have time, and there's still quite a lot of fruit on them that is unlikely to ripen on the vine now.

I made several batches of soup as I had a bag of chopped soup vegetables to use up.  I ended up with eight small portions of tomato soup, six of butterbean and veg soup and three of lentil and veg, plus some for lunch yesterday and some for tea today.  That'll see me through school lunches well into November.

I can see the bag of soup veg being a regular on my shopping list over the winter.  It makes it all so much easier and when time is precious, that makes a big difference.

I hope you have a good Sunday, whatever you're doing.  I need my first coffee now and I suspect it will not be caffeine free!

Saturday 18 October 2014


Yesterday evening I popped out into the garden to look at the tomatoes.  Yes, they're still there, still producing slowly.  I haven't picked for over a week now and there were enough to fill two bowls.  Not all were ripe, especially from the pear shaped tomato plants (pear shaped tomatoes, not pear shaped plant!).  I stripped them of fruit because they have finally been blighted!  In between reports today I need to get what's left into the brown bin, weather permitting.

There's still a number of green beef tomatoes left on the plants, as well as others from the growhouse - they've all fallen over now and I've not bothered to pick them up.  There's also some more accidental hundreds and thousands to pick today.  It may have been a slow season but it has actually been a pretty good season too!

My biggest decision today is do I have a PJ day or do I get dressed?  Right now I have no idea.

Friday 17 October 2014


 I'm teaching my class today rather than having SENCo time as my cover is out of school.  In a way that's good as the lessons are very much carry ons from yesterday and it will save having to explain in any great detail to anyone else.

This weekend is going to be horrendously busy, as is next week, but at least half term is coming up.  One more week and one day to go and then we can rest a bit.  I can't wait!

Thursday 16 October 2014


Hi, everyone.  I've been up since just before three but, to be fair, I was asleep before eight yesterday evening as I was dreadfully tired.  I had a cunning plan which was to give my observed lesson plan to my observer yesterday so I wouldn't totally rework it overnight (has been known!!!!).  It worked but I still woke terribly early.  Half term is coming up so I will get my sleep patterns back to some sort of sensible order then.

I hope!

Yesterday was OK.  Short staff meeting, lesson plans that worked OK and PPA in the afternoon.  Next week will be the last week of the half term and I feel we've hardly got started.

As for today, I am certainly ready!  Maybe over-ready, if there is such a thing.  I have supply cover after play for my coordinator time so have planned in great detail.

B etter think about getting dressed and setting off!  Hope you all have a good day.

Wednesday 15 October 2014


Good morning!  I've been up for ages, working hard on resources for my observed lesson tomorrow.  I always vow that I won't make a special and artificial effort and each time I do!!  It's partly pride - you want to be at your best when being watched - and partly to do with evaluation of the school itself.

We saw the sun yesterday.  Yes, we did.  It came out at lunchtime and cheered everyone up no end.  Today doesn't look too bad either.  At least it is expected to stay dry until the evening.

And now it is bath time!

Tuesday 14 October 2014


Good morning.  Wasn't it a dreadful day, weatherwise, yesterday?  It did clear up at times and the children did get some outdoor play at lunchtime and in the afternoon but even so . . .

I was on playground duty in the morning so got out of that.  However, I had to hurriedly re-jig the English lesson, finding appropriate photos via Google, as there was no way we were going to go for an 'Autumn Walk' in rain that hard.  To my dismay, someone turned up for my extension writing group, but I think the children left with me were more dismayed because that meant they would have to WORK!
After the initial stunned silence, they were magnificent and produced some brilliant work, so that was very good.

In the afternoon they made switches for their circuits using card, split pins and paperclips.  They are LOVING this unit on electricity and circuits.  What a pity it is part of the old curriculum and next year it will be no more, not for year 2 anyway.  This year we are still doing the old curriculum in years 2 and 6 because of assessment/SATs.

Today is an ordinary day except for after school when there's the baby shower party thing.  I'm looking forward to that.  Hope the weather stays good for it.

Monday 13 October 2014


It's a jolly wet morning which seems likely to continue which is a bit of a pain because literacy this morning involves going out to 'collect' adjectives relating to autumn leaves - nice crisp crunchy ones, not damp, soggy ones.  Hmmmmmmmm . . .

Yesterday was a pleasant, if sleepy, day.  I made that second batch of soup and, in doing so, used my second Thermomix bowl for the very first time.  One soup was for lunch (and one portion for today's lunch at school) while the other is for the freezer for lunches for the rest of the week.  Very frugal it is too.  Home made soup with home made bread and home grown tomatoes for nibbles afterwards.  Lovely!

I got the little bootees finished.  Three cute pairs for a new born and I hope she likes them.  Because I haven't knitted for ages, my left hand ached like crazy yesterday but it is OK now.

Whatever the weather, I hope we all have a satisfying day today.

Sunday 12 October 2014


Good morning, everyone.  It's a bit of a dark, gloomy morning although there are signs that the sun is trying to break through, which would be nice.  I don't think the forecast is too encouraging at the moment though.

The poetry thing was interesting last night.  I have to admit, I thought Beth's poem stood its own against the other five winners and some.  But then I'm rather biased, I expect.

When I was ill last week, I bought a bag of soup vegetable mix from Morrisons.  The fresh veg kind, not the kind with pulses and pearl barley.  It was actually a fairly traditional mix of chopped carrot, leek, celery and swede and great value if you consider that to make it from component vegetables would cost a lot more and one wouild have to be sure of using up the rest of the veg (which I wasn't).

It needed using up so I made a lentil and veg soup this morning that has turned out so easy and so delicious I have blogged about it on my recipe blog.  I've got about a third of the soup mix left plus some sweet potato and some butter beans so will make another soup with that.

I shall pop to Morrison's this morning for some bits and pieces and then the rest of the day will be an inside job again.  I can say in here because I am confident the person concerned doesn't know about this blog - on Tuesday we are having a baby shower (which she knows about) and I found a cute downloadable pattern for some little bootees.  I've made two pairs and want to make one more pair to make a nice little set.  If I have time I will then make a wee beanie hat in the same colours to go with them.  So knitting is on the agenda.

I've also ordered wool to make a little teddy bear all in one, but that will be a gift after baby is born and can be my half term project.  The bootees have been made using a bit of my considerable stash of yarn.

Better go and have my bath and get dressed as Morrison's opens at ten.  Have a good Sunday.

And I can see sun!!!

Saturday 11 October 2014


Having been awake since three o'clock, I'm now getting tired again so, given that it's Saturday, I shall be floating off to bed again soon to get a bit more kip.  Nice!

My performance management went well.  There's nothing like a few appreciative comments to boost ones self esteem, is there.

Then the lovely teacher, who takes my class on Friday, commented on what lovely lessons had been planned, which was nice of her.

And finally I came home to a clean and tidy(for me) house to have my hair cut and blow dried.  So-o-o-o-o relaxing.  To cap it all, when I made my online payment, I saw I had more money in my account than I thought I had.  No complaints there then.

Today is the usual Saturday stuff.  Bread, washing, ironing, snoozing . . .    I'm out this evening because Beth has been given a Highly Commended in a poetry comp and there's some sort of 'do' in town.

But for not I'm back off to bed for a bit more sleep!  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday 10 October 2014


The end of the week and I have my SEN day today.  Not that I have much to do since K took over most of the responsibility, but I do have a few reports to write and some assessments to do and also I have my much delayed performance management coming up.  Plenty to think about, that's for sure.

School's been going fine since I was off.  The children have settled again and are producing some super work.  This week we started a unit on Powerpoint.  On Monday, when asked, no-one knew anything about PP.  Yesterday, after starting a presentation about the great fire of London, the ideas about what they had learns came flooding out.  I would call that outstanding progress!!!

Today my house gets cleaned and after school Sharon comes round to chop my hair.  Both these make me feel happy!  Simple things but important things.

So I'd better finish clearing all my mess, hadn't I?

Wednesday 8 October 2014


Brrrrr - it's a bit chilly again this morning and my 'get up' clothes now include dressing gown and slippers.  Mind you, if one will wake up at 3:25, what can one expect!!!?

I haven't looked out yet although when I woke there was a bright and shining moon, but the weather forecast is dire (again).  Rain just about all day, says the BBC weather site.  I hope they've got it wrong again!

Yesterday was an OK day.  I taught, taught again, continued teaching, etc, all day.  Today is PPA day plus library so that takes a chunk out of teaching.  Oh, and staff meeting after school.  Nice!

Have a good 'un!

Tuesday 7 October 2014


Good morning.  I could have done with more sleep this morning but habits will out and I'm up and typing!

Yesterday evening I was out at the Jack Petchey Awards event in town.  Alex won an award.  We're extremely proud of him.  Please do look it up on Google if you want to know more.

Yesterday was harvest festival day at school.  Half the school walked down to church in the morning and the other half didn't in the afternoon.  The forecast was so bad and it had been raining over lunch so we took the decision to hold it in school.  Of course, the rain held off and we could have walked but there you go.  It was lovely anyway.

Today we have Investors in People in school.  Last time I was on the interviewee list.  This time I am not - phew.

Now I'm off to have my bath which will warm me up.  Have a good day!

Monday 6 October 2014


Back to school today.  It feels very odd indeed.  I'm not 100% but well enough.

We're supposed to get rain all day.  That's unfortunate as it is harvest festival and we all walk down to the church but if it rains we have it in school instead.

Ah well, what will be, will be!

Sunday 5 October 2014


Brrrrr - it's cold.  I woke briefly a few times in the night and thought it was a bit chilly and this morning there was a little frost on the roof of the extension.  No wonder.

Right now, though, it is sunny and bright, so hopefully it will warm up and be a lovely autumnal day.  We had a bit of sun yesterday but much of the day was wet.

It was lovely to feel the energy yesterday.  I made bread, passata, pear jam and a pear cake.  Then I crashed out in front of the telly and slept through part of Strictly, much to my own annoyance.  I will take things really easy today.  I just have to do a little shopping when Morrison's opens and then I shall get the planning finished and relax.

Hope you all have a good day.

Saturday 4 October 2014


It's a cool, gloomy, damp morning and I'm wondering if rain is due.  I think we could do with a downpour but after yesterday's glorious sunshine it would be a shame if the weekend was wet.

The tomatoes are still coming in.  The accidental tomatoes (the hundreds and thousands I didn't plant but which came up from last year's seeds) are now producing: not at a great rate but several per day.  They're so small that it takes several to be the equivalent of one normal sized one.  The beef tomatoes (accidental in another way in that they were given to me and I thought they were a different kind) have also decided to get their act together and are ripening fast.  I smile happily each time I pick a few - free is great!

Each day this week I have wobbled my way out to pick any ripening tomatoes (which proves it was not flu I've had) and with today's load I must make some more tomato sauce for the freezer.  I've enough to keep me going for a while now.

I have to admit that, with blight warnings coming daily from Blightwatch, I'm picking not-completely-ripe tomatoes and finishing them off on the window ledge to avoid going out one morning and finding tomatoes I could have picked yesterday all stinky-slimy brown.  I have no idea if this would really be so as the only time I've been unlucky enough to be badly blighted it was slower early onset blight, but one hears horror stories!  However, I do have a window ledge full of ripe ones as well as the not-yet-ripe ones, mostly large beef tomatoes, so another roasting is on the cards for today.

I'm still contemplating next year's tomatoes.  I had decided to go with sungold but Dad tells me they are very susceptible to blight so now I am rethinking.  The yellow mini plums I had this year were great as were the cherry tomatoes (the plant I ended up trailing along the fence and which is still producing trusses and ripening, despite not having been fed for ages now).  I wouldn't buy another beef tomato - they've been prolific but they did get blossom end rot and the fruits are not perfect.  Fine for cutting out the bad bits and cooking but not for producing that perfect slice to go over a burger or whatever.  Probably my fault, but . . .
The large plum (giulietta)was fantastic and I will buy more than one next year, if at all possible.  There's still a few green fruits but they are very slow to ripen now.
The indigo rose has been fun, a novelty, but I wasn't totally impressed with the flavour and won't bother again.

However, the plant (or plants) I've been very pleased with are the ones I grew from a freebie pack although, annoyingly, I now can't find the rest of the pack.  I managed to plant out three and they have produced tasty pear shaped fruits that have been ripening slowly and steadily for several weeks now, despite a very late start.  I've just googled in hopes and it's called 'red pear'.  Another one on the list!
Pretty, aren't they (not my photo, borrowed from Google Images)?

Thinking of trailing along the fence, at last, at long, long last, my tayberry is sending up new growth, indicating an improved root structure.  Poor plant, it's been much maltreated since I bought it, staying in its pot for much longer than intended, then planted not terribly well, dug up and replanted in the same place but deeper.    After leaf browning and generally looking not terribly happy all year, it seems to have got off its backside and produced some nice, green leafage at last and maybe in two years time I will get some decent fruit.  That would be great!  Tayberry jam from my own plant!  So maybe no more trailing along the fence for tomatoes, good idea though it was for this year.

A walk down memory lane here - The second house G and I bought (in London) had a nice little garden that was mostly landscaped, but at the bottom was a wonderful loganberry (a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry) patch.  I'd never met loganberries before but was impressed with the large juicy berries that made such delicious jam.  However, with two young children and a busy social life and an undeveloped appreciation of cooking and preserving, I didn't get the best out of it.  I regret that now.  I wonder if the patch is still there.  Probably not after all this time.

I've just looked up tayberry and it says that it is larger, sweeter and more aromatic than a loganberry and though they are both blackberry/raspberry crosses.  It also says they can be eaten raw or cooked (good) but are not easy pickers (whatever that means) and cannot be picked on an industrial scale.

Another maltreated plant that's has decided to give up and grow is a passion flower so I'm in hopes than next year it will flower and look really pretty.

I'm still not 100% but well enough to waffle on here in a way I have not been up to all week, so obviously very much on the mend.  Thank you all very much for your kind and encouraging comments.  They have all been appreciated, whether or not I have replied to them.

Better go and get the dough on and start chopping up the tomatoes.  And I need another coffee too!  Have a good weekend.  And if you've managed to get to the end without nodding off - congratulations!

Friday 3 October 2014


Well, still at home.

Yesterday morning I had a phone class from school, just checking how I was and whether she could do anything.  Trying to talk set off the coughing and I was very sternly ordered to not even think of coming back to school until Monday and that supply was being arranged so there (or words to that effect).

It was a huge relief, talking off the pressure of having to decide before the end of the day whether I'd be OK.  To be fair, one doesn't * have * to decide by the end of the day, but it does make getting a supply easier if one can.

Anyway, the decision was taken out of my hands and , oh, the relief.

I can't remember the last time I had four days off.  Well, actually, yes, I can.  It was when I had flu and it was decades ago.  I don't have flu but I do have something rather persistent and part of me is glad I'm not spreading it around as it's most unpleasant.

Hoping to feel better today.

Thursday 2 October 2014


Still off . . . and feeling incredibly guilty!

Back soon!

Wednesday 1 October 2014


. . . and it is the beginning of October.  Pinch and punch, as the saying goes, but nothing too hard as the muscles are all wobbly!

I'm still off and hoping that today I will get progressively better instead of progressively worse, as yesterday.  Fingers crossed!