Sunday 30 April 2017


Hello again, everyone.  End of the month!  Hasn't it gone quickly?
It's looking hopeful for a reasonably pleasant day today.  Yesterday was a mixture of warm sun and cool cloudiness and today looks like being more or less the same.  No complaints here.

We had a very 'profitable' time down the allotment yesterday (by that I mean we got loads done).  We've nearly cleared one patch of weeds and will then start on the next patch.  Beth got the membrane down, pegged down and partly covered with bark.  Today we are doing the rest of the bark covering (must remember to put the wheelbarrow in the car) and then trying to move some wood stuff that's in the way.  After that I expect to do yet more weeding - getting there, slowly!

(thank you, Google Images)
Some naughty weeds had dared show their heads on the bit I have cleared but the hoe soon dealt with them (temporarily anyway).
We'll soon be thinking of sowing and planting.  Exciting.

When I got home I was so shattered that I had a nice snooze after lunch while some washing was drying.  Yes, I know I said I had done it all but I'd forgotten a little heap on the kitchen floor.

I had to laugh at myself.  At the moment I am putting the seedlings out during the day and bringing them in at night.  Last night I woke up suddenly from a sound sleep, remembering that I hadn't brought them in so at around 1:00 I was fumbling my way outside to do so.  It didn't feel at all cold but I'd have been gutted if there was a sudden frost.  Fortunately, I went back to sleep very quickly: a clear conscience is a good thing to have.

The other thing I have on the seedling table is some sprouting spuds.  Last year we didn't dig up all the potatoes so when Beth dug over the patch, loads of them were beginning to sprout.  They are now replanted but I thought I would have a go at growing a few in bags at home, just for fun and to see.  I have some very strong rubble bags so I thought I'd use them.  I won't get many spuds, I am sure but then I don't need many, living on my own, do I?
(not my photo)
Today I already have my bread dough rising and I shall get lunch prepared and some seeds planted before trundling down to - guess where - the allotment, of course.  Then Beth's coming back for lunch and I will probably fall asleep again this afternoon.  I need to get some netting and a few other bits and bobs but there is no way I am going to any of the garden centres on a bank holiday weekend.  Tuesday or Wednesday will have to do for that!  Or online shopping, of course!

Well, I'd better be up and doing.  There's a few pots soaking in the sink and the bread might need attention before I go up, bath and get ready for the day ahead.  Wishing a lovely, peaceful day to all my readers.

Saturday 29 April 2017


Good morning, everyone.  The sun is just starting to shine and it looks as if it will be quite a pleasant day which bodes well for the plans Beth and I have down the allotment later on this morning.  Yesterday was OK - cold and breezy and not always sunny but there was no rain and my sheets dried on the line beautifully.

I prefer white bedding - sheets, duvet cover and pillowcases and to see them, clean and shining white, blowing about on the line, is a heartwarming thing to me.  I know I've said this to the point of being tedious, but after so many decades of not having the time (or energy) to hang my washing out over the weekend, even if the weather permitted, it's a real pleasure, not a grind at all.

Mind you, I might feel differently if I'd had to wash it all by hand and wring out the excess moisture with a mangle.  I have fleeting memories of my mum using her mangle and very hard work it was too.  She would never let me anywhere near it in case my wandering little fingers got in the way but I was fascinated by the way it was dripping wet on one side and looked almost try on the other.

I'd hate to go back to those days, wouldn't you?

Apart from that yesterday, Beth came round to sew and I did a lot of group admin stuff on Facebook in between re-reading 'Anne of Ingleside' for the umpteenth time on my Kindle and dealing with another bank issue.

Actually, it wasn't that bad.  I did some early morning online purchases.  One went through fine, the next didn't, and I realised that the bank was querying it as it was the same sort of area that was fraudulent use a fortnight or so ago.  Sure enough, later on, the phone rang and it was the fraud dept again.

Now, I do have problems with that as I have it on record with the bank that I am hard of hearing and can't 'do' phone calls all that well.  It was lucky that Beth was there yesterday so, when I realised I wasn't going to hear it clearly enough, I handed it over to her and she did the necessary, pushing the appropriate buttons to assure them that, yes, they were genuine payments!

I have no problem with the actions they took - after all, they are protecting my money - but I do have big problems with the lack of reasonable adjustment.  If I had an iPhone or similar, I could verify the payments quickly, but I don't, I have an old and cheap one for phone calls and texts - oh, and rather inadequate photos.  Is there no other way, I wonder?  Something online, perhaps?

Changing the subject, today is an allotment day.  We haven't been down all week for various reasons so I'm expecting the first thing will be a good hoe of the weeds that have dared to show their faces since the rain.  I won't be taking the mower but I may need to pop down tomorrow to give the grass a haircut.  The main aim today is to clear more weeds and to get the ground under the other two fruit trees covered with membrane stuff ready for more bark chippings.

Apart from that, there won't be a lot else to do today.  I don't need to go shopping, there's no washing to do, the kitchen needs a tidy but that's a ten minute job.  I will make some bread after the allotment work, which will be satisfying, and it's Doctor Who this evening.

Oh - and I need to research simple fruit cages.  I don't know anything about them but it must be something I can put up and get down easily.
Wish me luck!

Friday 28 April 2017


Yesterday, a friend said that they read my blog from time to time, especially when they are away so they get an accurate report of what the weather is like at home.  I had to laugh at that!  So I can report that there's no frost and the strawberries have survived!  In fact, despite the chilly weather, everything seems to be growing up/out/flowering - especially the strawberries!
We had rain on and off yesterday which has been very good for the parched soil and means I don't need to water the pots.  I'm not sure about today:  there are clouds but there are also breaks in them so it could go either way
I saw a photo posted by a friend on Facebook who lives in Switzerland earlier.  They've had snow overnight!

I did the ironing, all of it, and now have a more or less empty washing basket and a completely empty ironing basket.  A very satisfying feeling.  A shame about the kitchen but I will sort that out today.  I believe I have no reason to go out today, nothing scheduled in the diary, no school, no tuition, so I can get on with homey things like changing the sheets on my bed (with the necessary washing, drying and ironing) and sorting out the fridge which does rather need it after last weekend's family meal.  And the kitchen!

It's nearly the end of the month now so a finance update is on the list too.  I do like to keep on top of my spending and saving now retirement has landed.  Although I am fortunate to have been in a profession that has a reasonable pension, because I no longer go out and work for it, there's always that slightly 'odd' feeling about it all and I monitor things a lot more carefully than I ever did when I had a monthly salary.  I know that isn't really rational but there you go!  Anyway, I should have some to move over into savings.  I must pretend I can't use my debit card from time to time - it works wonders.

The other thing I shall do it look up some recipes for starters.  Instead of going to the Hare for our girls' night, we're coming here and I am providing a starter.  I have one idea - my tomato and lentil soup, but just a small portion, in a cup rather than a soup bowl, with croutons.  I shall look around via Google to see if I can find any more ideas - I have a week to decide, after all.

That's it really.  It should be another pleasant, gentle day, with lots of normal little things to keep me busy.  Contentment cannot be too highly rated - it is lovely and I am lucky.

Thursday 27 April 2017


Good morning!

Yesterday was somewhat of a hokey cokey day, especially with the washing.  Out-in-out-in . . . We had rain, we had hail, there was even a bit of snow mixed with the rain at one point.

Right now it is sunny and the sky is blue but - but - we've had quite a frost.  And who didn't cover the strawberries last night as she thought it was getting warmer?  AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!
They're covered now and fingers crossed.  They don't look as if they are damaged but there's not a lot I can do about it if they are, is there?  Not now.

For a lazy day, I got a fair bit done yesterday.  Three loads of washing, two of drying (intermittently) and one of ironing.  I shall give the last load a half an hour wash soon before making the most of the sunshine and pegging that out.  Then I shall iron the second load from yesterday before tackling the kitchen.

After that there were more birthday gifts (not great for the old weight loss but delicious, all the same) and I really enjoyed the tuition.  We're moving on fast now and it's so encouraging.

AND - my card finally arrived.  Nothing else yet, but I'm expecting some sort of explanation and if one isn't forthcoming or it isn't satisfactory, I shall be popping in a formal complaint.  On using my new card to check my bank account, I saw that the fraudulent payments have now been refunded - about time too!

I popped into Morrisons on the way back from tuition and, to my delight, saw that some of the bags of wonky spuds were King Edwards.  I love King Edwards potatoes so, of course, I bought a bag.  Jacket potatoes for tea and roasties on Sunday.  In fact, I shall prep some and freeze them so I have roasties available without any hassle!

There's a bit more planning to be done this morning and, looking at the carpet, I think I need to run my cleaner over it.  Then I'm off into school pm for Y2 reading.

I seem to either have a number of new readers or a few who are reading back over old posts.  Whichever it is, a warm welcome to you and please fee free to leave a comment.  Don't be put off if a tab opens to a dodgy place - just shut it down quick.  I have no idea why it does this, nothing whatsoever to do with me, very annoying and Blogger doesn't seem to care two hoots.  It doesn't always.

Well, the kettle has boiled so I'm off to make my first coffee of the day.  As I've been typing this, the frost has been melting fast.  Stay warm, have a lovely day and fingers crossed for the berries.

Wednesday 26 April 2017


Good morning again.  It's still cold out there, made colder by a fairly brisk breeze.  I've taken advantage of the breeze to hang out the first lot of washing and my hands are so cold!  I gather rain is expected at some point and, for sure, it looks very gloomy.
Yesterday was gloriously sunny and warmed up considerably through the day which was welcome.  Even so, I put the blanket over the strawberries overnight.

School was fun, as was lunch with Beth.  It's nice to feel I have the best of both worlds, isn't it?

I'm expecting to stay in and potter for most of today, with two tuition sessions later on in the day.  I have to finish this week's planning this morning and then I will have some ironing, I expect, unless what's on the line gets soaked in some rain!  It's blowing madly about right now so should be good and fresh by the time it's all dry.

Given that I'm having downstairs and up the stairs to the landing redecorated at the start of May, I was thinking I ought to sort out the cupboards that I am going to need to empty, but I have remembered that I did that just before Christmas,  The shed needs a good clear out but it's too cold for that today.  I don't even have bread to make as the loaves I baked for the weekend didn't get totally used up and are still sitting in the freezer.Maybe I will just have a lazy day!  Actually, it is quite nice that things have slowed down somewhat since the weekend and Monday which were well busy one way and another.  Some 'me' time is always appreciated.

Well, I'd better stop now.  The coffee mug is empty and needs refilling.  I seem to have a lot more people reading this blog over the last few days so, to all of you, welcome and have a good day.  Stay warm!

Tuesday 25 April 2017


Good morning, everyone.

Well, what a lovely day yesterday.  Nothing noisy or rumbustious but plenty of gentle happiness.

First of all, I went into town to sort out the debit card thingy.  Suffice it to say, there had been a cock up their end and I am not particularly impressed.  However,I will wait until I get the letter from the appropriate department before deciding whether to make a formal complaint or not.  Everything has been sorted now by a very pleasant and helpful lad - yes, he was a lad, couldn't have been much older than Alex - who was extremely obliging and sorted out some cash for me without any hassles.

So I went to John Lewis and bought the little clock which is now sitting in my handbag ready for use.  I haven't tried the alarm - there's no way it would be loud enough for me to hear without my hearing aids, but I didn't buy it as an alarm clock!
Also the car got filled up - it was getting rather low!

Then it was home to a coffee before Beth and Jane whisked me off to the Hare for a rather delicious and complete lunch.  I was piggy and had a small Caesar salad with chicken and a side of chips (I love their chips) and then I had a dessert too, which I don't usually.  Lots of chat and chuckles made it a really nice time.

Beth came home with me and we chatted over coffee and shortly after she had gone there was a knock at the door and there was one of my pupils with a big bunch of flowers and a lovely card.  I was rather overwhelmed and might have shed a few tears as I said thank you.  Wasn't that lovely?

I now have three vases of flowers brightening up the living room.  I do love getting flowers.

Evening was quiet but I was pleased to get a stack of ironing done.  Yes, I know, not really a birthday thing, but I do love an empty ironing basket and I have more washing/drying for today so wanted to get it all sorted.

Today is mostly quiet.  As well a s the aforementioned washing, etc, I want to get the tuition planning done and Beth will be round for lunch, after which I shall be doing my granny help thing with Foundation Stage.
I've already done my weekly sourdough feed and made my weekly things with the discard - crumpets this time rather than pikelets.  The kitchen is still pretty tidy after having Mum and Dad to stay over the weekend so there's not much to do in there, just emptying the bin really.

We had a frost this morning.  Just before the sun came up, there was nothing - I checked because of the strawberries.  As the sun rose, so did the frost - you could almost see it increasing.  I threw a fleece over the plants so they should be OK and it's nearly all gone now.  It was interesting to watch it.  Further north they have had snow but, judging by the clear blue skies here, it's going to stay away.  Good!

Finally, thank you very much for your birthday greetings yesterday, either in here or in Facebook.  Rosemary - what you said was lovely and really encouraging - many thanks.

Well, it's time for another coffee and then I must hang out the first lot of washing and then have my bath and get dressed.  Have a good day, one and all, and stay warm.

Monday 24 April 2017


Welcome to April 24th.  Best day of my life - first day of my life, in fact!  :-)   I'm really glad I was born in the spring.  I love the spring; it is so full of colour and new life.  Actually, I love all the seasons for different reasons but - for now - I love spring best!

Yesterday was splendid.  After a pleasant morning pottering in the kitchen while Mum and Dad read and watched snooker, other family members turned up and we had a lovely family lunch together with a few pressies (for me) and lots of laughter.  Mum and Dad are now at home and I'm on my own for a short time but I'm being taken out for lunch and am so looking forward to that.

I'm finally getting better at judging amounts at these family meals.  Yesterday, after everyone had had their fill, there was just a little bit left, enough for my tea tonight but not to clog up the fridge for days.  Beth took some home with her for Alex, which was nice.

I shall be popping into town first thing.  I still haven't got my bank card and I know we've had a long Easter weekend but a fortnight is not particularly great and I want to get my hands on my money again. So, bank, here I come, proof of identity in hand, wanting to know when I can get my new card and if they can let me have some of my money!

If they do let me have some dosh, I am heading for John Lewis (again) as there's a little clock I want to get.  I saw it a few weeks ago and thought I would give it a ponder before shelling out.  It's a little travel clock that folds up into a sort of pocket watch size and I want it to keep in my bag for things like tuition, etc.  I don't have a wrist watch as they annoy me, so this will be so useful.

Lunch will be at the Hare.   I've looked at the online menu and I haven't a clue what to choose!  Very much looking forward to it though.

After that I will head off home for some R&R and to catch up on the telly I missed over the weekend.

It should be a good day, starting off with some nice coffee, I think.

Sunday 23 April 2017


Waking at half past two is ridiculous so thank goodness, after an hour of reading, I managed to drop off again.  One of these days I will manage to sleep through, I am sure.
It's dull outside but not, wet, unlike yesterday when it started drizzling which turned into proper rain before drying up for the sun.  Not enough rain for the garden, of course, but better than nothing.

After a leisurely morning, we went into town in the afternoon so I could show off John Lewis.  My card hasn't yet come and that's fortunate in a way because I was tempted by one or two things as we strolled round.

Once home, I finished off what turned out to be a simple dinner.  Lasagne that I had put together beforehand, garlic bread and a simple salad followed by cheese and crackers.

Today is a bit busier as I have more coming round for lunch.  I have boiled a gammon joint and with it I will provide salad, cheg, coleslaw and jacket potatoes.  Nothing too tricky hut all tasty and filling.  Then it is a selection of cheeses with crackers and grapes.  I am hoping there won't be too much left over.

I have to remember to put the seedlings outside during the day now.  The courgettes are starting to get a bit leggy straining to grow to the light and I don't want that.

I think all the tomato seeds have germinated.  That's the seeds I harvested from a tomato in a bag given to me by a friend who had grown them from seeds she harvested from a tomato she brought back from holiday.  It's not as complicated as it sounds  - honest!

I followed this method.
As I thought they might not all grow, I planted four per pot but they have all come up.  Fortunately, my dad will take some off my hands in swaps for the sungolds and montellos he's giving me.  Bartering is great!

Well, it is past six o'clock and I have a lot to do, so I will stop and get on with the morning's tasks.  Have a good day.

Saturday 22 April 2017


Good morning, everyone.  It's just past half past five and it is getting light.  I love the dark winder mornings when the curtains are closed against the chill and the heating makes everything cosy and warm but I also love the lighter starts to the day when nature seems to get going so much earlier and it makes me feel energetic and sparky.

It's not warm, mind you, and is due to be colder.  I'm looking forward to those days when I can throw open the doors and sit out in the mild mornings and watch the brightness chase the dark away.

Yesterday was a busy day but I got loads done.  It's odd how days like that can seem so daunting before hand but, when you start and work steadily through your list, it can go so much more quickly than you expected.

So beds got made up, the kitchen was cleared and tidied, I made two white loaves and two rhubarb and ginger cakes,the tomato and lentil soup is all ready for today, the house is clean and relatively tidy and the shopping for the weekend is all done.
Mind you - remind me never to go shopping in Somerfield on a Friday morning again.  Talk about crowded!

Today should be an easy and pleasant day.  After lunch we're going into town so I can show off our new John Lewis, not to mention places like the White Company and Hotel Chocolat.  Then it's home again so I can get dinner sorted out - lasagne, salad and garlic bread.  Yum!

It's going to be a great day - I hope yours is too.

Friday 21 April 2017


Good morning!  A bit cold, a bit dull outside but nowhere near a frost so my fingers are thoroughly crossed for the next few days!

I was sitting and thinking, earlier, about garden plans and realised that, between us, we have quite a lot harvesting, growing or planned.
In the allotment we have or will have rhubarb, potatoes, apples, pears, plums (frosts permitting), French beans, mange tout, spring onions, baby corn, squash, courgette and leeks (there will be more but we have to clear the ground and make more plans).  We're thinking of starting a small asparagus bed at some point too.
In my garden I have plenty of herbs and will have salad leaves, carrots, radishes, loads of tomatoes of various kinds (sungold, montello and the unidentified Italian ones),  courgette, strawberries, tayberries (first year of fruiting so very exciting) and blueberries (it's flowering now so I am hoping for a few, even though it is just the first year).  There's not going to be a lot of most things but it's all very exciting!

There's no time for the allotment today but yesterday we spent another couple of hours there.  Beth finished planting the potatoes while I carried on with the in-depth weed clearing.  I finished the hardest strip (it had been well impacted and not forked over for a few years as well as all the weeds) and started another strip that was much easier and should go a lot quicker.
Not a large area but enough for me and Beth!

Then it was home, James, for lunch and tuition prep plus bread making.  I was very tired come the evening!

Today is all bustle getting ready for my visitors.  Luckily it is the day the cleaners come so I don't have to worry about that side of things, I just have to make sure surfaces are clear, etc.
I've got my meal plans and my shopping list, I have more bread to make and a rhubarb loaf, I have beds to make up and so on.

First stop in a kitchen tidy so I'd better get started or I'll never get it all done.  Have a satisfying day, whatever you have planned.

Thursday 20 April 2017


Ooops - I seem to have forgotten to post an entry yesterday.  Really sorry about that - no problems, just rather busy really.

It's cold out there but not icy, thank goodness.  It's too early to tell whether the sun will grace us with its presence but you never know!  I gather it's going to get colder next week with, maybe, some snow.  I shall dig out an old sheet to cover the strawberries and hope that will prevent any damage.   There are so many flowers, it would be very sad if they got frosted.

Pretty, aren't they?

Yesterday ended up a busy day.  I spent the morning at the allotment with Beth.  We're getting there now although there's still quite a lot of weeding to do, and Beth planted the first row of spuds - very cheering!
Then she came home with me and we had lunch, after which she got on with sewing and I got on with planning, etc.

After two tuition sessions, I was so tired but, despite that, didn't sleep wonderfully well and was awake by 3:00 which was annoying.
So I came down, did some messaging and made the savoury mince for the lasagne I am going to make at the weekend.  It's been simmering in Thermione for an hour and has just finished.  Very delicious it tastes too.

I shall go up and have my bath and get dressed after posting this and then I cam make an earlier start off to the allotment.  I mowed the grass yesterday so don't have to load the mower into the boot today, thank goodness.
Then it's home for bread making and another tuition session before getting the ironing done while watching evening TV.  Hopefully I will sleep a lot better tonight because I've got a busy weekend coming up.

Have a good day, whatever you plan to do.

Tuesday 18 April 2017


A very early good morning to you all!  Half past three is daft but there you go - if you're awake, you're awake!
I suspect that a number of my ex-colleagues will be in the same boat around here, today being the start of the summer term with the drive towards the SATs, both statutory and optional.  Some areas still have the rest of the week as their Easter holiday, of course.

It was a damp start yesterday but turned into a most pleasant day with plenty of sunshine.  After a very leisurely breakfast with lots of chat over coffee, I set off home, expecting some hold ups as I'd seen on the news earlier that the M11 was bumper to bumper gridlocked from Bishop's Stortford to Harlow.  I wasn't using the M11 but expected that the route I always take would be affected by extra traffic.  However, by the time I set out, it (whatever 'it' was) must have cleared because actually it was a very good journey.  Plenty of traffic, sure, but no hold-ups apart from the usual traffic lights in places like Little Hadham and Bishop's Stortford itself.

I was going to pop into Aldi's at BS but, as I approached, I could see that the car park was chokka and cars were queuing both to get in and out so I drove on past and will go to our own Aldi at eight this morning, hopefully timing it between the rush hour and the milk run.  I have my little list all ready and want to take advantage of the cheap, Easter veg - what's left of them, anyway.

When I got home, I unpacked and bunged some washing in.  I was able to dry it on the line which was good.  I admired Beth's craft work from the weekend and then investigated the seed situation and was delighted to see that most of the seeds I planted last week (or was it the week before) are germinating, including the tomato seeds I salvaged from the undefined tomatoes from Italy that a friend gave me.  Excellent.  Outside, the radishes and the 'salad leaves' are coming up although the carrots still have to make their appearance.  The blueberry is still alive and looks happy and the other plants are all smiling!

Come the evening I struggled to keep awake until about nine o'clock before giving up and going up.

Today, as already mentioned, it is early morning shopping before doing my stint at the allotment (bet the rain has brought the weeds up) and then waiting in again in case my card comes.  If it does, it's off into town to sort out with the bank what needs a refund and what doesn't.  There's also another load of washing to go in and then hang out (I hope) and some subsequent ironing.

There are some programmes I want to watch this evening and I bet there's a clash!  That's always the way, isn't it?  Like buses, they all come at the same time after days and days of mostly rubbish!

Well, I may as well make use of this early morning time.  I have that pile of washing that could go in, my washing machine being on an outside wall; I have bread to make for the weekend (I have guests) and I need coffee.
Have a good day, whatever you're doing.  I'm off to get my first hit of the day!  😊

Monday 17 April 2017


Well, it's too dark to see what's going on out there except that it's definitely been raining overnight for which I am duly grateful.  It should soften the allotment ground no end.  Muddy I can cope with!

I'm off home soon after a very pleasant weekend with my parents.  Nice and quiet and not an Easter egg in sight.  I brought with me a jar of my plum jam and some allotment rhubarb so we have enjoyed rhubarb and strawberry crumble with cream and, last night, good old-fashioned stewed rhubarb and custard which was absolutely delicious!  It makes me feel hungry just thinking about it!  Must look up more rhubarb recipes!

On the way home I will be stopping off at Aldi to see if they have any of their super-free veg left after the weekend.  Hope so - I don't need a lot but I am nearly out of carrots!

Once home, life gets back to normal.  I left the house tidy but, of course, there will be some washing to do and, as tuition starts again this week, some planning too.   Also, I want to have a tour of the  estate - oh, ok, the small patch I call my garden - to see what weeds the rain has brought up!

 Enough stuff to keep me out of trouble anyway.

Sunday 16 April 2017

Easter Sunday

Wishing you all a lovely, happy, restful day today with just the right amount of chocolate.

It's a bit gloomy out there and the weather forecast is more than a bit dire for a holiday weekend but there's not a lot we can do about that.

I have a very clever daughter.  A few days ago a friend asked did KittyStitches have any bags in stock as she needed one for a friend.  We didn't have any suitable ones so she came over to mine yesterday and knocked this up from what we have in the cupboard.  Well done!
I could do with one of those myself!

I watched the first in the new series of Doctor Who yesterday and thought it was very good.  Love the new companion and the snippets relating to past characters, etc.  I'm looking forward to the next one now.

I'm not sure what's happening today but I am sure it will be good, whatever it is!  And now it's coffee time.

Saturday 15 April 2017


Good morning.  I'm awake very early (again) so am sitting up in bed, typing this on my laptop.  That probably means more typos that ever but never mind!  I think that, in a while, I will creep downstairs, make myself a coffee and bring it back up to enjoy in bed.  How's that for self indulgence, eh?

After a rush yesterday and a disappointment arriving by email, Beth and I spent a gentle morning de-weeding at the allotment.  I meant to mow the grass but left the battery for the mower on the charger so I couldn't.  Of course, it has rained overnight, so when I get back there to do it, it will be knee high again!

My beautiful redlove apple has forgiven me for moving it out of the garden and is laden with blossom.  It's a very beautiful little tree so I took some photos.  The biggest problem about the redlove is that it isn't self pollinating and that was a drawback in my garden.  In the allotment with apple trees all around it won't be an issue.

Oh, dear, just look at those weeds!  They're next on my list and, after the rain we're having, the ground should be easier to work.

All the fruit trees have had the ground underneath them cleared now (well done, Beth!).  The strip under the apple trees has been covered with membrane and then with bark chippings that are available for the allotment holders.  All we have to do is give the wheelbarrows some exercise!  Beth finished the ground under the pear and plum yesterday so next week, weather permitting, we will level that off and cover it in the same way.  That'll keep the weeds down and retain moisture in the soil as well as making a soft landing for fallen fruit.

She has also started digging up the potato patch.  We didn't dig up all of last year's spuds which have now started to sprout, so that's our seed potatoes for this year.  Excellent.

Once home again, I gave my own plants a good water, including the blueberry.  I shouldn't really as it is ericaceous, but I don't have a water butt so needs must.  I must follow up on something someone said about adding a touch of vinegar to the water.  How much, I wonder?  Do any of my readers know?  Anyway, at the moment, it looks happy enough, hasn't drooped at all or dropped any leaves.  There's about four 'sprays' of flowers so I should get one or two fruits, maybe more if I help it along with a soft brush!

My parents are spending time with me today.  I have no idea what we're doing, maybe not a lot, but that doesn't matter at all.  I'm also in the middle of reading Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time.  It's one of those books where I notice something new each time I read it and it's so amusing.

No time to be bored nowadays!

Well, better get that coffee and then I can carry on reading.  Have a lovely day, whatever you are doing, and I hope any rain doesn't get in your way.

Friday 14 April 2017

Good Friday

Good morning, everyone.  A happy Good Friday to you.

It looks very dull and gloomy outside this morning and it seem we might have some rain overnight too.  Typical, isn't it - lovely weather earlier in the week and when the holiday starts the fine weather goes on holiday too.

Yesterday turned out to be on the busy side.  The card didn't come so now I'm on a shut down as far as spending is concerned!  Fortunately, so is my bank account so any more efforts to nick my hard earned pension have come to naught and one sum has already been refunded.
I do wish my card had come though.

I started by turning out the fridge and putting everything that needed dealing with on the side.  From a punnet of wizened old plums I made three pots of delicious plum and star anise jam which will go down a treat.

Then I went out into the garden and worked my way through my list.  I planted out the blueberry in ericaceous compost, I dug up the mini Japanese anemone plantlets and popped some in a couple of post for a friend.  I weeded and de-white-belled the middle bed before putting down slug pellets to protect the delphinium, the strawberries and also the hostas.  I went through the strawberries, moved a few and generally tried to tidy them up.  There's loads of runners going from plant to plant and, as they become dry and brittle, I must remove them.  The patch looks a mess - no careful planting in lines, I'm afraid.  There's loads of flowers now so I'm looking forward to a good crop.

 The blueberry . . .

. . . some potential strawberries . . .

. . . and a hopeful snail.  Shame about the slug pellets, Mr Snail, isn't it?

Then it was round the front where first I half washed the car - just water from the hose) before putting the new plants in the little bed at the front of the house.  I moved some bulbs and dealt with a few weeds that dared to show their faces.  The bluebells are now in flower and looking very pretty, the aquilegias are starting to flower and the crocosmia is growing well.

All that took quite a while so when I came in I had lunch before tackling the kitchen work.  Now I have:
three pots of jam as already mentioned
seven portions of leek and potato soup, frozen
a bag of cut cauliflower, frozen
a bag of broccoli bits for soup, frozen
sliced, blanched and frozen parsnips for roasting
chopped rhubarb stems, frozen
I won't need to go shopping for ages, will I?

As a result, I slept well and didn't wake until half past six.  That's a lie in for me.

Today is more allotment.  Mowing, then hoeing (gotta keep the weeds down in the bits we have cleared - they don't give up easily), then more clearing.  Great exercise!

I've just looked at the anemone cuttings and, while most are still flopped over, one has perked up and is looking very happy.  Brilliant - I only need one!   Mind you, the others are looking better than they did yesterday so you never know!

Have a good day, whatever you are doing and wherever you are going.

Thursday 13 April 2017


Good morning, everyone.  A cold night overnight and this morning is still chilly but it's fine.  Mind you, some rain would be a good idea!  The ground is so, so dry.

Yesterday passed more or less as planned.  I now have a tidier kitchen again and the advantage of an early awakening is that by 8:30 yesterday morning I had two completed loaves making the house smell wonderful.  They're now sliced, bagged and in the freezer.

Well, I waited and waited but no post arrived at all yesterday.  I hope my card comes today otherwise, with bank holidays and other stuff, I shall be in a bit of a fix.  Fingers crossed.

Given that I'm having to stay in, I shall give the garden some time this morning.  I'm trying to get rid of some white bells but every year more come up - they're most invasive.  My little patch of bluebells, however, don't seem to want to spread at all.  I guess I just have to keep digging them up and being patient.
I also need to deal with the offspring from the Japanese anemone.  A friend would like some so I will dig it up and pot it up for her and cross my fingers.
I also really do need to get the blueberry potted out.
I think that gives me plenty to do.

Also there's some washing in the machine that needs hanging out, so I'd better get going.  I also need my first coffee of the day as I've just realised I've gone for over two hours without it!

Wednesday 12 April 2017


Waking at 3:30 is the pits sometimes.  Since I started weeding the allotment, I'm so terribly tired come the evening that I'm in bed by eight and asleep soon after.  I get enough sleep, just not at the right time!

Oh, well, never mind.  Today is a quiet day with nothing planned until tuition.  Nothing external, that is.

Yesterday went well - loads of weeding in the morning and, in the afternoon, Beth and I worked together to get the arbour made.  All went well until the very last bit where one of the backing panels was too wide and needed sanding down.  Do I have sand paper?  Of course not.  So that rather halted proceedings, sadly.  It's usable, just not finished.  It'll be lovely though and, if it's warm enough, I might sit out there today with my book.

My hands are sore though - we didn't have an electric screwdriver so it was extremely hard work at times!

Today I have a kitchen to tide, clothes to wash, bread to make and tuition to plan.  Enough to keep me out of trouble without too much stress.  Quite nice, really.
I hope your day is good too.

Tuesday 11 April 2017


Good morning, everyone.

It promises to be another simply gorgeous day today.  Bright sun and blue skies with a breeze.  Yesterday was just the same and working down the allotment was very pleasant indeed.  Not too hot, not too cold.  Just right.

The afternoon was more complicated as several things I had ordered arrived more or less at the same time.

Firstly, the arbour arrived.  It is semi flat packed and came on a pallet, wheeled to my front door.  The delivery chap just left it.  He refused to help me carry it in or to wheel it round to the back garden.  I was not best pleased.

Then, just as I was struggling with the first (and lightest) part, another delivery chap turned up, took one look at me and the boxes, asked 'Are you on your own, love?' and then carried the rest of the packs into the house for me, bless him.  I took in his delivery which wasn't even for me, it was for a neighbour who was out and set to cutting up the many bits of cardboard for the recycling bag.  Then another delivery, this time the last planter I have ordered.  And finally, a book!

I'm glad all my orders have come, but it did make for a busy afternoon!

Beth's coming here after allotment today and I am hoping she will help me put the arbour together.  It's a two person job, that's for sure.  By this evening, my garden should look different!

Today it is allotment, then, as mentioned, here to do some assembling.  Then, as I picked up the ericaceous soul yesterday, I'd like to get my blueberry planted on.

However, that might all change as yesterday there was a problem with fraudulent use of my debit card.  If my new card arrives today, I have to head back down to the bank to confirm which are my purchases and which are not.  It will more likely be tomorrow or Thursday, but I have to be ready to go.

What a day, eh?  Between allotment, deliveries and a long phone call with the fraud department (quite difficult because of my poor hearing), by evening I was shattered, went to bed just before eight and woke after four - so a great night's sleep!

Fingers crossed today is easier, eh?

Monday 10 April 2017


Good morning.
Goodness, wasn't it hot yesterday!  I almost turned on the fan at one point but come the evening it cooled off nicely.

I had a lovely time pottering in the garden at a snail's pace and got quite a lot done.  Some of the new planters are now planted and others are prepared.

 Carrots one side, radishes the other.  I intend to sow extra rows later.

Salad leaves in this one, again sown at intervals.

This is for a climbing courgette.  No, I hadn't heard of this either but it was the only packet of yellow courgette seeds I could find in the shops.  Obviously a popular colour.

And a very pretty hebe.  Hopefully it will be happy and grow nice and big in time.

As for existing plants . . .

The tayberry that refused to die, still showing signs on not being happy but recovering well now.

The bush that thinks it's a tree, number two.  I Longer term readers will remember I had one in one of the beds and it decided to emulate Jack and the beanstalk so had to go.  I'm hoping being in a container will keep this one a bit more subdued and now I know it flowers on second year growth, I can be careful not to chop too much off.  I gather you can eat or jam the berries!

Every year I tell myself I need to pot on the lily of the valley and every year I forget.  It's such a pretty flower but such a short season.

And looky look what I spotted!  Strawberry flowers.  Wow!

Today I need to pop to B&Q early to get some ericaceous (have I spelled that right?) stuff.  I'm having a go at blueberries in two containers (because I read you get a better crop if you have two) and it's an acid loving plant.  I can deal with the soil, I can get the right plant food but watering will be a problem.  I read that you can add vinegar to the tap water to make it more suitable so I am following up on that one.  Do any of my readers know anything about this?

Then it's off to the allotment again.  There's a lot of work still to do before we can be in any way relaxed about it but I am determined that this year we will get it all under control.

After that it is home for a rest and to deal with the one blueberry I already have.  I have ordered the other and I do hope I've made the right choice.  You see, I fell for one that produced pink berries which are supposed to be delicious.  Here's a picture from Google images.

I just hope I haven't made a mistake here.

Well, I had better go and sort myself out or I will be late and that would never do!  Have a lovely day!

Sunday 9 April 2017


Good morning, everyone.  Wasn't yesterday a beautiful day?  Warm and sunny after the early morning mist had burned off.

My sleep patterns were still a bit wonky and by 3:00 I was up and doing which was daft.  By 6:00 I was feeling sleepy again so I managed to get a bit more shut-eye.

As agreed with Beth, I went garden shopping, bought seeds and tools and generally enjoyed myself.  I met her at the allotment and we but in a good three hours or so of hard work before deciding enough was enough and parting company.

The bit with the two trees is now covered with plastic and bark chippings which should keep the weeds away and, if any do dare appear, we will use < whispers > weed killer.
We've also cleared more of the weeds from where we intend to grow stuff.  The plans are for mange tout, French beans, yellow courgettes, butternut squash (lovely) and, this year, some sweet peas to add colour.  Oh, and potatoes!
Not a huge variation, I know, but quite a lot if the growing space is still under cover and, with the apples, pears, plums and rhubarb, should give us quite a lot.

Once home, I drank rather a lot of water. I was so thirsty and realised that I hadn't sipped any of the water I took with me so was probably a bit dehydrated.  A lesson learned, I think.

I had several sleeps, read, watched a bit of telly and generally took life easy until an early bedtime as I reckoned if I was going to fall asleep at eight, it may as well be in bed!   Apart from a bit of waking at one, I slept right through until just before five - normal for me and a relief after two days of waking at stupid o'clock.  Not the sort of pattern I want to encourage really!.

Today is not an allotment day and I have planned to work through the list of things I want to get done in my own garden before sitting out with a drink and a good book.  In other words, a lazy day!

Have a good day too and I hope you enjoy any sunshine you may have.

Saturday 8 April 2017


Still ouchy but the satisfaction over-rides the ouchiness.
Re the allotment trees - not a cherry as I said yesterday, it's a plum, a victoria plum which I am pleased about!  So that's two apples, a pear and a plum!  Nice!

Having cleared that up - good morning, everyone.

A good time was had down the allotment yesterday.  It's in a dreadful state so is going to take some time to get sorted but a mouthful at a time should get the whole thing eaten sooner or later.  We finished the first strip which is going to be covered with plastic for now and then covered with bark chippings (available at the allotment).
We got the grass mown at a lower setting - there's so many weeds in the grass we have to keep it mown regularly to stop them coming up so it's the first thing I do every time
I went back home because we needed a rake and there wasn't one.  I looked in the shed.  no rake.  I tried to look in the garage but guess where the key was.  In my handbag.  Where was my handbag?  At the allotment.  Doh!
The raking will be done today!

After the allotment it was home, James, to some delicious soup and a good rest.

Later on, I am setting off for B&Q because, when we got home, Beth and I made a list of the things we need over the next few months and I will be meeting her at the allotment with all those things bought (I hope!) later on this morning.

The little pear tree

The redlove apple tree

Proof!  This was knee high in weeds on Thursday morning!
After that it's a usual Saturday.  Bit of washing, drying and ironing, tidying up the kitchen and so on.  It's supposed to be pretty warm so I'm hoping it'll be warm enough to sit out in the garden for a while today and again tomorrow.  I gather it might get chilly again on Monday.

Friday 7 April 2017


Ouch, ouch, ouch!
That's the effects of the allotment yesterday.  Not the usual aches in arms and legs but in my ankles.  I have very dodgy ankles and the surface of the allotment is very uneven so my ankles keep turning.   No damage, just ouch-stiffness.

Never mind, it was a well spent morning and we started the task of clearing the weeds that have shot up after mowing the grassy areas.  I had a few moments of worry when the mower wouldn't start but that was just me doing the wrong thing!

The four trees that we moved last year have all taken and are leafing up well.  The pear and the cherry are in blossom and the two apples are budding well.  One is my Aunty May redlove, the tree I bought with some of the money my dear Aunty May left me, so I would have been sad if that hadn't survived the move.
We have fingers crossed for some fruit this year.
This is a redlove apple tree - not ours, of course, one I found on Google.  It has the most beautiful deep pink blossom and the apples are pinky red throughout, not just the skins.  They are lovely.

Must remember to take my camera to the allotment today!

After mowing and pruning a little bit, we set to and started clearing some beds.  It takes time but, once done, it will just take regular hoeing to keep all those weeds down.

Once home, I brought in the washing that had been drying on the line and got it ironed AND put away!  I seem to be a reformed character in that respect.
Then I sat down with my Kindle and two hours later I woke up again.  You see, I was awake and up at three yesterday morning so a snooze was much needed.

Today I have a few things I need to get from Morrisons so will go in early.  Then it is back to the allotment again for more weeding and mowing the grass areas a bit shorter as I used the highest setting yesterday.

Then I am hoping for enough energy to do some more work in my garden.  I did make a list of all that needs doing, both front and back, yesterday so just need to work my way through it really.

So that's my day.  Nice and busy with no time to idle.

Thursday 6 April 2017


Good morning.  It's yet another bright but not particularly warm morning - I know, I've been out moving soul from the boot to the back garden and granular salt into the garage.  The mower and strimmer are both now in the boot because . . . it's allotment morning!

Yesterday was nice.  Lots of gentle pottering and a tuition session.  It was a perfect drying day and I got all the whites dried and ironed too.

I've swallowed hard and ordered that arbour I was talking about last week.  I also have multiple planters and now need to acquire enough soil to fill them.  The trouble with getting bags of soil is that I can't lift most of them.  Even if I got help the shop end, I'd still have to move them from the boot and they're just too heavy, sadly!  So it's the smaller (more expensive) stuff for me.

I'm going to start with the two rectangular planters because it's time to get the carrots, salad leaves and radishes started.  It's also time to sow some tomato seeds although they will stay indoors for a while.

I'm really pleased that the tayberry that refused to die is still holding its own.  There's plenty of leaves that should lead to fruiting this year and there are two new shoots coming up that will be fruiting next year.  It's looking a bit ungainly at the moment but it is well and truly alive!  Three cheers.

You can see them clearly here.
Also the strawberries are looking extremely healthy and growing well.  It promises well for later on.

There's still over an hour before I need to set out for the allotment but I have some clothes to peg out and a breakfast to eat so I will say 'goodbye'.  Have a super day.

Wednesday 5 April 2017


Good morning, all.  I've changed the photo at the top to the pansies I potted out the other day.  Once they take hold and start growing, then should look a picture all through the summer.  I love pansies!

Yesterday was amazing.
In the afternoon I drove into town to meet my friend Jackie off the bus.  We went into town to John Lewis and to Lakeland - it's always more fun wandering around with a friend.

In Lakeland I ended up with a new ironing board cover and some foil trays (both needed items) plus a small enamel pie dish which I definitely don't need but did want!  Then it was off to John Lewis where Jackie looked for a TV and found one she really liked.  I saw a little travelling clock which I was sorely tempted by but decided to think about it first, so I am!

In the evening we went to the Civic to watch 'The Verdict' starring Clive Mantle and Jack Shepherd and it was absolutely brilliant, top class drama, gripping, funny, spell-binding stuff, great music, fantastic scenery.  We both felt very fortunate to have been able to see it.  I've read some reviews and they are all great.  If you get the chance, it's well worth the slightly-more-than- usual ticket price.

Than I drove Jackie home and stayed at hers overnight.  I don't much like driving in the dark so was glad to take up her invite.  We shared some wine and had a great chat before I went up to bed and I had a splendid night's sleep too, so you can see why I enjoyed the day so much.

Today it is back to normality again.  I have one holiday tuition session which is this afternoon so I need to get the planning done and the resources made.
I also want to do some washing, some gardening and maybe a bit of housework, although the cleaners are coming on Friday so I won't do much.

Should be a good day!

Tuesday 4 April 2017


Hello again!  It's one of those hokey cokey days with the sun - it's in and then out, in and out!

It was gloriously sunny most of yesterday but, even so, not all that warm.  I did a lot of gardening and things are looking much more hopeful now.  I shall do a bit more today too.
The ironing basket is now empty again, which is nice, and, just for once, I don;t have a load waiting to be washed.  I like being on top of that sort of thing.

Today is another lazy day until late afternoon when I'm meeting a friend in town to do a bit of shopping.  Should be fun!

This rather late and I have some brioche dough on the make so I'd better go and get on with it.

Monday 3 April 2017


Good morning, everyone.  At the start of a new week is is fine but a bit chilly.  I've just filled some pots with soil and have come in to warm up my hands.  Just don't look at my nails, OK?

Yesterday was one of those gently busy days.  I made bread, made soup, did some washing and pegged it out on the line, did a little bit of gardening, etc.

Lovely bread that tasted delicious!

I then drove round to B&M, the reason being that the chopped tomatoes I used for the soup came from there and the quality was lovely so I went to get some more as I wasn't sure if they were on special or not.  I am now well stocked up with chopped tomatoes, probably enough to last me until my own tomatoes come in!  I also saw some very cheap table cloths and got a couple.  The hems are not good but I can re-hem them if, after washing them, I think they need it, so that's not an issue.

Beth came round a bit later than originally planned but that was OK.  We chatted about this, that and the other, especially her holiday.  She brought over a few goodies for me - some posh chocolate (which didn't last long), some pastry flour from Caudwell's Mill in the Peaks, a posh Chatsworth Farm Shop bag and a carved owl for an early birthday gift.  Lovely!
She had a lovely time and I'm looking forward to seeing the photos in due course.

Today is another stay at home day, unless I choose to go out.  I don't have to and probably won't.  There's more washing to deal with and hang out (those tablecloths) and a garden that is still calling out to me.  I also rather fancy cutting out some more squares for my quilt cover that is going to be made from random disappearing nine squares.

I think it's going to be a great day!

Sunday 2 April 2017


Good morning!

Around here, once the early morning gloom had cleared and the mandatory few drops of drizzle had fallen (I saw them on the windscreen), out came the sun and the rest of the day was lovely.  Not as warm as I'd expected, but really pleasant.

After doing my Aldi shopping, I drove on to B&Q to get a few necessities including granular salt and a spray bottle.  I also fell for some trays of pansies - I do love pansies, they are so attractive

I had a mega chop at my herb and foliage bed.  I got rid of last year's growth (which I really should have done last autumn but never mind), I dug out some of the oregano that was threatening to take over, I pruned the rosemary (and need to do more today - it's very overgrown) and tidies up the mint pots.  There were surprisingly few weeds, which was nice.

Then I tackled the random pots and other stuff scattered around the garden.  The manky rainwater got poured over the dry beds (and they were very dry, poor plants), rubbish got chucked and so on and so forth.  There's more to do today and then I can get on with the more pleasant task of potting up the pansies into some planters and, maybe, into a hanging basket, if I can find a liner.  I shall also give the beds a good soaking and a sprinkle with the slow release fertiliser.  And I might also sow some carrots and radishes.   The other thing is that I have started tying up the bulb foliage.  It looks so messy once the flowers have gone but one has to leave them to die back so I have started tying them 'neatly' (comparatively neatly) in clumps.  They do look better!

Tomorrow, it is the front garden, as long as I can get to the bit that really needs it!

It's all go now spring has sprung.

After that I came in and had a snooze before making dinner and watching Fantastic Beasts which, I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed.

Apart from the garden today, I have the bread to make that I deferred from yesterday because there was more in the bread bin than I had realised and I am making some tomato and lentil soup because Beth is coming for lunch.  I'm so looking forward to seeing her photos and hearing about her holiday.

Well, it's time to check the dough and do a bit of kitchen tidying up so I will shut up now.  Fingers crossed for good weather for us all.

Saturday 1 April 2017


Phew.  A busy week is over and today is a day just for me!  I thought it was going to be lovely and sunny today but it looks now as if it might not be so sunny.  Never mind, I have planned to potter in the garden, make some bread and generally have a great time.  The ironing basket is empty which is nice but I do have a load of whites to get done!

Yesterday was quiet, a great relief after the day before.  After dropping Al at school, I went to feed and sort out Beth's cats thinking 'last time, last time'.  Have I mentioned how much I hate cleaning their litter trays?  Well, I do.  Yuck!

After that it was home and within half an hour I was asleep.  I had another snooze in the afternoon and also slept well all night, so I guess I've caught up on Thursday's short night.  :-)

Today I am off to Aldi's at 8:00, then along to B&Q and Wyvale for various bits and pieces and then home for a me day!

Come the evening I shall watch my new DVD, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  I have been very controlled and kept it in its box all week and now it is time.  People have said very good things about this film so I am looking forward to it.