Saturday 30 June 2018


Good morning. everyone.   It looks like another hot and sunny day is in the offing although the weather forecast presenter muttered something about humidity which would be a bit of a downer.  Now I'm a bit lighter, I'm coping well with the heat but humidity is a different matter entirely!
Well, we will see.

I am happy to announce that one of the Surprise tomatoes has titchy little baby tomatoes now - so obviously fertile.  I suppose then don't all have to be the same, depending on what pollinated them last year, so it will be fun seeing what comes along.

I got a whole load of little jobs done yesterday which was good.  I pottered down to the allotment, noticing thankfully that the hot weather and lack of water has stopped the grass growing so no need to lug the heavy mower into the car and out again at the end of the visit.  I just did a bit of hoeing and weeding and a lot of watering.  Everything's growing well there which is nice, but there are a few outstanding tasks for next week - weeding among the potatoes and thinning out the apples and pears which are fantastic this year.

Today there's nothing much on the list, just the usual things so I shall take it easy and chill as much as possible.   I hope you are able to do the same.

Friday 29 June 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's yet another overcast start to the day but things are brightening up nicely and we should see the sun soon.  In fact, here it is, just as I typed that last sentence!  Lovely,

I took a few photos of the tomato plants.  A couple of months ago I was concerned that I wouldn't have any tomatoes at all this year after disasters with last sowing and some online buying but I underestimated the resilience of the plants and now I'm wondering if I have too many!  Can one have too many tomato plants, I wonder?  Is fourteen plants too many?  There's also four at the allotment but I'll leave them for Beth to harvest in due time.

There's three kinds.  Gardeners delight, Sungold and a surprise type, self seeded sungolds which will not have baby sungolds (my Dad tells me) because they were F1 plants and what I have are F2 plants which are not likely to produce sungolds.  It's a bit complicated for a Bear of very little brain so I will just wait and see what I get, if anything as they may not be fertile, I suppose.

 The four in the cubed pot are the gardeners delights.  Much more advanced as they were first.  The two on the right are the surprise ones (I think).  Goodness, I need to sweep around the pots, don't I?
The smaller pots are actually two pots.  Those green tops are bottomless pots, intended to use with growbags but I thought they would work well with the brown pots which are just a bit too small for tomatoes.  It almost doubles the root depth as well as having a water reservoir around the top and they're working well.

It's a bit hard to see but there are six plants here.  Three at the back are surprises.  The strawberries around the edge are from last years runners.  Not much fruit this year but they have grown well and will be great next year when I will move them to the main bed.

Alex, as he is home from university, came round for lunch yesterday and we have made this a regular date for some weeks.  After some initial hiccups, he's loving uni, the work is suiting him down to the ground and he seems to have done very well.  For the first time ever, he's not stressing mightily about his results (which come back next month at some point).

After lunch, he sat with me to explain some algebra which I am supposed to be teaching.  I was terrible at algebra at school.  For a start, we didn't meet anything algebraic until secondary whereas now they start simple 'missing number' stuff in year 1.  For two terms my Dad had to 'help' me with my homework - in other words, did it for me - until the most absolutely basic stuff sank in which was that the letters represented numbers.  This was a grammar school, I wasn't stupid but I didn't pick that one up.  Geometry, on the other hand, was fantastic, I loved it so much!

Anyway, Al did a great job.  He was patient with my need to always apply his abstractions and taught me a few new things at the same time.  I * think * I've got it now but will go over the specific stuff I will be teaching, just to make sure.  And yes, I will be able to teach it at that level.

We also decided that next week I will go round to his and help him sort out his room and the following week he is going to teach me how to use the local bus.  I have my aging person's bus pass but am not au fait with the local buses while Alex is.  He's coming round, we're getting the bus into town, having lunch there and getting the bus back again.  Should be very educational for me.

Today I have a list of small tasks to get done so need to get going.  Have a super day and stay cool.

Thursday 28 June 2018


Good morning, everyone!
No sun yet, rather like yesterday morning, but when it breaks through it should be a lovely day - sunny and warm with a gentle breeze to keep the air moving.  That will be good for the infants - it is their sports day this morning.

Yesterday went well.  I pottered around in the morning and did my bit at school in the afternoon.  After tuition, I wasted the rest of the evening watching Star Trek episodes on DVD.  Nice and undemanding.

As someone told me to, I'm being kind to myself this week.  There's a lot going on and I was starting to feel a bit pushed for time so I've cancelled the swimming until next week which gives me a lot more time.  It's odd because I do have the time really, it's just the feeling of being pushed that was getting to me.  It's the old 'one bite at a time' thing - I'm sorting out the food this week (which is going well) and sorting out the exercise next week or whenever.

However did I manage to hold down a very pressured and busy job as well as all the other stuff not that long ago?   I've definitely slowed down since retirement and am developing the mindset of 'if it doesn't get done, no problem'.  I could never have thought like that half a decade ago, I'd have been sacked!  :-)

Yesterday, I pottered round the garden and took some more photos.

 I counted the new buds on the new clematis - ten of them, plus four new flowers.  I rather love the swirly seed heads too.  I'm delighted as I've always managed to kill any clematis I've had before and gave up on them as a garden plant.  Mind you, I'm looking after this one more and it obviously likes where it is!   Fingers crossed that continues.

 The hebe is two years old and is coming along nicely.  I've just moved it near to the clematis (after taking this photo) and between them they really brighten up the end of the garden which is in dappled shade most of the afternoon.

There were a couple of raspberry canes left over from the allotment and I brought them home and stuck them in a pot.  These are autumn fruiting but these come from the bare cane so are summer fruits, just for this year.  A sort of free gift!  They're yellow berries (obviously) and there aren't many but there will be more come the autumn.  I reckon these two will be ready next week and will be 'pick'n'eat' fruit

With retirement came a greater interest in things home-horticultural and, three years in, I need a sort of annual diary of what to do and when so I've started one and keep adding to it.  There's two columns, one for garden and one for allotment, and the idea is that Beth and I don't get caught out.  So, for example, next month for the garden says 'Deadhead hebe to encourage side shoots' and for the allotment it says 'Thin apples and pears after June drop.  Start pegging down strawberry runners'.

Fingers crossed it works.

I've had Virgin TV for a very long time ago and they now need to replace my geriatric box with a nice, swish, whizz one that does everything but turn somersaults around the living room by the sound of it.  I'm looking forward to being able to access things like iPlayer and Youtube via my TV and can then do the Yoga with Adriene exercises that someone recommended.  They're delivering the new box next Tuesday and might be connecting it up; I'm not totally sure about that last.  Fingers crossed.
My only concern is that my TV is modern enough but if it isn't, what's the point of living well within my means and saving the excess if I can't get a new telly now and again when needed?  :-)

Today Alex is coming over for lunch so I'm very much looking forward to that.  Then there's tuition (last of the week).  That's about it really apart from the usual housework, washing, ironing, etc.  I might do a bit of sweeping in the garden and I have to water down the allotment, of course.

I've rambled today - sorry! 
This blog can be a bit like a pensieve. 
As Dumbledore said, "I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one's mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one's leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form." 
Very helpful it is too!

Have a super day and enjoy the gorgeous weather.

Wednesday 27 June 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Apologies for the bad mood yesterday.  I'm glad I didn't inflict it on you in a post.

I stomped into the kitchen, did some clearing up, made the dinner I should have made Monday so as not to waste the ingredients and chilled it so that's tonight's dinner.  I couldn't have it yesterday as Beth was over for dinner and it isn't vegetarian.

Then I sorted out some paperwork, did some washing and various other stuff I'd been avoiding and by the time that was done it was time to look through my tuition planning.  I'm still quite cross with myself but, apart from that, feeling a lot better.

In the evening, Beth and I went to the allotment to water.  There was a breeze; it was refreshingly shady, cool and very calming.  Beth took a few photos.

And then we shared the first raspberry.  No, it wasn't quite ripe enough and yes, it was delicious all the same!  They're new plants and actually autumn flowering ones but there's fruit on the canes we planted just for this year.  After then, the canes will be cut back to ground level in February or March as autumn fruiting ones produce on that year's growth.

There's not much to do at the moment apart from keeping the grass and the weeds down, watering and thinning out the fruit on the trees (we've not had that problem before!).

 The bare patch is where we planted the asparagus.  Only three of the ten plants came up which is a bit annoying.  We'll get some more in the early new year and give them another go.  You can just see the three wisps of asparagus fern if you look carefully.

 Small but growing!  We're very pleased at the way it's all coming on, even if it's a bit late.

The potatoes and the baby corn both look healthy and we only lost one corn plant when we planted them out.

Today I'm doing a bit in the garden, planning, helping at school and generally chilling while I have a good think about the way things are going (or not going).  The sun has gone away and it's feeling quite cool.  I wonder if we're due some rain.  The garden could do with a good soaking.

And I'm remembering to breathe . . .

Tuesday 26 June 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Just a quick post this morning as the house looks like a bomb has hit it and I need to get my act together in lots of ways.  Isn't is odd how quickly things can fall apart, eh?

I'll be back tomorrow wearing my usual positive hat!  :-)  Have a great day.

Monday 25 June 2018


Good morning, everyone

Yesterday was a most energetic day.  It started with swimming although I just did half an hour as I knew I had other stuff planned as well.  I spent the morning weeding and tidying up the small front strip (and spraying the weeds that are coming up in the paving and concrete and which just keep coming up again and again and again*) before Beth turned up.  I also see that there's a gap that needs filling so I shall have to look up 'shade loving perennials' and see what's available.  Maybe lavender, although that does grow woody after a while.  Any ideas for me?  Colour isn't an issue at the front.

Then Beth turned up and after lunch we made tracks to the allotment where she mowed while I weeded and then we did some pruning back and lots of watering.  It's a bit behind but is looking really good and we should be harvesting stuff in a month or maybe earlier.
Then we sat in the shade and planned next year's rotation while we drank some water - very refreshing it was too.
Maybe, one of these days, I will remember to take my camera!

Back home, I did a bit in the back garden too. The runner beans are now flowering and the tomatoes are flourishing.  I'm waiting for the blueberries to start ripening and there's a few raspberries and tayberries this year too which promises well for future years: fruit is very much a longer term undertaking, I find.  The herbs are flourishing, as are the flowers.  All very satisfying and a big change from a month or so ago when the bulbs were dying back and making everything look so messy.

Here's a few photos

New flowers on the clematis I planted last month and there are other buds too so I reckon I haven't managed to kill it - yet!

Runner beans looking pretty healthy after a little dose of greenfly.

More herbs than I can use - there's oregano, chives, sage, thyme, mint (three kinds) and rosemary (out of picture) plus bay in a pot (also out of picture).  I do make use of them all and really ought to freeze some for the winter months.

Some of the unripe blueberries, under netting so they should be safe from the birds.

Some of the tomatoes.

The tayberry that refused to die with some fruit this year and loads of growth that will fruit next year.

The delphinium will be a picture soon

And the pinks are the best they have ever been.

I love this time in the garden when all is growing and developing and nothing (hopefully) is dying!

Today I am off down the allotment this morning again.  Watering, of course, strimming round the beds and some pruning plus any weeding that needs doing although it's not too bad right now, much easier to keep under control.  This year we seem to be keeping on top of the weeding better which is satisfying.  After lunch I am helping out in FS as usual and then there's some tuition.  It should be a lovely day.

*I'm not majorly in favour of spraying weeds ever since I managed to kill off a beautiful lupin by muddling weed killer with bug spray but it has a time and a place and yesterday, front garden, was a time and place!  I may give them another spray today, if it remains as still as it is now, but to be on the safe side.

Sunday 24 June 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's another lovely start to the day, very cheering and happy!  I'd have a leisurely coffee outside but I am in a hurry to get this done and whizz off the the gym for an early morning swim.

At Center Parcs, there is plenty of wildlife around.  I saw deer and rabbits on the gold course but never managed to catch them on camera and there is waterfowl all over.  They're not shy but don't seem to beg for food at all.
I took a few photos.

Musat dash.  Have a lovely sunny Sunday, wherever you are and whatever you're doing.

Saturday 23 June 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's still sunny, still gorgeous out there.  Yesterday never got too hot and most of it was most enjoyable one way and another.

Today it is allotment, school fair and then a friend is coming over.  Nothing stressful, nothing unpleasant, nothing worrying.  Should be a good day.

Holiday:  The heart of the holiday village is the village centre which has a little supermarket, plenty of eating houses, a sweet shop, gift shop, swimming shop, etc.  It also has the sports centre and pool and a very pretty (artificial) stream running through it and down to the lake.  I've been a teacher too long to feel comfortable about taking random photos of other people's children (you can't take the teacher out of the girl) so I didn't take too many photos in the village centre but here's a few.

Friday 22 June 2018


 Good morning, everyone.  The sky is blue, the sun is shining and my spirits are high.  Just like yesterday, in fact.

Yesterday turned out well.  Swimming and aqua was great: we had a new 'instructor' who was good.  She explained what each exercise was doing and how to get the most out of them and her routines were more rhythmic and simple to repeat, even under water.  I enjoyed it and felt I'd had a good workout.

After lunch I popped to the allotment.  I had intended to just water but ended up doing some weeding and hoeing as well.  Everything is growing nicely and we will have a couple of courgettes to pick next week.  The grass itself doesn't need mowing but the weeds in the grass certainly do!

Tuition was brilliant, great fun and by the time that was over I was ready to relax and rest.  All in all, a super day

Today I have an important meeting this morning and once that's over the day's my own.  I'll probably take the mower down to the allotment and will definitely do some watering before coming back again.

My holiday at Center Parcs was very much swim, walk, rest.  The outside views are much of a muchness really, lovely and green, fresh and natural.
 The view from my balcony, one way . . .

. . . and the other.
A lovely thing to wake up to each morning.

 Walking to the village centre.

 I love the old fashioned phone boxes scattered around.  

 Very posh accommodation - with a price to match.

You can just see where I will be in October - the Lakeview apartments.

It wouldn't be me if I didn't pop in a random flower photo!

Green is such a restful colour, I find.  It was a very relaxing break.

Thursday 21 June 2018


Good morning, everyone.  I can't believe how quickly this week is passing.  Today is the summer solstice, the longest day.  From here on the evenings start drawing in again and sunrise gets later although we generally don't notice it until around September time.  It is ridiculous to think we are about half way through the year, isn't it?

Once the sun came out, yesterday was another hot day although it was a nice cool night.  I gather we're in for some hot weather so I have my fans at the ready!  Another bonus of losing some of my weight is that the hotter temperatures don't bother me quite so much and the swimming will be a nice cooling experience.

Yesterday was lovely.  I made the jam - no setting problems and I have nine pots (smallish pots) plus a dish of the foam for things like yogurt, overnight oats, etc.  Strawberry jam makes such lovely home made gifts, doesn't it?

Come the afternoon, I went into school to do my duty and enjoyed watching the KS1 dance practice for the school fair on Saturday.  I did my bit as far as hearing readers was concerned and was very touched that children who are not on my list were asking if they could read to me.  I do love how enthusiastic the little ones are about reading and books and how much they enjoy talking about the stories they are reading.  It's such a shame some lose that enthusiasm as the get older and other things become more important to them.  I don't read to any depth nowadays but reading is still a huge pleasure for me which is why it was a bit of a disaster when my Kindle decided to have a swim in the bath!

After tuition, the evening was very restful and relaxing.  I'm sleeping a lot better now too.

Today isn't quite so packed.  I have an aqua class booked and tuition late afternoon but apart from those two things, life plods on.  I ought to do some washing and drying to make the most of this lovely weather and I will need to go and water the allotment.

I've uploaded my holiday photos but won't inflict them all on you at once and please feel free to skip this bit if you like.  You know what they say about other people's holiday snaps.  :-)

Here's some of the apartment.
There were four 'sections' to the place, five, if you count the balcony.  You walk through the front door and there's a corridor leading to the bed/living area.  First on the right is the separate loo, nice and big.  Next along is the shower area with a huge shower and plenty of room for washing, etc.
Next is the kitchen which is gallery style, quite small but absolutely fine for the context.  I loved the wine cooler!
Then you get to a pretty large living area with the bed, storage, a work table, TV, etc.  Then there's a big window and door onto the balcony.

 The front door is at the back of this photo

The light came on automatically which was a bit of a shock the first time I used it half asleep in the middle of the night.
The light's not great in this photo but you get the idea. 

 The shower was really lovely - huge!  Bigger than it looks in the photo.

 Very convenient and easy to use, once I'd sorted out the way the oven/grill/microwave thingy worked!  There was a fridge with a little freezer section and a slimline dishwasher so I was really spoilt.

 The living sleeping area with the bed in the foreground . . .

 . . . and then looking the other way.

Part of the balcony.

Wednesday 20 June 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's another breezy, dull start to the day like yesterday, which ended up hot and sunny.  Fingers crossed for today although a little cooler would be better.

I got the shopping done good and early using a list and I didn't need all that much really.  I did impulse buy one thing - they had watermelons for £1.50 which seemed good value, given the size.  Anyway, I love watermelon and it's not too calorific.

At lunchtime I met Jackie at Lathcoats Farm.  It was busy but they have hugely improved their parking facilities so there was plenty of space.  I resolved a food 'dilemma' by getting a child's jacket potato half, no butter, but with tuna and mayo.  It may have been labelled as a child's portion but it was just perfect and very delicious.  Conscience appeased, we went to the field and picked strawberries that were beautiful.  Ripe, large and fragrant.  When I went shopping I bought some jam sugar and this morning guess what I will be doing!

Their redcurrants were ready for picking too and I might very well go back in a few days and pick some as well as more strawberries.

Then it was home for tuition followed by dinner with lovely water melon which we all love.

They were the good parts of the day.

The bad part is that I dropped my Kindle in the bath (serves me right too) and it wouldn't restart.

The best part of all is that after a day resting in the airing cupboard, it started again.  More than I deserve but phew.

Today starts with strawberry jam, moves along to allotment, then nanny helping in school and, finally, tuition which is all planned and ready.  I might do a bit of washing as well, depending on whether it is drying weather or not.  The strawberries have been prepped and are now sitting in the pan with the jam sugar to firm them up before starting the actual jamming while the jars are in the dishwasher.  I love jamming!

Tuesday 19 June 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday turned out to be a lovely day and it looks as if today is also going to be very hot.  At the moment it is cloudy and breezy and it is close to sunrise time so colour is just emerging from the shadows.

As expected, yesterday was busy.  Once I got home, there was plenty to do and I was thankful that the house had been well cared for and was lovely and tidy (thanks to Beth and S) and the garden was in good nick!  Loads of strawberries to pick (delicious), the runners are coming on well (some flower stems emerging), some of the tomatoes are flowering and the blueberries, raspberries and tayberries are all looking good.

In the afternoon, I had a visit from my financial bod and now the Lasting Power of Attorney thingy is further on the way and I have shelled out an exorbitant amount!  It's worth it though, for peace of mind, and may save a lot of hassle later on.  After that, I set to and got up to date with my finances which have been neglected this month.  Everything is done automatically but I do like to keep on top of what's gone out and in and how much my balance is.  To my horror I was overdrawn for part of one day earlier this month but it was a matter of a few hours in the same day so maybe they will ignore it.  I HATE being overdrawn, even by pence (which this was).

It was also nice to get back to tuition.  We had some laughs and learning happened as well.  All very satisfying.

This morning I bit the bullet and stepped on the scales.  Oh, deary me!  Actually, I may have said something slightly stronger but won't reproduce it here.  Thank goodness I am back on the old wagon again although today is a bit problematic as I'm out to lunch followed by strawberry picking (must find a suitable container) at Lathcoats Farm.  I've looked up the menu and, while it all looks great value, it's hardly liver-friendly, so to speak!  Oh, well, I will do my best.

Before then, I have various household chores, a bit of planning and some shopping to do.  Having been away for ten days, there's precious little fresh stuff in the house so my list is mostly stuff like lettuce, tomatoes, etc.
And I have to upload and edit my photos.  I forgot to do them yesterday!

In the evening, Beth and Alex (who is now home from uni for the summer) are over for dinner which will be absolutely great.

So another busy day but it should be a very satisfying one.  Is your day a good-un too?

Monday 18 June 2018


Good morning, everyone.  After a very dull and occasionally wet day yesterday, it is really too soon to say what  today might be like so fingers crossed!

Reading the Sunday Times yesterday, I discovered that iPlayer is showing all - yes ALL - the Doctor Who programmes from the start of the 2005 revival to now and they will be available for five months!.  That's my summer viewing sorted, isn't it?  How brilliant is that?

Yesterday was very quiet, very gentle, a sleepy sort of day really.  I finished off my ironing and then watched a Miss Marple on the telly.  It wasn't the Joan Hickson ones, it was an ITV production and, if I didn't know the title and recognised one or two of the characters' names, I'd never have known.
Why?  Why take an author's name and book title and then change the plot so hugely that it is virtually unrecognisable?  It was actually quite enjoyable in its own way as a story but Agatha Christie/ Miss Marple it most certainly was NOT!
There is no-one to beat Joan Hickson when it comes to being Miss Marple and the BBC versions are supreme!

The other thing I did was look at the forthcoming week's schedule (busy, busy, busy) and then go on Amazon to buy a new cable - two new cables, in fact - for the laptop.  They're arriving today, or should be anyway.

Today I travel home after breakfast, unpack, tidy, deal with any post, etc, and then do some planning.  This afternoon I am looking at my re-written will and then it is tuition before dinner.  There's not a lot of spare time so I'm glad I did all my washing, etc, over the weekend.
Hoping your day goes well too.

Sunday 17 June 2018


Good morning, everyone.
It's still somewhat snuffly and pollen-y and my throat and sides ache a bit (coughing and sneezing) but never mind, it's so nice to have continuous fine weather and next week is supposed to be the same.  Lots of allotment watering, by the sound of it.

I gather everything is doing nicely down the lotty.  The leftover tomato plants are now down there and then only thing not doing great is the runner beans which is weird but never mind.  The ones in my garden should be doing great!

I got stacks of washing, drying and ironing done yesterday.  I usually tend to do a load when there's enough to make it sensible but after a week it had really built up.  All done now and airing in the wash room which means when I do get home I can just put it all away and not have to fuss with more washing.

Today I need to get everything out and organised so things are together again.  All the stuff I brought with me has got mixed up and muddled and it will make unpacking a lot easier if I sort everything out rather than just chucking it all in the case.

It's been a nice break but it will also be nice to get back home again.

Saturday 16 June 2018


I'm back from Center Parcs, full of hay fever (yes, I take the meds but it is very bad at the moment), very worn out but very happy, the only problem being that the laptop cable hasn't turned up.  Goodness knows where it is but never mind, they are easy enough to replace (might get two, one to keep here at Mum and Dad's) and I am using Dad's PC in the meanwhile.

Obviously, I won't be uploading my photos until I get home but it has been a really lovely short break.  I was lucky with the weather, the apartment was great, swimming every day, way too much food and drink so it's back on the wagon as soon as I get home.

Today I will be washing, drying and ironing a pile of clothes so I don't have to do it all when I get home.  I promised Dad I'd do an early morning shop so better get going. 

Have a lovely Saturday.

Monday 11 June 2018


The power cable is still at Mum and Dad's.  It forgot to come with me!
Back on Saturday.


Good morning, everyone.  Wasn't yesterday glorious?  Once the morning clouds had vanished it was wall to wall sunshine.  Hopefully the rest of the week will remain the same.

As predicted, yesterday was a lazy day.  Even making dinner was lazy as it was cottage crumble and once you've done each part it's just a case of assembling and baking.  So Mum and I say out in the garden and chatted!

Today will be a bit more lively!  I have to sort out what I'm taking and pack, do a bit of shopping, get there and unload.  Then I'm hoping to go on a stroll around the 'village' before settling for the evening with my dinner and a nice glass of wine on the balcony, Kindle to one side and cross stitching to the other.  I'll get there before I'm allowed to enter the apartment so I shall wander down to the aide of the lake and have my picnic - ham sandwich, apple and a drink.

I might have a swim today and I might not - I'll see how I feel.

Sunday 10 June 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's a dull start but it's dry so my fingers are crossed for nice weather.  Here's hoping anyway!

Yesterday morning was a bit hectic.  I overslept.  I never oversleep so why yesterday???  It wasn't a disaster, it just meant that I had to bustle around a bit, that's all.  It was a good journey over with very little traffic and only one hold up behind a group of cyclists where I had to wait until we got to where I knew there was a safe passing place.

And when I arrived, I realised I'd forgotten something.  Fortunately, it wasn't something I had to bring, it was setting off the dishwasher!  Equally fortunately, Beth will (probably already has by now) go over and set it off for me when she waters my indoor plants.  You know how you always have this uneasy feeling that you've forgotten something?  Ooops.

I had a chat to my dad about the self seeded 'Sungolds' and he said because of the type of seeds they are (F1 or something, which means racing cars to me!), they won't grow true to type so it will be interesting to see what, if anything, I do get from them.  I don't mind providing they are sweet and delicious!

I've just looked up F1 and this is what I found.

"F1 hybrid seeds refers to the selective breeding of a plant by cross pollinating two different parent plants. In genetics, the term is an abbreviation for Filial 1 – literally “first children.” It is sometimes written as F1, but the terms mean the same."
So now I know!

I've brought way too many clothes with me.  I can see that now I have unpacked.  Fortunately, I can leave anything I don't want to take here with Mum and Dad so the case won't be too heavy and it IS nice not to have to worry about needing to wash anything (except for swimming cossies) while I'm away.

I've looked up the route and even I am not worried.  It's an absolute doddle, the only question being regarding any road repairs/hold ups on the way.  The roads have changed somewhat since we went several times when the children were little but that's not a problem.  It's still very simple.

Today will be an easy day, I hope.  I'm doing a savoury crumble for dinner and, because I don't have to rush off tomorrow, I can leave the selective packing until tomorrow morning which is good.  It won't matter if I oversleep!  Living the easy life is very pleasant from time to time.  I recommend it.

Friday 8 June 2018


Good morning.  Welcome to what looks like being a pleasant, sunny day.

Yesterday was very busy, busier than it needed to be as it turns out because I had a phone call from the hospital to say that they've changed my appointment to later in the afternoon instead of the morning so I won't be leaving for Letchworth until Saturday, the reason being that there's no way I am doing that run through the rush hour and after that it will me3ss my parents' dinner times and arrangements up so no, better go early Saturday morning.

I shall have everything ready to load up and, actually, it does give me a bit more time to get sorted so it's not too bad really.

I pottered in the garden a bit and now the tomatoes are in their for ever homes with four to go down the allotment if Beth gets round to it.  After all the 'anguish', I have ten Sungold plants, three of which are self seeded so I don't know how they will do, and four Gardeners Delights which are looking very happy.  So I guess I won't go short of tomatoes!  Next year I will get organised much earlier but I guess I had a bit of an excuse this year!

Today I will be 'organising' the clothes for two weekends and a holiday away.  Thankfully, what with stuff I can now get into and stuff I have bought, I do have enough, providing I do a wash on Sunday and another when I get back to Letchworth after the holiday.  I'm wearing 'tatty olds' for most of today.  I'll change my sheets and get them washed, dried and ironed so I won't have them to cope with as well on my return, and I will get tuition for a week on Monday sorted and off my mind.  Then I think my conscience will be as clear as it's ever going to be.  :-)
Then there's the house to tidy before my lovely cleaner turns up and gets it all ready.

Well, it is after seven so I'd better get the day started with breakfast and then a bath and hair wash.   I shall be taking my laptop with me and fingers crossed the connection works at Elveden!

Have a great day.

Thursday 7 June 2018


Good morning!  The sun is shining, the birds are singing and I - I am sneezing my head off.  Goodness, the hay fever is bad at the moment.  It'll ease soon as I've just taken my meds!  Fortunately, it doesn't last for long - by the middle of July it will have stopped.  Some unlucky folk have reactions for a lot longer.

I got loads done yesterday.  Call me over-organised, if you want, but I have all my meal plans sorted, all the stuff I need for those meals measured out and ready to take and a shopping list for the fresh stuff too.  I'm not shopping at the supermarket there, it's shockingly expensive!

I popped down to the allotment, mowed the grass (about time too) and then concocted a cage frame for the mangetout.  We haven't forgotten last year when we turned up one morning to find that all the little shoots that had been growing so bravely had been pecked off by pigeons, horrible things.  Not this year!
I didn't put the netting over because it's not needed yet but also because it really needs two pairs of hands.
Then I gave everything a good water which takes ages but has to be done.  I'm wondering whether I should invest in a bigger watering can or two.

Here's the cage skeleton!  Those corner things are very useful for this sort of thing.

And here's that empty patch, now planted up.  I know it still looks a bit bare but wait until the courgettes start to spread and the runners climb up the wigwams!  Beside the two wigwams we are planting the cucumber so that will be another wigwam!

Today is packing day.  It's a bit complicated as I'm away for the weekend, then off on holiday, then back to the same place for the next weekend.  Loadsa packing and sorting to be done so I have today clear for just that and getting everything ready so tomorrow I just have to bung everything in the car and set off.  I also need to micro-plan my route as I'm such a worrier!

Time to go and pick the breakfast strawberries (it's such a hard life!) so I will stop waffling and get started.  Have a good day and enjoy the lovely weather.

Wednesday 6 June 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's a dull start but yesterday finished in glorious sunshine so fingers crossed today will too.

Yesterday was packed but enjoyable.  I dealt with the rest of the chicken and now have a bowlful of lovely stock to reduce down and then freeze in smaller portions.  Swimming was great, as was tuition.  Later on, Beth and I were allotment bound and now that bare patch in the middle is no longer bare.  It has pea sticks (and mangetout seeds underground), runner bean seeds at the base of two wigwams and courgettes.  We did plant what was left of the runners I grew at home but Beth trod on one and the other two are feeble specimens so, although we gave them a go, we don't hold out much home.  Now it really does feel like an allotment!  It has raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, apple, pear, plum, chard, mangetout, runner beans, courgettes, potatoes, baby corn and asparagus.  There's a few gaps so I might look in the garden centre to see what they have that could maybe fill those gaps.  We will see!

Afterwards, I took Beth to the Hare to celebrate.  She had a smaller plate macaroni cheese and I had smaller plate nachos which will have done my diet (and bank balance) no good at all but I don't care, followed by two scoops of icecream.  It was lovely.

Today I am staying at home mostly as there's a lot to do preparing for the holiday.  My lovely house minder is all sorted (thanks, S) and I need to get little pots of things I will need as it's self catering - so things like herbs, salt, tea bags, washing up liquid, etc.  I see no reason to buy larger boxes of things I already have in and I do have lots of little pots that I can use so I will.  Today will be the Day of the Long Lists!

I will go to the allotment though.  I will mow the grass (long overdue), sweed round the rhubarb because it's very bad again and concoct a cage to go over the mangetout so the pigeons don't eat the plantlets as soon as they emerge.

Well - better get going, it's nearly eight o'clock and I haven't done a single thing yet.  Dear me! 
Have a great day!

Tuesday 5 June 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Sadly, we seem to be back to dull and gloomy weather again and right at the moment it's drizzling steadily.  Not great.

I did get to the allotment yesterday though and, cheers, I got the rest of the forking and clearing finished.  It takes so long to fork over a row and then go through each clod, breaking it up and removing all the larger stones, weeds and nasty looking roots (and the occasional half rotten potato) and it is very boring but it's worth it for the future.  We didn't do this with that patch last year because we wanted to get the potatoes in in a hurry and the difference between it and the larger area we did clear is significant.  Never mind, done now and from here on it is a case of dealing with the pernicious weeds as they break through until they give up and go away.  Ongoing but not difficult.

Today is a nice, busy day with little time for boring old housework!
First of all, my neighbour, C, is coming over for early coffee and a chat (she's as busy as I am so finding the time to get head to head can be tricky) after which I am off for swimming and an aqua class, something I am very much looking forward to as the last time I swam was last Thursday.
Then it is back home for some tuition and then Beth is round and, fingers crossed, we are taking some baby plants to the allotment to plant them out and sowing the mange touts.  I will push to go, even if it is drizzling because it is something we need to get done and I'm away next week.

I'll finish with some lotty photos taken yesterday.  No sun so they're a bit dull.

Here's the patch I have now finished, taken from the side.  It has a random potato and some bolted chard at the nearest end but the rest will be mange tout, runner beans, courgettes and cucumbers.  The chard will go soon and be replaced with more chard seeds.  It comes up pretty quickly.

This is the front patch, taken from front corner.  Potatoes, the newly planted out corn and, top left, the invisible asparagus.  :-)  Plenty of potatoes this year as we loved them last year and it was nice to have some to give away too.

And the back with strawberries and raspberries, taken from the front corner - we'll get a bit of fruit this year but not much, as you can see.  It should be better next year.  There's the rhubarb to the right and little friend's two beds to the left.

And finally, the fruit trees which seem to be doing well so far.  We've always been able to count the redlove fruit on the fingers of two hands but this year is is absolutely laden so fingers crossed.  The other apple and the plum are doing OK but nothing huge by the looks of it and the pear is also pretty full. 
The June drop has started so what we will be left with is anyone's guess.

And the complete view, more or less.  It will look a lot more productive in a month's time.

Monday 4 June 2018


Good morning!  Back to normal in households all round the country as the children go back to school after half term.  I'm glad they didn't have too many dull, damp days in their holiday.  Bank holiday weekend was lovely and so was this weekend as well.  BBC weather indicated that the fine weather is going to continue for some days to come, which is good.

Yesterday was great with Jen here all day and Beth round for lunch.  I now feel thoroughly rested and have some plans for going to Jen's using my bus pass.  I'm not using the pass and I really ought to.  In fact, actually using a bus will be an adventure (does that sound pathetic?) as I always use my car.

I took a few photos around the garden.
Here's the clematis I bought and planted out yesterday, looking happier (actually I have tied the flowers up so they look better) and it's not wilting - yet.  There are several buds that should open in the next weeks.  The compost bin is to the left and the bright flowers really do draw the eye away from it.

(the one right at the bottom is the instruction tag that is coated and therefore waterproof so I thought I'd just leave it there for now)

Look at these - autumn fruiting raspberries.  Yes, they are, really, it's just that the new canes which would normally be cut down to ground level, have leafed and fruited so I should get a small double crop this year.  Next year all the canes will be cut right back Feb/March so it really will just be autumn.

And here's a upstart baby strawberry with ideas above its status, looking to get ahead by sending out an early runner.

And, see, I will have tomatoes - the four in the large pot are Gardener's Delight and the single is a self seeded Sungold so I'm not really sure what it will do but it's worth a go - never say no to a freebie.

Today starts with a visit to the allotment followed by a stint in school before tuition.  After that, I have a basket of ironing to get done while watching telly.  Busy but very pleasant and satisfying.  I really hope to get the forking and clearing finished today so that Beth and I can plant the courgettes and sow the mange touts, etc, tomorrow evening.

Well, I'd better get going.  Have my bath and get dressed before loading the car, having breakfast and making tracks to the allotment.  It's a good life!