Friday 31 August 2018


Good morning everyone.  Last day of the working week (for most) and last day of the month!  It was gorgeous weather yesterday, warm but not hot, breezy and sunny.  A perfect day for going out and about.

The car survived its MOT, thank goodness, so I am all legal for another year.  There are a few things that need doing but they are not things that affect the MOT so I shall get the car booked in for those some time soon.

Then Jackie and I set off for St Andrew's Church, Greensted and had a really lovely time.  I'll post about it separately another time as I need to go through the photos and edit them first but just to say it is such a peaceful place and we had a thorough look around before sitting on a bench in the graveyard and chatting about this, that and the other.

Once home, we had a late lunch of home made tomato soup and lots more chatter after which Jackie departed before the rush hour.  I then had a nice sit down in between loads of washing (my own this time) until Beth turned up to collect the washing and ironing I did.
Taken last time I had home made tomato soup!

In the evening it was Slimming World and , three cheers, I have lost four pounds so it's a great start.  Here's hoping it continues.

Today is a quieter day.  I have a bit of shopping, a bit of ironing, a bit of housework . . . you get the idea, I am sure.

Just to let you know that if I miss a post over the weekend, it's OK, there's not a problem and will be back in full voice on Monday.  Have a splendid weekend.

Thursday 30 August 2018


Good morning, all.  I'm in a bit of a rush this morning as the car is due for its MOT at eight thirty and straight after that a friend is round for lunch (so I have to tidy downstairs as much as I can!).  Then we are off to look at Greensted Church which is supposed to be the oldest wooden church in the world.  Long time readers may remember that I have already been there once, ages ago, but Jackie hasn't and I would love to revisit.

Later on, this evening in fact, it's my first SW weigh in meeting so my fingers are crossed for that.

Should be good!

Wednesday 29 August 2018


Morning, everyone.  As forecast yesterday, it's raining right now (good - no need to water) but is expected to stop by around nine this morning.  It's not warm but not chilly, thankfully. 

Yesterday was quite busy.  It started off with tuition.  No, it started off with washing and pegging out clothes.  There's so much to do, I thought I'd better get an early start!  Then it was tuition which was fun.

After that I pegged out the washing in faith (justified) and set off to pick Alex up.  We posted some parcels for Beth and then sent off to Hylands.

Hylands is basically parkland with a rather lovely while neo-classical house that one can visit on certain days and which can be hired for weddings and so on.  It's not posh, doesn't have carefully sculptured gardens like Chatsworth, but it is very pleasant for a healthy stroll and a snack or meal in the Sables Cafe.  It's a popular place locally because both dogs and children can run and run and run and there's a super adventure playground type thing.  I really must go back again very soon - I don't make use of it nearly enough.

Al and I spent a very pleasant time strolling around, chatting about this and that.  I took some photos and you can see what I mean by 'not posh'.

There was the inevitable little lake with a duck island in the middle and some very sociable duck who came swimming up hopefully as we approached.  Sadly, we had no food for them but I bet they don't go hungry!  I love the sign asking visitors not to feed them on bread.

There are some nice little pathways and resting places.  Look at the dedication on the bench - I think that's just lovely.

And some more formal bits.

This church is on my list of churches to visit!

And Alex's lunch was delicious - chicken, bacon and avocado baguette.  I was good and brought fruit with me!

When I got home after dropping Alex off home, I had a surprise.  There was a box of flowers on the doormat - the kind in a box that can be posted through.  I got all excited wondering who was sending me flowers before I noticed that the address was mine but the name was not.  I didn't recognise the name at all but, as they were nonreturnable, I got them out, popped them in a vase with the 'reviving' stuff in the box and then contacted the company (the email was on the box).  It was quite important as they were a 40th birthday gift, one of a set of three monthly bouquets.  The company got back to me within the hour to let me know they had contacted the sender and would sort it out and please to enjoy the flowers.
As there was another card for the same person, separate and from someone else, I guess the wrong address has been handed around.  Such a shame for the birthday person but I shall enjoy the flowers - they are lovely.

That was the last excitement of the day.  Beth wasn't well and couldn't come round so I spent the evening ironing and totally forgot about watching Bake Off so I have that pleasure this evening.

Today's a quiet day.  Tuition first thing, then I intend to go swimming.  After that it's more washing and ironing and Bake-Off catch-up.  And, more than likely, a snooze late afternoon!

Tuesday 28 August 2018


Good morning, everyone.

I received some sad news yesterday.  My Aunty Joyce (Mum's older sister and who I am named after) died yesterday morning.  She had been very poorly.
I haven't seen Aunty Joyce for years as she was a 'GI bride' and has always lived in the States since her marriage, coming back only once or twice in all that time.  However, she and I chatted on Facebook (good old Facebook) and I am very saddened at her passing.

Cheering up somewhat, yesterday was a pleasant day otherwise.  I popped to Sainsbury's when it opened and treated my car to a good wash at the same time.  I felt quite posh driving home as it gleamed for the first time in months.  Ah well, I reckon the dust protected the paintwork!

After lunch I went over to Beth's and we sorted some stuff out.  She had done the painting so we tidied up some stuff and I came home with some washing!

The evening was spent working through the box set of the DS9 programmes my son lent me while I cleared my ironing basket in preparation for Beth's ironing!  I'm making slow progress through these sets.  I've done Next Gen so they could be returned.  I'm about three quarters of the way through DS9 and I still have Voyager to watch.  I haven't even taken the wrapping off the Poirot set I treated myself to but I will take that on holiday with me next month.

Today I have tuition first thing and then Al is coming over and we really hope we will get to Hylands - after all, third time lucky.  The forecast is for dry, dull weather which sounds OK to me.  Then Beth is coming for dinner after work.

I should sleep well tonight!

Monday 27 August 2018


Good morning.  After yesterday's dullness and rain, this morning is much brighter and the sun might even come out, fingers crossed.  Yesterday was dire for humans but great for ducks and allotments!

First of all, Margaret, I had 'problems' (not really a problem but I can't think of the right word) leaving a comment on your blog.  When I started the comment it showed it was being made by Alison Prewett so I needed to change it to my name, email and blog.  I'm not sure why.  Sorry.

After a bit of an internal struggle yesterday, I pootled off the the gym for an early swim.  Yes, the Gossip Gang (they are really nice, it's just what I call them) was there but not in great numbers so there was plenty of room for all.  A lovely swim and after the GG got out, an almost empty pool.  I'm glad I went.

When I got home, I mowed my front patch that had gone from desert to jungle.  It always amazes me how grass can pick up do quickly after a drought.  Then I tempted fate by hanging out some washing and half an hour later had to rush out and bring it in again!  Oh, well, worth a try.

I spent the rest of the day in idle sloth, watching telly, making bread, cooking meals, etc, and very nice it was too.  I even managed to tidy the kitchen afterwards.

I'm not going swimming today.  It's bank holiday and is likely to be crowded.  I will get my exercise from a brisk walk around Sainsbury's getting some stuff that Morrisons doesn't do.  After lunch I'm off to Beth's as I have promised her I will help her with some decorating.  This bank holiday never has meant all that much as it's in the school summer holidays so it's easy to forget and today feels like Sunday as Beth is home.

So that's today.  It should be pleasant and I hope your day is just as good.

Sunday 26 August 2018


Good morning, everyone.  We're back to dull mornings again today and we had more rain last night.  More rain is forecast for this afternoon too so it's just as well we did allotment stuff yesterday.

It was another good day!  Alex stayed the morning and I took him home just before lunch time.  At three I met up with Beth at the allotment and we mowed, uprooted, weeded, cleared and harvested.  The mange tout are gone now - they've been a big disappointment this year but we'll probably give them another go next year and choose the seeds carefully.  Perhaps it was the dry weather - it was hard to give such an expanse enough water by watering can but it could just have been that they didn't like the heat.
Anyway, we picked baby corn (nearly over now), runner beans (doing better there than in my garden), courgettes and tomatoes.  We shared the corn and Beth had the rest as I have tomatoes and runners at home.  There were six raspberries so we shared them and ate them there and then.  Then we had a go at the apple tree.  Lift each apple and if it is ripe it will come off with a very gentle tug/slight twist.  We both took some home!  The pears (I've discovered that they are Williams pears) are not ready yet, neither are the redloves.

It was nice to get some of the weeds cleared - it was beginning to look a bit tatty.  There's more to do but we have broken the back of it for the moment and from the path it looks lovely again.  We just don't look too closely at the potatoes which are riddled with weeds.  :-)

Today I shall be going swimming in less than an hour and then the day's my own.  Nothing in the diary.  I'm feeling quite weary so will take things easy.  I shall turn some tomatoes into passata for the freezer (great for winter soups) and I might make some bread.  I haven't made bread for ages as I eat very little nowadays, mainly because the liver shrinking/happy gallbladder eating didn't really lend itself to much in the bread line.  I think I'll make one loaf and the rest will be rolls.  That will do nicely.

Have a very pleasant day, everyone, whatever the weather!

Saturday 25 August 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It feels very autumnal again at the moment with a real nip in the air.  In fact, yesterday evening the heating clicked on and I didn't turn it off again.  It doesn't quite smell autumny yet - you know, that slightly smoky, misty scent in the air at the beginning and end of the day - but it can't be far behind.

Yesterday turned out nice.  the sun shone and it was warm but not baking.  I went swimming and enjoyed it very much after which I prepped for Al's visit.  I think he enjoyed the pizza; there was none left anyway and precious little of the salad and the potato salad that he had requested,  He rather decimated (and more) the fruit salad too.

Today I will take Al home and then the morning is mine until I meet up with Beth at the allotment, weather permitting.  The grass needs a good cut there but might be too wet as it pelted it down yesterday evening.  The weeds won't take too much effort though as the ground is damp and we need to get up the mange tout which have been a dismal failure this year, sadly.

I have SW recipe books to browse through after allotment and will probably fall asleep over them.  :-)

That's about it for today.  A lazy day mostly.  I won't go swimming as it's often crowded on Saturday but I will pop down for opening at eight tomorrow.  I know the gossip gang will be there but I can swim round them!

Friday 24 August 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It is a gloriously sunny morning but, my word, it is quite chilly with a breeze that makes it feel colder than it really is.  No complaints though, it's a really lovely day.

Sadly, Al and I didn't get anywhere near Hylands - as the time approached, the heavens opened.  Al got a bit wet cycling over but now has a protective jacket so it wasn't as bad as it could have been.  We had a good chat and lunched (good old beans on toast!), fixed a new date and then he went home.  We'll get there at some point.

We also fixed a date for a lunch out just before he goes back to uni.  Harvester rather than Hare at Al's request.  I guess it is much more his sort of food!

I got to Slimming World and have joined.  I have to get my head round a few things but it is all very similar to what I am already doing so shouldn't be too difficult once I get used to it.  I hope the structure will keep me on track.
When I got home, I settled in front of the PC with the books, etc, and devised a planning sheet (the one they provide won't work for me or anyone else who cooks just about everything from scratch) and then started filling it in.  Ten minutes later, I looked at the time and it was ten past one!!!  I can't remember the last time I was awake so late.  Given that I woke just after six as usual, I will feel it later on today.
It was worth it though because the whole week is now done and dusted and It's all as organised as it can possibly be, thank goodness.
It's better work!

Today I plan to have a good swim but apart from that the day's my own.  I have the usual housework to get done and (of course) I bought a book at SW last night so will take some time to read through - and most likely fall asleep over too.  I'll also take a walk to Morrisons to get just a few things - it's not far at all but I usually take the car so I have to change that habit, don't I?

Oh, nearly forgot - I have to make up Alex's bed.

Better get going then or nothing will get done.  Have a great day.

Thursday 23 August 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It's rather a dull and gloomy morning but it'll probably cheer up like it did yesterday.  It's starting to feel autumnal - cool mornings and evenings but pleasant warmth during the day.

Yesterday was great.  I had a lovely time with my friend, catching up on all the news and gossip.  Next time, she's coming to mine and I will email her today with a date.  We did indeed just take up again as if we'd always been in contact which was fantastic.

When I got home, there was a little parcel waiting on the doorstep.  It was the two mini-dishes that Margaret mentioned in her blog, Shirley Conran Portmeirion, and I hoped that they would be perfect of single portions of things like cottage pie, lasagne, etc.  And so they are, they are just a perfect size as you can see from the photo with pencils in to show the size and they are attractive too.   Thank you very much, Margaret.

Today is full of stuff.
First of all it is tuition, then Alex is coming round and we are off to Hylands Park for a few hours, having lunch there.  I might take a couple of apples and treat myself to a coffee but I am sure Alex will have a meal of some kind.

Then, later on, it's off to Slimming World for the first time so do wish me luck!  :-)   Eeek!

Wednesday 22 August 2018


Good morning, everyone.
There was a very attractive sunset last night.  Not 'stunning' just pretty and gentle so I popped out to take a few photos.  I love a good sunset.

Yesterday was really nice.  I went to Morrisons for a few bits and bobs and came back with more than was on my list - ooops!  Nothing particularly extravagant though.

Once that was all away, I popped over the cul de sac to Chris for a cupps and a good natter.  She's been away/busy and so have I so it's been a while since we last caught up.  I took over some tomatoes and a courgette for her and, in return, she has promised me a few of the cooking apples from her tree when they are ready.  Nice.

After lunch I popped round to Mel's and had coffee.  Mel has been going to Slimming World and has lost (and kept off) a fair amount of weight and she told me all about how it works and so on.  Now, I'm not a club kind of person but I've lost focus and I truly don't want to undo all the good work since last November so I'm going to give it a go and see, starting this week.  Totally coincidentally, there's a free membership voucher in Woman magazine this week so that's a tenner minus the cost of the mag saved.
You see, now the boundaries enforced by a poorly gallbladder have gone, I need something to build structure again.  It's hard to explain but I really think this will help - for a time anyway.
Time will tell.

Anyway, after that, Beth came round on her way home from work.  Before dinner, we popped round the allotment and came back with another load of goodies.  We're trying the apples and we picked a pear each to wrap in a paper bag and see if it is ready to ripen.  The plums have been very poor but there were two left, both looking sound, so that's one each.  There were more runners, tomatoes and baby corn and we started on the Maris Piper potatoes, just to see, and there were loads of potatoes in the very small bit that we dug so that's excellent.

Today, after tuition, I'm off to a friend's for lunch.  This is someone who lived just down the road from me here but they moved and we sort of lost contact.  I'm feeling a bit nervous but am hoping we can pick up where we left off.  I'm a bit of a gadabout at the moment, aren't I?  It's so nice!

It should be a lovely day, fingers crossed.

Tuesday 21 August 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Another dull start but yesterday cheered up for a time and we had some pleasant, sunny warmth before it decided to start raining a bit.  Maybe today will be the same.

I had a lovely swim after shopping yesterday.  Thirty five minutes of up and down, planning out my holiday food as I did so.  Ironing to think of food while exercising but it's such a peaceful time, just me and the water, and I can work out all kinds of stuff in my mind as I swim.  Afterwards, the spa was gorgeously hot and so relaxing.

Then I went home and H turned up for tuition.  We both really enjoy these sessions so it's an absolute pleasure each week.  I shall miss it when H stops coming, the enthusiasm is so rewarding.

After that it was just ordinary things for the rest of the day - those little things that make life purposeful and sweet without creating drama.

I've heard from Dad - he seems very much better again, just rather tired.  At his age it's not surprising really.  It's a relief he's been OK today.  I was a bit concerned that I'd left too soon but it seems not.

Today I might be going round to a friend's in the morning for a cuppa and I definitely will be going to another friend's in the afternoon for a chat about something I am wondering about doing.  I'll tell you about that later on.  Then Beth is coming round to dinner so I'm very much looking forward to that.
I might get a bit of housework done too, you never know!  Stranger things have happened!

Have a great day, everyone!

Monday 20 August 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Oh, it is so nice to be home again.  It's lovely at Mum and Dad's, whatever the reason for going, but there's no place like home.

As planned, on the way home I stopped off at the allotment and had a bit of a pick before finishing the journey and having another pick at home.  There's enough to keep me going for a while, for sure.

The runners are all prepped now and in a bag in the fridge and  I've been eating the tomatoes like sweeties.  Much more healthy than sweets though.  Hidden in the shadow beside the apple are three lovely autumn raspberries which are destined for my breakfast in a short time.  The apple is a windfall but they really are almost ready to pick and eat now.  Loads on the mini-tree although every time I go, several have fallen.

After sorting out the veg and getting dinner out of the freezer, I sat down and promptly went to sleep.  I must have been tired!

Today I plan to go for a swim.  I also have a bit of a shop to do before some afternoon tuition.  Just a nice, normal day, in fact.

Sunday 19 August 2018


Good morning!

I was looking back to last Wednesday's post to remember when life broke off for a short time.  It looks like I have a while pile of veg to use and I hope the picked tomatoes haven't started rotting in the bowl.  I also hope Beth has been picking the baby corn over the weekend.

I never did get to Sainsbury's to look at the clothes sale but I'm not too bothered about that.  After all, I have plenty to wear so maybe I have been saved from myself.

I have no idea what the bp is now - I didn't bring my monitor with me.  Hopefully, in a few days, it will have settled.  I don't expect it to be as low right now because Dad had wine.  Oh, dear!  Oh, deary, deary me!  < grin >.

Obviously, I haven't been swimming since last Wednesday but I have pencilled in a few sessions this coming week, all being well.

Thank you all very much yet again for your lovely comments and best wishes for Dad.  I don't know what sort of night he has had yet but am hoping that it was a good one.  He had three small meals yesterday and plain biscuits and rehydration drink between the meals and everything stayed put so I am, really hoping he feels stronger today with some good food inside him.  Last night, for example, he had cottage pie and runner beans and then apple and blackberry crumble with custard.  All small portions but even so . . .

As a lot of you mentioned, he is tough and a real fighter and, while he is unlikely to bouncing on a trampoline much, I'll be surprised if he isn't much, much better this morning.

Assuming that to be so, I may be going home today.  There's plenty to do.  I want to check the allotment, pick from the garden, sort out the bins which are likely to be smelly by now (I forgot to empty them, leaving in such a hurry) and there's washing, drying and ironing.  I'd also like to get everything prepared for the bit of tuition I still do.  They're my 11+ students and we're on to timed practice papers now so prep isn't too difficult.  I just need to ensure I know how to explain any problems and note any pointers for exam techniques.  They're really enjoying it all which makes the whole thing a great pleasure.

Well, I'd better get started on the day's activities.  I'm sure it will go well, whatever happens.  I hope you have a good'un too.

Saturday 18 August 2018


Good morning.
Again, thank you all for your kind comments yesterday.  After a bit of a setback over Thursday night, Dad continued to improve.  I mixed him up some more re-hydration stuff (good old Google) and he started eating a little bit through the day.  I'm hoping that the improvement will continue through today.
He has to go for a blood test to check another condition that could very well be affected by this so fingers crossed that is OK too.

Apart from that, it was a day doing things that Dad would normally do.  Maria, the care assistant, came and did her very helpful best, I washed, line dried and ironed (nothing new there) and picked veg, cooked meals and took Mum for her check-up.  All in a day's work.

Today I am out to do an early morning shop and then I think Dad will be wanting to resume his normal routines.  It's a relief that he seems to be getting better again.  A bug like that is no joke at nearly 90!

Have a lovely weekend and enjoy the fine weather if you get some.

Friday 17 August 2018


Good morning, everyone.  Thank you for your kind comments yesterday.  Dad seemed to be recovering a bit through the day and by the evening felt brave enough to try a bit of mash and a plain biscuit (not together).  I also made him up some re-hydration fluid which he had through the day.  It all stayed put during the evening and I'm hoping that he has had a better night.

The weather was shocking yesterday.  Quite torrential rain all through the morning and it wasn't until evening that we had any sun.  There's no way Jackie and I would have wanted to go out anyway; wandering round old churches would have been miserable as half the interest is outside in the building and the graveyard.  Little Maplestead and Castle Headingham will still be there when we re-schedule.

I did a bit of shopping and had to borrow Mum's jacket as I'd not brought mine in the rush to pack and get up here on Wednesday.  Mum's jacket!!!  A year ago it would have been Dad's jacket and that would have been too tight.

Today is more of the same.  Looking after Mum and giving Dad a break.  There will be some washing as the care assistant changes the sheets on Friday and some meal making but apart from that I will have chill out time.  The sun is shining and it's all very cheering.  Should be good. 

Thursday 16 August 2018


Good morning.  Half way through the month and time is accelerating away.  It'll be September in a blink or two.

The first part of yesterday was lovely.  Tuition was great and then, after sorting out lunch and dinner, I went off to the gym for a good swim in an almost empty pool.  Bliss.

When I got home, I set my soup to warm and checked my emails while I was waiting and things moved up several gears!  A message from Dad, asking if I could come over as he was poorly and Mum needed looking after.  He'd been trying to get in touch by phone but I was out of course and one doesn't tend to take ones mobile into the swimming pool!

Of course the house was half way through its day so it was a bit manic putting things together and sorting out stuff.  I gobbled my soup and popped the rest in a plastic container to take with me as it was hot, otherwise I'd have frozen it.  My dinner also went into a plastic container and that did go in the freezer as it was cold by then.  I cancelled a day out planned for today (church visits and we can reschedule), set off the dishwasher, forgot to empty the bin and also to deal with my wet swim stuff but Beth's popping in today to sort a few things out for me and water the garden.

So here I am, unexpectedly away!  Dad's OK, it was a nasty tummy upset, but he will be weak and wobbly for a few days and in no state to care for Mum so I'm glad I am here.

I should be OK to keep posting but if I don't, don't worry, I'll be back.

Wednesday 15 August 2018


Good morning.  It's dull and gloomy out there but not wet (yet).  It doesn't matter, the windows are wide open as usual and the fresh air is pouring in.  It feels good.

Yesterday was a fine day; not always sunny but quite pleasant and I got a good load of washing dried on the line which made me happy.
Tuition went really well, my hair feels a lot better now, Alex loved his bangers and mash and it was lovely to see Beth after work.

Something very cheering - in the early evening, Beth and I went down to the allotment to see what, if anything, there was to pick and found loadsa stuff.  We came back with baby corn, runner beans, tomatoes, potatoes, courgettes, plums and a few apples but they're not really ready yet.

All in poly bags because some of it was a bit muddy.

We have to keep picking the baby corn now as they go woody very quickly.  As soon as the silver tassels appear, they are ready to pick.

It sounded like a very busy day on paper yesterday morning but, in fact, it all rolled along very pleasantly and I had time to just potter.

One very good thing.  As I've mentioned before, I have blood pressure issues and am on medication for it.  For the last two days my readings have at last been in the 'normal' banding - maybe I'm on top of it now.  It's been gradually going down for a while so it's not a fluke (I hope).  Long may it stay that way.

Today I have the other tuition session of the week and then the day's my own.  I am pretty sure I will ruin my just done hair by going swimming (worth it!) and I may potter down to Sainsbury's as they have 25% off all their clothes until Monday.  Worth a look anyway.
Have a great day.

Tuesday 14 August 2018


Good morning, everyone.  The sun is shining and it is fresh and cool.  A perfect English summer morning and I am making the best of it with the windows thrown open to welcome the refreshing morning air.

Yesterday was a sad day, of course, and I ended up staying at home in the afternoon, partly because it kept raining and partly because I wanted to deal with the washing that was cluttering up my kitchen and drying racks.  I managed to get one load dried outside, mainly thanks to the wind; it certainly wasn't thanks to any sun!

Today, in contrast, is very busy.
First of all it's tuition, a bit longer as the 11+ draws ever closer
Then Sharon comes round to work her six weekly magic on my hair.
Alex is round for lunch - those bangers and mash that we planned last week if we couldn't get to Hyde Hall.
And Beth is round for dinner tonight.

In between times, I need to do a bit of clearing up and a bit more washing, drying and ironing.  At least the allotment doesn't need watering.
Better get started then!!!

Monday 13 August 2018


Good morning, everyone.  We've had more rain overnight and it's dull right now.  Maybe it will brighten up later.

Not a lot happened yesterday really.  I went swimming when the gym opened at eight and that was good even though the 'gossip gang' were out in force, slowly walking (or swimming) up and down, nattering to each other and blocking the lanes.  Never mind, they seem pleasant ladies and obviously enjoy their time together.  To avoid them in the spa (lack of room, not them as such), I did an extra 15 mins of swimming so that was good for me!

Once home I did washing, drying (one load managed to dry outside) and ironing although there's more to do and it was a drizzly day, on and off.

This morning is a sad time.  As I've mentioned before, I'm part of a little group of friends who meet now and again for a meal at the Hare.  One of the friends, who only came very occasionally, died a short while ago and it is her funeral this morning.  We're all going along to remember her and pay our respects.

After that I might get the bus into town and look around the Cathedral; it's not a hard and fast date, just a maybe.  I'll see how I feel.  It's all a bit sad at the moment, not just for this friend but also other things that are going on too but, as I always say, it's not my story to tell so I won't say any more.

I hope you have a happy day and that the sun shines.

Sunday 12 August 2018


Good morning, everyone.  We've had a lot more rain overnight (three cheers) and more showers are predicted for today and tomorrow.  Nature certainly is catching up and the ground should be well soaked again soon, right down deep.  No allotment today although as soon as the ground dries the grass will need a good mowing and the edges a good strimming!

I popped down there yesterday and picked some tomatoes and a courgette for Beth.  There are now some runner beans nearly ready to pick and now the weather has moderated, the beans should stop shedding flowers and produce some fruit instead.  Hope so, anyway.  And I noticed that the baby corn is starting to produce - er - baby corn!  :-)  Three cheers!

Today I'm hoping to go swimming when the gym opens at eight, after which I intend plan next week (very roughly and subject to change) and to get a great load of Beth and Al's washing done and my own ironing finished.  I hope there's something OK on telly.

Just an ordinary day.

Saturday 11 August 2018


Good morning, everyone.  I woke to a surprise - the central heating had clicked on.  I know it was going to be a cool night but really, what a change from only a few days ago.  The sun is shining and the skies are clear, no rain is forecast until this evening and my little patch of grass is green and growing again and needs cutting.  Nature restores itself very rapidly when the conditions are right.

Yesterday morning was lovely and sunny so Al and I made our way to Hyde Hall as planned.  After a drink and snack, we meandered our way up to the top taking the longest way to look at something quite new since the last time I visited, the Global Growth Vegetable Garden, saying hello to the willow woven dinosaur on the way.

The sun kept coming and going and I loved its effect on this little group of trees.

The global garden is lovely.  It's an octagonal greenhouse with maze like pathways around and lots of vegetable beds with plants from around the world and boards giving information.
Here's an aerial shot, found on the RHS site and, obviously, taken much earlier this year.  Quite an allotment, eh?

And this is my photo.  The sky is looking very ominous, isn't it!

And a few photos of the outside fruit and veg - they've obviously been well watered!

Then it started raining so we took shelter in the greenhouse and chatted to the tomatoes, chillis, melons, etc.  Rather better than my little selection at home!
 See the hammocks for the fruit!

When the rain stopped, we meandered around again, chatting as we visited the lower and upper lakes, talked to the ducks and generally had a very pleasant time.  It was really lovely.

Lunch was lovely.  We had the soup which was a most delicious tomato - proper tomato, not cream of - and I had walnut bread with mine.  Al also had a slice of victoria sponge and the taste I had showed me it was a very good sponge.
After a bit more meandering around, we had to dash to the car because it started raining quite heavily.  We were lucky, we really did get the best of the day because then it continued raining on and off for a few hours.  No complaints!

I have to go back there very soon because Al wasn't as interested as I in the information and it will change from month to month anyway.  I wonder what, if anything, they will plant over the winter months and I wonder if they will be doing anything with the seeds.
There were plenty of places we didn't see.  There's a winter garden that is new and also  and annual bedding area (which used to be the vegetable garden with the wonderful pumpkin display in the autumn) and we didn't go anywhere near the herbaceous border which is always a treat.
Sadly, the wooden man had disappeared.  I suppose he just rotted away after a while.

I'm glad we made it there eventually.  They've improved things considerably - the cafes are now better organised and there's an education centre as well as plenty of space for exhibitions and so on.  Al and I think we will go back in September when it should be quieter and less crowded.  There were lots of families which did my heart good to see but Al prefers quieter places really.

The new buildings.

Today I'm hoping to go over to Beth's to help her sort some stuff out and we will go food shopping together.   I also have some washing to do which means ironing this evening.  I really don't mind, it keeps my fingers off the food!!
Have a great Saturday, everyone.

Friday 10 August 2018


Good morning, all!  Well, what a change in the weather yesterday.  At first BBC weather said sunny with light showers.  That turned into 'heavy rain; and so it stayed all day  Perfect for the garden and the allotment and it's is so gorgeous and cool now.   Everything looks so much greener and happier again.  It wasn't enough rain, of course, we need several days of it to really soak the ground, but it will certainly have helped

Of course, it meant that Alex and I cancelled our trip to Hyde Hall as it would not have been fun in the rain.  We might go today and it looks much more hopeful; cool and fresh, sunny blue sky, just perfect..

Instead, I did a small shop for some essential items and got the ironing done earlier than planned.  I'd have had a swim but I hadn't washed my swimwear, thinking I wouldn't need it yesterday.  Never mind, maybe it was wet enough anyway!

So today it should be Hyde Hall, providing Alex can get up in time and make his way over.  If not, no problem, he doesn't have to be back at uni until the end of September.  There's plenty of time.  No need to worry about the allotment although I may just pop down later, note pad and pen at the ready to make a list of next week's jobs.  Also to pick, of course.

Well, better get started or I won't get finished.  Have a lovely day.

Thursday 9 August 2018


Good morning, everyone.  I've had a cool and comfortable night's sleep and woken up to cloud and drizzle as I snuggled under the duvet.  It feels so good to be able to do that again.  Yesterday was a glorious day here.  Sunny, warm and with a fresh breeze that kept it all comfortable.  Such a change.

Yesterday, tuition was great and then I decided I would go swimming.  I really must up my exercise after letting it lapse recently and I knew I wouldn't be able to go today.  It was lovely although I came back a bit achey, showing how out of practise I have become.  Doesn't take long to lose it, does it?

By the time I got home it was mid afternoon so I dealt with washing on the line and then sorted out dinner before chilling in front of TV.  All very pleasant.

Today, Alex and I have planned to spend some time at Hyde Hall.  It'll be rather dry and brown underfoot, unlike the usual lush grass but we will have a good walk round, enjoying lunch at some point.  Once home again, I really ought to do some ironing so that's the day planned out.  Of course, if it starts raining hard, we might change our plans and the forecast has changed from 'gentle showers' to 'heavy rain at times' but I'll see how Alex feels.  What are umbrellas for, after all!

What's it like your way?

Wednesday 8 August 2018


Good morning, everyone

Most of yesterday was so baking hot that I stayed in and under cover.  During the afternoon the clouds rolled in but, to my dismay, no rain came.  Well, just a few drops that didn't even wet the ground.  I think it made up for that overnight and it's delightfully cool now although it's still quite dark and I am reminded again that the nights are lengthening noticeably.  It's bliss to feel cool and to have had a decent night's sleep too.

I managed to get one load of washing dry and would have managed two except that I was too lazy to get it out.  Well, not entirely lazy: over lunch I had a visit from an old friend who has been asked to lead a service in the crematorium for another friend, someone who occasionally came to our girls' dinners and who I have known for decades, on and off.  We had a good old chat about this mutual friend and I hope it helped in the preparation thereof.

THEN I was too lazy - and I did think it was going to rain.  That's my excuse anyway.

However, I did deal with that horrible thistle earlier in the morning.  The root went right through the pot and out the bottom into the pot underneath that pot.

I didn't know thistle stems were hollow but this one certainly was!

It's almost a 'what is this' type photo, isn't it?
It amazes me that the pot was so bone dry (as was the one underneath) that I had to soak the contents to deal with the bulbs but that perishing thistle was growing inches each day, green and lush.

I have one more tuition session this morning and then the day is my own.  At the moment I am dithering between going into town to look round the cathedral and going to the gym for a swim.  I think the latter will win out as I haven't been swimming for days and, after all, I have subscribed for the year.  The cathedral won't go away - I hope!

I won't need to go to the allotment today.  There will be some tomatoes to pick but they won't hurt for one more day and more rain is forecast so no need to water, I hope.

And I feel . . . cool.   Aaaaahhhhhhh!

Tuesday 7 August 2018


Good morning, everyone.
It wasn't a very nice night.  Far too hot and uncomfortable and I'm feeling bleary eyed after tossing and turning most of the time - or so it felt anyway.  One more hot day (33C - eeek) and then it will cool off to just reasonable, they say.  Bring it on!

I more or less did what I'd planned yesterday, I think.  I stopped off at Hatfield Heath on the way home and spent a most enjoyable time wandering around.  Once home, I aired the place, picked and prepped runners (might freeze some now) and pulled off some tomatoes, rejoicing that the gardeners's delights are now ripening.

I dithered about when to go to the allotment and decided to go there and then despite the heat.  I'm glad I did because it was very humid later on.  I came home with two courgettes, some new potatoes, an apple (probably not ready yet but it had fallen), a tomato and a plum.  And gallons and gallons of sweat - sorry 'glow'.

I popped round to see Alex and came home with a bag of washing.  The first thing I need to do today is get some of that washing out on the line and pop in the next load.

Then I just crashed out and watched some telly.

Today I have an early morning tuition session but after that my diary is clear.  I was going to bus into town to look around the cathedral but I think maybe I will defer that until it is cooler - maybe tomorrow instead.  And then I have the most magnificent weed to deal with.

Isn't it a beauty?  It's in the lily of the valley pot that I meant to deal with a few weeks ago and didn't get round to.  Well, it's time is up now - I will tip out the whole pot and replant the bulbs, some around the front and some back in the pot.  The weed can go where all good weeds go - into the brown bin!

We're forecast some rain this evening so I am dithering about watering the allotment.  As I gave it a good doing yesterday, maybe I will skip today.  Decisions, decisions!

Well, time is moving on and sitting here won't get things done.  Coffee first, washing on line, bath and dress and then breakfast.
Have a good day and stay cool, whatever you do.

Monday 6 August 2018

All Saints, Hatfield Heath

On the way home from staying the weekend with ,my parents, I stopped off in Hatfield Heath to take a look at their little church.  There's not a lot of info about it, indicating that it's not 'interesting' in terms of historical building and artefacts but it looks pretty so I though it worth a look.

It's not easy to photograph, surrounded by trees in full leaf, but I managed to get a few nice views that confirm that it's is attractive.  It's quite popular for small weddings although it isn't a listed building.

This is what I did find on t'internet.
It's a comparatively new build, consecrated in 1859.  It is built of flint with chestnut wood shingles although in 1881 a wooden side chapel was replaced with a stone build chapel that is now a war memorial with chairs dedicated to each of the war dead.

The outside really is very pretty and has an octagonal spire that adds interest.

  The graveyard is well cared for and still used and can be approached from the main road beside a small church hall and also from the other side via a rustic gate/entrance.

The notice says that the door the other side is open and so it was, to my surprise.

The way in

One of the gravestones

It took me while to get oriented inside as it was extremely gloomy after the bright sunlight.  A small church that wouldn't hold many more than fifty worshippers but it had a really nice, friendly 'feel' to it.
(terrible light, terrible photo)

The rederos (see, I'm starting to pick up the vocabulary!) was a gift from the Broke family as thanksgiving for the safe return from the Boer War of their son.  Sadly, a later memorial marks the death of his son in WW2.
(and yes, I wanted to straighten the table cover which makes the photo look all squiffy)

There were some attractive stained glass windows but nothing particularly outstanding or of 'importance'.

And other bits and bobs.

So, worth a visit when I was going past but I'd have been disappointed if I made the journey specifically.   A lovely little village church to serve an attractive Essex village.

I have discovered that it is in a partnership with another church, St Mary's, at Sheering, which might be worth a look at some point as it is mentioned both in my books and online.


Good morning!  It's been an very hot weekend but I've been in the right place - there's nothing like a bit of air conditioning to make one comfortable.  I'm still with Mum and Dad but will be heading for home in a while.  I gather today will also be hot but there are signs that this spell of weather is breaking up and it should be much more moderate by the end of the week.  Hope so.

Depending on how hot it is, I might possibly stop off at Hatfield Heath and take a look at the church that stands to one side of the village green.  It's a small place and there seems to be very little information about it, meaning, presumably, that it is of no particular interest unless it is your local church but I'll take a look, seeing as I drive right past it.  All I've been able to find is that it was built in 1859 (presumably on the site of a much older building) and has an octagonal spire.  It is a pretty building that is popular for weddings.

Anyway, I may or may not but when I get home the whole house will need freshening up after being shut up over a very hot weekend so the first thing I will do it throw open all the windows and get the air moving with the fans while I inspect the garden!  After that it's unpacking time and I'll get some washing on.

I must go along to the allotment and give it a good watering.  I bet those pesky weeds are showing their heads again!  I'd like to dig up a few more potatoes as well.

So that's today.  I hope you have a good one.

Friday 3 August 2018


Good morning, everyone.  It was awful hot again yesterday; it really was baking in the afternoon and I was glad to be able to sit and chill - or try to - with a book.

However, I managed to get about three hours done at the allotment and now most of the weeds have been dealt with (for now - I have no doubt they will fight back) and everything had a good watering.
The left-over tomato plants that ended up down there are really doing very well and have started changing colour at last.  They are mostly for Beth and Alex as I have plenty at home.  The mange touts are behaving weirdly, producing peas rather than flat pods.  I shelled some yesterday and they were very nice, but not what we expected.  Perhaps it is this weather we are having or it might be the type!

There are baby runners on the plants but a lot of the flowers have dropped.  I blame the heat here too as they don't get nearly as much water as the plants in the back garden.  There are beans growing but there should be more.  Ah, well, at least we don't need to worry about blight!  There's always a silver lining.

I dug around one of the failed asparagus plants to see if anything at all had happened below ground but no, not a sign of anything so new plants/crowns have been ordered for autumn planting this time.  Better luck this time.

Today I need to take the mower down and give the weeds on the grass a surprise!  The grass itself has curled up and gone into hibernation in this dry weather but those pesky weeds would take advantage of anything!  A good mow and strim will sort them out for a week or so and it shouldn't take too long either.  I'll give everything another good watering while I'm at it.

Back in the garden, I'm picking runners and tomatoes now.  There's some to pick this morning.
The blueberry has more or less finished but won't be pruned until next Feb or March.  Fortunately, there are video clips online that give instructions.

The tayberry has also finished.  Not much this year but better than nothing and there's good growth for next year  That will need pruning in the next few weeks so that this years fruiting stems are cut right back to the ground to make space for the new growth.

The autumn fruiting raspberry canes have a pleasing number of baby berries with more flowers coming.  Really good for a first year.  They won't get too invasive as they're in a large pot.

Remember earlier in the year I spoke about the plants in pots either side of the arbour - cordylines?  One of them had died, presumably killed by the severe cold we had.  I bought a couple of lavenders to replace them but didn't get round to it then.  Well, I went to that corner to pull some weeds that had dared show and, lo and behold, in the dead plant pot there was a resurrection - some baby cordyline leaves starting to grow.
Well, I'm a sucker for a plant fighting back (unless its a weed) so I shall have to find somewhere else for the lavender plants and will give the cordelines another go.   My garden is full of plants that didn't give up!

I shall be able to make my own sage and onion stuffing from now on.

Sometimes Amazon is too efficient.  I ordered something yesterday and selected delivery for Tuesday or Wednesday next week because I don't really want it to come earlier.  I got a message later on saying that it was dispatched and should be with me tomorrow.  < sigh >

It's a busy morning so I had better get on.  I may not be posting tomorrow or Sunday but should be back on Monday.  Have a super weekend.