Thursday 30 April 2020


Good morning.  Yesterday was a real mixture of weather.  Heavy rain, drizzle, dull and dry and even some sunshine.  Cold though - the heating clicked on again!  The sun is shining at the moment but already the clouds are gathering so more rain might be on the way, you never know!

While I've been focusing on the allotment, my garden has been doing its own thing rather nicely.  The clematis Ooh La La has shot up and is loaded with flower buds, way, way more than last year.  It should be a picture soon.

The strawberries seem to be smothered with flowers too although they won't all turn into fruit, I expect.  Nicely promising for June/July.
This is just one of the plants.

The middle bed has flowers and they are all doing well.  Very little colour yet but lots of promising growth.  It doesn't look great because of the bulbs dying back but the geranium, lupins, lavender, fuchsia, delphinium, irises and pinks should come into their own fairly soon.

And the herbs are doing great.

Personal training was very good.  Because of the shoulder/neck issues, we are doing half an hour twice a week and taking things carefully.  Very few problems yesterday, I was just starting to 'feel' it by the end but nothing sore.  The other half is tomorrow.

Then I got a message from Val saying 'want a chat this afternoon?' to which, of course, I agreed.  And just to cap that, the web-cam thingy I ordered over a month ago turned up so I was able to give it a test run on the PC.  So much better than the laptop with a bigger screen and much better sound.  I'm so glad I splashed out on it.
It was great to catch up on Val's doings and to hear about her family (all well so far).  Her oldest daughter is a head teacher so, of course, she's working all the hours of the day and night, providing appropriate activities for the children in her care at the moment.

Today was the day I was going to Milestones Museum with Jackie.  Obviously, that's not happening at all now and there's nothing else in the diary so I'm looking forward to a really slow and lazy day.  I have a lengthening shopping list but it can wait.

Something energetic - well, I have a feeling this isn't going to be a particularly energetic day; the allotment certainly won't need weeding and it's too wet to faff around with weeding, putting support canes up, etc, etc.

Something in house/garden - not exactly the house but yesterday, because the bins are emptied today, I wheeled it round to the garage and started sorting out the rubbish inside.  I might do a bit more today although perhaps put it into rubbish bags in a corner for a fortnight, just in case the bin space is needed for something else (it might be).  The other thing is to make sure the house is ready for the cleaners tomorrow.

Something social - probably a chat with Beth,  The new web-cam is very good although it doesn't always talk to the PC straight away and I don't know enough to know what to do about that.  No worries!

Something entertaining - I have loads of stuff recorded so won't go short on entertainment.  We should hear what the Loyd-Webber performance is today as well.

Something creative - I had big problems finding crochet fruit/vegetable patterns to actually download.  There seem to be some on Pinterest but I find that place very, very confusing and can't work out how to actually get to them.   However, good old YouTube came to the rescue and I'm half way through a cabbage!  From what I can see, there are three or four basic shapes and then it's all about colours and little add-ons.  For example, this cabbage can be a cauliflower with a white centre or a lettuce, the centre part, made a little longer, would be an apple or an orange, the longer shapes could be leeks, pears, aubergines, etc.  I'm jotting down the pattern as I make it up from YouTube and I'd really like to work through some of them today.
It will be fun!
Here's a screen shot of the cabbage ( cute, isn't it?) and the link to the clip.

Have a great day  xx

Wednesday 29 April 2020


Good morning.  It's still dull, damp and dismal outside so no allotment again today.  It'll survive!  It was cold enough for the heating to click in yesterday, something I was thankful for.

First of all, the bad news.  My replacement tomato plants arrived yesterday.  They sent six, which perhaps demonstrated their lack of confidence in their survival.  Three of them had been so badly packed that the packaging had cut the stems and they were obviously no use.  One of them had wilted so badly that it was also only fit for the compost heap.  I planted the last two but they looked very sad and this morning they look just as sad.  Given that they were replacing just one plant, if one survives that will be evens but I will drop them another note to mention that bad packing and quality.  You don't pay out for little plants to have them arrive in that state.
I'm a bit cross.

However - the earlier two are fit and healthy now and growing, as are the ones the seeds of which I won in the raffle at the last SW meeting we had while the old tomato seeds that I planted without much hope of germination have given me nine plants.  OK, they are very small and will be late but that's nine I didn't expect.
If all else fails, maybe the garden centres will be able to reopen before long.  You never know.

The Slimming World Zoom meeting was fun.  There were four of us this week and it was really good to see other people.  We had a good old chat about stuff in the half hour the meeting lasts for.
Then I had a good chat with Chris and we've decided to make it a regular set date/time while lockdown continues.

I caught up with the two museum/art programmes in the evening.  They were both very interesting indeed, especially the one about Rembrandt by Simon Schama - he does explain things so clearly and, since doing an OU course that covered art appreciation (in a small way), I've really enjoyed things like this.  While watching them, I kept on with the crochet and the little blanket is nearly finished.  I now have to find someone who would like it.

Today is more or less the same.
Something energetic - I have half an hour of PT this morning with the other half on Friday.  This is because while it is not as sore, I'm still having shoulder and neck issues and we're taking things carefully.  This will also be my something social as Beth is otherwise engaged all day.

Something for house/garden - being stuck in because of the rain, it's an ideal opportunity to sort out some corners that seem to have attracted clutter over the last week.  I can't imagine how it happens!

Something social - as above

Something entertaining - there's the next art/museum programme to enjoy this evening and I've found several ballet things that I will enjoy watching.  Also, there's Sewing Bee and a number of history based programmes that are set to record.
However, I think I will avoid the one that's cheerfully entitled 'What it's like to catch coronavirus'; I think I can well do without that in my life!
Also, I have finished the first Mrs Tim book and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I thought 'Mum would love this, I must ask her if she's read it' before remembering, with a sharp pang, that I can't.  That's how it hits you - not asking for any sympathy but it's just how it is from time to time.  But I do wonder, all the same.  It's right up her street.

Something creative.  I shall finish the little blanket and then start another rabbit, a female one this time, I think.  I was wondering about also crocheting some little vegetables and fruits and calling them the Speed Bunnies (SW reference alert) and popping them in the basket that Jennifer is organising for the person who has lost the most weight over lockdown in all her groups.  I'll see how the fruit and veggies look first.  After all, I had a pattern for the carrot!

Despite the rain and general gloominess, I think it's going to be a good day today.  Fingers crossed for us all.  xx

Tuesday 28 April 2020


Morning, everyone.  As predicted, it is raining fairly hard at the moment, has been for a while judging by the soil and the puddles and looks as if it intends to continue for a while yet.  I'm glad (in a way) as it's exactly what the plants need.

I'm so glad I mowed the grass yesterday as it's bound to go shooting up again after this rain.  I also attacked the weeds around the covered/wood-chipped areas with an old kitchen knife as they're hard to get at so close to the edging.

The other 'excitement' yesterday was a vid-chat with Beth.  Jeff went round yesterday (safely distancing with closed doors between him and Beth) and totally cleared the back of her flat which had got into a dreadful mess.  It's now clean and clear, weed and clutter free and we talked about her plans for planting it up - it's a very, very small patch of soil and a sort of veranda, also tiny, so quite limiting, but fun to talk about anyway.
I also discussed my ideas for raised beds and, to my delight, Beth was all for it.  We won't do anything this year but that gives us time to research and plan, doesn't it?  I'd also need to talk to Jeff about whether he would be willing to do the work but I am sure he would.

Today is definitely a stay-totally-indoors-day.  I'm a fine weather allotmenter!

Something energetic:
I'll work through Lindsey's exercises today in preparation for PT tomorrow.

Something for house/garden:
Some of the tomatoes need potting on singly now so I'll dodge between the raindrops, grab some pots from the shed and some soil from the bag and work at the kitchen sink.

Something social:
Double dose today.  At then, there's the SW Zoom meeting and I have a chat with Chris scheduled at eleven.  Nice!

Something entertaining:
I didn't watch the first museum programme yesterday as I felt so tired I was in bed soon after eight (and slept the night through as well) so there's that to watch today and I might search out a ballet to watch too.

Something creative:
Don't know, I'll see how I feel.  I'll definitely do a bit of crocheting but apart from that, no idea.

Hoping we all have a good day, whatever the weather.  xx

Monday 27 April 2020


Good morning, everyone.  I gather today is the last day of nice weather before a change sets in.  The predicted rain will be most welcome to me (and the allotment/garden) but the lower temperatures won't.  Time for winter woollies again!

Do you remember that when I was sorting out my old seeds last week (or maybe the week before), I found some old gardener's delight tomato seeds and thought I may as well give them a go?  Well, today's bit of good news is that some of them are coming up.  That's a bonus as I nearly threw them away. 
I can see that every spare nook and cranny will be filled with a tomato plant.  Definitely a Good Thing - can one ever have too many fresh tomatoes?  I say no!

It was delightful at the allotment yesterday.  I was the first to arrive so had to open the gate, gloves on and anti bac stuff in great evidence, before getting out the fork and working over some of the prepped ground.  Having done that, I tackled the side of the shed which was in an utterly disgraceful state with old and disintegrating pieces of wood mixed with garden canes and other unmentionable stuff.  I threw most of the (unusable) wood further back amidst the trees where it can quietly rot down over time, pulled up copious weeds of various kinds, sorted the canes into shorter, longer and medium and put them back more neatly where they are now easy to get and use.
The shed is a rickety old thing but it does save me having to take so much with me each time I go.   Anything valuable doesn't get left there, of course, but anyone who thinks our old tools are worth nicking must be bonkers!
One day, maybe, we will have a posh one, but it's not worth the money really.  I'd rather spend on better soil, raised beds, etc.
I know it doesn't look much, but it's so much better now than it was this time yesterday.

I watered (loadsa beans now), cut some rhubarb and took a few photos.

Then I came home, enjoyed breakfast and generally pottered around doing a few bits and bobs before settling into catching up with my ironing while I also caught up on some Mike Jeavons 'A week on . . .' things on YouTube.  He does make me smile; he has a very dry sense of humour.

A new week starts today.  I wonder what it will bring.

Something energetic:
As mentioned above, there seems to be a change of weather in the offing so, in case they are right, today I am lugging the mower down to the allotment to give the grass a good haircut because it doesn't do wet grass all that well and gets all clogged up and hard to clean.  The other thing on the list is weeding around the permanently covered areas that have bark chippings down.  Those pesky weeds will always find a way!

Something for house and garden:
I need to spend some time dealing with the ravages of the weekend before finishing off the ironing (I couldn't face the sheets and quilt covers yesterday) before settling down for the afternoon idleness.  I wonder if the tomatoes will arrive today.

Something social:
I will suggest a chat to Chris and see if she can make it.

Something creative:
I'm busy crocheting double knitting into strips of squares for a dolly's blanket.  I doubt it will get anywhere but it's keeping my hands busy and making a tiny little dent in the disgracefully large stash of yarn.

Something entertaining:
There's something that looks quite interesting on BBC4 this evening.  Called 'Museums in Quarantine', over the next four evenings art critics are 'exploring' (that's what it says) some of Britain's collections and exhibitions.
In case you're interested, tonight is the Andy Warhol exhibition at the Tate Modern, tomorrow it's about Rembrandt at the Ashmolean, Wednesday is about Tate Britain and Thursday is in the British Museum.  I'm going to set them to record, I think.

So that's today sorted.  I wonder how much I will actually get done. 
Have a good day, whatever your plans are.  xx

Sunday 26 April 2020


Good morning, everyone.  After a dull morning, the sun came out, thankfully.  We're becoming used to brighter weather now and it certainly lifts the spirits.  Beeb thinks today will be nice and sunny but there's rain just over the horizon (Tuesday).

I had a frustrating half hour or so yesterday morning.  My printer had lost connection with the PC and refused to print.  Of course, the first thing I should have done was turn off the router and printer and turn them back on again but instead I went all round the metaphorical houses, failing each time, before going online to ask.
Of course, it worked!

Here's the evidence of recent creativity.  May I introduce you to Mr Rabbit and his carrot.

It wasn't the easiest pattern to follow and some bits were, frankly, just wrong, particularly the bit that described where to make the slit in the dungarees for his tail to poke through so poor Mr Rabbit has to go through life with his tail stitched to his trousers but, dear me, worst things can happen.  I have no idea what I'm going to do with him - yet.
What to start next?  Maybe a Jean Greenhowe pattern?

I didn't get to the allotment yesterday.  I decided I rather fancied wearing a dress and that's not really compatible with allotmentating - and I was too lazy to change.  It wasn't such a warm day and there was plenty of cloud so I am sure the little plantlets will be OK until later on today.

'Love Never Dies' was . . . OK.  Not something I'd have been happy to pay a lot to go and see but I spent a mildly enjoyable couple of hours watching it.  I wonder what the next one will be.  I do hope they show Cats at some point.

Things are back to normal now. so . . .

Something energetic:
It's back down t'allotment this morning for an early workout.  I'm going to fork over the prepared ground to keep it nicely broken up, water, of course and I might sort out how many usable garden canes I have there.

Something in house and garden:
I will pot on more of the baby plants today.  There's washing and ironing to do as well as all the usual stuff.

Something social:
Perhaps a Beth chat!

Something creative:
I'm going to dig out my Jean Greenhowe patterns and see if anything jumps out and shouts 'Make me, make me!'  In the meanwhile, with odds and ends, I have started crocheting a small, dolly-sized bed blanket.  Why?  Because I can, that's why!

Something entertaining:
I have no idea right now.  I've just started reading the first of the Mrs Tim books and am really enjoying it so maybe I will stick with that today.

Well, it looks pretty bright out there so fingers crossed for a sunnier day and I hope it's a good-un for us all.  xx

Saturday 25 April 2020


Good morning, everyone!  It's looking a bit cloudy outside right now but the forecast is pretty good.  Looking at the BBC weather, we might get a bit of rain from Tuesday onward.  That would be pretty good for the plants although I bet it wouldn't be long before we were grumbling!

While on the subject of plants, mummy tomato is now over the worst of her illness and is sending out new growth while daddy tomato, never in danger, is also fine.  I haven't received the baby replacements yet so what's the betting they will be half dead by the time they arrive?

I am amused to notice that one of my baby gherkins seems to need isolating.  When I put the pot with the other ones that have been planted on, it droops; when it goes on the window ledge, it perks up!  Very odd but I'm humouring it for now!

After something someone said as a comment a while ago (and I'm really sorry, I can't remember who it was) and also seeing it on Daily Kitchen live yesterday, I dug out my bag of dried peas and planted some, quite thickly, in a plastic pot I pulled out of the plastic recycling bag.  The aim is not peas, it is pea shoots for salads and, according to the Beeb, I should get some pretty quickly.  Fingers crossed.

I wonder if one could do the same with chick peas, pinto beans, etc, and whether they are nice.  I know you can sprout them, like mung beans.  Actually, that's a thought - I could grow some bean sprouts for stir fries - if I had some mung beans.  Where's my shopping list?

Yesterday was very pleasant.  Cards arrived (lovely) and when I took some foody things over to Beth, she swapped them for a card and a rather lovely yellow orchid.  I don't have a very good record with pot plants so I must look up how to care for it - or I could ask Dad; he always does well with them.

Later on, we (Beth and I) had a good old chat via phones and that really made my day.  We talked about all sorts of stuff, as you do, and, as the connection was good and strong, I heard every word.  When the picture keeps freezing, it really disrupts my hearing, you see.  I'm not a great lip reader as such, private conversations the other side of the room are quite secure, but lip reading is an essential support and without it I'm pretty lost!  So yesterday was great.

Earlier on, I 'met up' with Lindsey for personal training.  We decided to make it half an hour with the other half hour at another time, so I don't push it with neck and shoulder too much.  That was perfect.  She's such a flexible person and already ready to change things, if necessary.  I was very grateful that she suggested it.

This morning I am 'suffering' with a self inflicted muggy head.  Serves me right.  Black coffee and plenty of water are on the menu for today and, as I have an over abundance of salad veg, today's food will be incredibly healthy!
A gentle day, I think, taking things as they come.    Here's what might happen.

Something energetic:
Down the allotment, of course, although it won't be an early visit today as I want to be sure I'm legal to drive!  :-), probably just for watering and forking over the soil a bit.  I might also sort out the garden canes for building the support 'structure' for the runner beans.  This always looks a bit Heath Robinson-ish and I'm sure this year will be no exception.  Must remember to take my steps with me!

Something for house/garden:
No idea!  I'll think of something, I'm sure.

Something social:
Probably a shout across the garden fence at some point.

Something entertaining:
I didn't watch 'Love Never Dies' yesterday so I'll catch that this morning.  I also need to catch up on Great British Menu and Saturday Kitchen Live is often worth having on.

Something creative:
The usual - knitting, crochet and sewing.  This keeps me happy right now.

That's the plans - something tells me it might all change.  I'm feeling lazy but I suppose things might perk up a bit later.  Either way, no problem!
Enjoy your day too, whatever your plans.  xx

Friday 24 April 2020


Morning, everyone.  Another early start here but I really don't mind.  When I had these wakey spells, I used to worry about how I would get through a full day at school but now it really doesn't matter all that much apart from being a bit of a bore!

Yesterday was nice.  I went early to the allotment.  The water is still on so everything got a drink and, as neck and shoulder were feeling OK, I set to and prepped the last of the ground that isn't going to remain covered this year.  Now it's a question of maintaining it all until it's time to plant out the little plants so now I'm planning where everything should go.  We agreed not to put in loads of anything but you know what things like courgettes are like.  Two plants can supply the whole neighbourhood once they get going!
Eleven broad bean plants now!

My day's have definitely fallen into a pattern.
Up earlyish, sort out meals for the day, do any clearing/tidying (e.g. washing in/unload dishwasher)
Off to the allotment by nine for a couple of hours.  If not at allotment, do exercise inside.
Back by eleven for breakfast
Any more housework/garden work.
Then, after all that's done, I sit and read, sew, knit, do more leisurely things, have online chats, etc, in the afternoon and evening

Thinking back to childhood, that's very much how my Mum used to organise her day with one addition; she would wash and change before Dad came home from work.  That's partly because housework was much more manual and less machine supported so she got hot and sweaty but also because one just did before the 'man of the house' came home.

The studying has taken a back seat but the weather can't always be as lovely as it is now and when the rainy times come, I won't go to the allotment and can use that time for study.  There's no urgency really.

Having gone on about routine, today is different, a special day.
I'm going shopping early, as early as I can, to get some nice bits and bobs.  The deferred personal training is at ten, after which I will just do the watering down the allotment - can't miss that with baby plants and warm, sunny weather.
Then the rest of the day is mine to enjoy.  Normally, I'd probably go out for a meal or have family round but that isn't going to happen this year so I'm having a nice dinner by myself.

Hoping we all have a very good day.  xx

Thursday 23 April 2020


Morning, everyone!

It was a funny old day yesterday.  I wonder if it was my shoulder/neck that woke me in the middle of the night because through the early half of the morning it ached and ached and in the end I cancelled personal training (it's tomorrow instead).  Of course, sods law dictated that as soon as I'd done that, it started easing off, but probably wise not to push it anyway.

I drove round to Beth's with eggs, herbs and rhubarb, stopping off at the petrol station on the way.  I still had some in the tank but I like to have enough that I could get to Dad's in a hurry without any worry, should it be necessary.  Of course, I hope it won't be, but - well, just in case . . .
Goodness, it's gone down in price, hasn't it?

On the way back I decided to stop off at the lotty.  Maybe that sounds silly, given the aches, but I just went to water and, providing I bend from the knees to pick up the full cans and keep the arms straight, it is OK.  I'm glad I did because, joy of joys, the water was back on.  I gather it is just temporary, pending a proper repair, but it did make the watering so much easier.  I can do four waterings in the time it takes to do one to and from the other side of the allotment.
We now have seven beans!

By half eight, I was fighting to stay awake, so gave up and went to bed to have a great night's sleep.  I'll watch the recording of Sewing Bee tonight.

Today I'm planning an easy-ish day.
Something energetic:
Watering, maybe a bit of forking and prepping, as long as I just use my right hand/arm.  Most of the really hard work is now finished and it's just waiting for the baby plants to be strong enough to survive outside - plus the weeding, watering, mowing, etc.
Also some ironing, shoulder permitting.

Something for house/garden:
Ironing and some tidying up, especially the corner where I sit to read/knit/crochet, etc.
If the replacement tomatoes arrive, I'll get them into soil, of course.  I suspect that they won't be in great condition after being in the post for several days.  Fingers crossed.

Something social:
Nothing planned today but you never know.

Something creative.
I might get Mr Rabbit finished today - crochet is quicker than knitting, I am finding, even when one has to keep undoing it!

Something entertaining:
The usuals, plus the recording of Sewing Bee. 

Enjoy your Thursday and stay safe and well.  xx

Wednesday 22 April 2020


Morning.  I'm having one of my sleepless nights after waking at two and immediately being wide awake.  A bit of a pain but I know I will get tired again and get a bit more of a snooze and, let's face it, if I do need a snooze during the day, it isn't a problem.

It was much warmer down the allotment, partly because I went down later, I guess.  First of all, it was the online Slimming World meeting, a new one for Tuesday morning and I was the only one who turned up.  Jennifer and I had a good chat and discussed various relevant things so it was a really useful time.  I gather she must have one on Tuesday morning because that was the time of one of the real-time groups so maybe a few more will turn up next week.  Mind you - a personal consultation isn't such a bad idea and the bandwidth is always better in the morning than it is later on!  No hearing problems yesterday.

Then I gathered my things together, lifted the mower into the boot and set off.  It was easier than I had expected to cut the grass, partly because it was dry, partly because I'd given it a rough strim last week and partly, maybe, because it's earlier than it has been in the past so the grass, although long, wasn't as bad as it could be and the thick stemmed weeds hadn't grown too tough.
I gave it all the highest possible cut and then a lower one and the battery just lasted out although it was starting to cut out towards the end.

I pulled some rhubarb for Beth and watered the potatoes and the two slightly raised beds where I have the seeds.  To my delight, we have broad beans poking through.  Cheers.  Just three of them but the others can't be far behind and in a short while I will be able to pull out the little weeds that are also growing nicely.  I didn't want to disturb the bean seeds, you see, so left them for now.
Then, back at home, I planted on some of my baby plants - the yellow courgettes, the squashes and the gherkins.  They, with the baby corn, should be ready to plant out in around three weeks' time when (hopefully) the nights won't be quite so chilly.

By the way, I'm not growing the gherkins to pickle (although I might pickle some) but they are lovely used as baby cucumbers.  I wanted to grow cucumbers again this year after last year's success and remembered how much I had enjoyed some that Dad grew several years ago.

I didn't get the compost on the strawberries so that's a job for today, nor did I weed round the slabs.  However, I did pluck up the courage to start working on the crocheted rabbit.  So far, no problems, the pattern seems quite easy to follow, but it is pretty fiddly in places and my left hand was stiffening at times.

Today's plans are . . .
Something energetic:
Down the allotment to water but, probably, nothing else as it's quite a full day.  I'll water the fruit as well today so that will take a while.
As it's Wednesday, it's my personal training session with Lindsey.

Something in house/garden:
As mentioned above, some work on the strawberry bed which is now showing quite a lot of flowers so worth working on.  Also, I didn't get all the ironing done so that's on the list for today.

Something social:
I'm popping around to Beth's to give her some eggs and some rhubarb so I daresay we will have a shout across the distance, and there's the personal training, of course.

Something creative:
Carrying on with Mr Bunny!

Something entertaining:
As well as the usuals, the Great Sewing Bee starts this evening and I definitely want to watch that.

Have a great day and fingers crossed for more sunshine.  xx

Tuesday 21 April 2020


Good morning!  Yesterday was another beautifully sunny day but it was more than a little bit chilly in a moderate wind.  I wore one of my warm hand knits over a T shirt, expecting to need to take it off, but it stayed on all day, even inside.  Today looks promising too but, fingers crossed, a little warmer.

Allotment update:  I know I'm boring about the allotment right now but - as we all say - it's my blog!  < grin >.
I'm very pleased that I've pretty much finished that strip I am uncovering and prepping.  One more session's work and it will be done and dusted and ready for the baby plants as soon as they are ready - which won't be this month, for sure.  I also manured it and scattered some slow release pellets over it.  That, with the watering (the water's still off over my side), took all my time and I came home feeling more than a bit weary!  It's worth the effort though, definitely worth the effort.
You can see how little still needs doing now.  The soil isn't great, rather clay-ey, but with some work it will improve, I am sure.

I'm keeping the rest of the ground cover on all season and, maybe, next season too.  There's some nasty, pernicious weeds there and I gather the best way to deal with them is to keep that cover on over several seasons.  The other is some sort of very strong weed killer.
The other option is to keep the cover on permanently and to build some raised bed on top.  They'de have to be quite high and would take a lot of topsoil but I might discuss it with Beth.  We'd then have the ground level areas for things like potatoes and runner beans/other taller stuff and raised beds for things like onions, carrots, courgettes, etc, etc.
It would cost, Jeff would have to come and help, I think but probably no more expensive than a week's holiday and I would consider it money well spent.
You can see where I mean in this photo, taken before yesterday's work.
What do you think?

At home, some of the plantlets are sending out their second leaves, the real leaves, and will soon be ready to plant on.  I am very thankful that I now have enough potting compost and don't need to worry about running out.

After that, the highlight of the day was a chat with Chris who lives opposite me in the cul de sac.  We used to be colleagues at school - she was a great TA in foundation stage and still goes back to help - or, rather, went back to help until all this blew up.  We were talking about the rumours that schools might go back in three weeks.  I'm not so sure about that and neither is she and we both said we'd not be going back to help until the health situation is a lot more stable than it is right now.

The rest of the day passed in enjoying myself in the kitchen, watching back to back Pride and Prejudice episodes and starting The Vicar of Dibley (always makes me laugh).  I was very tired for the rest of the day and slept like a log last night after more or less forcing myself to stay awake until after nine.  In fact, I can't even remember settling in bed after turning the lights out.

Today is a bit different.  I can't get to the allotment first thing asd there's enough people wanting an online Tuesday morning SW Zoom meeting now so Jennifer's starting one.  However, I do want to go down there.  The grass really does need mowing or the dandelions will start seeding all over everything and the newly sown seeds will need watering.  I'll see how I feel about finishing off the last bit of covered ground - I might leave that until tomorrow.
Something energetic:
Has to be mowing the car standing area down the allotment.  That's going to be hard work indeed!

Something in house/garden:
I have some washing in the machine as I type, so there will be ironing to do and I want to get some compost around the strawberries (which are starting to flower).

Something social:
Has to be the SW Zoom meeting, doesn't it?  I wonder who the other participants will be.

Something creative:
Apart from sock knitting, I've done nothing creative for several days, but that's OK, I don't HAVE to.  I'd really like to start the crochet but there may not be time - not when I'm feeling alert enough to concentrate, I mean.

Something entertaining:
I'm missing the Jamie 'Keep Cooking' programmes now they have finished.  There's still the others though, Daily Kitchen Live, Homes under the Hammer and House of Games, not to mention carrying on with the Vicar of Dibley, so there's plenty to keep me entertained.

So that's today!  They are passing very quickly and enjoyably which is nice.  I hope yours are too - what are your plans for today?  xx

Monday 20 April 2020


Good morning.
What a gorgeous day it was yesterday.  I took this photo down the allotment and it epitomises how sunny and beautiful it was there.  Very peaceful too - I was the first person there.

I got the bed re-covered, all but a strip which I will be working on, and I prepped about a third of that strip ( big enough to accommodate a healthy adult courgette plant) so it was a good morning's work.  It was a lot harder to cover a big bed when it's just one person plus a good breeze but I got there!  Now, cate/badgers - do your worst!
Actually, to be fair, since I put down the cat/dog repellent, they seem to be giving my little patch a wide berth.  I've seen no evidence of any action anyway and the uncovered raised bed is no longer a moggy loo!

The earlier sown radishes are starting to come up and I sowed some more radishes and a row of carrots.  No sign of the broad beans yet - it can't be long before they start coming through.
Baby radishes; you can just see them if you look carefully!

Feeling very gardener-like, when I got home, I sowed some more seeds - some salad leaves (I plan to sow small amounts at intervals during spring and summer), some spring onions, some sunflowers and, while clearing out my out of date seeds, I found some gardener's delight tomato seeds so I've sown them, just in case any come up - you never know.  It's quite a little garden in my living room at the moment!

I heard from the garden company about the tomato plants and they are sending me a repeat order.  That might mean I get three more - that would be good!  As long as whatever I get is healthy, that's the main thing.
What with what I have ordered and what I have sown, I will have tomato plants to give away to friends and neighbours.  That makes me really happy!

I spent the rest of the day pottering about, watching pre-recorded stuff like Homes Under the Hammer and Great British Menu before settling down to episodes two and three of Pride and Prejudice.
It was a really lovely day!

The way things are, today won't be all that different really.

Something energetic:
Guess . . .  :-)

Something in house/garden:
I need to have a good tidy up.  Things have just been left around rather than put away properly over the weekend and, staying in as much as we have to at the moment, it's bugging me a bit.  Also, I have quite a lot of veg so I need to go through what I have and maybe do another batch of roasted veg for the freezer.  As for the garden, there's some weeds coming up around the paving so I must get going with the scraper tool.  If I'm feeling very energetic, I'll get out the mower and deal with my front patch and then see if I can lift the mower into the car for the allotment tomorrow.  Fingers crossed - it really does need a high cut now and the dandelions need beheading before they start seeding.

Something social:
I have a chat with Chris arranged this afternoon.  That will be really nice.

Something entertaining:
Carrying on with Pride and Prejudice.  I saw a couple of episodes last night and not it's the Pemberley part.  My favourite bit!

Something creative:
Getting the sleeves sewn in!
Also, I downloaded a free pattern from Deramore's, the yarn company that I use.  It's a crocheted rabbit and looks rather cute; I'd like to give it a go, although my crochet skills are very basic.  It just takes odds and ends of yarn and I have plenty of those!
Cute, isn't he?

So, a nice, full day today but nothing too arduous and I shall enjoy it all, I am sure.  Have a lovely day, everyone and be safe.  xx

Sunday 19 April 2020


Good morning.  The skies are much clearer this morning and today's forecast is for 'sunny intervals and a moderate breeze'.  I can live with that!  We didn't get loads of rain yesterday but we got some and every bit will help.  I might not even need to water today.

I didn't go to the allotment yesterday.  Instead, after reading that Phantom' was only available for twenty four hours in the UK, I settled down for a theatre visit in the morning.  And wow!  It was so, so good.  Definitely the best of the three I have seen so far in all ways.  I know his music has been sneered at as 'populist', etc, but I don't care.  He's a genuine showman with a genius for entertainment.  I've seen Phantom three times now and it's still totally fresh and utterly enjoyable.

I popped round to Beth's with her shopping and then we had a vid-chat later on which was nice.  She had watched Phantom too, but for the first time, and she loved it as well.

That's really more or less what I did yesterday.  I didn't do the ironing and I didn't do any sewing, so I have those pleasures (mixed pleasures) to come.  In the evening, I rather departed from Slimming World but I'm back with it now!

For those of you waiting with eager anticipation, Mummy tomato is sending out new leaves.  Yay!  I did have a minor panic yesterday re tomatoes and went online to order some sungold plants (not, definitely not, postiplugs) so I will probably have way more than I need now but there's always the allotment! 

All the other seeds are coming up nicely; even the parsley is starting to germinate and that's supposed to be quite difficult and take a long time.  After what Sue said, I was concerned about the chillies but even they have nice little shoots just starting to show.

I feel quite energetic today so maybe I can pack more in.

Something energetic:
Allotment, of course.  It's getting-the-stronger-ground-cover-down day so plenty of bending and stretching.  I probably won't need to water but I will be walking back and forth getting loads of manure to spread.  I might start prepping a section of the covered bed too, I'll see how the time goes.  And I think it's time to sow another row of carrots and, maybe, radishes too.  Just a short row of each in one of the raised beds.

Something for house/garden:
I've decided it might be nice to have a row or clump of sunflowers down the allotment.  The seeds I've got are not the really tall ones, they are between three and five feet tall (it says) and I guess they count as veg because of the seeds.  It'll be nice to have the heads for the birds and I must look up how I can harvest some of the seeds for me - I like sunflower seeds!
Also there's the ironing!

Something social:
I might have an allotment shout with Dave, if he's there.  Apart from that, nothing planned.

Something creative:
Sewing and socks!  Ongoing.  I do the knitting while watching telly so that's going well.

Something entertaining:
Yesterday evening, I started watching the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (the wet shirt one) and finished the first episode.  I'm really looking forward to continuing this today - I've seen it more than once but it's still entertaining me.

I think no study today.  I'll carry on with that tomorrow.

The sun has now come out and it's looking lovely and fresh out there.  I hope it's a great day for us all, whatever we all do.  xx

Saturday 18 April 2020


Good morning, everyone.

Mean Queen, Ilona posted this link yesterday, all about what constitutes a reasonable excuse to leave the place where you live.  It's so helpful (thank you very much, Ilona) that I thought I would reproduce it here for your information with Ilona's permission (because I got it from her blog).
What constitutes a reasonable excuse to leave the place where you live
This applies to England - it may be different in other parts of the UK.

A lovely time was had down the allotment yesterday.  I got the rest of the smaller bed finished and ready for little plants/seeds at the right time and now just need to keep the weeds down.  It took a chunk out of the morning but I really did want to get it finished.
I spread manure under the rhubarb and also on some of the prepared soil.  I've decided that if I do two buckets'-worth every visit, not too time consuming, it'll be done in next to no time.
I got the watering done.
I didn't get the stronger ground cover on.  You see, I will need to move all the planks we put on to keep the cover from billowing up in a wind, plus the ground pegs (it seems daft to use double the amount of them), spread out the cover and then put back the pegs and the planks.  It's really the main task for a visit.

A few photos:
Taken from the back.  It looks (and is) ready for action now, the earliest it's ever been ready.  Taking it one section at a time has really helped me.
That nice, clear patch with the potato trenches to the right will have some wigwams of runner beans and a square of baby corn plus a courgette or two, if there's room.
I will be working on a bit of the covered-at-the-moment ground anyway, for courgettes and squash.

Strawberries for Beth.

The baby pears are very cute.

The other main thing was personal training.  It wasn't as good as last time because Lindsey kept breaking up and then my internet dropped (it's doing that a bit at the moment) but it was fine and nice to have a chat.

Today is really more of the same.  It's interesting how my life has settled into a fairly regular routine now.

Something energetic:
Weather permitting, I start the day off with a visit to the allotment, although today I might not as we've had rain overnight and the forecast is for more rain and, possibly, thunder too.  No complaints from me - the ground needed a good soaking.  When it stops, I might get that cover down or I might just leave it until tomorrow.
Also, there's PT, Lindsey's daily clips and PE with Joe which I haven't done all week so I have a few sessions to catch up.  I will modify them - some of his sections are hard on the shoulders and mine is not 100% yet.

Something for house/garden:
I didn't get any response from the garden company about poor little baby tomato, unsurprisingly, but I will be talking nicely and encouragingly to mummy tomato that seems to be sending out a pair of  freshleaves.  Her chances look better now.  I have ironing to do and I 'm trying out two new (to me) recipes.

Something social:
I'm popping a bit of shopping round to Beth so we'll have a distance chat and we might have a longer online chat later on.

Something entertaining:
Annoyingly, I couldn't get YouTube to open on the telly yesterday evening so didn't catch Phantom.  It's on the list for today!

Something creative.
After leaving the side seam to hang for a few days, it doesn't look too bad.  I'll get the other side seam sewn and maybe the sleeves tacked in.  Once they're done, it's nearly finished.

I'd like to get a bit of study done, especially if rain stops play at the allotment, so I won't be bored today!

Have a good day, stay safe and stay well, everyone.  xx

Friday 17 April 2020


Good morning!  After that early frost, yesterday's weather was really lovely although it clouded over later and I am sure I felt a few drops of rain as I took peelings to the compost bin.  If that was so, it didn't come to anything.

I spent two and a half hours at the allotment, much longer than I had intended but I got stuck in and time flew.
I had a (distanced) chat (shout?) with another holder, Dave, who solved the mystery of the missing water.  It seems there is a leak (and you can see where as there's a great big puddle) and all the taps down our side are dry, as are the taps down the middle, while the taps down the other side are fine.  That being so, I grabbed two watering cans and set off along the end to t'other side.  A good bit of exercise there but worth it as the seeds got watered, the patch I was working on was much easier once dampened and after the potatoes went in I was able to water them too.
Today I will get the uncovered bed finished and the stronger ground cover (which arrived yesterday) down.  So yah boo to you, cats or badgers!
While getting the water, I walked past the place where the bark chippings and horse manure is dumped and, as there's some manure left, the other delightful task for today is to get some to put under the rhubarb and some to put where I've prepared the ground.  If I have any spare time, I will also get some loads of bark chippings to go down where the old chippings have more or less rotted down now, under the fruit trees and beside the soft fruit patch.

Well, as we all thought, the baby tomato plant is now an ex-plant and it will definitely end up pushing up the daisies at some point.  I have taken photos and contacted the provider, expressing my displeasure and my expectation that they will provide me with a more healthy plant tout de suite.  I have also dropped hints about mummy tomato plant as I'm still not totally convinced she will survive either.  I'll let you know!

I was very impressed.  I ordered those bags of potting compost either Monday or Tuesday and today they arrived.  They're now stacked in the garden.

Later on I had a lovely chat with Val and we will repeat the experience at some point.  Everyone her end is well, thank goodness. 
The clap at eight had me feeling quite emotional as I waved goodbye to my lovely neighbours afterwards.

Today feels quite busy in a relaxed sort of fashion.

Something energetic:
Allotment and it's also personal training online with Lindsey this afternoon.  All this activity has got to be keeping me healthy, right?

Something for house/garden:
It's bed changing day so, while I'm at it, I will wash all the whites and lights in the basket.  Here's hoping it's a fine day for drying outside.

Something social:
I am sure Lindsey and I will have a good old chat as she orders me about!  :-)

Something entertaining:
Well, it just HAS to be Phantom of the Opera, doesn't it?  Good old Andrew Lloyd Webber.

 Something creative.
I haven't had time to do all that much dressmaking these last few days and I very much doubt I will today but you never know.  It's all set up if I do.

Plus, maybe, a bit of OpenLearn study, time and energy permitting.
Have a really safe, healthy and good day.  xx

Thursday 16 April 2020


Good morning!  It's another very cold start to the day with a frost on the car but not, thankfully, on the plants.  The apple blossom is in full swing so a really hard frost wouldn't be great!

The redlove apple looks beautiful at this time of the year

I started yesterday off with a trip to the allotment to prepare more ground for planting, to dig the trenches (is that what they're called?) for the potatoes and to water the seeds.  I succeeded in two of the three but, to my dismay, the water was off at the allotment.  I have no idea why - it's been fine all week and there was no notice about it on the hut or on the gate.  Fingers crossed that it will be on today - those seeds need water.

Three trenches ready for the seed potatoes which have been chitting merrily away on the side for a while now.  I'm no expert; doing the potatoes has always been Beth's job, but as she can't this year, the responsibility falls to me.

We're not planting a lot of potatoes and just one kind as we decided, well before this current crisis, that we would keep it small and manageable this year.  Better a bit than none at all.
I have about a third of the uncovered area to turn over, clear of any visible evil weeds and try to break up any large lumps of clay.  That will be the space for  potatoes, runner beans, baby corn and, hopefully, a courgette.
Then I start on the larger area, uncovering one bit at a time so it is manageable.  On that we hope to have more courgettes and a squash.  They are both good for ground cover so perhaps that will keep all but the worst weeds down.
I know it's a bit limited in terms of vegetables but a little is better than none at all and I am confident that even if Beth stays in isolation all summer, I can manage it for us both.

I expected to say RIP to the baby tomato this morning but it is still - er - not totally dead. shall we say.  I don't hold out much hope though.  Of the other baby plants, the corn is coming on nicely, I have several yellow courgette seedlings, the stripy heritage tomatoes are poking their heads up and all the gherkin seeds are coming up - which means I have eight plants when I only wanted two so maybe I will have to plant a few at the allotment too.  I think I'll have too many courgettes too but I have a larger planter doing nothing in the garden right now so one could go in there.

The rest of the day was spend doing bits and bobs.  I finished the algebra course - cheers!  The last bit was hard - hard for me, I mean - but I was encouraged that even though I was very unsure as to whether I was doing it right, when I checked the answers, I was, and I had found a different way to do one of them that worked just as well.

I looked on my OpenLearn profile because there was another course there that it looks as if I started several years ago but didn't get very far.  I don't actually remember but it seems to be my sort of thing.  It's called Grammar Matters and has the following sections:
Why does grammar matter?
What do we mean by 'meaning'?
Ideational meaning - talking about what's going on
Interpersonal meaning - interacting with and relating to others
Textual meaning - organising messages to make sense in context
Summary of the types of meaning
Grammar in the real world.

Some of you will be reading the above in absolute horror while so some it will look good.  It looks good to me and I've ordered some pads of file paper (not having any to hand) to make my notes and answer the various questions that are scattered about.
I meant to look for what else there was in the mathematics section but that can wait now.

Today looks like being more of the same really.

Something energetic:
I'll be getting those potatoes in and covered over and doing more ground preparation.  I want to finish that section by Saturday at the latest.

Something for house/garden:
In Daily Kitchen Live (are you watching it?) they showed a clip of Nadiya making baked bean falafels and I'd really like to have a go.  I was intending to make falafels anyway so this is just a variation.

Something social:
I have a vid-chat with Val lined up this afternoon.  Yesterday's chat with Beth didn't come off.  Her neighbour was not a well man and had certain ongoing treatments which were delayed because of the virus demands and he died on Tuesday evening.  He won't show in any virus statistics but he was just as much a victim in a way and Beth is, obviously, very sad.  I wanted to go over and give her a hug but couldn't.
He was a good neighbour.  RIP, D.

Something creative:
Well, I finished another pair of socks!!  Today I might look at how to sew up that other side seam but if I don't get round to that, no problems.

Something entertaining:
I started watching Jane Eyre but decided it wasn't my sort of thing so didn't carry on.  Instead I watched an old documentary about Rudolph Nureyev and then started watching a performance of Romeo and Juliet, the Macmillan version which is my absolute favourite.  I'll carry on with that after I have watched my daily diet of Daily Kitchen Live, Homes under the Hammer, Keep Cooking and House of Games plus whatever else is on today.
I'm not going short on entertainment, am I?  

I'm really sorry - I seem to have gone on and on and on today.  A sign that I'm feeling a lot more cheerful, I guess.
Take care, stay safe and enjoy your day.  xx

Wednesday 15 April 2020


Good morning.
I am ashamed to admit that yesterday morning I had a slump.  I dived into the peanut butter jar, I didn't go to the allotment and I slept the morning away.  I was so grumpy it's just as well I live alone.
In my defence, I'd had a rotten night's sleep, wide awake from just after one o'clock, and maybe things were getting to me.
However, I did do an hour of algebra and it all made sense.  I'm on the very last section now.

I woke from a good sleep in my recliner to find two things.  Firstly, the veg box had arrived.

It's not organic or anything like that, but the quality is good and there was loads.  I sorted out half and took it over to Beth, offloaded some carrots onto neighbour Chris and I am now well set up for at least the next week apart from broccoli (I gave that to Beth).  It wasn't cheap (well, it wouldn't be) and I could do better hand picking from Morrisons, but I wanted to get onto their 'list' in case it's needed again and I am sure I will use them again.

Secondly, we were in the middle of a power cut.  It came back quickly enough but then went twice more, just for short intervals.  Maybe 'they' were doing some work locally.

I felt a lot better after the sleep and the trip over to Beth's with the veg.  When I arrived there was a wee box on the mat and when I opened it, I thought of a familiar fairy tale.
Once upon a time there were three tomato plants - a daddy tomato plant, a mummy tomato plant and a baby tomato plant . . .

See what I mean?  

They're now in pots on the window ledge and they've all survived the night so fingers crossed.  I was in a bit of a grump with the company that thought it a good idea to post live plants just before a long holiday weekend but there you go - at least I should have some tomatoes this year.
So my strawberries arrived, some of my tomatoes arrived and now I am just waiting for the last part of my order.  That shouldn't be for a week or so yet.

I spent the afternoon trying to sort out the side seams for the dress.  I changed the needle as Viv advised in her comment yesterday and dug out some paper and the seam (I just did one in case) is better but there's still a bit of puckering.  I think what I need is a little weight down the bottom in the hem each side.  I know they are a thing because the queen has her skirts weighted so need to do a little search.  Maybe I'm being fussy but there you are!

I also made a delicious soup (cooking always cheers me up) and watched a programme of a performance of Holst's The Planets, with Professor Brian Cox talking about each planet between the movements.  It was really interesting.

And last night I slept really well, coming round at well after six.  Phew.

So today I have plans but it is nor the end of the world if things change.

Something energetic:
Personal Training has been deferred until Friday, but I am definitely allotmentating this morning.  I'd ordered some slow release plant food pellets and they arrived yesterday so I can take them with me and scatter some in the trenches I will dig for the potatoes.
The cat-proof (fingers crossed) ground cover is due to arrive in the next three or four days.

Something for house/garden:
After following a tip, I have contacted a local garden centre and they do deliveries of bags of potting stuff.  Yes, it costs for delivery, but nothing outrageous, so I have ordered three 50l bags which will be plenty for all my tomatoes, baby plants, etc, and leave some for emergencies, especially when mixed with good stuff from the garden compost bin - and today I might get some of the compost stuff out from the bottom of the bin and spread it around the strawberries.

Something social:
Today's a good day for that.  I'm having a vid-chat with Beth this afternoon and at five it's our SW meeting via Zoom.  I'd never heard of Zoom before this but suddenly everyone is using it.

Something creative:
I must see if I can find some skirt hem weights (I wonder what their proper name is) and get on with t'other side seam before tackling the sleeves.  Wish me luck.

Something entertaining:
It has to be Jane Eyre today or I will lost the opportunity.
And I'm hoping to finish the algebra course today, come hell or high water!

So a busy day but maybe that's what I need.  Maybe having an 'easy' weekend doesn't suit me.  Fingers crossed.
Have a good one yourself, whatever your plans.  xx

Tuesday 14 April 2020


Good morning, everyone.   Sleep patterns aren't wonderful at the moment.  I get to sleep OK but then wake in the early hours, brain racing, unable to get back to sleep.  It will sort itself out in time, I am sure; it's just rather a nuisance and very boring!

Yesterday, I was late getting down to the allotment because do you think I could remember where I'd left the strimmer (and mower) batteries?  It took me ages, searching up and down and I was just wondering if I'd have to get onto Amazon when I had a brainwave and there they were!
So down I went, strimmed (it's looking a bit neater now) and then carried on clearing and prepping for planting.  Beth reckons that the potatoes are now ready to go in and I think I've cleared enough ground for them so they might be in before the end of the week.
Oh, my goodness, it was so cold though.  When I got home, I turned up the heating, I was that chilled.
Worth it though.

In the afternoon, I managed to get out a fair number of the whitebell bulbs although I suspect some shopwdrops have gone as well.  I might plant more snowdrop bulbs this autumn, just in case.  You can never have too many snowdrops!

The rest of the day passed in lazy, bank holiday fashion,  Very pleasant!  There's a bit of a conflict of interest though - I got into the pattern of doing my bit of study at the time I now go to the allotment and I need to get a new pattern going.
I will try to get my act together a bit more today.

Something energetic:
Guess where.  :-)  More clearing and digging the trenches for the potatoes today.

Something for house/garden:
General housework, keeping the place under control!

Something social:
Nothing planned.  Social is not easy to arrange at the moment, of course.

Something creative:
I did the side seams on the dress yesterday but one side has puckered up and needs to be unpicked and done again.  Bit of a pain but there you go!

Something entertaining:
Must watch Jane Eyre soon.

It's sad that Tim Brooke-Taylor has succumbed to the virus.  He was such a funny man, one of my favourite comedians, rarely funny at the expense of kindness but always on the ball.  He will be missed.

I need to cheer up a bit, I think.  Positive thoughts and all that.  Have a super day, whatever the weather and whatever you have planned.  xx

Monday 13 April 2020


Good morning!  I suppose the term 'bank holiday' has lost most of its meaning right now but if you are doing something special, have a happy one.
It was lovely and sunny yesterday morning but gradually it got hazy and later on in the afternoon we had a few rain showers.  I couldn't be sorry as it will make my allotment work all the easier this morning (weather permitting).  I am in the middle of prepping the uncovered area for planting/sowing:  Jeff had turned it all over for me but, being very clay-ey (is that a word?) around here, the lumps had set solid and need breaking up by hand.  I watered the bit I was going to do yesterday and that did help but some rain that's really soaked in will make the job so much easier today.  Not too much, mind, of it will be nasty and sticky.

I said more than a few rude things when I got to the allotment.  All the carefully laid cover had been scratched and torn, presumably by a cat although Beth said it could be badgers.  I suppose it was a bit daft to use membrane really but it was all we had.  I've now ordered some super-strong ground cover from Amazon that should be arriving by the end of the week and I will just cover over the existing and not fit for purpose existing cover with this.

Given that we had problems with cats before, especially using the two little raised beds as a loo, I also spent some time concocting a cage from stuff in the shed to cover where the broad beans have been sown and I'll make one for the other bed (carrots, radishes and beetroot) when the netting (ordered that too) comes.

The rhubarb is doing nicely.  There will be more to pick tomorrow - Beth can have that as I still have some in the fridge.
(the dandelions are next door's, not mine, although if I don't get going with the strimmer, I will have some too)

The rest of the day was spent sewing and knitting.  The dress is going nicely and I'm taking it slowly and carefully.

I intend taking today easy again.  It's still part of the Easter 'weekend' so why not!  Also I'm feeling quite sad.  A dear old lady, a very good friend to my brother in the USA and godmother to his 'children', passed on last night after contracting covid-19 at her care home.  Thinking of all affected - and there will be many very sad people as she touched a good many lives in a positive way.

Something energetic:
Allotment.  I'd really like to have all the uncovered but done and ready for planting/sowing by the end of the week so that when things are ready, they can go straight in.  Also, if I remember, I will take the strimmer (and battery - MUST remember the battery) with me and do round the edges and as much of the long grass as the battery will permit.  This car standing grass is an utter disgrace to a decent and law abiding allotment!  It's not forecast to be that warm today and at eight there's supposed to be some rain so I will just see how it all goes.  Going a bit later means more people around but all at several metres (or more) distance from me so I'm not the least bit worried.

Something for house/garden:
One of the things I didn't do yesterday was deal with the whitebells and it really is obvious now where they are so that's on the 'have to do' list.  A bonus is that one can see some soil once they've gone which makes the bed look less scruffy, despite the other bulb leaves dying back.  I notice that the perennial geranium is coming along well but that's been hidden by the bulb leaves, so I must clear around it carefully.

Something social:
No chats arranged today but I must sort something out with Val and also with 'the girls' for later on in the week.

Something energetic:
Carrying on with the dress and I'll look up some patchwork things and see if anything catches my fancy.

Something entertaining:
I have a great long list of things to catch up with so I'm not looking for anything else at present.  I started watching Matilda yesterday but was fighting to stay awake so I gave up and will continue today.

Well, better stop rambling and get on with the algebra.  I'd like to finish it in the next day or two but that won't happen if I don't do it, will it?
Have a safe and healthy day - and have some fun too.  :-)  xx

Sunday 12 April 2020


Good morning.  What a lovely day it was again yesterday, to be sure.  Wall to wall sunshine and so warm too.  Today's forecast is just as good except for, perhaps, a few thundery showers later on.  A bit of rain would be good for the garden, that's for sure.

I went down the allotment yesterday at around eight thirty - there was hardly anyone else there although by the end, there were several more people, all keeping their distance while smiling and waving merrily.
I had only intended to water the broad bean seeds - or where the seeds have been planted) and the rhubarb but in the end I stayed for over an hour and a half.
I watered the beans and rhubarb plus what has survived a year of neglect in the  strawberry and raspberry section.  I don't think the strawberries will come to much but have great hope for the raspberries.  They are autumn fruiting ones and each of the plants that have survived are sending up several canes so that's great.
Then I sowed half a short row of 'heritage' carrots, half a row of ditto radishes and a row of multi coloured beetroot.  All three are from that set of seeds I won in the last face to face SW meeting so goodness knows whether they will actually come up.  One can but trust!
Then I set to and weeded all over the top part so it now looks pretty respectable.  I'm so glad the bigger section is covered over - I'll get to grips with the part that's not covered and then, when that is sorted and planted up, the rest can be uncovered bit by bit by bit as required.  If it stays covered all year, no problem.

Once home, I had breakfast (outside) before doing just a bit of housework (the bare minimum) and the bit of ironing in the basket before looking thoughtfully over my pile of fabrics and deciding on a challenge.  Not a pattern challenge, a fabric challenge.  I have some pretty greyish fabric that is going to be the very devil to sew, being slippery.  It was hard enough placing the pattern pieces and cutting them out so goodness knows what the sewing up will be like.  Lots of firm and accurate tacking first, I suspect.
I used the same pattern as the dress but with a different neck and have cut it long, down to the ground, as it's a sort of 'dressy' fabric in a quiet way.  If it doesn't work long, I can cut it shorter.  The main thing is that it might be too narrow for sensible walking, so I might leave the side seams open to the knee or something.  Again, I will see when I tack it up and fit it.

The remains of the day was spent in watching telly and knitting.  Generally, it was a gentle and satisfying day.

I'd like today to be more of the same.

Something energetic. 
That will be the allotment (still being very careful when using my left arm).  I really don't fancy doing any specific exercise but I might make myself do some of Lindsey's balance work.

Something for house/garden:
Hopefully not a lot!  What I am doing is digging out all the highly invasive whitebells in my middle bed as soon as they send up flower stems (so I know what they are).  I really don't want them!

Something social:
Beth and I have a scheduled video chat today. 

Something creative.
Tacking, tacking and more tacking (see above).  I need to iron on some interfacing, machine sew some darts and zig zag some edges but apart from that, it's all tacking, which I can combine with . . .

Something entertaining:
Looking at the Radio Times, I see there's a programme with Alexander Armstrong called Heavenly Gardens, a series of two which visits garden 'expressing hope, joy and renewal'.  It sounds perfect for a gentle day.  There's also a showing of the Gene Wilder classic, 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory'.
Plus, of course, Jane Eyre.

And algebra.  I didn't do any yesterday so am looking forward to today's hour.

Saturday 11 April 2020


Good morning.  It was another glorious day, perfect for drying the sheets and even better for eating my meals in the garden!

Look what I saw!  Yes, a strawberry that's well ahead of its time.  What's the betting a late frost will catch it out!  A very pretty colour - it must be one of the new ones.

Yesterday was an easy day.  I didn't go for much of a walk, just to the post box and back.  I'll resume exercises, etc, in a couple of days, to give this neck/shoulder time to settle down.

In fact there was a lot I didn't do.  I didn't get to the allotment; I decided to go down early this morning instead, before too many people are out and about.  I didn't do any sewing.  I didn't do any sorting and tidying.

However, I did watch Jesus Christ, Superstar, I did some knitting, I changed the sheets and got them washed and dried, I started reading the first Merlin book (The Crystal Cave) and I had a lovely half hour chat with Beth and Alex.  I sat out in the sunshine, gathering my share of vitamin D for the day.  And I did my hour or so of algebra on linear equations and it ALL MADE SENSE.  Amazing!

Today's going to be gentle too.
Something energetic:
The most energetic thing I intend doing today is walking between rhubarb, broad bean seeds and tap down the allotment, watering cans in hand plus a bit of bend and stretch to pull some rhubarb.
I might do a bit of weeding out the front too.

Something for the house/garden:
Well, the watering and the weeding as above, there's the sheets to iron and I have a chicken to strip and then the carcass to boil up or stock but generally it's an easy, pottering sort of day

Something social:
Nothing specific is planned for today.  Beth and I have live chats every other day, pretty much.

Something creative:
I'm going to start another top.  Yes, I know, but I have the fabric, the time, the inclination and they are well made (though I say it myself), the style is simple and pretty timeless really and they will last me years.
There's something very satisfying about finally using resources I have stashed away for ages.

Something entertaining:
I'd like to watch the National Theatre's Jane Eyre this evening but, looking in Radio Times, there's Mary Berry's Easter Feast, Easter from Kings and Half a Sixpence (the film) so Jane Eyre may very well be deferred.  It's on until the 16th anyway.

And I will do my bit of algebra too.  I've nearly finished the course now so in the next couple of days I need to look through the Open Learn site to see what I fancy next.

Friday 10 April 2020


Good morning, everyone, and wishing you a lovely Good Friday.
Yesterday was another almost summer-like day and I enjoyed my lunch in the garden.

I'm back to waking around three again which is a bit of a pain although I can't see why it should be, given the current situation and the fact that I'm on my own pretty much 100% so if I want/need to snooze during the day, I can!
However, yesterday was a weary day, not because of an early start (or not entirely) but because my neck and shoulder were being a nuisance.  I ended up cancelling personal training with Lindsey and kept the day nice and easy which did help (as did the pain killers).  It's certainly helping my posture - it's much more comfortable when I sit up properly and don't slouch!

For the same reason, I skipped algebra yesterday as my brain wasn't in the 'right place' so to speak, but am raring to go again this morning.

What I did do was finish the simple dress I had started.   It's not the same pattern as the one I used for the tops but it is very similar and, if I make it again, I will swap in the square neck which I really do like.
The fabric is some that Mum had.  She meant to make a dress out of it but never started and I am sure she'd be so pleased that have used it.
The fabric is very light and cool and I look forward to wearing it on those hot summer days.

I really enjoyed The Nutcracker yesterday evening - after all, what's not to like?  Colour, grace, elegance, gorgeous costume, scenery and the music, of course, is wonderful.  It was interrupted in the middle by a good old clap for the NHS/key workers and it was great to see the others in the cul de sac and to shout a few words to them.

I'm taking it easy today and for the weekend in hopes that it's what my neck needs!

Something energetic:
Nothing very energetic - I may go for a walk and I may do a bit of step this evening while watching telly.

Something for the house/garden:
Well, I didn't do what I had planned in the garden - those bags of stuff are quite heavy and bending over was a bit ouch - so that's deferred for a short time.  I do need to go to the allotment to water the beans.  That's not a bend over sort of thing now that there's a little 'step' under the tap to put the watering can on while it's filling so I'll probably do that and pick some more rhubarb while I am at it.  I'll be very careful though.

Something social:
I might have a chat with Beth and Alex at some point.

Something creative:
I do have more fabric and I'm enjoying making clothes instead of buying them, but I'm not sure.  I'll carry on with the knitting but I suspect if I sit down I will snooze.  Nothing wrong with that!

Something entertaining:
Well - it's either Jane Eyre from the National Theatre or Jesus Christ, Superstar.  Decisions, decisions!  Also, there might be something Bank Holiday-ish on the telly, even though 'bank holiday' holds little significance right now.  My daily telly entertainment includes Jamie's Keep Cooking and Carry On and House of Games which are back to back for an hour of enjoyment.

The above, plus some algebra and some tidying up should keep me gently busy and if it's another warm day I am sure I will be taking my reclining chair and kindle outside for a while at some point.  I must make the most of it before the hay fever clicks in.

Have a fab day, whatever you have planned.  xx