Friday 31 July 2020


Good morning, everyone.  It's the last day of July, of course, and they say it will be a scorcher.  If it's anything like yesterday, it will be a beautiful day.

Just after I sent yesterday's post, I checked my phone and there were two messages, one from Beth pulling out of our arrangement for lunch and the afternoon as she hadn't finished something that really needed doing and the other from Jackie asking if I would go over for a chat in the afternoon.  So all change.

The first tuition session went really well, I think.  I'm always a bit 'nervous' at the first one where one is establishing oneself with the student.  However, no problems, we got on fine and, although they were very quiet at the beginning, by the end we were chatting away happily about things.  So that was good.

I got the three loads of washing done and dried but not ironed.  That's a task for today at some point.

After lunch, I drove over to Billericay and had a most pleasant two hours in Jackie's beautiful garden, chatting away merrily about this, that and the other, before driving back again in surprisingly light traffic.  I also came back with five lovely cooking apples from her tree.

All in all, a splendid day, full of happy things.  And Beth got her thing finished, much to her relief.

Today starts off with an early visit to Sainsbury's to get a few items that Morrison's doesn't seem to stock.  Also, a trip around the clothes is on the list - I do like their range and I may get another pair of the smaller sized jeans - I'm starting to feel quite nervous about some of the others.  After that, the diary is a black page so the day's my own.  I will get the ironing done, tidy the house for the cleaners and I can do the allotment watering while the cleaners are working their alchemy.  It will be hot but it's not that strenuous an activity.  I think the rest of the day might very well be spent in the garden, peacefully surveying the trees and the tomatoes in between reading and snoozing.  How decadently lazy is that?

Stay safe and have a very happy day.  xx

Thursday 30 July 2020


Good morning.

Yesterday was a funny old day.  Not in a bad way, not amusing, just - well,  funny.

The background is that you might remember I was going on a 'fitness' holiday with Lindsey (my PT) and a group of her clients.  It was in Valencia, based in a purpose built hotel and I booked it last year, in October, well before all this started.
We were all holding on to see how things might go but I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable about it all and over this weekend I decided it was most sensible and certainly most responsible to pull out.  After all, I have a vulnerable family - I am the least vulnerable of us all.
(I'm not criticising anyone who made a different decision - this was for me and mine)

I let Lindsey know - she was fine and very understanding and there was an iron clad guarantee so that was OK and actually the payment back was made yesterday afternoon.  I decided to hold on to the flight because if Ryanair did cancel, I would be entitled to a refund.  I accepted that I might lose the flight money but it wasn't all that much really.

So - what was funny about yesterday was that I got an email from Ryanair saying that they had to change the flight timings and gave me the options of . . .
accepting the revised flight
changing to another flight
a full refund (both ways)

Guess which one I took!

I do feel I've got out of it all very lightly and am lucky.
But poor old Lindsey - it's just one thing after another with this trip which was such good fun last year, I gather!  She's tearing her hair out.

I went to water the allotment and came back with these.

Yes, they are runner beans - just two.  A little taste of good things to come.  The apples aren't ready - didn't think they would be but worth a try.  They were fall-offs anyway.  I have mini cucumbers coming out of my ears now.

Today I have a new student first thing and then Beth is coming round for lunch after which we are going to start sorting out what was her work room.  In between those two, I have two loads to wash, hang out to dry and get in again - assuming nice, sunny weather.  I have to water the allotment at some point too, although I might be able to persuade Beth to do that on her way home again.
Then it is the Slimming World Zoom meeting later on.

So quite a busy day but a very satisfying one.
Take care and stay safe.  xx

Wednesday 29 July 2020

Wednesday - mainly garden and allotment.

Morning, everyone.

I spent some early morning time in the garden yesterday, first feeding everything and then tying up the tomatoes and pinching out the top shoots so they can put all their energy into growing nice long trusses.  Some of them were threatening to climb over the fence and escape into next door's garden!

They're doing ever so well now.  Just look at all those tomatoes.

I'm puzzled by this one.  The label says 'gardener's delight' which it most certainly is NOT.  I put my (wrinkled) hand behind it so you can see the size.  Some sort of beef tomato, I suppose but where on earth did it come from?

Not that I am complaining, you understand - just puzzled.

Thank goodness they are mini-cucumbers.  I only picked one of these, have three from yesterday and came home from the allotment with four more.  Just as well I like cucumber and these are so tasty and fresh.

I got the chair, table and cushions out ready for Chris but it then turned cloudy with a stiff cool breeze so we met online instead.  Oh, well . . . better luck next week.

Tuition was great fun - I do like these students.
In the afternoon I stopped off at the allotment and came home with these!

And these - with more coming on fast.

And finally, at last, we have baby runners.  Cheers!

Today starts off with an early morning tuition session followed later on by my personal training session.  Lindsey can now have individual clients in her mini-gym which is great.  I'm looking forward to that very much.
I ought to go down the allotment and water at some point.  I gather it's going to get warmer and I don;t want things to dry out - it's all looking so lush at the moment.

I'm hoping it will be somewhat warmer and sunny today - yesterday was OK but cool-ish and it kept clouding over.  Fingers crossed!

Stay safe and well.  xx

Tuesday 28 July 2020


Good morning, everyone, and welcome to Tuesday. 

I was so tired yesterday evening, I gave in and went to bed at eight thirty and I don't even remember waiting to fall asleep!  I woke at five (with just the usual loo breaks) so that's over eight hours of good sleep.  I feel so much better this morning!

It's looking promising out there and, indeed, the forecast looks great for the rest of the week and the weekend too.  Woo hoo!

I had a good journey home from Dad's.  It was raining and there was a lot of surface water, not to mention quite a lot of heavy lorries and farm vehicles making local journeys, so it took a bit longer than expected, but it was fine.

When I arrived home, the first thing I did after bringing in the cases was look at the garden and looky look!

There are three more mini cucumbers nearly ready and several more tomatoes are ripening.  They are on their way now!

The rest of the day was spent sorting things out, planning for today's tuition, catching up on some telly and so on.  Nice, normal, homey stuff.

Today is a little busier.
First of all, there's a bit of tuition, then Christine is coming round (weather permitting) for a chat and then I'm off to Beth's for an hour to take something round and have another chat.  Maybe, later on, I'll take a trip to the allotment to see how  things are going there.  It won't need watering, that's for sure, but there might be a few courgettes!

I do have some washing but I think I'll leave it for a few days as it's not quite enough for two loads (I do do darks and lights separately).  Thursday looks a pretty empty day so I guess I'll do it then.
It should be a good day and I hope yours is too.  Stay safe.  xx

Monday 27 July 2020


Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to my blog at the start of a new week.
Yesterday turned out to be a sunny day with just one quite heavy rain shower that lasted around fifteen minutes before dissolving into sunshine again

I really didn't do very much.  Read, chatted, picked veg, prepped meals and that was about it.

Once I get home this morning, there will be plenty to be getting on with.  Catching up with the washing, for a start, plus some planning and giving the garden the once over for cucumbers and tomatoes (and weeds, I suppose!).  Some of the pots under the tree might need some water although the rain on Saturday was heavy enough to soak through.

It'll be nice to get back into the daily grind.

Sunday 26 July 2020


Good morning, everyone.  Again, it is stupid o'clock and I'm wide awake and have been for a couple of hours.  I've given up trying to sleep and am just going with the flow.

We had some very heavy rain yesterday.  It started mid afternoon, just as I was about to go and pick runner beans, and continued for several hours, giving the ground a very good soaking.  Beth said the same was happening at home to that's the allotment and garden watering sorted out for a few days.
It then started again later on in the evening!

Today is another quiet day with Dad.  I suspect I will be dropping off from time to time after such a bad night's sleep but at least I am able to, there's nothing stopping me.  I think my conscience is clear so goodness knows why I'm wide awake when I should be fast asleep!   :-)

Well, there's not a lot more to say really.  I really you're fast asleep and don't catch this for several more hours (if you live in the UK, I mean) and that today is a really good day for you.

Saturday 25 July 2020


Good morning, everyone.  It's still pretty dark but I'm awake so here I am!

It was a good journey over.  The traffic is pretty much back to its pre lockdown level but, despite this, the only holdups were the level crossing and roadworks so I was pleased.

Before then, my early morning trip to Morrisons showed me that we seem to be a law abiding lot round our way.  There was a burly security man at the door; there's no way I would have wanted to argue with him about masks or anything else, but everyone was wearing a face covering of some kind or other and I saw no disagreements.

Today I need to pop to Tesco to get a few things for the weekend here and I'm sure I will find the same.  Apart from that, I have no idea what I'll be doing, just take it as it comes.  It's nice to be here with Dad again anyway.
Have a good day.  xx

Friday 24 July 2020


Good morning, everyone.  It is stupid o'clock and I am up before the lark again, bright eyed and bushy tailed.  I have plenty to do this morning so maybe that is just as well.

Yesterday turned out to be another fine and sunny day, not as warm maybe but still really pleasant.  Today it looks as if things are changing.  Cloud and a breeze with possible rain tomorrow.  We will see.

I had a lovely time with Val yesterday.  She came round in the afternoon; we sat out in the garden with a cuppa tea/coffee and talked the hind legs off a couple of donkeys!  Well, we had much to catch up on.  After she had left, it was almost time for our SW Zoom meeting.  It was a lot of fun and we got caught short at the end when if finished abruptly as time ran out.  The face to face meetings are due to resume next month at some point and there's mixed feelings.  One thing for sure, they will be very different to the old meetings with very strict timings and numbers, masks, no raffle, no refreshments, distancing . . .  I wonder if people will actually prefer the online meetings.

Today starts off with a trip to Morrisons to get some bits and bobs for the weekend.  Then I need to deal with any residual untidiness, pack and get all the other stuff I take ready.  Fir instance, I always take my yogurts with me.

Finally, after a trip to the allotment to water and dig a few potatoes for Dad, it's lunch and off.
As usual, I may or may not be able to post over the weekend so don't worry, I will be back on Monday.

I'll finish with a photo of The First Tomato - and very tasty it was too.

(it's the uncut one in the centre)

Have a great Friday and be safe.  xx

Thursday 23 July 2020


Good morning, everyone.  I'm up before the lark this morning and it's very pleasant to watch light dawning as I potter around.  I've sorted out the kitchen and various other bits and bobs and now I'm sat at the PC, mouse to one side and hot water with lemon above it.

I was a bit concerned at the amount of caffeine I was taking in so made a few changes.  I'm rather surprised how well boiling water with a slice of lemon (appropriately cooled down, of course) wakes me up.  Maybe it's a habit to hold on to.

Yesterday turned out to be another really lovely day.

After my early morning tuition, I pottered around, wound up the very last yank that had felt a little damp still on Tuesday so I left it to air, did a bit of housework-y and gardening-y stuff before changing into my new sportswear bottoms and a long T shirt (to hide the residual bumps) and setting off to Lindsey's for forty five minutes of puff.  Actually, it was really good, most enjoyable.

After lunch, I set off for the allotment.  Beth had to pull out again, sadly, but never mind.  I weeded, removed side shoots, cleared the broad beans which are now over, weeded again, pulled a couple of beetroot (one purple and one white), found one mini cucumber and a few courgettes (I like them on the small side and, heaven knows, we won't be short of them!) and then gave everything a good watering.

Not a lot, I know, but what I came back with.  

The fruit trees are laden!  I think we need to thin the apples, they have no room to grow.

I certainly met my exercise targets yesterday!!!

Today, there's nothing in the diary until Val comes over for a cuppa and a chat in the garden.  I think I will start on some washing good and early so it will all be done and dried before hand and I can put away the rotary line.  I also need to get the place tidy for the cleaners tomorrow - note, I said tidy, not clean.  I have them in to clean, tidying is my part!

After Val goes, it won't be long until the SW Zoom meeting.  That's always fun.

I also got a shiny new Lakeland catalogue in the post yesterday so I shall certainly take some time to look through it and drool over all the lovely stuff that I don't need!

Well, it is now light outside and from the looks of it, the sun should make an appearance at some point.  I'll stop now and get started with the washing.
Enjoy your day, whatever your plans are and be safe.  xx

Wednesday 22 July 2020


Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday turned out to be another lovely day but colder than Monday.  My young student asked me if I would close the French window as they were cold!  However, the sun shone and it was bright and cheery.
It's not so bright this morning.  However, Beeb weather reckons it's going to brighten up and be another pleasant day so who am I to argue?

Some of yesterday was spent winding yarn.  After going through all my jumpers, one of the discards was a hand knit I had hardly worn so, after a prompt from a comment (thank you), I unpicked it.  It took AGES.  For once I wished I wasn't so meticulous about sewing the loose ends in so thoroughly!  However, it got done at last, after a fair number of regrettable mutterings and judicious use of scissors on occasion.
Then I wound the yarn into hanks as Annabeth advised, soaked them and hung them out to drip dry,  thankful for the fine weather!  Yesterday I wound the yarn back into balls again and yes, it worked a treat.  The yarn now looks good as new and ready to re-knit into something else.  I don't know what yet - it's a chunky yarn so I must take a look at some patterns and see.
Many thanks for all the advice.

I had a tuition session in the morning (it's so good to be getting back to these again) and went to water in the afternoon (more beans popping through) and between those times I did a mini shop and talked to a mum about tuition.
All this sounds busier than it really was - really, it was quite a lazy day.

Today is a little fuller.  I have a tuition session first thing, personal training over lunch time and I'm meeting Beth down the allotment in the afternoon (fingers crossed) when the tasks include watering, weeding and clearing the broad beans.
Beth has also sources some raised beds to replace the two that are falling apart at the seams so we will need to discuss that too.

I reckon it's going to be a good day - I just have that feeling.
Enjoy your day too and be safe.  xx

Tuesday 21 July 2020


Good morning, everyone.  It was such a lovely day yesterday around here.  Warm but not too hot, sunny, a gentle breeze.  Really almost perfect.
This morning looks very promising too.

While watering the garden, I noticed that one tomato is nearly ready to eat.  This one is a gardener's delight but there's also a couple of sungold tomatoes that seem to be getting the idea.
I'll leave this one on the plant for a couple more days before a ceremonious picking and eating!   The first tomato of the year is always exciting.

Down the allotment the newly sown dwarf French beans are just starting to emerge.  That was quick.  The runners are laden with flowers and the baby corn plants have little 'buds' where the corn will grow.

There were three courgettes to pick and loads more coming but, although the butternut quashes are growing nicely, there's no sign of any fruit yet..

I watered and did a bit of side shooting of the tomatoes but Beth couldn't come so I didn't stay all that long.
Hopefully, Wednesday . . .

Today starts with some tuition which is the only thing in the diary.  I might sort out another part of my bedroom, either space where the jackets and cardigans are hanging up or the other, bigger hanging space.  If Beth can't go and water, I will do that as well.  There won't be an awful lot to do so it should be another nice and gentle day.

Have a great day and be safe.  xx

Monday 20 July 2020

Monday - My favourite things

Morning!  A bit different today.
Tracey of My Beautiful Life posted this yesterday and I thought I'd copy it.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens.
Brown paper packages tied up with string.
These are a few of my favourite things . . .

1.  My favourite film
I don't watch films all that much and certainly I am not up to date with current offerings so, to be honest, I don't really know.  I did love the Sound of Music when it came out and Chariots of Fire was another favourite.
Maybe in the modern era, I might go for the two Paddington movies.  I like films to entertain rather than to terrify or revolt and they were very, very funny.

2.  My favourite book
It depends what mood I am in.  I love the Miss Read books and the Gervase Phinn books, both about school/rural life but I suppose my all time favourite is Katherine by Anya Seton, a romanticised retelling of the life of Katherine de Roet, mistress and then wife to John of Gaunt and who lived through great upheavals and difficulties and ended up as probably the second most important lady in the land for a time.

3.  My favourite dessert
I don't go for desserts much but I'd have to go a long way before finding anything nicer than a really good fresh fruit salad.

4.  My favourite dinner
How do you choose???  Sorry, I can't.  I love lots of different dinners.  I like spicy food.

5.  My favourite drink
Alcoholic - campari and tonic
Non-alcoholic - sparkling water with ice, mint and lemon

6.  My favourite music
Rather a wide one so it's split.

6a.  Favourite opera
Has to be Carmen, the first I ever saw live and also the first LP I was ever given (a request after I'd seen the live opera).  I think I was about nine.

6b.  Favourite musical
I've said West Side Story for 1 so I think I will go for Phantom of the Opera, not only for the music (which varies in quality, to be honest) but for the whole experience.  Fantastic.

6c.  Favourite symphony
How do you choose among all the wonderful symphonies there are out there?  If pushed, I'd say maybe Brahms' fourth symphony which I studied in depth for A level music and still love.

6d.  Favourite choral work
Has to be Haydn's 'Nelson Mass' because it was the first major work I sang in (as part of the chorus) in fourth form (year 10 nowadays).  The Kyrie was used in O level music as an example of developing sonata form (as it was known then) and when the senior choir performed the whole thing, I loved how the soloists and the choir interact with each other rather than having separate solos and choral movements.

6e.  Favourite concerto
Goodness, no idea.  I do enjoy an Albinoni oboe concert (no idea which one, sorry) and some of the flute and recorder concertos of that time are absolutely beautiful within what was a pretty rigid formal structure.

It's odd because my favourite period or style is Impressionist although none of my individual favourites are from that genre.

7.  Favourite time of day
Early morning, in the winter, sitting at my PC while the house warms up, coffee to hand, curtains open so I can see the snow fluttering down outside.  Everything is silent and peaceful and I feel cosy, safe and utterly content.

8.  Favourite colour
Blue with green a close second.
However, for clothes it is the pastel-y mauves/pinks/blues.

9.  Favourite place to be on holiday
I don't know much about overseas but the place where I have had the happiest holidays was Streele Farm in Sussex.  A lovely place.

10.  Favourite artist
Hmmmmm.  I'm not into art but I do enjoy impressionist works.

So there you go.  My favourite things.  What are yours?

Sunday 19 July 2020


Good morning, all.
I'm up really early today after an early night last night.  I've had a decent whack of sleep but might very well go back for a bit more when I've finished this.

Yesterday turned out beautifully warm and sunny, perfect for drying a couple of loads of washing which now await the attentions of the iron.
In the morning I went with a friend to look at a show house on a new local development.  A lovely upstairs, a tiny kitchen and generally the finish wasn't great (and this is the show house!) but it was fun to look round.

The afternoon was spent idling around one way and another.

Today looks like being more of the same.  It's my turn to water at the allotment so I will slot that in at some point and I have a pile of ironing and some planning.  Apart from that, it's another lazy day and I will enjoy it very much, I am sure.
I hope yours is good too.  xx

Saturday 18 July 2020


Morning, everyone.  Yesterday turned out absolutely gorgeously - wall to wall sunshine and warm enough to make me change into my loose, summer dress that I use for chilling and relaxing for the evening.

Chris and I had a jolly good chat in the garden.  Yes, it was still a bit whiffy but nothing unbearable and, as we both said, as did Sue yesterday in comments, good, healthy country air!!  We've both agreed that we'd like to continue these weekly chats in the future, even if things get properly back to 'normal' - new normal anyway.

I started sorting out the jumpers, left them after a while and finished the task off in the evening.  I have now put the Christmas jumpers (I start wearing them early in December, so having more than one isn't too silly) with all the other Christmas stuff in the blue room with the tablecloths, cushions, etc.  There are a number of jumpers that are just too sloppy/wide now but, thankfully, only one of my hand-knits.
I will bag up the discards and pop down to Morrisons with them to see if the two drop off points are open now.  If not, they will have to sit in the yellow room until I can hand them on one way or another.

The cleaner arrived, bless him, and I went off to the allotment to mow, strim and weed.  I got the first two done and started the weeding but it was so hot we stopped after a while and sat on the benches under the tree at the end to have a jolly good mum/daughter chat about all sorts of things.
We did, however, give the plants a jolly good drink and Beth picked some broad beans (I had the last picking) which are nearly over now so I guess we will be clearing them in the next few weeks.

We noticed that there are little baby corn buds on the side of some of the baby corn stems and the runners are smothered with flowers.

Then we went over to the courgettes and . . .

Yes, it's very small (Beth had the bigger one for her and Alex) but the flavour was wonderful.  There will be more in due course, loads more, but he first one is always so satisfying.

And then, just to add to the delights, while  was watering at home, I noticed one tomato turning a delicate shade of orange.  Yay.

So that was yesterday.
Today, the sun is shining already and the forecast is good.  I have one possible thing pencilled in my diary but, apart from that, the day is clear.  I will change, wash, dry and iron my sheets and the other stuff I have in the washing basket and then I will generally chill, relax and enjoy the life of the idle retired.
C'est la bonne vie!

Stay safe, stay well and have a happy day.  xx

Friday 17 July 2020


Good morning.  Today looks much more promising with sunny intervals and a gentle breeze.  it's lovely out there at the moment apart from the fact that somewhere local a farmer appears to be doing some muck spreading (as we always called it as kids) and there's definitely an 'aroma' in the air!

I saw this on a message board and just had to share it.  It made me smile.

Yesterday, I did my shopping nice and early and got it all put away.
Then I went upstairs and spent the next hour or so sorting out some shelves in a wardrobe and trying on clothe with a few going into the charity pile.  I found a big plastic box with a huge stack of pull outs from old Child Educations and similar which went straight into the paper recycling sack.  That, and sundry other discards, created some space for me to reorganise other things and, by the end, I was well pleased and much more aware of what I have.
Now I have to tackle the jumper shelf!  < groan >  I have so many and need to be a bit ruthless, I think.

Personal Training was good.  We did forty minutes and the shoulder was fine, both then and also this morning which is when it used to play up.  Not counting chickens and I have to be careful, but I think it's much better now, thank goodness.
I've decided that I really ought to get some proper leisurewear lycra bottoms (T shirts will be fine for tops) and came back with some from a range Lindsey sells.  There were two pairs I particularly like and - get this - in a small size.  Blimey!!!
So that cheered me up no end after a not great weigh in (maintained).

Later on it was the Zoom meeting and Jen told us that proper meetings should resume half way through August.  That was the good news.  The bad news is that the Tuesday group that I am in is no longer going to carry on.  Not enough members.  I'm sorry about that and now have to decide whether to go to the earlier or later Thursday group.
Either would work as Beth and I have decided that, for the meanwhile, even if Pottery classes resume, we won't be going back.  The room is too small and too crowded.  I suspect they won't anyway because social distancing would mean they would not be economically viable, sadly.

So that was yesterday.
Today Chris should be round for a garden chat (assuming it's not too pongy out there) and I'm meeting Beth at the allotment at two.

Have a great day and be safe.  xx

Thursday 16 July 2020


Good morning, everyone.  It's a bit early morning-ish to tell properly but it looks rather ominous out there.  The forecast is for cloud and a breeze but it won't be cold.  I hope not - yesterday evening I had to go up and dig out one of my winter jumpers to get warm!

Tuition went well and then I set off for Hyde Hall.  Because I planned to arrive right at the start of my selected arrival hour, I expected queues but there were none so it was straight there and straight into the grounds.
It was as lovely as ever, despite the lack of sun.  Here's a few photos.

The world veg garden as great.  Big courgettes, loads of ripe tomatoes in the greenhouse and even a few runner beans, just baby ones but all the same . . .

Am I jealous - well, what do you think?

Once home, I grabbed some lunch and then set off down the allotment to put in two and a half hours of steady weeding.  It takes longer than one expects so I didn't get everything done, but I did get enough to make a difference.  Beth is watering today, I'll do the necessary tomorrow which will include mowing and strimming and then we are meeting there on Friday when we will jolly well cut the first courgettes, ready or not (but they will be).

Later on a message pinged through from Nuffield Health to tell me when the gym will be opening and the new expectations.  It is as I expected - swimming will be in lanes only, will need to be booked and will be time restricted.  Membership has been frozen since lockdown and there is the option of keeping it frozen if one is not ready to go back.  I will have a serious think about that and might take them up on it.  I am longing to start swimming again but am really not sure.

Today is an easier day by the looks of it.

I will do an early shop for some bits and bobs and I have personal training at quarter to twelve.  The shoulder is so much better now that we're slowly extending the time to an hour again.

Then I will do a bit of gardening - I noticed some cheeky weeds daring to show their face yesterday - before the Slimming World Zoom meeting at five.  Unless the situation changed, face to face meetings will resume mid-August so there's about a month of Zoom to go.  There will be a lot of changes, of course - no refreshments, no taster sessions, sitting at a distance, I'm sure people will want to put their own card in the machine, online payments only, etc, etc, etc.

I'm looking forward to today - I think it will be nice.
Stay safe and well, everyone.  xx

Wednesday 15 July 2020


Good morning.  We have sun but I doubt it will stay around.  Not a problem although I'd prefer it not to rain - during the day, anyway.

Yesterday was a funny old day.  In the end, after all, I went for a lazy day and ended up watching all the BBC episodes of Pride and Prejudice on Netflix, which was most enjoyable.
And that was about it, really.

It's a more energetic day today.
After an early tuition session, I am booked for a visit to Hyde Hall, getting there at eleven (so leaving around ten thirty) and I will take a portable breakfast with me.  I usually have breakfast around eleven although I suppose it is debatable whether it should be called 'breakfast' at that time.

I expect I will be home by two and have a quick lunch planned, followed by time down the allotment, watering and weeding, before coming home for dinner.

And that's about it.  It should be a very pleasant day, fingers crossed, and I hope yours is good too.  xx

Tuesday 14 July 2020


Morning, everyone.  To my surprise, it's been raining overnight and is still slightly drizzling now.  That's great - with the current warmth, it should being on the veggies no end.

Yesterday was a beautiful day.  We had loads of sunshine, a gentle breeze and warmth.

On an impulse, I went off to Matalan first thing.  If it had seemed busy, I'd have come straight home again but I'm rarely seen it so empty (or so many parking spaces in the car park) so I grabbed a trolley and had a good trawl round.
Yes, of course I spent!  Firstly, they had some very nice canvas-y/trainer-y type footwear.  I wear a lot of jeans, etc, nowadays and that sort of thing goes really well with jeans/jeggings/etc.
I also got some more trainer socks, another nightie (I needed one) and, to my delight, a plain white rectangular plate that wasn't absolutely ginormous and didn't cost an arm and a leg.  I've been looking for one for ages and might just possibly have drawn a bit of attention to myself by uttering 'oh, great' rather loudly, had the shop been more full.
I can also say with confidence that not only am I a Sainsbury's 10, I am also a Matalan 10 - as far as trousery things are concerned anyway.  Amazingly, they had some 27" trousers (they hardly ever do) so I had a look and found some the same style as some I had in a 16, the first trousers I had bought for decades.  I'd been looking for some smarter style ones so I was very pleased.

Once home, I got going with the tools on the little front strip and now if has that neat, freshly turned over look.  I wish it would stay like that!  There's weeds coming up between the paving slabs and my lovely neighbour invested in a sort of hot air weed burner thing that she said I could borrow.  I think I may very well take her up on that, for the back garden as well.  Very kind indeed of her.

Later on I met up with Beth down the allotment.  We got the weeding done, prepped the ground, built a cane cage and planted the dwarf French beans so fingers crossed for September.

The whole plot has rather lost its neat and tidy appearance as things are getting quite big now, but it's looking promising.
Beth dug up some more potatoes and picked some runners; she shared the potatoes but the beans were her turn as I had the last lot.
We investigated the courgettes and decided that by the weekend they should be ready for a first picking.
A few photos.

I was so tired yesterday evening that after fighting to stay awake for half an hour, I took myself up to bed at eight, was out like a light and didn't wake until nearly six this morning.  I must have needed that sleep!

Today I have a bit of tuition and then the diary is blank.  I might go to the allotment and carry on with the never ending weeding, or I might sort out a few cupboards in my bedroom that sadly need some TLC.  I'll have a think.

Have a lovely day and I hope we all get some sunshine today.  Stay safe and well.  xx

Monday 13 July 2020


Good morning, everyone.  We had lovely weather yesterday and it looks as if today will be just as good.  Nice.

Yesterday was pleasant but marred by (excuse the TMI) me obviously eating something that shot straight through.  I have no idea what, there was no pain or cramping, I just had to stay close by the loo so the allotment thing was deferred until this afternoon.
I was absolutely fine, just very tired.

I spent some of the day in the kitchen, sorting out meals for both yesterday and today (and tidied up straight away which was amazing!) and the rest of the time was mainly spent watching rubbish on You Tube in between sleeping.  It was all very restful and it was good that I could rest and relax.

I did one gardening thing - I got all the tomato plants' bottom leaves pruned off so now there are none touching the ground and it should improve the air flow around the other leaves.  We've had a few blight warnings recently so I'm on my guard.

I've just taken a few early morning photos - three fruits and a promise!

 A bit early but delicious, all the same
 Plenty of berries to come in the container, although all the others are over now.
The next one . . . with what looks like hundreds waiting in the wings.

It's the waiting time now.  I wonder when the first fruits will ripen.  Dad's already had a few from his.

Today there's just one thing in the diary and that's allotment this afternoon when we will get those dwarf French beans planted, fingers crossed.

I also need to do a bit of planning and just tidy up a bit.  Maybe I'll change the bedding too, I'll see how I feel. 

Time for a second coffee so I will stop.  Thanks for reading, have a great day and stay safe.  xx

Sunday 12 July 2020


Good morning, everyone.  This morning I have woken up happy after a Saturday that was so good and a brilliant night's sleep.

It's chilly outside and there's a bit of a mist.  The sun is shining, the mist will burn away and it's going to be such a beautiful day.
(I live in hope - feeling really positive this morning)

I shall be sitting out here later on, enjoying the green-ness of my little domain!

(Eileen, I grossly over estimated the height of the grass - it's closer to a metre tall; being in the raised bed makes it look taller than it really is.)

I mentioned the little chilli plant I brought back from Dad's.  Here it is.  You see what I mean although, in fact, it's looking much healthier now than at the start of the week.  It's greened up and thrown out a few leaves at the tip so I reckon it will be fine although it would be nice if it bushed out a bit more.  I have absolutely no idea what 'heat' the fruit will be so the first taste will be an adventure!

Yesterday morning I set off for Sainsbury's with the aim of getting there by eight.  A few months ago, that would probably have been a bit rash, risking queues and hold-ups to get in but things have normalised for now and there were very few there comparatively speaking.  Lots of masks!

I had two main aims and a few less significant ones.  The biggies were to get some Worcestershire sauce and to 'look at jeans' as it said on my shopping list.

So I looked and I saw and I selected and into the trolley went two pairs of jeans and some knee length denim shorts - ALL SIZE TEN!!
(not shouting)
If you've always been a slender type, you may not understand but a large part of my adult life has been spent yo-yo-ing between sizes twenty and twenty eight (really) so ten feels totally unreal, out of this world, an impossible dream.
And, yes, they fit.

Somehow, a top, some trainer socks and some canvas shoes also jumped in to keep the jeans company.  How unfortunate!

I didn't find any Worcestershire sauce (is this the latest hard-to-get thing?) but I did get some Hendersons sauce which is better really as it's the vegetarian equivalent so I can use it without worrying about Beth having any.

Then I went on to B&Q and got, as Diane suggested, some French dwarf bean seeds, having discussed it with Beth (she was having a wakeful early morning too) and getting a delighted reaction from her.

I managed four loads of washing after I got home, three dried on the line, one in the dryer and all ironed and put away.  My get up and go really has returned!

Today I will be meeting Beth down the allotment this afternoon and we will be prepping the ground where the potatoes were and getting those beans planted.  It's pretty much the latest we could do it so fingers will be crossed for a frost free autumn, but I'm glad we are using the space and not just letting it lie.

At home, I think I will be taking off the bottom leaves of the tomatoes which is a task in itself, given how many plants there are!  Also, weeding at the front seems to be the new elephant in the room so I must settle to that.  It won't take long, it just needs doing!

It's going to be a super day - for us all, I hope.  Stay safe and be happy.  xx

Saturday 11 July 2020


Good morning, everyone.  It's too early to tell but BBC weather tells me that today will be nice and sunny although not necessarily all that warm.   OK by me!

Yesterday was a day of two halves.
In the morning the lovely Sharon arrived, mask on, to sort out my and Beth's hair.  Oh, it was lovely!  Because it had grown longer than I'm used to, I was able to slightly change the style and I'm very, very happy with it.  We're back to six weekly appointments now, assuming all remains well.
Poor Sharon has been working her socks off and she said it's lovely to keep being greeted with delighted faces and welcoming words.  She's everyone's favourite person right now and I can understand why.

As Beth left afterwards, in came my students.  It was another assessment session, this week focusing on verbal reasoning and writing and now I know exactly what we need to start on.  They've very useful, these assessments.

It was a dear friend's birthday today.  Because she is shielding (and will be doing so for the foreseeable future, for health reasons), I wasn't able to see her, but I dropped a clean, wiped-over-with-anti-bac-stuff gift and card from me and Beth before stopping off at the allotment nearby to check it and pick some broad beans.

All's well there.  The yellow courgettes aren't big enough to cut yet but give them four or five days and some warmth and they will be.  Cheesy courgette fritters - mmmmmmm.  The beetroots are coming on, the corn isn't quite as high as an elephant's eye but it's doing its best to get there and there are flowers on the runners. 
We're leaving the rhubarb now.
As for the apples and pears - wow!

It's all going well at home too.
I've cleared the strawberries now, apart from the ones I bought this spring, and will get new plants come the autumn.  The ones I put in the pot are doing extra well - they are long fruiting and also trailers, which I didn't realise when I got them.  There's definitely some fruit still to come here - even the runners are flowering!

In the meanwhile, I finally got round to planting the chilli plants out a short time ago (way too late but better than not at all, I guess), inspired by a rather lanky and feeble looking one that Dad's gardener, Colin, left in his greenhouse.  If it comes to nothing, no problem, but I think a bit of TLC will work wonders and there are three others, much smaller but looking healthy and starting to flower. 

The runners are starting to flower and as for the mini cucumber, I cut one and the next day there's another to take its place.  The skin can be quite tough but the actual insides are lovely, fresh and crisp.

I think I need to give everything a liquid feed today.  They can't run on empty, after all.

First thing, though, I'm off to Sainsburys because earlier in the week my jeans nearly fell down so I need to see if the next size down is a possibility and I like the jeans Sainsbury's sells.  A few other items may jump in the trolley as well, you never know!

I might stop off at B&Q and see if it's not too crowded.  One row of allotment potatoes has now been dug up and I was wondering if there's any available 'bedding' veg that could go in there.  There's room for a couple of rows of something.  It's worth a look, anyway, don't you think?

This afternoon, I need to tackle the front strip as it is very weedy again.

So it looks as if today will be very pleasant and, hopefully, I will sleep a bit better tonight.  Fingers crossed.

Be safe and stay well, everyone.  xx

Friday 10 July 2020


Good morning, everyone.  A very happy Friday to us all!
We've had more rain overnight and right now it's dismal but Beeb tells me that it will brighten up and we should get sunshine this afternoon.  Fingers crossed.

Yesterday didn't start all that well.  I drove over to Jackie's (about half an hour's journey but some of that is going through town, which always takes time) to be greeted by a carless drive and no answer to my knock. 
Then I got a text from Jackie saying she was at my house, where was I?
So I drove back, Jackie waited in her car and all was well.  It gave us a right old giggle!

Once J had left, I walked round to Morrisons for just a few items and, amazingly, came home with just a few items.  It was a bit annoying that the main thing I went for - Worcestershire sauce - wasn't available, all sold out.  Drat and drabbit; I use my Lea and Perrins (or equivalent) quite a lot so it's top of the new list.

I spent the rest of the day doing the usual daily stuff.

Today is exciting because it is HAIR DAY!!! 
Then my new eleven plussers come for their distanced tuition.
Finally it's the turn of the cleaners.

Lindsey has heard that she can resume personal training in her little gym in the attic under certain restrictions which she already follows anyway so that will be great.  I have no fears about this whatsoever, unlike going back to the gym for a swim where I will need to hear from the gym what safety things they will have set in place before making up my mind.  Having said that, I have missed my swims very much indeed.  Fingers crossed.

Stay safe, everyone, and wishing us all some sunshine today.  xx

Thursday 9 July 2020


Good morning!
It's still raining here!  We've had quite a lot, not always heavy and not continuous but enough to soak everywhere and it doesn't appear to be going anywhere today.  The garden looks very happy and I bet the allotment does too;  I'm so glad I got the grass cut!

Yesterday went well.  Resumed tuition was fine, hedged around with hand gel and wipes.  PT was delivered online and my shoulder is much better, so much so that we are going to up the time a bit from now on.  We'd cut it to half an hour but I think it's ready to increase again.  I'll be careful!

I also had a good old chat with Chris later on in the afternoon.  Beth was supposed to come round earlier but she wasn't able to come.  Maybe today instead or, definitely, tomorrow morning as, bliss of blisses, Sharon is coming round to do our hair.  Fantastic!

That's tomorrow.  Today I'm off round to Jackie's for a chat this morning and it is the SW online Zoom meeting at five.
Between those times I want to tidy up the house because I won't have time tomorrow morning before the cleaners come and I still have that perishing ironing which is now assuming elephant in the room significance!  Given that there's a pile that needs washing soon, I really need to clear the basket.

So that's today.  It should be very pleasant, despite the unpromising weather forecast.  Sat safe and well, everyone.  xx

Wednesday 8 July 2020


Good morning, everyone!   What dull, damp start to the day we have here.  It started raining yesterday evening and it looks as if it hasn't let up all night.  I can't be sorry - it has given everywhere a jolly good very much needed soaking, enough to really penetrate down.  Excellent.

Taken about an hour ago.

I actually took the photo to show the wetness but you can see how well the tomatoes are coming on and that the runner beans are climbing up the archways really well now.  They will thicken out soon and then, for a month or so, I will have pretty archways to walk under.  It looks really nice through August as well as feeding me!

Yesterday was busy.

First of all it was the dental appointment.  It's all quite different there at the moment.  As I arrived, a message pinged through to my phone with a link to where I had to check in and then wait outside until called in.  As I went in my temperature was checked and I had to ' sanitise' my hands with gel.
Anyway - I had a bone scan and it isn't quite as simple as we had hoped.  It's a bit complicated but I will try to explain if you will bear with me.

The teeth that are affected are my two front top teeth and the incisor and canine to the right of them (my right).  The second front tooth and the other two were the ones affected by the loss of the bridge and the other front tooth was the one I decided to include in the treatment as it was pretty crooked.  I reckoned if I was going through all this, I might as well have a nice smile at the end of it all.

To cut a long story short, there isn't quite enough bone thickness for one of the planned implants, the front tooth one.  However, it can be got round by including the next tooth along (the remaining top incisor) in a mix of implants and bridge work.  It's not a problem, just a change of plan.

Oddly enough, the tooth that will now be capped as part of the bridge is the one that, initially, I ummed and ahed about including as well.  It's a bit crooked but not terribly so I couldn't really justify it to myself.  Now it should all be straight and I'm really quite happy about it.  Yes, it will be an extra cost but bridge cost, not implant cost!

I will be sent another appointment for about three weeks hence to start the implant procedure.  I AM nervous about that but there you go.  No gain without pain or something like that.

If you've stayed with me through all this ramble, well done!

Then I went to Aldi seeing as it was on the way home and stocked up with fruit and veg.  The allotment is now much neater after I gave the grass a good old mow and weeded down one side and when I got home I did my own little patch before putting the mower away.
Earlier, much earlier, I had spent half an hour or so in my own garden before I went to the dentist, making the most of the lovely sunshine.
Just in time, wasn't I?

Today, briefly, I have a tuition session (distanced), then personal training (online today), then Beth is coming round for a while and, finally, I have a scheduled online chat with Chris.
All that should keep me well out of trouble, don't you think?

Have a great day, whatever the weather, and keep safe and well, everyone.  xx

Tuesday 7 July 2020


Good morning!  There's a very pretty sky as I look out of the window on this early Tuesday morning.  Perhaps not terribly positive as far as weather is concerned but still - attractive.
Yesterday was a mix of cloud and sun and really not very warm; I didn't want to sit out.  A shame but not to worry - the warmer days will return, I am sure.

I left Dad in the midst of some IT work with Open Reach, trying to sort out why he has such a weak internet signal.  Nothing was resolved and it's all very frustrating for him.  It was a good journey home with just the usual holdups around Little Hadham (they're building a by-pass around the village) and I stopped off at the allotment to take a look and pick some of my lunch and dinner.

This is what I came home with to go with Dad's green courgette.

I reckon we will be eating our own courgettes in a week's time.  They've really taken off!

The runners and the baby corn are thriving too.

(as are those perishing weeds)

The tomatoes at home are looking great, lots of mini fruits but no hint of ripening yet.  Once one starts, they will all get the idea, so I will be patient.

After the usual unpacking and sorting out, I sat down with a coffee and promptly went to sleep!  I'm not sure if I was tired or just relaxing but it was very pleasant, all the same.

Today, the biggie is first thing with a visit to the dentist for Mr Clough to 'review' the gaps and decide when the implants should go ahead.  Seeing as this should have been in April, I can't see there will be any issues and I will hopefully have some actual treatment dates soon.  I'd like to get it done and dusted!

There's nothing else in the diary for today but I need to do some tuition planning and to finish off a pile of ironing, not to mention some mowing and weeding You-Know-Where.  So it will probably be quite a busy day, on and off.
Stay safe, everyone.  xx

Monday 6 July 2020


Morning!  The sun is out, there's no wind, it looks absolutely beautiful out there.  Perfect!

The wind was strong yesterday but never strong enough to  cause any worry - it just blew some of Dad's container plants over so we just left them on their sides until later on!

In the afternoon, I cleared out some more shelves for Dad which was most satisfying!
Then I had a good text chat with Beth who said there seem to be plenty of broadies to pick down the allotment and the courgettes are doing pretty well too.  I think I might make a slight detour on the way back.

That's about it really.  I don't think I have anything in the diary for today so I might return to the allotment later on and get some weeding done - it's bound to be needed.
Have a lovely day.

Sunday 5 July 2020


Good morning!  It's windy out there at the moment.  Nothing particularly 'dangerous' and it probably won't be, not around here, but parts of the country might get quite a hammering so I'll say not - I hope everyone is safe.

Yesterday was, as expected, a gentle and quiet day.  We chatted, Dad and I, I read my Kindle while Dad snoozed, I did a few things around the house, made the meals and generally tried to be useful.

Today will be exactly the same, I expect.  There's a busier week ahead as some things start getting back to how they were so it's an opportunity to chill and rest beforehand.  Nice.
I hope your day is good too.  xx

Saturday 4 July 2020


Good morning, everyone.  Here I am, at Dad's PC, having rather stupidly left the tech bag behind!  It's damp and cloudy outside but I'm rather rejoicing inside because, assuming it's the same at home, it can only be good for garden and allotment!

Yesterday started off a bit wonkily.  I started getting flashing lights before the eyes, giddiness and a headache - possibly warning of a migraine.  I hardly every get these although Mum used to get them quite badly and Dad gets 'warnings' in the same way as I.  Several meds later, everything settled down, thank goodness.

There wasn't much to do in preparation for the cleaners and I got the place ready, some ironing (not all of it, sadly) and my packing done before tuition started.
Why have I never thought of using my garden for tutoring before?  It was really lovely out there, I enjoyed the session, my students enjoyed the session and it was all lovely!

I met another of my 'mums' on the way back from Morrisons  and she also tackled me about resuming tuition.  So we set a date.
I think I must contact the others too, to find out what they think.  I'm happy to adopt either my own 'rules' or theirs, whichever are the more stringent.

 I nearly forgot!  Another good thing.  In May, I bought some Premium Bonds for the first time in my life, so July was the first draw!  Yesterday, in my mailbox there was a message announcing 'You Have Won'.  No, not the biggie, but £25.  Not bad, eh?

The journey over was good and now I'm settled at Dad's.  I have absolutely no idea what the day will bring.  Not a lot, I expect.  There will be plenty of time to read Dad's paper (the Times) from cover to cover - all the bits that interest me, that is.  This afternoon, I'll probably go out for a walk.  And that's it really

Lazy days!

Friday 3 July 2020


Morning, everyone.  Not a nice day yesterday with quite a lot of rain, some wind and only a little sun after a very promising start.  I'm very much hoping it's a lot better today.

Like a lot of things one dreads and one puts off starting, yesterday's procrastinated thing turned out to be an awful lot easier than I thought it would be.  No, I'm not saying what because you will think me very silly indeed, but it is a great weight off my mind now.

Apart from that, I did two loads of washing that, annoyingly, was still damp by evening so I must find time today to get it ironed and away.  Maybe I can do it first thing, before tuition.

Yes, a bit of tuition is starting again.  Weather permitting, a couple of potential eleven plussers are coming this morning and I will set up a gopak table in the garden, well wiped over and long enough to distance them and me (although they've been in the same 'bubble' at school).  I'm having a few assessment sessions to start with so it may not continue on longer term, but it's nice to feel I am getting back into it a bit.
If it rains, it's off, of course, and they are bring their own pencil cases, etc.

The other main event yesterday was the new Zoom meeting, new because Jennifer has amalgamated the Tuesday meeting with one of the Thursday ones.  It was fun and the time was up all too soon.  Some good news is that real meetings may start again in the medium future, with all sorts of reservations/things in place, etc., all being well.
The Hall in which we meet is so big that distancing will be straightforward, which is good, but nothing is certain with all this, of course.

Today could be busy.
I have the ironing and the more I think about it, the more I would like to get it done early.
Then there's the tuition.  Everything is prepared, I just need to set up the outside space, fingers crossed!
I have to pop quickly to Morrisons because, annoyingly, I am right out of washing up liquid.  Most unlike me as usually I have one open and one spare.
Then it's packing because after lunch I'm off to Dad's so I will miss the cleaners.  The place is pretty tidy though so I won't have much putting away/sorting out to do beforehand.

And that's my day.  Hopefully I will write tomorrow and Sunday but, if I don't, I'll be back.
Have a great day.  xx

Thursday 2 July 2020


Morning, all.  Five minutes ago we had sunshine but it seems to have wandered off for a while.  The forecast says 'light rain showers and a moderate breeze' so I guess it's going to be a bit hokey cokey all day.

Chris and I managed to get our garden chat - there were a few drops of rain but nothing to cause us to even think of scuttling for shelter and there was plenty to chat about.

It also stayed fine for personal training at Lindsey's.  We chatted about all sorts of things - I say 'chatted' but really she chatted and I puffed.

In the afternoon I went to water the allotment and came back with . . .

. . . to take to Dad's tomorrow afternoon.  A few of the potatoes are fork pranged but that's par for the course.
The potatoes seem to have done quite well this year.  We didn't plant a lot and we haven't dug many up yet so looking forward to the next digging!

Checking the diary, it just says Zoom.  That's the Slimming World Zoom meeting at five.  However, I have been procrastinating shockingly over the paperwork I need to do so that has to be top of the agenda today.  It's worrying me now and that's not good.

As well as that, there's the usual housework and allotment watering which I will probably do this afternoon.  It's not been too hot but the ground is quite dry what with the wind and thirsty plants, so unless it pours, watering needs to be daily.

And that's about it really.  Time to have a shower, get dressed and start in, I think.  Sooner started, sooner finished.
Be happy and safe.  xx