Thursday, 23 September 2021

Thursday

 Good morning.

You know how much I love a list.  Well, I've started my list for half term.  I know I have been retired for six years plus now but, even so, I still think of it as half term and, I guess, I always well.  You see, it marks the time to do certain bits and bobs.

On October 19th, I will start the Christmas cake.  It's easy to remember that one as it was Mum's birthday.  I won't make the actual cake, just get all the dried fruit in to soak.  As always, I will use Delia's recipe, adapted to include lots of dried cranberries and Cointreau instead of brandy (assuming we have Cointreau by then!).  It will soak for a fortnight before meeting the rest of the ingredients for a taste fiesta in the oven!

It's Beth's birthday a week later.  Poor old Beth, she always had a half term birthday so never got to do the birthday thing in assembly on the actual day.  Somehow, it's not quite the same on another day.  Anyway - I will do a nice tea and she has asked me to make a cheesecake for it - I think I've mentioned this before.

Over half term, I always get the turkey ordered from Kelly's of Danbury.  However, this year we are doing things a bit differently, beef for Christmas and turkey at New Year and I won't be getting a proper turkey.  However, they do just the breast as a joint and I think that's what I will order.  When it comes, I can cut it into smaller amounts as required and freeze it.  So that's on the list too.

Yesterday was another absolutely gloriously sunny day, just perfect really.  I did housework in the morning, had my hair-do at twelve, had a chat to Alex who was over for another interview and popped out for personal training at just after two.  I'm feeling a bit achey this morning which shows it was a good workout, I think.

I spent the rest of the day enjoying the sunshine although it does start getting quite chilly by late afternoon nowadays.

Today I have the usual Thursday shop followed by a chat with Chris.  Later on I might pop to B&M to see if they have more Christmas stuff in (bet they haven't!) and then I want to do the allotment digging I have been putting off all week!
So that's the day done and dusted and it should be a good-un.  What are your plans?  xx

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Wednesday

 Good morning.  It is a glorious start to the day, here in the middle of good old Essex.  I've given the plants a watering, done some kitchen stuff including making some falafels with leftover chickpeas for lunch and now I am sitting at my desk with the second coffee of the day to enjoy a good bit of social mediating!  

I didn't get to the allotment yesterday - Alex stayed around for a while after the interview and by the time he went, I just couldn't be bothered (see what I mean by lazy?).  The funeral in the morning was 'good', if you know what I mean, but sad and I think I just wanted some quiet time really.

However, I did get a lot done.  I was looking for a wedding card I bought a while back and which seemed to have gone walkabout.  I started with the piles of clutter on my desk and when I had sorted that, started to file the necessary away.
As the filing cabinet is getting pretty cluttered, I got some old files out and went through them, realising that there was an awful lot of stuff from several decades ago that could just be shredded/torn up and chucked.  So I did and it was most satisfying.  I now have several free file inserts and much more space again.  Yay!

Then I tackled the ironing.  The ironing basket was full and overflowing and now it is empty - well, empty of clothes anyway.

So maybe not so lazy after all, just alternatively occupied.  :-)

This morning is a tidy up downstairs day as the lovely Sharon is coming at twelve to do my hair.  Then Alex arrived for another interview and soon after that I leave to have my personal training with the lovely Lindsey.  I do seem to have a lot of lovely ladies in my life - how lucky am I?

Well, I had better move on.  I'm not having my shower until later so as to have wet hair when Sharon arrives but there's still plenty to be done that can happily be done in pjs and dressing gown!  And I still haven't found that blessed card which is extremely annoying.

See you all tomorrow - stay safe and enjoy this lovely, sunny, first-day-of-autumn weather.  xx

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Tuesday

 Morning, everyone.  It's a very misty start to the day, but it's dry and we may, possibly, get some sunshine.
Yesterday was OK until I walked along the road to tuition when, during the hour for work, it started raining so I got just a bit damp on the way back.

OK, so yesterday passed very pleasantly.  I got washing done but not dried outside as it was dull and felt a bit damp, so my home definitely smelled of washing on the rack- you know that faint and indefinable smell that always reminds me of childhood although there are no fires burning in the fireplace now.

Circuit training was good.  Lindsey did a sort of body fat, aerobic type thing today so we all did the same thing at the same time and, while it was hard work, afterwards it felt great.  

The tuition - I remembered this week - was really good.   The student did very well and it was all most satisfying.

Today is pretty clear except for a couple of things.  This morning, I have an online funeral to attend and, at the same time, Alex is round for a job interview, also online, in my relatively uncluttered and tidy home.  I will be using my loop thing so we won't interfere with each other.

I will be going to the allotment today to dig up all the remaining Charlotte spuds and then forking over and weed-clearing the whole potato area right up to the courgettes and French beans so that will be another good patch cleared.  As we had rain, there probably won't be any need to water but I might just treat the beans and courgettes to some anyway.

And there's washing, drying and ironing, so I won't be lazy today.

Stay safe, everyone and have an enjoyable day.  xx

Monday, 20 September 2021

Monday

 Good morning!  Well, we are back to damp and dreary today after some rain yesterday afternoon and overnight.  I did water at the allotment because the still-growing plants looked a bit parched but I won't need to worry today.  

We did have some very nice sun yesterday morning so no complaints there.
The first think I did was make the apple and sultana chutney.  I did half quantities and used Thermione because that way I don't have to keep going back and stirring.  It worked fine and now I have two small jars of chutney.  I offered one to Chris but she and Steve don't really use chutney (what a lot they miss) and I forgot to give one to Beth yesterday - so she will get it later on in the week.   It's a nice chutney, nothing special and I did add a few chilli flakes.  If I make it again, I will double the spice, I think.

Once that was done and cleared, it was breakfast and then I drove down to the allotment.  Suddenly, there's quite a lot to do down there with a lot of stuff more or less finished and looking tatty.
I set to and pulled out all the baby corn, forked over the space, gave it all a good weeding and bashed out the clods.  Later on, I will take the tiller down to break them up more but not until I have more cleared earth so I can do it all together.
I decided that it would be best to take just one thing at a time and get that done - a bit how I tackle the spring work too.  If I look at everything that needs doing, it's more than a bit daunting, but one thing at a time is manageable.
So that was yesterday's bit.  The other significant things this week are clearing the sweet peas, the runner beans and mowing and strimming (won't have to do that last all that much longer until spring).  I've organised tree pruning with Jeff for late November.
Then I really do have to cut and dig the new beds before it gets too damp or cold.

There are four things that are still growing and/or producing nicely apart from the fruit trees.
The autumn cropping broad beans are starting to flower - yay.
The dwarf French beans have lots of babies - well, toddlers now!
The yellow courgettes are really getting into their stride.
The raspberry canes are still fruiting merrily - I popped another small bagful in the freezer yesterday.

Once home, I had lunch and then Beth, Alex and Dave came round for a family chat about stuff.  It was lovely to see them all.  Beth is 'matron of honour' at her best friend's wedding next Saturday and needed to turn up the outfit she is wearing (it's not a posh wedding) so she did that while we chatted, after Dave and Alex left.  Alex and I are invited too so that will be lovely.  I'm the designated driver so that will keep me on the straight and narrow, for sure.

So it was a lovely day yesterday.

Today there's two things in the diary.  Circuit training at midday and then tuition (must NOT forget) after school.
I have a whole load of washing to deal with this morning so I expect there won't be any allotment work done today but that's OK, there's time to spare, isn't there.
Have a super day and I hope the weather is kind to you.  xx

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Sunday

 Morning, everyone.  What a glorious day it was yesterday.  Warm, sunny, no humidity worth noting.  A few more like that wouldn't go amiss, please Mrs or Mr Weather.
Mind you, we're supposed to get rain this afternoon and there are, I believe, weather warnings out in some places.  
That's life!

I pottered around for ages yesterday before actually getting dressed.  It's so lovely not to feel pushed.  As you know from my extra post yesterday, I took the walk from Tower Gardens through to Central park to see the knife angel, had a lovely chat with a lady beside the Angel and then walked back again.   It was great.

Then, in the evening, I got into PJs and fleecy dressing gown and snuggled down in my recliner to watch the first Strictly of the new series.  It was lovely, I thought, full of happy feelings and it was great to see Bill and Oti reprise their street dance from last year. 
I'm looking forward to the first dances now.

Many thanks to Eileen for posting the address of a site she uses for booking what sounds like really interesting online classes.  I've saved a link on my desktop and am definitely taking the one month free trial to explore thoroughly.  As the days get shorter, I am feeling the need to educate myself again and, let's face it, we may have another lockdown anyway.  If that happens, I will be glad of in-house entertainment.

As is true for anyone with growing space, as old things come out, I ponder next year.

This little space, for example.  For a long time, it has nurtured six tomato plants and each year they have done brilliantly.  It is a sunny, sheltered part of the garden and the strawberry runners you can see in this photo will be taken up and used elsewhere (maybe Beth would like some?).  Anyway, I am reluctant to grow tomatoes there again next year as:
a)  it's time the soil had a change and 
b)  blight - need I say more?

We can't/ don't grow corn down the allotment, the reason being badgers just decimate the crop.  Some canny allotment holders have a secure area and some use raised beds.  We have neither so choose to grow baby corn instead.  However, why not have corn in this garden space next year?  There's certainly enough for a 3x3 planting, perhaps even a 4x4.  I will have to measure carefully.  There's nothing as nice as a fresh picked corn on the cob and I used to get copious supplies from Dad, most of which went into the freezer to delight winter meals.
It's easy to grow too, not needing an awful lot of care.
Definitely a plan.




A better phot of the cyclamen although, classic Joy-photography, I failed to notice the stopper that closes the hole for the rotary line when it's in the shed.  D'oh!




These are a picture.  I have two matching tubs of fuchsia; the other is darker pink and purple.  They give that area gorgeous colour in late summer and early Autumn and just come up year after year (with a bit of feeding).







. . . and the beans are coming on a treat.  









Today looks like a busy day.

I'm not sure whether I will spend the morning doing allotment or chutney.  I suspect the latter as I really need to use some of those apples.  Maybe chutney before breakfast and allotment afterwards?  I'll see how I feel.

In the afternoon I have family over which will be really, really nice.  There's things to talk about but nothing bad.

I'm looking forward to today and I hope you are too.  Stay safe.  xx




Saturday, 18 September 2021

A September Stroll

 I'm not long home from a lovely September stroll through Admiral's Park along the river side to Central Park to the Knife Angel and back again in beautifully sunny (for the most part) weather.

The knife angel was stunning in the 'flesh'.  It's not so much about any intrinsic artistic merit, it is about something bigger, I think.  Many of the knives were so, so ugly, really nasty weapons, and each one represented people who it will no longer injure and someone who handed it in and, one hopes, has turned their back on knife violence.

One can hope and that's what it's about.  Hope.  I am so glad I went to see it.

Here's some photos I took on the way there.













I was a bit worried about ankle and calves as this is the longest I have walked since before I went up to Dad's and I wasn't sure if they would be OK or whether they would cramp on me.
It wasn't a very long walk in the wider scheme of things but even so, about an hour and a half at my pace.

I was so chuffed that, yes, they ached and the ankle twinged at one point (a sit down on a convenient bench sorted that out) but I managed and now they feel fine and I feel great!

Absolutely no excuses not to walk to Slimming World and back from now on, is there?  And now I can plan a few more walks again and get the strength properly back into my flabby calves.   Fantastic!

Saturday

 Good morning, everyone.
The sun is trying to break through, it's lovely and fresh outside, I have a clear day, a carafe of coffee to hand and some lovely meals planned.  Could life be any better, I ask myself?  Well, maybe, but I feel satisfied and relaxed and it is lovely!

Yesterday started off with Slimming World.  The Friday morning group has really taken off and loads of people stayed after weigh-in.  Jen had to close the Tuesday morning meeting because it just wasn't attracting enough people to make it worth her while (it is her paid employment, after all) and I think she was worried about starting this one but it's a great success.

Then I came home and pottered about the house for a while.   There was a parcel waiting, from Amazon.  On my other blog I post foody pictures and was usually not terribly satisfied with the results.  In no way and I trying to be - what do they call it? - instagrammable? - but there's nothing wrong with trying to improve, is there?  So, as light can be an issue, I treated myself to a new ring light (I already had one but it broke and I just 'need' one).  It wasn't very much and might help.  Time will tell.
I suppose now I ought to think about accessories . . . :-)

At around three, I set off for one of our retail parks with the intention of window shopping four places - HomeSense, Matalan, Home Bargains and Poundstretchers.  Yup, there is a theme here - cheap and cheerful.

In HomeSense I found something to give to Beth for her birthday.  I'm putting together a bag of little bits and bobs, mostly, but not entirely, cat themed and I will be making her a cake - well, cheesecake, as she has requested.  I also bought a few nibbly things which have now gone (ooops).  I also 
I really like HomeSense which is, I think, an offshoot of TK Maxx.  It has quirky homey things, candles, decorations and foody bits and bobs.  I will be keeping an eye open as we get closer to Christmas because not only do they have festive consumable bits that make nice gifts, they also have Christmas china.  Last year I got some really nice festive plates which will be coming out on December 1st!

Matalan is always nice to look around and I found a couple of things.

The first was this top which I really, really like.  It's quite simple and the back is a bit longer than the front with is ideal for hiding sundry lumps and bumps.  It's long enough for me to wear with jeggings or leggings without looking - er - too cuddly and I got the size 12 so that I can layer it over a T shirt or jumper come the colder weather.  I think that, with some nice leggings and my black boots, it will look quite smart too.
The other was a long, grey/beige open cardigan.  I didn't need it, I have loads, but there were two that I really fancied and I chose this because not only was it a finer knit, I liked the pattern.  I love a cable pattern but hand knit cables are chunky and this isn't, it's fine and flat.
It will look nice with lots of what I already have, being quite a neutral colour.


Then, in the other two shops, I got some Christmas wrapping paper because I pretty much ran out last year after years of not needing to buy any.  I always go for red, gold and green so my gifts match the general decor (sad, innit?) and what I got is no exception.
Now I can start wrapping up what I have got of my Twelve Days of Christmas gifts early enough that I will pretty much forget what's in them by the time they are opened.

When I got home, the cleaners (bless them) had worked their usual magic and everything was shiny and nice.  When I was still working, I used to love that on Friday evenings, after cleaning and tidying the ravages of the week in the classroom, I came home to a beautifully clean home.  It was weekly bliss and still is - I don't actually NEED them in the same way as I did before but they would be one of the last things to go, should it be necessary.

Today will be great, I think.  The sun is now out, the house is clean, if not as tidy as it could be and there's lots of things I could do.  I have popped out into the garden and taken a few photos but this post is already too long so they can wait until tomorrow.
First of all, time for a bath - and maybe I'll have some bubbles in it this morning.  
At some point, I might go down to Central Park to see the Knife Angel.
Here's a link to info about the Knife Angel - do go over and read.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-58463209
Also, best of all, Strictly starts this evening.  Could life hold more?

Have a great day, everyone.  xx


Friday, 17 September 2021

Friday

 Hi, everyone.  Friday has rolled round again and we're more than halfway through September now.  Even I will have to say it is autumn soon, won't I?

It is obviously Joy Scamming Season as I've had a few more now, one obviously fake and I'm checking the other.  Thankfully, my affairs are fairly simple and I do check anything like that back to the genuine company but don't we need to be on our guard nowadays.  There are some very nasty people about, sadly.

Yesterday panned out well.  I did my early morning shop and then had time to stop off at the allotment before going home.
I was right, the runner beans are definitely over and on the way downhill again.  There weren't many beans and those that were there were, in the main, tough and stringy.  A shame, but they have been really good this year so no complaints.

The raspberries, on the other hand, are producing madly now, the courgettes have shot up and have several nearly ready to cut, the broad beans are growing well and there are baby dwarfs on the French beans, just like the ones at home.
The apples are a mess, sadly, but the pears look great.
Can't complain.

Today, being Friday, starts with Slimming World group.  Then I rather fancy a wander around the shops in one of our local precincts.  Oh, the idle life of the retired!!

Have a super day, one and all, and stay safe.


Thursday, 16 September 2021

Thursday

 Good morning.  After a dull start to yesterday, out came the sun and it was a beautiful September day.  When the sun shines you can see those autumnal colours starting to break through the greens of summer.  I do love autumn.

Today is supposed to be pretty similar and, certainly, it has started off with a slight mist which usually indicates sun in a while.  I do hope so because Chris and I hope to have our coffee and chat in her garden today.

Before then, I'm off to M&S and Aldi for my weekly early morning shop.  It's not going to be a big shop this week but, as certain festive stuff pops up on the shelves, I like to be a bit ahead of myself and maybe get a jar of something here or a can of something there - as it seems tempting enough.

Yesterday was another pleasant day.  Jeff turned up with a bag of windfalls from one of the gardens he looks after so I have dug out a recipe for apple and raisin chutney except that in this case it will be apple and sultana as that's what I have.  I can give him a thank you jar when it's all made.

Personal training was also good.  Lindsey has upped the level of what we're doing so we're nearly back to where we were before I had to stop to go to Dad and damaged my legs.  I can certainly feel the effect of the exercises this morning which is definitely a Good Thing.

In the afternoon, a puzzling email from Amazon popped through telling me that there was difficulty with a payment as my card wasn't being accepted.  It looked very authentic with all the right Amazonny type things in the right place, small print, etc.
The only problems were that I haven't bought anything recently and anyway the card is checked and accepted (or not) when one makes an order.
So I made a not of the supposed order number, popped onto the proper site and, surprise, surprise, I had made no order with that code and everything was in perfect order anyway, no problems.
I should have reported it really, shouldn't I?  I didn't think at the time.
It looked so very authentic, there were no spelling errors or grammatical slip ups as far as I could tell and it would have been so very easy to click on the links provided to sort it out.  It just goes to show how very careful one must be and to always check with the source, not just via a link in the email.

Well, I'd better go and start the day.  I have a shopping list to write and various bits and bobs to get done before I can call the day my own. 
I hope you have good weather too and are able to enjoy it.  xx

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Wednesday

 Good morning.
The weather has cleared up somewhat after yesterday's downpour.  It rained pretty much all day, sometimes a bit heavy and sometimes just a light splattering of drops but it was continuous and just perfect for garden and allotment.  It means I really won't need to water for a few days, just harvest, and it will make any weeding so much easier.

As mentioned yesterday, Jeff cancelled (I would have cancelled him, had he not got in first) so my first thing of the day was my drive over to Val's.  I had a really pleasant time there, catching up on loads of news about mutual friends and acquaintances.  Val was the very first person to welcome me into my home when I moved and has been a steady friend and support ever since.  When she and Mike moved away to be closer to her daughter, I didn't see her for a while but then we started meeting up again.  They live around twenty minutes to half an hour's drive away depending on traffic, so that's really not so bad.

The other thing was the missed tuition and that was fine.  Both student and mum laughed at and with me and there were no 'recriminations'.

Today, I am just waiting for Jeff to arrive and then the day starts.  Later on, I have personal training with Lindsey (MUST remember to pay for the next block of sessions) and then the day's my own.  I'll go and pick at the allotment at some point and I guess it will be wellies on for the first time in months and months because everything is very wet.

Well, Jeff can't be ;long so I will get the kettle on for his cuppa and my first coffee of the day.  Have a good one, everyone.  xx

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Tuesday

Good morning.  We have rain.  it looks as if it's been raining for a while and there are puddles so that gets me out of allotment watering today.  Jeff was coming round at eight to tackle the mess that is the back garden but we have rescheduled for tomorrow, same time.  
Yesterday was nice though.  After a dull morning, by midday the sun was out and it was lovely, even though the evenings are not so warm now.

I was so embarrassed yesterday.  After mentioning tuition in yesterday's blog entry, what did I go and do but totally forget until I had a message from the mum asking if I was OK.  Ooops.  Fortunately, I can do it this evening instead but, really, what an awful thing to do.  I'm mortified, I really am!

Apart from that, the day went well.  Circuit training was hard work but fun and I always feel it is doing me good.  I was able to build in plenty of stretching and ankle mobility stuff and that always does my ankle good.

Today, apart from the cancelled gardening and the rescheduled tuition, I am over to Val's for lunch which will be lovely.  I'm due to arrive there at around eleven for coffee and will leave before two in order to be back in plenty of time for tuition.  Should be fun.

Have a good day and, if you have rain too, stay safe and dry. xx

Monday, 13 September 2021

Monday and garden/allotment update

 Morning.  It's dry and fine outside and looks as if there might be some sunshine again just like yesterday, I hope.

I was most excited when I did a trawl around the garden yesterday to see this . . .

Yup - the dwarf French beans are producing.  OK, so it will be a couple of week before they are big enough but it's about the time when the runners give up the ghost so great timing.
Cute babies, aren't they?

I also took a few more photos . . .
The little apache chillies are doing really nicely, as are the less fiery gusty purple ones.  I might pop some in the freezer although, to my surprise, if I leave them out on the window ledge, they dry beautifully.  I still have a few from two years ago which are still perfectly usable.
The middle bed is riddled with cyclamen corms (they are corms, aren't they?) and when the pretty, shy little flowers start emerging, it is a sign that summer is pretty much over and autumn is on the way.  The flowers come first, followed by the leaves which gradually take over and cover the soil with their variegated patterning.
I can never take good photos of the flowers, sadly.





I will be picking the last cucumber later on today.  There are smaller ones but they are withering on the vine and the leaves are dying, brown and wizened as you can see just showing to the left in this photo.  I am sad - the cucumbers have been brilliant in a year when other things have done not so well as usual.  I will definitely be finding space for more next year, they have become a staple in my garden.

The dwarf French beans are coming on great as mentioned above and, to the right, so is the fig tree.
In the 'how to grow a fig tree' instructions I downloaded, one of the things it said was that when pruning the first time, you take off quite a lot of the central stem.  I was a bit 'oh, no, why?' about this but now I can see why.  If you look, you can see loads of new growth emerging from the lower part of the stem which will translate into branches and, maybe, fruit, next year.  I can start creating the shape I want (to grow against the back wall) by being selective about which of these new little shoots I want to keep and which to remove.  Scary stuff!

By the way, the three fruits that it came with have done nothing and will need to be removed when I pluck up enough courage to prune.


And finally, the light of my life right now, the flamenco ballerina!  One massive apple and five not so massive but equally healthy apples all coming along really nicely, starting to redden and looking delicious.
I have to be patient for three weeks or so as it is an October picker.












I drove to the allotment to water and pick, coming back with:
a bagful of runner beans
two baby corn
loads of raspberries
two redlove apples
three pears
and a laxton windfall
The runners are definitely on their last legs, desperate to finish their cycle.  The beans are becoming more woody and I know that when I get to process them, several will end up on the compost bin.
The baby corn is also more or less cropped out but I keep looking as the occasional one still pops up from where the stem and leaf meets.
There's still loads of raspberries coming along.  I'm glad because the ones at home have not been very successful this year.  I think I need to replace the soil in their container but there's plenty of time to do that.  As autumn cropping fruit, they fruit on that year's growth and don't get pruned until the new growth starts emerging - more or less early spring, in fact.
I thought I would try a redlove but they were too sharp and not really ready yet.  They blossom a bit later than the Laxton so I suppose fair enough.  The other two can be stewed and sweetened so I might make apple meringue at some point this week.
The pears look great so I have picked three of the biggest.  They don't ripen on the tree, you have to pick them and bring them inside so I won't make the mistake of picking too many at once and having them go off.
The laxtons are delicious and it is just a shame they were hit by what seems to be bitter pit.  I'll make sure I feed the tree better next year and, hopefully, that won't reoccur.  Most windfalls are too damaged by the time I get to them but there are always a few that are worth the cutting up.  I'll start picking off the tree in a few weeks.

Today there are two things in the list.  Circuit training at Lindsey's and tuition later in the afternoon - and I nearly forgot the latter after cancelling last week's.  I'm having a lazy start to the day but will get moving at some point soon, check over my planning, get things ready for circuits (towel, water, etc) and do the usual bits of housework needed.  I suppose I will also go and water at some point too although the ground didn't seem all that dry yesterday.

Have a lovely day, everyone.  xx




Sunday, 12 September 2021

Sunday

 Good morning, everyone.  It's quite a pleasant morning; not all that warm so I have a hoodie on, but faintly sunny and cheerful.

Yesterday was, indeed, the gentle day I had planned.  I got a few bits and bobs done but nothing all that much so there's not a lot to write about really!

Today I have allotment and ironing, not necessarily in that order,.  At the allotment, I must pick some raspberries; it's been several days and they will be dropping off if I don't pick soon.  There will be more beans and, perhaps, another courgette.  All good.

Earlier on, I got the last picking of beans processed and they are now in the freezer, as is some passata I made with a bowl of tomatoes.  The blight doesn't seem to have spread (fingers crossed) so that's good and the recent sunshine is ripening more fruit.

I won't be doing anything until after breakfast so I will get my Kindle and read, I think.  How lazy and decadent is that when there's a basket of ironing glaring at me.
Have a great day, everyone, and be happy.  xx


Edited to change the title (why did I think it was Sunday) and to show I photo I've just had emailed to me.  It's a bowl that belonged to Mum and Dad that was rather the worse for wear and it's been restored by Anna's brother who is very good at that sort of thing.  Isn't it lovely?   



Saturday, 11 September 2021

Saturday

 Good morning, everyone.  After a jolly good evening with Dave and Anna, my head is just a little bit fragile this morning so I'll keep this short.   :-)  (do I hear a faint cheer?)

The Chinese fake away was lovely, it all worked extremely well, I think, and now I have more SW friendly recipes to use another time.  I added some Chinese pork ribs to the mix (recipe on the BBC Good Food site) after a bit of a panic about variety, and I'm very glad I did as they were really nice and I'm going to make them again another time.

It was very late before they left and I went to bed and I woke earlier this morning than I would have liked, so I'm going to make today an easy and gentle day.  I need to hydrate (ooops) and catch up on sleep so will be staying in and taking things boringly easy.  Thankfully, we have had rain, so I don't need to worry about the allotment and I think I will go down early tomorrow morning to pick and do a bit of weeding.

Have a great day, whatever you have planned.  As we're certainly not out of the Covid woods yet (October lockdown, anyone???), take care, stay safe and be happy.  xx

Friday, 10 September 2021

Friday

 Good morning, everyone.  We've had no rain here and we might escape as the forecast has been down grated from thundery showers to light showers and sunny intervals.  Yesterday was warm and sunny once the sun burnt through the pretty heavy mist.

I went to the allotment before my early morning shop - you're allowed to unless your using noisy equipment - and did the watering, picked huge numbers of runner beans, two courgettes and three apples (windfalls that were useable) before driving on the M&S and Aldi.

Once home, I cleared away, finishing that just before Chris came round.  We had a good old chat and swapped cooking apples (Chris) with runner beans and a courgette (me).

When Jeff arrived, he worked his usual magic and the front is looking half decent again.  He also departed with runner beans!

The rest of the day was spent pottering around doing this, that and the other.  I was so tired after several bad nights and stupid o'clock wakings that I went to bed at eight, fell asleep almost directly and finally got up just before seven this morning which is virtually unheard of.  I must have really needed that sleep!

This evening, I have Dave and Anna round and I'm making some fake-away Chinese food.  Nothing special, just a Chinese chicken curry and some crispy chilli beef which is kind of sweet and sour-ish.  I wondered about lemon chicken but that might be a bit too much.  I've cheated and got two kinds of rice from M&S, an egg fried rice one and a 'special' one plus some prawn crackers.  I know I could make something similar but the cleaners come in the afternoon and I don't want too much of a rush afterwards.
Dessert is just fruit.

So that, with the usual clearing of clutter and daily duties, will fill my day nicely and I'm looking forward to the evening.
Are you doing anything special?

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Thursday

 Morning, everyone.  Wasn't it hot yesterday?  Phew.  Beeb says that today will be more moderate and we will still have some sun, albeit more hazy, which is a nice surprise as I was expecting cloud.  It's just starting to get light as I type this and, right now, it is seasonally misty but that will burn off.

Yesterday was a good day.
I arrived in town just after nine and went straight to Specsavers (they're going to get tired of me) where I explained my issue, handed over the glasses, sat on one of the chairs provided outside and, two minutes later, there they were, all repaired and ready to wear again.  Good old Specsavers!

Then I had a wander around as it really wasn't all that busy.  
First was Boots as I had a few things on my reminder list to got including some perfume that Beth wanted but they didn't have it at the other Boots we went to on Monday.  I'm not a frequent Boots shopper and looking around the 'face' areas is a new one to me anyway, so I had to ask a few times but, happily, came away with everything on my list.

 Then I proceeded into Primark where I had a good old nosey around the ladies wear area.  To be honest, there wasn't very much there.  I mean, there was loads, of course, but not for me.  I got a few bits and bobs like some more trainer socks, one T shirt in a colour I needed and a pale blue and quite warm and soft hoodie that will be absolutely perfect for the chillier days or when I'd rather layer up than turn up the heating.

By that time, my ankle was playing up so I finished off in M&S where I just bought a couple of their 0% fat fruit yogurts to tide me over as I was right out.  Then it was time to head for home and breakfast!

It was a lovely drying day and I managed to get three loads washed, dried and even ironed - how's that for being good!

Lindsey had put personal training back to three thirty, later than usual, and I thoroughly enjoyed it all.  She's working me hard but, somehow, it is just a very satisfying thing to do.

Today there's two - no, three - things on the plan.
First of all, I'm doing my usual early morning shop, at M&S Food Hall and Aldi this week.  I don't have a lot to get for the week ahead for me but Dave and Anna are coming round to dinner tomorrow evening, and I do enjoy seeing what new 'stuff' Aldi has got in the centre aisles.

Then, once home again and having put everything away, Chris is coming over for a coffee and chat in the garden.  We missed last week as I have the hearing aid crisis to sort out, so there's plenty to catch up on.

And lastly, Jeff's coming round to work his magic on the weeds, etc, in my garden.
At some point, I have to go to the allotment to water and harvest as well.
So that's my day.  How about you - what do you have planned?  xx

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Wednesday

 Good morning.  It's another very early start - I'm writing this at just after five but have been awake for an hour and a half.  It is what it is and, as I can't force myself to go back to sleep again, I may as well make the best of it and get stuff done.  In some ways it's a very good start to a day.

Yesterday was fab.  Well, most of yesterday but perhaps not the dentist.

I went in as always and he started putting in the implant but it felt really strange, absolutely enormous and not in the least what we had decided which was an implant with a sort of 'cantilevered' bridge to another by the side.  He was puzzled, his assistant was puzzled and it was very uncomfortable.  
In the end, he took it back out saying something was wrong and he would have to follow up and, possibly re-measure.  Personally, I think maybe names got mixed up because it was so totally different to what was needed and decided.  So I booked another appointment (beginning of October), paid no bills and left.
I wasn't cross, just disappointed really but stuff happens and, even if it was the right tooth, Dr Clough wasn't accepting it but was sending it back.  That's reassuring.

On the way home, I stopped off at t'allotment to water and pick.  More baby corn, more raspberries and loads more runner beans.

And then Beth and I set off for Colchester.  Beth was driving, which was nice and a real treat for me.
The spa was good.  Not in the least bit posh or fancy, but there were four pools - a cooling pool which was a bit bigger and in which one could swim around a bit, a plunge pool (no, thank you) which was jolly cold, a bubble pool and one with lots of currents to stand against and feel the water pummeling your body.  The last is hard to explain but it was really nice and felt great.
Then there were various sauna like rooms - a dry sauna which they called the volcano room, several steam rooms of different kinds - salt, aromatherapy, etc, and a massage room (which you had to book).  
Then there was an area for reclining and resting or reading and a place to order a lunch which was surprisingly varied given it was just a corner of the spa, plus tables and chairs.  I had a jacket potato and tuna and it was HUGE - I could only manage half - plus a black coffee that was really nice.

It's obviously quite a popular place with all sorts and types of people using it.  I can quite understand why and we decided we much treat ourselves again at some point.  My only complaint was that there was only a communal changing room, not a few cubicles as well.  Limitations of space, I suspect.

The spa is far enough away to make it something that needs to be planned rather than a pop in on the spur of the moment thing.  About thirty five minutes up the A12 and very easy to find.

Back at Beth's afterwards, we had a bit of a chat and then I came home.  Beth has a week off at the end of September so we will probably do something then.  That's definitely to look forward to.  Also, I really ought to make more of the steam room and sauna at the gym, I have decided.

Today, things are back to normal.  I need to go into town this morning as one of the silicone nose pad thingies has come off my glasses and it's uncomfortable.  It will only take a moment to repair them and I'm wearing my other glasses at the moment.
I have a little list of things to do while I'm there, including a few things for Beth, so it will be a useful time and I may very well pop into Primark and see what's there as well.  Not to mention the big M&S!
As my Dave says, spending the kids' inheritance.

I don't know if I ever said but around eighteen months ago my two sat down with me and had a serious talk to me (definitely to me!) about how I needed to treat myself a bit more - having worked hard for a comfortable retirement, enjoy it!  That sort of thing.
I wonder if they are now regretting it, bless them!   :-)

Later on, it is personal training with Lindsey.  We've changed it to three o'clock this week as a one off and before then I have a fair old pile of ironing to do so I won't be idle.  At some point I need to do my watering duties too.

Well, it's half past five and it's not even started to get light yet.  There's that lovely Autumnally smoky aroma that I love so much drifting around and today is supposed to be the last of the sunny days.
Have a great day, everyone, and may you have sunshine too.  xx


Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Tuesday

 Morning, everyone.  Again, I'm up before the lark, annoyingly.  I seem to be starting another bout of early waking.  I can't blame early light because it isn't and won't be until closer to six.  It feels quite warm, maybe that's why, but a bit more sleep would be really nice.

Yesterday was really good.  The first circuit group session was most enjoyable and the other ladies seem very pleasant.  I'm looking forward to next week.

Beth and I had a really nice lunch together.  She has a vegetarian 'sausage' roll starter (quite a big, chunky thing and she said it was delicious) and I had cod fingers in a 'rustic' roll with tartare sauce which was really lovely.  Not your Birds Eye fingers though, they were nice goujons in a crunchy batter.  I had chips on my plate and Beth had most of them.

Then we went over the road to Boots and had a really fun make up session with such a nice lady.  I came away with a bag of stuff but minus the lipstick which wasn't in stock so I have to go back for that at some point.  It was surprising how just a little bit of gunk made everything look just that little bit more defined and less fuzzy.
Then Beth came back to mine and we had a good old chatter.

Today is busy but mostly nice.

First I have an early morning appointment at the dentist but before you start sympathising, it's just to complete the implant/bridge treatment and should be quite stress free.  The painful bit is paying the rest of the bill and sympathy here would be most welcome.  :-)

Then it's back home for a quick breakfast and to gather all my stuff together before driving over to Beth's and setting off for the spa in Colchester.  She's driving today which is really nice.  The rest of the day should be spent in lazy self indulgence . . . nice!
And then it is back to more restrained frugality for the rest of the month!

I'm anticipating a lovely day and I hope yours is also good.  Take care and ve safe.

Monday, 6 September 2021

Monday

 Good morning, everyone.  Yes, finally we had sun yesterday.  It turned out to be a really lovely day, quite warm and very sunny.  Cheers.
I'm up at stupid o'clock having woke well before the lark, so I can't see what the weather is going to be like but the pointers are for a warm and sunny day.  Bring it on, that's what I say.
Edit:  It has turned out to be one of those lovely Autumnally misty starts to the day with a smoky aroma in the air that will burn off when the sun comes out.  I know there's a couple of weeks to go but it does feel remarkably like Autumn right now.

I set off for town at around eleven yesterday, getting to Specsavers bang on time.  The hearing aid chap gave my hearing a thorough check and the good news is that it's hardly changed since the last time.  I'm really glad as it's been slowly deteriorating for several years now; a bit of stability is very reassuring.  Then I told him about the issues with my right aid (not the one that had the ear piece problem earlier in the week).  Oh, said he, it shouldn't be doing that - which was hardly news but never mind.  The outcome is that it's being sent off for repair and that will likely take a couple of weeks because, guess what - everything is taking longer at the moment.  At least he didn't blame Covid; it's an issue with the EU and they're not exactly rushing UK repairs at the moment.  Brexit, in other words.  Oh, well, I do have my old aid and the other ear is my better one anyway so it's OK.
Finally, the best news of all is that it still has a year of warrantee left so nothing to pay! 

After that, as it was so lovely and sunny and town was busy but not teeming, I had a little wander around.  The Sunday street market is quite different from Saturday - it has a lot of individual crafty stalls and it's rather nice.
Remember I mentioned my Christmas decoration tradition the other day.  Well, on the hand made glass stall, I found a couple of ornaments that just fit the bill.  I have some of her decorations already so these two are just two more of the set.  After I had paid, I noticed another I didn't have but maybe another time.  It would be nice to have the set.
It's a bit early to have bought my decoration so, possibly, I might have to double up on them as we get nearer to the season; it all depends on what this year's trend is.


I got a few other bits and bobs and just enjoyed myself very much.  People mostly weren't wearing masks in the street but everyone was keeping distance from each other.  I felt quite safe.

On the way home I stopped off at the allotment to water and check the blackfly which all seem to have disappeared (for now).  That's good.  Despite a big picking of runners the day before, there were more so I grabbed them.  There are loads of little beans coming along but the flowers are fewer now so time is limited.  I reckon there's about three weeks' of beans left before they really tail off.  They're not as nice later in the season anyway - they get tougher and more stringy.  By then the dwarf beans will be producing and, they way they are growing, possibly the broad beans too.

Today is a really nice day.
I will do the allotment watering nice and early to get it done before a gentle start to the day with some washing and drying, not to mention the ironing from yesterday's wash.
Then I'm off to Lindsey's for the first in a series of small group circuits.  This is new to me so I'm not quite sure what to expect but it will be nice to meet the others in the group.
After that, I will rush home where Beth will be waiting (she has a couple of days off work) and we will head off to the Fox and Raven for lunch before ending up at Boots for the make up thing.  I'm both excited and nervous about this.  I used to slap on the make up in the sixties (didn't we all - remember those eyes?) but grew out of that and haven't really used make up at all since then.
Then it's home again and she might come with me to the allotment for another water before going home.

So - a really nice day, I think.  What do you have planned?  xx

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Sunday

 Good morning.  It felt a bit warmer yesterday when I woke but through the day if felt colder again and I ended up turning up the heating.  I think maybe I am getting more than a little snowflak-ish (or the reverse) about feeling cold!  I did add extra layers but even so . . .

I got myself down to the allotment and, as always, stayed longer than I expected, but it was because there were such loads of raspberries and runner beans to pick, plus two courgettes and a big bunch of sweet peas.  Lovely.
The dwarf French beans are flowering and the autumn cropping broad beans are also doing nicely.  They've nearly all come up and are growing well.  More lovely.
Not so lovely is that the broad beans have got blackfly.  One of them has, at any rate and where one leads, others will follow.  Frustratingly, I was out of bug spray at the allotment so I had to come home, wait for Matt to arrive and then go down again with my spray from the shed.

Matt?  Well, the other day I noticed a damp patch on the working surface under the boiler.  I thought it was splashes.  On Thursday, there was more so I wiped it up and spread a cloth under and, sure enough, it was damp after a few hours.  When I looked more closely, there was a piece of chipboard to the side of the boxing in that was damp and swollen.  So - emergency call to Matt who asked for photos and turned up at lunchtime yesterday (I am so lucky to have a plumber who is not only extremely good but also prepared to turn up and help like this).  It was just a piece of rubber-like piping that was easily replaced so now that corner has to dry out but it should be absolutely fine.
Matt departed with my profound thanks and a nice big bag of runner beans and I went and sprayed the broad beans.

A few photos which I think are self-explanatory really.  







Today is going to be quiet.  I don't think I will be seeing Beth but that's OK because tomorrow and Tuesday we are having two girly things.  More about that tomorrow.
I do have to go into town in the morning to the hearing aid chap so my aids can be serviced.  Depending on the weather and also how crowded town is, I might take a stroll around.  I can't remember ever going into town on a Sunday and maybe the vibes are different.
Watering down the allotment is a definite and picking more runner beans is too.  Apart from that, I think I will just do nice things that make me happy.
And catch up with all the blogs I follow - I'm a bit behind!

How about you?  xx

Saturday, 4 September 2021

Saturday

 Good morning!  I woke this morning after another great night's sleep and felt warm.  Unusual at the moment because the night's have been pretty chilly so I thing maybe it's worming up a bit.  We had sun yesterday too - not bright, rather hazy, but definitely sun.  Bring it on!

I was pondering Christmas Traditions yesterday - what to keep and what to lay to rest - and I remembered that I started one, just for me, last year.  The Twelve Days of Christmas was, I think, inspired by Sue C and is very self indulgent but in a lovely, happy way.  Basically, you have twelve gifts, chosen by you, for you, wrap them, up and number them and, on each of  the twelve days after Christmas until Twelfth Night, you open one of them.  Nothing costly or extravagant, just little, practical things to brighten the day. Bath salts, a scented candle, a book to read, that sort of thing.
Last year I started it so late that I did remember what was in each little gift but this year I'm starting now so in four months time I won't really remember which parcel is which gift.  In town on Thursday, after sorting out the hearing aid, I did a bit of looking around and got a few little things.

Another tradition is a new decoration for the Christmas tree each year.  Now, I have plenty, far more than I actually need, so this decoration has to be different in some way while still fitting into my colour scheme of red, green and gold.  If I don't see one, I don't get one, that's the bottom line.

It's funny (and lovely) how thinking ahead to Christmas makes me feel all tingly inside.

Yesterday was a lovely day.  I went to Slimming World as usual and, also as usual, it was a very enjoyable time.  We have some very funny members in the group and even when I don't catch it all, the laughter is infectious.

Then I came home and started a bit of a tidy up.  This week, a lot of clutter seems to have accumulated all over the place so that took more than the usual half an hour.

When the cleaner turned up, I went swimming.  I do like to keep out of their way and over the years they have not taken advantage of this.  When Mum and then Dad were so unwell I would not be at home every second Friday and I always came back to a shiny home on the Monday.

Getting there took longer than expected until I remembered that the schools were back and it was end of the school day time.  On the other hand, the pool wasn't so full.  There was a group of teenagers taking a dip after school, judging by what I caught of their conversation (not much) but there was plenty of room in the marked lanes which is what I wanted.
I'm so glad I'm back to exercise now.  I missed it both physically and mentally and I'm sure it's doing me good.  Two sessions with Lindsey - circuits with a small group on Monday and personal training on Wednesday - plus one definite swim on a Friday and maybe another on a Tuesday sounds achievable and enjoyable.
Mind you, anyone who knows me from five or six years ago would fall over backward in a dead faint if they saw that last!

Today I MUST water at the allotment.  Those poor plants will be gasping.  Ditto for picking and I am fairly sure there will be another courgette or two.
Apart from that it's the day for washing, drying and ironing and, I hope, I can hang everything outside to dry - they are so much nicer after a blow in the fresh air.
And - just remembered - I saw some lovely cat mugs on Amazon and, as Beth has a birthday coming up . . .  They should be arriving today.
Have a lovely Saturday.  Are you doing anything particularly exciting?  xx

Friday, 3 September 2021

Friday

 Good morning, everyone.

Thank you all for your very kind comments regarding my hearing aid drama!  It has all been sorted out now and here's the rest of the story.

I decided to get my shopping done first as that had been planned so I did the usual at M&S and Aldi before coming home, putting everything away and having a quick breakfast.

I then decided that it would be best to get to the surgery first, to see if the ear piece (that's its proper name) was actually stuck in my ear.  I couldn't feel anything but then you're not supposed to feel it.
I spoke to the very nice lady on reception (who has always been super-nice to me and I don't have a bad thing to say about her) who went to speak to the nurse.  She came back a minute later to say that the nurse was between patients and could have a look straight away.  Yes, it was there and yes, she got it out very easily.

Then I drove over the Specsavers in Sainsbury's (thank goodness for cars) where a nice young lady said that the hearing aid man was in tomorrow (today now) but I would have to book over the phone - and she gave me a card with the number and said I could text.

On the way back, I remembered that last time I was able to book online so I came home, got onto the site and noted that  it said tomorrow was fully booked with no more opportunities until the following Friday.   I looked at the in-town branch and there ware spaces on Sunday so I filled in the online form, clicked 'Book' and waited - and waited . . .  and waited . . . until it was obvious nothing was going to happen.

So - off I set again, into town this time.  When I got there, they were so nice, took me through, spoke to the the audiologist and two minutes later I was in his room having the ear pieces on both aids replaced and he also replaced a little bit of something else on the aid that was causing the problem and which was what had caused the ear piece to come detached.  And finally, he booked me in for Sunday so he could give them both a proper going over/service.

And a plus thing - while I was in Sainsbury's, I got some spiced vinegar and some sultanas which I hadn't been able to get earlier and I set to and made some of Sue's green tomato chutney - quarter amounts - which has come out very well.  Thanks, Sue.

Everyone was so nice and so understanding, everything has been sorted out  and in the afternoon the sun came out. 
I do like a story with a happy ending!

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Thursday

 Good morning, everyone.  It's too early to say what the weather will be like today but I won't win any prizes for expecting that it will be boringly dull and grey and none too warm.

Yesterday was a good day with a not so good ending.

The extra tuition session went really well with lots of learning going on.  

Personal training was most encouraging - I'm pretty much back to where I was before Dad was taken ill except for calves and ankles and they are improving.  Yesterday, for the first time, I was able to skip.  Yes, it was very heavy, no real springiness, but the whole foot left the floor.  I've taken to jogging (rather heavily but definitely a jog) between rooms at home and trying to run upstairs rather than walk and I think it is all helping, slowly, to get things back to where they were.

The afternoon was spent doing houseworky kind of things - ironing and the like.

I was in bed, feeling pretty sleepy, pulled out my hearing aids which is always the second to last thing I do (the last is my glasses) and - disaster.  The left one came out fine but the right one came out without its end cap, the little bit that keeps it in my ear.  It could have pinged off as I took it out (although that's never happened before) or, not so good, it could still be in my ear.  It is tiny and semi transparent and, although I had a good look around, I couldn't see anything
Of course, that woke me up good and proper and the brain starter whirring around.  The aid is the one for my better ear and without it I am lost really.

Eventually, I decided that I need to get down to the GP surgery and see if a nurse can take a look and see if it is still in my ear and, fingers crossed, remove it if it is.  Then I need to get to Specsavers who provided the aid to see if they can replace the little cap.  The hearing aid people might not be in the Sainsbury's one and I might have to go into town to the other branch.  This is where not being able to phone is a total nuisance!
I had no idea where I had put my old aids but, after searching around, thank goodness I found them so I should be able to wear one or both which was a real reassurance although I then slept very badly indeed.

So that has put paid to my chat with Chris this morning.  She will understand, I know.

So - early morning shop as usual on a Thursday and then try to sort this all out.  I really could have done without it but there you go.  Stuff happens.
Have a good day and wish me luck for sorting this out quickly!  xx

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Wednesday

 Morning, everyone.  Pinch and Punch for first of the month and white rabbits!!  :-)
It's still dull and feels damp, even though it's not raining.  Very boring.    It's also a bit chilly this morning.  I am very grateful for my central heating to take the edge off if needed.

Yesterday was good.  I started of with the allotment visit, picked and cut and weeded and came home with loads of runner beans, a courgette and some raspberries which went straight into my breakfast bowl with a weetabix.  Lovely!

B&M had a few Christmas things in but nothing really worth a visit but I got a few other bits and bobs such as a couple of smaller rectangular plates and some taco spice.  A bit random but I was pleased.

Then I went for my swim and it was lovely to be back in the water.  Just after an aqua class is a great time to turn up; when I got in, the pool was pretty much empty and I swam for twenty minutes, enjoyed a good wallow in the jacuzzi before drying off and coming home for a very welcome lunch.  I thought I would sleep very well overnight after all that but, in fact, I slept rather badly.  Very odd but not to worry, I'll catch up tonight, I am sure.

The rest of the day was spent doing the usual householdy stuff.

Today I've done a tuition session (because I can't do next Monday) and it is the last early morning one for a while as they are back to school tomorrow.  Now I am waiting for breakfast time and after that I'm off for my personal training session.  Phew!

Have a grand old day and don't let this dull old weather (if that's what you are having) get you down.   Stay safe and well, everyone.  xx


Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Tuesday

 Good morning.  Yet another dull, dreary start to the day.  Where has the sun gone, I'd like to know.  We could do with just a little bit around here.  :-)

Oh, dear!  Because it was raining after tuition yesterday, I decided I really didn't want to go to the allotment so I took a good look around the garden instead and it's just as well I did because . . . the dreaded blight has finally landed.
I have removed five plants in their entirety, taking off any usable fruit first.  For the others, I have removed pretty much all the leaves, just leaving a few at the top.  I'm not sure if I have left enough but as they are what catch the blight spores (or whatever they are) first, it seemed the most sensible thing to do.  Also, ventilation will be better so the leaves and fruit can dry off quicker when it rains.  I will soon find out if I have gone too far, won't I?
The last time I had to deal with blight in the garden was when one could still use Bordeaux mixture which tended to knock it on the head pretty well.

I looked really carefully and the remaining plants seem unaffected for now but I'll be keeping a close look out and I doubt I'll still be picking tomatoes in October as I often do.  It's been a remarkably short season this year but with the cold and the damp I suppose I'm not really surprised.


Poor old plants.  They're not at all pretty now, are they, all stunted and deformed?  However, there's still loads of fruit waiting to ripen so I'm keeping my fingers crossed and my eyes open.


This is what I have salvaged.  Quite a lot of fruits were showing signs of being affected and went straight in the brown bin.  Some will undoubtedly ripen but some won't and anyway there's loads outside still, some of which won't turn this year (unless we get a glorious end of summer and that's most unlikely).

It's a long time since I made green tomato chutney but it is definitely on the cards this year.
If any of you lovely and knowledgeable people have trusted and tried recipes you could share, I'd be extremely grateful.  Or any other ideas for using green tomatoes.
Thank you.

Today I have an empty diary.  That being so, I'm going to have that postponed swim.  Yes, I am, definitely.  I need to take the plunge again (sorry!) and restart.  Also I have heard that B &M have some Chr*stm*s stuff in and you know what a sucker I am for festive tat so I may visit on the way to the gym!
Apart from that I have washing with the resulting drying and ironing and I have another tuition session tomorrow so need to prepare for that.  Also, I have a chutney recipe to research.

An empty diary doesn't mean a lazy day, thankfully.

Have a good one and stay happy.  xx


Monday, 30 August 2021

Monday - Bank Holiday

 Good morning and a happy Bank Holiday to all of us who have one today.
It's dull outside and Beeb doesn't promise us much in the way of sunshine or summer-warmth this week, sadly.  Not much in the way of rain either so no sun and one has to water.  Hey ho!

I had a good old day yesterday.  When I was ready, I popped down to the allotment and spent longer there than I had planned.  I picked runner beans, raspberries and sweet peas, dug up another row of potatoes for Beth (one row left now), weeded, watered, sprayed the sweet peas because of greenfly and generally pottered around.

The August sown bread beans are doing well and I am hopeful that these late cropping plants will give us some fresh stuff in October/November.  The first sowing of seeds is all up now and doing well while the second sowing is just emerging.  I think they would have been faster had it been warmer but that's not something we can control.  I'm glad they are up.  Because we lost the tomatoes, that particular area was looking very bare and it's nice to see returning productivity.

I nearly cut a courgette but decided to leave it for a few days.

The runner beans are doing their collective best, producing absolutely loads of veg.  I'm picking a big load every other day and doling them around to family and friends.  They're doing great this year.

The sweet peas are still flowering but are looking rather aged now.  The leaves are turning yellow and the stems of the flowers are shorter and thinner.  We won't have them up yet but their time is short.  They have been brilliant and we are definitely doing the same next year, this time sowing straight into the ground rather than in pots.  They have provided both of us with flowers throughout the summer.

The middle patch is also looking a bit sparse as we dig up the potatoes.  Because the courgettes were so late, they are not covering the ground as they usually would and there are big gaps in the rows of French beans but, dear me, we live and learn and it is still producing something!

The apples are starting to drop - it's not going to be a very big crop of apples this year, sadly, although the pears look more hopeful.  Most of the dropped apples are not fit to be picked up and I am going to dig them into the soil for compost.  However, I picked up one yesterday and brought it home, cut it up and tried the good parts.  It was absolutely delicious.  The first allotment apple of the year.  Lovely!
The raspberries are going to spurt soon, I can see it coming.  At the moment it's just a few each time and they are all going into a bag in the freezer.  When there's enough and nearer to Christmas, I will make some raspberry gin or vodka for us to enjoy over the festive season.

So - today.  I have just one scheduled thing - early tuition.  After that, the day's my own.  Beth is resting at home and I don't fancy a swim on a bank holiday (too many people) so I will do the usual allotment trip and have fun getting my revenge on the weeds that still dare show their faces - that's the main thing that still needs doing.  I'll probably give the beans and baby corn a picking too and encourage the courgettes < grin >.

And then home, to rest and relax, be thoroughly lazy, maybe watch a film or two on YouTube, enjoy the nice meals I have planned and generally have a lovely day.
I hope you do too.  xx


Sunday, 29 August 2021

Sunday

 Good morning and Happy Sunday to us all.  The sun is starting to shine and fingers crossed it will stay around today after the rain we had yesterday.  Only a bit but it was a nuisance.

As hoped, yesterday was a do-not-a-lot day.  I did the necessary, of course, and spent a considerable time thumbing through some recent foody magazines to identify the recipes I want to make.  I could just cut them out but I hand on my mags to Val so I don't want to do that.  I will use my printer to photocopy.

Apart from that, it was a gently, lazy sort of day.

I left some gammon ham in the slow cooker to  cook overnight and when I woke this morning the house smelled amazing.  It's all cooked now and cooling.  I might be able to slice it, I might not, either way is really doesn't matter, it tastes great and will be a good centre point for the roast dinner Beth< Alex and I are sharing later on.

I'm off to the allotment first thing (the usual picking, digging up, possibly watering and so on), then back for breakfast.  After that I will prep dinner and B and A are turning up just before two.  When they go, I have to prep tuition for tomorrow morning before having another lazy evening.

I took a few photos in the garden half an house ago.

Over the arch is the passion flower - not that it's flowered yet - that was a bit of a miracle as it came up several years after it was planted and, seemingly, died.  This year is the first year it's done anything much in the way of growing and I'm tying it up and over and down the other side.  I know plants don't grow down but it has no choice!
I don't think I will do any pruning this time as it's fairly 'thin' as you can see, but once the structure is there, I will prune as necessary to keep it under control.  And if that doesn't work, it will come out and I will think again!





I put my hand behind the flamenco apples so you can see how big they are growing.  Lovely jubbly!  I wonder when they will be ready - I looked it up and it said mid October.  It'll be the size of a melon by then!
They do turn a deep red in colour (it says) so these are nowhere near ready yet.
The cucumbers are coming to the end of their lives.  The fruit is now all at the top and while I can see seven fruit (two are titchy) on this bit, the rest is now just carrying leaves that are turning yellow, the fruit is taking longer to grow and the skins are becoming rough and marked.  They've been great this year and I will be sorry when they finish.

Finally, the dwarf French beans are coming along nicely.  There are now some flower buds emerging and, if we actually had some consistent warm weather, it would help a lot.  Still, I should get some sort of a harvest from them.

(you can see a couple of very ancient cucumber leaves on the left hand side)





Time to get going.
I've had my coffee and need to wash my hair before getting dressed and heading to the allotment.  I'm not doing anything noisy there so I can start as early as I like.
Have a lovely Sunday, everyone.  xx


Saturday, 28 August 2021

Saturday

 Good morning, everyone.
You can tell the year is creeping on.  I woke at my usual time (around five) and it was still pitch dark until the street lights came on.  A few weeks ago it would have been getting quite light.  I actually quite like waking in a cosy, dark bedroom, it's snuggly and comfortable.
Beeb tells me that today is going to be dull, dry and not as warm as yesterday, which was beautiful.  I'm definitely noticing the lack of sunshine in the tomatoes.  They taste lovely but sunshine would make them even better.  They haven't got that extra edge of sunkissed sweetness about them this year.  That's not a grumble, merely an observation.
I wonder if we will get an Autumn summer before the daylight hours get too short for the plants to cope.

Yesterday started off with the Slimming World group where I did the weigh ins this week as Sarah was away.  It is great fun, doing that, really nice to have a few words with everyone.  I was relieved that my downward and back to target journey travelled a bit further this last week after some annoying plateau weigh ins recently.

Then I came home and whizzed around tidying up and making things ready for the cleaner.  I got an email from Alex, asking if he could come round and do some printing.  He stayed for a food old chat before I drove him to drop off a job application.  he then came with me to the allotment to help pick beans and I took him home with some of them for his and Beth's dinner.

So I never got to have a swim but I'm OK with that - Alex was better than a swim any day.

Today I want a less cluttered day.  There is nothing in the diary which is nice.  I have the usual visit to the allotment, of course, but that's usually a very leisurely activity.  There's watering and weeding and I want to dig up some new potatoes for Beth.
I have a clean house so no pressures that way and the washing basket isn't full.
Sounds nice, doesn't it.  I can browse through my new magazines including the new SW one which I get free because of helping on the social team and I also have some of the new foody mags including a Good Housekeeping recipe collection which is always worth a good read through.
What a lazy day!  Bliss.

So - I have a pot of 'proper' coffee, a full mug and some food prep for today's meals.  Better get going.  Have a great Saturday and, as covid cases rise again (will we ever be free of it all), stay safe and well and, please, don't take risks.  xx


Friday, 27 August 2021

Friday

 Good morning.  Friday, last day of the working week, nearly the end of August, Autumn peeping around the corner and it looks as if we might get some sunshine today after a damp and drizzly day yesterday.

I drove over to Sainsbury's first thing yesterday morning and got my 'bit' (ha ha) of shopping done, home and away before popping over to Chris, bag of runner beans in hand, for coffee and a chat.
We braved the patio chairs for around fifteen minutes before deciding that it really was just that bit too chilly and moving inside.  As always, it was a great hour with lots of chuckles and catch up.

Then I came home to sort out a rather muddled email.  I have a very dear friend who, sadly, has early onset Alzheimer's and is currently in a very pleasant residential home.  What with her moving there, the issues with Dad's illness and so on and various other things, I haven't seen her for months and months. 
At first I thought she was inviting me to her home (it was very muddled!) so I turned up at the designated time, only to find it empty.  Luckily, I had my phone with me - I don't always - so I looked up the address of the home, set the Sat Nav, and headed in the right direction.  I was pretty late by that point but not to worry.
However, when I arrived and spoke to reception, I was told that they had found two diagnosed cases of Covid 19 in the home so were in lockdown.  They do have a visitor's lounge but my friend gets very distressed at the transparent screen between her and her visitor and doesn't understand the need so it wouldn't be helpful to use that.
So I left my love with her and wished I had brought some flowers or something with me although, thinking about it, maybe they wouldn't have been allowed either.
So I came home again.  At least now I know how to get there.

So that was my day.  Three things which is quite enough!

Today it is the Slimming World meeting first so fingers crossed.  Then I will be sorting out a few piles of clutter before the cleaner arrives.  When she does, I think I will pop off to the gym for the first time in absolutely ages and have a swim.  I really fancy that and it will get me out from under their feet while they work their usual magic.

If there's time and inclination, I could pop off to the allotment for some picking but, if not, that's top of tomorrow's list!
The sun is still doing it's best to shine so let's hope for the best.  Take care, I hope you have pleasant weather and a very happy day.  xx