Sunday 28 February 2021


 Good morning.  It's a misty, cool start to the day but sun is predicted for later.  Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous and it was a pleasure to be out.

I spent plenty of time at the allotment, got the last bit of growing/planting soil dug over and weeded (but not the new bit) and, unfortunately, came home with a rather painful back.  All I know is that I was fine while working but when I stood up, right at the end - ouch.  I'm well dosed up and it's manageable; I can stand up straight and walk very carefully!  It's fine when I'm sitting down and if I bend from the knees rather than the back, that's OK too - a bit ouch but OK.
I'm so happy that the essential digging is done.  I'm well ahead of myself this year which is very satisfying.

I wasn't planning on allotment today because Beth and Alex are coming round for lunch so that's OK.  I'm hoping Beth and I can look through some sites selling plastic raised beds.  The two metre square beds are starting to rot down and need replacing and now is as good a time as any, before they are planted up.  We want plastic because, in the long term, it will be an investment in money and certainly in time.

And that's about it really.  I'll finish with a photo of the clematis ooh la la which is just starting to shoot - I love seeing the first of the new growth each spring.  It was an absolute picture last year so I'm hoping this year will be the same.
Have a lovely day, whatever your plans.  xx

Saturday 27 February 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It's another cold and frosty start to the day but, if it's anything like yesterday, it will end up glorious.  It wasn't exactly warm yesterday but the bright sunshine made it feel warmer than perhaps it was.  Down the allotment, working hard, it was very pleasant indeed.

I'm looking forward to an easier day today after a very busy Wednesday and Thursday and a semi-busy Friday.

I got an early morning shop done and everything sorted out and put away before having a nice chat with Jackie.  We both expressed a hope of meeting up in her garden or mine as soon as ever we can.  I think she's finding lockdown harder than I am; she's much more sociable than I and by that I mean she enjoys being with lots of people and is more of an extrovert.

After lunch I went to the second garden and got on with some more digging and clearing.  There were some weeds daring to show in the first bed I had cleared so I dealt with them first before carrying on with the one I'm half way through.  Nearly finished now; it will all be done by Monday and then I can start tackling the weeds that have grown over the ground cover and chippings under the tree and around the raised beds.
And sow the broad beans - exciting!

I arrived back home while the cleaners were still working so I disappeared upstairs to watch some YouTube on my tablet and pretty much fell asleep in the warmth of my bedroom.
And that was yesterday!

Today I plan an easy start to the day.  I've woken early so have done a bit of meal prepping.  I plan to take the mower to the allotment this morning and to get that grass cut on the highest setting.  Then the next time I'll set the blades lower and so on.  It's not a great surface, very lumpy and bumpy from badgers and whatever digging holes but it looks better when mown and it's a useful standing spot for the car/s as the actual car space is diagonally right the other side of the whole area.  Not great when you have tools to carry or push.
Once that's done, it will be back to the usual forking and weeding.  What I do is turn over an area with the fork, then get down on hands and knees and clear the weeds by hand.  It's a bit slow and laborious but it works and is far easier on the old back that bending over to pick up the weeds.

Once that's done, I will take the rest of the day easy and get on with finishing the hexagon blanket.  I got distracted by the other one which is now finished and which has turned out really nicely.  I'll take a photo today, if I remember.  I also have some washing and ironing so I'll probably go on with that while watching Deep Space Nine on Netflix (I've finished Voyager - yes, they got home but the last few episodes were, I thought, rather silly).

So a much easier and quieter day today and I'm looking forward to it.  Have a good day yourself and stay safe.  xx

Friday 26 February 2021


 Good morning.  I woke to a white world this today- frost, not snow.  It was very attractive in the early sunshine and, although the frost has gone, the sun continues to shine merrily.  It's lovely.

I'm just back from my early morning shop.  It was pretty much fruit and veg plus a few other bits and bobs and I've left it in the kitchen while I write this as it's a bit late - sorry.

Yesterday was busy but very pleasant.  Chris and I had a good old natter and both of us are looking forward to the day when we can meet in my or her garden for our chats.  

Before that, I finished the strimming at the allotment.  it didn't take long and looks so much better.  I'm hoping to get the grass cut tomorrow and then it really will look much more respectable.  After the chat, I had breakfast and then went back down to get on with forking over and weeding.

Getting there!
Not a very clear picture but the cherry plum at the end (the one Jeff lopped back last week) is just starting to flower.  I hope the frost won't do too much damage to the blossom, it is such a pretty picture in the early spring.

The delayed chat with Dad was lovely, as was the Zoom Slimming World meeting.  Then it was a quick dinner before the Thermomix demo which I enjoyed very much.

All through the day I was on 'just in case' pain-killers but I'm not sure they were needed.  Apart from a slightly sore muscle, I've had no side effects whatsoever.  Lucky me!

Today, as mentioned, I have done my early morning shop although, as the mornings get lighter, others have caught on and it's not as empty as it used to be.  Oh, well, it is mostly elderly folks and I guess most of them have had their vaccine.

Later on, I have a Zoom chat with Jackie and then I'm off to the allotment again.  It should be very pleasant in the sunshine.

The 'bulb bed' in the garden is starting to look more colourful.  It won't be long before the hyacinths are out and they always look lovely.

I'd better go and get the shopping put away.  Have a great day and be safe.  xx

Thursday 25 February 2021


 Good morning, everyone!  First of all, thank you very much for your lovely comments on yesterday's post.  I'm glad people find the allotments stuff interesting/OK to read/etc.  I'm the first to admit that when it all starts and then through the summer I do go on a bit because it's an important part of my life and it gives me great joy to dig and plant and see delicious food appearing.  Even more , the eating thereof is great!!  :-)

It was a good day yesterday.

The funeral was lovely.  I was there as a Zoom attender with some others from the Thursday SW groups and I'm glad I was.  It provides some sort of closure.  P was a lovely, gentle man and my heart goes out to his family.  He was too young to be 'taken'.

Lindsey (personal trainer) had some good news to cheer me up.  She and her husband have been in the process of selling their house since November.  They got a buyer, found their perfect property and were expecting to move early January and then it all stalled.  Not far off two months later, they are hoping to exchange contract tomorrow and my fingers are well and truly crossed for this to happen.
It's a lovely property, the new house; Lindsey had a little gym in their converted attic which was great but this new house has a separate building that can be used as a much larger and wider ranging gym/centre and she should be able to expand her business considerably once it all gets going.
Personal Training was as good as it always is.  She makes me work, I get a great workout and we have a good natter at the same time.  Can't lose.  I am so glad I made that initial decision to try this out about a year and a half ago.

Zoom was really earning its keep yesterday - I then had my chat with Val and it was fun.  Plenty to chatter about and we both decided that as soon as possible, weather permitting, we would meet outside again for these chats.  When it wasn't possible, we would continue to Zoom-chat.  There are some things about this last year that I am glad about and one of them is using Zoom.  It's been a blessing.

Then, last organised thing of the day, I set off for my vaccination.
I got lucky there.  Arriving a few minutes before my time block, I was able to go straight in, answer some questions, go straight along to the room allocated to my surgery, have the jab pretty much straight away and I was out again five minutes after my arrival time block finished.
The whole thing was very impressive with great organisation, very friendly and reassuring staff and volunteers and, despite a smallish space, it felt 'safe'.   Well done, NHS!

Acting both on advice and instinct, I've been on paracetamol since and I'll stay on it for today, just in case.  No problems yet apart from a slightly achey arm and, given that the other arm feels pretty similar, I'm putting that down to the personal training.  No headache, no aches, no shivers.   
Yet!  :-)

Having survived a busy day yesterday, today seems calm in comparison although there's still plenty to be getting on with.

First of all, I want to pop down to the allotment at around nine-ish and get that strimming done.  It's been bugging me that I left it unfinished.
Then I have to get back for a chat with Chris over the cul de sac.  She's another with whom I look forward to garden chats again when we can.  After all, she lives all of a twenty second walk away! 

That's the morning done and then I have a bit of a break so, assuming all is well, I shall return to the allotment and get on with some more digging.  I might also set out the supporting canes for the broad beans - where they are going to go, I mean.  I know that strictly speaking they don't need support for climbing, but this will just be a sort of rectangle around the outside to help when it gets windy.  Last year's broad beans were so delicious, I'm really looking forward to them.

Dad and I have agreed to have our delayed chat this afternoon.  There's plenty to catch up on and I'm looking forward to seeing him.  It's going to be a while before I can go up again for our weekends together so these chats are very special to me.

And then it is our SW Zoom meeting.  I'm looking forward to that.

Finally, I said this next was yesterday evening but I was wrong, it is this evening - a Thermomix demo, again on Zoom (bless its little cotton socks) from the local Thermomix 'consultants'.  These are always enjoyable so I will be cross of I had to miss it.  Any vaccine after effects can go and take a running jump!

It's another full day but the fullness is all good stuff so I'm looking forward to it all very much.  Have a lovely day too, whatever your plans are, and stay safe, well and happy.  xx

Wednesday 24 February 2021

Wednesday - long and rambly post warning

 Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday turned out beautifully with wall to wall sunshine once the early clouds had disappeared.  Perfect allotment weather with sunshine, a breeze and not too warm!

After picking Beth up and bringing her here (she went home on Monday evening because of the cats but still had to work at mine because her internet was still down - it's been repaired now), I pootled off down the allotment again.

I started by strimming around the edges but had to stop with only a quarter done because the plastic 'cord' ran out.  At least, I thought it had run out.  When I got home again I looked to see what kind I needed to get and, lo and behold, it hadn't run out, it had just got stuck.  That'll teach me!  I ordered some more anyway as it won't be wasted.  I might have the time to pop down today, just to finish that, but I will have to see as today is a bit crowded.

Having left the first task unfinished, I got on with more digging and clearing.  The rain on Monday had made the soil very heavy again so it was very slow work but it's getting there.  It's definitely loads easier than last year and the whole plot is looking considerably more respectable again.  Maybe I can cut the grass on Saturday, weather permitting, and that will make a HUGE difference to the look of the place.

We've decided on this year's layout pretty much now.  If you imagine the plot running from front to back, divided into strips going from side to side, this is the plan.

The first strip is covered with membrane and wood chippings (and weeds at the moment) and has the two apple trees, the redlove and the not-Coxes - Beth can't remember the name but I've looked around and it might be a Laxton.

The second strip is the biggest area and about two thirds of that is covered with ground cover 'plastic' as the whole bed had been invaded with nasties like ground elder and bindweed.  The first third is open and has been prepped and, from left to right will have broad beans (and then dwarf green beans as they were such a success last year - thanks, Diane, for the recommendation), tomatoes and baby corn.
We've decoded to uncover one side of the covered area, on the right, about a metre deep, maybe a bit less, and put in some bedding plants, just for a splash of colour.

Then the next strip is also covered like the front strip and has the pear and plum trees.  Both the fruit areas need a jolly good weeding and the back chippings need replacing or covering.  There's loads of chipping for free at the site so it's just a case of getting on with it.

Then another strip of soil which I started prepping yesterday.  It's pretty heavy soil and I have some sand that I want to mix in at some point, plus manure and organic compost.  At the moment here's loads of clover which makes good green manure, I gather, so I am trying to dig that back under while also taking out the nastier things that are starting to come up.
Anyway, again thinking from left to right, we will have mange tout, yellow courgettes and Charlotte potatoes - the last taking about half the space there.  

The final strip is subdivided from front to back.  The left hand side has the two smaller raised beds in front of two compost bins.  The first raised bed will have carrots, radishes and spring onions and the second, strawberries, as I mentioned yesterday.
The middle area has Autumn fruiting raspberries behind runner beans.  Then there's a chipped pathway and, finally, on the right, four rhubarb plants, enough to keep the whole cul de sac provided with rhubarb!!

There's a very old and rusty wheelbarrow behind the shed and, if I can get it up (it seems to be embedded in the ground), we might put in some soil and some water retaining granules and use it for trailing flowers, perhaps, and stick it in the middle of the covered area.  It would look - er - rustic, but might work.

Anyway, that's the plan for this year.  Thanks for bearing with me as I think it through.  We've pretty much got everything except for some strawberry plans so it's ho! for the garden centre in March sometime, seeing as they are open.

The rest of the day was lovely too.  I took Beth and Alex to pick up the car and then came home, ready for a chat with Dad.  However, he had fallen asleep so it never happened - maybe on Thursday instead.

Today is really busy.
It starts with an online Zoom funeral for a member of the Slimming World club.
Then I have personal training with Lindsey.
After that, it's my weekly chat with Val - maybe we can meet in the garden again reasonably soon.  That would be nice.
Just after four, I'm having my vaccine - yay!
And the, in the evening, I'm going to an online Thermomix demo on Zoom.
I will be tired this evening and you can see why I doubt I will get to the allotment today.   :-)

Have a great day and be safe, everyone.

Tuesday 23 February 2021


 Good morning.  We have a good weather forecast for the next several days round here with warm days and chilly nights.  Perhaps yesterday's rain blip is the last for a while now.

As expected, yesterday was very busy, at least the morning was anyway.

I got my M&S/Aldi shopping all done and dusted and then popped along the road to Homebase.  I managed to spend a phenomenal amount on seeds, gardening gloves and seed trays but, sadly, all the Charlotte seed potatoes had gone.  At first I though I'd need to trawl around other garden centres but, after some thought, I went online and ordered some.  Hopefully they will come quickly so we can start chitting them.  Now the shed it tidy, there's room for them to go out there.

After sorting and putting away all the stuff, I set out for the allotment and spent an hour and a half doing this, that and the other.
We have two square slightly raised beds which I weeded and, to my delight, I found that three strawberry plants that I salvaged from the defunct strawberry bed have survived the winter.  As this little bed has the skeleton of a netting cover, We've decided that we will get some more plants and have a little strawberry bed there this year. (On the right and you can see the wee baby plants at the bottom - well, two of them, the third is in between and very small)
Then I set to forking and weeding an area where the runner beans will go.  It was very weedy so it was a case of down on knees to bash up the clods and remove as much weedage as I could.  It took ages but was worth it.  (bottom left).  It doesn't look all that big in the photo but there's room for four rows, two and two, with space in the middle to walk down - probably twenty plants all together.  I will be levelling off the edgep; it looks messy because the soul spread and I didn't have a broom to brush it back properly
Next, I forked over part of what I cleared on Saturday to dig in the manure, smoothing it over a bit more and getting it more ready for the broad beans.  We had planned to get the broad beans started in November but it didn't happen so it's the beginning of March instead.
Finally, I got another load of manure and spread some of it on the runner bean area and the rest around the rhubarb which is starting to come up very nicely (top left, before manure was added.  Another three weeks, maybe . . .

I had intended doing more but it started raining and continued all afternoon which is a nuisance because the grass really does need mowing and I don't want to do it wet as it really messes up the mower.

I spend the afternoon trying very hard not to go to sleep and watched the PM's address to the nation in the evening.  Cautiously optimistic, I would say, fingers crossed people don't go doolally again and take unnecessary risks.
I'm already in touch with my hairdresser!!  :-)

Today I am hoping to go allotmenteering again and get some more weeding done.  They are growing very fast right now and the sooner I start on them, the easier it will be; I can't get there on Wednesday so fingers crossed for today.  Later on in the morning, I will take Beth to the garage to get her car and I have a planned chat with Dad later on in the afternoon.

So a nice day, enough to keep me out of trouble.  I hope you are all safe and well and have nice plans for the day.  xx

Monday 22 February 2021


 Good morning.  It's another fine start to the day and I have resumed my non-winter habit of taking an early morning saunter around the 'estate'!  The daffs are now starting to open although the hyacinths are later than usual, I think.  The weeds are starting to come up around the paving so I need to get scraping again!

Today ended up a lovely, lovely day.  The morning was busy with washing/meal prep/etc before I picked Beth and Alex up at twelve thirty and the rest of the day just flew past.

Beth and I had a good planning session over the seeds and decided where everything is going to go this year.  I need to draw up a plan/diagram so I don't forget and, before anything much can go in, I need to do some hard work on the remaining beds.  The broad beans can go in this week because I've done that bed, although I wonder if I might go over it with the electric rotavator.  It's not a heavy thing but it should break the top soil up a bit more.

Today is another busy day.  Beth and Al are still here but Beth will be going home after work and I will take her to pick up her car which should be ready later on today.
I'm doing an early morning shop in about twenty minutes or so and will stop off at Homebase on the way home in case they have seed potatoes because we ought to get them started.
Then I will go down the allotment and put in an hour or so digging, weeding and muck spreading.

The afternoon is free but I will need to tiptoe around because Beth and Alex will both be working (that's why they are staying here - their internet is on the blink).  I'll probably give the kitchen a good sort-out.

If I'm to be at the shops when they open, I need to get started.  Have a good day, be safe and enjoy the fine weather (assuming you get some)  xx

Sunday 21 February 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It's a bright, fine start to the day with the promise of sunshine later on and no rain - yay  - and temperatures going up to 15C.  I've opened all the bedroom windows and am hoping I can sleep with the window open this week.

Yesterday was a busier day that they have been recently.  I got three loads of washing done and dried outside on the line.  There wasn't enough daylight left for the fourth load so that's just refreshing in the machine and then it will go out.  I set to and got most of the ironing done.  There's a bit more plus today's but I'll get that done this afternoon.

Dave (son) came round to look at the paperwork that was worrying me and it turned out to be nothing.  it was one of those 'covering all eventualities' things relating to the recent pension payment plus the related P45, and none of it applied to me as it was a very simple transaction and my financial affairs are also very simple.  It looks like they may have charged me about 8% too much tax but that will sort itself out over the next year, it's not worth upsetting the apple cart for.  So that was a relief.
It is amazing how mathematical my family has turned out to be really.  I look at a page of numbers and my brain does a backward flip into panic mode.  So aren't I lucky to have Dave nearby to help and advise when necessary.

After that, I was just about to set of for the allotment when my tum went on me (post-gallbladder repercussions when I eat too much fatty stuff) so I decided to start the ironing instead and let things settle which they always do.

I got to the allotment around three.  There were others there but everyone was hard at work and disinclined to talk.  To my delight, I saw that there had been another delivery of manure and bark chippings (not together!!) so I finished digging over the front strip (much more manageable than on Monday) and then set out with wheelbarrow and spade to grab a load of smelly stuff to spread over.  Then I used some nice soil from the compost heap and spread that over too.  Next time, I will just fork that all in and that's one area ready for sowing.

What a lovely sight - soil, manure and compost!  Yuppee.
It's all a bit of a mess right now but give me a month and things will be in reasonable order again; as reasonable as allotments ever are, anyway!

Below are the fruit trees, the two apples on the left and the pear and plum on the right.  Just ignore the early spring weeds - their days are numbered!!

Then it was home for a coffee and an orange before resuming the ironing.

So - busy day!

Today, Beth and Alex are over.  Poor Beth has had a couple of 'things' recently.  Her car broke down the other day and she had to be towed back in the dark, poor love.  It's now at a local garage and should be repaired tomorrow.  It's the clutch so ouch.  And then her internet is on the blink.  It's not an outage, it's probably the router and 'they' can come on Wednesday to repair it.

The problem is that both she and Alex need internet connection to work, she for her job and Alex for his uni studies.  That being so, they are staying here overnight and through tomorrow, I will take Beth to pick up her car tomorrow when it is ready and they will be working round at mine tomorrow and Tuesday.  Alex is also staying overnight on Monday - he's lost without his internet - and he may stay Tuesday night too.  No problem; the main issue is that they have to share a room but they've done that before and it's OK with them.

It's lucky I keep that room ready and the few things on the beds are easily sorted so it really doesn't involve very much extra work, just a bit of re-arranging tomorrow when they are working. 

Well, it's time to get lunch organised.  I like to get everything prepped well in advance and today I need to as I will be picking Beth and Al up late morning too.  Being busy will stop me thinking about other stuff which is a Good Thing.  Stay safe and have a lovely day, everyone.  xx

Saturday 20 February 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  Round here, the sun keeps trying to break through and it is so mild, it's a no dressing gown and slippers morning.  There hasn't been one of those for ages!  The forecast for the coming week is most encouraging with plenty of sunshine.  Lovely.

The rest of yesterday went more or less according to plan and things should plod on today too.

I got an email and text from my GP practice and, as a result, have changed my vaccine place and time.  It's now in town, about ten minutes' drive away and, while I don't know the second date, they will send it in due course.  Cancelling the other was so much easier than getting it in the first place.
It makes sense - the new one is much more local and it frees up the other place for someone more local to there.
And it's a couple of days earlier.

At eleven today, my financial adviser (Dave), is coming round to help me interpret some documents that I can't get my head round.  Once that's done, I plan to pop down to the old allotment and get on with a bit more digging.  Heavy or not, it needs doing and a bit at a time worked last year on an allotment that was in a far worse state than it is now. 
Beth and Alex are round for Sunday dinner again and we have planned to look at the seeds I have and what/where we can plant as well as looking at sheds (online).

I'm also looking forward to getting out the washing line and getting some outside drying done.  I have a huge pile of it waiting - a sure sign my brain hasn't been in a good place!  I don't usually let it build up like this, do I?

Well, if I don't get a move on, none of the above will get done so I'd better say goodbye and get started.  I hope everyone is well; stay safe and be careful.  xx

(I'd better add, for the sake of anyone reading for the first time:
Dave is permitted to visit to advise me financially - it is not a social visit and cannot be done any other way.
Beth and Alex are my support bubble as I live alone.
Going to an allotment is a form of exercise and permitted, providing one only works with one other person.  I will be there on my own.)

Friday 19 February 2021


 Oooops - really sorry, would you believe I totally forgot I hadn't done this this morning.

I had decided to have a day to myself and I cancelled the things I had scheduled for today.  And then I got a 'can you come over, please, Mum' message from Beth so I went over.  All sorted now and I'm back home again to have my quiet day.

I plan to spend some time in the garden this afternoon.  Ages ago I unwisely planted a few whitebell bulbs, not realising how invasive they are.  I keep taking them out and each year they come back.  They're starting to show and I'm going to attack them with a long, thin trowel.

That's about it.  I'm feeling pretty weary so I'll stop now and will be back tomorrow.  :-)

Take care and stay well.  xx

Thursday 18 February 2021

 Good morning!  It's a very pleasant morning today although rain is predicted for this morning and a drop in temperature this afternoon.,

It is good news time.

The first good news is that I have my vaccines booked, the first next week and both not too far away in terms of distance and so easy to get to - almost literally to the traffic lights and up the road (it's a long road).  It was worth being a bit patient and there was no way I was going into London or even up to Colchester!

The second is this . . .

Just seeing it has cheered me up no end.  There are lots more buds but this is the very first daffodil - a cute miniature one.

The third is that yesterday my neck and shoulder was aching so much I thought last year's problem had returned.  However, it is fine again this morning so it must have just been that heavy digging.  Lindsey was kind enough to give me another PT time so I am seeing her (online) today instead.

And fourthly, the pension thingy lump sum Dave helped me sort out has arrived in my bank account.  Suddenly I feel quite well off but it's going into savings, it's not for wasting.

How funny that at a time I felt so low and down, four cheer-me-up things should arrive so close together

Today's plans are firstly a chat with Chris, then personal training and finally it's the Slimming World Zoom meeting.  No allotment - it will still be very soggy.  I'm going to take a look on Saturday and see if I can do a bit more then.
Have a good day and stay safe.  xx

Wednesday 17 February 2021


 Good morning!  I was extremely glad I didn't attempt the allotment yesterday morning.  By nine it was drizzling and by half nine it was chucking it down.  The sun did come out in the afternoon but no thanks - so wet and muddy everywhere.  Ditto for today and tomorrow looks a bit dismal too.  Not to worry.

I did a bit of plastic shed research and there's plenty around to choose from.  I've sent some links over to Beth for her to think about - when she has time.

Apart from that and the chat with Dad, yesterday didn't amount to much really.  Today is a bit livelier with a chat and personal training.  I have no idea how the latter will go as I'm feeling very weary at the moment.  Goodness knows why; I'm hardly wearing myself out!

That's about it really so I'll keep this short and leave you with a photo of the snowdrops which are looking lovely at the moment.  The snow obviously did them some good.

Stay safe:  xx

Tuesday 16 February 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It's so nice to wake up early to a house that doesn't feel a bit chilly.  I'm definitely counting that as a positive after a trip to the shed to get out the day's supplies!

Yesterday turned out to be a most satisfying day - good and active in the morning and much more gentle in the afternoon.  Surprisingly, I am not suffering at all after yesterday's digging, bending and stretching.  That's the first time in forever and I guess I must be a fair bit fitter now than I was last year at this time.

I had intended to go back to the allotment today but I've checked the forecast and it is rain, drizzle, drizzle and rain for a few days to come.  However, the weekend and into next week looks much more promising and, as it's so very muddy there right now, I'm leaving it for a few days.  There's plenty of time although I would like to get some early broad beans in soon - it should have been January really.

Apart from the usual digging, weeding, etc, the next biggie down there is the shed.  It's in a bad state. especially after having branches leaning on it all winter and could do with replacing.  Personally, I'd like a bigger one, but Beth assures me that there's a limit to size so we'll have to stick with the size we already have and, maybe, one of those storage chests beside in.  It seems daft that that's allowed but not a bigger shed although, presumably, it is to stop people turning it into a 'garden room' kind of facility.

We've decided to give wood a miss and are going for a sturdy plastic construction that won't need constant attention and treatment.  Jeff has said that he will take the old one down, dispose of it and, with help from me, put the new one up so all we have to do is choose something and order it.

Yesterday afternoon, it was a struggle not to fall asleep.  You know what it's like - waves of drowsiness sweep over you and the eyes close irresistibly.  I'm trying not to doze off during the day at the moment so I fought and won!  Consequently, I had a great night's sleep.

Today, there isn't much in the diary.  I have my Tuesday chat with Dad which I'm very much looking forward to, and that's about it seeing as I did the weekly shop yesterday.  There's always housework, of course, almost always ironing, and, if it's not very wet, I might deal with some hopefully emerging weeds in the little front strip.  The bulbs are coming up well and it should be a picture in a month or so.  Nicer for the neighbours than for me as I can't actually see it from the kitchen.  All my other downstairs windows look out onto the back garden.

I can see that a regular thing for the next several weeks maybe, is checking the vaccination web site for somewhere local.  At the moment, all that's coming up is places twenty miles or so away which is stupid as I know that there are centres very local to here.   Oh well, if I don't find something suitable, I'll be contacted by my surgery at some point and, seeing as I won't be changing my behaviour anyway, I can wait.
(I suppose I might ask Beth to help me with a phone call but I'd rather not - she's very busy).

Having taken several paragraphs to say not very much at all, I'd better stop now.  Have a super day and stay safe and dry.  xx

Monday 15 February 2021


 Good morning (just), everyone.  Apologies for the lateness of this blog but it's been a busy morning.  

It may be damp outside but it is also mild.  The car thermometer said 10C - quite a contrast!  All the snow has gone and the snowdrops seem to have come on well in the bitter cold.

First thing this morning I did a shop - the usual M&S for fruit and veg and a few other things and then across to Aldi for the rest.  That's all done for a week or so now, thankfully.

There was just time to get the shopping unloaded and the freezer stuff into the freezer before I had to dash out again to meet Jeff at the allotment so he could prune the big tree at the back and two of our small fruit trees.
Despite the lack of TLC last autumn and through winter, it's not looking that bad.  Plenty of weeds, of course, but nothing awful and anything left on the ground had rotted down nicely.
While Jeff was doing the lopping and pruning, I pruned the raspberries and started some digging.  Of course, everything is extremely waterlogged so it was slow and heavy work but I got some done so that's good.  I expect my arms and back will be killing me tomorrow but not to worry.
The enthusiasm and motivation is stirring - I can feel it - and it won't be many days before I am back there, weather permitting, to get on with the work and, probably, to plant some early broad beans.
No photos; I forgot the camera!

So it's midday and I'm home, absolutely smothered in mud.  The new wellies earned their keep this morning and now need a jolly good clean while my coat and jeans will be in the washing machine as soon as I have finished this.

The yarn I ordered has arrived but, sadly, the blue isn't right.  It's a nice colour but too like the green, darn it.  I will have to take another look for something else.  Perhaps blue isn't right at all.  
So now I have two balls of a rather nice greeny-blue Aran.  Maybe I could make a child's aran jacket - anyone interested?

Well, better stop, get out of my muddy jeans and start that washing.  Then I shall sit down and have a nice hot coffee.  I hope your day is going well.  Stay safe and well.  xx

Sunday 14 February 2021


 Good morning, everyone and happy Valentine's Day.  It's definitely a bit warmer this morning; the iciness has gone and the remaining snow is no longer light and fluffy but on its way to oblivion.  There's no frost and the icicles are dripping a bit.  Hopefully, winter is now pretty much over.  We are half way through February already, after all - where is the time going?

My biggie for today is that I received The Letter yesterday.  Yes, that Letter, telling me I can have a vaccination!  Woo hoo!  Whoever would have thought a jab in the arm would cause so much happiness, eh?
The whole thing is rather like one of those flow charts - in fact, they might have done better to turn it into a proper flow chart, it may be easier to understand.  Basically, If I don't organise one myself, then my surgery contact me directly.  So it's ho! for an online booking, noting as I try that others have found that it is not quite as quick as the letter makes out and there may be no gaps as the letters have just come out.  No problem, it is what it is, I will get one at some point in the next month and I won't be changing my behaviour anyway, not until the restrictions lift and even then, very slowly and carefully, remembering that my safety and that of those I connect with are of equal importance.

I've done what I said I wouldn't do and started the new blanket before finishing the old one.  Well, I've done all the hexagons, pieced them out and got them all into order, but the crocheting together isn't as satisfying as the knitting so I'm running both in tandem.
With the new one, each square I do is identified by a letter (style) and a number (colour) so I need to dig out my little post-its and get labelling!  That identification is used when putting them all together into a specific order.

Today is a busy day - sort of.  Beth and Alex, self imposed isolation at an end, are coming round for Sunday dinner and we're celebrating with a roast lamb dinner.  From the freezer, I have excavated a strawberry and rhubarb crumble (made with garden and allotment fruit) that is long overdue using up and will make some proper custard in Thermione so definitely not all that Slimming World friendly.
Alex loves my roast dinners so I'm hoping this will be just the thing to celebrate Valentine's Day with loved ones.  I am so lucky.

Have a super day, everyone, take care and be safe.  xx

Saturday 13 February 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It's still very cold, the snow is hard frozen on the flower beds and the grass and is lingering in the guttering but it's not cold enough to give my boiler any more nervous breakdowns, thankfully!  It looks as if it will be a bright enough day, although Beeb says it won't get up to zero.  Tomorrow, back into positives by the looks of it, will feel pretty warm in comparison and that will probably be the end of winter around here!

After careful consideration of my yarn and knitting up swatches, I have discarded two of the possible yarns as too chunky although one more, the pink one in the photo, knits just like the real arans so that's in.  I discarded one ball of Aran as not quite the right colour although it is lovely and, as it's quite a soft ball, I might make a child's something or other at some point.
Having decided that, I needed one more colour so I went onto Deramore's and found a blue that I think will go.  It's called storm blue and it's a sort of bluey-greeny-grey colour that I think will go nicely.  I also found more of the same shade of cream which I needed.  A different dye lot, obviously, but as long as I keep the two apart. it will be fine.  I now have the choice of doing the border in either the cream as per the pattern or the green which is the same yarn as some cushions.  I won't decide that until  I've got all the squares fitted together.

Here's the colours I have.  The 'blue' second from the left is actually not blue at all, it's much more lilac-y than it looks there and is a sort of 'tweedy' mixture.  I think I'd really prefer the red to be a little darker but I have a huge ball of it, 400g, plus a smaller ball, and I'm not wasting it - the point is to use up stash, after all.
I think it will be a very nice effect when all done, brighter than the original, and very satisfying to knit.  Depending on how much I have left of each colour, I might be able to make some cushion covers by either piecing together nine of the squares or taking each pattern and enlarging it.
Plans, plans, plans!!

Today is a day in.  No chats, no visiting, not a lot of housework, so I am planning a lazy day with, maybe, a walk later on.  I can knit, crochet, read and watch telly.  I'm still working my way through the Voyager episodes although the end much be not too far away - they are now in monthly connection with the Federation via a micro-wormhole created by Barclay.  It was jolly nice to see him and Deanna in a few episodes and, as I've never watched any of these episodes before, it was a big surprise.
(if you don't watch Star Trek, just ignore the above)

Well, it's past eight o'clock (on a cold and frosty morning - cue music) so I'd better stop and get the rest of my updates and regular posts on Facebook done.  Have a lovely day, whatever your plans.  Stay warm, stay safe and be happy.  xx

Friday 12 February 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  Another cold night, another cold start to another day expected to stay below freezing but there's light at the end of the tunnel with temperatures expected to rise on Sunday, thankfully.

Poor old snowman is nearly a gonna, not because he is melting away but because he's leaning precariously over the abyss.  Awwwwww.

Some very regular and long standing readers may remember that during the last Beast from the East, I had a problem with the central heating.  The consensate pipe froze up so the boiler wouldn't ignite and it was flippin' cold for a few days.
Well, guess what happened yesterday.  Yup!  Thankfully, it was just a few hours and this time I didn't panic, nor did I rush out with kettles of boiling water and my hairdryer as I suspect I just ended up colder than I would have been and it didn;t work anyway!  I got out the fan heater and the halogen heater and put them on to keep my corner warm and waited.  What was different this time is that the sun was out, the hard frost on the car was melting and I reckoned it would soon warm up enough for the ice to shift.
And so it did.  It's fine this morning too (fingers crossed).

I've told Matt the Plumber and asked him to think of a more long lasting solution - obviously what he put into place last time isn't quite effective enough.  I have a boiler service at the beginning of March so we can discuss it then.

After that bit of unwelcomed excitement, the rest of the day went like a dream.  The chat with Chris was great fun, I had a short time with Beth and Alex and the SW Zoom meeting was lots of laughs.  A good day.

Today there are a couple of things.  I have to pop across town to pick something up and will tank up with petrol on the way.  I have a chat with Jackie scheduled for late morning too.  As it's Friday, I need to sort out various little pockets of clutter (it's amazing how clutter just magically appears overnight, isn't it?) and it's bedding changing day so more drying and ironing.

In comments, some of you asked about my colour scheme for the planned blanket.  Well, the scheme is the infamous 'whatever I can find in my stash' approach.  So far I have found one ball of natural aran, a huge ball of green that is the same yarn as I knitted some cushion covers with so that's a linking colour, some dusty dark mauvy-purple, some dusty pink and some red which might be too bright.
Some of this is rewound balls that look aran thickness but I am knitting one of the squares up to double as a swatch, just to check that, aran or chunky, they knit to the same dimensions.  I need six colours, 200g (more than 100g anyway) of five and 300g of whatever I use for the border - which will probably be the green to tone with the cushion covers.  So it's a bit in the air and I suspect I will need to buy some more natural which will or will not match with the existing ball (but that doesn't matter all that much really) and one other colour.
Some of the yarn is what I 'inherited' from Mum and I remember the jumpers/jackets that she made with it.  I think that's rather nice.

Right, well, I'd better go and continue my day.  Next stop, my corner, then a bath and to get dressed ready for the day!  I hope you are all staying nice and warm and that your day is a great one.  xx

Thursday 11 February 2021


 Good morning.  It was such a gorgeous day yesterday.  Yes, very cold, but, oh, the sunshine!  At one point in the morning, it clouded over and there were a few flakes but it must have been blown from somewhere else because out came the sun again. 
The main problem was that it really showed how dusty the outside of the windows are.  Ooops!
It's going to be another cold one today - definitely a jeans AND leggings day again.  😊

Yesterday, as always, was quiet but went really well.

Val and I finished our chat early because there were some connection problems but continued it in the afternoon.  She and hers are all well and her husband has had his vaccination, being over seventy and with a few health issues too.  Val and I just have to wait!

As always, I really enjoyed personal training.  Lindsey pushes me just a bit more each time and it's really very satisfying.  I don't know if I have any readers who knew me when I was still teaching but who'd have thought I'd be in this place now, eh?  Enjoying exercise!!  
She's recommended some better resistance bands; the ones I have are just wide stretchy plasticky sort of things and can be awkward to hold and use, while the ones I have now ordered have proper handles and do all sorts of other stuff as well.

I've started crocheting together the hexagons.  It's going OK really, although the slightly different sizes mean a bit of stretching and pushing and I can see I will need to employ the steam iron again at some point and it will look 'rustic!.  Not to worry, it is serving its purpose in using up yarn and keeping my hands busy.
I've already found my next project.  It's really a kit for a scandi blanket but the actual kit is out of stock.  However, the pattern can be downloaded separately and is free so I now have that printed off.  It uses aran yarn, of which I have collected several different colours over the years, although not necessarily quite enough.  I have a week to have another rootle through my stash of yarn, consider what I have, whether it will work and what I need to order.  

This is the actual pattern although the colours will be different.  I think it is lovely and am really looking forward to getting started.

Today is the same as every other Thursday right now.  In the morning, I have an online chat with Chris, in the afternoon I am taking some parcels over to Beth (all perfectly within the rules and Alex has now been at home for a fortnight and has obviously not brought any covid germs home from Uni) and staying for a coffee and a chat, hopefully, although it will depend on Beth's work, of course.  Early evening is the weekly Slimming World Zoom meeting and these are turning out to be great fun during this Lockdown.  There's enough people there to make it varied and enjoyable but not so many that Jen has problems getting round to everyone.

Those social things, together with the usual housework, knitting, reading and telly watching, plus exercise are going to make this day really good, I think.  I'm happy about that.
What are your plans for today?  xx

Wednesday 10 February 2021


 Good morning, everyone!  The snow has finally finished falling although you would never believe it snowed most of yesterday, judging by the amount that's left.  The pathways and the concrete paving is pretty much clear, the little slope up the cul-de-sac is also clear, thank goodness and the snow remains on the grass and soil, making it all look very pretty.  It looks as if we will have sunshine today and bitterly cold temperatures, especially as the day moves on.

Not the most handsome on the block but every garden needs its own snowman.

The washing is all done now but the ironing?  Nope.  I've felt very weary these last few days and slept around nine hours last night - unheard of!  I feel much brighter and breezier this morning.

The bread worked out much better yesterday.  I'm still not sure I am that fond of sourdough really but it was properly cooked, had a proper crunchy crust and tasted fine.  I think the salt content was a bit high with the first one too and I reduced it.  So today I have another go at a wholemeal, maybe mixed with some granary flour too, using my new measures and half quantities and see how that works.

The chat with Dad was great.  The time is extending as he gradually gets used to the medium and, as always, it was lovely to catch up.  He was extremely sad about his lovely neighbour but we both know that it was best for her; she was so very unwell and, while a hospice bed would have been good, she was probably much happier at home.  

Today starts with another chat, with Val today.  That's always good for an hour of amusement.  Shortly after that, there's personal training with Lindsey and that's all the scheduled things sorted.  As the pathways seem pretty clear, I may get some fresh (very fresh) air at some point and there's always that ironing.  Maybe today is the day to get it cleared.

What are your plans for today . . . xx?

Tuesday 9 February 2021


 Good morning, everyone, and welcome to a very cold and snowy Tuesday morning.  We had more snow; in fact, it didn't stop all day and through the evening until I went to bed although the daytime snow was very light.  There's another weather warning out but it's for north Essex and won't spread as far as down here, I expect.  It's still snowing but the equivalent of very light drizzle, nothing more.

As expected, Amazon did provide a replacement for the smashed bowl although I had to use my measuring jug and the other bowl to check what litre size I wanted.  I was delighted to see that I could get a set of two with lids so I did.  That'll save on the cling film.
They should be arriving today, all being well.

The hexagons are nearly done, I think.  I'm on the last set of five and there's a pile in the ironing board waiting to be pinned and steam pressed, a most tedious activity but essential if I want them all more or less the same shape.  Then I lay them all out and see what arrangement will work best before starting to crochet them together.  I also need to knit the part hexagons for the edges.  Another week or so should do it.

I followed Veronica's advice when attempting another loaf, reducing the water to around 71/72% hydration and that made a more substantial feeling dough which has, nonetheless, risen nicely overnight and which I will bake mid morning, remembering to give it longer than I think it needs.  Underbaked bread is not nice!
Fingers crossed.

The washing also got done and is now dry so ironing is definitely on today's list, as is all the usual stuff.  In the afternoon it's the weekly chat with Dad.  He's very sad right now; one of his lovely neighbours passed away last night, not from Covid-19 though.  She had cancer, it was only diagnosed just before Christmas, I think, and now she is gone.  She and Dad (and Mum too) were great friends ever since they became neighbours and I liked her very much indeed.  However, as they say, a blessed release for her.

That's about it for today.  The snow is falling gently and more heavily than when I started this, the flakes are a bit larger and it is bitingly cold outside but I have been putting on leggings under my jeans and three layers on top and it keeps me cosy warm.  They had it right with long johns in the olden days, for sure!

Take care, stay warm and be safe, everyone.  Have a great day.  xx

Monday 8 February 2021


 Good morning!
Well, I may not have woken to a white blanket yesterday but I certainly did today.  The snow fell continuously all day but it wasn't until the afternoon that it started settling, first in the roofs and leaves, then on the soil and, as the temperature dropped, finally on the concrete.

As you can see, not at all deep, although around here may have had more as does happen on the rare occasions we have snow.  However, it's proper winter even down to the icicles starting to hang from the shed.
It's still snowing but very fine, sand-like grains.

The chat with Beth was really lovely.  We managed to keep going, hardly stopping for breath, for over an hour.  I missed the face to face bit but am, as always, very grateful for modern technology.  It will be a fortnight next Thursday since Al came home and we can do a real face to face, not for any reason of necessity in practical terms but because we can and it's as safe as things are nowadays (and totally within the rules and regulations - for anyone who may be concerned for me  😃😃😃)

Apart from that, it was a quiet and peaceful day.  The bread turned out fine except that - dare I say - I didn't actually like it and I suspect it was underbaked.  I will try again with white flour, half the amount, and see what happens with that.  If I end up now actually liking it, it's not worth the time really.
Oh, and I dropped and smashed my second biggest pyrex bowl that the dough had been in.  I simply missed the edge of the working surface and crash!  That was annoying!  However, Amazon will oblige, I am sure!

Today is more of the same.  It's predicted to remain below freezing all day, it will be icy underfoot so I'm staying in.  There's some clutter from yesterday to clear up, some washing to finish off, etc.  Same old, same old!!  How about you?  xx

Sunday 7 February 2021


 Morning, everyone.  I was really hoping to be able to post a photo of a white blanketed garden this morning but, typical for mid-Essex, not a chance.  It's very cold, there's a biting wind and it is so, so wet!  We've had snow (it's just stopped) but it hasn't settled, not even on roofs and grass.  With the temperature due to drop below freezing and stay there, it's going to be very nasty underfoot so thank goodness I don't have to go anywhere except between shed and house.

One good thing yesterday - my ankle wellies arrived.  That was quick.  I'm really pleased with them and, for now, they are going to stand by the French window that doubles as a back door, ready for journeys out to the shed and back.  Even I won't be wearing my slippers for that just at the moment.

Apart from that and the Saturday shop (which I won't be repeating on a Saturday for some time to come), it was a stay in and keep warm day.  Did I start the washing?  Nope!  What a lazy so-and-so.  I really MUST do it all today.

What I did do was start a cheat's sourdough loaf in Thermione.  Someone posted a link on our local Thermomix group, really easy, trouble free, not relying on a sourdough starter (so not authentic but . . .) and, for Diane and anyone else with a Thermomix, here's the link.

Basically, all you do is knead together flour, water, salt and a small amount of yeast (which makes it a total cheat!) for half a minute and then leave it in a bowl for twenty four hours (or less if it's summer).  Then there's minimal shaping before baking.
Mine is half way through and is very active, albeit extremely soft.  However, sourdough is supposed to be very soft so - we will see.  You can see all those lovely bubbles!

So there's that, the washing and this afternoon I will have a catch up chat with Beth on Messenger or Zoom.  I'm looking forward to that very much.  The rest of the time will be taken up with general housework, reading, knitting, telly watching and generally being idle.  The heating is turned up, the coffee is on and, despite the snow which has just started again, very fine flakes not enough to make a snowball let alone a snow man, I am going to have a very pleasant day.

What is it like your way?  Be careful if you have to go out and stay safe and warm.  xx

Saturday 6 February 2021


 Morning!!  I'm just home from an early morning shop at M&S and Aldi and I've learnt something.  DON'T go Saturday morning.  I can't say it was crowded because it wasn't but it was loads busier than a week day early morning.  You live and learn!
While fresh things have to be bought reasonably regularly, I've been trying to stretch things to one or two more day and, inevitably, it will land on a Saturday morning at some point.  I know now, anyway!

It feels raw outside.  Nowhere near freezing (yet) but it is drizzling and very damp.  Having said that, I can see a bit of blue sky so maybe it will clear up for a bit - that would be nice.

There's only one thing I can remember about yesterday and that is that the 'give me my money' form arrived from the Pru, I filled it in and posted it back straight away.  There will be another wait now, I guess.  Funny how they are always quicker at taking your money than giving it back again.  lol

Today, the first thing I need to do is sort out all the shopping and get it all wiped and put away.  I treated myself to a half leg of lamb for tomorrow.  So extravagant but I dearly love slow roast lamb and hardly ever have it.  In earlier days, whenever I went to Mum and Dad's, Mum made sure on of the dinners was roast lamb.  She said it was worth it for three.  :-).   No complaints from either Dad or me.

After that, I must start the washing - I have a good couple of loads plus bedding and ignoring it won't make it go away, sadly.  Then I want to sort out the week's meals.  I already have a fair idea because I think about it before shopping, so it won't take too long.

After that it is a day of idleness, waiting for the chill from the East (hopefully, not a beast) to arrive and ice everything up.  Weekdays and weekends all merge in together nowadays and I won't be seeing Beth this weekend; we're still keeping apart because of Alex coming home.  He is fine though, no signs of having picked up any nasties on the journey, thankfully.

Well, I've warmed up a bit now so I'd better get started on the shopping.  Clear out the old veg and use it up, put in the new, and so on . . .
Have a great day, whatever you have planned, stay warm, safe and well and most of all, be happy.  xx

(the blue sky has disappeared - ah, well)

Friday 5 February 2021

Garden snaps

 The sun is shining so I thought I'd pop out with my camera and bore you with the first garden update of 2021.  :-)
(thanks to Eileen for the idea)

Clematis ooh la la.  It's the fourth year and after a gentle start, it was beautiful last year so I have great hopes for this year.  I cut off a few green shoots when I pruned it, a sure sign it was about time.
Daffs in the clematis pot - more buds this year.
I have lots of hyacinths and they are starting to bud up.
Perennial trailing geranium - always a picture and I'm going to have to cut it back soon.  I might get Jeff to do it - it's hard to get the spade in.
Mini daffs.  I have loads as Morrisons always has pots of them at the end of the season, hugely reduced.
Miniature twisted hazel.  It's more intriguing than pretty.
Autumn fruiting raspberries starting to come up.  I will definitely have to get to the allotment and cut last year's canes back too.
The snowdrops are lovely again this year after a poor year in 2020,
From right to left - some random bulb, tulips and bluebells (the proper kind).
The first crocus - I believe this is one of the bulbs you kindly gave me, Eileen.  There are loads of tiny spires emerging.
Finally, very out of focus, the Crocosmia Lucifer is starting to shoot.  Each year I have loads of spires, get most of them out and up they come again.  Definitely, they need crowd control!

My garden is in quite a sheltered spot, a bit of a sun trap during the day, and I guess that's why things are coming up.  We're predicted snow over the weekend and I'd love a few photos of snowdrops in the snow.  We will see.  xx


 Good morning, everyone. No oversleeping today although I am finding that I'm sleeping a bit later than I used to and am much enjoying reading time in bed before I get up.  A privilege of the retired, I guess.  Outside, it is dry and looks as if it might be a fine day - fingers crossed - although it is predicted to get much colder again over the next few days!

Yesterday turned out OK, despite the late start, albeit not terribly exciting.  I think you could say I pottered around all day, taking life easy.  The evening SW Zoom meeting was good fun, lots of chat and some laughs.  Lovely.

Usually, on Fridays, I have a chat with Jackie, but she can't make it today so the morning is free.  I have to do my usual Friday clear up before the cleaners arrive and I ought to do some washing but I don't want the drying hanging around for them to have to work around so that can wait until tomorrow, as can changing the sheets.

I plan to do an early morning shop tomorrow so I need to sort out the fridge and get the list finished.  I don't need to do any for Beth; now that Alex is home, she has more to get herself.  Linked with that, I want to sort out some recipes for next week too.  I like to have some idea of where I'm heading!  :-)

Take care, everyone, stay warm, stay safe and keep well.  What are your plans for today?  xx

Thursday 4 February 2021


 Well, good morning!  Guess who seriously overslept this morning for the first time in forever!  Nearly nine o'clock.  Blimey.  I can't say it wasn't nice but I can see I will be chasing my tail all day now.

I've started this but have my chat with Chris in a few minutes so will finish afterwards.  I've already put it back by half an hour.  Ho hum - never mind.

Yesterday was, as with most Wednesdays, a day of two halves.  The morning was full with a good old chat with Val at ten thirty followed by my hour of personal training.  The former was most enjoyable with lots of natter and sharing stuff.  Val told me about something in Cotton Traders and in the afternoon I went online and got some - more lower down.

Lindsey was chasing her tail yesterday so we started a bit later (she did ask) but the hour was great.  She's definitely pushing me more now that my shoulder/neck has sorted itself out and I'm doing more with we3ights than previously, plus some resistance band work.  The hour goes very quickly and enjoyably as we chat while I'm working.

(had to stop at this point - back now after my chat with Chris and breakfast!)

Chat's done and the day has now rolled into action.    Mind you, I say 'action' but . . .

The only other scheduled thing I have is the Slimming World Zoom meeting early evening.  The rest of the day is clear.  I have some kitchen stuff to do and I might sort out the front strip that I optimistically call 'garden'. 

I also want to get on with my knitting.    I'm not far off having five of each colour/pattern and then I think I might have enough for a lap blanket at least - I have fifty five hexagons in groups of five and will have another forty five.  That will make a ten by ten or the equivalent (twelve by eight, for instance).

  I might use it as an extra cover for my bed on these cold nights although there's a fair bit of work before I get to that point, mind you!
Better stop and carry on catching up.  Wishing you all a very happy, safe and satisfying day.  xx

Edited because I forgot to mention what I got from Cotton Traders.  I was bemoaning to Val about how soggy the ground is at the moment and that it will be very muddy down the allotment that I will need to wear my wellies which I find rather galumphing.  She told me that on Cotton Traders they have some ankle length wellies (I never knew they were a thing) and she's bought some for her daughter who has quite chunky calves so ordinary wellies are uncomfortable.
I took a look and so they do - different colours and patterns.  Really nice.  So I have ordered a couple of pairs.
Here's the link, if you're interested.
and here's a save of one of the colours.  I don't think I bought this pattern but I might go back and get them, if the ones I have ordered fit - I love those umbrellas.

Wednesday 3 February 2021


 Morning, everyone.  Well, yesterday turned out quite pleasant with actually some sunshine from time to time.  Amazing.  In contrast, today looks like being horrible but not to worry, there are always things to do.

Making the list worked wonders.  I managed to tick everything off and feel so much brighter for it.

The ironing basking is now empty for a short while and I don't plan to do any washing for a few days.

I got out into the garden and cleared the target raised bed which took no time at all.  I looked around and decided I may as well do some more so I pruned, cleared, dug out old stuff, dug in old stuff and generally gave everywhere a bit of a haircut.  It looked so much better once I'd decided the drizzle was getting a bit too much for comfort and went in.  I can now see the snowdrops so much better!

I'd thought of doing the little front strip today which would take all of ten minutes but not if the forecast for heavy rain is correct.  We will see what happens.

The chat with Dad was, as always, very pleasant.  We explored ideas for a bit of extra support for him and it was all very productive.  I'm so glad he has taken OK to Zoom.

I've started the shopping list - it surprises me how many things one finds one needs, both in fresh stuff and in cleaning materials.  This week, I'm down to my last bottles of bleach and disinfectant.  Not things to run out of at the moment, are they?

And, finally, the hexagons continue to mount up.  I find it is easier to knit several and then to pin and steam press them rather than waiting till the end and then having a huge pile of them to steam press.  I don't think it will be long before I have enough to stitch them all together and then sewing in all the lose ends will probably take ages.  :-)

Today starts with a chat with my friend, Val.  Then it is personal training for an hour after which I will be glad to sit down and have a relax, I am sure.  I'll fit in the daily wipe-down in the afternoon and the rest of the day will be lazy stuff like telly, knitting and reading.

Are you looking forward to your day?  Hope so.  Stay safe and well.  xx

Tuesday 2 February 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It's another dull day today so I'm putting on my positive pants and determining not to be mopey today.  It would be all too easy, I think, but my aim for this year is to be positive so . . . here we go!

It was nice to exchange a few words with Beth as she dropped off the computer chair back rest on her way home from her work appointment in Colchester.  It didn't look very comfortable with little plastic prongs sticking out all over but it's great.  Very supportive and comfortable.  Excellent.
It was a pack of two and I may very well put the other one in the car.

I should have done the rest of the ironing yesterday bit, frankly, I couldn't be bothered.  Naughty me; that's a priority for today.  An empty ironing basket always cheers me up.

And it was too dull and damp and cold to go out into the garden.  Another fail.  I think I'm slumping and I MUST snap out of it.

So - today.
bit of gardening
today's exercise (I'm doing the hundred days of exercise challenge)
the usual cleaning/wiping over/etc)
chat with Dad this afternoon
knitting - the hexagons are mounting up
reading - I want to find some likely recipes
starting a new shopping list

For Christmas, one of my students gave me a lovely little notepad with Joy's Things To Do at the top and then a blank checklist underneath - like this.

Time to start using it.  :-)

So that's today.  If I get all that done, it'll be a miracle, but may as well aim high.  What are you doing today?

Monday 1 February 2021


 Good morning.  Pinch and punch for the first of the month and white rabbits!! 

That's tradition out of the way!  It's yet another dull, nothing sort of day outside and it really doesn't entice me to go out at all.  I'd love to go somewhere like Hyde Hall but I don't think that's wise even if, officially, it is 'allowed'.  Maybe, give it another month, things might ease off a bit and the bulbs will be lovely by then, won't they?  
Last year, the bulbs were much further advanced than they are this year but, generally, it was a warmer winter and that brought them on, I guess.  Everything is coming up nicely but the only bulbs actually out are the snowdrops.

I'm having trouble remembering what I did yesterday - probably because I didn't do very much.  Beth and I managed a chat and Alex joined in for a short time; that was very pleasant.  She has to drive to Colchester this morning to pick up some necessary equipment (essential journey!!  < grin > ) and will be dropping off something that was delivered to her house and picking up a shirt that got left behind.  She won't be coming in because it's work time that she's using.

I'm trying to think what I fancy tidying up/decluttering today.  I think that, despite the dullness, I really do need to start in on the garden.  As far as the allotment is concerned, it can wait, but I have arranged with Jeff that next week he brings along his tree lopping equipment and gives the trees at the back a jolly good cut back.  It hasn't been done for quite a while and, while Beth and I can do the really low stuff, it's not really addressing the real issue as we can't get high enough.  A jolly good chop back will make a huge difference.
While he's doing that, I can start on clearing, as long as the ground isn't too hard.

We decided that one these ten days are over, one of the first things we need to do is put heads together (not literally, far too close!) and decided what we want to plant, although, to be honest, it will all be much the same thing.  I'm not going to bother with squash, it never does all that well, but courgettes - yellow ones - are always a winner and there's the usual runner beans, tomatoes, potatoes and so on and so forth.  The great plans for raised beds is going to have to wait for a while but it won't hurt that ground to be under cover for another year.

I have a whole load of seeds, bought last year, so I also have to decide what I want in my own garden.  Having so many tomato plants last year was lovely and I guess I will be doing that again this year, some in a bed and some in nice big pots.  It's a bit early to sow seeds but I don't want to leave it too late like I usually do!

You can tell the sap is rising, can't you - starting to talk about planting and so on again.  As the days get longer and lighter, things start to wake up again, including me.  

Back to today - so there's a bit of gardening to do and the usual housework, cleaning, wiping round, tidying, etc.  Very much the same really but quite satisfying, nonetheless.

Have a lovely first day of February, folks.  Something to cheer you up (it's cheered me up) - if you pay your rates and water rated monthly for ten month, you (and I) will be a little richer for a couple of months.  Nice!

Stay safe, stay well and be happy.  xx