Friday 30 April 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It's a lovely start to the day apart from yet another frost!  I suppose April HAS to end with a frost, seeing how it's been pretty much all month.  Maybe this is the very last one.  I hope so - the ground needs to warm up and my plants are itching to get outside!

Yesterday was OK.  Quite a lot of hazy sunshine which was pleasant.  I really enjoyed the gym and swim, the chat with Chris was great, as always, and the SW meeting was about exercise which SW rather tweely calls 'body magic'.  All good stuff.

Today starts with a walk.  I'm meeting Jackie in a local village for a walk around and, hopefully, a coffee.  When the cleaners come in the afternoon, I intend popping down to the allotment.  There's always weeding to be done and always watering at the moment.  It should be fun.

Have a great day and be safe and happy.  xx

Thursday 29 April 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It seems a very long time since I wrote my blog but it's only been two days missed.  It's nice to be back.

It looks rather gloomy outside at the moment although Beeb says it could be quite a nice day later on.  I'm hoping for a good downpour at some point soon, a really good one as the ground is so very dry.  I'm glad Jeff was over yesterday morning and watered the pots for me.

While on the subject of gardens, the new ballerina apple tree is sporting just two heads of blossom (one shouldn't expect anything first year so anything is a bonus) and they will be opening soon - possibly next week.  I believe the redlove is at the same stage so I will bring some redlove blossom home to see if I can do a manual pollination.  The chances of just two blossom heads being pollinated naturally with no other tree in the garden is fairly minimal!
(and I must remember to get another codling moth protection thingy)

All the new plants are surviving - the little tree, the bamboos and the leftover raspberry cane - so that's encouraging.  As for the baby plants . . .

. . . the courgettes are doing extremely well, much better than last year,
the baby corn is also looking strong and healthy and really could go out now if it wasn't so jolly chilly
and the tomatoes really do need potting on so that's a job to do in the next few days.  It's time they were in individual pots and will definitely be ready to go out by the May half term holiday which is, for me, traditionally the time to plant them out (in between writing school reports which, thank heavens, I no longer need to worry about).
Must start thinking about the runner beans and the mange tout as well!

I didn't go to the allotment yesterday but may very well detour there this afternoon to do some watering as it's been so dry.

It was nice seeing Dad again and we sorted out a few things for him. I took him to his GP appointment and also to the barber for his first proper hair cut in months.  It's surprising how much better one feels after a haircut, even for a 92 year old!  I'm glad I went, it really was necessary and am doing the same thing next week.

After my drive home yesterday morning, I had about half an hour to get changed before driving over to Lindsey's for the personal training hour, the first one in her new studio.  It was great and the gym, swimming and home cycling have obviously had some effect as I found the exercise bike and cross trainer much easier than I did a fortnight ago (we couldn't have a session last week).

Then it was home for a quick lunch and over to Val's for our weekly chat.  We had planned to have a walk round Cressing Temple but neither of us felt energetic enough so we just sat and chatted over coffee.  Then I drove home again and by the time I got in I was shattered so had a gentle evening and was tucked up in bed and fast asleep before eight thirty.  I have the delights of Sewing Bee recorded so that's something to look forward to.

Today is, again, quite busy.  I have an online chat with Chris, a gym and swim session, watering the allotment and then the SW Zoom meeting.  They're mostly 'me' things though so not emotionally or mentally draining.
Have a great day, everyone.  Stay safe and well.  xx

Monday 26 April 2021


 Good morning!  It's a dull start to the new week; no sun and a but of a breeze.  I haven't gone out yet but I bet it isn't that warm either!

Yesterday was very pleasant but it didn't really warm up; the sun had some warmth in it but when it went behind a cloud it was surprisingly cool.

I woke quite early and whizzed around getting everything cleared up and sorted out.  It didn't take all that long really and by mid afternoon all the leftovers had gone, as had my guests!  Beth and I had gone to the allotment, did some necessary weeding, gave everything a good watering and pulled the rhubarb.

After an exchange of emails, I'm off over to Dad's this afternoon.  He hasn't been well  and I need to go - it might be a bit of a rule breaker, but it's a very small one as we're both pretty safe as far as covid is concerned.  So just to let you know that I probably won't be posting tomorrow or, perhaps, Wednesday but I should be back again by Thursday.

There's quite a long list of Things To Do this morning, so I'd better get on with it!  Have a good day/week and stay safe.  xx

Sunday 25 April 2021


 Morning, everyone.  I have a slightly muggy head and that 'eaten too much' feeling but that's OK, the head is clearing rapidly aided by copious amounts of caffeine.
The sun was shining earlier but it seems to have gone away again now.

Yesterday was lovely.

I had a nice, leisurely stroll around Sainsbury's and yes, clothes . . .  I was terribly brave and have bought a pair of denim knee length shorts - sort of not baggy Bermuda shorts, I guess.  I haven't worn shorts since I was a little girl and had no control over what I wore - children didn't really in the olden days.  But, actually, they look quite nice on me.  The other two were some plain and very useful tops that really will go with anything.

One home, I set to and got everything ready.  Table cleared and laid for a buffet, chairs and little tables out in the garden, a few things made including the strawberry coulis (no rhubarb) which turned out lovely and generally got everything absolutely ready.

No allotment - I didn't fancy it in the end and yesterday was about doing what I wanted to do.  :-)

The pavlova turned out lovely.  OK, so the strawberries are a bit wonky (which is why I've also included the photo below) but, wow, it tasted great!
Another view.  :-)
And this was the buffet!

We sat outside for ages.  After a while I got all my fleeces and the lockdown blankets (I knew they would come in useful) and, after a while more, the halogen heater and the hot air blower.  Needless to say, fairly copious amounts of fermented grape juice was consumed!!

I gave up in the end and came inside but the tougher younger generation stayed out for a while longer.

I was up early so all the leftovers are now sorted and in various piles for taking away.   I don't want any more so isn't it good that I have people to offload them onto.

It was a lovely day.

Beth and Alex are still asleep so I'm just pottering.  The washing machine has just finished a load so I must get that out and start washing last night's tablecloth which took a fair amount of spillage.  Once their day starts, after breakfast, Beth and I will be going down the allotment and coming back with rhubarb to make rhubarb gin with.  I've made fruit gin before but wasn't sure whether one was supposed to cook the rhubarb or what.  I looked it up and all you have to do is bash it about a bit so I'll probably pop it in Thermione for a few seconds.  Then you add it, some sugar and the gin (or vodka) to a bottle or, in our case, a ginormous kilner jar and shake it daily until all the sugar has dissolved before putting it in a dark place for the sugar to work its magic.
It says ready in two weeks but that seems rather short to me.

After that, I will spend the rest of the day just pottering again.  It seems to have been a very lazy weekend.
Has yours been good too?

Well, the sun has come out again, the washing won't peg itself to the line, nor will the line walk out of the shed and set itself upright in its hole, so I'd better get going.  
Have a super day, whatever your plans.  xx

Saturday 24 April 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  I'm up before the lark this morning; it's hard to say what the weather is like but the forecast is lovely - not all that warm but in the low teens and more sunshine is expected.  Lovely!

Yesterday was a very productive day.  I got my shopping done in Morrisons so now I am more or less set up for the week ahead as well as for this evening.

Then I set to and sorted out the house in preparation for the cleaners.  The sheets were changed and the spare room is now ready to receive guests.

Downstairs again, I dug out a recipe on Cookidoo (the Thermomix recipe site) and sent it to Thermione before making meringue for the base for the pavlova I'm making instead of a cake.  To be honest, it is a doddle in Thermione and, after baking, cooling, etc, here's the result.  It's bigger than it looks in this photo.

It's going to be so delicious covered in cream and fresh strawberries.  Later on today I'm going to make a strawberry coulis (or maybe strawberry and raspberry) to drizzle over the top and I'm getting some chocolate sauce too.  May as well go the whole hog!

While the cleaners were working their magic, I went to the allotment to water, noting, as I did so, that those pesky weeds are yet again fighting back.  |Better news is that the new raspberry canes are starting to send up new growth and there's loads and loads of rhubarb.

Later on, Dave popped round to leave the alcohol for tonight in the shed and also to store some meat in my freezer.  He didn't stay but it was lovely to see him.

Today I'm up at stupid o'clock but that's OK, it's my day and I'm enjoying it already.  I'm glad I got everything in the way of housework done yesterday because I can just do what I want today.  Lovely.

I'm popping to Sainsbury's to do a small shop.  It's Sainsburys because I need to fill up with petrol and also because - well, clothes, you know.  Next month's pension went in yesterday.  Also on the list is gin because Beth and I plan to make some rhubarb gin now that there's loads ready to pull.  Thinking about it, maybe I could make a rhubarb and strawberry coulis instead of just strawberry, those two being a flavour marriage made in heaven.
When did a simple fruit sauce get such a fancy name though?

I also want to go to the allotment, partly to do some weeding and watering and also to pull the rhubarb.

Once home again, I'll get the table set for tonight, do any cooking/baking, get out the garden chairs, cushions, etc, and then I will settle down to knit, catch up with my youtube channels and, hopefully, have a bit of a kip so I won't be too tired this evening after my early start.  The family will turn up early evening for an appropriately distanced time outside.   Dave and Anna are going to phone the Chinese order through and pick it up so I hardly have to lift a finger.  Spoilt?  Moi?
It's going to be a lovely day.

What are your plans?  xx

Friday 23 April 2021

Friday . . .

. . . and a happy St. George's Day to you all.  There's a slight frost (boring) and loads of sunshine this morning,  Yesterday might have been cold a.m. but it was still lovely and all the trees are in blossom down the main road, looking radiantly beautiful.  It only lasts a week or so each year but when it does, the whole world brightens up.

Chris and I cancelled our chat - it really did feel a bit chilly and we were both a bit otherwise occupied really.  Next week will come quickly.

The gym and swim worked really well.  I'm quite shocked (in a good way) at how empty the studio is although maybe, thinking about it, it's because it's a very big space and lunch-time on a week day.  I bet the weekend is quite a different story.
Anyway, I did the puffing and grunting bit and rather enjoyed it, trying out one of the machines that I wasn't shown.  It's quite true - no-one pays anyone else a blind bit of notice but there's always at least one member of staff there to help out if needed so, when I'm feeling a bit more confident, I might ask about a couple of the machines that look intriguing.
The pool was well short of the maximum sixteen and there I met an old friend.  When I say 'old' I mean someone I know years ago but we have rather lost contact.  She only lives in the next road along so we've made a coffee date.  That was a very nice thing to happen.

The Zoom meeting was lovely.  Very helpful too - Jen was talking about the 'psychology' of slimming.  It wasn't heavy or deep but it was practical and helpful and I appreciated it very much.  Next week is all about Body Magic - I'm OK with that side of it but I'm sure it will be interesting, all the same.
She also confirmed that we will be back to real life face to face, socially distanced meetings on My 20th.  I will miss that, of course, because of my holiday, and it looks as if I will miss the next one too because I'll be visiting Dad for a few days.  Not to worry, it will give me time to work off my holiday weight gain!

Today starts with an early-ish shop, continues with housework and a load of washing/drying followed by the cleaners and ends with me making a pavlova - the meringue part, anyway.
Tomorrow, Beth and Alex, Dave and Anna are coming round for a Chinese take away in the garden.  I don't really want a birthday cake but I do fancy a pavlova which will work well as a light dessert.  With any luck, the 'children' will take the leftovers home with them.

I've just realised I haven't allotmentated much this week.  Fair enough as there's not much to do, but I'd better go down, water, look around and blitz some weeds.  There's bound to be some!
I've noticed that my columnar apple has two, just two, heads of blossom developing.  That's to be expected.  I was talking to Beth about the pollination thing and she reminded me of the old strategy of do-it-yourself.  In other words, taking a bit of blossom from one of the the allotment apple tree and - er - doing the necessary with the one in the garden.  Good scheme.  Even one or two apples this first year would be a joy.

The next gym swim is on Monday.  A pattern seems to be developing here - Monday, Tuesday, Thursday.  That's maybe one too many and perhaps Friday would be better than Thursday.  Next week is all booked (you have to get in early and they open up a new day a week ahead every morning) so I'll think of that for the week after.

Better get the day started with my bath and the shopping.  Have a good one and enjoy that sunshine.  xx

Thursday 22 April 2021


 Good morning!  It's a much better start to the day this morning.  A very slight frost (I've given up worrying about the plants though) and some lovely sunshine.  Yesterday was pretty dull and pretty chilly too.

I rather enjoyed my time at the gym.  I must have spent about forty minutes there and it was good.  I've broken the ice so now I must work on developing a pattern, both of visits and programme.  I don't want it to be too predictable but one has to book and it tends to be the same slots that are available at the moment and, as for any programme, it really depends how many people are there what machines are free.

It was so chilly that, by mutual agreement, Val and I moved our chat to online.  Cressing Temple won't go away and there will be much warmer days ahead of us.  We had a jolly good chat too, over knitting and a coffee, most enjoyable.

I got some of the housework done but there's always more, isn't there.  Never ending!

Thank you all for your kind and supportive comments about easing of and working towards a slower (or at least a more gentle) pace of life with an emphasis on quality being as well as doing.  Old habits die hard and I feel a bit guilty or selfish but I'm putting those feelings just where they belong - on the compost heap to rot down and become more nourishing.

Today looks busier than it is.  There's the housework, of course, always housework.  I'm hoping to have a chat with Chris but I'm not sure if it will be online or in my garden; it depends how much it warms up.
Then I have a swim booked at twelve so if I turn up at about eleven thirty I can do some exercising on the slightly less scary machines first.  Nice.  I asked and the classes don't start until the middle of May when we hit the next roadmap milestone (hopefully).  I'm not sure if I will do aquacise again, I think I prefer doing my own thing really, but I'll consider it.
And then, finally. it is Zoom Slimming World at five thirty.

So, a nice, normal, reasonably productive day.  How about you?  xx

Wednesday 21 April 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  Light is just dawning here; it was an early wake up this morning but I slept like a log so no problems.  We're not predicted to have much sun today but you never know.  I live in hope!

Yesterday didn't really go according to plan but it was pretty much all my decision.  The swimming notification did ping through but, unfortunately, far too late for me to do anything about it.  I decided I didn't fancy garden centre shopping in the least, so I didn't.

Then Dad cancelled his chat because he was expecting some people in to do repairs.  I pretty much expected that anyway and we do exchange emails pretty much every day.  Only a month before I can go over and stay again - I'm so looking forward to that.

Then it was dentist and it was what I thought.  A discussion, a scan, some planning and the implant treatment starts at the end of May.  It could have started next Monday but I want to have my holiday first, just in case it causes any problems.  It shouldn't, but you know me and dentists!

I've been thinking quite carefully about the way ahead as we come out of lockdown.  While HAVING to stay inside and not go to places has been difficult at times, I have really appreciated the way my pace of life has slowed and settled and how little pressure to go here, do that, see someone, plan, prepare, etc, I have had.  I don't want to go back there again.
I know it's a very fortunate position to be in but I do have choices and want to try not to feel pressured into doing too many things too often.  

One thing I have considered is the tuition.  That all stopped when lockdown came along, of course.  I didn't do online tuition, partly because I didn't feel confident about delivering the sort of thing I do online and partly because I reckoned the poor parents had enough to be getting on with getting their kids through school work!
I've decided that I won't actively be taking it up again.  If the parents of my students before lockdown want me to continue, then I will - it's time limited as I don't go beyond primary anyway but I won't be looking for more students.
I've had one definite request and one 'probable but getting back to me' but I haven't heard from anyone else.
I loved the tuition but it was taking increasing chunks out of my week what with planning, preparing resources, marking, evaluating, etc.  Having that lockdown break has helped me to re-evaluate.

At the moment, I have (in no particular order):
my social life, both online and face to face in the garden, weather permitting
garden and allotment
facebook (I help to admin a number of groups) and other social media stuff
the health and fitness side of things - personal training, swimming and gym plus other bits and bobs
all the stuff associated with daily living - housework and so on
my hobbies . . . knitting sewing, etc.

Plus, in the near future:
visits to Dad
potentially, a couple of tuition sessions each week

I reckon that's more or less enough, don't you?  I want (I need) time to be just me, to potter, wander, imagine, read, think, meditate - all that sort of thing.  Just to stand and stare . . .

As the poem goes:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait, till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Enough of this navel gazing.  I have a few plans for today.

I need to spend an hour or so on the house, getting some stuff tidied up and sorted out and to prepare the guest room as Beth and Alex will be staying overnight on Saturday (allowed as they are bubble support buddies).

Usually I have personal training on Wednesdays but Lindsey is on a course today and we couldn't find a slot where we are both free (ooops) so I'll be doing it at the gym instead, seeing if I can remember how to use those scary machines.

Then I'm driving over to Val's and we hope to go on the Cressing Temple for a walk around the grounds and the Elizabethan walled garden.  Cressing Temple is lovely and I haven't been for ages.

And that's it as far as must do is concerned.  I have reading, knitting, etc, and there are a few naughty weeds showing in the garden as well as some dead heading.

What are your plans for today?  xx

Tuesday 20 April 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It is another misty start to the day but, if it is anything like yesterday, the mist will vanish in glorious sunshine in a while, fingers crossed.

Not only did we get sunshine yesterday, we had enough of a gentle breeze to make a great drying day.  I am so pleased that I was able to get three loads of washing not only washed and dried but also ironed.  Things do iron so much more easily straight off the line.
That's me pretty much up top date as far as the washing/ironing baskets are concerned - for a few days, anyway.

The gym visit went fine.  It was all very low key and un-fussy, thank goodness, and the P T changed her mask for a visor when I explained the difficulties which was so much better.  She asked a few questions about aims/any issues/problems/health, etc, and then started me on some of the machines.  She gave me enough to create a workout of thirty minutes plus which included cardiac, core and strength.  Now it is up to me.

Lindsey has had to cancel my personal training tomorrow and we couldn't find another time when we were both free so that's when I'll go down again and see how it all works out.  I can always ask if I get muddled or forget how to start anything.

I didn't get to the garden centre and all the online potting compost seems to have sold out (late again, Joy!!) so that's the first thing on my list.  B&Q or what was Wyvale, I think.  I might need to make two visits to get enough but if I get some bought, that's a start.

Today, I am on the waiting list for a swim but nothing has pinged through so I'm guessing nobody has pulled out.  That's really not a problem as I do have plenty to be getting on with.

I'd like to get to the garden centre, as above, first thing.

I have a scheduled chat with Dad for eleven, changed from this afternoon, but we might have to change that as he is expecting someone to look at his washing machine and will probably need to remain downstairs so he can get to the door in reasonable time.  It takes him about two minutes to get downstairs as those chair lift things do move slowly.
Whether or not the chat happens, I must get to the allotment and do some weeding (those nasty weeds are taking their changes again) and the grass needs mowing.  A good watering will also be in order, I think.

And then, mid afternoon, I have a dental appointment.  I think it will be to x-ray the new implant site, take measurements and discuss treatment.  I'm pretty sure nothing else will be done today but I will take a tablet or two, just in case (snowflake that I am).

Quite a busy day, thinking about it, but it'll be productive and useful and I think I will sleep well again tonight.  :-)
What are your plans for the day?

Monday 19 April 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It's a misty start to the day but considerably milder than it has been and it's expected to morph into 'sunny intervals and a gentle breeze' - fine by me!

Despite looking very busy on paper, yesterday was a lovely, gentle day when everything went well.
The slow roast beef cooked to a T in the slow cooker, giving me lots of lovely stock.  The roasties fell out of the new muffin tray with no help whatsoever, the swim was great with not too many people there, we got the potatoes planted and the sweet peas out in the allotment and generally had a great time.

Today there's just one thing in the diary and that is my gym induction.  When I joined before, all I wanted to use was the pool so I never had any kind of induction.  Things can change so much, can't they?  I'm a bit nervous but also looking forward to it so fingers crossed!

There's stuff to do, of course.  I have a load of whites washing that will go on the line when they're done and a load of coloureds will then go in.  That means ironing later on.  I need to plan some meals and, maybe, pop to the garden centre for more potting compost although I need quite a lot so am considering making an online order for convenience.  I still have the tomato pots to fill and there's some seed potatoes left so I plan to do what I did fairly successfully several years ago and use extra strong refuse bags as growing pots for them - or some of them anyway.  At the end of the season, the compost can go down the allotment.

Well, better stop and get the day started with a bath.  Have a lovely day, whatever you have planned.  xx

Sunday 18 April 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  Three cheers, we don't have a frost this morning.  It's too early but I think the sun will be rising soon and it will be a lovely day.

Yesterday was very quiet.
I got to Hobbycraft and bought that circular needle I needed to continue with the jumper and - er - I may possibly have bought a pattern and more yarn to make a cardigan.  Frankly, Hobbycraft was a bit of a mess.  They seem to be in the process of changing it all around; all the fine art stuff is now on the ground floor which means that the knick-knack stuff - beads, clay, raffia, cooking, etc - is all upstairs but it wasn't all in its place so it was untidy.
Never mind, I found what I needed.

On the way home I stopped off at the allotment and took off the fleeces.  I don't know if covering the fruit has actually done any good but time will tell.  The broad beans haven't picked up but neither have the wilted, died, lost their colour or anything else indicating they were suffering so we will what some warmer nights and days will do.  I watered stuff and that was that.

The rest of the day was very quiet.  I watched the funeral.  The Beeb did their usual pre and post padding but the actual service was very moving, I thought, and the ceremony of it all was so well done.  Most impressive.

Today, being Sunday, is bubble day!  Beth and Al are over for Sunday lunch which is a roast beef dinner this week.
After that, as soon as we can move, Beth and I will be off to the allotment to plant sweet peas and potatoes.
But first, I have a morning swim booked so I'd better get going or I won't get everything done in time without an almighty rush.
Have a super Sunday and be safe.  xx

Saturday 17 April 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  Yet another frost (quite a light one today) and yet more early sunshine (no complaints about that!).  To my delight, this should be the last of the frosts for now.  Beeb says so and they have been accurate so far through this week.

Yesterday started with a trip to Sainsbury's to do an early morning shop.  Yes, I bought clothes but it wasn't too naughty - a cardigan, a top and a light denim skirt for the warm weather coming (yes, it is, because I say so 😀)
I also stocked up on their lower calorie pizzas which I really love, plus other bits and bobs.  I'm nicely set up for the week now.

I pottered in the garden a bit, got the house good and ready for the cleaners and went upstairs where I sorted out all my tops and cardigans, folding and bagging those I no longer want to keep.  They're now in black bags in the car.
I now need to tackle my T shirt drawer and then I can take a trip to the clothes recycling point.

I didn't get to the allotment.  I felt quite weary so decided to stay in and rest.  I'm getting old, that's the trouble.
In fact I was in bed soon after eight, asleep soon after ten and woke at nearly six so must have had a good nine hours plus of sleep.  

Today starts with an early morning trip to Hobbycraft, the reason being that I am at the collar point of the jumper I am knitting and I don't have a circular needle in the right size.  I dislike using circular needles but I can't see any way around it unless I knit it separately and sew it on and I think that will be a bit clunky.  To my delight, Hobbycraft opens at eight this morning.

Then I am allotment bound.  My faith is in the BBC and I'm removing the fleece and attacking any daring weeds plus talking to the broadies.  I don't think I will do much else as Beth and I are going there tomorrow afternoon - always assuming we can move after Sunday dinner!

The rest of the day I am spending glued to the telly to watch the funeral.  I can knit (hence needing the circular needle), exercise on the rebounder and cycle and plan next week's meals so I won't be entirely idle.
Have a good day.  Are you watching the funeral?  xx

Friday 16 April 2021


 Good morning!  Guess what - we have another hard frost and bright sunshine.  I love the sunshine but the frosts are a nuisance.  Not a good time at all and so many of them in a row!
We always complain about something weather related, don't we?  :-)

Yesterday, everything went according to plan, which was nice.

I set off into town at around quarter to ten, got a very handy parking slot close to the gym and wandered across to Matalan.  They were restricting numbers so I had to wait and I did wonder if I ought to go in but it turned out to be a bit of a queue at the checkout while the main body of the shop was virtually empty.  I thought it good that they were so immediately responsive to what was happening in the shop.

They had some lovely tops, I thought.  I bought six (oops); two 'classic' T shirts which are always so useful, a navy and white polka dot T shirt, a cotton top with big, frilly puffed sleeves which I think might be a mistake but it was in the sale so a matter of a few pounds - a coffee and doughnut would cost more than I paid - and these two.

The purple one was in the leisurewear department but I'll wear it anywhere.  It has a pleated back and looks so nice on.  The colour suits me, I think.
The other is my favourite.  These V neck, pleated-front tops are all the thing (I've seen them in ads a lot, anyway), it is what is described as an 'animal print' and the sleeves are elbow length.  I love it, I really do - it is so comfortable and flattering - and it doesn't need ironing!
I gave them all a wash as they had that nasty, just-bought from a cheap shop smell about them.
I also bought some slippers (needed) and some knee highs.  I almost fell for a nightie but managed to hold back.

Then I had my swim and, again, it was lovely!  Warm water and not too crowded.  I can only think that people are booking and then not turning up as they could easily have accommodated more swimmers in safety.  No complaints from me though.
I did half an hour and felt well exercised.

After lunch, Christine came over.  We had no sooner settled down outside, legally distanced, tea/coffee on a table, when the clouds rolled over and rain started falling.  We hastily tidied up, Chris went back over the cul de sac, cup of tea in hand, and we finished the chat online.  Good old Messenger!

Finally, Zoom Slimming World was good, as usual.  A few people couldn't come and were missed.  Jen confirmed that face to face meetings would start on May 20th which people seemed really pleased about.  Nice.

In the evening I got some ironing done but was very tired that I was fast asleep in bed shortly after nine.

Today is less cluttered.  I'm doing an early morning shop at some point soon, to Sainsbury's as I want to get some of their brand items.  Oh, dear, they have clothes, how sad!!  ;-)

At some point I will pop to the allotment with the mower and strimmer and give the grass a haircut.  I might also get a few barrow loads of chippings for the back as some of the plastic ground cover is showing.  I may also pootle to a garden centre as I'm out of potting compost and have a bit of a list of other items to get too.

And that is about it.  I will tidy the house for the cleaners when I get home from shopping and I have a few T shirts in the ironing basket!  So that's today.  Nice and easy.

An afterthought - I suppose I need to go through my T shirts, etc, as I have some very tatty ones that I no longer wear.

Have a lovely Friday and be safe.  xx


Thursday 15 April 2021


 Morning, everyone.  I hope you're all well.  
Another frost this morning and we're predicted another early Friday morning and then it looks as if it's going to warm up.  The sun's shining though - lovely!

There were some changes to yesterday.

I drove down to the allotment but, because of forecasts, etc, didn't take off the fleeces.  They really must come off tomorrow though, they have been on long enough - this cold snap really has gone on.  
However, I did plant out the broad bean babies as they are pretty tough really.  They had all flopped over in their pots and they flopped over in the ground too but should pick up quickly.  I don't plan to visit the allotment but might take a detour on the way back from swimming, just to check them out.

I was feeling green finger-ish when I got home so planted the apple and the other bamboos into their pots - I decided to put the apple in a pot that is perhaps bigger than I had planned but I had it to hand!  I now need to get plenty more potting compost before the tomatoes go out.  There's plenty of time but as time is passing very quickly right now, it's something I have put on my to-do list.

You can see what I mean about hiding the bin a bit when they've grown, can't you.  I need to push the twisted hazel a bit to the right and the two pots in front (which will also need to be moved a little bit) are fuchsias which are lovely in summer and autumn.

I might not get much fruit from the flamenco apple this year but it looks as if I will definitely get blossom to pretty the garden up for a week or so.  
The problem will be pollination - there are other fruit trees in the neighbourhood but the redlove never did all that well until it was moved to the allotment; that's why I really want to have two columnar style apple trees, not just the one.
While on the subject, I have only just learned that apple trees are classified as to when they blossom, A, B or C.  Did you know that?  To maximise pollination, it's best to have two of the same classification.  The flamenco is C and so is the redlove.  A shame they're not in the same garden. 

Now we can, I go to Lindsey's for personal training but a message pinged into my mailbox telling me that I should expect a parcel in between 11:46 and 13:46 that required a signature - conveniently messing up both personal training and driving over to Val's.
I fired off a message to Lindsey asking if we could do it online (of course, said she) and then one to Val to say I might be late.
As it was, the 'parcel' arrived slap bang in the middle of the predicted times (and personal training) so that was OK.  It was the exercise bike - some parcel!!  And they didn't need a signature but I suppose it was too big to just leave outside

I had a very pleasant time at Val's, taking over some magazines and some rhubarb and receiving in return a very nice mug of coffee and some yarn!
It was jolly cold, even with rugs, quilts, etc, as we stuck it for about an hour before deciding enough was enough and parting company.

The rest of the afternoon was spent putting the bike together.  It wasn't complicated, just fiddly and the instructions were barely adequate.  Never mind, I got there in the end and had a go while watching some telly.  I am hoping I will use it daily - something positive to do while telly goggling, isn't it?

And I slept like a log!

Today is another comparatively busy day.
At eleven I have another swim booked and plan to go earlier so I can do Matalan this time.  I'll let you know what I get, if I get anything.  If there's time and it's not too busy, I might stroll around Home Bargains as well.

I have a chat with Chris this afternoon but whether it is in the garden or online depends on the temperature.  We will see.

And finally, it's SW on Zoom early evening.  I'm looking forward to that; they can be great fun and with my new loop PC gizmo, I hear an awful lot more.  Face to face meetings are resuming on May 17th - the week I will be away on holiday.  Ah, well, that can't be helped.

Have a great day, everyone.  xx

Wednesday 14 April 2021

Wednesday - and the garden

 Good morning, everyone!

I had a gentle start to yesterday.  With a swim booked for ten and wanting to not get dressed and then have to get re-dressed (they like you to turn up with swimwear on underneath at the moment), I stayed in bed clothes for a while.
Leaving the house just before nine gave me a bit of shop trawling time but, in the end, I didn't go to Matalan, I went to HomeSense instead.  I always love looking round there; they have ethnic stuff, lots of basket work, clever kitchen gadgets, etc.  I was sorely tempted by some olive wood salad servers (which I would never use!) but, in the end, went for two smaller sized dinner plates and a small, single person water jug.  I've been looking for smaller dinner plates as it's a great way to reduce portion size without feeling deprived and these were just perfect.  I could have spent a fortune so I think I did rather well really.

Then it was into the gym where I did spend a fortune on the fees for the year before going into the changing room and on into the pool.  
And it was lovely!  The water was perfect, everyone had a great big soppy smile on their face as we all trundled up and back, up and back, there were enough people to make it sociable but not crowded and, best of all, the bubble spa pool was open again (it was closed last summer and autumn) with certain restrictions, the two main ones being only two people in at a time and no longer than fifteen minutes.  It's such a great way to finish off a swim.

More things are back to normal than I realised.  The cossie spinner machine was working again and there were hair dryers out.  I had planned to shower and hair wash at home so that's what I did but now I know, I will take the necessary with me.

The funniest thing was I couldn't find my swimming bag anywhere.  I looked high and low first thing in the morning, finally deciding to get a shopping bag out of the car.  And, lo and behold, there, smirking smugly at me from right under the driver's seat was guess what!!
I'm glad.  I like that bag.

I spend some time in the garden.  The courgettes are now potted on, but I made a right mess of the cucumbers, snapping the stem off the best grown one - I won't quote what I said!  I thought I'd need to plant some more but there were only two seeds left in the packet.  I planted them anyway but I expect I will need to look for some bedding plants as the few that have grown really don't look that healthy.
I also planted the sunflower and gerbera seeds that Rachel gave me so fingers crossed.

The mint is now sorted out and I was pleased to see this in another pot. 

It's lily of the valley.  I call it Mum's lily of the valley because Mum gave me the roots quite a while ago now.  A few years ago I had it all out of the pot, divided it into three, put two in the front and replanted the rest in the same pot.  Last year it didn't do much at all but there's little spikes showing in the pot and also in the soil round the front.
I'm thankful.  I'd hate to have killed it.  Lily of the valley is one of my favourites and there's the sentimental connection too.

I potted on the black bamboo into this fairly heavy pot and clipped off some dead stems.  I hope it will do well and I think it will look so nice as time goes by and it develops some height and hair - I mean leaves.

Once I know it is established and growing, I may very well cover the soil in the pot with chippings or even some nice pebbles

The older raspberry canes are coming on a treat.  These have yellow berries and look beautiful in the autumn sunshine.  The plant my lovely next door neighbour gave me and the one left over from the allotment (now in a pot) are red fruit so there's some variety there.  Nice.

I had just put everything away when there was a ring at the door and it was the fountain bamboo I ordered before the weekend.  Impressively fast.
I just popped the pots into the container they will go in.  It's plastic but I'm going to weigh it down with bricks inside so it should be pretty stable, especially as the canes curve out rather than growing up and being too top heavy.  Once they all fill out a bit, that should look nice, I think.
I'll get them planted properly today or tomorrow.

Another thing I need to sort out is the ballerina apple.  The pot I though would do is just too small so I need to go the the garden centre for something bigger.  That won't happen today and probably not tomorrow so we're looking at Friday really.  I'm sure it will survive!

The chat with Dad was lovely, catching up on how he is and talking about various family stuffs.  By then I was feeling pretty weary so I had a nice, lazy rest of day.

Today start off with an allotment trip to get the broad beans planted out.  I must, they are outgrowing the pots and flopping over.  I also want to get that fleece off, weather forecast permitting.
Then it is personal training with Lindsey.  Where has the week gone?  It seems only a few days since the last one.
And then, weather permitting, I'm driving over to Val's for tea/coffee in her garden.  If it's not nice, we will have an online chat instead.
So it's another busy day.  Things have really hotted up this week.  At least I should sleep well.   :-)

Take care, be safe and have an enjoyable day.  xx

Tuesday 13 April 2021

Tuesday (ramble alert)

 Good morning, everyone.
After a doubtful start yesterday with a few snowflakes wafting around in the air, out came the sun and it turned into a beautiful day, pretty cold in the morning but lovely in the afternoon.
Today is expected to be nice and sunny.  Lovely!

I met Jeff down the allotment.  He started on the shed while I did a bit of 'housework', smoothing chippings which had been considerably disturbed by some animal or other and murdering a few weeds that had dared show their faces.  
The shed door now closes and has two hooks and eyes to keep it closed.  There's no point having anything lockable, it's just an invite really.  Ditto a nice, smart shed which was one reason for not replacing it.  I can't say it looks much better; it was never going to, but the roof is more waterproof now and the door was the main problem.  Jeff also managed to dig out the manky old wheelbarrow I mentioned several weeks ago, bless him.  It is in dire condition and there's no way a bit of rubbing down and a lick of paint is ever going to work but it should be fine as a planter, especially with trailing stuff to hide the sides.  So we have to work out what we can use to punch a few drainage holes in the bottom, get some liner and some potting compost and we're away!  It'll look nice where there's just ground cover and nothing much growing at the moment.

I left Jeff to it and came home to do the usual daily stuff and wait for Sharon.  She came, worked her usual magic and left behind one very happy client and a floor-load of hair cutting!|
She went over to Beth's and did the same there and we both count ourselves as very lucky.

Then the door bell rang and, lo and behold, it was the raspberry canes I ordered several weeks ago.  I was so pleased that I had dug over the holes for them so I popped back to the allotment (Jeff had finished several hours ago) and got them in.  They looked in pretty good shape and were already sending up little canes so my fingers are crossed for a small crop this autumn.  The others are doing very well, so that square should end up good and productive.  Beth and I both love raspberries and quite a lot never make it back to the car, let alone onto a dessert plate!

I also dug over where the runner beans are going to go and found several naughty root systems which are now elsewhere!  Ditto for where the baby corn is going and those two areas now need some attention from our electric tilling machine thingy so just smooth it all over and break up the clods.

See what I mean!
(please ignore the state of the edging - it's very old)

The ground felt quite dry so I set to with the watering cans and gave the raspberries, the pansies and the broad beans a good drink.

Our soil is quite stony so every week or so I have a stone picking session.  Despite this, they never seem to grow any fewer (perhaps they reproduce when we're not looking) but it must be helping and at least pretty much all the larger stones have gone now.  It's not great for carrots, etc, but fine for most crops.

I was there longer than I had intended but it was so gorgeous; sunny and quite warm in the sun although cool in the shade.

I had only just arrived home when there was another knock at the door and it was Rachel, a Slimming World friend.  She was dropping off some spare seeds - gerbera and sunflower - so I will get them planted today.  I'm not sure what I will do with the sunflowers - probably grow them in a container, but the gerberas are for the allotment and now we have that wheelbarrow, they can go in there as well.
She didn't come in, of course, but we have arranged that when it gets warmer we will meet for garden coffee and a chat.

Finally, just to cap it all off, I had an email from Nuffield to say that I had got a place for a swim today (I was on the waiting list).  Yippeeeeeee.
It really was a lovely day!

So - after all that, today has two scheduled things.  I have that swim in the morning and I might go a bit early and have a stroll around Matalan - just because I can!  Then it will be home for a shower and a hair wash and, most likely, a bit of a kip.
I have seeds to sow (thank you, Rachel) and plantlets to pot on (courgettes and cucumbers) and I really must deal with the mint pots which are a right mess.  I think it is a case of everything out, new soil, cut out some of the rubbish and repot the rest.  It's just as well mint is so tough it is virtually indestructible!  Also there's one raspberry cane left over which will just go in a pot for now, in case any of the others fail and need replacing.

The other thing is that I have my weekly face to face chat with Dad which will be lovely!  

Apologies for the ramble but people have said they like hearing about the allotment and garden so . . . thank you!
Have a super day, stay warm, safe and positive.  And sensible!  < grin >  xx

Monday 12 April 2021


 Morning, everyone.  We have yet another frost this morning, darn it, and another predicted for overnight tonight so I am very reluctant to take the fleeces off the fruit trees.  Ah well, maybe tomorrow.  The skies are clear and it looks as if it will be another fine day!

Yesterday was lovely.  After an easy morning, I went down to Beth's for a jolly good lunch and a catch up with her and Alex.  She had made a mixed veg stir fry and it was most satisfying!

(photo borrowed from the internet)

We were talking about my holiday next month at Southwold (fingers crossed) so when I got home I checked my booking, just for the fun of it.  They've changed the way you get the key.  There used to be a 'Suffolk Secrets' shop in the town where you collected and left the key but now there's a key safe at the property and the week before you get sent a code to open that safe.  Much easier really.  I think it is time to start planning what I will take.  It's self catering so a few home comforts are very welcome.  I always take Thermione, for example, and a small fan and I always take food staples too plus enough food for Saturday and Sunday's meals.
There's also trips to plan.  Last time I stayed local but this time I want to take the car out and about a bit more.  There's Aldeburgh, for example, Framingham Castle and the church next to it is worth a visit and I think there have been a number of changes to Sutton Hoo since last I visited.  I have to check arrangements for all these places; you can't assume you can just walk in nowadays.
Oh, and I remember there was a rather nice winery that sold their own, rather good (and expensive) wines.  I wish I could remember the name.
Anyway - time to get organising stuff which is always a big part of a holiday for me.

Later on in the day I had some good news from Dave (son) so all in all, yesterday was a good one.

The biggest biggie of the lot today is . . . < drum roll > . . . my hair appointment.  Woo hoo.  I will feel human again, three cheers!  Sharon is expected by one thirty so by two fifteen . . .  
It's it odd how tatty hair can make one feel so down and nice hair can lift the spirits!

Another biggie is that I'm meeting Jeff down the allotment and he is repairing the shed.  I'll be thankful when it's done; the roof really is in a poor way at the moment.  I have a few other things to ask him about too.
Originally, I had intended planting out the spuds but I think it is just a bit too cold so I'll schedule some time later on this week when I can do the broad beans and the sweet peas as well.

And the third biggie is that I've booked some swimming sessions this week.  Wow, it's been ages since I had a swim - in fact, it was my holiday at Thoresby Hall last October and when I came back my gym membership had finished and I never renewed it because of the situation - tiers/lockdown/etc.  The first one is tomorrow, just a swim.  The aquacise classes don't seem to have started yet.  It's going to be quite crowded and most of the sessions were fully booked with a waiting list.  In fact, I'm number two on the waiting list for tomorrow's session so that might not happen.  I definitely have a place for the other two sessions though.

Today, as no-one needs telling, is shop opening up day.  I just hope people will be sensible and that this doesn't precipitate another bout of covid 19.

Have a great day, everyone.  Be safe, stay well and keep smiling . . .  xx

Sunday 11 April 2021


 Morning, everyone, happy Sunday to you!
It's cold out there with quite a frost.  The strawberries have their plastic hats on and Beeb says 'heavy snow showers' between seven and eight this morning - weird for a third of the way through April but there we go, when was our weather ever not weird at times?

More parcels arrived yesterday, mostly for Beth, but both my potting tray and the bottle watering can lids arrived, the latter quite a surprise as the bumph had said not till the end of next week.  I tried one straight away and, to my great delight, it fitted my big two litre plastic bottle perfectly.  Much better for watering the plantlets than my little indoors watering can.

Eileen, this is the potting tray.  The soil you are using goes in the main body of the tray and that's where you do all the potting and the bits at the top are for marker pen, labels, twine, envelopes of seed - whatever one needs for the task.
It's bigger than it looks in the photo and, I think, is just what I hoped it would be; a perfect size to sit on the fold up coffee table I use for this work.  A shame I couldn't christen it yesterday but I'd already done the sowing/potting on.

In the morning, I sowed some Ailsa Craig tomatoes and some purple sprouting broccoli so there's that excitement to come.   I also potted on some leeks that I bought in a garden centre, I forget which one.

The babies are coming on nicely, I think.  I know it is not idea having them in the house, but they have to, in lieu of a greenhouse.  I'd dearly love a greenhouse, a proper heated one, but there's no room really.  Maybe I could investigate one tucked in by the shed . . . hmmm, I wonder . . .

Front from left to right:
baby corn
broad beans which must go out this week.  They were supposed to be replacements but all the first row has come up so it would be reasonable to expect that the second row will do so too.  These can be the third row, the seeds for which which I haven't sown yet.
then there's some baby tomatoes in the same tray as the broad beans
finally, there's sweet peas (also pretty much ready to go out), courgettes and cucumbers.  The courgettes seem to be doing well but I'm not so sure of the cucumbers - I might sow a few more.

Back, right to left:
loadsa baby tomato plants
hidden behind the broadies, the leeks and the newly sown tomatoes and spinach

I'll be starting the runner beans in pots in a few weeks, after some poor experiences over the past few years sowing them directly outside.

Once all that's grown and out, that's pretty much a full allotment plot!

Three or four weeks ago, M&S were selling pots of planted mini-irises for £3 so I treated myself to one.  They're just starting to come up and out and they're lovely.  Of course, once they have finished and died back, they will go in the garden to give year after year.

The two planned things yesterday didn't actually happen.  Jeff postponed the shed work because of forecast rain which, of course, never materialised and Beth stayed home in the afternoon which I had half expected anyway.

It was a good day though; restful and productive, what with the seeds and getting on with the knitting.

Today, I'm spending the morning in and then going round to Beth's for lunch.  She is doing a stir fry, I think, and I am taking over a rhubarb and strawberry crumble with custard for dessert - allotment rhubarb, of course.  The rest of the day will be nice and quiet with some ironing, some exercise, talking to the plantlets (of course) and knitting.

Having muttered about 'heavy snow showers' predicted between seven and eight, the sun is shining (at six thirty) and the skies are clear.  We will see.

Well, I'd better get that crumble topping made, it won't make itself.  I must also get all Beth's parcels into a bag or I will forget them.  Have a lovely day, stay warm and be happy.  xx

Saturday 10 April 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It's a dull, quite chilly morning with rain forecast, quite a contrast to yesterday which turned out nice and sunny.

Yesterday was quite a day, as I did things I have been pondering over for a while.  

I have re-joined the gym.  My membership ran out last autumn and there seemed no point in renewing it at the time.  Of course, gyms open up again on a restricted basis from Monday so I got an (expected) email from them regarding re-joining.  I'd already discussed this with Lindsey and come to no firm conclusion.
However, when the email landed, my immediate reaction was 'go for it' so I have done; after all, I can think of worse ways of splashing the cash and the pension lump sum is mostly still there!!  I've asked for a proper induction this time; before, I just wanted to use the pool but now I want to learn how to use the machines and put together a fitness programme too.  

Again, after pondering for a while, I have ordered an exercise bike, just a home gym type, after discussion with Lindsey.  No, I am not bonkers, it's the sort of thing I can do while watching telly so, like my rebounder, I will use it and I look upon it as an investment in a healthy future. 
That should come next week (the bike, I mean - the healthy future will take longer!!!).

I really enjoyed my early morning trip to the shops or the weekly top up, treating myself to some salmon, some steak and some lamb leg steaks with the premium bonds winnings.  They're all in the freezer now!

And then, four times lucky, I ordered another bamboo, this time a smaller variety with curving stems that really looks rather attractive and I know just where it's going.  It's hard to explain but I want some sort of 'hedge' effect to the side of the shed, to conceal the compost bin but not the clematis beside it and to still give room to get into the shed.   Give this a few years and some TLC and it should do the trick nicely.

This is what it will grow into and I'm putting it into a longer, rectangular shaped pot.  The bumph says it is not terribly invasive and it will be in a pot anyway!

It was parcels day yesterday.
Through the glass of the front door, I noticed a very tall box.  Funny, thought I, but when I investigated it was the apple tree and the black bamboo.  I hadn't been expecting them, thinking they would take longer to come.
I'm pleased with them.  The apple is about a metre tall and is leafing quite nicely.  Assuming it blossoms this year, I'm just umming and ahing about taking it down to the allotment (in its pot) when the other apples are in blossom, for pollination this year.  All being well, I should have another columnar style tree next year so pollination won't be such a problem.
The bamboo is about half a metre tall and has new growth as well as older canes.  I can see it's going to be extremely attractive and I'm really glad I bought it.
I'll take a few photos at some point.

Then the postman turned up with five - FIVE - parcels.  However, four of them were for Beth and the fifth was the coddling moth traps I ordered - not all that romantic!

The one parcel I WAS expecting, the potting tray, didn't arrive.  Maybe today?  Fingers crossed.

Yesterday turned out to be an extremely self indulgent day, didn't it?

Today rain is expected so Jeff has deferred the shed repairs until Monday morning.  OK by me.  Beth is supposed to be round this afternoon for a spot of potato planting but this probably won't happen either, partly because of the rain but also because Beth had her second vaccine on Thursday, had a bit of a reaction and, I think, ought to stay quiet and rest.
None of this is a problem; I have plenty to keep me happy.

In the most recent Good Food magazine, there was a freebie of three packets of seeds.  I won't use the green courgette ones as we prefer yellow courgettes but the other two are spinach and Ailsa Craig tomato.  
I already have loads of tomatoes coming along but I've never grown Ailsa Craig.  Are they a tasty variety?  It's perhaps a bit late but I might just sow a few and tuck the rest away for next year.
As for the spinach, it's not my favourite veg although I suspect fresh plucked spinach is a very different thing from packaged leaves and it would be nice to have something to harvest through the winter.  I have time to decide this one - what do you think?

Have a lovely Saturday, everyone.  Take care, stay safe and be happy.  xx

RIP, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Friday 9 April 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  I'm awake ridiculously early today, no idea why and I expect I will have a power-nap later on but it's quite nice to see light dawning now and again.
It's nowhere near freezing this morning and is predicted to be fine until mid afternoon.  A bit of rain would be a good thing for the plants, I think.  Another frost is still on the cards for Sunday night but after that it all looks very pleasant indeed.

Yesterday was nice too.  I had a good old natter with Chris and the SW zoom meeting was, again, great fun.  I've been wearing my new hearing gizmo for things like the SW meeting and, undoubtedly, I am hearing a lot more and am taking much more part in the chat which is lovely.  The only thing is that because my aids are on the T switch, I can't hear myself talking.  Weird!

Today, I'm glad I've woken early because I want to do an early morning shop to M&S and Aldi.  Apart from that, the only other thing is the arrival of the cleaners this afternoon.
I'm expecting the delivery of a potting tray, the kind you use to pot up plants with containers at the back for labels, pens, etc.  It's quite small, which is what I wanted, and looks to be handy in stopping the soil spreading far and wide.   Hopefully.
Anyway, if it arrives in time, I shall be potting on the courgettes, I think, and getting the broccoli sown.

It's a fairly peaceful day today which I'm looking forward to very much.
Have a lovely day yourself.  xx

Later edit:  I forgot to mention something nice - I heard from the Premium Bonds people that I won £25 this month.  That's four £25 wins in nine months - better than interest in a savings account at the moment.  Cheered me up, that did!

Thursday 8 April 2021


Hello, everyone!  It's Thursday; the week is whizzing past, as is the month - we are over a quarter of the way through April, would you believe?
The sun was shining very first thing but it's clouding over now.  Beeb reckons it will be a bit dull all day; a shame, but at least it doesn't look as if we will have any frost.

The little strawberries survived the bottle treatment yesterday and had the same overnight although, thankfully, we had no frost.  It looks as if Sunday night might be pretty cold but after that things will warm up and we can take the fleece off the trees down the allotment.

Yesterday was a pretty easy day.  I got a whole pile of ironing done, to my great relief, before driving over to Lindsey's for PT.  It was jolly cold and I did the hour with a warm jumper over my usual T shirt and leggings, plus gloves for the first half hour, but she soon got me warmed up and it seemed to go well.  I'm feeling energised this morning, always the sign of a good session.  With any luck, next week we can use her new studio.  It's in the middle of being decorated and when that's finished, the equipment can all go in.  A heavy job but once done, it's done.
It really is a beautiful house.

After lunch, Val and I had a good old chat.  Next week, hopefully, I can go over to hers for a garden coffee and chat.  Weather permitting.

Today, there are two things in the diary, an online chat with Christine this morning and the Slimming World meeting early evening.  In between those two I have a house to clear for tomorrow's cleaners and some planting, weeding, etc, to be getting on with.

My thanks to Sue for mentioning about those little tops that turn plastic bottles into watering cans.  What a very useful thing and I had no idea, did you?  I have ordered a set and we will see which bottles they fit when they arrive.  The reviews say they are OK with the one litre bottles but not the larger two litres one.  We will see.

So - a very normal day with plenty of time for reading, crocheting and generally indulging myself.  I've started on the background squares for the second cat cushion and am not wondering about one for myself too, not with cats on the squares (I'm not a cat lady) but maybe with hearts or flowers or something.  If I did flowers and leaves, it would be nice for sitting outside.  I'll have a thunk about that.

Well, time to stop and get on to Facebook for the daily posts in my groups.  Have a super day and stay safe - our world might be opening up somewhat but it's still not all that safe, so go carefully.  xx

Wednesday 7 April 2021


 Morning, everyone.  It's been a very cold night and there was a heavy frost first thing, as the banner photo shows.  The sun is shining brightly so it should soon thaw but I am very glad I did this yesterday.

Here's hoping I've done the right thing.  The two little plants I didn't cover look pretty chilly but - well, we will see.  At least they're a lot easier to take off and put back than the fleece so once the temperature is more reasonable this morning, I will uncover the plants and re-cover them later on.

I didn't take any protective measure with the blueberries so here's hoping.  

I spent some time down the allotment yesterday and now the potato trenches are ready for action.  They aren't that straight, I'm no expert, but I don't care and nor will the spuds!  It looks a bit messy in the photo; I ought to have brushed the sides but there we go, it can wait.  Four trenches so that should keep us in spuds for a few months.  We're planting Charlottes as they are a favourite with us both.
Here's exciting photo of soil no. 2!

In preparation for the new raspberry canes, I forked into where each plant will go and loosened/broke up the soil before forking in some slow release general fertilised.  Our policy of covering the soil around them seems to have worked in keeping the nasty weeds down - there were very few of those white rootlets in the soil I forked and one would have expected there to be as that's where the light is.  I'm very happy about that.
Beth has suggested that when the canes are in, we chip over that section too.  Good idea, it will look so much nicer and, over the years, the chips rot down and then they can be swept up and dug into the soil.

Good news about the broadies - every one of the first sowing has now emerged apart from the one I found dug up (cat?) three weeks or so ago.  I have sixteen 'gap' plants, all strong and healthy at home so, one way or another, we will be OK for broad beans.

There's a strong sense of waiting patiently down the allotment at the moment.  Loads of people seem to have rediscovered their plots over lockdown, so many more plots are being dug over, fed, organised and made ready and it's a nice place to be.
There's really not a lot else to do right now.  Keep the grass cut, the weeds down, repair the shed (on Saturday, fingers crossed) and that's about it for this week.  The spuds go in maybe Saturday, the sweet peas next week as soon as I can pinch out the tops, and the rest has to wait.  I suppose I could plant that third and last double row of broad beans, again next week.

Today starts with housework and moves on the personal training.  Then it's an online chat with Val (way too cold to sit in the garden) and that's about it.

Have a great day and I do hope you have sunshine as we do here.  It's cheerful!   xx

Tuesday 6 April 2021

Tuesday - including an allotment update so long blog alert!

 Good morning, everyone.  I hope you had a very pleasant Easter weekend making plenty of happy memories.  Beth and Alex came over for Sunday lunch and we enjoyed a roast lamb dinner with roasties, loadsa veg and a slice of toasted hot cross bun loaf for afters.

As it happened, Leonie (my Thermomix consultant) had sent a recipe for this loaf on the Saturday and, as I had everything needed, I thought I'd give it a go.  It's so easy making loafy things in the Thermomix and it turned out extremely well.  

My Easter treat to myself (as if I need any excuse or reason) was things for my own garden.  I've mentioned before that I'd like to try a 'columnar' style fruit tree or two so I've started off with an apple.

This is a 'ballerina' type apple.  The bumph says that it's the easiest type as it naturally produces very small fruiting spurs off the main stem and rarely needs pruning  It's also happy in a pot (with appropriate feeding/watering) which is what I want.  The apples are 'flamenco' apples which I have never heard of so I looked that up (what would be do without Google?) and it says they are sharp and refreshing and that they don't keep.  They might be OK for cooking as well as eating - I do love a refreshing apple.  I used to adore Granny Smiths but either my taste has changed or they are just not as refreshing as they used to be.

It's not self pollinating but we do have apple trees in the immediate area so fingers crossed.   I'm expecting to get a few more anyway, in time, if this in manageable.  I would love a cherry, for instance.

Another plant that I've keen to have for a while now is a bamboo, both for leafage and for a bit of height.  However, bamboo is highly invasive; even the clumping kind isn't really suitable for a small garden with limited soil space but, again, it can go into a pot.
So I have looked around and ordered a black bamboo, so called because after a year the stems turn an attractive dark colour (the leaves are green)

Both photos have been borrowed from where I bought the plant - I am under no illusions that they will look like that when they arrive but, just maybe, after a couple of years of TLC. . . 

I also bought some codling moth traps, one for the apple and pear trees (they work over a reasonable area) and one for the plum as, apparently, they are different.  The plum may be on its final warning, but I'm trying to give it every opportunity!  
(not to mention the fact that we love plums and all things plummy - plum sauce, plum jam, plum chutney, plum liqueur made with either gin or vodka, etc)

The fleece arrived on Saturday but as Beth couldn't get over to help on Saturday anyway, that was OK.  We ended up covering the plum and the pear trees on Sunday, plus there was enough for the strawberries as well.   The accompanying sheet said that it could be washed before reusing so we will treat it oh, so carefully!  

It wasn't as simple as we had expected, getting such a large piece of fleece over the trees and they looked ridiculous when we had finished, giving not only us a fit of the giggles but also the chap two plots along who was politely trying to hide his laughter until he heard ours, whereupon he joined in.  He said it was a good idea, mind you

See what I mean . . .  Those sticking out bits are pegs, as Christine advised the other day

However, when I woke on Monday, it was quite windy, creating concern as to how well the fleece had stayed on.  Fingers were crossed and Monday afternoon we just drove to the allotment to see how well it had withstood the wind.  It had - you'd never have known we'd had wind.  I'm so glad we made the effort because this morning (Tuesday) we have a frost.

The other thing Beth and I did on Sunday was make the wigwams for the sweet peas which are almost ready to plant out.  I read that once you have two sets of real leaves (rather than seed leaves) you pinch out the top and the plant then sends out side shoots and is ready to go out.  I gather they are not susceptible to frost but it makes sense to leave the planting out until Thursday-ish.  Ditto for the potatoes.

I did intend to do some garden stuff but it was so chilly in the wind, I chickened out.  We even had snow at one point, real proper snow that didn't settle but looked pretty falling.
The afternoon was milder and really sunny but Beth was over and we had plenty to chat about.

Today, the sun is shining brightly but the forecast is for more chilly weather.  I might go and dig the trenches for the seed potatoes - that should warm me up nicely.  I also want to prepare the ground for the new raspberries.  That area is covered, with holes cut in the ground cover.  I think they are wide enough to take a fork - finger crossed.  And there's weeds - always weeds.

I will also be continuing to work on the cat cushion for Beth.    I've done the background squares and a few of the cats (not in the photo) and I think I said that Beth will be doing the features as she's so much better at that than I.  There will be a border around the whole thing and I am hoping that the cushion pad will stretch the whole thing out a bit because, being acrylic yarn, it won't take well to ironing.  The back is just one granny square made to the same size as the front.

Today I need to make the cats - the only tricky thing is making sure the yarn changes don't show on the right side - it's harden than knitting, I find.

I think that's it for today - no, I have a chat with Dad as it is Tuesday.  It's too cold for any face to faces in the garden this week.

I hope you had a really lovely Easter.  Were you able to meet up with family or friends?
Have a great day.  Stay warm and stay safe, everyone.  xx