Saturday 31 July 2021


 Good morning!  The day started off fairly fine but it's clouding over now so - another typical old-fashioned Summer day, I guess.  We had some fairly gusty bouts of wind yesterday but nothing too challenging, thankfully.

SW was  nice.  More and more people are returning now and more are staying for the session too.  Yesterday, Jen showed me how to do the booking in and payment thing (bit complicated but I'll get there) so now I can cover either that or the weighing, freeing Jen up to talk to the new members when they come.

Then it was on to my last shorter Friday session with Lindsey.  Next week we're back to an hour on Wednesdays which I am glad about.  Because I don't have the nerve to turn up at SW in my lycra leggings (no rude comments, thank you!), I take my exercise stuff with me and change at Lindsey's before we start.  Nice of her to let me do it but it isn't ideal really.

I spent the rest of the day at home, doing housework, etc, before popping round to Morrisons for a few bits I needed that evening and didn't have.  I've got a delivery coming today so it really was a small shop.  All went well until checkout when I realised that great long queues were forming at both forms of checkout.  There were very few people on checkout too, maybe because of the pingdemic as Morrisons is usually very good at opening another checkout.  The queue went right from front to back of the shop and then round the corner which was boring, but people were very good and patient.  Let's face it, getting moody wouldn't make any difference and I guess the Brits are good at queueing!

As it rained, I didn't go to the allotment.

Today there's nothing down in the diary until the Morrisons delivery between four and five this afternoon and the house is pretty clean after the cleaners worked their magic yesterday so I will have an unplanned day apart from allotment where the grass needs a haircut.  

One exciting thing (exciting in my world anyway) is that I've just looked and the dwarf French beans I sowed last weekend in the pot beside my French window which doubles as the back door and a couple are breaking through the soil.  Something else to nurture.  That makes me happy.

Wishing you all as good a day as I hope to have.  Stay safe, well and contented. xx

Friday 30 July 2021


 Morning, everyone.  How are you all?  Well, I hope.
I've woken to rain.  It seems to be clearing now but showers are forecast later which could mean anything from a few drops to a real downpour.  No need to water the allotment, anyway, so that's good.

Yesterday morning's mini harvest from the garden.  One of the cucumbers and all the tomatoes are now gone and I'm umming and ahing about the chillies.  Maybe a spicy burger?

Chris and I got our chat after a debate as to whether it was a bit chilly.  We decided to give it a go and settled in my back garden where the stiff breeze died down and there was real warmth in the sun.

Strawberry picking was a lovely experience.  They've developed the place since I was last there and now have loads of parking available.  The need to book is working well in that they are now not inundated with pickers in great long queues to have their containers weighed, nor at the end to pay.  I took a reasonable sized plastic container and managed to fill it without too much trouble.  There was a reasonable walk to the far field where the strawberries are this year (they also have a nearer field which has not been used this time) which was perfect for exercising my calves and ankles.
The strawberries themselves are in long grow bags on trestles so there's no need to squat down to pick but some berries hang down so they are accessible to children.  Definitely a back saver!

When I got home I sorted them out into some for Beth, some for Chris, some (any slightly damaged ones) sliced and frozen for strawberry gin or vodka, some whole for the freezer and the rest for scoffing in the next few days.  There were loads and loads still to ripen so I may go back again next week for more - they taste divine.
I forgot to take photos.  Maybe next time.

Later on, I drove round to Beth's to drop off the berries and then to the allotment.  No need to water but I got all the old broad bean plants out and on the compost heap and gave that patch a proper weeding and forking over so it's ready for when the new seeds come.  I came home with the very last of the broad beans (hardly any), the first of the baby corn and a nice bunch of sweet peas.  Once picked, they don't last all that long but they don't have to because a couple of days later there are loads more to cut.

Today starts with Slimming World and continues with my lash half hour of personal training.  Lindsey has been so very good about splitting my session into two half hours while I've been injured, but it's time to get back to normal again.

After that, I need to tidy things away a bit ready for the cleaners and while they are here I will scoot down to guess where to dig a few potatoes for Beth and Alex and do some more endless weeding.  If the seeds have arrived, I might do some sowing too, we will see.  The grass needs another haircut so I've put that on tomorrow's list of Things To Do.

It's very nice that things have normalised again and the routine re-established.  I like regularity and it helps.
Hoping you have a lovely day with not too much rain or wind.  xx

Thursday 29 July 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  After some real downpours yesterday, today has dawned nice and bright with clear skies and a cool, fresh feel.  Beeb says it will be lovely and sunny all morning - great!

I sat down with the relevant catalogue yesterday morning and did what I have been planning to do for a while - ordered a couple more Minarette fruit trees to keep the Flamenco apple company.  Nothing too adventurous, just well known, popular ones.  I ordered a Braeburn apple because that's a favourite, and a Victoria plum because I think we've given up on the allotment one.
The Braeburn flowers at the same time and the Flamenco, so that's sorted out the cross pollination issue and the Victoria plum is self pollinating (says the catalogue).
And then I went slightly bananas and also ordered a fig tree, to be kept in a container with a root restriction bag.  That was rather an impulse buy and I need to read up about them but it's quite exciting!

I don't think they will come until October so that given me time to get pots and soil, etc. 

That was yesterday's little extravagance but I've done two tuition sessions this week which has gone a bit of a way towards covering the cost.  Not entirely but better than nothing.  And I got a tax rebate, of course, so it's all fine.

After tuition, I had a lovely fruit platter for breakfast and then set off for personal training with Lindsey.  Half exercise and half massage, the same on Friday and then back to the usual hour next week.
By the time I got home, Beth had arrived and Sharon was busy doing her hair.  Then she did mine and I'm really pleased with the results.

While she was working, the heavens opened outside which put paid to any need to go and water the allotment.  However, I wanted to go and see how the courgettes had settled in so I went anyway.

As you can see, they look quite happy at the moment so fingers crossed.  At least we have tried.  At a pound a plant, one can hardly go wrong really.

The first dwarf French bean to emerge is doing nicely and several others are racing to catch up.  Nice
I remember from last year that, just as the runner beans were slowing down, these were ready for picking

Eileen sent me a link (many thanks to you, Eileen) to an online shop that has some Autumn picking broad bean seeds.  I've never heard of these before but it's worth a try so I ordered some.
Then, coincidentally, Beth messaged me to ask if I realised that it wasn't too late to plant some more mangetout - we lost the first planting to marauding pigeons.

So that seems to have sorted my 'what to plant' question.  Thank you very much ladies.

On to today.

I am hoping that Chris can come round for a garden chat or online if the weather doesn't play ball despite the forecast.   Also, I managed to get a slot for PYO strawberries at Lathcoats later on in the morning, so I am very much looking forward to those two things.
 Apart from that, I'm hoping to weed down the allotment and to talk to the courgettes and keep them happy!  I could clear the rest of the broad beans; they are really well over and past it now.  That would clear some space for the new sowings when the seeds come.

I'm hoping for a nice, easy day.  Hope yours is too.  xx

Wednesday 28 July 2021


 Morning.  It's a fully old start to the day.  It feels coolish but it's humid (I think) and it's very dull.  We are forecast a few light showers but if they're anything like yesterday's 'showers' we will have afternoon sunshine.

One of my commenters (thank you so much) identified the apple problem as something called bitter pit.  I've looked it up and on the RHS site it says:

Correct feeding and watering to maintain steady growth throughout the growing season is the key to reducing problems with bitter pit. Foliar sprays of calcium nitrate can be applied from mid-June to mid-September to increase the concentration of calcium within the developing apples.

Ooops.  I never knew you feed fruit trees.  Better get some calcium nitrate and a bigger sprayer thingy - I just have those little spray bottles that double for spraying water on ironing.

Yesterday, tuition was most enjoyable, I had a nice chat over coffee with Beth, although not as long as expected because something had come up and she needed to get back on the laptop to deal with it.

On the way home I took a little diversion (genuinely - just down a country lane off my route) to Grenville's Nursery.
For the last few weeks, I have been muttering about taking a look around to see if any garden centres still have yellow courgette plants.  Some of you may remember that I grew some from seed, planted them at the allotment and the next day they had gone.  Not died, just gone, with neat little holes left where they should be.  Very odd.  The two spares that Beth took back to hers are still alive and one is doing extremely well.  Not the same as having them at the allotment though; we ALWAYS have yellow courgettes at the allotment!
All this was before I had to drop tools and go to Dad's so a while ago now.
Anyway, I took that diversion yesterday.  Grenville's is a proper nursery.  No cards, soap, food, perfume, clothes, etc, just garden and allotment equipment and thousands and thousands of quality plants at competitive prices.
I was so lucky - they did have yellow courgettes.  Obviously, they had grown, they had long stems (they are trailers) with dead leaves lower down but at the end of the stems they were very healthy with good sized leaves and, in some cases, mature fruit.  I didn't get any with actual fruit but I found three with both male and female flowers and healthy leaves growing.  
Their bedding plants are £1.20 or five for a fiver so I looked around and bought two chilli peppers, gusto purple, to make up the five because - why not?  These also had some fruit but the two I chose also had plenty of flowers, buds and healthy looking leaves.   They can go where I've just cleared the broad beans and I'll probably put them in today after harvesting the mature chillies.

So, in the afternoon, I drove to the allotment and got the three courgettes planted with some water retaining gel crystals and slow release fertiliser pellets, watering them in well.
I hope I did it right - I dug comparatively big holes and buried the stems right up to where the leaves started in the hopes that they work like tomatoes and develop roots on the buried stems.  Fingers crossed.
They'd better still be there when I go down this afternoon, that's all I can say.
Stupidly, I left both camera and phone at home so will take a few photos today instead

I came home with six raspberries in my tum and a very happy feeling.

Today is a busy one.
First I have the second tuition session of this week.
Then it's home for breakfast before I go to Lindsey's for personal training
Then I whizz back because the lovely Sharon comes to tame my hair.  This should have been last Tuesday but it was Dad's funeral
Finally, I will be down the allotment to talk to the courgettes, weed and generally potter happily around.

It all sounds nice, doesn't it?  I hope yours is also just what you would choose it to be.  Stay well, stay safe and be happy.  xx

Tuesday 27 July 2021


 Good morning.  I'm up very early and it's only just starting to get light so it's hard to tell what it is like out there.  However, Beeb predicts light rain showers for at least part of the day.  Not enough to avoid an allotment trip, I suspect.

Yesterday's trip to the allotment was quite exciting (in a small way).  Everything was nice and wet, which was good; no need to water.

Three of the four fruit trees are bearing but I don't know what's happened to the laxtons (or whatever they are).  Most of the little apples, although not all, are covered with these little brown blotches.  Do any of you knowledgeable people out there know what the problem is, please.  The redlove seems fine.

The poor old plum is not only trying to reach to the moon, it's also got very unhealthy, curled up leaves.  I will have to look that up.  I truly think it will have to go.

Two babies.  The one on the left is the second dwarf French bean to emerge from see sowing last Wednesday.  So nice and quick! 
The out of focus one on the right is what seems to be the first couple of baby runner beans.  Good-oh!  Fresh picked runners are just about my favourite veg.  I must remember to pinch out the tops of some of them today as they're reached the tops of the canes.

The baby corn is now flowering and there are definitely some little corns all wrapped up in their leafy beds emerging from the stems.  One has to pick them before the silks emerge from the ends or they get tough and woody, unlike the usual corn on the cob.  They're not just immature corn, they won't grow into big cobs if left, they just become inedible.

I'm thinking maybe about a fortnight.

The poor old potatoes look very sad after last week's blight protection measures.  However, there's gold in them there ridges!  Must do some weeding there today.

I started pulling up the first planted row of broad beans.  They were looking very manky and blackfly damaged, no more flowers and only a few pods.  The other two rows, planted a but later, can stay for a short while but they're not looking all that much better really.

A lot of this leafage is actually quite healthy and well grown babies on the runners.  They can't reach the new bed so I will let them be until Autumn and then cut and replant them and hope they are strong enough to survive.  There's more berries coming on here as well as in the garden.

After some weeding, I came home with six raspberries (for breakfast today), some broad beans (which went into the freezer) and another little bunch of sweet peas.
I looked up what to plant in August and there isn't really all that much I am interested in so I may very well give the empty patches a good forking over and see if there's any well rotted manure in the corners of the communal manure pile.  Perhaps, this year, I will get around to planting some over winter broad beans.  Maybe . . .
I still think I'll take a trip to the local garden centre to see what they have . . .

At home, the first red tomato seems to be ready to pick.  Just the one but it's a start.  There's nine cucumbers growing rapidly (neighbour handouts, I guess) and a few more strawberries plus an awful lot of blueberries which I must make the effort to pick today.  The netting is pretty effective in stopping me as well as the birds!

Going to the allotment was the highlight of yesterday but today is more busy.
First I have tuition with my student who carries on through the holiday.  I have two sessions this week for a very good reason and today I've dug up a mystery maths challenge game for a bit of fun.
Then I am off round to Beth's for coffee.  She is doing mostly admin work today so can work around a chat over coffee which is nice.
The afternoon is lazier but I have more ironing so will get that done while watching something on telly.  There's also the usual trip to the allotment later on in the afternoon, assuming it doesn't rain.  I might take the mower with me this time (and I might not!).  😏

I'm looking forward to today; it should be fun.  I hope yours is good too.  Be safe and happy.  xx

Monday 26 July 2021


Good morning.   Another dull but dry start to the day.  Yesterday was weird - it kept going very dark and gloomy but after some very light rain first thing, it remained sort of dry pretty much all day.  When I say 'sort of', I mean there was dampness in the air and the very occasional single drop.  At them, come the evening, the heavens opened and we had a real downpour for about an hour.  If we were prone to flooding round here, we would have.  It was quite a relief because the allotment had felt pretty dry earlier but I hadn't watered, expecting rain.
There might have been a bit of thunder; I had my TV loop system on for some of the time, so wouldn't know.

Yesterday passed pretty much as expected.  My Morrisons delivery arrived with a few subs, all appropriate, in the morning so I have plenty of fresh stuff in again now.  Early afternoon I drove to the allotment to check things out.  Excitingly, the first dwarf French bean has emerged and where one starts, others will follow.  The runners are flowering madly but I couldn't see any baby beans.  There was a picking of sweet peas and I dug up two potato plants and got these beauties . . .

Also, there are definitely some baby corns emerging from the sides of the stems so it shouldn't be long before they are ready to pull off.

Look what I found yesterday - not that it took much finding.
I can share the results with Chris who gave me the blackcurrants too.  It's five months till Christmas and this should be ready in three months, ready to mature for the festive season, so I won't make the drink for a month.  The fruit is quite safe in the freezer. 
It will make nice champagne cocktails, don't you think?

Today's diary page is completely blank.  However, I have washing, ironing, house work and, assuming the forecast is right and it will be dry today, some allotment weeding.  After the rain, those pesky invaders will be fighting back so I need to stay on top of things.  Also, I think my ankles and calves are now strong enough for me to wheel the manky old barrow up to the top of the site where there is a pile for dumping unwanted stuff at the moment - very useful.
I also need to sort out and tidy a few kitchen drawers; they're a bit messy and crumby

What's the rain been like your way?
Take care, stay safe and well and have a great day.  xx

Sunday 25 July 2021

Garden update

 After posting today's blog, I popped back into the garden to take some photos.  It's very dull so quality is not great but you'll get the idea.

They may be out of focus but they're still starting to ripen'

The first time I've grown these.  They're called Floridity and I had two plants but lost one down the allotment.
(ooops, focus again)

Next year's new strawberry plants!

But this year's are still producing which is rather nice.  

Several of them too.  I'll take that!

A goodly number of blueberries to pick.

Several baby cucumbers

Let's play 'spot the cucumbers'.

The new 'Flamenco' apple seems to be happy enough.  One apple fell in the June drop (in July!) and the others seem a bit crowded.  I should have thinned them but didn't have the heart first year.  Next year, when there are more, I will.

With the gardener's eye of faith, here's green beans at the end of next month, all being well.  French beans next to my back doorstep - how continental.

The hosta is very snail nibbled but the flowers are good this year.

This is always a picture, year after year after year.

Finally, the new fountain bamboo seems very happy.  The other bamboo, the black stemmed one, is slower growing but also doing well.  


 Good morning, everyone.  It's a dull old start to the day although it doesn't look as if we had any rain overnight and we didn't really have loads yesterday, just enough to make me decide there was no need to go to the allotment.   Today there are storms forecast, especially later on in the afternoon and I have to say it does feel more humid than yesterday already.

What did I do yesterday?  Well, the short answer is 'not a lot'.  I got two loads of washing done but the second load is still in the machine so that's on the list for today.  I did some cooking and some clearing up afterwards - does anyone else seem to generate an awful lot of mess while cooking? - and that was about it.  I didn't feel particularly tired, just very lazy!

I've just stepped out into the back garden to take a good close look at the tomatoes, checking for suspicious blotches on leaves or stems (definitely a risk in the warm, humid, damp weather) and noticed that although the sungolds have won the race to first picked, several other plants are also now changing colour.  Maybe a fortnight?   Yes, later than usual, but I can wait.  They'll be so good when they start.

Also, the cucumbers are producing mightily again after a bit of a lull.  I can see salads will be on the menu a lot this coming week.  Must look up pickled cucumbers!

And my other thought as I looked around was that the bulbs in one of the planters now being over and done, I think I will top it up a bit and sow some dwarf French beans in that as well as down the allotment.  May as well use the space.  It's a manky old pot, probably on its last legs, but even so, it's there to be used.

On to today.

Washing and ironing, of course.  Sowing some seeds.  I might take a wander down to the allotment to check and pick sweet peas - they are coming thick and fast now and if you don't pick them, they stop flowering.  And I could also dig up some potatoes, just a few, while the ground is damper and softer.  Meal planning is on the cards and tuition planning as one of my students usually carries on over the holiday and I have two sessions with them this coming week (for very good and valid reasons).  We'll probably have a maths day and an English day.

The garden strawberries are throwing out runners in all directions.  Some I can divert to where I want them as I'm doing down the allotment, while some will just get clipped off.  Strawberries are such generous plants when it comes to reproduction.  I'd love a bigger area for all those free plants really.

I nearly forgot - yesterday I put in a Morrison's delivery order and it's coming at between ten and eleven so I will be well stocked with fruit again.  I was running a bit short.  Better make sure I am washed, dressed and respectable by then.

So that's today - another fairly slow, gentle, lazy day (in the nicest possible way) that won't spoil whatever the weather throws at us.  What has it been like in your parts?

Have a good one, whatever your plans  xx

Saturday 24 July 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday turned out a lot cooler and more pleasant and overnight I felt positively chilly when I woke to find the duvet on the floor!  Sitting here now, it is getting darker and darker and the rain has started.  It's cool and fresh and, apart from the rain, pleasant.

Yesterday morning went very much as planned.  Slimming World was great fun although a few regulars were away on holiday.  To my shock, I had lost two pounds.  I have no idea how, but this losing weight thing is a funny old business, never as simple as 2+2=4.

Then I drove on to Lindsey's where I loosened up the old calves and ankles on the cross trainer and the cycle before the massage.  Things are definitely more comfortable as the days go by although I am still being extremely careful.  The walking isn't quite right yet, there's no 'springiness', no power yet so we need to work on getting that back - carefully!  The cross trainer helps so much that we discussed one of those pedal things - Lindsey calls it an 'under desk cycle' which I can use while I'm sitting.  As it happens, another of her clients has one she doesn't need (she has another which she uses) so I'm hoping to but that off her.  I think it will help.

Finally I drove back into town, picked up my meds and came home.
That took all morning so breakfast turned into brunch!

In the afternoon, I had intended watering the allotment when the cleaners came but I had a bit of a crash.  Suddenly I felt really weary and lacking in energy which I guess is just a reaction to the last month or so.  A good snooze and I was fine again.  The allotment is getting a good watering now anyway!

Things are moving on in the garden.  There are blueberries and cucumbers to pick, more strawberries are coming on and . . . 

. . . almost enough sungolds for my lunchtime salad.  They will look very attractive halved and mixed with some red ones from the shop and the cucumber.

I'm so looking forward to being able to go out each morning, pick a bowlful and have some fried and on toast for breakfast.  So delicious!

Chris very kindly gave me a bag of redcurrants that she picked from her bushes in the garden.  They are in the freezer while I decide what to do with them.  I'm wondering about jam as there's enough for one pot or I might look up a recipe for blackcurrant cordial.  Or - I like this idea - blackcurrant vodka or gin. 

Today is a take it easy day.  There's some bedding to wash and I will bring the tumble dryer into service as outside drying ain't gonna happen!  I can catch up on my YouTube channels, do some menu planning, read and generally potter and chill.  That's the life!

Well, it's still raining and I need another coffee so I will stop and let you go.  Have a great day, whatever the weather, and stay dry, safe and happy.  xx

Friday 23 July 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday was another warm and sunny day although, I think, less humid than Wednesday.  Today just looks like being nice and warm, around 21C, not too uncomfortably hot - lovely for sitting out in the garden with a cold drink and a good book.  The fine weather is due to break tomorrow which will be good for allotment and garden, especially allotment where watering cans can't replace a good rainfall.

I got myself into town before nine yesterday.  It was a toss up which car park to use so I decided not to use the multi-storey one because of the stairs.  I'm still not confident coming down stairs and nor are my calves!  The distance to walk was around the same really.
I went to Boots first to get my meds but they weren't there.  There was no record of them.  Boots advised me to go to the surgery to check.  OK.  On the way back, I stopped off at Timpson's as I have two watches that needed new batteries and one had a cracked face.  The bill came to more than the watches are worth but I like them and there was no other reason to throw them out.  They now have lifetime batteries so should see me out.

It took around fifteen minutes so while he was doing it, I went on the the bank and got the tax rebate cheque paid in.  Nice.

Then back to Timpson's to collect the watches and back to the car.  All in all, it was around a mile, not that far, but the furthest I have tried since I did whatever-it-was to my lower legs and I was delighted that they coped well.  I could feel it and the springiness is only coming back slowly, but they felt no worse at the end that at the start and we fine through the day.  I must do some more gentle walking, I think.

So I drove on the the surgery to ask about my meds.  They had no record either so I must have not completed my online request properly, silly me.  However, the receptionist was so very helpful.  I know that generally they get a bad press but she couldn't have been more kind, understanding and helpful.  They have arranged a one off to the chemist beside the surgery and from now on my meds will come to the pharmacy in Morrisons so no more need to trudge into town.  I really should have sorted that one out ages ago.
It was also good to see that the surgery is now open so if I ever need to I can pop down there.
So my silly mistake had positive benefits.

Then it was round to Chris' for a cold drink and a good old chat on her decking.  I do enjoy these chats so much.  We set the world to rights as friends do!

I waited until about five before going to the allotment by which time it was a bit cooler and fresher.  I only watered and picked some sweet peas for Chris.  Oh, and munched a few raspberries.  The new plants are supposed to be Autumn fruiting but I think I know what's happened - Autumn fruiting plants fruit on the same year's growth while the Spring/Summer ones fruit on the previous year's growth.  Because these canes are new in, they are actually fruiting on old growth which is what the bare canes were.  Next year it will be different because, in the early Spring, one cuts the canes right down and the new growth comes from under the soil.
Does that make sense?
What does make sense is that they are a most delicious berry, large and juice.  They are called Autumn Treasure.

Today is a busy morning and a relaxed afternoon.

First of all, it's Slimming World.  This week has been difficult, obviously, with all that was going on emotionally as well as in other ways, so I think I am looking at a gain but not to worry, these things happen, don't they?
Then I am straight off to Lindsey's for the second half hour of personal training.  This will consist of some time on the cross trainer and exercise bike to loosen up and strengthen the calf muscles, followed by some massage.  It really has helped so much and it's great that Lindsey is so flexible.
Once that's finished, I will pop to the surgery, park there, go to the next door chemist and get those meds.
Then it's home to get the place ready for my lovely cleaners before relaxing in the garden.
When the cleaners come, I like to get out of their way, so that's when I will do allotment watering duty.
I've also indulged in a Hello Fresh box for the weekend and beyond and that's due to come today, plus a small air-con type thingy which I will tell you about if it's any good.  The reviews are good but, sadly, you can't rely on them being genuine.

Well, it's been a right old ramble today without any photos to lighten the load.  If you made it to the end, well done!  Have a great day, stay cool and hydrated and safe.  xx

Thursday 22 July 2021


 Good morning.  It is delightfully cool and refreshing this morning with a slightly hazy (that's the word I was searching for yesterday) sky and a promise of warmth to come.  It's a dressing gown and slippers morning but it will warm up.

I've started picking tomatoes.  It's just the sungolds at present, the others are taking longer, and there's not enough to warrant taking even a small bowl out, just enough to pick, wipe over and pop in the mouth for a burst of juicy sweetness.  So lovely!
No sign of blight (touch wood) at present.

Yesterday was a good day.

At ten, Jeff came and worked on the front strip.  Bless him, it was rather hot and two chilled diet cokes went down a treat.  I must remember to water my front now.  It's looking quite nice right now with lots of different things all higgledy piggledy with some pink poppies threading through the whole lot, self seeded but very much wanted.  The crocosmia is in flower, bright scarlet splashes against the brickwork and other, cooler colours, contrast nicely.  It's not special, it's not designed, it's a little bit country cottage, I suppose, and I rather like the effect; I'm sure it gives pleasure to my neighbours over the other side of the cul de sac (when they can see it).  The one thing that spoils the effect is the car standing space which is the original concrete, very scruffy now and, as soon as my inheritance comes through (i.e. next year sometime), I'm going to have it paved over properly to match everywhere else.

I trundled off to Lindsey's over lunch time and had my massage and a bit of exercise.  We have decided the best way forward for now is to do two half hours each week, each session consisting of some lower leg strengthening work on the cross trainer and the exercise bike (I can use both of them without any discomfort now and they get the muscles moving and they feel so much better afterwards) and massage.  Works for me, it all felt a lot easier afterwards yesterday.  

When I came home from Mum and Dad's, I brought with me some flowers that we bought on Monday to brighten the living room up on Tuesday.  They are now looking colourful on my sideboard.

Although we had no flowers at the funeral, the directors make up a little pot as standard, which we were given at the end.  It's very pretty, as you can see, and the glass cube it is in will be useful.

Yesterday afternoon, Beth and I popped down to the allotment.  First of all we took all the leaves off the potatoes.  Hopefully, that safeguards them to a certain degree from getting the blight that is rampaging through the allotment site this year. 
The leaves looked a bit suspicious but the stems were OK so fingers crossed.  We decided it was too hot to dig up any more spuds!

Beth then rested in the shade and I sowed some French dwarf bean seeds.  They should be up pretty quickly if they behave like last years' sowing behaved.  We'll do a later sowing too as they do go on into Autumn.

Everything else seems to be ticking over nicely.  We saw signs that the baby corn is about to throw up the first of the fruit and there are loads of flowers on the runner beans.  The broad beans are pretty much over now and I will have them up at some point soon and give that area a good old weeding and forking over and, maybe, dig in some manure from the communal - er - supply!

And finally we watered everything and picked the sweet peas which are doing amazingly well now.  We both had a bunch to bring home.  Lovely!

Today isn't all that busy really.

I need to go into town first thing.  A bit of a nuisance but it has to be done as I am right out of my blood pressure meds now (they are waiting for me in Boots) and I have that tax rebate cheque to pay in.  I also want to get some soluble aspirin as they can be sprayed over tomatoes to help prevent blight (thanks for the tip - I forget who it was but I'm very grateful).  However I do it, I will have to walk a fair old way and my calves and ankles will not thank me, but needs must and I can rest up afterwards.  And there are plenty of benches if I need to take a break.

At some point in the morning, I am popping over the road to Chris' for coffee and a good chat.  I'm looking forward to that.

I have to do allotment duty, of course.  Taking off the potato leaves has revealed many sneaky weeds which need to be dealt with.  I'll probably water first and that will make it easier to get them up - the ground is quite hard right now.

The rest of the day will be housework, ironing and generally just pottering around doing necessary stuff.  I wonder how hot it will get today.
I'd better stop and do my Facebook duties (admin daily posts, etc).  Hoping you all have a really pleasant day with no hassles.
Stay cool!  xx

Wednesday 21 July 2021


 Good morning, everyone.   It is another warm and semi-cunny start to the day although the skies are a bit - oh, what's the word? - not totally blue.  Not overcast, just not clear.  As I was driving home yesterday afternoon, there was a short and heavy shower here; I could see the evidence on roads and in the puddles, but I went through nothing, dry all the way.  Then it cheered up again and felt less hot and stuffy.  

I have two days to cover so here goes.  The drive up early on Monday was lovely.  Bright, sunny and not too hot.  There were various bits of paperwork to co-sign and I drove over to M&S in Biggleswade ro get stuff for Tuesday's lunch.  It might be a bit more, M&S, but they do some lovely foods and I felt I had a great selection of salads, packets and container of foods that would just need opening and popped onto dishes with just a few things to warm up.  

In the afternoon John had managed to get all three agents that were valuing for probate and the official contents valuer to come over at staggered intervals and by the afternoon we had a good idea of the house value and also which agency we want to ask to handle the actual sale, when the time comes.  To our relief, the contents valuer turned out to be a lovely lady around the same age as my two who looked around very thoroughly, wasn't the least bit concerned that we'd already started clearing and said no, she didn't need to see photos of what had already been handed out, thank you.  As expected, there's very little real value in the contents which is fine because tax will have to be paid on the value, even though we're not selling any of it.

I am so very grateful for your lovely, kind messages of support.  You've helped to see me through it all.
The funeral itself was as I know Dad wanted it to be because he mentioned it several times and modelled it for Mum's funeral.  Malcolm's words about Dad were just so lovely and the Methodist order of service is not at all 'fussy'.  Yes, there were tears and John and I supported each other through it, but there was no regret in those tears, just a huge sense of loss and a gladness that we had such a super Dad (and Mum).

Then it was back to what I will always call 'Mum and Dad's house' where John did social duties while I whizzed around opening container and getting everything out.  It was a nice spread  and, although I feared I had way too much, by the time people had gone back for seconds and John had taken some for his journey back (seven hours or so) and dinner, there was hardly anything left at all.  Phew.

I gave everywhere a good tidy up, set the good old dishwasher, made sure the fridge had nothing in it that would turn nasty before my next visit and then forgot to take my bananas from the fruit bowl.  Ooops.  I'll let Gail know and she can have them, if she wants, when she comes tomorrow.

Then, in the evening, back at home, Dave, Anna, Beth and Alex came over and we had take away Chinese, wine and a good old chat.  I was glad not to be alone.  Beth and Al have stayed overnight and are still upstairs, sleeping sweetly, I hope.

And so we move on.  Dad tried to make all matters pertaining to his 'estate' as simple as possible but it can't be that simple given that he has left a fair old bit in house value and investments.  John is taking the lead in all of that with my support, and I thank him very much for it.  Numbers are not my forte.

I can start clearing again now but, as I've said before, there's time.  All the agents advised us to keep the furniture and some of the books, ornaments, etc, in place so that it looks home-like which confirmed what we'd already planned to do.  It helps so much that we don't have to make any sudden decisions about anything.  Yes, it drags things out, but the whole probate thing is a process that can't be rushed and one has to do it all by the book.

Today is what I am thinking of as the first day moving forward again.  Funerals give a sense of closure, don't they?
So - Beth and Al are here and will go home late afternoon, I expect.  I have personal training at midday and them Beth and I will be allotment bound to water and de-leaf the potatoes in order to do our best to prevent them from getting blighted.  Fingers crossed.  If I can find the seeds, I will sow the first lot of dwarf French beans which grow so quickly and should be giving us lovely little beans in around a month's time and through the autumn.  Lovely!

I'm just off into the garden now to give the pots their breakfast watering.  Have a great day, stay cool and carry on!  xx

Monday 19 July 2021


 Hi, everyone.  I did mean to post this morning but things took longer and now here I am up at Dad's and it is the afternoon.  Sorry.

It's Dad's funeral tomorrow so I won't be posting but I'll be back on Wednesday.

Normally I would say stay warm but right now it's stay cool and be safe.  xx

Sunday 18 July 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It's very early Sunday morning and I'm wide awake which is rather a nuisance.  It's still dark so I can't tell how the day will start but the forecast is very good so that's lovely.  Yesterday was warm and sunny with a gentle breeze - absolutely delightful, it was.

Yesterday was a gentle day.  I got the washing done and dried but couldn't be bothered to iron it in the evening, so that's on today's list of Things To Do.  

After lunch, Beth arrived and we set off down the allotment to work and chat.

We dug up two potato plants and got these which we thought was a pretty good result.  I've taken about a third and Beth had the rest - she has Alex to feed and I will be away for a couple of days. 
If the rest is as good, we will have plenty of potatoes over the summer.

Very sadly, the tomatoes at the allotment have got blight so we had them all up yesterday.  Eight plants.  However, they weren't happy where they were and weren't doing nearly as well as the ones at home.  We noticed that on the next door plot, his tomatoes also looked suspiciously blighted and that he had cut all the tops off his rows of potatoes so we suspect he's having the same problem.  We had a good look at our potatoes and they look OK but we might cut off the tops anyway, as a precautionary measure.  What do you think?
It's been so very wet, I'm not entirely surprised, but we haven't been troubled with blight for several years so it's an unwelcomed surprise.
My home tomatoes seem OK but I am keeping a very close eye on them now - I washed my hands very thoroughly when I got home.  There are now three ripening tomatoes, one of which might be ready to pick today - a sungold which are my favourites.

The broad beans are nearly finished.  There's probably one more good picking and then they will come out which will leave quite a gap.  I could plant another row of dwarf French beans or - oh, I don't know, I must look up what can be planted now or take a trip down to the garden centre and see what they have,  Any suggestions?

Beth and I had a great long chat together - we always do at the allotment.  It seems to encourage confidences.  Because she now works, the only time we can get together is Saturdays and Sunday and recently I have not been around at weekends.  We were there for over two hours and really didn't do that much work.  We dug the potatoes, picked broad beans, pulled rhubarb.  Beth went home with all three plus a bunch of sweet peas while I just had potatoes.  I also managed to strim all round and we watered, of course.

Today is a day to myself.  I have the aforementioned ironing, the usual houseworky things and allotment.  As I got the strimming done, today I will  just run the mower over the grass which should do it for the coming week.  Apart from that, it's just watering, unless I start on the potato tops.  We plan to do that on Wednesday though, as Beth has compassionate leave, and there's no sign of blight on them right now - at least there wasn't.

Finally, I want to get completely packed and ready to leave for Dad's early tomorrow morning.  John's travelling down today but for him it is a day's driving.  There's a lot going on tomorrow with regard to the house.

So that's my day - it sounds busier than it is really going to be and there will be plenty of time to relax in the sunshine and just chill.
Hoping you have a great day too.  xx

Saturday 17 July 2021


 Good morning, everyone!  It's another fine start to the day, all the windows are thrown open to let in the cool morning air and the chairs and table are already out and waiting.  Not one of those nice, matching sets, just odds and ends, although I do rather fancy one of those 'bistro' sets with the round, mosaic tables.  I don't NEED one though.

As I don't have any photos, I've just done a panoramic view of my garden right now.  These panoramic photos can look a bit odd, a bit 'flat' maybe, but I think this one has come out quite nice, albeit a bit lacking in height. 
Anyway, my July garden . . .

Yesterday was good.
It started with the weekly SW meeting and, while I annoyingly and (I think) unfairly maintained this week, the actual session was great.  Next week we can go back to a more social meeting with refreshments, a raffle and the basket for the slimmer of the week.  It's going to be good!

Chris came round and we sat in the sunshine for a good old chat.  I've missed our chats over the past weeks and it was good to get back to them again.  I must get back in touch with Val to sort out ditto.

My decision was made for me regarding Lathcoats.  It wasn't open yesterday to give time for more fruit to ripen.  I went online at seven yesterday evening and the tickets had all gone bar one and that was when Beth and I will be at the allotment.  Note to self - get on that site bang on seven this evening to see if I can book for tomorrow.  If I don't, I won't be able to go until next Thursday.  Mind you, It's not the end of the world if I don't go strawberry picking, it's just one of life's little pleasures.  And the eating thereof!

So, when the lovely cleaners came, I got out of their way by going down to the allotment.  Being clay based, the soil went from being lovely and crumbly on Thursday to being rock hard (on the surface) yesterday so the remaining weeds were really just surface cleared and will come right back at me again.  Not to worry.  I am really chuffed that I've got it from being a right nightmare to back into some sort of order again.  It's definitely a worry off my mind.
I watered, slowly and carefully, and was very pleased at how calves and ankles coped.

Today, Saturday, is a pretty free day.  The morning, certainly, is empty of anything schedules, but there is washing, drying and ironing to get done and I must try on the outfit I plan to wear for the funeral, just to make sure it fits me.  I'm sure it will but . . . best to check.

In the afternoon, Beth is coming over and we're off guess where.  It's potato digging day, yay!  We never dig too many up at a time and Beth takes the lion's share as she has two mouths to feed against my one, but I want some to take up to Letchworth for me and John on Monday evening.  I guess we will dig up two or three plants, it really depends how many potatoes we find under the soil.  It's always a bit of an unknown until we start.
I'm also going to take the strimmer and do the edges and then, tomorrow, I can take the mower and do the rest.  It won't get done again until at least next Thursday and grows so fast at this time of year.
And we will give everything a really good watering.  It's always easier with two.

The rest of the time I'm going to chill, read, watch YouTube, read my new SW book and mag, plan some meals and tend to my garden.  Just how a summer Saturday ought to be, I reckon.
I hope it's a lovely day for you too.  xx

Friday 16 July 2021

Friday and fruity in the garden

 Good morning.  It's a bright start to the day but no sun, not yet.  Let's hope it comes out, unlike yesterday when morning and evening sunshine sandwiched a rather dull main part of the day with the occasions bit of sunshine.  

I took a few photos of garden fruit.

The blueberries arte starting to live up to their name.  To think I was going to chuck the plant away last year after a very poor showing until one of the Sues told me they can take a while to get going.  I'm grateful for that wise advice.
This is supposed to be Autumn fruiting.  The name even has 'Autumn' in it.  I know the weather's been a bit confusing but even so . . .
Looks nice, doesn't it?
And here's the fruit on the columnar tree, Flamenco.  It's doing really well and looking very healthy.  The fruit might be quite big, given that there's a couple of months to go still.
The strawberries haven't been great this year but for most of the plants it is their first year.  Next year they should do much better and the year after that . . . wow!

Tomatoes are officially classed as fruit, aren't they?  The first of hundreds, I hope.

I am umming and ahing about strawberry picking down at Lathcoats farm this afternoon.  One has to book, once can't just turn up, so I must decide soon.

Sadly, Chris and I didn't get our chat yesterday as she needed an appointment with her GP.  We've rescheduled for today, when I get back from Slimming World.

I spent another couple of hours down the allotment and it's now looking respectable again.  The weed clearing has been very superficial; usually I would fork it over and then remove all the weeds and roots by hand but I'm being more than a little careful at the moment.  Nonetheless, it is very much better now and I'm not ashamed of it any more.
I'm not sure if I mentioned it but when Jeff and I turned up on Tuesday, it was obvious that someone had given the main patch of grass a bit of a haircut when compared to the side - it was long, yes, but only half the length of the side.  The nice man next plot along was there today and I asked him if it was him and he said yes, it was.  That was so kind of him and I expressed my appreciation effectively, I hope.  What a nice thing to do.

I'm not sure if I will go down today or not.  Another mow would be a Good Thing and, with the grass being shorter and dryer and my calves being stronger and less prone to 'twinging' painfully now and again, it's definitely a possibility.  
I have to decide if I can do Slimming World, chat with Chris, Lathcoats and allotment - do I have the time?  Do I even want to?  I must ponder!
In the meanwhile, a coffee is in order so I will close this and seek my first caffeine of the day.
Stay safe and have a lovely day.
J x

Thursday 15 July 2021

Thursday and a bit more allotment

 Good morning.  It really is a good morning too with the sun shining brightly and the birds singing their little socks off.  Things did clear up yesterday and it warmed up considerably but it's nice to start the day with sunshine.  I've already got one chair out!

Yesterday was comparatively busy.  Not busy compared with most folks but compared with recently for me, a bit busier.

After an idle start to the day, I drove over to Lindsey's for personal training/massage.  After a chat about what to do, expectations, 'stop if it starts hurting' kind of thing, I asked if I could have a try on the cross trainer, the reason being I thought the movements were the kind that don't hurt whereas the static cycle does (it did at home, anyway).  I just did five minutes on the lowest setting not fast, concentrating on calves and ankles and how they were feeling and it was great.  I think getting them moving is such a safe way really worked and they kept feeling much better for the rest of the day.
It was a good session.

Then, after lunch, I pottered down to the allotment and tackled the bigger patch of weeds, accidentally weeding a random potato plant that must have come from one last year's potatoes that we just missed.  So I came home with four new potatoes, two of which I had for dinner and they were lovely!
I also came home with another load of broadies, some of which went next door to Jenni who has been great in watering my pots while I was at Dad's.

See - much better.  Not perfect, it needs another hoeing/raking thing, but so much better.  Civilised again.  That's where I'm going to plant the dwarf French beans bit I will leave that until after I'm home from the funeral next week because of watering in.  The support canes have rather come undone so I'll mend that today probably.
Here's the baby pears that didn't show in the photo I took on Tuesday.  Not as many as last year but plenty, all the same.
Tomatoes.  I so love tomatoes and can never have enough!

(I also had the great excitement of noticing that one of my tomatoes at home is showing a little orange tint.  Not enough to show on a photo but still - definitely starting to ripen.
And some of the blueberries are turning blue.  Lovely!)

And my first flower on the runner beans.  They are self pollinating so should get going nice and soon.  Another excitement.

(I do get excited over daft little things, don't I?)

Apart from the repeated pleasure of shelling broad beans in the afternoon sun, the rest of the day passed as usual.  I slept extremely well.

Today, Chris is coming round for coffee and chat this morning and after that I will trundle in the direction of the allotment.  

On the list today is:
picking broad beans
mending the support canes
pulling some rhubarb, maybe
checking the strawberries and directing the runners towards the empty raised bed

That's enough to keep me out of trouble, isn't it?  I'll get there!
Have a super day and enjoy the sunshine.  xx

Wednesday 14 July 2021

Wednesday and allotment update

 Good morning, everyone.  After a dull start yesterday, out came the sun, up went the temperature and it turned out to be a beautiful summer day.    Lovely after such unpleasant, non-summery weeks as we have been having.  It's looking promising this morning too although auntie Beeb indicates it might turn a bit dull later on.

Well, yesterday was a good day.  The Morrisons order was fine; there were some subs but they were appropriate so no complaints and the fruit looks in good condition too.  

Then I met Jeff down the allotment.  I was quite heartbroken when I got there - after all my hard work earlier in the year, it looked a right mess.

Then I looked again and thought maybe it wasn't so bad after all.  

The grass was terrible, but not as terrible as the one next door which hasn't been touched all year apart from the bit I did occasionally earlier on in the year.  However, after Jeff had given it around forty five minutes, mowing and strimming, it looked much more civilised.  It's never going to be a great lawn but at least it looks under control now.  It was the grass that was bothering me more than anything and it is an inexpressible relief that it's done.  It's fully how the comparatively little things cause such a worry, isn't it?

The baby corn is definitely coming on.  If you look carefully, you can see where I stopped weeding.

The whole of the front section looked pretty productive and there were loads and loads of broad beans to pick.
The tomatoes (between the broadies and the corn) needed a lot of side shooting and tying up, but they are coming on - every plant has one truss at least and I'm happy with that, given it isn't the ideal place for them.  
I've weeded part of that section but there's more to do - tomorrow, maybe?
So many broad beans!
This bagful only scratches the surface of what there is to pick so I'll be handing some round and freezing some too.  Last year there weren't enough to freeze so I'm very happy how they have done.

The strawberries, raspberries and runners are all fine - shame about the weeds but their Time Is Up!

The potatoes look as if they are pretty much ready.  I can't dig or fork yet - it hurts - but Beth and I will meet there on Saturday and have look see.  I expect I will be taking some to Letchworth for John and me to share for our dinners.

(please ignore the weeds in the foreground!)
These horrible weeds are also on my Little List - or maybe that should be my Actually Quite Long List.

Where DO they come from!!

If I go down again this afternoon (and I might or might not), this is what I will tackle.  It looks terrible.

We have apples . . .
 . . . two kinds.

Also baby pears but they didn't come out on the photo.

No plums though.   :-(

The sweet peas survived and these are scenting my room beautifully.

OK, so it wasn't comfortable at times and I had to move very, very carefully, but I felt so much better for a couple of hours at the allotment.  If I spend an hour or so tomorrow, Thursday and Friday, I should pretty much be able to deal with the weeds and then it's just keeping them down.

That was in the morning.  In the afternoon it was sunny and warm so I got out my garden chair, a trug (for the shells), the broad beans and a bowl and took a dive right back into childhood when Mum and I used to sit out, bowl in lap, shelling peas or broad beans for dinner while the washing flapped around in the breeze.  
For the first time in ages I felt uncomplicatedly happy and relaxed.

After I'd shelled the beans, I got my Kindle, made a coffee, reclined back and - you know what's coming, don't you.  Yup, I fell asleep with the warm air blowing and the birds singing.

Such a restful afternoon.

And then I went and spoilt it by tweaking one of my calves again putting the chair away.  Ah, well, just One of Those Things.  

Today I have just one thing in my diary.  That's personal training at 11:45 which will be a mixture of massage and work on upper body strength and core.  Nothing to cause any more problems.  I'm looking forward to that although I am sadly out of condition after the last month.

Then I think I will come home, change, have lunch and then drive round to the allotment to weed.  That won't cause any damage as it's all done sitting/kneeling and I can always leave the weeds in a pile if I don't want to take them behind the shed to the compost heap.  I can pick some more broad beans too.

Having better weather certainly does open things up a bit more.  
Have a great day and I hope it's nice where you are too.  xx

Tuesday 13 July 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  No rain this morning and, in fact, it did clear up by mid morning yesterday and we even had a bit of sunshine which was nice.  It's supposed to be getting more summery now - we can hope, anyway.

Yesterday there were two thing.

The first was tuition and it went very well.  My two remaining students are absolute delights, both of them, so willing to learn and work.  I couldn't wish for more.  Basically, what I do is a mixture of revision and next steps, always ensuring full understanding and seeing the wider picture.  They seem to like this.

The other was the zoom meeting I arranged with Malcolm, the minister, who is officiating at next week's funeral.  We sorted out the order, decided on music and generally got everything organised.  Simple and direct.
I let John know about the arrangements and he suggested that for the refreshments afterwards we scoot down to M&S on Monday and get some of their buffet food which is a great idea.  That way I won't have to rush into the kitchen and spend ages sorting food, either before or after.  There's only seven of us, including Malcolm, so we won't need loads either.

Today there are two things as well although yesterday's were towards the end of the day and today they are both at the beginning of the day.

The Morrison's order comes between eight and nine so it will be very interesting to see how it goes.  I hope it is satisfactory as it's such a useful thing to use and I like Morrison's as a store.

And then it's a solution to an every increasing problem.  I haven't been to the allotment for ages, partly because I've been at Dad's and latterly because of the lower leg problem and a very uneven surface.  That has created a worry situation as the grass will keep on growing - very thoughtless of it, I reckon.  I had a little chat with Jeff and I'm meeting him down there between nine and nine thirty, mower and strimmer in hand - well, in boot - and he's going to tackle to mowing while I do some very careful weeding and picking.  I'm hoping for plenty of broad beans and maybe a potato or two.
It will be a huge relief to get that done, even at the highest setting.

Then the rest of the day is mine.  I will do a bit of housework, as always, some reading, some legs up resting and generally chill.  Perhaps the sun will come out and I can relax in the garden which is looking so lush and green it's a shame I can't enjoy it at closer quarters.
Have a lovely day, whatever your plans.  Take care, stay safe and be happy.  xx