Sunday 31 July 2022


No garden photos today - I didn't take any yesterday.

Morning, everyone.  I think it's going to be a bit of a funny old day today - bit of sun, bit of cloud. some wind and, possibly, some rain.  At the moment 8it's cloudy and looks very much as if there's rain up there but we will see.

I had a lovely time yesterday.  I am sure wandering around countless stalls in a secondary school, gazing at hanks of yarn, unspun wool, ball bowls, etc, is not everyone's cuppa but it certainly is mine!

The car, with J, K and N turned up at quarter to nine and off we set, getting there about 10:15.  K drove off to do his own thing and we ladies started looking around.

I won't go into details - there were lots of stalls like this . . .

. . . although the photo really doesn't do the colours justice.  They shone.  Coloured yarns and fabrics sing to me which might sound really silly but . . .

Lots of natural fibres of various kinds, so many hand washy mixtures which I won't go for as I know I can't be bothered to hand wash and some were 'carefully wash on a cook setting' which is better. 

It's been three years since the last one which was run by Fibre East.  It wasn't as big this time, not were there the variety of non-yarn stalls (by that I mean stalls that sold a wide range of knitting needles, crochet hooks, winders, weaving gadgets, knitting patterns, etc) and, frankly, the catering arrangements were a disgrace.  Queueing for three quarters of an hour for a coffee and a snack is not my idea of efficient.

However, there was plenty to see, touch, enjoy and I managed to get together a fair old stash.

From left to right, along the top there's two pieces of felted wool which I though I could embroider over and make into cards.  Next to that is a little gift for a cat crazy daughter!  And then I fell for this sock pattern.  I have a basic pattern which is fine but this one was nice.  (I meant to get a sock blocker but forgot!)

Then back to the left side again, I fell good and hard for this project.  She had a made up blanket and it was so lovely.  Also, it showcases stitches I don't know so I will be learning while I make.  I've already started practising some of the stitches before I delve into my shamefully large stash of yarn to see what colours would work.

Then there's a couple of - er - it's hard to describe really.  The effect is ombre and there are four strands (knits up a 4 ply).   For example, one of them starts with one strand of lilac and three of blue.  Then, after a while one of the blues changed to lilac so there's two blue and lilac, then three blue and one lilac, and so on.  I have a few ideas about what to make but I'm not sure yet.  We will see.

The next two hanks are for me to make a couple of baby things while the last two on the right are for socks.

Both J and I fell asleep on the way back, we were so tired!  I'm still feeling weary so I'm going to have a very easy day today, enjoying learning some new stitches while I watch goodness knows what on the telly.
Have a good day, everyone.  xx

Saturday 30 July 2022


 Morning, everyone.  Just a quickie .  I'm being picked up by a friend and we are going to the Summer Wool Festival.
I went to Fibre East a couple of times before Covid stopped all that sort of thing.  This is carrying on where Fibre East left off and will be packed with all sorts of wool/yarn stalls and activities.  I'm so excited.

I'll tell you about it on Sunday- endlessly, most likely.  You know what I'm like in here.

I'll be busy tomorrow first thing so I've written this Friday evening and set to to post on Saturday morning - fingers crossed it works.   Ditto for the other blog.

I must include a Garden Happy though . . . so here you go!  A proper corn cob now.

And just one more thing.  RIP the wonderful; Bernard Cribbins.  Such as superb actor and celebrity.

Friday 29 July 2022


Today's garden happy - another cucumber!  They've settled again now so there's one ready, one coming along, I gave one away and there are several tiny ones, some of which will come to nothing. 
They might be oddly shaped but they do have a very fresh and delicious flavour.  Even the mega one is delicious.

Good morning, everyone.  The weather continues to play ball very nicely.  It was a mix of sunny and cloud yesterday and today will probably be the same.  Fine by me.  I can walk to Slimming World and then enjoy some leisure time in the garden!

Yesterday was great.  A good old chat with Chris and then a lovely time spent with Val, who I haven't seen since my Southwold holiday a couple of months ago.  As predicted, I was all talked out by the end of the afternoon.  It was brilliant.

Come the evening, I had a Messenger exchange with Suzanne as it's time to pay off the rest of our holiday at the end of September.  She said she is very happy to drive which is great!

Here's where we are staying.  It looks nice and shiny although I expect the lawn is not that colour.  It might be by the end of September, of course.
Because there's two of us, it's also a fair bit cheaper for a nicer place than my usual holidays.  Us singles definitely don't get a good deal when it comes to holidays.

Today there's Slimming World and then I just have to make the house cleaner-friendly which it already is, pretty much.  This afternoon, there's personal training, delayed from Wednesday and then a nice, quiet evening in.  Should be good.
Enjoy your Friday too.  xx

Thursday 28 July 2022


Today's garden happy - I have mint again.  It was definitely worth all the pulling and tugging and sheer hard work getting that root ball out.  

Spot the weed!  It is no longer there now!

Good morning, everyone.  Goodness, how the nights are lengthening again.  It won't be that long before it is still dark when I get up, given what an early bird I usually am.

Yesterday was odd.  I got plenty done in the morning but come the afternoon I developed quite a headache with some sicky feelings and an upset tum.  I hesitate to label it as a migraine and I'm not sure whether it suddenly felt very humid because I felt less than 100% or the other way round.
Anyway, I cancelled personal training and Lindsey has very kindly rescheduled it for Friday afternoon, bless her.

I'm feeling loads better today which is just as well because it's a sociable day today.

Chris is coming over for the usual Thursday coffee and chat and then Val is coming here for lunch and more chat.  I'll be all talked out by mid-afternoon.

The place isn't too bad but there's some corners I want to sort out and the kitchen - always the kitchen - needs a bit of attention - putting things away and giving it the morning wipe over.  That sort of thing.  However, I did get the washing and ironing done yesterday so that's good.

So I'd better stop waffling and get going, hadn't I?

Take care, stay safe and well and have a great day.  xx

Wednesday 27 July 2022


 Today's garden happy - and a puzzle.
The photo on the left is the happy, not that there's anything particularly special about this cluster of Alicante tomatoes but it's a lovely big bunch and gives me joy.
The one on the right is supposed to be the Sungolds.  You know, the ones I went all over town to find.  Well, they may have developed another 'type' of Sungold, of course, but Sungolds are cherry tomatoes and these are definitely plum tomatoes, wouldn't you say?  All three plants are the same.
They were all clearly labelled as Sungolds (the labels are still in the pots) and selected from a shelf full of the same.  I guess maybe they were labelled by someone who didn't know what they were doing?  Baby tomato plantlets do look the same.
Anyway, the puzzle is - what colour will they be.  Sungolds are orange, these will be . . . what?
(answers on a postcard to the Chelmsford branch of B&Q, please!)

Good morning, everyone.  How are you today?  We had a right mix of weather yesterday - cloud, sunshine, a strong-ish breeze and even a bit of rain.  Not enough to be of any use but not to worry.  Today looks like being exactly the same so no complaints and there's a load of washing already out.

I meant to do the washing yesterday and I put a load in before I left for Groove.  When I got back and took it all out - yuck.  Nasty black marks all over.  Bad me - I really should have given my machine a good clean-out seasons ago; frankly, it was disgusting.

I wanted to go to Asda because at Groove, Lindsey and I were admiring a lady's gym wear and she said the leggings came from Asda and they were in the sale.  As you know, I love a good sale so I wanted to go and look.  I already had a little shopping list so I updated that, including 'washing machine cleaner' (it really was VERY nasty so I wanted to get something a bit stronger than just giving it a wipe around).

Yes, they had the leggings (only £6 which is good for the sort of quality they are) and I also got a rather nice top which, I think, is really sleepwear but looks great as a top, in the sale.

When I got home, I set to, read the instructions on the cleaner and followed them.  I now have a clean and shiny washing machine and it's already done one load of washing that is spotless with no nasty marks whatsoever.  Yay!

There was a parcel waiting for me when I got home.  I've got so fed up of weeds between the pavings that I asked around, read around, and ordered a weed burner that works with electric generated heat, not a gas flame.  Some time today, I will give it a go at the front and fingers crossed.
I'll let the neighbours know about it as we all have quite a lot of those herringbone patterned surfaces and the weeds do come up something chronic.  If it works as I hope, it can benefit everyone.

On to today and the only thing I have in the diary is personal training, later than usual - I'll have to leave a bit longer for getting there, I think.  I'm taking it easy this morning but, obviously, there are chores.  Nothing major, just nice, happy homey stuff.  I have a great stack of old magazines that I must sort out as Val is coming over tomorrow and she always takes them to enjoy.

Well, I'd better get moving.  I need another coffee and I must get my Facebook stuff done too.  
Enjoy your day, everyone, and be happy!

Tuesday 26 July 2022


 Today's garden happy - the cucumber is huge and the photo doesn't really show this.  It decided to grow down behind the pot so I couldn't see it from the front.  I think it is still edible; I will find that out today anyway.  I have two more almost ready to cut so it's a shame you can't freeze cucumbers, isn't it.  Cucumber jam, anyone?  :-)
(The tomatoes are lovely)

Good morning, everyone.  The weather seems to have turned just a bit.  It's dull, cloudy and cool this morning and Beeb doesn't predict sun until late afternoon.  We even had a few drops of rain yesterday but, typically, nowhere near enough to be of any use to I'll be hand watering again in a little while.
Yesterday was mostly nice though.  Plenty of sunny intervals and a lovely breeze.

Lathcoats was, as always, lovely.  It is such a relaxing experience, strolling up and down the rows, leisurely picking and ending up with far too much because you think 'just one more, just another one . . .' 
There were loads of strawberries, so, so many.  I had to 'search' (as they call it) for raspberries, but there were plenty if you were prepared to lift up the leaves and look a bit lower down.
So today, I have the pleasurable task of dealing with the fruit.  I guess the freezer will accommodate most of it.  I know you lose the texture of strawberries but not the flavour and it's the flavour you want for strawberry ice cream, strawberry liqueur, jam, smoothies, etc.
Raspberries freeze much better, of course.

Then I paid my usual visit to the shop for some fruit and veg, dairy and anything else that catches by eye (so nothing else this week).  They had some frozen blackberries, great big beauties, so I scooped some up and they're in the freezer until I want them for my breakfasts.

My two exercise slots were great.  There were only three of us at circuits (two for the first half) so it was almost as good as a personal training session and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  And I do enjoy swimming - it's a great way to stretch those muscles and such good strengthening stuff too with the water resistance.
I will keep going with the swimming now I've started it again, certainly until the weather gets really cold (if it does).  What I need to do is work out when I can go regularly, like I have for the Lindsey sessions.  I've got one - after Monday circuits.  A couple more would work well and make the best use of my membership.
Hmmm - must get my diary out and have a good look.

Opening my mailbox yesterday, I couldn't believe it.  I got an email from a bakery company yesterday, plugging a super whizz bread pan, a tray and a lid, for baking 'amazing artisan bread'.  Oooh, though I, that sounds good. 
Until I saw the price.
'Just' three hundred and fifty four pounds!!!!  Just?????   I nearly fell off my chair.  I mean, does ANYONE buy this sort of product?
I think any bread I make will just have to settle for being ordinarily nice rather than amazingly artisan.

Today starts with Groove and then back home for a shower and housework.  There's the fruit, the kitchen in general, my bedroom needs dealing with and there's washing to do.  Then I have some meal planning, some swim planning and some general working stuff out planning.
That'll keep me out of trouble and 'gainfully occupied' as we used to say at school about Friday afternoon sessions.

Well, better get started.  I have a dishwasher to empty (definitely a First World chore) and I need to have something to eat before Groove (a First World privilege).
I hope your day is wonderful, filled with enjoyment and happiness.  Stay safe.  xx

Monday 25 July 2022


Today's garden happy - my breakfast today, with bacon and mushroom.  Yum.  And there should be more to pick by the end of the day or tomorrow morning.
(Coming second is a proper sized yellow courgette, not the titchy ones the plant has been offering up so far.)

 Good morning!  Yesterday turned out to be a very pleasant day.  Not too hot, plenty of sunny intervals and a lovely breeze.  Even better, today sounds like being much the same, according to the Beeb.  No complaints here.

Yesterday was good.  As expected, very quiet and peaceful.  I put in the Just Eat order good and early amd got the early slot I asked for.  None of us are particularly stay-awakers so a five thirty delivery was just perfect.
So in the afternoon, I got out the tables, plates, etc, etc, etc, and organised the kitchen - not that it took all that much organising!

Sadly, one of us couldn't make it but we still had a really great time.  Loads of chatter and laughing and we thoroughly enjoyed the food - I will definitely order from them again - the lamb bhuna was so good!
There were leftovers, of course.  I had rather stupidly ordered some tandoori chicken (in case we didn't have enough!!) and that never got to the table - we had loads having gone from four to three.  And there were the usual leftovers plus what I'd ordered for the one who couldn't come.

However - Alex likes curry/Indian food so Beth went home with stacks of bits and bobs for him and the chicken in now in three portions in the freezer, being a pretty SW-friendly kind of thing, once it is de-skinned and de-boned.  I might even then boil up the bones to make a spicy sort of stock.  May as well.

Beth helped me clear up afterwards so it didn't take long.  That's one of the joys of a take away - no pots and pans!  And there was quite a pretty sunset too.

Today is back to the normal routine thankfully.  I'm going to start the day with strawberry and raspberry picking at Lathcoats and I might make some wee pots of jam for the girls with some of what I bring home.

Later on, it's Monday circuits - there may not be many of us there today.  The school holidays makes things tricky and, in fact, next week, Lindsey changes to a 'blended' delivery of classes in the studio at her home and live online, to accommodate those who have children to be with.

And then I will probably go straight to the pool and do my last fifteen lengths for the GOSH fundraiser.  I didn't swim at all last week so it's time to get back into the pattern again.
Usually, at that time, the pool is pretty empty but it might be a different matter during the school holiday.  I will go and find out!

So that's today.  It should be a good day, all in all.  I hope yours is too - enjoy it and have a really happy time, whatever you do.  xx

Sunday 24 July 2022


 Today's garden happy - the hairy monster!

Good morning, everyone.  It's a lovely cool, fresh start to the day and my thermometer tells me that it went down to 13C overnight which was nice and comfortable, especially as upstairs has now lost the heat it was holding onto after last Monday and Tuesday.  It's predicted to be a really pleasant day with temperatures in the higher twenties with sunny intervals and a moderate breeze.  Perfect, in fact!

Yesterday felt like Sunday.  All day!  Goodness knows why but there you go!  I stayed at home and just chilled until the evening when I picked up Beth and Alex and we went to the Hare for a very pleasant meal.
And that was that really!

Today is more of the same through the day until early evening when Beth, Julia and Linda are over for a girly meal in the garden.  We're going Indian takeaway so I must get that ordered this morning.  I'm looking forward to that very much indeed.

I'm also looking forward to resuming my usual schedule of things tomorrow.  All my fitness things will be back at the right times again and everything else will then slot properly into place.  That will be good.

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone.  Take care, enjoy the sunshine and be happy.  xx

Saturday 23 July 2022


 Today's garden happy - a montage of guess whats.  I'll be picking daily before long and complaining (hah!) that there are too many.
More seriously, I'll be looking forward to giving some away and freezing some.

Good morning, everyone.  Thank you so much for all your lovely comments on yesterday's blog.  Rather than do my usual individual replies, I'll answer here.
I didn't get weighed at SW - I was feeling quite fragile one way and another and decided I didn't need it.  Today, I still think that was right.

Thanks for the tips about the corn which is proper corn, not baby corn.  I'm more than happy to give them a little shake now and again, to get the pollination going.  There are several cobs starting off now so that's exciting.

Yes, yesterday was more stressful than I thought it would be.  I'm all stiff and achey today so must have been pretty tense for much of the time.  
After a flurry of exchanges with Karen along the lines of 'we're absolutely ready' . . . etc, all went quiet.  John and I exchanged a few texts of 'it's taking them a long time' sort of stuff. 

By mid afternoon, I was getting a bit worried but then John texted me to say that Karen had texted him to say she was on her way to pick up the keys from the estate agents and then it would all be go, go, go.  Apparently, someone's money had taken a while to come through and, obviously, that all has to be in place before anything can start.  How on earth does it work when there's a longer chain?  It must be a nightmare.

Finally, we both got a message from Karen saying they were in, thank you for the welcome gifts, they made her cry, the little girl had headed straight for that old child's chair that I left for her with shrieks of delights (I think Karen had been talking to her about it) and she finished with a photo of her brandishing the keys outside the front door.

So that's that.  It is no longer 'Mum and Dad's house'.  I feel like crying when I think about it - it was the last tangible link with their happy life in Letchworth for the last half century but then I think of a home that is still loved and which will be developed and modernised, improved and extended to become a lovely place with a happy family and that feels so very good.

I treated myself to a half bottle of some nice bubbly and a takeaway Indian and thoroughly enjoyed both.  I'm feeling more than a bit muggy headed this morning, mind you!!

So, on to today and it's mostly a stay at home day.  I keep thinking it is Sunday today, not Saturday, which feels weird.  The house is clean and reasonably tidy after yesterday's cleaner ministrations but I do have a small pile of ironing to do and put away.  Then, in the evening, Beth, Alex and I are having our meal out, postponed from last Sunday, obviously not in Norwich but at our favourite place, the Hare.  At the moment, having just finished off the last bits of chicken from yesterday's take away (no point wasting it!), I'm feeling rather full so lunch will be very light.  I want to enjoy this evening!

Thank you again for all your kind and understanding comments yesterday.  What a lovely lot you all are. 
Have a good Saturday and stay safe and well.  xx

Friday 22 July 2022


 Today's garden happy - the sweet corn must have grown a good foot in the last week and the female bits now have tiny little silky tassels emerging from their tip.    Must look up What Happens Next - unless some of you experts can tell me in the comments.  I really mean is there anything I need to do apart from water.

(There's a hidden happy in the photo too - it's raining a little bit)

Good morning, everyone.  It's cool, it's cloudy and, yes, it is spitting with rain.  The forecast is for light rain and a gentle breeze with a high of around 21C - bliss.
I'm so relieved for Karen and Dominic - moving house would have been well nigh unendurable in the weather we had at the start of the week.

Yesterday was rather tiring.
After a poor night's sleep, I set off for Letchworth at around 7:30, arriving in Baldock about 8:45.  I went to the big Tesco there to pick up various 'thank you ' or 'welcome to your forever home' bits and bobs before getting to Dad's just after 0:30.  
Gail was already there and. bless her, she had already gone over everything , opened the windows to freshen up, etc.  We went through every drawer and cupboard, finding a surprising number of bits and bobs on the way as well as the stuff I knew about.  Gail took all the remaining cleaning stuff for the church and, apart from the stuff we are leaving, that was that.
I took Gail home and then popped next door to have a quick word with Ann before going round the house and garden one last time, saying my own private goodbyes..
That was when it got a bit tearful.  You must know what I mean.

Thankfully, it was a good journey home.
I came home with two laundry baskets (Beth might like one and Dave and Anna the other - if not, I'm sure I can find a use for them), with various bits and bobs including the remaining crockery (for Alex), a couple of shopping bags (me), a very good quality bread knife (me - so now I have two and they should see me out!), some umbrellas and walking sticks (for anyone who wants them) and so on.  All the last bits we had left for when we go over.

I really didn't fancy going to personal training in the afternoon but, you know, big girl pants and all that stuff, so I went and I'm so glad I did.  Lindsey definitely has magical sparkles sprinkled around her studio and by the end I was energised and much happier.
It was the first of a new five-week block and she had changed things around, upped the levels a bit and introduced a few new things.  I was so pleased - not only did I do a whole minute of a proper plank, I also did my first press up.  That last wasn't part of the programme - after the plank, I put my knees down and said 'I can't do any press ups yet, not even like this' and promptly went and did one.  Most unexpected!

So today - fingers are crossed for a trouble free completion and that by the evening the dear old family home will have a new family, ready to take it on and make it a happy family home again.  It hurts but I'm also very glad for them.

It's the usual Friday stuff today.  Slimming World first; I'm going to help out but I'm not going to be weighed - it's been a bad week for comfort eating and I don't need to know the damage.  Not today.
Then it is on to tidying and sorting before the cleaners arrive, bless them.
And, in the evening, either a little celebration or a bit of drowning sorrows, hopefully the former.  Fingers crossed, everyone, please.

Thursday 21 July 2022


 Today's garden happy - gazillions of tomatoes.  It's just as well I can happily eat pounds of them in a day when I set my mind to it, isn't it?

Good morning, everyone.  It's fresher again this morning.  Not cool; the thermometer says it is nearly 20C and yesterday's highest temperature was 30C, but so much more pleasant than Tuesday's 38!  Beeb says today should be light cloud and breeze with a high of 23C - in comparison, that's cold!  :-)

Yesterday was good.
I went to another group's circuits class although there were two there who also go to the Monday class.  No modifications for heat were needed and it was good fun.

Once home again, I get some washing out and it dried within the hour so I got it in and ironed and away pretty quickly.  Apart from that, it was just pottery things and, as it warmed up, I closed the windows, etc, as usual.

Today is busy.
Hopefully, fingers crossed, touch wood and any other expression of hope you can think of, tomorrow we complete on the sale of Dad's house.  Nothing has happened to delay the process, meter readings have been taken, regular outgoings stopped (insurances, etc), the Bradshaws are all set and so are their buyers.  
So today (leaving early), I'm off over there for the very last time.  I'm meeting Gail and the two of us are going over the house and making sure that everything in the house is as clean and tidy as we can possibly make it.
I'm also taking some expressions of thanks for Gail and Ann next door plus a few welcome things for K and D and their children.
It is bitter sweet - it's hard to realise and accept that I won't ever go there again but so good to know that it has been bought by a family with young children so it will teem with life and energy once again.

I won't be staying there long, just doing the necessary, saying a private and personal farewell to the place and then coming home.

This afternoon it is personal training, changed from Wednesday just for this week.  It will take my mind off things nicely.

The girls are coming round to mine on Sunday for a takeaway in the garden (weather permitting) so I want to decide which takeaway to use and collate all the choices.  It's lovely that Julia feels she can now do distanced garden things and that my garden is properly accessible for her wheelchair.  I'm so pleased.

So that's me today.  I'm so thankful for the sensible temperatures again.
How are things with you.  Got anything nice planned for today?  Take care, have a lovely day and stay safe.  xx

Wednesday 20 July 2022


Today's happy - not garden.  The flowers Jen gave me are looking so lovely now.

 Good morning, everyone.  After a very hot day yesterday (38 here in the shade), it's much fresher and cooler this morning with a nice breeze and a possible promise of some rain.  Not too much but even a bit would be nice.
Later edit:  It turns out we had an absolute downpour, monsoon style, at around eleven last night.  I totally missed it - once my hearing aids are out, I wouldn't even hear a thunder storm, let alone torrential rain.  Small wonder it was fresher this morning.

I didn't do much yesterday after Groove which was hot and sweaty but I'm glad I made the effort.  Then it was home for a lovely cool shower and hair wash and the rest of the day was, frankly, rather boring.

Today, I have watered the garden (three tomatoes and a cucumber to pick for lunch) and have circuits first thing.  I usually go Mondays but had rescheduled because I thought we'd be away so Lindsey and I decided to stick with the changes.  I'm so glad we did!  So, circuits today and personal training tomorrow afternoon.

After doing nothing much in the house for several days, it could do with a bit of a tidy up and the washing is building so that is today sorted out.  It will be nice to get some messy areas tidied up.

Hoping it is much more pleasant where you are too.  I'm still drinking lots of water and so on, but it really does feel so much nicer today, thank goodness.
Take care, stay well and have a great day.  xx

Tuesday 19 July 2022


 Today's garden happy - well, not exactly a happy but so attractive, I think.  One of my blueberries is shedding its leaves early.  I'm not worries, it's done it before and been fine the next year,  Under watering - and that's my fault.  I left it, expecting rain (it is ericaceous) but none came and I just forgot - ooops.

Morning, everyone.  Yesterday definitely lived up to expectations.  It was 36.1C in the shade in the garden at its highest and it's going to be hotter today.  In the house, it remained pleasantly cool until very late afternoon and even then the fans kept the worst of the heat at bay.

I managed to get my shopping done in comfort.  It was nice to see the children going to school wearing their nice, cool PE kits - shorts and white T shirts -with sunhats and carrying big bottles of water.  Very sensible.  I didn't have a big list but Morrisons had chicken on special so I rather stocked up.  I do eat such a lot of chicken in various ways.  They also had plenty of bags of ice and some juice ice lollies - not many as people have obviously been going for them rather than the ice cream based lollies.

I watched the graduation ceremony that we should have been at on the live link provided.  I shed a few tears right at the start but after that, while the speeches were good (and short) the rest was a bit boring really.  There were significant gaps in the audience and in the rows of graduands and those robes and mortar boards looked terribly hot.

And just to confirm that we made the right decision, the A12 was closed, both lanes, around Colchester for a 'police operation', just at the time we would be driving along there on the way home.  I am so glad we didn't get caught in the tail backs.

I gt some news that made me very, very happy yesterday evening.  A young adult (now) with additional needs who I taught in year 1 and was involved with for several years, as SENCO and then as their tutor, fighting hard alongside their mum and the school to get a statement (or whatever it is called nowadays) and a place at one of our excellent local 'special' schools for secondary, has won a Jack Petchey award.  Alex won that award several years ago so I know what it's all about but here's a simple description from Google. 

Who gets a Jack Petchey award
outstanding young people

Our flagship programme is the Jack Petchey Achievement Award Scheme, which recognises outstanding young people aged 11-25 across London and Essex.

I am so proud of them - it is a significant achievement and means so much, both for now and for their future.
 By bedtime, the bedroom was too hot but I took the fan up with me and it was OK.  I woke in the middle of the night, turned the fan off and opened the window wide and it was lovely!

As for today - well, at the moment all windows are wide open to catch as much fresh air as possible.  My water bottle in in the freezer, ready to take to Lindsey's Groove class at 9:15.  
The garden has had a long and thorough water.
The full jug is in the fridge.

After that, basically, it's the same as yesterday.  Beeb says 39C which is too hot in my book but Wednesday is predicted to be a good twelve degrees cooler so just a really nice summer day again with, maybe, some rain showers later on.  Bring it on!

OK, so better go.  Take care, take all the sensible precautions you can, don't push things and remember to empty and refill that water bottle or glass several times.  xx

Monday 18 July 2022


 Today's garden happy - the first two sweet corn babies and I swear they weren't there yesterday morning!  Two on the one stem.  Nice.

Also the mint is definitely up and growing.  The shoots are so cute but, try as hard as I could, I couldn't get any in focus, they're so wee.

Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday was hot but it was a dry heat, very bearable at around 30C and sitting in the garden late afternoon/early evening was an absolute delight.  I'm prepared for today.  Fans are in strategic positions, windows and doors are wide open to catch the cool morning freshness (it's really lovely right now) and the first jug of water is in the fridge, chilling nicely. 

Beth and Alex turned up bang on time for lunch.  I did a chick pea pasta bake for me and Beth and added some ham to Alex's and it went down a treat with a salad on the side, the highlight being those two little tomatoes that had ripened.  Delicious!  Beth and Al didn't stay all that long but long enough for a good old chat.

Later on, Julia turned up and, with the ramp I have, my garden is perfectly accessible for her.  She came in and we sat under the shade of next door's silver birch with a pot of tea and had a good old natter.  Brilliant.

Today, I need to pop to Morrisons early and then I'm going to follow all the advice and stay put inside.  I've already watered the garden really well so fingers crossed that will be OK for the day.  I'll check this evening and see if they need any more then.  The graduation ceremony is on a live link so I'll watch that - we can get some of it anyway.

Please, be careful today.  We're just not tuned in to such heat in this country so need to take things very, very carefully.  Stay well and keep as cool as you possibly can.  xx

Sunday 17 July 2022

Putting on my positive pants - garden update (photo heavy)

 Morning, everyone.  After yesterday's rather dismal post (sorry), I decided to focus on what is making me happy.  There's loads of happy stuff in my life but I'll focus on the garden.

Another tomato plant getting the idea and spreading the good news.
Ripening tomatoes send off ethene gas (says Google), a natural plant hormone that helps the other fruit to ripen.  Once a few get the hang of it, they all seem to.  So this is Very Good News and I'm hoping there will be more to pick by the end of the month now, especially as this warm weather looks set to continue, albeit at a more moderate level.

One of the delights of the summer is to do an early morning tomato picking and fry them for breakfast.  It takes me right back.

The tumbling tom is popping out all over with tiny babies - they are so sweet and delicious once they ripen.
Bush plants do give smaller fruit but the flavour is great.  Better than sweets any day!

It's a bit hard to see in the photo but the sweet corn is now sending up male flowers.  Lovely jubbly!

If each plant just gives me one corn cob, it will be worth it!

The bottom right makes me laugh - somehow, three plants are growing up from the same point.  No idea how but am guessing there were a couple of slower germinating seeds trapped below the surface in the seed pot.
There's not much I can do about it now except wait and see how they develop.

Loadsa courgettes coming on and the whole plant still looks ornamental, sculptured and attractive.  First year of pot courgettes has been a great success so far and they are delicious.

Cucumbers 4 and 5.  I will stop counting soon!   :-)

The main mint that I repotted and planted roots for is not emerging yet but the chocolate mint is doing very nicely and is lovely in my not-Pimms drinks.

Edit:  I've just been out to water and there are little minty leaves peeping up.  Yay!

These three rosemary plantlets are the cuttings I took last year, or was it the year before?  Anyway, they are all doing nicely and I have to now leave one there and replant the other two elsewhere.  I'm going to put them in plots for their green and ornamental qualities, I think.  They are pretty and make the air smell lovely.

This is the lavender I thought had died.  How wrong I was.
It's pretty much time to start harvesting the flowers.  It's my all time favourite fragrance.

The ornamental grass is at its prettiest now.  It moves in the slightest breeze and gives some welcome height to the bed.

I bought and potted both bamboos last year.  The waterfall bamboo looked really brown after the winter but has now greened up again.  I think I might need to start cutting out some of the canes soon.  I wonder if I can stick them in a pot, like willow, and they will root.  Must look that up.

The other bamboo, the black one, is now sending up canes that are above my head height (including the pot itself) which is brilliant and just what I wanted.  Diane told me that it could grow up to two metres which would make it by far the tallest thing in my mostly container garden and that's why I got it in the first place.

One of just three apples left on the new Braeburn.  The others all dropped.

The pepper is doing nicely.  You can't tell from the photo but there are now nine little peppers developing, all looking really sound.

Geraniums/pelargoniums as always pretty.

Val's birthday present plants - very rewarding.  I love gifts that last and last.

It's hard to get a good angle on this and, next year, I need to choose plants that trail more rapidly for this container, I think.

I've had these fuchsias for years and every year up they come, faithfully.  The one of the left is a later flowerer but the buds are appearing now.

A poor photo because of the sun but these are all cuttings, all looking healthy and with some roots developing.
Some are fuchsia cuttings from Dad's plants and the others are tomato side shoots that I will plant on soon and see how they go.  Will they give me some later fruit for free, I wonder?  Watch this space.

And, finally, not from the garden (I wish!), Jen gave me these at Slimming World to say thanks for holding the fort last week when she had Covid and couldn't get there.  So very kind of her and these are going to be stunning when they all open.

Another thing that is making me even happier is that Beth and Alex are coming over for lunch today.

So many reasons to be happy, despite the disappointments in life, aren't there?

As always, finishing with a plea to take great care as the very hot weather intensifies.  Stay in the shade and keep hydrated, won't you!

Saturday 16 July 2022


 Today's garden happy - yessss!  Let's hope others get the idea now!

Good morning.

Today I am not happy.  Sadly, because of the extreme weather warnings and the guidance not to go out unless it is absolutely essential, we have decided that we won't be going to Norwich tomorrow to go to Alex's graduation on Monday.  None of us, including Alex.  It is absolutely heart wrenching but neither Beth nor Al cope well with the heat and this is predicted to be extreme.  I'm not so bad with heat but was very worried about overheating engines, melting road surfaces, etc.

This is what Beth said in a Facebook message:

Alex Clark, Joy Clark and I have made the difficult decision not to attend Alex's graduation ceremony on Monday.
We're all gutted but we feel it would be irresponsible to be out and about in the heat of the day, plus the long drive, not to mention all the queueing, wearing of extra clothing and sitting for hours in a sweaty sports hall, especially given the warnings not to travel etc unless absolutely necessary. None of us cope well in the heat at the best of times and this is going to be something else... so we shall be sitting at home in our undercrackers in front of a fan. Well, Joy will probably be more ladylike than that, but I make no such promises for me and Alex...
Speaking of Alex, could you please do me a favour and remind him how awesome he is please? This is a bit of a blow
Stay safe everyone!

We will organise a family and friends celebration at some point, a nice party round here for family and friends.  It won't be the same but it will be really nice.

We're just all feeling very sad right now.  If you feel you could send something to Alex, please post it in the comments or send straight to me and I will make sure they get to him.

As always, take care, make sure that glass of water is emptied and refilled and have a lovely day.  xx

Friday 15 July 2022


 Today's garden happy - a panoramic view.  I didn't do the whole of the back, it's missed out the cucumbers to the right, but it's OK.  The middle bed is looking very brown and dried up now - I need to cut the geranium back and it might send out new growth.

Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday really was a beautiful summer day.  Warm sunshine, no humidity and a breeze that kept everything fresh and comfortable.  Just perfect.  And I slept under the cover through the night.  What more could one ask for.

I had a lovely chat with Chris before setting out to Morrisons to get stuff for fruity gins.  I hate to think what the checkout lady thought of my three bottles of gin but she was very controlled and said nothing really.

Then I set to (not that it was hard work) and have some raspberry gin and some black cherry gin sitting in nice, big kilner jars to keep the strawberry gin company.
The other bottle will make some damson gin, which was absolutely wonderful when I made some two years ago.  I have damsons in the freezer so just need to work out amounts.  Thank goodness for calculators!

Sadly, my friend wasn't able to come yesterday afternoon so we will have to fix another time.

Late afternoon, I popped over to see Beth and we sorted out arrangements for the graduation.  I've contacted a local pub/restaurant to book a table for Sunday evening and Beth is booking taxis.  All good so far!

Today is an easier day.  There's Slimming World first thing and Jen is now better and testing negative so will be there.
After that, I have that damson gin to make, some washing to do, a house to tidy, etc.  Basic, bog-standard stuff.
The cleaners come this afternoon and then everything should be pristine.
And that's today.  Staying cool is the name of the game.
You too; take care, stay cool and drink that water.  xx

Thursday 14 July 2022

Thursday, 14-07-22

 Today's garden happy -  after yesterday's whinge at the tomatoes, something must've struck home because looky-look, I know it's only the vaguest tint but better than nowt, don't you think?

Morning, everyone.  I know yesterday was rather hot but it was, I thought, a nice, more easily bearable hot with plenty of sunshine.  The new fans helped, of course.  I am very glad I got more heavy duty ones than the plastic kind - they certainly throw out a good coolness and are pretty quiet too.
The sun's shining brightly right now and it is delightfully fresh outside.  It's in weather like this that I am most thankful for the shade cast by next door's garden.

I had a delightful time at Lathcoat's yesterday.  There were loads of strawberries with more to come, not so many raspberries but still enough to fill my container, plenty of apricots and also plums although only one row of trees was pickable as the others had been sprayed and won't be open for picking until the 18th - but when they are open, there will be absolutely loads.  The plums and apricots have to finish ripening in the bowl so I will have to check them every day - oh, the hardship!

They don't allow the public to pick apples but the trees are totally laden - I can't wait until they start appearing in the shop (but will have to!)

In the shop they had loads of frozen black cherries so I scooped up a big bagful for Julia's jam and also for cherry gin or vodka.  When we met up Monday afternoon, the others were saying how much they loved my fruit gins (that's usually part of my Christmas present to them) so I'd better make sure I have some ready for this Christmas.  I have damsons in the freezer - my damson gin went down a real treat two Christmasses ago.
(Apologies for the naughty language!)

When I weighed what I had, it was a useful quarter of the recipe I usually use which made working the sugar out very easy (although it's not an exact science) so I used the lot for the jam and will just have to get some more for the cherry gin - now I've thought of it, I really do fancy some, especially over Christmas (sorry again!).
So now I have two bigger pots of delicious black cherry jam for Julia with personalised labels and one mini pot for me - I don't get through a lot of jam nowadays.

I also scooped some mixed Chinese stirfry veg, just enough for two portions for me, and some 'Californian fruit salad' (which is just a nice mixture), both frozen.  I do like their way of doing it - you just scoop what you want into a bag.  Same for dry goods like oats, pasta, etc.  Take what you want and they weigh it at the check out.
I have no idea how prices compare - but it's this whole thing of supporting a thriving local business, not to mention that it is a really nice place to visit.  Down to earth but with a few posh things if you're looking for an edible gift of some kind.  Not cheap but not shocking either and great quality.

Goodness, hasn't this turned into a greedy blog entry!

Today, I'm going to Chris' earlier than usual for our coffee and chat as she's very busy later on.  I then want to go to Morrisons to get some gin (raspberry liqueur today!) and some diet lemonade.  Then, in the afternoon, Julia and Harry are coming to check that Julia can access my back garden.  I have a ramp, she's bringing a ramp, so fingers crossed.  Hopefully, they are staying for a cuppa and some strawberries too.  I might make some shortbread if I feel energetic - amazingly, I have butter available and the 3-2-1 recipe makes it so easy to adapt the amounts.

Then, in the evening, I am popping round to Beth's to make arrangements.  Alex's graduation is coming up and we have invitations.  More about that another time.

And that's about it.  Plenty of time to chill and relax - perfect.  I'm so lucky.
All the best, everyone, and take care in this heat.  Water is our best friend at the moment.  xx

Wednesday 13 July 2022


 Today's garden happy - loads and loads of tomatoes but not a hint of any ripening yet.  Come on, tomatoes . . .

Morning, everyone.  Yesterday was a funny day, weather wise.  Instead of sunshine, we had cloud and a breeze so generally it felt more comfortable than excepted until it started feeling humid and we had some rain, just a little bit.  It's really lovely at the moment.  Sunny and fresh and I do wish it could stay that way.

Groove was fine ysterday, we had all the windows in the hall open and there was a bit of air blowing through.  Lindsey adapted sequences and it was good.
The rest of the day I spent chilling and an afternoon siesta was lovely.

Today I plan to go fruit picking first thing, then to the farm shop (I wonder if they have frozen cherries there) and then chilling at home until personal training in the afternoon - which might be a bit much but we will see.  Yesterday was fine so it will probably be fine too.

Everything slows down or stops in the hot weather, doesn't it?  Take care and stay as cool as you can.  xx

Tuesday 12 July 2022


 Today's garden happy - a montage of the courgette which has really earned its pot space.  It looks ornamental, I love the pattern on the leaves, the flowers are stunning and, of course, it gives me some dinner.  I love the way you blink and the fruit has grown another inch or so.

Good morning, everyone!  No sun this morning - yet.  Beeb says 'sunny intervals' so I guess this is one of the 'not-sunny intervals'.  

I was really happy yesterday morning - I had another donation so that means my target has been hit and, between Facebook and Just Giving, I've raised £500 for Great Ormond Street Hospital.  I'm so pleased; thank you very, very much.

Yesterday turned out to be a very lovely day indeed.

It started off with a visit to Morrisons to stock up of fresh stuff for the week.  There was plenty to choose from despite some gaps on the shelves.
Then I got changed and headed off for Lindsey's for circuits.  She had adapted what we usually do:  we all brought our mats and, rather than the usual mix of aerobic based stuff with a bit of toning, she gave us forty five minutes of yoga/Pilates sort of stuff.  Still a bit challenging but much cooler and half way through she produced her tub of ice and we cooled down a bit.  It really was a good session. 

Then I headed off into town (oh, it was so hot in town) to the gym and had a wonderful half hour in the pool.  I now have only three hundred metres or fifteen lengths to do for the challenge.  I will continue, of course.  I have a year's membership and I'm not going to waste it.

And while I'm on the subject - I had a couple more donations taking me above my target so thank you, thank you, thank you, you lovely, generous people.

Having thoroughly warmed up and cooled down, I was expecting to come home, chill and sleep but far from it.  While I was out, a text had pinged through, from my lovely friend, Julia.  If you remember, in pre-Covid days, Julia, Linda, Beth and I used to eat out once a month although that had to stop.  Without going into any details, both Julia and her husband have very compromised health issues and have been isolating strictly since the first lockdown.  The issues remain but they are now inviting friend into their delightful little garden for socially distanced chats, etc.
Anyway, Sunday was Julia's birthday and Linda had asked could she pop over with a gift so Julia turned it into an afternoon tea (which went on until the evening because we had an awful lot to talk about!), sitting around her lovely big garden table under a canopy that shaded us all from the sun.  Sadly, Beth couldn't come which was a shame.

I really didn't know what to get Julia for her birthday but now I do.  I was reminded of how much she loves cherry jam and how difficult it can be to find it locally and we reminisced about when I made some for her using frozen cherries.  So that's what I will do.  I need to get some frozen cherries but I have jam sugar and I have jars.

And Linda and I both left with some tomatoes and a mini cucumber each - Julia's tomatoes are way ahead of mine.  I'll have to reciprocate with a few courgettes soon or maybe a cucumber as mine are different to hers - or, probably, both!

Anyway - we have decided that while the weather remains warm and dry, we will do this again, sooner rather than later, probably with a takeaway of some kind.  We'll decide some dates today, I hope.

So that was how an already pleasant day turned into an absolutely brilliant day.

Today is quieter, I hope, because Beeb says 32C temperatures today.  Phew.  However, the fans arrived.  They are good, strong, office grade fans and send out a good old cooling breeze so I'm pleased with that.

All I have in the diary is Groove aerobics first thing.  It shouldn't be terribly hot at that time and Lindsey says she is adapting the usual routines so I'm sure it will be fine and I can always cool off under the shower afterwards.
After that, it is a day to potter and chill.  Bit of housework, bit of tidying, bit of meal prep and lots and lots of R&R, possibly in the garden shade although I'll see how hot that is first.
Please take care today.  Drink loads of water and move slowly - stay cool and be safe.  xx

Monday 11 July 2022


 Today's garden happy - several dahlia flowers.  I love the variation and it is starting to look a picture beside my front door..

Good morning!  Obviously, another sunny start to the day and the temperature is due to rise to around 30C in the afternoon.  Definitely a good excuse to go for a swim!  It is in weather like this that I am super grateful for the trees next door that shade my garden later afternoon and into the evening.

Yesterday started with an early morning swim - well, an eight o'clock swim which is as early as the gym opens on Sundays.  There were a surprising number of people waiting outside, not only for swimming but also for the machines.  I expect they wanted to get it done before the heat started up and it really was very pleasant at that time - warm but fresh.
The Gossip Girls were there in force so I went into the first designated lane (for 'slow swimmers') and did my ups and downs, ups and downs while they monopolised the wider space - they were swimming, it was all fine, I'm not criticising them at all.
I was right - one of the Girls is a lady from our SW group.  I recognised her and she recognised me before we got changed and had a little chat, which was nice.  I'll see her again on Friday.

The sponsored swim for GOSH is going well.  I now have just 800m to go so, realistically, that's two more sessions.  I'll post the link to my Giving Page at the foot of this post, in case there's anyone who would like to donate to a very worthy cause.  Thank you again to all of you who have already donated.  It means a lot to me and I'm very grateful.  xx

After the swim, shower and hair drying session, I came home and battled a bit more with my hair.  The chlorine is playing havoc with my usually well conditioned hair so I've started using some more 'intense' hair conditioner for a while and that's certainly helping.  When I'd finished, it looked much less birds nest-y and more what it should look like.

the rest of the day was spend doing the usual little things.  I did three loads of washing (one load was the swimming stuff) and by the time the second load was washed, the first lot was dry so I was able to get it ironed while the second load dried.  I do like to get ironing over and done with fairly pronto although I really MUST take it all upstairs and put it away shortly.

I emailed Gail and arranged to meet her at Dad's the day before completion so we can go over the place from top to bottom and make sure it is 100% ready.  The Bradshaws have been so very good about us leaving things we couldn't get rid of that I want everything else to be perfect for them.  I suspect it will be very emotional for us both - Gail has looked after the house (and Mum and Dad) for years now.

It was quite warm through the afternoon but, thankfully, not humid, so really rather nice and it cooled down OK in the evening.

Today I was planning to go fruit picking again first thing but Lathcoats PYO is closed today to allow more fruit to ripen so I'll go Wednesday instead, if possible.  That being so, I'll do my weekly shop this morning instead.  I really don't have much to get (which might be famous last words but fingers crossed) but there's always fresh stuff and dairy, isn't there?

Later on, it's circuits.  While I do enjoy circuits, I'm not really looking forward to exercising in the heat so will take plenty of water with me.  Following that, I'm off for my swim so that should cool me down very nicely.  I've found that a swim afterwards stops the muscles from getting a bit achey; it stretches and relaxes me very effectively and the five minutes in the jacuzzi afterwards is simply bliss!

Then it's home, James, to sit in the shaded living room with the fans blowing.  I'm expecting the ones I ordered last week to arrive at some point today but, if they don't, it's not the end of the world as I do have a couple, one of which is rather old and rattly.

So that's my Monday mapped out.  Fingers crossed it all goes according to plan.  Have a good day too and try to stay cool and hydrated.  xx

Here's the link to my Just Giving page.

Sunday 10 July 2022


 Today's garden happy -  the second cucumber, pretty much ready to be picked.  I'll just finish the one I have in the fridge first.  This time there are more following on so no more shop bought cucumbers for a while.  That makes me happy.

Good morning.  

Yesterday was a much better day.  For a start, it was a bit cooler, especially in the morning, and also everything worked out much more to plan

The parks walk was lovely - warm but in no way uncomfortably hot.  There were only three of us there as P and M couldn't come - poor M has Covid.  The walk cleared my muggy head and sorted out the aches and I felt 110% afterwards.

Then I just chilled, looked up a few ideas for holidays and read the new SM magazine in between falling asleep on and off all afternoon.  So lazy!  I slept like a log overnight too.

Today I plan to go for a swim soon; the gym opens at eight so I'll be there then.  After that, it's another gentle day.  The weather is due to be hot, hot, hot so I won't be doing much bouncing about and I hope the fans I ordered arrive tomorrow.
I've already done the watering and the weeding (didn't do the latter yesterday after all) so all I will need to add to that is, probably, an evening watering and a feed (for the plants, I mean).
It's on days like today that I am very thankful that I've decided not to keep the allotment, or I'd have to drive there morning and evening and trudge back and forth with watering cans multiple times.  The very thought makes me feel tired.

Have a lovely Sunday and stay as cool as you can.  xx

Saturday 9 July 2022


 Today's garden happy - a fuchsia.

Morning, everyone.  Guess what - the sun is shining!!  What a surprise - I don't think!  It was a bit of a scorcher yesterday and, thankfully, today is supposed to be just a bit cooler but still lovely and warm.

It was a very odd day yesterday.  Very little actually went to plan.
As I said, Slimming World was just a register and weigh session as poor Jen has Covid again.  I maintained but I won't bore you all in here, I'll save my rant for t'other blog.  If you read both, You Have Been Warned!

When I got home, there were two emails waiting.  One was from the cleaning company to say that the lady was not at all well (didn't say it was Covid but I suppose it might have been) so no cleaning this week.
The other was from our solicitors saying that the contracts still hadn't arrived (both John and I think they have, they've just not got through whatever system they have for arriving mail yes) but we could do a verbal signing thing, me via Zoom and John by phone.  So I had to wait in until I got the Zoom invite which was slap bang in the middle of when I was supposed to be swimming so it put paid to that!

However, it was worth it.  They started the whole exchanging process at the bottom of the chain so when they got to me and John, it was near the end of the process and we got the news that exchange was formally done at 15:02 with completion on the 22nd.  Phew - another step further on.  So now I can make the final arrangements; going up once more, meeting with Gail and going over the house, leaving a welcome pack, and so on.

Partly to celebrate and partly because I was really disgruntled after weigh in, I had a takeaway in the evening.  I haven't had one for months and months and, naughty as it was, I did enjoy it.  However, I had a rotten night's sleep for once and have woken up very stiff this morning - a mixture of bad sleep, bad nutrition and quite a lot of tension yesterday, I expect.  Today I must refocus.

So - today.  There's the SW group parks walk this morning which should be really lovely in the sun.  I'm not planning a swim as the pool is always very busy on Saturdays but will go tomorrow early morning.  When I get back from the walk, I must do a bit of weeding and then I expect I will just stay out of the sun and chill.
And refocus!

Have a great day and enjoy any sunshine you have.  xx