Wednesday 31 May 2023

Wednesday, 31-05-23

Good morning, everyone.  Here we are, last day of May and guess what - it's raining.  Well, drizzling really but it's damp and a bit chilly.  Yesterday was chilly too and Mr Sun obviously didn't read the BBC weather because he stayed away all day.
Seriously, I was miserably cold for most of the day, despite warm jumpers, shoes and socks (and everything in between, obviously).  My fingers were the worst - brrrrr.
Oh, well, it is what it is!

After that dismal start . . . 

Look what I saw half an hour ago.  Yes, my first strawberry of the year, despite the lack of sun.  There's another one coming along too and where one leads, the rest are not far behind, like tomatoes!

So that's really cheered me up!

I got the shopping for the next couple of weeks done first thing yesterday.  I was surprised that it was a lot less than the start of May (not so much meat, I think, but more fruit and veg) and very pleased that what I have left for May covered the cost so that's a good start for June, especially as I am planning to spend an arm and a leg on a holiday next year!!

Apart from that, I did the usual regular household stuff, I exercised to a YouTube thing and I read and knitted.  A quiet (and chilly) day because I refused to turn up the heating - it's the end of May, for goodness sakes!!  :-)

By the end of today, I should have a working shower again.  Matt is coming first thing to fit the new one and I think he's doing my annual boiler service at the same time.  I'll be thankful when that is done.  I don't use my shower all the time but I have missed it.
When that's finished, it is usual stuff - the regular wipe arounds, etc.  Then I will be nice and lazy, watch a dvd maybe or catch up on some telly.  I'll see what the weather does and, maybe, I will go out and see what I can find to fill a small planter for the other side at the front, as I mentioned yesterday.  Not if it is raining though.  Mind you, the garden really does need some rain; it is very dry at the moment.

Well, better go, wash, gat dressed and be ready for when Matt turns up - he said between eight and nine and he's always very prompt so it could be closer to eight than to nine.  Have a lovely day, whatever the weather.  xx

Tuesday 30 May 2023

Tuesday, 30-05-23

Morning, everyone!  For once, it is a dull and chilly start to the day and, again, it is not expected to be that warm, only up to about 17C with 'sunny intervals' but it is what it is and I'm sure whatever comes will be pleasant enough.

I went out the front and took a photo of the front strip.  On editing/cropping them, etc, I noticed how very tatty it was looking so went back out and did a bit of tidying so, when you look at the below, please note it's a lot neater now, OK?
I don't know the names of everything so maybe some of you clever plant lovers can help.

So, starting at the left - the scruffy end.  The soil is particularly shocking here and there's underlying concrete.  Actually, the soil is shocking all along and I really must do something about it.  I've worked on the back garden soil over time and it's loads better but the front . . . awful.  Solid Essex clay (and concrete)!
Anyway - some poppies which survive anywhere and the bulbs and the lilies of the valley (lily of the valleys?) which have have been absolutely beautiful.  Also, that little bit of pink is a baby dahlia, planted this year, which may or may not survive.  We will see.

I think I must lay a few bricks and put a planter on the bare patch - even weeds are not terribly happy there although it doesn't stop them trying..

Moving right . . . 

At the back, crocosmia lucifer - a taller than average crocosmia with a bright red flower.  They should be sending out flower stems soon and seem happy enough there although they're not spreading all that fast - fine by me!
Then there's more Spring bulbs and lily of the valley plus one little pansy!
The concrete is all but gone but the soil bakes solid in drier conditions.

Shuffling right again . . .
I really should know what the bush at the back it but can't recall it.  Is it a euonymus?  Help, please.

Anyway, it is doing what I wanted when I planted it - giving a bit of height and interest and I love the variegated leaves.  Now it is really established, I need to allow it to grow up but not out - if that's possible.  It should be.
At the front, wee beddings and then a couple of plants too close to each other.  One is a kind of campanula (I think) and the other is the geranium which is flowering its little socks off now and really earning its space.
Moving on . . .

More of the geranium, more lilies and that little daisy thing - felicia - which, I realise, is in totally the wrong place.  Do I move it now or let it have its time in the sun first?  I think the latter.  There is space for it in front of the bush in the previous photo.
At the back, some gladioli which were lovely the year before last but didn't flower much at all last year - maybe the soil is too poor.  I'll see how they go this year.
In front of them is the veronica which has been lovely.  I've cut back the flowering stems now in hopes that it will send up some nw growth.  Fingers crossed.

The bluebells have been a picture this year but they are over now, sadly.  Close to them, the confused dahlia is coming up again, faithful old flower.  It's confused because the flowers are a random mix of pink and white and they are eye catching in what is a gloomy corner.   I thought I might have lost it in the very cold weather but no - there it is again.
There were bulbs too earlier.

And finally . . .
You have seen this plenty of times.  It really brightens up the front door and is doing very nicely at the moment.

Looking at it, yes, I will put a planter the other end too next year - it should make a considerable difference.  

Finally, finally - turning 180 degrees from the planters, this is my 'lawn' - ha ha.

It's never in great shape but it could be worse (and has been, many times) and I keep it because it's a nice little splash of green among the paving.  

After taking all the photos and realising how tatty parts were, I gave it about an hour of attention and it's now looking a bit better.  The grass has been mown but those daisies will be flowering again very soon.  You can't keep a determined daisy down, can you.  I love them!

I do have some soil improver in the garage - I must read the instruction and use it!!

Anyway - there you are.  The front.  Not perfect by a long shot but it's OK.

Today starts off with the first food shop of June.  Yes, I know it's not June yet but the next three mornings are busy and I do like to do my shop early in the morning, before it gets too busy.  I have my list ready and, thankfully, all June's dosh is in so it's ok to bring it forward a bit.
Then, after that's all done and dusted and depending on the weather, I will change my bedding, I think, and continue with the clothes sorting out.  I started yesterday but didn't get that far with it.
And I need to get check over May's Excel page and make sure it is bang up to date after the long weekend.   

After then - meal planning, knitting and chilling, I guess.
How about you?  xx

Monday 29 May 2023

Monday, 29-05-23

Good morning, everyone.  According to the BBC, it's not going to be as warm today but we will still have some sunshine.  It was pretty chilly last night - down to around 4C - so now I feel better about having the electric blanket on when I went to bed!

Yesterday was glorious though - wall to wall sunshine and lovely and warm without being uncomfortably hot.
It was a noisy day, being so close to the RideLondon route.  I went out the back and watched it for a while.  It's a good viewpoint seeing them come in from the country and down the road.  There were so, so many.  I'm not sure when the race started but by mid morning there were cheers, hoots and claps and it continued for several hours as they just kept coming and coming.  Everyone was having a great time and the cyclists looked pretty relaxed - it was a charity thing so most of them were there for the fun of the ride and to raise money - I missed the serious ones at the beginning.  I suppose it was the cycling equivalent to the London Marathon really.
I filmed a couple of clips - they're not the same, just the same thumbnail.

Apart from that excitement, I spent the day sorting out some mistakes in what I am currently knitting and getting on with it while I caught up with YouTube, cooked meals, etc.  A quiet day.

Today is also quiet.  I might drive to one of the parks to have a stroll around or, more likely, I might just stay at home and potter (again).  I have a few plans for reorganising my bedroom cupboards and I have some meal planning to do and a shopping list to work on, seeing as it is nearly June.
Well, time for another coffee and to get the day started, I think.  Have a good 'un, one and all.  xx

Sunday 28 May 2023

Sunday, 28-05-23 - photo heavy!

 Good morning, everyone, and welcome to a beautifully sunny early-ish SUnday morning.  About half an hour ago, it was slightly misty but now all the mist has cleared and it's predicted to be another gorgeous late-Spring day.  Bring it on!

As expected, yesterday was a gentle, pottering about sort of day, so lovely and ordinary that I can't really remember what I did.
I remember I got all the ironing done which took a little while in the morning and in the afternoon I talked to the tomato plants as I moved a couple from one side to t'other, to give them all a bit more space  and planted out the last two into big pots.  I now have eleven on one side and five on the other with room for a couple more, should Chris have a few left over or if I find a large plum tomato although the chances of the latter are small as it's nearly the end of the tomato selling season.  A large plum type is the only one I don't have that I was looking for and I suppose I could trawl the online garden centres for one.  I didn't get any Gardeners' Delights because that's what Chris has.
It's a nice variety - red, orange, yellow, 'black' and striped with a mix of round plum, medium, cherry, pear-shaped . . .
Just what I was aiming for.

I'm a very ordinary 'gardener', hardly worthy of the name, but I just potter, make mistakes and Dad would laugh his head off at some of my efforts!  I went out into the garden just before the sun broke through (so a bit dull, sorry) and took a few snaps to brighten up the blog - here we go!

Plants move!  This phlox did not start off entangled with the lavender . . .  but the effect is quite pretty, all the same.

I've had the back garden geranium for a long, long time now.  It's been moved a few times, had some poor years and yet back it comes every time.  I love it.  It is a bit later than the one at the front but it just starting to throw up flower buds.  In a fortnight or so, it will be covered.

The urn is looking lovely and should continue to do so for a while to come.
(I say 'urn' - plastic thing is closer to the truth.  I had two of them but one broke ages ago)

Verbena is beautiful, isn't it?  A faithful bedding plant that gives and gives.

The nemesia is a lot prettier than it looks in this photo.  I have three clumps of them and they're lovely!

We don't grow herbs primarily for their flowers, do we; it is an added gift from them.
Thyme . . .

 . . . and chives.

Both looking so pretty.

Now a few edibles.

Loads of tiny strawberries this year and some now not-so-tiny.

The cucumbers have started growing - it took them a while but now it's warmer, they are definitely happier.

Quite a lot of the tomatoes have buds now but there's only a few flowers so far.  This is the tumbling tiger, the only bush plant I have and my experience is that they do tend to be earlier fruiting and earlier finishing.

Maybe, tomorrow, I will snap along the front strip.

After that bit of self indulgence . . .

Today is RideLondon day round here.  The bumph on the site says:

On Sunday 28 May, there will be more extensive road closures in London and Essex when more than 25,000 everyday riders will take on the Ford RideLondon-Essex 100, 60 and 30 challenge rides. There is also Ford RideLondon FreeCycle and the final stage of the Ford RideLondon Classique in central London.

Ever since the great success of the Tour de France around here, pretty much the same route has been followed for Ride London although, being a Sunday, it doesn't mean school closures and it certainly isn't the circus the Tour was.
What it means is that parts of the two main roads west out of town are closed from 6:00 am to 3:30 pm plus a number of other roads also used including our main road that goes past the side of our cul de sac, giving us a great view, should we want it.
I'm staying in unless I take a wander down the road to see if anything is going on.  I'm not entirely 'trapped' unlike some others who simply cannot get their cars out today, but I'm not going to try.  The main roads will be a bit manic with people finding other ways out of town and it's just not worth it.

There's plenty of info out there though, for those who have to travel.  I think they have learned from experience as the first few times it wasn't that well advertised and caused some hassle.  

I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do today but I will find something and I will enjoy it, I am sure.

Have a great day!  Enjoy the sunshine (assuming you have it) and the warmth.  xx

Saturday 27 May 2023

Saturday, 27-05-23

 Morning, everyone.  Welcome to Saturday and the start of a long weekend - or half term!  I think of my teacher friends this half term - it's not much of a holiday, what with reports to write.  All the best with them - it's something I do NOT miss in the slightest!

Yesterday turned out to be a lovely sunny day and today looks like being much the same.  There was a gentle breeze a-blowing which kept it cooler in the shade but made for a brilliant washing/drying day.
Guess who has a pile of ironing to do this morning now!

SW was as good as ever and the tasters were nice.  Hardly breakfasty, most of them, but I felt well fed both in amount and in flavours.  

Jen took photos so I've made a montage of them all.

In between washings, the cleaners came and made me happy and then Sharon came and made me happy too.  I feel neat and tidy again now, both personally and in my home.  :-)

Today - in fact, all weekend - is going to be pretty quiet and home based.  I have ironing to do and I still haven't sorted out my jeans, etc.  I really must get that done.

Apart from that, I don't know.  I might wander out for a gentle stroll around or I might sit out in the garden, if it's warm enough.  And I am definitely Googling for Scandi cruises, as is Diane, to give us some idea of what's on offer.

It's a good old life!

Stay well and have a lovely time, everyone.  xx

Friday 26 May 2023

Friday, 26-05-23

 Good morning, everyone.  Another slightly dull start to the day but, unlike yesterday, it is supposed to be a gorgeously sunny day.  I'll be happy with that.

Thanks very much to those of you who tested my email with a message.  I've replied and it all seems to be in order with the address in the sidebar.  Fingers crossed it doesn't become a two edged sword but I have been very fortunate with my lovely readers.

After a jolly good chat with Chris yesterday, I drove out to Black Notley to pick up Diane before heading to Cressing Temple Barns where we had a most delicious lunch of smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches with a side salad.  Really fresh, made to order and so satisfying.  Then we wandered across to the walled Elizathethan garden where we sat and talked the hind leg off a donkey.
We've decided that a Scandi cruise of some kind would be really nice and next Thursday Diane is coming to me first thing and I'll drive into town so we can go to the co-op travel agent  That's what she has done in the past and she said they are really helpful and informative.  So, maybe, this time next week, we will have settled something.

Today, being Friday, is Slimming World to start with, followed by my lovely cleaners coming a bit earlier than usual.  That is fortuitous because later on Sharon comes to sort out my mop of hair.  In between times I have two more tomato plants to get out and I will definitely move a couple of others over to t'other side to give them all a bit more breathing space.  Then I think I am all set up.
The little cucumbers have settled nicely and started growing too.

Have a great day, everyone.  Take care, enjoy the sunshine and stay well and happy.  xx

Thursday 25 May 2023

Thursday, 25-05-23

 Good morning, everyone.  Happy Thursday to you!

I've started an email just for my blogs.  Anyone who would like to get in touch privately, please feel free to use it.  The address is to the side.  In fact, I would appreciate it if a few of you would, just so that I can check it works, please.
Suze, as Victoria was so kind and it's all set up, would you mind using that route just this once, please.

It's a bit dull here this morning - a shame after so many lovely bright starts to the day this week.  The forecast is OK though so that's good.  Yesterday was properly warm, a gorgeous day.

I did my trawl around some shops and, pat on the back, wasn't all that spendy either.  I got some undies (needed) and trainer socks (also needed), I found a couple more different tomato plants (very small ones), a small thin bin for the bathroom and a couple of glass jars for the fridge.

That trick about storing berries in glass jars in the fridge really works.  It does keep them good and firm and stops them from going 'off'.  Hence getting a couple more jars.

It was just nice wandering around in the warm sunshine, enjoying life.

Personal training was also really good.  It's the last for a while now as next week is half term and Lindsey is away so there's no classes (no live classes) at all.  However, the thing about subscribing to SHimmy Snippets is that there's nearly half a year's worth of snippets and whole classes available so I won't be totally lazy next week.

Today normally starts with a SET class, either online or at the STudio, but I'm skipping that and will catch up with it in Snippets later on.  I'll pop over to Chris' for coffee and chat and then I'm off out to pick up my friend Diane as we're having lunch at Cressing Temple Barns.

We will also have a good wander around and, very exciting, we're going to trawl through the various cruise brochures we have and think about next year.  To be honest, I'm not too fussy about where to go but Diane has done two so probably won't want to repeat them.  

Have a super day, everyone.  xx

Wednesday 24 May 2023

Wednesday, 24-05-23

 Good morning!  The sun is shining and it feels happy this morning.  It's a bit cold right now but that's OK, it will warm up.

First of all - Suze.  Victoria said she'd be glad to pass on a message but message her phone number rather than an email as she's in the middle of rebuilding the site and might not catch an email.  She has my mobile and can bounce the message straight on.  Very kind of her, isn't it?
I really must see how to open another email thingy, and keep it just for my blogs.

I got a pleasant surprise when I checked my bank account (I'm trying to remember to do so every day at the moment, to keep on top of things) and saw that my teacher's pension had gone up by a smile creating amount.  Teaching certainly has its ups and downs but one big advantage is that its pension scheme is excellent.

Groove was, as always, really good yesterday!  It is the last of this block as next week is half term and then a new block starts leading up to the summer.
After breakfast and freshening up, I went on a tomato and yellow courgette hunt.  I managed to find four tomato types I hadn't already got but, sadly, no luck with the courgettes.  I got a small pack of courgettes seeds and will pop a few straight into the soil where I want them to grow and then, assuming they come up which isn't 100% certain knowing my luck, I can just pick the strongest looking one.  Fingers crossed.

I still have more pots and more soil for them, should I acquire more tomato plants but I'm OK with what I have.  Different types, shapes and colours so interesting.
I'd like a larger plum variety so if I see one I will get it, but it's not totally necessary, just nice.  I won't be short of tomatoes, see . . .

They are a bit crowded and I will most likely be moving some of them to the other side.  I'll see how they go.

There's one thing in the diary today and that is personal training at Shimmy Studio.  However, I rather fancy a drive out to Iceland and Matalan and may very well go on to Home Bargains and B&M, etc.  Just to look - I like an occasional trawl around shops without any pressure to find things.

I've already had a smashing time in the kitchen!  I lifted one of my pyrex bowls out of the cupboard, the rest of the pile toppled over and two of them are now in the bin, well wrapped up.  Grrrrr.  And they were my two newest ones that smashed, of course, not the older, slightly scratched ones.  Typical!
Fortunately, I still have enough so won't need to replace them straight away.

So - plant the little courgette seeds, out and about, personal training.  That will (should) keep me out of trouble, for sure.  :-)
Enjoy the day, everyone, take care and stay safe and well!

Tuesday 23 May 2023

Tuesday, 23-05-23

 Morning, one and all.  Welcome to Tuesday.  The sun is shining and I don't feel shivery any more - excellent.
It did cheer up considerably yesterday but it's still not what I would call all that warm really.  A bit more heat would be really lovely!

Yesterday went well.  I got all the chores done and dusted before trundling off for circuits which was enjoyable as always.  
That was about it.  Not a day that there was very much to write about.

Today starts with Groove and then I might pop over to Grenville Nursery and complete my collection of tomato plants, seeing as I have the rest of the day to get them out into pots.  It will be nice to get that done.
The other thing I would like to do is look at a couple of links Matt the Plumber sent so I can choose a new shower.  I might go for similar or I might go different, it all depends on how similar the fittings are (I don't want lots of holes in the tiles) and, to some degree, price.  
Once I have chosen, Matt can give me a date and a quite for the work.

And I MUST go through my jeans, etc, to see if any can come down from storage or go up into storage.

If it does turn out warmer, I could sit out for a while.  The garden is looking nice right now.

Have a good one, whatever your plans, and I hope all goes well for you.  xx

Monday 22 May 2023

Monday, 22-05-23

 Morning, everyone.  It's a bit late this morning but better late than never.  It's a dull old day after a sunny early morning, which is a shame, but Beeb thinks it will brighten up later on.  Bring it on.

After such a lovely day on Saturday, yesterday was a bit less good.  I wasn't feeling 100%, very shivery and a bit lethargic.  I pushed un through (that sounds better than it was) but, after lunch, gave up and snuggled down under my owly fleece to enjoy The Railway Children on the telly.
That 'Daddy!  My Daddy!' gets to me every single time.  I know it's coming but even so - snuffle!

And then I went to sleep and slept on and off all through the evening, went to bed early and slept pretty soundly all night.  I must have needed it!

And things are much brighter today!  Yay.

The only thing in the diary is circuits but, as I didn't do much yesterday, there's some bits and bobs to do and some emails, etc, to answer.
I've already pottered in the kitchen so that's back into order again.  I usually sort out the kitchen and give it a good wipe around every evening before I go to bed but I didn't yesterday (naughty) so it did need doing!

That's about it today.  Nothing exciting apart from circuits, just potter-ey stuff.  Suze, I have contacted Victoria and will let you know.
I'd better start the rest of the day by going up, having my bath and getting dressed, I suppose.
Have a good day/good week, everyone.  

Sunday 21 May 2023

Sunday, 21-05-23

 Morning, one and all, and a happy Sunday to you!  We are not into the last third of May and June is just peeping around the corner.  What feels even more strange is that we are only a month away from the longest day of the year which is June 21st this year.  Crazy!

Yesterday was just one of those simple, happy days.  I must have been in a very positive frame of mind and everything just flowed - like beads on a string as I think Anne Shirley once said in one of the Anne books - I forget which one but I bet one of you knows!

SET was really good.  There were six of us so I was lucky to get a place at the studio - I access it via my Snippets subscription so it should really be online but Lindsey lets me join the studio group when there's room.  Online is fine but there's a great vibe in the studio.

By the time I got home, the first load of washing had finished so that went on the line and the next lot went in to wash.  By the time that had finished, the first lot was pretty much dried what with the sun and the breeze - it was that sort of washing day.  So by the end of the day, all the washing, including the bedding, was washed, dried and ironed and there's just a bit that needs putting away today because it was airing overnight.

In between loads of washing, I pottered around doing other bits and pieces.  All the plants in little pots are now in their homes.  The tomatoes look great, all in a row, although I must spread them out just a bit more than they are right now.  I moved some random strawberry plants along a bit so now I have space for a yellow courgette, if I find a likely looking plant at the nursery.  I love yellow courgettes.  They're supposed to taste the same as the green ones but they don't - or maybe it's the golden skin colour affecting the old taste buds, I don't know.  Anyway - fingers crossed I find one.
While I was in the gardening mood, I mowed my little patch of grass and attacked some inter-paving weeds with my wire tool which is specifically for the purpose so the front looks neat again.
I emptied some pots where the contents had passed away so, maybe, that means a few more tomato plants this year!  Woohoo!

This made me very happy!
The dishwasher was on, the washing machine was on and I was still exporting power to the grid.

Finally, I grabbed everything on the wall hooks and brought it all into the living room for a good sort-out.
All the winter coats went upstairs and into the blue room wardrobe and I brought down the summer coats.  All the scarves, hats, etc, are now away for the summer and I was able to re-arrange multiple umbrellas.

It's not my fault I have so many umbrellas!  There's eight hanging there, one larger one without a hanging thingy in the corner and two in the car!

You would not believe how many umbrellas John and I found when we were sorting out Dad's house!  He took a few, I think, Alex and Beth had some, we gave out a few to friends and I took the rest, as they are all very good quality and certainly not ready to be thrown away.

John and I reckoned they must have done the usual 'go on holiday and forget to pack one' thing.  They went on holiday quite a lot . . .

I also have two fold up raincoats (also hanging there) because Mum's was loads better quality that the one I already had.

Anyway - they won't be wasted.  I've already sent visitors off with one if they get caught out and I never, ever need to buy one again!

And the bottom line is that the winter coats are now away, the summer things out and ready to use, should they be needed and it's neat and tidy in the hall - as tidy as it ever is, anyway!

And one of the highlights of the day was sliding into bed, weary and ready for sleep, that had been made up with lovely, sun-dried bedding.  Bliss!

I have no specific diary notes for today although I might go for a walk in one of our lovely parks or commons - I will see how I feel.   I have a chicken to roast for Sunday dinner - it's surprising how the thought of roast chicken makes me feel happy!!!
The other thing I will do is sort out my jeans again as I suspect I will fit back into more of the tens now so the twelves can go away again - I am reluctant to actually dispose of them just yet.

But, for now, it is second coffee time.  The sun is shining and, while it is too chilly to sit out in the garden and drink it, I might just pop upstairs and enjoy it in bed while reading a magazine or two - classic Sunday morning stuff.

What are you doing today?  xx

Saturday 20 May 2023

Saturday, 20-05-23

 Good morning, everyone.  

The forecast was right - we did get some rain yesterday morning but the afternoon was absolutely gorgeous.  Today has started off bright and sunny and I have the first of a few piles of washing already in so that when I get home from SET, they can go straight out on the line and another load started.  

So - yesterday.  A very happy result at Slimming World after last week's disappointment.  I'm now within half a stone of my full target, I'm in single digit stones again and my BMI is in the healthy banding.   I was quietly extremely happy!

Later on, I drove across town to Abercorns and there bought a few more tomatoes.  I got one each of -
red plum
black opal
tiger tom (like tumbling tom but striped (it said) )
I do like a wide selection of different kinds - they look wonderful on the plate as well as in the garden.

Then I popped over the road to Lathcoats where they have started picking their strawberries.  Not PYO yet but it can't be all that far off.

I bought a punnet of the loveliest ever strawberries - they are so delicious and I will be enjoying them today!

I heard back from the shower people and, after discussing options, I have decided to replace the shower with something more up to date.  I emailed Matt the Plumber who will be getting back to me with suggestions.  He can also do my annual boiler service at the same time and I'd also like to discuss whether it's worth thinking about updating my central heating, etc.  All part of the whole future proofing thing and, as the solar panels were a fair bit less than I had allowed for, I do have some 'home improvement' money left for other things.

Today, I am setting off for SET at the studio very soon and then it is homey stuff.  I want to get those tomatoes into pots, work through the washing and I really ought to sort out the winter coats, get them upstairs and bring down the lighter ones.   I really don't need scarves and warm gloves around at the moment either.

Well, better set out or I will be late.  Have a great day, everyone and, if you have it, enjoy the beautiful weather.  xx

All that should keep me well out of mischief, don't you think?

Friday 19 May 2023

Friday, 19-05-23

Good morning, one and all.  After another lovely, sunny day yesterday, today we might get just a bit of light drizzle although I can hardly complain as it will be good for the plants.  It's rather dull now but I'm already sending power off to the national grid so really can't complain.

Yesterday was a sorting things out day.
I started by creating an online account for my gas, something I REALLY should have done years ago - but didn't.  As soon as I had done that I took a meter reading and sent that off, gain something I have been neglectful about, I really have.  It's taken an international cost of living crisis to get me off my lazy backside and get it done!
Oh, well, all done now and I've added metre reading to my List Of Thing To Do on the first of each month (along with sharpening my knives and sundry other little bits and bobs)

My shower has just stopped working which is a right nuisance.  One day it was fine, the next day - nothing.  So I got in touch with the relevant company and yesterday afternoon was punctuated by a flurry of emails asking and answering questions.  Hopefully, someone can come in the next week - we will see.

It was SET class online and it was good.  It's always good.  
After a quick freshen up, Chris came over for our coffee and chat.  As always, we put the world to rights - as you do!

Then I set off for Val's.  She had suggested we go to CRessing Temple but, when I looked up the menu, the whole site was closed for a private event (a wedding, I guess - private events usually are) so we went the other way to Blake House Craft Centre.
It's been a fair old while since I was last there and there's been some changed.  There's now a 'refill' shop where the And Sew On sale shop used to be.  If I hadn't had a full set of supplies, I'd have invested.  THey had all sorts of dried goods including some fancy pasta and things like red rice, not to mention dried fruits and non edibles like cleaning products, etc.  They even had scoopable frozen fruit and veg.
Val brought a bottle to refill with washing up liquid while I had a good old nosey round, making mental note.
We're rather spoilt for choice in refill shops nowadays.  Lathcoats has had a small selection for ages and now there's one in town plus this one at Blake House.
No excuses!!
Sconch, the yarn shop, has moved again and has now taken over the little coffee/lunch shop which is now mixed purpose.  Val and I enjoyed a delicious lunch - I had a gorgeous, well filled and squishy bacon, cheese and cranberry toastie which was so big I brought a bit of it home to enjoy at dinner time.

Finally, it was back to Val's for a coffee before driving home.

A lovely day.

Today, as always on Friday, starts with Slimming World.  After that and depending on the weather, I might take a bus ride into town - I will see what the weather is doing at point of departure.
In other words, I really have no idea what I'm doing for most of today but that's OK, I will find something to get my claws into, I am very sure.  :-)

Have a good day.  I'm sure most of you have more definite plans than I.  Whatever they are - I hope it'll be a good'un!   Take care.  xx

Thursday 18 May 2023

Thursday, 18-05-23

Good morning, everyone.  I'm up quite early and the sun seems to be slowly breaking through.  Bring it on, that's what I say.  In fact, BBC predicts a rather good fortnight of weather - no complaints here, even if it does mean a bit of plant watering.

I had an email from my brother, John, the one who manages a couple of scrap stores in the Borders.  He was really pleased to get a phone call from someone who wants to visit who saw about him/them in here, in my blog.
I'm just intrigued as to who it was so, if you would like to, please do say in the comments.  You don't have to, of course, I'm just really interested (aka 'nosey')!   And thank you.

A few garden photos - it is that time of year again, isn't it?

The herb and foliage bed is looking at its best at this time of year;  lush and green and growing well.  I had to replace a dead sage but the new one is doing OK.

I do need to chop back the oregano - it's taking over!

This is filling up nicely now and should have some traily bits soon.

Round the front, this geranium has been there for three years but this is the first year it has done anything interesting.  If you look sort of upper middle. you can just see flower buds.

Also round the front, my confused dahlia is sending up new leaves.  I thought I had lost it but no, it's still there.  This is the one that sends up random red and white petalled flowers and I would be sorry to lose it after so many years of greeting visitors to the front door with a bright show.

I got my shopping done early morning.  It didn't look that big a shop but ouch, all the same.  However, that should be me set up until the end of the month, barring little items - milk, maybe, or a few fresh vegetables.

I had a lovely chat with my friend, Mel, over coffee.  When she had gone, I went online and caught a message from Lindsey - she wasn't well and needed to cancel Personal Training.  That was a shame because I really enjoy our sessions but, of course, she needed to rest.  Hopefully she will be OK once the meds she got from the GP kick in.

Today starts with an online SET class - I haven't heard it's not on anyway.
Then it is the usual coffee and chat with Christine.
And then, hopefully, it is third time lucky for lunch with Val.
When I get home, I will do a quick tidy up so everything is cleaner-friendly and then I can chill, read, knit and watch rubbish telly!

So that is my day today.  Have a lovely day, everyone.  How is the weather looking your way?  xx

Wednesday 17 May 2023

Wednesday, 17-05-23

 Morning, everyone.  It's yet another lovely, sunny start to the day, a bit cool but very cheering.  Yesterday was beautiful with sunshine and loads of power generated  😍😎

Groove was brilliant.   It's the fifth of this block of six and then there's a week off for half term before it resumes in July.  Everyone was buzzing about Potters Five Lakes next year.  Lindsey has been offered eighty one places as a somewhat reduced rate for the group (yes, I have grabbed one and set the bank to pay on a specific date so I didn't forget) which is around twice the size of this year's group and places are going fast.  It will be the same as this year with Lindsey running her special classes plus all that is usually on offer and it's so nice to have it to look forward to.

I met up with Alex in town and after lunch we wandered around.  He decided he didn't want all that much but came home with some good quality slippers (yes, that's what he wanted) and some socks - as he said 'you can never have too many socks'.  
I didn't look for myself but I might have a morning in town at some point next week, just for a good nosey round and, maybe, a coffee as a treat.

That was all the excitement from yesterday.  When I finally got home, I had a coffee and then sat down with my knitting.  Half an hour or so later, I woke up!  Getting old, that's the trouble. 

Today is a bit busier.  I'm doing my other half monthly shop although the list is quite short (thankfully).
Once I am home, a SW friend is round for a chat.  This afternoon, it is personal training. 
All of that, plus the usual homey stuff, will keep me happily occupied, won't it?  Should be nice.

Have a great day and I hope the sun is shining for you.  xx

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Tuesday, 16-05-23

Hello, everyone.  Welcome to Tuesday.
After yesterday morphed into the sort of day to suit the month, today also looks really promising.  It's a bit chilly (around 4 or 5C) but won't stay like that for long, that's for sure.  

Yesterday was, as expected, a gently sort of day, broken by spells of enough tiredness to send me to sleep for short spells.  I'm not sure if I have a 'summer' cold or hay fever but either way it's just a bit of a nuisance, nothing worse.  I certainly slept well overnight.

Today starts with Groove down at the hall.  Then, after a bit of time at home, I am off into town to meet up with Alex (grandson) for lunch at Pizza Express (he does love his pizzas) and then a clothes shopping time (for him although I can't promise I will come home empty handed!).  This is my birthday present to him - it should have been last week but, at point of arranging it, Lucy was still missing so we decided to make it this week instead.

I'm looking forward very much to this.  It's always nice to spend some time with Alex.

Have a lovely day, everyone, and take care.  xx

Monday 15 May 2023

Monday, 15-05-23

Good morning, everyone!  How can we be half way through May?  How is that even possible and when with Mother Weather wake up to that fact?
To be fair, after a very dull morning yesterday, the afternoon was absolutely gorgeous with warm, fence to fence sunshine and a gentle breeze.  It was glorious.  A shame it didn't hang around this morning though - more rain and more wind right now.  The actual forecast is for sunny intervals.  Not now, not here, BBC!!  

Later edit:  8:10.  Apologies, BBC, the sun is now out and it looks lovely!!

Yesterday turned out fine.  I did my little bit of shopping when Morrison's opened, I got three loads of washing done, line dried (yay) and ironed.  There's some stuff on hangers that needs to be put away and then it's all done.

I had a lovely time working gently in the garden.  I've decided to ditch some bits that just haven't come up at all this year which leaves me with several empty pots so I need to have a ponder about how to use them.  I put some more potting compost into pots ready for tomato plants (I'll probably take a trip down to Grenville Nurseries next week at some point to get them) and decided that I gave enough space in one of the beds for a yellow courgette plant, if the nursery has any.
I just have two nemesia and a few lobelia to get into the middle bed now or, maybe, into a pot instead.  I wasn't sure and need to ponder.

I did my meal planning for this coming week and, more tentatively, jotted down a few things for the following week, so I can now do my shopping list.

And, finally, I had a browse through the P&O Cruise brochure.  It all looks most exciting and rather bewildering; I will be seeing Diane next week so I'll take it with me and we can have a look through together.  There are lots of them that sound really good so spoilt for choice really.

Today, the diary is blank apart from circuits.  I'll definitely be going as it's much more strength stuff than bouncy stuff and the support bandage really does help.  Apart from that, I'm not sure apart from the usual houseworky stuff but that's OK as I have woken up with a bit of a sore throat and headache so taking it easy feels pretty good right now.
Have a great Monday, everyone, and take care.  xx

Sunday 14 May 2023

Sunday, 14-05-23

Morning, all, and I wish you a very happy Sunday!  It's dull outside, just like it was pretty much all day yesterday, despite a forecast for bright sunshine.  We have the same forecast for today - perhaps they will have got it right today.

I didn't do very much yesterday really.  I ended up doing SET online because my ankle was being silly again so online worked better as I needed to adapt.  I will wear my support bandage today and for the next few days, just to - well - to support, of course!   :-)

There are a few things I need to do today because I didn't do them yesterday.
I need to do a quick Morrisons shop - it isn;'t quite a fortnight since the last one but there's a couple of basics I need now.  I plan to do the next main shop on Wednesday so this will just be a few bits and bobs, nothing major.
I want to sort out the rest of the plants I bought - I did a little bit yesterday but not everything.
And I must do a couple of loads of washing - and hope the weather stays dry.

None of that is very exciting so I might go for a walk this afternoon, weather permitting.  
And that is today.  I like a quiet life.  

Take care, everyone, and have a good day.  xx   

Saturday 13 May 2023

Saturday, 13-05-23

Good morning, everyone.  At last, the rain we should have had Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday caught up with us and it was a pretty soffy, damp morning.  Cold too.  All day there was quite a strong wind and it really felt cold.  I turned my thermostat down so that it didn't click on (being all sensible and frugal).

So I didn't do any gardening apart from talking encouragingly to my little tomatoes and cucumber plants (which are still looking good and strong, thankfully) and we're nowhere close to a frost.  It just feels chilly and I wish my fingers would warm up a bit.

hat I did do was take a trawl through the Lodge coach site and booked another day trip.  This one isn't until November but the Christmas tri[ps do get booked solid pretty quickly.  There was one for Bury St EDmunds but it's not hosting a Christmas Market this year so I left that one.
The one I've booked is called Simply Christmas and the blurb says:

The Creative Craft Show is back this November! The Creative Craft Show is a haven for knitting, cross stitch, paper crafting, jewellery & dressmaking and stitching enthusiasts, offering all the latest supplies as well as festive ideas and inspiration. You'll find everything from kits, charts and patterns to fabrics, yarns, threads, and buttons. You'll find plenty of opportunities to gain advice from industry experts, as well as network with likeminded crafters. Tickets to the show will also allow you access to the sister shows, Simply Christmas, Cake International AND the all-new Bake International - 4 shows for the price of 1!

It's at the NEC, Birmingham and that's MUCH further than I would ever want to drive for a day trip so it's rather nice to ;et the train - er, I mean coach - take the strain.

It sounds right up my street and something to really look forward to.  Val wasn't interested but, in a way, I'd rather be somewhere like that on my own to look at what I am interested in than hanging around in a group
Better start saving!!  Hee hee!

SW group was, as always, great fun, even if my results were far from satisfactory this week.  Oh, well . . .

And I had a nice fb conversation with Al to arrange my birthday gift to him.  I'm taking him for lunch and then we will be doing some more shopping as there are other clothes he wants or needs.  He's decided on Pizza Express (he does love his pizza) so I've booked and it's all settled.  

Today, I have an early morning SET class at Shimmy Studio and then I hope it will be nice enough to get those flowers planted out properly.  The forecast looks good.  Nice and warm too.  However, right at the moment, it is dull and dreary and really not very nice.   My cold fingers are crossed!
And the P&O cruise brochure arrived the other day so I will take some time browsing through it and seeing what takes my fancy.
(If you remember, I think I have a friend who would like to share this experience with me which makes it much more attractive and it is a sort of bucket thing)
Better go - I have to get ready for SET and drive over to the studio. 
Have a lovely day, everyone.  xx

Friday 12 May 2023

Friday, 12-05-23

 Good morning, everyone.  Surprisingly, it was quite a fine day yesterday until later on when it clouded over and rained again.  I can live with that!

A bit of a disappointment yesterday.
While I was bopping away to Lindsey's SET class, a message pinged in and when I checked it after class, it was from Val saying she really wasn't very well and please could be reschedule.  Of course, said I, so fingers crossed for next week.

So, after a lovely coffee and chat with Chris, I decided I would pop out to a couple of garden centres down the Ongar Road, the Hanging Gardens nursery and, a bit further out, Greenbrook Garden Centre, which is really lovely.
Yes, I did, and justified it because of the Premium Bonds wins.  LOL

Now, I don't usually get going with tomatoes until the end of May - danger of frost, etc - but I was sorely tempted . . . 

. . . as you can see.
There were varieties I have never heard of before.
Firstly, I got a couple of 'Honeycomb' which is supposed to be very like Sungold in habit, flavour and colour.
I also got one called 'Sweet Aperitif', supposed to be similar to Gardener's Delight and very heavy cropping.
The other is called 'Nagina', a plum tomato which is supposed to be highly blight resistant.  

So they are now in their pots (and watered in, thanks to some heavy rain) and, as the bag of compost was open, I filled a couple more pots, all ready for more tomato plants in due course.

I also got a couple of cucumbers, two strawberries (the very old plants are on their last legs so I am slowly replacing them) . . . 

 . . . and some bedding plants.  

All very joy-creating!

I've been looking at coach trips - just day trips - and am very attracted to one to the Weald and Downland Living Museum (where the Repair Shop is filmed) at the end of June.  Val said she would love to come too so. later on today, I will book it for us both.

Today it's Slimming World group and then I will get that trip booked.  Later on, weather permitting, I am back out in the garden, getting some more stuff sorted out.  The house is pretty tidy so I have a clear conscience.

The sun is trying to shine so fingers crossed.  Have a lovely Ffiday, everyone.  xx

Thursday 11 May 2023

Thursday, 11-05-23

 Good morning!  It was another lovely day yesterday, broken by some rain late afternoon but not nearly as hard, noisy or prolonged as Tuesday.  Today, I think, is supposed to be more of the same!

Yesterday passed gently.  I got the washing done, dried, ironed and away (cheers) and personal training was good although I really felt it after missing a week.  I was very achey through the evening but it's fine now.  I also did a bit of weeding, a bit of scraping between the slabs and I mowed my little patch of grass.
And that was about it really!

Today is much busier.  
I have an online SET class.  Then it's a quick freshen up before popping over the cul de sac to have coffee and chat with Chris.  And then I'm off to Val's for lunch.  It's just as well I don't have a lot of housework apart from just making sure the house is cleaner friendly for tomorrow.

I took a few garden photos:

I'm looking forward to strawberry picking at Lathcoats but I'm also looking forward to picking my own.  Last year was not a good crop but this year it looks much more promising.

The clematis is budding up really well.

The new lupins are looking very happy.

The middle bed is looking messy still (bulb leaves dying down) but it won't be long before there are flowers - iris, lupin, lavender, geranium and Japanese anemone and that's just one half.  I seem to have lost a few things from the other side but I'll give them another few weeks before looking to replace anything.  

Sadly, there is no sign of the fuchsias in a couple of pots.  They are usually sending out new growth by som.  A shame, I have had them for years, but there you go!

Have a lovely day, whatever your plans.  xx

Wednesday 10 May 2023

Wednesday, 10-05-23

 Good morning, everyone.  After a nice, dry day most of yesterday, in the evening we had the father and mother of a thunderstorm with some torrential rain at times!   The BBC reckons that there's more of the same to come today but, right now, it is cool and fresh and beautifully sunny  and I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.

I can't complain - I got my whites all washed and line dried, ironed and the sheets went straight back on the bed again.  Nice.

Groove was fine.  I wore my ankle bandage, just in case, and wasn't as bouncy as I usually am but, after some initial aching, the ankle was absolutely fine so that was good.

Thank you all very much for your lovely, happy comments about Lucy.  I lifted this directly from Beth's Facebook message yesterday evening (which a few of you will have already seen, I think):

Lots of preening and polishing going on today. She has minor scrapes and sore patches and slightly red eyes, but is getting shiny and lovely again and not the sad, bedraggled, twiggy and filthy state I pulled out of the hedge this morning. Which is where she had been... stuck in a ruddy hedge.

I heard her meowing in one of my roams around looking for her. Ended up hacking off significant quantities of said hedge in the small hours when I realised that was where she was, still couldn't see her, had to wait till daylight and resumed said criminal damage to hedge again at about 7am this morning.
After one particularly strenuous heave she appeared and promptly dashed under a car where she remained, howling her head off as me and some friendly passers by attempted to coax, and then poke her out.
Whereupon she promptly *got back into the hedge she had been stuck in* and had to be hauled out howling by the scruff of her neck. Oh and to top things off? I can see this hedge from my back door.
Oh Lucy.
She really hasn't covered herself with glory, I swear the ear mites and fleas she has brought back have more sense than she. The absolute muppet.

You have to laugh, don't you, but there is deep, deep relief that she is not slowly starving in a locked shed or garage, squashed flat on the road somewhere or, worst of all, stolen by some deeply nasty person - I tried very hard not to think of that last although it would have been highly unlikely, Lucy being a very timid cat who, usually, won't even go too close to Alex. Beth is her one and only human. Yes, she was obviously very frightened, very hungry and very stuck, but pretty much physically OK. And she wasn't out in last night's storm.

Yesterday really was a very happy day!!

In other news, the electricians arrive, installed the smart meter (it took longer than I thought and than the said!), explained the display and left. So that's all done. He looked at the solar panel stuff and said it looked as if the readings would go off automatically but, if they did ask me for a solar meter reading at any time, showed me where the dial was. Helpful!

Today is a stay at home day. No need to do a shop as I still have plenty of stuff to use. I have a load of coloureds to wash and dry and there's personal training later on. The garage is pretty much OK now but there's just a few bits, bobs and corners that could be better so I may very well do a bit of that, and there's a heap of stuff in the little bedroom that needs to go elsewhere as there's not as much room in the cupboard any more.

Not a very exciting day but I'm still feeling really happy about Lucy so it doesn't need to be exciting. Happy is more than enough! Did you have storms yesterday? xx

Tuesday 9 May 2023

Lucy update: good news!!

 Just posted on Beth's Fb page.   It sounds dramatic.

 LUCY IS HOME many thanks to everyone who looked, the people who helped with the rescue mission early this morning and everyone who helped with leaflets, carriers and treats, tree cutters and big sticks... can't thank you all enough... it's been an eventful time but she is safely home!

And a photo to prove it!

Tuesday, 09-05-23

Morning, everyone.  The rain seems to have landed although it is dry right now and the predicted downpour yesterday didn't materialise, just a very few moments of drizzle.  I guess some other unfortunate polace got it instead.  Today looks a right mixture of sunshine, rain and thundery stuff.

Still no Lucy, but we managed to celebrate Alex's 25th birthday anyway.  A few friend came round and after lunch we all went out leaflet dropping.
Apart from that, not much happened and I was desperately tired come the evening - no idea why, I just was - and after fighting sleep and losing the battle, I gave up, went to bed around eight and almost slept the clock round so I must have needed it.

There's two things in today's diary.  I am off to Groove this week after missing it last week because of Ray coming to do the house stuff.  The ankle seems fine but I will wear a support, just to be on the safe side.
Then, later on, I am having the smart meter fitted after which I will be on variable debit payments for my electricity which makes a lot more sense now I have solar panels and am using very little grid power.

That's about it.  Between times there's housework and, if I change the sheets today, there will be some washing.  If tomorrow was forecast to be nicer, I'd leave it till then but it isn't so - I'll see how I feel!!
How about you?  Anything exciting happening today?  xx

Monday 8 May 2023

Monday, 08-08-23

Good morning, everyone.  It was an absolutely glorious day round here yesterday.  Wall to wall sunshine and warm too, the warmest day of the year so far, with temperatures of around 22C in my garden.
Today doesn't look great, sadly, with rain after a sunny start.  Such a shame on a Bank Holiday Monday but there you go, can't be helped, can it?

As expected, yesterday was another gentle day with no excuse not to get the gardening done - not that any were needed as it was so lovely and sunny.  I tidied up the middle bed a bit, getting rid of some of the older bulb leafage which was pretty limp and died-back.  I planted out some flowers, including the two lupins, one in the bed and one in a pot - I'll see how each works out.
Then I went round the front and weeded - all you have to do is blink and those pesky weeds are up like a shot!
I took a few photos.  The colour isn't great, sorry.

Ages ago, Mum gave me some lily of the valley from her garden and they are now doing so well.  There's several clumps round the front and soon I can see I will need to start thinning them.

One of my favourite flowers.

Whoever said I would love the Felicia is right; it really is very pretty
So is the Veronica.  Really lovely.
And the bluebells are still gorgeous.  They have to start dying soon but right now I am enjoying that gloriously vivid blue - much brighter than the photo shows.
They're not great spreaders, the English variety, keeping themselves together well, but I split them a couple of years ago so there's a little clump the other side and there's a few random ones as well (you can see one behind the Veronica).
They've been there for years and years, starting from one little pot with two, I think, from Cressing Temple.

There's still no news of Lucy, sadly.
Today is Alex's birthday.  I'm going round for a scaled down late lunch and then I will help with the leaflet drop - they have done some but needed to print out some more and couldn't because their printer is out of ink so I've done a pile and will take them round.
A bit of a sad birthday this year.

Have a lovely Monday, whether it is a holiday for you or not.  Enjoy.  xx