Friday 30 June 2023

Friday, 30-06-23

 Good morning, everyone.

 A courgette update . . .

Looking very happy . . .
. . . and having babies!
Woo hoo!

They may drop off, of course, but time will tell.

I'm really looking forward to today.  It's the day Val and I are off on a coach jolly to the Weald and Downland living museum.  Here's the link to the site: and this is what it says about it as an overview.

Be part of something historic and discover Sussex rural history through the seasons, in the heart of the picturesque South Downs. See what rural living was like with over a 1,000 years of history to explore, and over 50 relocated historic houses covering the 40 acre site. Whether you are 5 or 95 there is something for everyone!

Definitely my thing and I have the camera charged up.

It will take all day.  I don't know how long the journey is but the nice thing about jollies like this is that it really doesn't matter as someone else is doing all the hard work.

I'm expecting to have a lovely day and I hope you all do too.  xx

Thursday 29 June 2023

Thursday, 29-06-23

 Good morning, everyone.

Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  We have had rain at last and the garden is uttering deep and heartfelt sighs of relief.  I have the French window open to allow all that clean, coolness into the house and it is so lovely!  Just a great relief.
And I haven't sneezed once this morning!

Yesterday was a funny old day in parts.  

I got the front sorted out and also attacked some impertinent weeds that were sneaking up on the courgette bed in the back garden.  I talked nicely to the cucumbers and tomatoes and did a bit of side shooting and tying up.  Thanks to the patio clean that Hire-a-Hubby-Ray did last month, there have been no weeds around the back paving but I'm keeping an eye open now we have had some rain.

Then I came in and prepped for a couple of things, one of which was for a Governor's monitoring visit this morning.  I looked at the key objectives in the School Improvement Plan, noted the 'success criteria' and made a few notes, printing off or getting out what I needed.  A governor's visit can be a little disruptive (although we are always made very welcome) and I like to be well prepared.
And then, after school, I had an email from the SENDCo asking would I mind not coming as something urgent and immediate had come up.  Obviously, no details whatsoever in here but it was totally valid and we can reschedule, if necessary.
The prep won't be wasted anyway.

I had arranged with Chris for coffee this afternoon instead of morning so I popped over to consult and we decided it would be nice to go to Lathcoats first thing, do a bit of picking and have coffee in the Bee Shed there.  I know I went on Monday but I'm always up for a few more strawberries and raspberries!  I mean - who isn't?
But it's rained and strawberries are never as nice after rain.  Also, even if PYO is open (it usually isn't in the rain), it will be a very soggy experience.
So it is probably coffee and chat at ten as usual.  There's always next week.  And probably the week after too.

Instead of a busy day, I have a 'same as usual' day now: the usual homey stuff, getting the house cleaner-ready, a bit of cooking, a bit of meal planning - all the usual, happy, familiar, comforting homey things.  And I need to finish watching Sewing Bee - I fell asleep during the Pattern challenge so took myself to bed!  

It is still raining, the clouds are still very low and I am like 'Bring it on, keep going, don't give up yet,' because this rain is so, so needed after weeks of dryness.  It just feels so mentally and physically refreshing at the moment.
And, still, no sneezing.  Yay!

Have you had any rain?  xx

Wednesday 28 June 2023

Wednesday, 28-06-23

 Good morning, everyone!  For once, it is a cloudy start to the day, really quite gloomy in fact.  The forecast doesn't show rain until coming up midnight but nor does it indicate any sunshine at all.  As always, we will see but I just hope that if we have rain, it is a decent amount.

I think this is the first year I am really quite happy with my little front strip (apart from the dreadful soil quality).  For ages, I have been intermittently working towards what my Mum achieved with her flower bed (much larger and much better but hey, who is comparing apart from me, eh?) which was to have patches of interest all over, all the way through the growing/flowering season so, as one plant finished, there was another nearby ready to catch the eye.
I seem to have got that in a much smaller way, starting with the bulbs, going through things like the bluebells and lily of the valley . . . and so on

At the moment, there's crocosmia starting to send out flower spires at one end, this lovely campanula in the middle (should be further back really but, as we're talking a matter of nine inches, I am not stressing) and moving sideways to something I don't know the name of (I'll post the photo under this one) and finishing with the confused dahlia on the right, which is still all leaf but the buds should come soon.

And then there's the pots of bedding flowers on both sides.
This is the unknown.  The flower heads are just starting to emerge.
Does anyone know?  I'd be grateful because Google Images wasn't much help.

And this is the newer of the pots, placed to cover the place where even the weeds find it hard going!!

Thanks for bearing with me while I meandered on above!  😉

Diane turned up at around eleven and we had a great time talking about all sorts of things including, of course, the Christmas Adventure.  We decided it would probably be a good idea to do some of our necessary shopping together but actually there's not a lot we need to get really so we'll plan that later in the year.

I didn't get any weeding done but I did make another loaf of bread (I'm trying out different flour combinations) which is now sliced and in the freezer and the downstairs did get a good tidy and clean so that's good.

Tomorrow and Friday are both busy days so today is going to be spent in prepping/planning for that.  Also, I WILL get that weeding and clearing done as it is brown bin collection tomorrow.  It will be much more comfortable to do today as it is so much cooler and no need to worry about sun block, etc.  I am good with that!
Time for coffee so I'll say goodbye and wish you a very happy and satisfying day.  xx

Tuesday 27 June 2023


Good morning, everyone.

I HAD to post this.  Seen on facebook and I laughed out loud.

Does anyone else go into  room and forget why you were there so you have to go back to where you've come from to remember?

What did I do yesterday?  I . . .
Went strawberry and raspberry picking
Did a little shop in the farm shop and might have bought a plant!
Changed the sheets and remade the bed, remembering to change over the quilt - better late than never.
Did three washes, dried it all, ironed it and put it all away again.
Made a loaf of bread.
Made a pot of strawberry jam for Saturday using some of the Lathcoats strawberries.

Was I feeling better?  You bet your sweet bippy I was.  😁
(anyone else remember Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In?  'Verrrrry eenteresting, but . . .' or 'Sock it to me . . .')

Seriously, although it got a bit humid late afternoon, it was much fresher, very pleasant, so different from Sunday,

I ordered a little arrangement from Victoria.  

Very pretty.

Thank you all for your very kind words yesterday.  They helped a lot.  xx

Today, I have my friend, Diane, she of the Christmas Cruise, coming over for coffee so I need to do a bit of tidying up before she arrives.   I've already got another loaf on the make in the kitchen - and before anyone thinks I am a glutton for work. Thermione does all the hard work for me and she merrily kneads away while I sort out the dishwasher, make my coffee, etc!  All a bit of a cheat but I don't care!

Apart from that, it's just the usual daily stuff so nice and quiet.  The front is long overdue for a weeding so fingers crossed it's not too hot or too wet or - whatever.  The forecast is nice but you never know, do you.

Right, well, better check how that dough is doing and I 'need' another coffee so I will love you and leave you.  Have a lovely day, everyone.

Monday 26 June 2023

Monday, 26-06-23: tomatoes galore!


Remembering my lovely Dad who passed away today two years ago.  

Good morning, everyone.  It seems very apt to focus on tomatoes today - my Dad loved growing his tomatoes and always had loads.  I have inherited that from him.

Here's a clip of the tomatoes on the other side with the clematis at the beginning and finishing with the blueberry (one little clump of berries this year - a shame) and courgette number one!  Again, apologies for the noisy background.

And here's the link:

Eileen asked what types of tomato I had.
Yesterday's clip has, in this order and just one unless it says otherwise: :
Ailsa Craig
Pear Drops
First in the Field
Gardener's Delight x 2 (from Chris)
Tumbling Tiger

And then, in the clip above:
Super Marmande
Golden Crown
Black Opal
Red Plum (that's what it says on the label - I don't know specifically what it is - there are so many)
Sweet Aperitif
Honeycomb x 2 - well, one and a half now!

The links are to various plant companies, RHS, etc, so you can see what they should turn into  - fingers crossed - with a bit of info!  Some of them I have never seen or heard of before.  Some, I think are much more well known.

Do you grow tomatoes?  What kinds?

Sunday 25 June 2023

Sunday, 25-06-23

 Good morning, everyone!  The sun is shining brightly again and, at the moment, it feels lovely and fresh.  I'm making the most of it before it heats up and gets sticky and humid - Beeb says it could hit 31C later on.

I thought I'd post a little clip of the tomatoes on one side of the garden, ending up with courgette number two - I'll do the other side later on when I'm not casting a shadow over them as I film.  Please excuse any heavy breathing - the hay fever has been really bad these last few days.  One of these days, I might be brave enough to speak.
Some of the plants are ready to feed - two trusses setting is what the label says - while some have a little further to go.  I'll get that done shortly and then give them all an early morning drink to help them through the day.

I got the Delia veggie mini pasties made yesterday and into the freezer.  They can be baked from frozen next Saturday.  I'll leave the scones for later in the week and I'm hoping I can go strawberry picking again tomorrow to make the jam.
I do what my mum always did to check the filling is right for seasoning - just take a little blob of it and fry it before tasting.  It tasted so good; it really is worth taking the effort to bake the bread you use and, providing you have the time, it's no trouble making a loaf of bread.

I now have a long list of breakfasts, lunches and dinners from the Pinch of Nom books so now I have to make a sort of plan.  It is likely to involve getting a few things in although I will try to avoid doing that too much.

Unfortunately, after quite a rough night (heat and hay fever - bleugh!!), I'm feeling fragile.  I'm going to take today very easy and try to catch up on sleep and on telly stuff that has recorded.

Take care, everyone, and have a lovely Sunday.  xx

Saturday 24 June 2023

Saturday, 24-06-23

 Good morning, everyone.  My goodness, it is a sneezy start to the day.  It's been a very pollen-y year so far but, for me, it should all settle down again soon, certainly by the end of July!  (fingers crossed)
The sun's shining though, and it's a lovely start to the day.

This is sad.  See near the bottom of the stem - snapped right across and hanging on just by a thread.  If I had noticed when I did it (I must have been too forceful when I was tying it up to the cane), I would have tried for a repair of some kind, but I didn't notice until the evening when it was wilting.
There's three good trusses below so it isn't a disaster but it's sad, all the same.

It happens!!

I'm not sure I have mentioned yet, but the girls (Beth, Linda and Julia) and I are planning an afternoon tea next Saturday and I said I'd make the scones and jam.  They asked would I also make some of those lovely Delia not-sausage rolls and that's what I am doing today, up to the 'ready to bake' stage when they will go into the freezer.

I thought I'd make the pastry as I have a good recipe on Thermione that works a treat so I went into the freezer to find butter and found that I do actually have a roll of puff pastry so three cheers.
I made a small white loaf yesterday as it calls for quite a lot of fresh breadcrumbs and bread is so quick (comparatively) at the moment, with the warm weather.  Anyway, I like making bread so much more than buying bread in Morrisons or wherever!
So, after SET, I will be constructing some not-sausage rolls - or mini pasties as it keeps all the filling in if I make pasties.

So, first of all it is SET online, then freshen up and then it's into the kitchen for a bit of fun.  After that, it's the usual.  Nice and gentle.

Do you have any special plans for the weekend?

Friday 23 June 2023

Friday, 23-06-23

 Morning.  Phew, it was very hot again yesterday afternoon; up to 30 at times and a bit stuffy too.  Then it clouded over and I wondered about a storm; It may have grumbled a bit but there was no rain and it's nice and cool again this morning.  It's supposed to be another glorious wall to wall sunshine today.  I can live with that!

This makes me really happy!  My first cucumber and it's on the smaller of the two plants.  Yes, it may not mature, it may just fall off, but woo hoo!!

I took this photo yesterday evening.  When looking around this morning, I spotted another one on the other plant.  Excellent!

I did my SET class and then crossed the cul de sac to Chris' where we settled in her garden for a jolly good chat.  After that, I came home and pegged out the load of darks I had put in after SET, put in a small load of whites (may as well seeing the solar battery was full and the sun was warm).  My Pinch of Nom book landed on the mat so I settled down to peruse that (fairly basic but good and very budget friendly) before getting down all my other PoN books (there's six of them now) and starting to plan a 'Week on Pinch of Nom'.

The above, plus the ironing, was all I achieved yesterday.  It is possibly more than I will get done today too!   🌞🌞🌞

I have Slimming World as usual and then it's home for another day enjoying the sun and the garden.  I'm expecting the cleaners, of course, so that will be nice, and I hope to get my meal planning finished for next week.
I'll probably find other things to do but there's nothing that stands out really.  Nice

Have a great summer day, everyone.  xx

Edit:  I had to come back because I just noticed I'm only thirty one away from a million 'visitors' according to the counter at the side.  Wow.  I know that's small beer compared to some but even so - yay!  Thanks, everyone.  xx

Thursday 22 June 2023

Thursday, 22-06-23

 Morning, everyone.  The sun is shining (three cheers) and it should be dry most of the day says the BBC.  Thank you - I'll take that!

Firstly, thank you all for your lovely comments about the folk art pictures.  So kind of you and I see Suze has posted her thanks in yesterday's comments too.

I didn't have a photo so I went out into the garden just now to find one and came in with three!

The first cucumber flower, most inconveniently placed but it's a male so not a problem!
To mis-quote a song: 

tomatoes are popping out all o----ver!  🎜♬♫
Not just on this plant but lots of others too.  Time to start using the tomato food weekly (Saturdays works for me).
On the subject of tomatoes, I will be getting two more from my lovely friend, Julia.  One is a beefsteak tomato and the other is, I think, just an orange salad tomato.  I'm not quite sure where I will put them yet but where there's a will, there's a way, for sure.

And thirdly, the yellow courgette still looks really happy and is sending out plenty of new leafage.
So are the other two, in fact, but they are a lot smaller and in pots because I have no more ground space.

Yesterday was another good day.  I popped down the road to school at drop off time and did my bit for the Summer Fair sorting out clothes for the second hand uniform stall.  Not the most exciting task in the whole world but worth helping with.  One of my ex-mums (I had both her oldest two in Y1) popped her head in and looked straight past me.  It was only when I said Hi that she did a double take and recognised me.  Time and time again I get this.  Much shorter hair, losing all that weight, fixing my teeth and general wrinkly aging means that people just don't recognise me.  My voice is obviously more memorable!

Back home, I pottered doing houseworky stuff before exploring a bit of YouTube and watching a podcast by Chris Van Tulleken which was so interesting I went onto Amazon and bought his book, 'Ultra Processed People' (on Kindle).  Both Sue H and Sue G have mentioned this in their blogs and I'm finding it fascinating although it does require a careful and critical reading approach; it's not a skim read.  
Also, I received notification that today my pre-order of the new Pinch of Nom book is arriving - I'm looking forward to it very much indeed.

I've been trying to hold back from filling the car up but the needle was so low that there was absolutely no chance of lasting out until July so filled her up and, judging by the amount I got in, it was just as well.
At least I won't need to fill up in July now (I hope)

Personal Training was great.  Lots of strength stuff and really good fun.  Thanks, Lindsey.

Today is a typical Thursday - SET online, coffee with Chris and get the house cleaner friendly!  Then I plan to settle down with my new books and just enjoy them.
Such a hard life!

Have a great day, everyone

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Wednesday, 21-06-23

 Good morning, everyone.  The sun's back!  To be fair, it returned yesterday afternoon after a wet and thundery start but not for that long and it felt 'heavy'.  This morning feels lovely again.

First of all - looky look!!   Finished!

Suze's is on the right (posted with her permission, thanks, Suze) and mine on the left.  Amazing the difference you get from the same basic pattern.  I love the teapot, Suze, and the rocks, the flowers are brilliant (I'm copying them, for sure) and that seagull button just finishes it off perfectly!
Wonkiness incarnate, both of them!

As mentioned already, yesterday morning was very wet and a bit stormy.  Groove the the sweatiest I can remember it and we were all a bit dripping by the end.  Apart from that, I didn't do anything else exciting (apart from finishing the picture, I mean), just the usual daily bits and bobs.  

I had ordered a few more J D Seasoning spice mixes on Monday, having needed to get rid of what I already had, but I was very restrained and am planning them into meals in the coming weeks.  The main problem with these kits is that they are for four and I don't always want four portions, especially at the moment when I am cutting down on freezer space.  However, their site and their YouTube channel has recipes for alternate use of some of the mixes so I could ring the changes with one pot of mix.
Anyway - I was most impressed when they arrived yesterday.  That was speedy.

Today, until yesterday afternoon, I only had Personal Training in the diary.  However, I saw, on Facebook, a desperate plea for helpers for getting things ready for the June Fair at school today.  I can't help out after school but I can go in first thing at drop off time so I offered.
So that sorts out the time before breakfast (I do I F so have my first meal after eleven, when possible and sensible), then it's home for breakfast, then homey stuff before having lunch and driving over to Lindsey's.

So a nice, happy day and fingers crossed the sunshine stays.
How about you?  xx

Tuesday 20 June 2023

Tuesday, 20-06-23

 Morning, everyone.  After another beautiful summer day yesterday, it looks more than a little uncertain today.  The sun is struggling to break through right now but the forecast is for thundery showers and a moderate breeze as well as some sunshine.  We will see.

Annoyingly, the pollen count is up again and my eyes are prickling.  I've taken my allergy meds so they should settle again soon.

Thanks to everyone for your advice yesterday.  I have decided to go with buttons but yesterday I worked on the leaves and was quite pleased with how they went.  I also outlined the lighthouse and did a few birds in the sky (after I had taken the photo.
Memories are coming back about the course I did at Hyde Hall a while ago now.  That was applique too but I remember one drew the pattern on iron-on interfacing and then ironed that to the fabric before cutting out and so on.  It sort of helped with the shaping.

Ironing it definitely helps with the wonkiness!  It is still wonky, but quirky wonky.  That's OK.

Anyway, just a little bit to do now and, while it looks very different to Sharon's work, the whole process has been very satisfying.  We were given an alternative which was a landscape and I might do that if I can find the right fabrics.

First thing in the morning yesterday, I drove over to Lathcoats for my first strawberry picking session of this year.

What a gorgeous sight met my eyes as I walked onto the field.  Rows and rows and rows of beautiful fruit, all at chest level (so no need to bend or crouch to pick) and that green webbing is new this year and keeps most of the berries up and over, as Eddie Waring used to say (remember him, anyone?).
In no time at all, I had picked as much as I could realistically use in this coming week so I went to pay and then went to the shop where I picked up a few things needed - eggs, a bit of salad veg, some apples and a treat - a jar of 'nice' pickled baby beets - I know how to spend dangerously, don't I!!
I was sorely tempted by some good stuff in the freezers but resisted nobly!

The raspberries weren't ready - when I asked, he said perhaps next week but it depended on the weather which is fair enough.  Driving over will be a regular thing for a while to come, I think, what with the strawberries and raspberries, the plums which were lovely last year - and so on.
Oh, it's a hard life!!   :-)

Once home, with everything sorted out and put away, it was breakfast and then off to circuits.  There were only two of us this week but it was still really good and I felt great afterwards.

For the rest of the afternoon, after I had done a few things on my list, I focused on the sewing and had a really good time.

On to today and the first thing is Groove class which I always enjoy very much.  Then, I'd had a tentative arrangement for a friend to come over for coffee but that's fallen through temporarily so I think I will get the picture finished and then I might go for a walk if the weather permits.  If it doesn't, there's plenty of sorting out and tidying up to do and I really must get on with my menu planning for the next week or so.  I'm not short of things to do, believe me!

Well, the sun seems to have temporarily lost the battle and it's getting more gloomy so I guess rain is in the offing.  Good for the plants, for sure.
Have a great day, everyone, whatever the weather , and stay cool!  xx

Monday 19 June 2023

Monday, 19-06-23


The clematis is absolutely smothered with flowers - I have never known it so lovely.

Morning, everyone.  After a mixture of sun and rain yesterday, it is beautiful this morning and the forecast is really good.  Brilliant.

Yesterday was great.  The early rain morphed into sunshine and is was warm enough to dry two loads of washing pretty quickly.  I got it all ironed too so there isn't anything to do for a few days now.  
I did a bit of weeding but not as much as needed, I admit, so it is on today's list.
I did some clearing out, long overdue.  Firstly, I looked at my spice kits and realised that, to ny great shame, they were all out of date and, when I checked, sadly lacking in aroma, so in the bin they went.  Oh, dear.
Then I tackled in in/out box.  The theory is that the stuff comes in, I deal with what needs dealing and pop the paperwork in the box and once a week it gets sorted.  In reality, I do deal with what needs dealing bu then everything ends up in the box and stays there until I get fed up with the mess.  Oh, well, it's clear now apart from what stays in it and I need to employ more consistency (that's one of my words for this year) in sorting it.

After the work, I had some fun carrying on with my sewing picture.  I've just taken three photos.  

This one is how it looks right now but I don't like the flower and might unpick it or I might do another layer of stitching from closer to the centre and out.  I think I need to practise on some spare fabric first.  

It's very wonky!  Oh, well, next time, do a bit of measuring!

 This one is using flower buttons instead.  I don't know - it seems a bit of a cheat really.  What do you think?

Oh dear.  I was pleased with the lighthouse until I saw it close up on this photo.

It's as good as unartistic me can do so it'll have to stay.  Ironing might help.

I'm enjoying the making thereof so that's the main thing!

Today should be a good one.  I have no washing to do which is great and I've had an email from Lathcoats saying the PYO is open so I will go at nine, container in hand to grab myself some beauties.
I'll probably venture into the farm shop too.  Unwise but enjoyable.
There's circuits late morning and there's that weeding I didn't do yesterday so that should keep me out of trouble.

So that's today.  How about you - what re your plans for the day?  Stay safe and happy  xx

Sunday 18 June 2023

Sunday, 18-06-18


Pretty in pink.

Good morning, one and all.  I've woken up to rain!  Not an awful lot yet, judging by the ground, but the forecast is for more rain, some sunshine, some thundery showers - a right mixture, in fact.  To be honest, while it's a nuisance because now I wish I had done a load of washing yesterday, some more regular showers, not too heavy so the rain can soak in, would be so good for the garden, so I'm definitely not complaining and a bit of storming is always dramatic.
It was a nice, cool night too, down to around 8C, according to my garden thermometer.

I was well chuffed yesterday.  I got my electricity bill from the company which covered the first full month of solar power usage.  It was just shy of £100 LESS than they wanted to take from me via direct debit each month.  Of course, my bills will be variable depending on usage and light intensity and winter months, the days being shorter, will be more expensive  but even so - happy me!

It was a good start to a really lovely day.  SET online was fun and also made a great start to the day.  I'd already started some bread dough off (in Thermione - so much easier) to make some bread rolls) so after SET, I knocked it back, shaped the rolls, etc, etc, etc.  They came out really nicely and I think I'll be continuing this when I need to.  The recipe made thirteen, one of which vanished pretty quickly;  well, you have to make sure they are up to standard, don't you?

Mid afternoon, I set off for the church hall and the Sharon Blackman workshop.

Each of us had a pack with what we needed to get started and a full set of instructions for a picture.

On each table were scissors, black and white thread, pins and needles.

Then, at the front, there was a wide selection of fabric scraps, some finished examples and . . .

. . . lots of different coloured threads, extra pins, etc.

The instructions were really good and clear and Sharon was on hand to explain when necessary.

This was probably the tidiest my space was all afternoon!

It was very absorbing and took way longer than I thought it would with plenty of careful positioning and hand sewing using overstitch or running stitch.
This is as far as I got - a view through a window onto the sea with a curtain fluttering in the foreground (because it's not that obvious, is it!).
I now know how she starts off her pictures which is a great help. 

There were cakes, biscuits, tea and coffee as well plus background music.  It was all very pleasant and down to earth, I had a great time and I think that for £12, it was jolly good value.

I came home with enough scraps to complete the picture - a boat or lighthouse on the horizon and a vase of flowers in the foreground.  But it does need a good old iron to flatten it out first!

Suze was there too and it was great to meet her - she is a very lovely lady.  She's also very talented and showed me some photos of other things she has made - very clever and very impressive.   Thanks, Suze, I'm so glad we have been able to meet up.  Here's to the next one!

I'm very much hoping Sharon will run another workshop nearer to Christmas where she focuses on Christmas creations.  That would be so good.

Today is Father's Day so, for many of us, it is a day for remembering.  I miss both my parents terribly, which is perfectly natural, but I am so very glad that my memories are good ones and any regrets (there always are some regrets) are small and insignificant.  I was so fortunate to have them for so long and can celebrate all those happy memories and good and loving times.

I have a load of washing to do, rain or shine, and I would like to get on with my picture too so today should be very pleasant.

Thinking of everyone who is marking today with memories.  Much love to you all.  xx

Saturday 17 June 2023

Saturday, 17-06-23

 And they have been separated!  The last one, bottom right, is the smallest but I thought it worth potting on as it looks quite healthy - maybe someone might like it.  The top one is the one most likely to survive; I don't know about number two because I am not sure courgettes and pots go together, whatever Google says!

Morning, everyone.  The sun is more hazy this morning which generally means a stuffier, more humid day, but the forecast is great so time will tell.  Yesterday was just a lovely summer day - fresh in the morning, quite hot but not roasting in the afternoon and then cooling off to a very comfortable night.  Pretty perfect really.

SW was, as always, great fun.  The cleaners came, saw and conquered, as always, and I had a lazy day.  My eyes were very itchy but I survived and they're fine again this morning.  Apart from that, it was jut the usual daily stuff and a snooze in the afternoon.

Today starts with an online SET class.  8:30 is a great time to start a class when it's so hot later on so I'm happy about that.

Then it's usual stuff until the afternoon where I will trundle off to St Andrew's Church Hall for the folk art sewing workshop with Sharon.  What makes it even better is that one of you is also going so we can meet.  I'm excited about that.

(Suze, you don't fancy a baby courgette, do you? )

Have a lovely Saturday, one and all.  Take care and stay cool, hydrated and sun-blocked as necessary!  xx

Friday 16 June 2023

Friday, 16-06-23


I have no idea where this came from.  Self sown, it turned up several years ago and has grown back every single year.  I don't mind - it brightens up that little space and isn't any trouble at all.  It hardly even needs watering.

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to a lovely Friday early morning.  The forecast is perfect - sunny, gentle breeze, around 25C.  Very similar to yesterday, in fact, which was a really beautiful summer day.

I didn't really do much.  Chat with Chris was, as always, great.  I did a bit of housework, a bit of side shooting and tying up, some cooking and so on, and in the afternoon I had a siesta (sounds better than 'a snooze', doesn't it?).  And that was about it.

Today, it's Slimming World first thing, then I must make sure the house is cleaner-friendly and then - I really don't know and I don't have much idea of what I fancy doing either.  Maybe some menu planning for the coming week, maybe sorting out a few spaces that could do with a clear out - I won't be bored anyway.

Finishing with a happy, this bay was almost totally destroyed during the two cold spells we had.  All the leaves died and fell off apart from just five on a pathetic little twig low down.  It was going to be chucked and replaced (I use the leaves in cooking) but I spotted some tiny little buds coming out from the bottom so decided to wait.  And look at it now!
I'm so glad.

Happy Friday, everyone.  Have a wonderful day.  xx

Thursday 15 June 2023

Thursday, 15-06-23

 Morning, everyone . . . and here we are, half way through June and less than a week from the longest day of the year.  Crazy!  It's before six and it's pretty fresh outside but lovely and bright.

I've just takes a few photos - not the best light yes but OK.

First cucumber, looking a lot happier than last year's plants did at this stage.  Second cucumber is smaller but looking good too.
I see side shoots - woo hoo!

The first tomatoes are getting bigger.  A way off picking time yet but I can dream!

Good old Sungold - loads and loads of flowers popping out!

Lavender isn't the most dramatic flower but it smells wonderful in the warmth of the sun.

These daisy-like flowers are really pretty but I have no idea why the one on the right is so much bigger than the other two.  Odd!

I got the bi-weekly shop done without too much trouble.  I did have to stop off at Morrisons for a few items but managed to get everything on the list.  
Of course, typically, there's something I thought I had in the cupboard that I now can't find - garlic puree.  It's not the end of the world - I have both fresh and granules, but a tube of puree is so useful - and I'm absolutely sure I had some.  I must look a bit harder.

I had started washing my bedding before I went so when I got home it was done and a few hours later it was dry and ironed too.
I know I keep saying ad infinitum but there's something deeply pleasant about getting into a bed with freshly laundered sheets on.  I can see why the posh hotels change bedding every day.

It was a bad day for hay fever yesterday and by the time I set off for personal training I was feeling more like a wet rag than anything else and I don't think my energy levels were as high as usual but not to worry - I did it and I felt loads better afterwards.

In the evening, an email came through from Lathcoats - PYO opens this morning!  I was sorely tempted but common sense prevailed.  I bought loads of fruit yesterday and I already have strawberries in the fridge as well as what I'm picking at home so no.  The season will be several week and in a short while there will be raspberries, plums, etc, as well.  Also, in a fortnight, Lindsey is away so there's no classes and I will have every morning free; nine til ten is golden oldies time (they don't call it that) and there's no need to book.  It's a very pleasant time to go before the crowds and the heat build up.
But, for now, I do NOT need more fruit, nor do I need anything else and I would definitely be tempted by the farm shop.  Not to mention the really good garden Centre just over the road.
Just no!!

Chris will be over for our coffee and chat outside, I hope, and then I have bits and bobs to get on with.  I might go out for a walk later on - it really depends on how hot it is and how the hay fever is.

In these hot days, one needs to adjust things rather.  How do you modify your day when it is so very hot (hot for us in the UK, anyway)?
Stay safe, everyone.  xx

Wednesday 14 June 2023

Wednesday, 14-06-23


Beginning with a courgie update, there are now two siblings and I promise you, I did not plants the seeds as close together as those two.  I think this morning I must very gently have them both up and into other little pots and see how it goes.  I do have another largish container that one could go in for the summer (although I didn't have much luck with a courgette in a pot last year).  Big Brother seems to be doing fairly well - for now!

Good morning, everyone!  It's fresh, sunny, the skies are clear and the forecast is good.  Bliss.  The only blot on the landscape is the hay fever which, despite taking the meds, has been rather bad these last few days and isn't great this morning.  Just the usual itchy nose, sore and itchy throat, snuffles and sneezes and, most irritating of all, itchy ears.  So annoying.  I know some of you also have these symptoms in early summer (or at other times) so I know you will understand what I mean.  But it is what it is so no more whinges!

I found I had two loads of washing to do by the time I had included the tea towels, wiping cloths, etc, as well as clothes.  I got the first load out to dry before leaving for Groove, which I was pleased about, and the second load finished after I got home again.  It's now all ironed and just needs putting away.

Groove, as always, was brilliant.  Hot, mind you, even with the windows open and the curtains closed on the sunny side.  As always, Lindsey had plenty of helpful advice and explanations and took us safely through the dance sequences with plenty of opportunity for water and wiping down!  😊

Mel came round with my Avon order and stayed for coffee which we elected to have indoors as it was pleasantly cool.  Despite our difference in age, we seem to get on pretty well and, as I had her youngest in Y1 a number of years ago, it's always good to catch up on how they are doing.

And then, early in the afternoon, Jeff came round.  I'd dug out the garden implement I no longer needed, plus battery and charger and < patting myself on the back > the manual!  I didn't want any money for it so we agreed that come the autumn he would give me a couple of sessions of garden work to help get it cleared and sorted out for the winter which was very agreeable to us both.

It felt like a really good day.  Not too stuffy and humid and by bedtime the house had cooled down nicely.

Today starts with a shop.
At the beginning of the year, I decided to try for three shops a month instead of four plus . . .  It hasn't gone perfectly but I am managing fewer shopping trips with the resulting drop in the amount I spend - not a huge amount but noticeable.  I also think I am eating better again too, which is great.

So, today is a 'main shop' as opposed to a 'f&v top up shop' (I'm getting through plenty of fruit and veg at the moment) and I have a fair old list.  I think I'm going to M&S for fruit and veg, Aldi for certain other stuff and then back to Morrisons for anything left on the list.  And then, fingers crossed, that will do me until July or at least until nearly July.
I'm definitely not a super-saver/super frugal type shopper but I think I'm shopping much more thoughtfully and consistently now than I used to without going short in any way whatsoever.  So that's good.
However, it won't be as early as it usually is as I stayed in bed longer this morning, snuffling and sneezing and feeling slightly sorry for myself (only slightly!) and am still working my way through my social media 'responsibilities'.  Not to worry, I do have all morning so that is absolutely fine!

The other thing in the diary is my personal training session with Lindsey.  I'm looking forward to that!

In between shopping and training I'll do all the usual daily stuff - I think, maybe, change the bedding today as there have been some sweaty nights recently.   Just the usual boring stuff, in fact.

Better get on - take care, everyone and look after yourself in this hot spell of weather.  xx

Tuesday 13 June 2023

Tuesday, 13-06-23


I need to do a bit of dead heading but, all the same, it's looking lovely at the moment.

Good morning, everyone!  It was a hot old morning yesterday as humidity built up.  Some places, not so far away had some torrential rain and flooding, but here were got about five minutes of not a lot, barely enough to wet the ground, before clearing.  It was enough to lift the humidity, mind you, and overnight was much more pleasant than Sunday night.

Lindsey had planned a couple of different circuit classes yesterday, depending on how hot/sunny it was.  The one we did was lower in cardio and higher in strength but it was more sweaty than it's been all year, nonetheless.  Good though and I think Chris enjoyed it too.

Good old Lathcoats.
I got an email from them (I'm on their mailing list) saying that they are likely to be opening strawberry PYO fairly soon and explaining that, in order to spread demand out manageably, pickers need to book in advance.
However, then it said:
Over 65s only and people with a disability and their family/carers can pick between 9 and 10am without booking (weekdays only), IF we are open.
Like I said - good old Lathcoat's!!  There are definite advantages to being over a 'certain age'.
And I guess I will be getting more of my fruit, veg, eggs, etc, from the farm shop while the picking lasts.  I do like PYO season.

Today the sun is out again but it feels very fresh and comfortable, thankfully.  The forecast is for bright sunshine but not as hot as it has been.  It sounds lovely.

There's three - no, four things in the diary.
I have to wait in for a delivery but am able to get to Groove first thing, so that's good.  Later on in the morning, my friend, Mel, is coming round for a coffee so I'm looking forward to that.  
The delivery is the third thing.
Then, in the afternoon, Jeff is in the area and is popping in, not to help with the garden, but to pick up a tool I no longer use but that he could make good use of.  I'm glad it is going to a good home.
Given the ongoing fine weather, I'll see if I have a full load of washing too - may as well.

So that is Tuesday's plan.  Nothing spectacular but very pleasant, all the same.  And I'm really looking forward to those strawberries when Lathcoats opens its PYO.

Stay cool, hydrated and sun protected, everyone, and have a lovely day.  xx

Monday 12 June 2023

Monday, 12-06-23

 Good morning, everyone.  It's Monday, start of a new week, most likely a pretty warm one although maybe not quite as warm as yesterday when it hit 30C in the morning and stayed there or above all day - and that was in the shade!

It was a good day though - it's so nice to feel warm and to be able to wear light, summer clothing after needing to wrap up for so many months.  Spring may have been a bit naff but summer has started well.
I waited until the evening to do my bit of gardening which mostly consisted of de-side-shooting and tying up the tomatoes and giving everything a good drink.

I thought it would be a good idea to take a video clip so you can see the whole garden, not just the selected best bits close up!  So here you go, from left round to right, taken from the French window, starting with the herb and foliage bed, panning up to include next door's climbing rose which is absolutely stunning right now and then continuing round to finish with my poor little olive which has died twice and come back to life.  It seems to be a survivor but it looks very ugly and I really do need to cut back all the dead bits - when I feel brave enough!

Anyway - back garden or, as one builder put it (before building it), glorified car park!!  It isn't, but I can see why he thought that when I explained what I wanted.

(and link:  )

The other thing I did yesterday was bake a loaf.  I don't get through loads of bread nowadays so I bake one when needed, slice it and pop it in the freezer.
I was a bit dismayed to discover that I didn't have enough bread flour, either white or wholemeal (I make wholemeal but my recipe uses some white too) so I used the rest of my plain wholemeal and then had to finish the weight off with some SR wholemeal.  It's all flour, after all, isn't it?
It made a lovely loaf, quite soft and with bags of flavour and I have only just remembered that I do have some oat flour on the top shelf - I might try more of a mix next time, just to see.  I always add a tbsp mixed seeds to my dough anyway - it's so good!

Today starts gently enough and I think I will carry on neatening up the garden before it gets too hot for comfort.  The sun started very hazily but is strengthening now so fingers crossed for another lovely day.

Later on it is Circuits at Shimmy Studio and today Chris is coming with me which is lovely.  I do hope she enjoys it as much as I do.

The rest of the day will be spent in all the usual ways - bit of cleaning, bit of keeping things tidy, bit of cooking, plus some sitting out in the shade with my Kindle and/or book.  Perfect.

Have a lovely day, everyone, and keep drinking that water to stay hydrated, OK?  xx

Sunday 11 June 2023

Sunday, 11-06-23

 Good morning, one and all.  it's Sunday yet again, first or last day of the week, depending on your point of view.  It was such a gorgeous day yesterday.  The sun shone brightly, it went up to 29C around here and my fingers and toes felt comfortably warm all day!   However, it didn't feel in the least bit humid to me.  It's going to be another beauty today by the looks of things.  Excellent!

SET yesterday was the normal, energetic half an hour.  I don't usually do the last section as it's mat work and I tend to get giddy and a bit sicky feeling after a short time.
Ah hour later, I set off for Writtle to meet up with the group and we had a splendid walk around, mostly where I went earlier in the week but also through Writtle University Collage, formerly Writtle Agricultural College, a  a leading provider of land-based, animal, environmental, design and sport education.  All very pleasant with plenty of shade.
On the way back, we stopped off at Writtle Tea Rooms for a very delicious Americano/cuppa.  It was lovely!

While on the walk,I took a special look at this house again (photo taken earlier in the week) because I couldn't remember its name.  Aubyn's, that's what it's called.

Here's a link to a newspaper cutting, I don't know from 2010, I think, which gives some info about Aubyn's which is grade 1 listed.

The afternoon was such a contrast and I did have a couple of snoozes.  What I didn't do was make that loaf so that's top of the list for today.

I did something I have been meaning to do for weeks.  I've changed the boiler setting to heat water for just once a day, early morning, instead of morning and evening.  The reasoning is that I always bath first thing but have stopped doing things like washing clothes on the cheaper rate because of the free electricity during the day so really don't need another load of hot water later on.
I can always change it back if I find I miss hot water in the evening but I bet I won't.

Little courgie now has a sibling.  So that's 50% germination.

There's only room for one so I will give the new arrival a week to get going and then pop it into a spare large pot I have and see if it thrives.

The same for baby tomato!  It's a tumbling tiger tom so will fruit early and fairly short lived so should be covered with babies in a couple of weeks, I expect.

And, last photo, yesterday's strawberries.  They were lovely!

Today, apart from making that loaf, the diary is clear.  I will attack the weeds again and my little patch of grass needs a bit of a haircut but most of all I am well into my new Marion Todd book 'A Blind Eye', which is proving to be another gripping story.  Egg chair, garden and Kindle sounds just perfect, doesn't it?

I hope you have a lovely Sunday too, however you plan to spend it.  xx

Saturday 10 June 2023

Saturday, 10-06-23


Suddenly bursting into colour!

Morning, everyone.  The sun is shining and I have a nice, active morning followed by a lazy afternoon.  What a pleasant way to spend a Saturday, eh?

But first, yesterday.
Weigh in at Slimming World was a bit of a disaster with a gain and I know exactly why.  Totally my own fault, most of it will be very temporary and it's given me renewed determination.  As I said over on the other blog a few days ago, I'm in my 'happy place' anyway, a specific target is just that - a target to aim for, not the be-all and end-all of life.
Group was really good with lots of laughter, as always, and some very helpful advice.  I so enjoy going.

First thing, before SW, I had stripped my bed, washed the bedding and got it out on the line so, when I was home again after group, I brought it all in and finished off all the ironing so I have an empty basket which is always nice.

Beth turned up and we went down to the Hare at Roxwell.  It used to be a favourite place but the service went a bit downhill.  However, it is under new management now so we gave it a go and the service is back to how it used to be which is great.  And they still do the smaller plate meals too, which is great.
We had a great old head to head about all sorts of stuff (including next Christmas) that carried on when we got home and I made us coffee.
We'll definitely be having a family 'Christmas' the weekend before although Beth agreed that a Christmas cake isn't all the necessary this year.  I will have to think of another way to celebrate Mum's birthday, I guess.  Maybe make up and freeze the not-sausage rolls that she always made and have become a real part of Christmas traditions.
(and all the money I will be saving can go into the holiday savings pot)
We also chatted about the Monday to Friday holiday we are having at Center Parcs in October, sorting out a few organisational things.  I know it's several months ahead yet but it is all part of the fun, isn't it?

This morning, I have an online SET class in less than two hours and an hour after that I'm meeting the group at Writtle car park for a nice walk around the village in the sunshine.  It's not a particularly long walk, David said, but that's OK, it is as much about the chat as it is about the walking.

Back home again after that, I plan to have lunch and then have a comfortable and easy afternoon.  We have no forecast of stormy weather here but it will be hot (up to 28C) so I think a sit out in the shade of the garden with the latest Marion Todd book that has just landed in my Kindle and the SW recipe book I got free with a six week countdown.  Basically, you pay for five weeks and get one week free and sometimes there's a new recipe book out that comes as a freebie.  This one is all about traybakes and I have already seen several I really want to try.

I've just remembered, I need to bake another loaf.  It's warm so rising and proving is not going to be a problem so I can start it when I get home, it will be baked by the evening and ready to slice and freeze tomorrow morning - all good.

And I think I ought to get my big fan out of the garage for my bedroom overnight - just in case it is needed.

So that is my day and it should be good.  How about you?  I think it is about time to say 'stay cool and hydrated' rather than 'stay warm' or 'be safe'.  So enjoy the sun but drink plenty of water.  xx

To finish off - look what I found.  Very blurred, sorry, but eeeeek - exciting.  I love a baby tomato!

Friday 9 June 2023

Friday, 09-06-23

 Morning, everyone.  The sun is shining and, while it's not that warm yet, it's going to warm up soon, I am sure.  I've dressed for warm anyway!

Yesterday was quiet and peaceful.  I had a lovely time with Chris, catching up on all her latest news.  Later on, I filled in the booking form for The Holiday and also arranged the travel insurance and got that paid off so that's off my mind.

Apart from that, I did some washing but not ironing, I chilled, rested, snoozed a bit and still slept well overnight.  I guess I'm just having one of those spells of sleeping really well so I will make the most of it!

Today, I will be off to Slimming World in a while and later on Beth's coming to pick me up and we're going to the Hare for lunch and a good old catch up.  She's off work this week and seems to have a great time - no Covid problems this week.

Just a short blog today - have a lovely day and I hope the sun is shining for you too.  xx

Thursday 8 June 2023

Thursday, 08-06-23

 A few photos:

Baby courgette - fingers crossed!
Very healthy tomatoes.
One of the cucumbers
One of the new lupins.
This is the best.  I thought I had lost my lovely bay bush but no - back it is coming.  Those two big leaves are all that remain of the old bush but give it a few years and it'll be flourishing (hopefully) again.

Morning, everyone.  I'm sorry this is so late.  I had a tiredness crash yesterday evening; by half seven I just couldn't keep my eyes open so went to bed and slept the clock round.  I have skipped online SET and will do the recording later on but I did get my chat with Chris (most important)
Why the tiredness I have no idea but I do feel loads better now.  

Those weeds at the front are now inside the brown bin and personal training yesterday was really very good, even if I was shattered afterwards.

So it is half way through the day and I've achieved very little which is a bit of a pain but not to worry, I do have plenty of time.
I want to get some washing in and on the line, even if it is just one load and there's a bit of tidying up to do but that's about it so I will just enjoy the lovely warm sunshine that has at last arrived round here.

Well, better go and sort out a load of washing, I guess.  I hope your day is going well.  xx