Welcome to family, friends and visitors. Here you will find interesting (hopefully) pictures of my part of the world, news of our household and probably, long ramblings about anything that catches my interest.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Summer !

All over the country it's been the hottest day of the year with the good weather continuing on to tomorrow. After that we're back to thunderstorms, well it is a Bank holiday weekend. 
This morning there was the usual running around putting things away for a mid-day viewing. I had a dentist's appointment and left early to leave more parking space for the viewers and the estate agent's cars. Peter said they loved the place but were viewing another 5 places today so who knows? As I had a bit of time before my appointment I went right into town to change my library books and do a few other things. In celebration of the early appearance of summer I wore a light flowy skirt, vest top and flip-flops. To complete my ensemble I wore the straw hat I bought recently. I was glad that I'd added a cord and toggle to secure the hat as every now and again a gust of wind tried to blow the hat away.
The dentist's appointment was just a check up and all was fine. I did enquire about the cost of an implant for the visible gap that I cover up with my standard dentures. I never wear them at home but am self conscious when I'm amongst people. Sharp intake of breath when I was told the cost of an implant would be £2,500. However the dentist showed me 2 alternatives, a denture fitted on a slim metal bar which would fill all the gaps for £1,500 or a nifty small denture that clips to the teeth on either side of the gap for about £750. I shall mull over the options and talk again with the dentist at my next check up in 6 months time.
Today I finally solved the puzzle of the small brown seeds that are all over the place. The closest I came to an identification on line was ash keys but they weren't quite right and there are only a few ash trees in the area. Determined to track them down I inspected the trees around the garden and duh..... they aren't seeds at all but the discarded cases to the new beech tree leaves. I've lived here for 23 years and never thought about it before. Did I mention I have a degree in Plant Sciences?
For once I couldn't resist the marketing and bought these Dragon Egg Potatoes in Lidl's.
 Raw, they were a rich purple colour,
which faded a little on cooking (the camera flash has lightened them and they were more purple than the photo). They tasted delicious. Imagine serving purple mashed potatoes perhaps with bright orange swede and carrot mash.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Finally Some Sun.

The day began with overcast skies and a humid feel to the air but by mid-afternoon the clouds disappeared and it truly felt like summer. (Though in my mind summer doesn't begin until June.) 
During the morning I cleared away the dam on the road as we have viewers tomorrow and Friday. Then it was time to scramble over the hillside digging out the grass and bracken that I missed the last time I was up there weeding.
Now that Peter has got over his latest arthritis flare-up he's back to doing the mowing which is one less job for me to do. The back lawn is too wet to cut but he did the rest while I sunned myself and dried my hair sitting out on a sun lounger.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

A Sad Day.

We woke this morning to hear the dreadful news of the suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena last night. To deliberately target teenagers and children makes what was already a despicable act  utterly evil. My heart goes out to the families affected. To lose a loved one unexpectedly is heart breaking but I can only imagine the devastation of knowing that the loss was the result of a deliberate action.
In a way it seemed appropriate that for the whole day light rain has been falling from low clouds.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Windy With Lots of Sun.

The day started in the most glorious fashion with lots of sun and a good drying wind. By the time the machine had finished the second wash the sheets on the line were dry enough for ironing. 
Today's outside jobs were to hand cut the grass along the bottom of the far heather bank followed by sweeping the front patio. Doing this with a hand brush gave me the opportunity to pull up any weeds growing between the paving slabs. Most of my sweeping up was of small brown ash? seeds with a scattering of rose petals and wisteria flowers. The fluffy wisps of the willow tree seeds have been falling for a while now. Usually they remind me of ethereal snow flakes as they drift down but being blown sideways in the strong wind didn't have quite the same effect.
Once I'd done my self-allocated jobs I settled down to read in the sun. As the wind and the sun were coming from the same direction it was a bit of a challenge to find a sheltered sunny spot but eventually I settled by the side of the conservatory. For once Peter came out to join me so it really did feel like we were on holiday. All too soon the clouds came rolling in and once the sun went it felt cold driving us both indoors. I got the ironing done and the second lot of washing is finishing off its drying over the rayburn. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Sunny.

It's been a lovely sunny day with a warm wind. A good day for getting things done outside. My first task was to cut back the beech hedge along the side of the garden. Judging by the size of some of the branches it didn't get done last year but my loppers came in useful. 
After a break round 2 was to climb down into the stream behind the hedge to do some cutting back from that side. There was no real need to do that apart from making it possible to walk up the little stream which I occasionally like to do. I also cut back the brambles on the far side and pulled up any that had established themselves under the hedge. Then I cut back the brambles leading from the plank bridge (now creaking ominously so not in use) to the corner of the fencing around the fields and woods.
After yet another break to cool down (I got rather hot wearing my bramble proof gardening coat), I climbed into the field for an explore. I haven't been in there for years though we do have permission from the owner. The open areas are very squelchy so it was more of a slow walk to look at the plants and creatures. I mainly kept to the higher ground near the trees as I didn't want to lose a boot in the mud.
I was able to follow the deer paths just visible with hoof prints in the soft ground. 
The picture doesn't show it too well but the speedwell in the foreground was prettily dotted with bright blue flowers.
This is where I climbed into the field contorting myself through the gap in the middle.
Then once I was through I swung the crossbar back into the loop of cord that I put there for that purpose. The lower bar is nailed at that angle and I'm pretty sure from the tracks that it's where the deer get through.
My last job of the day was to unpack and photograph the box of glasses brought down from the loft yesterday. I've put the green glasses aside as a quick search revealed that they were made in 1820/30s and quite valuable.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Showers.

Apologies for going into so much detail about my back yesterday. I remember well how tedious it was to listen to every single detail of my mother's state of health when she made her daily phone call. Let's just say that right now I'm focussing on making every effort to improve my health. We are lucky enough to have our free at point of use health system but it's not without its problems. The main one appears to be that although GPs are paid according to the number of patients they have on their books the hospitals aren't. The government keeps telling us they are increasing the amount of money allocated to the hospitals but that increase is only keeping up with inflation. No account has been made of the vastly increased numbers of patients needing hospital care and the system is at breaking point with simply no beds to put people in. Then there's the problem of greatly decreased funding to the local authorities to provide at home or residential care to our increasingly elderly population who can't be discharged from hospital to look after themselves. That's another reason why we try and follow the guidelines for a healthy old age. (Not that I consider myself old but it is creeping up.) Following the exercises set by the physio will hopefully restore me to a state where I can work on my fitness. Together with keeping my weight down and eating a healthy diet I should live to at least 200!
We've had sun today but an awful lot of showers as well. The osteospermums decided the light levels were too low and stayed shut all day. In spite of the rain I feel I've achieved my goals today. Firstly I put more sealant on the inside of the conservatory roof as it has been leaking a little in the recent very wet weather. Then in a dry spell I tidied up the area between the back of the house and the stream, weeding and removing leaves and twigs. Now it looks a lot more cared for.
Finally I went up into the loft to see how much more there is up there besides my mother's art works. I found a box of small glasses which I haven't unpacked yet and a large box of ceramics. This was so big and heavy I had to hand down each newspaper wrapped piece to Peter. These would all have been the things my mother found in local junk shops. In those days junk shops would mainly have been filled with items from house clearances most of which would have been junk and an occasional treasure. I pulled out a picture frame and a glass cake cover to keep but we haven't decided what to do with the rest. I'll check that the boys don't want any and then either sell some items or give the lot to one of the charity shops. They have specialists who make sure they value stuff properly and it would be going to a good cause. Have to think about that. 
I was really pleased to see this flowering clump of irises. Last year there were only about 6 buds and before they could open snails or slugs had eaten through the stems causing them to fall to the ground.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Windy.

It's funny how although I normally don't open my eyes until around 7.30, today when my alarm was set for 6.00 I woke at 5.50. At least it stopped the jangling alarm clock from disturbing Peter. I took the above photo on my way to the hospital at about 7.45, the rest were taken this afternoon on my way home again.
After 8 weeks of physiotherapy I'm now noticing significant improvement with my back. From having 4-5 severe spasms each day I've only had one mild one this week and yesterday was the first time I was able to lie down on my back straight away without easing myself cautiously down. I did feel a little disappointed when my back began to ache this afternoon but that was after an hour in the physiotherapy gym, walking the length of the High Street and back and shopping. I guess it's going to take some time before everything settles down. When I got home I decided to give myself the afternoon off sitting outside to enjoy the fine weather and dramatic skies. Nice as it is to read outside I felt like I could easily nod off so instead I found myself some weeding to do where I could work from sitting down.
This morning as I drove out I noticed a second pair of geese in the field but it wasn't until I returned that I saw they too have 6 goslings. 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Windy.

It's been dry and fairly sunny with a good breeze today. I got some washing out on the line and although there were a couple of moments when I thought it was going to rain it was nearly dry by the time I brought it back in. 
I spent the afternoon working in the garden. Initially I planned to clear the steps in the far corner as they were almost hidden by long grass. This was a hands and knees job (thank goodness for my soft strap on knee pads) using a pair of large dress making scissors. Although I could have used the long handled shears working on my knees made it easy to weed the bank on either side of the path at the same time. Also using scissors  means I have my other hand free to clear the grass away. Once I'd done the steps naturally I carried on working along the path but came to a halt when I got to the section of path full of plantain. That will have to wait for the next time I run the mower over the path.
One last bit I did do was to trim the grass along the sides of the rill that empties into the pond. Having tidy edges makes a difference even when the lawn itself needs mowing. Wildlife seen today were a newt found under a leaf in the rill and a toad walking in the nursery beds.


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Wet.

It rained all morning and then not only was the afternoon drier but it was also warmer. To occupy myself in the morning I had a thorough clear out of all my folders and files. That resulted in several bags of rubbish and more empty space in the sitting room. 
Each time I walk around the garden I see more weeds popping up and even worse- flowering so I took advantage of the dry afternoon to spend some time weeding. I think I got all the weeds in the propagating beds though no doubt a fresh lot will spring up over night.
Squeaky is getting to be very fussy in her old age. One day she'll eat boiled minced turkey, another cheese or sardines. This morning she turned up her nose at all of those options so I tried her with tinned cat food. She ate that with relish and this evening when I gave her turkey and cat food she ate all the cat food and left the turkey. She spends a lot of time yelling at me. Sometimes she wants to sit on my lap, other times she just wants to sit on my pc chair which is what I think she is waiting for right now.
This 'border' along the edge of the old hens' run has gone from a mass of brambles, stinging nettles and other weeds last year to what looks like an established bed full of perennials. I threw in spare plants from around the garden; day lilies, sisyrinchium, something with whorls of yellow flowers and ornamental grasses.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Wet.

It has rained all day long. This led to an extra long guitar session though the 6th string is proving a challenge to both fingers and brain. I also had a good sort out in one of the spare rooms that's currently being used to store empty boxes and things brought down from the loft. Knowing we would move eventually we kept all the boxes and packaging from more fragile items bought in the last few years. The end result of today's efforts was a much tidier room, a few things to give away and a bag of rubbish. Now I suppose I ought to get back up into the loft and bring down more of the things that have been up there for 23 years. In between doing other things I also backed up my photo files, something I had been a bit lax about recently.
I needed a waterproof coat just to go outside and take some photos. When I looked at the plant nursery I couldn't believe how many weeds there were, some of them a couple of inches high. I thought I'd been doing a good job with my constant hoeing but obviously it wasn't good enough. I carefully stashed my camera in the potting shed (aka ex hen house) and began hand weeding. It's only been a year since the main beds were a weed ridden plot so it isn't that surprising to find so many seedlings.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Wet.

Today has been cold, grey and frequently wet. I thought it would be a good opportunity to go through some of my stored clothes to see which could be passed on to the charity shops. As I've done this several times already I didn't find much to give away. There were a couple of classic straight dresses made of that crinkly, stretchy fabric which is so good for taking on holiday. Admittedly I would prefer to have a few less bulges before wearing them. The chances of losing the weight are a lot higher than of us going on holiday to somewhere nice and warm so really they should go. However while I have them I can persuade myself that there is more a case of when rather than if. I have got a couple of bags of stuff to take to the charity shop so that's something at least.
Peter came home from the doctors' with tales of an extremely long needle and having bravely watched at least part of the injection into his knee which would have been a lot more credible if I hadn't had exactly the same thing done recently. And I usually watch whatever is being done.
Even though I was stuck indoors for most of the day I was able to do some nature watching from the bedroom window. 
 A pregnant looking red deer doe.