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.

Monday 30 June 2014


A little cooler again today. I've been at work all day, teaching a Year 1 class that I don't usually have. The morning was spent writing about the trip to the beach and in the afternoon they drew pirates. Nothing too strenuous. I finished up quite quickly at the end of the day so I went into town. I was looking for cards for birthdays that are coming up in the next few months as I remember not feeling like walking in crowds for some time after the last spinal op. I was going to buy my usual treat of carob coated ginger but one health food shop didn't stock them and the other one had run out. 
I managed to fit in some gardening  when I got home; hoeing the veg plots and filling up the gaps with more bean and pea seeds. At least I'll have a succession of crops, that is if the slugs don't eat them. Last week I potted up 2 chili plants that I had grown from saved seeds. Ever thrifty I used the compost from the pots where nothing had germinated and up came ? probably another pumpkin but possibly a courgette. I'll plant that out soon. In the veg plots I have 2 cane wig-wams. which were initially planted with runner beans. None of those, admittedly old seeds grew but 1 that I put in pots did. Then I found an old packet of sweet pea seeds so I planted those by the canes. Today I also found a packet of sunflower seeds so I've planted those inside the canes as well. It would be amazing if all that lot did grow.

Sunday 29 June 2014

Mostly Sunny.

The day started with some light rain but the sun came out later and by this evening I could hardly bear to come back indoors. I watched some more Glastonbury this morning with my flowers in my hair of course, and perfected my dancing while you iron technique. I had to stop my ironing to watch the English National Ballet dance 'Dust' which was simply amazing. A little bit of it is on this  trailer, it was simply stunning. We didn't get to watch Metallica last night as Peter was rowing and coxing early this morning so we'll watch them tonight.
Now that I only have 3 weeks to get things done I can't afford to spend time sitting and relaxing in the sun. Today I used the hoe to cut down the tall weeds growing under the apple trees. Once I'd dragged the vegetation away I hoed deeper to get rid of most of the roots. Not a perfect job but at least it didn't involve bending. Then I was out on the hillside cutting back and weeding the London Pride before doing the same to the snow-in-summer by the patio.

Saturday 28 June 2014


The postman delivered a very welcome letter today. It was from the hospital and my operation is scheduled for 21st of July. That's only 3 weeks and 2 days away. It's on the first day of the school summer holiday so I won't lose any of the extra but much needed money I make doing supply teaching. Now I need to get the all garden work up to date as I'll be restricted in what I can do after the op.
The day started with some showers, typical Glastonbury weather but brightened up in the afternoon. I'm having my usual Glasto' weekend with the tv up to full volume (which isn't high enough,) while we watch from the comfort of home, even watched some in bed this morning. Last night's highlights were Blondie and  Rodrigo y Gabriella who were amazing. I haven't watched so much today as the sun lured me outside but we're looking forward to Metallica tonight.
This afternoon I enjoyed the sun as I worked my way around the scree garden getting rid of the bigger weeds, mainly bracken. The rooks have quietened right down, must be sitting on the next batch of eggs, and they seem to have given up on trying to colonise the trees next to the house. 

Friday 27 June 2014


First bit of news - my car is fixed and happy again. It needed a new timing sensor and Alec only charged me for the part which wasn't much at all. At least now I know not to keep pressing on the accelerator when I'm starting up, though that had nothing to do with this recent problem.
It's been a day of heavy showers and sunshine. Peter gave me a lift and I was in school at 7.30. By 8.00 it was pouring with rain and I had swapped my crocs for wellies. By 8.15 we were getting phone calls from parents asking if we were still going and we were trying to decide what to do. In the end we decided to delay our departure until 10.00 and hope that it cleared up. Also, very luckily, a supply teacher turned up who just happened to have the keys to the lifesaving club where we could at least squeeze in out of the rain. Any parents that didn't want their children to go to the beach in the rain were welcome to take their children home but only a few did. Of my class of 30 only one child with special needs and a phobia of getting wet decided not to come. I had a great set of parent helpers so each of us had 4 or fewer children to keep track of. We took pe equipment down with us but our children were happy to simply dig in the sand and play in a tiny stream that ran across the sand. The whole school went down to paddle by which time I was wearing shorts so that I could go further into the water, rescue anybody and generally make sure the children didn't go too deep, ie past their knees. They all got very wet and had a wonderful time. Back up the beach to dry off and change into dry clothes before eating lunch. It was then that we spotted very black clouds approaching though for a time we were in a clear space between 2 black clouds. A phone call from somebody at Ashford which is halfway between school and the beach, informed us that they were having thunder and lightning! As it started to rain we got the kids into the club house but as we began to sort out footwear, having thrown all the rest of their stuff into bin bags, we were suddenly told that we needed to hurry up and get on the coaches. That was a mad scramble but at least it had stopped raining again and we eventually got ourselves settled on the coaches before the next heavy downpour. When we got back to school we were told of flooded roads and the bottom end of the school field was a lake. Then it dried up again, we had playtime followed by singing and playing musical instruments before our tired and sandy children all went home.
 Things are happening in the veg plot, keep away you nasty slugs.
Click here to see the wonderful gardens on Tresco, part of the Isles of Scilly which we visited in 2012 2013. More Italian/Mediterranean than English garden as they never get any frost.

Thursday 26 June 2014


I got in the car this morning and it would not start at all so muttering darkly I jumped into Peter's car and he gave me a lift to school. This evening a workmate of his, who used to be a Peugeot mechanic came around to have a look at it. There was no fuel at all getting through to the plugs and they wouldn't spark either. Peter's friend is very kindly steering my car while Peter tows it back to the garage. I've only been towed once and it was a scary trip with all the hills we have here which just goes to show I'm a bit of a whimp.
Today, it has been raining. I know it was the first time in weeks but the weathermen did say we would have rain. So why did only 4 children out of my class of 30 have jackets and most of the rest didn't have their sweatshirts? I had to send children home in the pouring rain with no coats or sweatshirts. It's the day of THE BEACH TRIP tomorrow and the forecast is for heavy rain showers and even some talk of thunder. If there is we will have to return early. Somehow I don't think we will have to worry too much about getting too much sun. 

Update - Peter has just phoned to say they will be a while. As they were going along a local farmer told them that there was a big pile-up at Burridge and there is a big traffic jam and everything is being diverted. That means they will have to go down some narrow twisty roads so I am even more relieved not to be at the wheel. I'm not surprised about the accident. A good half mile of road has been top dressed with a slick of tar and lots of gravel. There are signs saying stick to 15mph because of the danger of skidding but do people take notice? Peter was driving a little faster than that this evening and even with his 4WD we had a small slide.

Wednesday 25 June 2014


Last night I got Peter to listen to the click, click ........ click, cough, bang as I started up the car and he advised me to get it seen to asap. I rang the garage first thing this morning but they couldn't fit it in until tomorrow. After a moment of panic the voice of reason set in. The only journey that I had to worry about was getting in to work today at lunch time. If I couldn't get the car to start then I would be stuck. The only solution would be to go next door to see if anyone could give me a lift. Though actually I wasn't really working this afternoon but had offered to go in and help as it was the school's Sports' Day. Luckily, even though I got to the point where I thought I had drained the battery it did finally start. For all the rest of my journeys such as coming home tonight or going to work tomorrow I can get a lift with Peter. It was touch and go after work today but it started so there is just one more time when I have to hope it starts and then the car will be in the garage anyway.
The geese family are usually out grazing on the grass by the ponies' fields (this was this evening) but whenever I walk past them they head for the safety of the lake. This morning as I went past on my walk they started waddling down the hill as usual. They were a little further over than in the photo, just where the long grass hides a 3ft bank. The adult geese got down the bank quite gracefully but one after the other the youngsters slid down the bank and fell flat on their faces at the bottom.
It's been cloudier and much cooler today which was better for the children's Sports' Day as the junior school field where it is held has no shade at all. Each class had 4 teams, the hares and tortoises I had been sorting out last week, and the children ran 4 races each moving around the field in their year groups to the different activities. The children got stickers for winning or taking part and they all seemed to enjoy it.  I left straight after work not bothering with the staff meeting which was somebody coming to talk about our pensions. Because I took time out to be a stay at home mum and have been mainly part time my work pension is very small and I won't get it until I'm 66. I was home nice and early so I had time to cut down the flower stalks of another patch of London Pride. 

Tuesday 24 June 2014


I had the morning to myself this morning and what a beautiful morning it was. When I first went outside the air was warm; the sun shining and the only sounds were the birds singing in the trees. The rooks had quietened down to the occasional caw and it was just so peaceful. Walking up the hill in the gentle breeze I simply had to stop and listen to the quiet of the countryside (does that make sense?) Suddenly a skylark rose up from the field beside me, singing away as it flew higher and higher. 
I'm getting a bit worried about my car. Driving in to school the engine suddenly revved up as I waited at the traffic lights which was strange. Then after school It took 4 attempts to get it to start which it did with a cough and a splutter. I called in at the garage next door but Alec said it could be anything and then of course it started up perfectly. I spent an hour in town visiting the library - £4.40 fine !!! and some shops. Then I thought the car wasn't going to start again but it did with a few more coughs and started up just when I thought I was going to flood the engine. I must make sure to have my phone with me so that I can phone the RAC if the car won't start.
Look what those blasted slugs have done to this pumpkin plant, every leaf chewed off. I've sprinkled a few pellets around in case the slugs come back to finish off the leaves but I don't hold much hope that the pumpkin will survive. 

Monday 23 June 2014


Still sunny and warm but a bit more overcast at times. I've been teaching all day so the day has whizzed by. First thing was a quick rearrangement of our plans as we were one adult down in the Reception classes but that wasn't too much of a problem. We combined the classes at times so that I could teach them the chorus of a rain forest song and later they watched a DVD, literacy I think, so that we could hear some individual readers.
I needed to sort my class into hares and tortoises for sports' day so I took the children outside before play time and let them race in 5's. They each had a cone to run to and around but in one race 5 boys all decided to aim for the same cone. The result was that 2 of them bumped heads, lots of wailing and one boy coming up with a bump with a bruise.  We always have ice packs in the fridge because small children are forever bumping their heads. 3 little girls who had been fine all morning came up to me at lunchtime announcing that they had to go home as they 'had poorly tummies'. Nice try, I just said they were probably hungry and no they didn't need to go home.

Sunday 22 June 2014


I didn't need to walk up the hill today as we went for a walk around Morte Point instead. There was a cool breeze as we walked around the north side of the point but once we got around to the other side it felt very hot indeed. The sea really was this incredible blue with the underwater rocks looking turquoise. 
As it's now summer there were quite a few people out walking and watching the seals which could be seen from time to time. We stopped at our usual bench for a cup of coffee and to enjoy the beautiful view.
From our vantage point up on the cliffs we could see that Woolacombe beach was crowded and the car parks were full. Sadly for the surfers there were no waves though the sea at the Point was choppy.

Back home I made a start on weeding the scree garden. I had thought there were not many weeds but closer scrutiny revealed hundreds if not millions, okay a lot, of tiny seedlings growing in the gaps between the stones. I managed to get half of the path done, turning over nearly every stones and picking out the seedlings, dry leaves and more moss. I am almost thinking that it would be better to let the seedlings grow a bit so that they are easier to get hold of or is that me finding an excuse to get out of such back aching work? 
Peter barbecued some pork kebabs which we ate outside until the drop in temperature drove us back inside. There have been a lot more clouds today and it looks like this spell of good weather might be coming to an end.

Saturday 21 June 2014

Sunny Summer Solstice.

A perfect day to mark the summer solstice, dare I say possibly a tiny bit too hot.When I went out for my walk I could see clouds over to the east and in the north there was solid cloud over the Bristol Channel. Up on the hill the sun was tempered by the chill north wind but down in the valley we were more sheltered and it was pretty hot. Boris was fast asleep stretched out on the grass when I went past.
I was watching 2 male blackbirds through the window  and wondering why they were together, perhaps they had just fledged from the same nest? Then one flew off and the other assumed this strange position. He stayed like this for a while and I crept right outside taking photos until finally he flew away. I can only assume that he was sunbathing, not the wisest thing to do with all the cats around.
Having more or less licked the main garden into shape this weekend I hope to tidy up the scree garden. The wall is going to take the most work as the rubus growing behind has started to take over. I'll need to do a lot of cutting back followed by some herbicide on the stalks that have invaded the wall.  
Peter went off rowing in the middle of the day, he's really enjoying getting back on the water. Later he made some barbecued spare ribs and we ate our evening meal out in the sun up by the scree garden. We ought to enjoy this summer weather while we have it.
It's nearly 10.00 and the sun has only just started to go down.  I'm trying not to dwell on the thought that the nights will be getting longer once more. Sunrise a little later and sunset a little earlier each day.

Friday 20 June 2014


I was going to say that I came home under a cloudless blue sky when I turned and looked inland to the east which once again was under solid cloud. But for us it has been yet another sunny day. When we lived in London each year we took the last 3 weeks in June for our family holiday down at Saunton Sands and we always did have lovely weather. 
I spent the day at school working with the Reception children who were designing and making junk model super bugs. As I wanted to make a start on our song/dance/music performance I decided to set up the music ready to play. I thought I had covered all eventualities by having the music on discs and my pen drive but hey ho when I turned on the lap top it started up (which is a bonus) but then froze with the cursor unable to move out of the corner. The next option which was to put the discs in the cd player didn't work as they were data discs. Option 3 was to put the discs in the children's pcs where yes they did play but for everyone's sanity you can only get sound through the headphones. I looked around for a speaker to plug in but 2 spare ones only had bare wires and the big whiteboard speaker was wired into the board. Luckily at that point someone came along who knew what the problem was - the teacher's chair was touching the interactive whiteboard and this was upsetting the lap top even though the whiteboard was not switched on. Later on I was able to bypass the school filter and get on to YouTube so that the children could watch the videos as well as hear the music. Shakira's La la la song has proved to be an excellent choice as the children picked up the rhythms quickly and we had drumming, rattling and dancing all going on at the right times. Not bad for 4 year olds.
During the afternoon playtime we let the children play in the Secret Garden. 2 lads were crawling under some bamboo clumps and I heard one ask the other 'Do you want to be my pet dinosaur?' It's great how nature inspires children's imaginations.
After school I stayed on sorting things out in the classroom then made a quick visit to the Co-Op before heading home.  I had a walk around the garden and saw that the slugs have discovered one of my pumpkin plants. I think I'll go up and put out some slug pellets. Only a few as the dead slugs will be toxic to birds and anything else that eats them. But I can't bear the thought of my carefully nurtured plants being munched up before my eyes.

Thursday 19 June 2014


Lots of blue skies all day with wispy cirrus clouds though when I drove in to work I could see a cloudy weather front maybe 40/50 miles away so not everyone had sun. The wind has changed to blowing down from the north again and I was quite glad I had a bodywarmer on over my shorts and vest when I went for my walk up the hill. I don't mind too much if my legs and arms are cold as long as my back is warm. The young swallows were out practicing their flying skills over the ponies' fields. They are not yet as graceful as their parents and have the occasional rest on the fence. They are easy to distinguish as they don't have such long tail feathers as the adults.
Once I had done my jobs and had a walk there was still enough time after washing my hair to do  a bit of gardening. I got out the strimmer and tidied up the long grass around the bushes at the top of the hill side.  My gardening outfit would not have won any fashion prizes. From the ground up I had on big black wellies, baggy running shorts 4 sizes too big for me and a skimpy bikini top. To accessorise I had on orange gardening gloves, a red watch and a blue headband to keep my drying hair out of my eyes. All practical but not glamorous.
At school everyone was feeling quite stressed as it was shuffle up afternoon when all the children spend the afternoon in the class they will be in after the holidays. Only one teacher will be teaching the same year group in the same classroom so organising things was quite complicated not to mention 60 very small children spending their first afternoon at school! I was fine as I knew the children I was working with (their new teacher isn't with us yet). Only one hiccup, the teacher whose room we were in really likes things to be kept neat and tidy so we made sure things were tidy. But then I turned around and one child, who has understanding difficulties, had glued his work to the middle of the interactive whiteboard - Yikes! Luckily the glue washed off with a paper towel and water.
After work I drove across town and did a big shop at Lidl's and Tesco's before driving home in the sun. 

Wednesday 18 June 2014


We had more cloud today but it was still quite hot. When I went out for my walk up the hill the goose family was out on the water.   
I didn't have to go to school until 3.00 so I had plenty of time to work outside. I planted out the rest of the pumpkin plants, luckily the slugs have left the first ones alone, and hoed between the rows of emerging peas and beans. Of all the runner beans I planted only one actually grew. Maybe I'll buy some plants though now Peter tells me he doesn't really like runner beans. Sweet peas instead? Then it was back to weeding and now the hillside is nearly done. 
Then off to school for the staff meeting. This was all about the arrangements for the end of term events. This year I am working on the day the whole school goes to the beach and on the afternoon of the Reception children's disco. The beach is fun though it is nerve racking being ultimately responsible for 30 5 year olds. We just have to keep our fingers crossed that it doesn't rain as there is no shelter. I also volunteered to come and help, (unpaid) on the Sports' Day afternoon.