Showing posts from July, 2011

Herbs for free!

OK, roll up, roll up.  Here is a change and a chance to win something! You know me.  I am a bit selfish with this blog.  I blog about what I like and what interests me.  I get a lot of emails asking me to review this and that and most of them come from people who don't seem to have read my blog or to have any  idea of what I write about so generally they cheerily get dumped!  But I had a really nice email the other day from someone who works for Wish UK .  She had clearly read my blog and thought about it and how it connected to her company and she wanted to know if I would like to run a competition.  It's not often I have the chance to give away anything nice to you lovely people so I thought I would give it a go.   Wish UK is a gift providing company. You know the sort of thing: driving a Ferrari, having a spa break, hot air ballooning, learning to fly a bird of prey.  Oddly they didnt't want to offer any of these things as a prize but you can have a go at winni


Working in the garden and the air full of swooping swallows.  Not our pair and their brood but over twenty carving perfect arcs out of a blue sky, passing near enough for me to hear their wings. Swooping over the house, down to the pond, mysterious, intense, focussed. Is this what they must do to know how to return? They gather on the telephone wires. Don't go.  Don't go. I am not ready.

Fluid and elastic time

Time is playing tricks with me.   Sometimes, most times if I am honest, my life is the classic plate spinning exercise, running from house and family to holiday cottage to job to garden to friends and wider family, tweaking a plate here, leaping up as one threatens to crash to the ground.   Sometimes I like it like that, sometimes it starts to overwhelm me but always it feels normal.   So why do I suddenly feel to have all the time in the world? I think it began when I got back from Devon.   Somehow I had slowed down for the sake of a few days away looking at gardens.   You couldn’t say it was an obvious chill out.   I had driven over seven hundred miles for one thing.   But I arrived home feeling like someone with a bit of time on their hands and here at the end of the first week back I am still wafting about serenely. This is totally irrational.   This week has been full of the chaos which results from the kitchen ceiling being on the kitchen floor and the contents of

A blog of two halves

You might think the kitchen would get worse before it got better.  You would be right. Even more things move into the front kitchen so that in the back kitchen the ceiling can be taken down. And this is where it is taken down to: the floor.  The electrician is coming on Monday and then we shall have to bite the bullet and take the sink out.   There is plastering to be done and a new slate floor to be laid and then we shall perhaps begin to think about new units.  Repeat after me: It will be fine.  Let's just slip outside and pick some sweetpeas. When not picking pieces of my house out of my hair I have been musing on the visit to Rosemoor .   Rosemoor is one of the Royal Horticultural Society's gardens, this one sited in Devon in the bottom of a sheltered valley. The warm and gently clouded morning in which we had wandered around Carol Klein's garden had given way to a bright, hot and sunny afternoon. Oh I don't believe this.  Blogger has lost my e

Tales from my kitchen - 1 of a series

I only usually blog once a week or so but I thought you might like to see a bit of house renovation - some of the dust and slog behind living the dream! Last year we moved the main cooking kitchen back into the old part of the house where it belongs.  We were left with an early 80s horror in the back kitchen, the peeling melamine and stained worktop setting off the mouldy patches on the wall a real treat. So this year's job was to redo the back kitchen as a scullery/utility and work started yesterday with the emptying of cupboards. So the new kitchen fills up with boxes from the old one, which go under the table and on the table and on the freezer and the diswasher and out into the laundry and just about everywhere. The cupboards come out and it is going to get worse before it gets better. Here it is getting worse as the tiles come off. We are trying to leave the sink connected for another day or so and here is Ian actually making it a bit better by cleanin

Devon gardens

I have just had a week out of time, a week to wander gardens in great company, a week of sunshine and flowers by the ton.  My head is still spinning with colour and light and fizzing ideas. Way back in February when I planned a visit to some gardens in Devon the idea seemed like a lifeline.  Life was hard, my brother was in hospital, we were all adjusting to having my father in law to live with us and I was buffetted by how much I wanted to be able to put things right and how little I could do.  As I sat at Karen 's table on a wet and blustery winter day I felt stretched out thin like an old handkerchief, pale and see through and just as likely to tear.  On a July morning as I left home in the sunshine life had moved on.  We adjust, we human beings, we get used to things, even difficult things.  Now it felt not like a necessity but like an indulgence to drive away and leave Ian looking after domestic life and his father. I was travelling with Karen and staying with one of her o

On not going to bed

Morning: Ian gets up with his father at 7.  I often don't wake when he gets up but generally stir at about a quarter to eight and get up soon after eight.  For those of you who are hating me now, I would just like to say that I have served my time with children whose day started cheerily at 5 and with work demanding I leave the house at 6.15.  One of the great things about working for myself and no longer dancing to the salary man's tune is that I can go with my own body clock, and my clock says nothing should happen before 7 and that somewhere around 8 to 8.30 is when I should be starting the day. And then morning between 10 and 12 is firing on all cylinders time, doing the tricky things, setting up the challenging spreadsheet, putting in the tax return, nailing the impossible. Lunchtime for me should be about 1 but is generally earlier because FIL is definitely ready for a sandwich around 12 and by 1 is up for slitting his wrists or making his own.  We compromise, general

Hello again

Blogging is a funny thing.  Do it and it is compulsive: the writing, the comments, the reading of other blogs.  Stop, even if only for a few days, and it is oddly hard to start again.  What on earth have I got to say? Not much really.  We had a visit from some lovely friends who live in Canada.  They insisted that the thing they wanted to do most in the world was to help us weed and manure our rhubarb bed.  I know, I told you they were lovely. The children began to gather for Ian's birthday and the house was suddenly full of them and a puppy and a toddler.  The sun shone.  The cakes were iced.  Food was planned and prepared.  My sister and her family arrived and tents went up in the field and still the sun shone.  Family and old friends poured in from near and far and the sun poured in too.   Dogs poddled about happily, the oldest stuck to my father's side, the next  one playing football with older children, the puppy happily eating raspberries and windfall apples.  There