Sunday, 9 October 2011

 Today I visited Leeds Castle in Kent.  I went on a coach trip with the other members of our Horticultural Society.  We went today as it was the flower festival.  Each room in the castle had the most amazing flower arrangements and they were all linked to the theme of the forties and films.
 On this bed was four cushions and they were all made of flowers and leaves, the pale green was made from lots of leaves, the next was strips of leaves woven with ribbon.  The pink one was made from some sort of grass heads and the other one was made from thick green leaves with gypsophilia and pearls in it.  Very clever!  The other ladies thought that I could do something similar and enter into the next show.
We arrived at the castle at 11 a.m, it was quite a long walk through the woods until you could see the buildings with the moat around them.  We went into the main castle and looked at the flowers and then went and had lunch as we were all very hungry.  Then we walked through the gardens to the maze and had an ice cream and back along the lake for a cup of tea before setting of home.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

A punnet of Raspberries

At last a punnet of raspberries. We had such high hopes for them this year. We planted the canes in the autumn nearly two years ago and had to pick of all the flowers last summer as you are not supposed to let them fruit in the first year. I thought we were going to have so many that we would be fed up with them. I am not sure why this is..
I will enjoy a bowl of raspberries and creme freche later, after I have had my cup of coffee and finished the watering.
Sent from my BlackBerry smartphone from Virgin Media

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Just testing from my mobile

Ok, so now I have learnt how to post from an email, I thought I would have a go from my mobile. And try to attach a photo - ok here goes
Sent from my BlackBerry smartphone from Virgin Media

Just testing

I have just worked out how to put a post on from my email, so this is a trial run.

Just thought that I would updated that Babybelle is recovering, she has been running around the run and calling to me.  Still not eating much though.
The vet asked me if she drinks from a bottle or a bowl, I said "oh she never drinks"  and I had never seen her drink anything.  But what happens, I have seen her drink from the bottle 3 times in as many days and the bottle has gone down to half way.  I have never seen it go down so quickly.  I wonder why she has suddenly started drinking?#

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Sick Guinea pig

Just an update on Babybelle.  She went back to the vets yesterday morning for an operation to clear out the abscess and sort out her teeth.  I was told to phone back at lunch time to be told that she had come round but was cold and laying on a heat pad and to phone back later.  At 5pm I was told she was still a little unsteady on her feet and that they would like to keep her in overnight.  I collected her this morning and the poor old girl looks very thin and tired. I kept her inside all day and had to bring Tilly in to be with her because she was not eating either - lonely I think.  I have give Babybelle antibiotics twice a day, vitamin C once a day and take her back in 5 days to check how she is!!!!!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Sick Guinea pig

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that Babybelle had a lump under her chin, it grew quite large and I noticed that she wasn't eating properly so took her to the vet.
The vet said that the lump was an abscess and it needed draining.   Gallons of very smelly puss drained out and I was sent home with a bottle of antibiotics and £40 lighter.  Said that she needed to see her next week but she was not to eat for 4 hours before the appointment as she needed to see her teeth properly.
I went back today with a very sad, very hungry guinea pig.  Again she could not see her teeth properly and said that she needed to come in for the day, to be sedated to have the lump cleaned out properly and to investigate her teeth.  I have to take her back at 8.30 a.m. tomorrow morning...............

Sunday, 24 July 2011

My Farm Shop

 "What on earth shall I do with all these courgettes?" I wondered this morning, and then decided to go for it, I opened my farm shop.  Actually I stuck some courgettes in a cardboard box on top of the recycling box and popped it at the front of the garden.  I also added a bunch of beetroot for good luck.  Half an hour later I took a peek and someone had bought the beetroot.  So I pulled up some more and a little later had sold one bag of courgettes and a bunch of beetroot.  That was it - all day - £1.50!!!  But that is enough to buy a packet of seeds next year.
I will try again next weekend, maybe we will have some spare runner beans to add to it.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Allotment moaning

 Popped to the allotment last night to pick the raspberries. The courgettes have started and cut the fourth one!  The runner beans are coming on, they are setting and some are about 3 inches long, not quite ready.  I have grown sweet peas up the same poles and it is all getting a bit tangled hope that I will be able to see all the beans when they really start, the borage is leaning over from the next bed as well so all getting a bit crowded, might need to cut it back but it looks so lovely at the moment.  There are sunflowers, nasturtiums, borage and calundula all over the place mixed in with the vegetables, I think that my plot looks beautiful, which is more than I can say for next doors!
 The picture above is next doors.  Two years ago I put my name down for a plot and expected to have a long wait, but they decided to turn part of a field into plots and we got a call in September.  When we visited there was just a field we were able to choose our plot and it was marked with 4 sticks -one in each corner.  There were 5 other new plots which were taken on the same day.  Some got started and some just left them until the spring.  We started and spent the whole freezing cold winter putting up fences, digging beds and then building a shed.  Next door turned up in the spring rotovated the lot and made a lot of noise.  They planted lots of seedlings which got eaten by the rabbits as they hadn't built proper fences, they then bought more plants.  The last time I saw them was in September.  Their plants grew and grew but nobody came to harvest them and then in the spring the weeds were 3 foot high and growing through my fence. One day I arrived to find all the weeds had been cut down and dumped in a heap, I thought perhaps they were back, but the weeds are growing back.  I understand that the rent is paid until September BUT what a waste!  I have asked if I could take the plot over but told no as there is a waiting list, but this has been a whole season with nothing.  I don't expect that it will be allocated to anyone new until September when the rent is due.  My big worry is that someone will turn up and use weed killer next to my vegetables.
This is my one!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Nealry time to go

Last night at home before the intrepid traveller flies off to the other side of the world to spend 4 months in central America.  She has still not packed her backpack, but apparently has plenty of time.
My daughter is off to Cuba, Costa Rica and Nicaragua for four whole months.  By the time she comes home the clocks will have changed and it will be nearly winter.  
Hope she has a wonderful time.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Eating from the allotment

 We popped up the allotment this evening and were amazed at how things have come on since Saturday.   So many red raspberries!  I picked a whole punnet full.

 The strawberries are still doing very well, but there are a few that have gone mouldy, too damp I think.
 This was the total pick from tonight, some new potatoes "Kestral" not eaten these before but they look lovely with the pink bits on them.  Some peas, rocket, raspberries, strawberries, dill and sweet peas.
 One of the courgette plants, needs to grow a bit more.  I think it will be a while before we see the first courgette/
 The runner beans are slowly making their way up the poles, with sweet peas growing amongst them.  I didn't get a bean until the end of July last year so still plenty of time/
 I have tried to grow sweetcorn for the last couple of years but not had much luck. I started it indoors much earlier this year and it has done well.  It is growing with calundula and borage to look pretty.
So dinner tonight was new potatoes with salad the home grown part was one (!) spring onion, radishes, lettuce, rocket and dill.  Strawberry and Rhubarb cordial to drink and Strawberry ice cream that I made earlier.  Lovely

Monday, 6 June 2011


Now open! Free accommodation to all insects, bugs and other small creatures except for rats.

We have started building our insect hotel at the allotment. The bottom layer is sand with bits of roof tiles ( left over from the porch building). Then there is a layer of wood and then some cardboard tubes filled with straw and corrugated cardboard rolled up. The next layer is pine cones. On top of that is sticks and wood, some with holes drilled in the ends.

I think that we will do a couple more layers, probably some leaves and pebbles and then top it off with a roof covered in roofing felt to keep things dry.

Perfect for Mr Toad and all the rest of the slug, snail and black fly munching crowd!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Breakfast at the plot!

we were "up the plot" early on Sunday morning. Took some bread and marmalade and most toast!
The bean trenches have been dug and manured, the poles and sweetpeas are in, just waiting for the last frost and then pop the beans in. Will we get a last frost? We did last year the very night after I had planted the beans.
Broad beans and peas coming on. The flowers keep falling of the beans and no pods developing. Asked Basil from over the way and he said lack of rain. I don't think that it has rained here since March.
A view up the plot,
The strawberries are looking very good, covered in flowers and beginning to develop little green ones. Hurry up and turn red

Sunday, 8 May 2011


Look who I found at the allotment this morning - Mr Toad!
We had covered the new raised bed with cardboard after digging it over and adding some cow muck. This morning I took the cardboard off and noticed that the earth moved, just like the compost bin heap moved the other day when I was convinced that there was a rat in there. I am not keen on rats, so I don't know why I just moved a bit of compost to see what had made the earth move? And there sat a toad. Qu
ick! Quick! come and see the toad! I called to Lukey. He came and picked it up and a quick photo before popping under some more cardboard behind the compost bin.
A few weeks ago I visited someone who has a "bug hotel" and since then we have been planning to build one.

Maybe something like this, but a little smaller. We have some wood and roof tiles so hope to make a start next week and then we will have a proper home for Mr Toad.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

The story of the porch.....continued

The new porch is so nearly finished and yet so much to do. The main part is built and finished and we are now on the final run.
This next stage was to sort out the drainage. There needs to be a soakaway for the rainwater that collects off the roof, this needs to be 5m away from the house. The hole in the ground needed to be 1 m deep and filled with stones and a pipe laid from the house to the soakaway. Last week a skip and a ton of small stones were delivered. The trenches were marked out and then the digging begun!!! It has been a bit dry here lately also we have parked the car on here for some years so the ground was a bit hard!!! But after 3 days work the trenches were dug, the hole was dug. The pipes were laid on gravel ( with a suitable drop so that the water atually runs away). The hole was filled with stones and it was all filled back in.
What is still left to do:

  1. Lay the new path
  2. build a step
  3. dig over and weed the garden
  4. dig up the old log edging
  5. lay new log edging
  6. lay new weed control membrane
  7. cover with stones
  8. fit the drain pipe
And then the outside will be finished...... Just the inside to do!!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

British summer time

It's nearly half past seven at night and it is still light outside, yes the clocks went forward today and we are now enjoying "British Summer Time". Not quite summer yet, but getting warmer and lighter. I always find the coming week quite difficult as my body adjusts to the time, having to wake up earlier and feel quite tired by 9 o'clock. A few weeks ago I went to Greenwich this is where all the worlds time is measured from - GMT or Greenwich mean time. The photo shows my sisters standing with one foot on either side of the line - half in the east and half in the west.

I have had quite a productive weekend and enjoyed a couple of hours at the allotment this afternoon. The best bit was sitting in the sun with a cup of coffee in one hand and a homemade coconut and jam biscuit in the other watching Lukey digging!!!

Sunday, 13 March 2011


This year I decided to order a mixed lot of 5 different types of potatoes. They have been happily chitting in a cool, light, frost free place (not an easy place to find in our house) but put them in the half finished porch.
Today I went to the allotment and planted the first earlies - Lady Christl, the second earlies - Kestrel and the salad type - Charlotte. Still got the main crop, Desiree and Maris Piper to go in, but needed to dig over another bed for these so left it for today.

I am also experimenting with the Strawberries, I cleared and weeded one third of the bed and added pelleted chicken manure and wood ash. I have read that wood ash is good for fruit, not sure if it was for strawberries or not. Will try something else like bone meal on the other part and compare.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A little bit of emboidery

Another item to put in the Horticultural Society Spring Show. Class 62 a piece of embroidery.
I made a purse!!
I got the idea for the purse from one book and the embroidery pattern idea from another book.
I used a piece of green fabric left over from my bedroom curtains and the lining was from a scrap left over from my bunting. The silks I had been given years ago by someone who had started a project and given up. I did buy a transfer pen though

This is the front and I am pretty pleased with it, think I might make a few more in a different patten

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

A Hand Knitted Garment

Beautiful buttons! Found them at the "Stitch and Craft" Show at Braintree on Saturday. Had a fun day out with my crafty friends! There were lots of card making stalls but not much for scrapbooking. We all still managed to buy something.
The buttons were to attach to the cuffs of these gloves that I have knitted. The stitch is called Ringwood stitch and gives a lovely texture to the knitting.
I will be entering them into the Horticultural society spring show. Class 64 - A hand knitted garment. That's another thing finished and ticked off ready for the show.

Monday, 7 February 2011


Happy 24th wedding anniversary to us!

Sunday, 6 February 2011


Could spring be on its way? It was very windy this morning but quite mild and so I looked around the garden to see what was happening. I found a few clumps of snowdrops in flower.
I planted these hyacinth bulbs back in the Autumn, I didn't want them too early so just left them outside, I may pop them in the greenhouse now to bring them along and have some colour to see.
This is a weeping tree, who's name I forget, but it has these buds all over, soon they will turn yellow and it will be covered in bees.
The other bulbs are just beginning to poke through the ground, about 2 or 3 inches high, it will be quite a while before there are any daffodils in the garden.

Thursday, 3 February 2011


What a beautiful sunny day we have had in this part of Essex! 9 C on the thermometer in the car at lunch time! I think that spring is just around the corner and about time too, I have had enough of those damp dull days of January.
Just before Christmas my sister phoned to say could I knit my niece a headband / ear warmer thing, apparently all the shops like Topshop and Riverisland were selling them at £15 which was far too much. I had not seen them but knitted this and I think it was what she wanted, I wonder if it could have been a little chunkier?