Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The best laid plans....

Oh well, so much for my allotment plans yesterday. Around 11am I got a phone call from the school saying that Lad was throwing up and could I come and get him please? So that was me stuck at home for the rest of the day, ho-hum. All that get-it-over-with housework time wasted!I could have gone out in the morning and done chores in the afternoon. Oh well...at leasst Lad is none too ill. There's some sort of bug going around but as long as he doesn't eat he isn't puking. he's a bit tired and grumpy, that's all. So he's home today.

I wasn't planning to go out today because Washing Machine Repair Man is coming back again with the final part for the tumble drier. I had to cancel a spinning group day because of this, which was acceptable, but last night guess what? I discover that Hubby is working from home today, which he neglected to tell me about in time for me to ressucitate the spinning plans. Bah. So now I'm at home with a grumpy kid and a Hubby who expected a quiet child and wife free day alone in his office. (Because I was supposed to be at spinning.) If I go out and leave him with WMRM and Grumpy Child he will get narked. If I stay in I will probably disturb him even more. AND because I thought I had a day stuck at home I have volunteered to look after Princess's Best Pal after school which means even more noise on his supposedly quiet day.

Domestic comunication? We haz itz.....notz...

Anyway, yesterday was not a complete wash out on the gardening front. I got some more pots planted up, and finished getting the late sown seeds into the propagator. Plus potted on the courgettes etc. I have a very small greenhouse but at this time of year it's worth its weight in gold.

It really is just a slice of a greenhouse set against a wall. Neat design though. I did think it would be more than big enough when I ordered it but with hindsight, I wish I'd got a double width one and put up with it sticking out into the garden more.

Not even enough room to sit or stand inside if the potting tray is in place.

Variety of courgette and squash plants. (As usual, too many, but they'll all get homes.)

Different tomatoes...

Sweetcorn. This needs potting on too. It's too early for it to be planted out.

Salad trays.

Potting tray/bench.

Potatoes left over from the allotment planting, in pots. These will not yield a lot but they'll be earlier than the allotment ones because of the shelter.

And the last of my 50p per tray Pelargoniums and other plants for colour. I'll get them potted up today.

Oh well, on with the day...

Monday, May 18, 2009


It's an allotment day...or will be, if the weather clears a bit more. I don't like going to the allotment when its (a) raining (b) extremely windy or (c) bone chillingly cold. Which rules out a lot of days in Scotland even in "summer", believe me. Add in to the mix childcare, chores and the days I feel unwell then you end up with a very narrow window of opportunity for days up the allotment sometimes. However, today looks promising.

Gardening. Thanks for all the suggestions of things to plant. For these of you who suggested rhubarb, however, I give you a picture of my allotment rhubarb patch last month.

I think we can all agree now that more rhubarb is not required, okay?

Sweet Cicily I do not know. I will look for it in the big garden centre when I next visit. I do have Welsh Bunching Onions on the allotment, I suddenly remembered, so that's a good idea for a transplant. I also went to the small local garden centre and bought snapdragons and a curry plant.

Then I went to B&Q for some slabs, which were a bit of a shock. Last time I bought slabs they were 39p each. Now they are £1.59!!! Admittedly last time was ten years ago but still...anyway on a plus note I walked in just as they were loading up their "Reduced to Clear" plant shelves. I never thought of bedding plants having a sell-by date but apparently so. I walked out with twelve trays of plants, reduced to 50p a tray from between £3 and £6 a tray. Pelargoniums, Dianthus, Violas, Verbeneas and wallflowers. Not very food-y, but quite cottage-y. Princess and I planted up a few pots yesterday so we should have some nice colourful spots this year.

Princess also suggested a pink rambling rose near her play hut...this is an excellent idea, actually, as that section of wall is where the local neds/vandals climb over to wreck the garden and steal things out the greenhouse. I must see which variety of pink rambler has the longest thorns.

The weather is turning grey again which leads me to think I might have to go for Plan B today, which is housework, bah humbug. I have recovered from the awful trauma of the unexpected joiner but now that leaves me with no excuses between me and the decorating. Except the clutter...so I have decided to go back to the Get One Bag Per Day Out the House system. I have made a good start with a box of videos to go to the Scout Car Boot appeal and an old cupboard to go to the dump, but I feel I might get more today.

Edit. I just cleared out the freezer and started to defrost the small back up one. And cleaned the microwave. Is that enough destashing/housework for one day???

Knitting? When? I haven't even managed to get to spinning recently. I had to cancel a much anticipated silk spinning workshop last Saturday because Dad and Lad were away and I couldn't find a babysitter for Princess. I have however found a pile of long neglected cross stitch threads and kits in the attic. Watch this space...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Never say...

Never say I'm not good to you. Here be lolcats, noms and balls of yarn. How much time can you waste in one day?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I have been gardening. No, not down the allotment! Gardening in the garden. Yes I have a garden...well, I have a space downstairs with the trailer tent parked on slabs and a playhut and the recycling. And green stuff. Grass, weeds, trees, that sort of thing. I used to like the idea of having a garden. Somewhere to sit out and read and burn sausages and such. Trouble is they're so terribly hard work. You have to do things like cut the grass and plant pretty things. Vegetables are easy...you plant them, feed them, weed them a bit then eat them. They don't have to look pretty or the colours match or keep them a certain length.

Anyhow, the grass/jungle was knee high so I got the strimmer out and started hacking my way to the greenhouse. The greenhouse is pretty tidy actually because I cleaned it out at Easter in time for the baby vegetable plants to go out there. Currently I have sweetcorn, six varieties of tomatoes, basil, courgettes and pumpkins growing in there. Nice and organised. It's only a little greenhouse but it was worth every penny my OH spent on it ten years ago. (It was my 40th birthday present.)

I only got half the lawn cut. It's not huge but it undulates around lots of things which have to be moved. The grass is so high I had to strim first, then mow to chop it up. If I can get my act together to cut it again in a few days it will come under control very easily but the problem is cutting grass (a) bores me to tears and (b) hurts my back. Hubby do it? Err, no. Hubby missed out on getting any traditional man genes such as the ones for gardening, DIY or doing the BBQ. In the eleven years we've had this house I do not recall him ever cutting the grass.

Anyway after I did half the lawn I started stripping out weeds from the beds. Most of these are feral geraniums which are trying to take over the entire world so I had to dig them out. I've decided that if my strengths lie in growing vegetables I might as well grow them here as well. I'm going to make a second herb garden, (got herb beds on the allotment) with a few more aromatics and non culinary herbs. There is a bronze fennel there already, survivor of ten years of sporadic weeding. I have potatoes in pots so have planted a mint barrel, chives, borage, oregano and thyme. I've also put in a small strawberry patch and some heartsease.

I've also got four lavender bushes to plant. I've got three apple trees, a pear tree, climbing roses, white lilac and several clematis on the walls. What else? I'm feeling a bit skinflint at present so it's got to be something I can either take cuttings from allotment plants or have in the seed box. Hmm. Two types of lemon balm, garlic chives, coriander, dill and some basic salad leaves? Climbing beans? I know...a blackcurrent bush. I have a self seeded one growing great guns in entirely the wrong place in the allotment. Princess would like that...And a few aggressive flowers. Nasturtiums, Californian Poppies, Poached Egg Plant and Calendulas.

Any other suggestions? Got to be a bit cottagey/food/herbal sort of thing.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


Well that's it over. Joiner and Sidekick have gone.Three days of unexpected "Woott????" and it's all done. Two walls and a ceiling replastered (all in seperate rooms), the kitchen refloored, an alcove shelved and best of all my walk in cupboard has been floored (you could barely walk on the floor before), the pipes boxed in and shelved from top to bottom. It's not a big cupboard, about 6ft x 4ft, but I just got an extra 30+feet of shelf space added in, I calculate. Finally somewhere to put all the big bulky kitchen things, like the jam pans and box of spare lightbulbs. You know, the sort of thing that they never show you how to store in makeover programs? Cake tins, the liquidizer, 40 empty jamjars? Kitty litter?

I love storage. Especially the kind with doors you can shut.

Plus I got him to do all sorts of tiddly little other jobs while here, like repairing the window sash and cutting down some bookcase supports. Annoying things that you can't do very sucessfully yourself and keep avoiding.

Anyway it's finished and it was worth it. It's nice not to have holes in the walls any more. Large areas of drying plaster are much cosier!

Thursday, May 07, 2009




Selling my Mum's house.


Easter holidays.



Unexpected arrival of joiner to do last round of home improvements. (Very unexpected. I phoned to book him for next week. He and his sidekick were here within an hour. It must have been a quiet day.)

Dead tumble drier. (Not good when combined with post-camping laundry.)Repair chap is coming with new piece tomorrow though.

Leaking central heating on return from camping. Fortunately now fixed.

And all the usual domestic dross. Plus next week I get to clear up the chaos the joiners have left behind.

Must try to go to allotment this weekend. Here's a picture though of how it was looking a couple of weeks back. Not so very bad for the time of year...

Normal service will resume as soon as possible.