Monday 27 July 2020

Dusting off the soap box

Well, all those poor holidaymakers. After jetting away to the sun they are now faced with 14 days rest and relaxation at home upon their return. 
What part of Global Pandemic and/or Possible further outbreaks passed them by.

Then there are the travel company people complaining about the threat to their businesses. What about the threat to their customers?

Now these poor hard done by, tanned holidaymakers have to face the fact that they may not be eligible for SSP.

My heart bleeds for them.

It matters not that some areas have minimal new cases.
It matters not that people returning from those face the same restrictions. 

Each and every one of them should fall to their knees and thank The Lord/Old Nick/Mother Nature or Nessy etc. that they are alive.

Then they should repeat the action and be REALLY REALLY thankful for the NHS. 

They will not suffer in isolation with no help whatsoever. Those who succumb to Covid will receive the same help as the rest of us.

You know, those who listened and acted in a responsible manner. Who swallowed the fact that a holiday just about anywhere was a no no this year. 
Those who have still not travelled to visit family and friends, they value the safety and well being of all those people way beyond what they WANT. 

Rant over.

These are my thoughts on the matter. If you disagree then that is fine by me. Do not waste time with irate comments. I do not set out to course offence. I just despair when I see people being interviewed and saying that they are happy to take the risk because they want a holiday. 

Keep safe.

                    TTFN                                          Pam

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Ramble around

After a hectic game of "chase me till I catch you" they came inside and collapsed, Revi is hard to see as she is almost the same colour as the sofa. Poppy is tiny and gets into a tight little ball, Herbie tries to emulate but has too much of a barrel shape.

They are the best of friends but Poppy is the Boss Lady, without a doubt. When she speaks the other 2 sit up straight and listen or sidle away in reverse and scarper.

I have part of a fleece drying in the garden, nice and high so that even Revi cannot reach it on her hind legs, and they are all fascinated with it. They know that it is sheep but the fact that it does not move or make a noise puzzles them equally, they take turns in running underneath and barking.

We have another lovely sunny day, with a gentle breeze and I have been in the garden. I am building a net cage to keep birds and cabbage white butterflies off whatever I plant in the raised beds. I also hope that I can take the unattractive fence down, the cage will be a permanent fixture and should be enough of a visual barrier to keep the dogs off. I will play safe by removing one section for a while and monitor the situation.

We hope to get the wood for my strawberry planters this week, there will soon be this years runners available and I want everything in place. Once they arrive I will get them into their planting space straight away. I am toying with getting new rhubarb crowns as well, I will have to dig mine up for the solar tunnel at the end of August. I will have holes ready in their new site but it will be a bit early, I may also find that the crowns are not worth replanting.

Ditto the gooseberry bushes, they will go directly into large pots ready for the trip to Jess,s garden. They have been feeding the birds as we eat very little of them but they will still have the Jostaberries to feast upon and I may find a corner for some Joan J raspberries for later in the year.

I have planted some extra brassicas in an out of the way spot, they will run to seed and both bees and birds will benefit next year. Plus I hope to gather a few seeds and see what grows from them.

I had sunflower seeds but completely forgot to set them, I will have to buy them for the birds this winter. I will save seeds from the squashes to supplement the bird feeders. 

There are no Ladybirds in my garden, not that I have seen, possibly because so far I have no greenfly. Although Popy had one on her back this morning, probably hitching a lift back from our walk. 

That was a bit of a ramble, my mind is a whirl of garden, knitting and sewing. I would like to get some dressmaking done but cannot settle on a pattern. I rather fancy some dungaree type garments, not too fitted, that will be ideal both for dog walking and gardening, lots of pockets for bags, gloves and bits and bobs.

My skirts all have pockets but once the cooler weather arrives, along with the rain, I will want boots for walking and trousers for warmth.

Another ramble, Michael is just in from the garden so tea is required. I don't mind if I do.

Keep safe.

                                 TTFN                               Pam

Tuesday 21 July 2020

Pernicious Pills

S***ing Sciatica. I am not sure what is worse, the unremitting pain or the head full of cold pea soup from the painkillers.
I have been almost writhing with an attack and lost practically 2 days after taking the meds. Once I had crawled out of the fog I scaled down to Ibuprofen, it softens the edges and lets me function.

Michael has been busy building the raised bed, and I have seeds in there already, summer harvesting onions (which I will use as soon as they are big enough) spring greens and autumn lettuce. The spring greens will be set close a nd every other one pulled young, the rest will make a head. The onions will go in the front with lettuce plants dibbed in any space round the garden. Next year there will be a catch crop of salad, with parsnips and autumn king carrots. 

I have a small solar tunnel, 3 x 2 x 2, coming in September. I have a sheltered spot for it runing along the fence, it will cut down on the amount of sunlight but the valley is often plagued by strong winds. I have seen a polytunnel ripped up by wind and seen the damage caused when it plummeted to earth.

Herbie, Revi and Poppy are still enjoying their days together, I hope that this arrangement carries on. Herbie would be bereft to lose his girls, as it is on weekend mornings he goes to the gate and barks at Steves house. 
I will see if they keep still enough for photos.

We have not seen Francesca (apart from video calls) since Christmas and it is looking as though it will be Christmas before we see her again. 

The garden has been very productive, I am not sick of courgettes yet but am revelling in every meal based around home grown veg.

My early potatoes, all grown in pots, have been amazing. The Charlotte which cost me 50p for the seed are giving enough for 2 meals from each pot. I plan on trying Anya next year.

Now I need to get up and move about, possibly sashay in to the kitchen and find a cold glass of rose.......... make that probably.

Keep safe

                          TTFN                                         Pam

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Still hot

After a wet day yesterday the sun is out in full force, contrary to the weather forecast.

I had another hectic day yesterday, a close friend is undergoing a series of tests at the hospital. Some of these mean a full day there. She has 2 Bichons who do not take kindly to being left so they come to me. Herbie loves them but yesterday was the first time that Revi and Poppy had met them.

The look on their faces as 2 excited balls of white fluff flew into the house was a picture. Bichons are not intimididated by size and they leapt upon Revi and gave her a good going over. Poppy was next and she took it in good grace, Herbie took the opportunity to grab the space on the sofa that he favours, but he was soon evicted.

This is the overcrowded window box that was planted up in the spring last year and overwintered in flower.
Once September arrives I will be moving all these to separate pots and filling the box with something not decided upon yet.

I have ordered the Cambridge Favourite strawberry plants along with 3 new Blueberry bushes. The strawberries will be going into planters to be built by Michael, he will find that out when he reads this later. Only kidding, we have talked it over.

The blueberries will join my existing plants at the font of the house, the soil there is quite acid, if it were a bit wetter I would try cranberries as well.

I just have to find a new site for the rhubarb, it needs splitting up and will have to be moved as it is in the way of the new tunnel. This year it has been reluctant to perform and I have only pulled it twice, possibly as last year I struggled to keep up with its rampant growth.

I have taken the mangetout plants out after 3 weeks or so of daily picking. They had finally run out of steam, there are a few plants that I put in a large pot to grow for seed and they are doing  very well.
I will be growing a podding pea next year as well, probably Hurst Green Shaft a reliable and tasty variety that I have grown many times. They are one of the podding peas that do  not go stringy when young, that means that they can be used as sugar snaps if you wish to.
I may also try some really tall peas if I can find the space. Growing more than one variety will mean that saving seed will not work. Cross pollination could throw all sorts of  shapes and flavours out.

Now I need to get off my btm and get back to the task in hand, sorting out my knitting patterns. From the jumbled state they are into 4 folders kindly given to me a while ago.

Keep safe.

                         TTFN                                            Pam

Saturday 11 July 2020

Phew, It wasn't half hot out there.

My day went much as planned and most of it was outdoors. Herbie and I did have to retire inside for a couple of hours, due to the heat, but I sewed on the quilt top and he snoozed.

My neighbour cut his lawn yesterday so my apple trees and gooseberry bushes now have a tick mulch of grass and a top dressing of mint. It smells wonderful, I have mint growing each side of the path so every time I walk and brush against it the scent wafts around. There is some thyme in there as well and the bees love the flowers.

Tomorrow I intend to have a good clear up in the top section. There are stacks of empty pots and seed trays to be washed and stacked away. Some larger containers to get the same treatment and some general detritus to get shot of. A good sweep up and a tidy through the storage lockers and shed should finish the job off, if not me.

I haven't even looked at my knitting, once dinner had been eaten and the washing up done I made a pot of tea and had a while reading.

Herbie had his walk and it turned into a good hour, when we returned home he wanted to play so we had a game of throw and fetch. Just like a small child one minute he was going full pelt, the next he was out cold on the sofa. He leapt up with a toy and just collapsed onto the cushions and started snoring.

I have sewn the middle section of the quilt and want to get the first border made and attached tomorrow if I have time. Then I may add another round of squares and a second, wider, border. It all hangs on what catches my eye when I dip into the boxes of fabrics.

Dinner was a much enjoyed, and needed, Pasta Puttanesca. As spicy as we like it minus the anchovies. A glug of dark soy sauce, along with lots of fat black olives, gives the required saltiness.

Tomorrows dinner is as yet undecided, it will be something fairly simple as my day will be busy  again.

Now my eyes are as tired as the rest of me so I am off to bed for a nice early night.

Keep safe.

                                  TTFN                           Pam

Friday 10 July 2020

busy busy and chill

It has been a lovely day, the day started with the odd glimmer of sun and a few crums of blue sky peeping shyly through the clouds. Then with an almost audible whoosh the sun came out, banished the grey and announced that it really was still summer.

I had the dogs out for their walk and relished the heat even if I was squelching along, mud and viscous fluid ozzing through the grasses underfoot.

Herbie seems to delight in stomping and bouncing in the surface water while Poppy picks her way daintily along. The ever mad Revi bounds along like a Springbok raising sprays of dirty water in her wake.

2 loads of laundry done and pegged out and a cursory whizz round the house and I settled down for some gentle  sewing. 
I have been through the scrap bins over the past few days and assembled a fair pile of 41/2" squares. These were sewn into pairs, pressed and then laid out on my bed. No fussing, just making sure that no identical patterns touched, I have 3 rows sewn, pressed and clipped together ready for stitching together in the morning. I will work through the rest 3 rows at a time. 
This project will be a gift for someone special and I have wadding and backing fabric ready. Much as I would love to make one of my quilt patterns up I am restricted to what I can see to do clearly.

I need, and want, to spend a large chunk of time in the garden. The forecast is okay for the weekend so it will be bottom up and head down. I have plants that need tying in, dead heading and millions of strawberry runners to chop off. My plants have reached the end of their lives and I will be planting a new bed of bought plants this autumn. Cambridge Favourite is top of my list, they are a reliable mid season variety. They have a wonderful aroma, are sweet to eat right off the plant and make really lovely jam.

I am planning on putting a grow tunnel in the garden, probably  an insect mesh wonderwall with some heavy duty polythene over one area for tomato and cucumber plants.

Have you spotted that Amanda, Crafty in the Med is back with us. She has a giveaway running till the end of the month to celebrate her return and fresh start. I know how fast the time slips away, a couple of days soon morphs into weeks and months. It is lovely to see her back.

Now I think that it is time for bed, Herbie will be up and raring to go by 7 at the latest and I need tea before I face the big outdoors.

Keep safe.

                             TTFN                               Pam

Wednesday 8 July 2020

Long time no see

In fact I am seeing very little that is clear these days, I ache to get my eyes tested. I am not ready to be stuck in a small enclosed space with somebody as close as they have to be. No matter what protective apparel they, and I, may be wearing.

I have been busy with helping Michael who incidently has managed to split his thumb open and damage the bone. The less said about it all the better.
Then there are the trying trio of Revi, Poppy and Herbie. Walking them without playing Russian Roulette with other people on narrow footpaths means an earlier than usual walk. That is an hour or more, followed with play in the garden and then a later walk in the evening. 
You would think that I would be a few mm shorter and at least a Kg or so thinner, Not a bit. I may not have grown, what are being dubbed, Lockdown Love Handles but no weight has been shed here.

My scales and eyes tell me that I need to lose a bit, quite a bit, but i am as fit as the proverbial butcher,s dog and, almost, as agile as a flea.( None of those in this house thank you very much.)

I am knitting through my bright and light yarns and socks are practically falling off the needles.

I have worked through some of the WIP pile, only one was frogged and that yarn has been divided into 2 cakes ready for more socks.
I am mostly using the Fleegle heel as my eyes can cope with that, double stitches and wrap and turns are a stitch too far. I do have the Fish Lips Kiss heel pattern but really cannot be bothered.

Some of these socks have been for small people, Jess,s girls are in love with "Pam Socks", at 20 odd grams a pair I can churn them out. I do use a heel flap and gusset for them, I can manage to pick up 12 slipped stitches on each side as long as I mark the first one with a lightbulb marker.

Likewise with sewing, I have run up a few pairs of long trousers for them, elastic waist, no zips or button holes, I am working through the larger scrap pieces. I have found a couple of free top patterns for them and they are next on the list.

Then there is the garden, we have had heatwave followed by cool wet weather with the odd downpour, rinse and repeat. It is a chore to keep the grass looking halfway decent and the weed level acceptable. I seem to spend half my time at the compost bins and a big chunk dead heading after the rain has done its best to ruin every flower.

The one shining light is the window box in the little back courtyard. It is a sea of flowers, all planted in spring last year, there has been some colour right from that May. I do feed them wth nettle tea and have added the odd sprinkle of fish, blood and bone. This Autumn I have to take them out an replant as they have really outgrown the space.

The dogs are sprawled out over both sofas, snoring one against the other so I grabbed the chance to get a post up. This mornings rain has abated and it is quite clear but not remotely sunny, so my next move will be to get them outside to play whilst I pick vegetables for dinner. The early potatoes are in buckets and once I empty one the compost gets a handful of F,B & Bone, a little fresh compost and goes back into the bucket. Each one then gets 6 leeks planted and is put back into its space. I will not be hacking at frozen ground to make leek and potato soup in the winter.

I hope that you are all well and safe, I am erring on the side of caution and still using my weekly Asda slot. They may not stock every thing that I would like but I have become adept at making the best of what I can get.
I am not sure that I will be changing back when I feel that it is safe to do so. I quite like having somebody pick and pack my shopping, it is just a shame that I have to stack it away myself.

Stay safe and make the best of every day.

                TTFN                                           Pam