28 September 2020



Pineapple Plant

The lockdown stuff continues but life doesn’t change much in our neck of the woods.  There have been some positive cases confirmed within Kat’s squadron so she is not coming home for the time being.  Sarah had originally intended to fly home from Australia for Christmas but that’s not going to happen now.  So it’s just me, himself and the dog.


The weather is starting to feel more autumnal.  I’ve just harvested a load of red peppers and tomatoes from the greenhouse.  I shall roast some of the peppers and freeze the rest.  Paul has moved the raspberry canes to a more sheltered part of the garden; they got shredded to pieces by the winds this year.


At the weekend we racked the plum wine, in other words we siphoned the plum wine off the sediment into fresh demi-johns.  I’m pleased to report that the wine tasted slightly less like vinegar so we are hopeful that in a few months’ time it will have matured into a flavoursome wine.  It won’t be bottled until we are confident that the fermentation has completely stopped and things are progressing properly.


Chief Winemaker

Later this week we shall process the apples and start on the next batch of wine.  Such fun!



25 September 2020

Data Geeks


I am the odd one out in my family - my husband and daughters are data geeks.  They all wear Fitbits or activity trackers.  They monitor their sleep patterns, pulse rates, cycling performance, etc.  They discuss and compare the data.  Rick and I just look at each other and sigh.


This morning I went to my weekly dance session at the village hall – an hour of Country Western yee-ha.  Just for a laugh Paul gave me his Fitbit to wear.  It looked like a smart wristwatch.  “Don’t panic if it vibrates, no one else will hear it or notice.”  I’m glad he warned me.


When I got home I handed the thing back to Paul and he showed me the results on his computer.  My heart rate looked very healthy, I had danced 6,925 steps and travelled the equivalent of 4.75 kilometres.  I hope you are impressed.


15 September 2020

Moggs Eye

"Come in, the water's lovely!"

It’s quite a long drive to the coast from our village, about an hour and ten minutes, but yesterday we couldn’t resist the beautiful sunny weather and set out for a day at the seaside.  Kat sat at the front of the car with Paul so she was in charge of the music; she has recently discovered Classic FM so I was able to relax in the back listening to some lovely music.


We went to Moggs Eye, a quiet, unspoilt beach backed by grassy sand dunes with a wide sandy area sloping down towards the sea.  There were relatively few people about so we were able to relax and let Rick run free for a while.  We went for a paddle in the sea but he was more interested in sniffing the wonderful scents along the tide line.



Rick's 'chicken' legs after his swim
shell seekers


We had hastily grabbed some cheese and cold meats to go with a loaf that Paul had baked earlier in the morning.  A bowl of tomatoes picked from the greenhouse and a very nice bottle of Italian red wine made up a simple, but tasty picnic.  We ate in a sheltered spot by the sand dunes and then strolled along the beach.  I can never resist collecting shells as I walk along. We climbed back over the dunes and walked back along the footpath through the reed beds. We had gone further than we intended and it was easier to walk along the path than the sandy beach.


We had a perfect, impromptu day out and it was lovely to see Kat happy and healthy again after her accident.  I was knackered by the time we got home.




9 September 2020

Garden Centre or Santa's Grotto?

Yorkshire Flower Pot

Yesterday morning Paul and I drove over to our local garden centre, we specifically needed a large frost-proof plant pot, two hostas and some grass seed for a bare patch on the lawn.  The garden centre was very quiet, there were only a couple of other customers wandering about.  The pot section seemed quite depleted but we managed to find a very big terracotta pot that would accommodate one of our cordylines that has outgrown its current pot. Then we headed to the hosta section.  It’s probably the wrong time of year to buy them but there were only a couple of scrappy looking plants on the shelf.  We took them anyway, hopefully next year they will thrive.  Grass seed?  No, sorry we have no grass seed.  A garden centre that doesn’t sell grass seed!

Polar Express at the garden centre

Overall it was a disappointing visit.  The selection of plants and fundamental garden products seemed diminished.  But there was a lot of activity indoors where they were building a Santa Polar Express ride and putting up Christmas trees covered with fake snow.  Good grief, it’s only the beginning of September!

On the way home we called into a small, family-run nursery tucked away on an industrial estate.  We bought two healthy looking hostas at half the price of the garden centre.  Not a Christmas bauble in sight.

hostas planted to replace the nemesia that had gone to seed

cordyline in his new pot
the black manga grass is coming on nicely after a slow start
pink roses and gladioli add a splash of colour

7 September 2020

Girl Gone


The house seems strangely quiet and Rick is sulking.  Kat has returned to Brize Norton with her boyfriend this morning.  A map of the world jigsaw lies half completed in the garden room.  It’s been five weeks since she arrived home battered and bruised after her accident and we had got used to her being here.  She still has some leave time to use up though so I think she might be back soon to finish that puzzle.

The flow of Amazon deliveries has eased up and I have found a great way to recycle the empty cardboard boxes and paper packing.  We have five apple trees and they are heavily laden with fruit this year; there is a Cox’s Pippin, Golden Delicious and a Bramley but I don’t know what the other two are.  The windfalls and less than perfect apples will be used for wine but the others will be packed carefully into the boxes and stored in the garage.  They should keep for several months. 


There are still plums on the trees at the bottom of the garden but they are buzzing with wasps so I steer clear.  The plum wine is bubbling away nicely although my utility room smells like a distillery.