This was the first post on this blog! It was such a fun day that I wanted to share it. For those who never read the beginning of this blog I hope you enjoy some early posts:)

stopping by woods

Great excitement this week!!  

I need new glasses for reading music: when I rang to make an appointment they suggested that I came not for a consultation but for a quick check of my recent prescription.  But the day and time they suggested was when they had the local Fire Brigade in for eye checks.

The Receptionist and I engaged in some pleasurable anticipation of hunks in leathers wearing shiny helmets.

With no timed appointments but a general throughput of fire fighters, this morning was thought to be a good time for me to come in and experiment with sight reading musical notation.

No argument from me!!!

However, as so often occurs, the reality was not as good as the fantasy.

Only a handful of chaps turned up – and they were all wannabee firemen – not serving officers.  And not particularly memorable either.

One bloke did come dashing upstairs…

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At least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.

When the time to sow seeds, nurture seedlings and watch our gardens grow emerges from the hibernating slough of stasis which has surrounded us for weeks and weeks and weeks.

Our household comprises only two permanent human inhabitants so one packet of seeds is too many for a single growing season.  So, first to see the light of day are the opened packets carefully stored since last year.

seeds 001

And here we have our familiar performers: Runner Beans both red (Scarlet Emperor) and white (White Lady) and multicoloured (St. George); Broad Beans ‘The Sutton’; French ‘bush’ beans variety ‘Cupidon’; Carrot ‘Early Nantes 2’ and ‘Autuumn King Improved’; Radish ‘French Breakfast 3’; Leeks ‘Elephant’; three different kinds of Garlic; and Sweet Peas with Old Fashioned Fragrance which I always grow amongst my beans to encourage pollinators.

This year I am not growing potatoes as husband does not eat many and I eat none now being on a special Auto Immune Protocol which in my case requires non participation in members of the Nightshade family. Also they do take up a lot of room which I would rather use for other things.   The same reasons lie behind my not growing Tomatoes, Aubergines or Peppers: he does not like eating Aubergines or Peppers much.  I do, but cannot:(

In place of potatoes I tend to eat Swede, Turnip, Kohl Rabi and Carrots, so they are figuring high on my list of veg to grow this year although  I find that I am having trouble getting my carrots to germinate nowadays (although I used to have no trouble years ago) and also my healthy slug population likes to live inside my swedes and turnips unless I dig them up really young.  But, the Kohl Rabi did really well and I have high hopes of it for an over-wintering crop.

So I sent off for a few packets of new seeds:one does have to have some indulgences.  However it was very hard to choose and I could have bought at least 20 packets.  I restrained myself to six.  They came in a small, brown cardboard envelope,

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containing further inconspicuous packets with no bright pictures or expensive packaging.

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Because these are from a specialist seed company which tries to keep costs down, does not charge much for postage for those who are unwaged and which supplies seed which is rarely available due to EU regulations forbidding sale of certain varieties.  By paying one penny a year one becomes a member of a Club which allows all of us members to ‘swap’ seeds that we save ourselves and ‘contribute’ to the Club’s funds.  Last year I had great success with their Asparagus Kale which is absolutely delicious and a gourmet change from the ubiquitous curly kale.  I also had great success with their French Beans.

So, what have I chosen this year? Another variety of Kohn Rabi ‘Gigant’ “a huge white variety that makes large bulbs up to 4kg in weight.  Traditionally grown for overwintering storage as it does not go ‘woody’ but is also great for fresh use from Spring sowing“.

Two kinds of carrot, ‘Touchon’ and ‘Manchester Table’.  The first is “A quick-growing heirloom variety of the orange carrot from France dating from the late 1700s.  It has a fine texture and an excellent sweet flavour”; the second  is “an old English culinary variety.  Strong plants with full-flavoured orange roots finally back in the catalogue after a six year project to regenerate it from a seedbank sample.”  We are urged to save our own seed from this one especially as there is still so little around.  This year I am going to try to germinate my carrots in modules and plant them out, as sowing directly into position is getting me nowhere.

Then I am going heavy on the green leaves:

an Italian Endive ‘Bianca Ricci da Taglio’ “A unique Italian Endive  bred to be used as a Lettuce. Looks and tastes like Lettuce but grows at lower temperatures and non-bitter as long as kept cool.”

and two lots for next Autumn/Winter: Claytonia/ Miners’ Lettuce/Winter Purslane “Native to North America but naturalised in Europe since 1749 to eat both raw and cooked”: and Corn Salad/Lambs Lettuce ‘Coquille de Louviers’.

You may have noticed a slight emphasis on varieties which can cope with cold, or heat, or drought, or wet.  That  way I hope to get at least one crop of each kind of vegetable.

Unfortunately this did not work last year with my strawberries: I have now grown and experimented with nine varieties to cover all types of weather and they have had the most favoured position in the garden, but few berries and those were not a good flavour.  I am sooo disappointed.  They were all chosen by recommendation from gardening blogs, gardening fora, and books concentrating on taste.  Clearly my own particular soil and micro- climate does not favour them.  Shall I press on, or just give up?  Not sure yet, but it is five years now that I have allowed my most valued cultivatable plot to be devoted to the art of growing strawberries.

Last year I ran out of patience and sowed my seeds too early: by the time I could plant out my seedlings they were leggy and soft.  I expect I have waited too late this time.  Ah well, that’s gardening for you:)

I wish much pleasure to all my gardening friends, enjoy yourselves.  It’s Spring!!!


New family member

I was reminded of this previous post and decided to reblog it. Hope you like!

stopping by woods

A new member of the household came to live with us yesterday.

‘Nipper’ the RCA/HMV dog which for so many years was the company logo has come to sit in our living room, looking with interest at the record player, tape deck and CD player which sit on shelves in a corner.

About fifteen years ago I and husband were on holiday in Suffolk, staying in Orford.  One evening we were walking through the main street on our way to eat at the Oysterage Restaurant: not that we are keen on oysters but we love the wild-grown samphire which they serve there, freshly gathered from the seashore.   Hot, innately salty and covered with butter it is wonderful.  Eaten as an appetiser before a meal of locally caught and in-house, wood-smoked fish, you are in heaven.

As we passed the Antique Shop we noticed a model of Nipper in the…

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You could not make this up!

Yesterday was a busy day here.

Work on the fence round the new veggie patch.

A trip to an Agricultural Merchant to buy fence posts, half posts, fencewire strainers, stock fencing and a sheep hurdle.

Some digging in said veggie patch and planting out the garlic since I assume the worst of the winter rain is now past.

It was hot and sunny and blissful to be working out of doors amongst burgeoning Nature.

As I removed the horticultural fleece from the Kale I joked that now it would snow.

And of course, it did, today.  But luckily it did not settle.

Whilst I was working in the warm soil and husband was stringing wire, we had a visit from someone we used to know many years ago and with whom we are not so much in touch nowadays.  A nice chap who went to the same Church that we frequented when we were Churchgoers.  As we have become backsliders and more agnostic he has remained loyal, faithful and very active in the Church even though he has changed denominations.

Half way through me planting the garlic he said to me,”Did you know that I am no longer preaching?”  I replied in the negative and asked why.  “Oh, they asked me to leave because of my hobby of writing erotic literature”

I did not see that one coming.  Luckily I was bending over looking at the earth so he could not see my face.

“But surely you write under a nom de plume?” I choked.

“Yes, but they found out anyway”.

“Well, that seems a little hard given they must believe that sex was invented by God”, I ventured.  “Of course, it might be different if it was considered pornographic.”

“Well, it is published on a rather extreme website,” he countered.

Silence from me for a moment.  I was having trouble with my breathing.  And anyway I needed to collect my thoughts.

“And you decided to choose to continue your writing rather than your preaching?”I queried, placidly planting more cloves.

“Oh, yes”.

Longer silence from me.  This from someone who had preached for over thirty years. Who had devoted his and his family’s life to supporting the local church. I was rather at a loss for words.

“Its very popular, I won a prize on the website last year and get thousands of hits”, he said.  “But of course it’s only e-publishing.”

“How’s the family?” I asked.




Easter Monday Tea

We had some family over for tea today: so out came the best china, silver and tablecloths from previous generations.

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Its only Christmas and Easter that these things see the light of day but it seems a shame.

Sunday tea used to be an Institution.  It is rare that I make egg mayonnaise sandwiches with the crusts cut off.

Perhaps we should bring the custom back once a month or every six weeks or so.

I hope you all enjoyed the Bank Holiday:)

PS The dogs loved the crusts!!



March 2016

This  was our view on 6th March this year driving from our house to have tea out on Mothering Sunday:

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And today March 27th  we have no snow, green grass, young leaves on bushes,  flowers, bright sunshine and blustery winds, and this:

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To all who celebrate the season, I wish a very happy time, whether it be Easter, the Goddess Oestre or just Spring, New Life and Chocolate:)


“A scapegoat is a person or animal which takes on the sins of others, or is unfairly blamed for problems.”  From:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scapegoat

Well, this post introduces the Scape-rabbit!

Every Tuesday morning I have a flute lesson.  In fact it is a dual flute lesson as I go along with a friend who also plays the flute.  We have a joint lesson during which we do the usual: some sight-reading, some tonal exercises and some duet playing.  All great fun.

However, we are two ladies of ‘a certain age’ which carries along with it certain responsibilities.  This means that we often find that fitting in our practice takes some doing: there are always elderly neighbours, young grand-children, husbands or other family members needing our attention etc etc

We are past the stage in our lives of using the excuse that ‘the dog ate our homework’.  Usually we just explain quite honestly what prevented us putting in the work during the previous week.  But this morning my friend explained that she had not been able to practice because she is looking after her son’s house rabbit, called Watson.


( Photo:By Aznseiteki at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20975823)

Apparently whenever she tried to play her flute, he dashed under the table in the dining-room, which has a wooden floor, and thumped vigorously and loudly with both his hind feet, frantically signalling to all and any rabbits in the area that danger was afoot.

Next photo and text from: petnaturals.com

“Thumping doesn’t go quite the way Disney would have us believe, right? Instead, it looks a bit more like a donkey kick. Rabbits stand on all four feet in a tiptoe fashion and lift just their back feet to pump them against the ground. The thump is a warning to all other nearby bunnies and humans: something dangerous is here.” – See more at: http://petnaturals.com/blog/why-does-my-bunny-do-that/#sthash.XeEt0zPU.dpuf

Even when my friend climbed her tall Victorian house and played in the high attic, he still heard her and the loud, echoing, thumping reverberated throughout the house.

Being of a kindly nature she disliked upsetting or worrying Watson so clearly she had to refrain from playing at all last week.  Hence, no practice.  And of course, it was all the rabbit’s fault.

Our flute teacher fell about laughing.  This was the first time a Scape-rabbit had been presented to her as the cause of a pupil not working:)


By Xoxi at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7484047


I actually have no idea what Watson looks like, I was laughing too much to ask, and have no photos of him, hence the borrowed photos on this blog post.





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