Friday, December 14, 2012

The Christmas Visitors

Molly and I were busy as usual getting her breakfast when we heard a knocking at the back door. A bit early but a visitor is a visitor and will always be made welcome at our house. Well you could have knocked us both down with a feather for there on the step were Molly's old friends Henry and Ferret who had moved house eighteen months ago. What a wonderful surprise wasn't it? They had come all the way from their new house to see us. What made them come now the week before Christmas? Not only that but together. Was it a  planned visit. It makes you wonder doesn't it. Needless to say they got lots of fuss and brekkie which I can tell they expected and then quietly left again. The gang reunited just for a while was Molly's gift for Christmas I think she has really missed them. We let Tom know to make sure he knew they were here and on their way back. It was sure like old times a really special visit from two very special friends...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

what's cookin'

When I was growing up in the 50's and 60's, Mum stayed at home and looked after the house and Dad went out to work. Men did not cook. I used to pass through the kitchen on my way somewhere else but never washed a plate, or made a cup of tea. When we got married, Plum could  cook so there wasn't any need for me to learn. Over the years I have got a bit better. I am sort of Sous chef in that I prepare vegetables for soups and stews but, apart from boiling the odd egg or making porridge, I still didn't cook After watching many series of Masterchef, Nigella and Nigel Slater you would think I would have picked up a thing or two. Plum always said that she wished I would learn for, apart from the fact that she would get a break, not that she was bothered about that, should she become ill, she was worried that I wouldn't be able to look after us both.
Last week she was in bed with 'flu for a few days so I had to step up to the plate. With written instructions I made soup. It was very tasty. After that I made a stew, and,after a suggestion from Plum, an apple crumble to go with it. That was pretty good too. I was on a roll.  When she was a bit better, I made sausage, mash and beans under her supervision. Today I am doing pasta and bolognese sauce. Next year maybe I should apply to be a contestant on Masterchef? ........

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Plumkin Patch

I have just taken over another patch down the front of our allotment in front of Alison who is now in the middle of our two plots. My aim next year will be to grow stuff good enough to eat. After this year anyone down our allotment will know that this is easier said than done. Am I ready for another year's challenge? Yeah, I am. Not only that,  I now vow and declare I am going to enter something in our our Centennial Show. After all I owe to my predecessors who have kept Hill Allotments alive and well through wars, bad weather and other tough times. People like Fred, Tut and Lionel who had our plots for forty years and kept the soil in great nick ready for the next generation. Next year, come hell and high water, which it probably will be, I am growing something I can be proud of and it will be on one or two  of the judges tables. Are you with me Hill Allotmenteers?  Do I have some competition? Bring it on....

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pea'd off with the peas

I am soooo disappointed with our peas they were looking wonderful before I put them out and under fleece for protection a couple of weeks ago..... and then.... horror of horrors when we unveiled them they were the sorriest sight, pale and uninteresting doesn't cover it. They were like lace curtains and they hadn't grown a jot. What on earth happened? They had plenty of water, they were warm, they had slug pellets around them, what else could I have done? I want to know!!!!  If anyone out there can explain what got 'em please tell....  If the unveiling had been a few days later I would have blamed the swarm of Hawthorn flies (St. Marks Fly, they usually appear 25th April, but it was probably too cold for them too) that turned up without warning but it wasn't them.

Monday, March 26, 2012

people who live in glass houses

It all started at the end of January. We were down at the lottie moving some things so that the hedge behind the shed could be trimmed, when our old friend John Badger came up to see us. He said that he was going to sell his greenhouse as he had bought a new one to use at home, so we  got all excited and said that we would have it.
Terry said that he had a week off in March and he would be able to help us  and JB said he would also help to dismantle it and show us how to put it back up. At the committee meeting John Davis said he had put up and taken down 36 greenhouses so with his help as well  it was all systems go. Ten days ago we started clearing and levelling the ground it was going to stand on. After that we ordered the slabs and bricks to go underneath it and they duly arrived on the Friday after a three hour wait in the freezing cold.
Saturday morning we got the sand, as instructed by Terry, and set to work. Sunday morning off we went to carry on, but it started snowing! We had no choice but to go back home and hope that it would stop so that we could finish laying the base as Terry was coming on the Tuesday. Thankfully it did stop so we were able to finish the base on the Sunday afternoon. Monday we rested from our labours and bright and early on Tuesday last we arrived at JB's plot to start dismantling. The two Johns, Davis and Badger, had the glass out in double quick time and Terry and I took the frame up to our plot and set it upon the slabs which it just fit.
By this time the sun was out and it was looking to be a lovely warm sunny day. As we started bolting the base to the slabs, we had a lovely surprise. Our niece and nephew and our great niece had been to a local wedding on the day before and, as a surprise they came to see us.Our little niece, Issie was dressed in her flower girl dress and was carrying a basket of petals which she scattered down the path. Then she went and danced in the greenhouse with her granddad! It was a joyous, wonderful start for our greenhouse. Our first happy greenhouse memory and when the seeds start germinating and the tomatoes start coming there will be more.
We cleaned every pane of glass until it was so see through and shiny, that when Plum said 'is that the pane that is missing?' and put her finger where she thought it was, she bent her finger on it! Now, a week later, the panes that were broken have been replaced, the seedlings are on the staging and growing rapidly, there are flower borders around the greenhouse, hanging baskets and tubs of pansies on the patio, and it looks like it has always been there. Thank you to everybody who helped us make this dream come true, we couldn't have done it without you!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

little packages are just the best

I thought Christmas had come again yesterday, the postie, who is now well trained and is our new friend, delivered a little package for me. It was from Bri. It was the most delightful little book I have seen. It has lovely old fashioned snowy illustrations. It is just my thing. It was ‘The Greatest Gift’, by Philip Van Doren Stern. It is a facsimile of the one he wrote in 1943, which he couldn’t get published and so he had it made into Christmas cards for his family and friends. Since then of course it has become the all time Christmas favourite movie story, ‘ It’s a Wonderful Life’. So thank you Bri, it will be one of my most treasured possessions and I just love it to bits. I bet the publishers who turned the original down are real sorry.

1 Robin, 2 Blue tits and 3 …

What’s Molly going to do now that Earthflight has finished? She hasn’t missed a frame. It must have made a BIG impression on her because, when we were doing our count the birds in your garden hour, we heard seagulls and then they got bigger and bigger as they came down to fly around our pear tree and take a look. Molly ran in hell for leather as their shadow crossed over her. I guess she was thinking eagles!vultures! They weren’t your usual size they were huge, more like albatross and they shrieked really loud. Enough to give you nightmares.

I think we will have to stop her watching too much television…

P.S Just looked up what we saw in the AA bird book and it really looks like they were black backed gulls and they, apparently, are really mean

Monday, January 30, 2012


Bri has just told me there is a severe weather warning for this week. I watched Country File last night no snow, no rain, no wind so what’s the alert for then? Cold, it's going to be cold. This is ridiculous, all the winters in the past have been ‘cold’ without any weather warnings, are we getting soft? I have just started writing the story of my family starting 1811 in Snowdonia. The river Thames froze that year it was really really cold back then and with no comfort of any kind. How soon we all forget what our ancestors went through and a lot of us too, before central heating, lighting, supermarkets, cars, designer bottled water etc. It is so easy to take all this for granted, I know I do. However, I do hope they don’t turn off our street lights like they have down south, I can’t find my torch anywhere!.