Saturday, 20 February 2016

A Love Of Collecting

My eldest son came round this afternoon and we were talking about how much "stuff" we all have. He is down sizing from a house to a flat after his move so is desperate to get rid of some of his belongings. We all decided we have too many items in a small house which was built at a time when people didn't have so much. There were lots of ideas discussed of how to remedy this problem, most of which seemed to involve more work for me but I will reveal them in a later post.

The problem is I have the collector gene. I can look back through our family and see a distinct pattern down the generations. It started in early childhood and if I'm not careful I am going to become a hoarder so it has to be addressed now. I have looked through so many items this afternoon kept from childhood looking for things to sell, but the trouble is I find myself making excuses as to why I should keep everything.

I found a box full of little bits from my childhood. Something that caught my eye was a collection of badges I had. I was a collector even in those days!

1960s 1970s Badges

One of my favourites from when I was very small was the Tingha And Tucker Club. I must have been four or five but I loved the old black and white TV programme with Auntie Jean. There was even a secret sign for members. Well I suppose it wasn't that secret as they did it at the beginning of the programme every week.

The Tingha And Tucker Club

The other badge that brought back lovely memories was my I-Spy badge, and just to prove I never throw anything out I found my whole I-Spy pack. Incredibly I am still a member, it says on my card "Life Membership"! I remember so clearly I used to set off at ten years old with the two boys who lived next door, on our bikes. We would set our bike mileometers before we left and to cover eight miles in a day was normal. We took our I-Spy packs with us and spent the days trying to build up our points by finding items in the books. The writing in them is all messy from trying to fill them in leaning on each others backs. Oh happy days. We were never bored. I feel so sorry for today's children, they may have high tech gadgets and computers but they don't have those days of freedom with your I-Spy pack in your saddle bag! 

I Spy Books 1960s

Thursday, 18 February 2016

The Trouble With Foxes

Last Christmas Bud our Border Collie was given a toy pig as a Christmas present. It has long dangly legs and he loves to carry it about all over the place with him. Every time I put on my coat he looks for his toy pig and stands by the door waiting. (There is a point to this tale!)
At lunch time today I decided I would have cheese on toast. I put it under the grill and stood looking out of the window whilst it cooked. Walking down the garden path towards the house,  was one of the foxes who sit most of the day on the garden shed. It was the big dog fox and it walked by the chicken run and then the duck runs without a glance in either direction but carried on towards the terrace in front of the kitchen window. As it got to the terrace it looked me right in the eye then bent down and picked up Bud’s toy pig that was lying on the terrace. “Bud it’s got your toy” I shouted. Bud knows exactly what that word means and we both set off out of the back door in pursuit. Luckily as the fox ran to the fence he dropped the toy as he jumped over it. What a close thing we would have to go back to the garden centre and buy another toy pig if it had gone! Bud carried it back into the house, looking very pleased with himself. As I walked through the door a strong smell of burning greeted me. My lovely cheese on toast was burnt to a cinder. Oh well you can’t win them all.
After lunch I went out to the garden to feed all the birds and the foxes were back in their place on top of next doors shed. I have a live and let live philosophy with our local foxes as there are so many of them. It makes life very hard as we always have to watch our ducks, hens and quail and they live in runs that are barricaded like a fort but I still think they are beautiful creatures. I suppose they just wanted a toy to play with as well.
The Beautiful Vixen

The Dog Fox
The Dog Fox

The Foxes In Their Place On The Shed
The Foxes In Their Place On The Shed

Bud just needs to keep a closer eye on things from now on.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Building A Bird Bath From An Old Bin Lid

We went to the allotment today and I set about making a bird bath in our little wildlife part of the allotment. For a year we have had a compost bin lid lying around our plot. I kept it propped up against the shed as I thought it had probably blown off someones bin and the owner may claim it. Well I’m not keeping it there or another year so I decided I would make use of it.

The Compost Bin Lid
The Bin Lid Dug Into The Ground

A Layer Of Stones Dug Up Around The Allotment On The Bottom

Filled With Water

I was quite pleased with the end result. I just hope the owner doesn’t come to claim it now!  The little plant at the left of the bird bath is a Lavatera called Barnsley Baby which I bought at Morrisons this week. I’m sure when it is established it will attract lots of bees to the wildlife garden.

When I got home I checked the RSPB website which said the bird bath mustn’t be more than 10cm deep which I think this is so I must add some more of the flint stones that are lying around the allotment. I’ll have to go back soon now as I’m worried  a poor little bird will drown as the water is too deep!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

The Wildlife Pond On Our Allotment

We went up to our allotment this morning. The first time this year and I was worried what may greet us but was pleasantly surprised, it wasn't too bad nothing we can't get on top of with a bit of hard work and then we will be ready for the spring. I particularly wanted to get our little wildlife pond ready for any frogs looking for a place to lay their frog spawn. I have added a big rock that just about reaches the surface so frogs can climb out and cleaned out bits of debris so I hope any passing frogs may find it inviting now.

The Wildlife Pond On The Allotment

I just need to add some plants to attract wildlife on the right of the pond and add a little house for passing toads to rest and it will be ready for the spring. I have found lots of ideas on the Gardener's World website. I just wish our little pond was this big.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Imogen Passes By

     Well storm Imogen has gone leaving a broken front fence in it's wake which we will have to replace soon. A couple of plastic roof panels have also blown off the duck and hen runs and lie broken on the ground. Other than that we can't complain really as I'm sure lots of people will have suffered much worse damage.
     It's been a lovely bright day today. Lots of sunshine and pancakes for tea with the family. Who could want for more. I even found an hour in between catching up with work to potter about with the hens who were really enjoying the sunshine.

Molly The Pekin Bantam 

Felicity the rescue hen enjoying the suns rays. What a cheeky little face! She doesn't seem bothered by the broken roof panels lying on the ground next to their run. 

I was thrilled to see the beginnings of blossom on our plum tree. This bodes well for a really good fruit yield this year hopefully to sell some as well as enjoy. What a beautiful blue sky. I hope everyone manages to enjoy some bright sunshine this week.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Calm Between The Storms

     On Saturday evening there was nothing on TV Tom and I wanted to watch so we searched through the i Player and decided to watch a couple episodes of Top of The Pops from 1981. This was the year we met when we were 20 and it was very enjoyable to listen to the old songs from the year. Amazingly I could remember all the songs from the two programmes virtually word for word, but then I realised why. At the time I was training to be a nurse and was doing my paedriatric secondment at Queen Mary's Hospital for children. Radio Lollipop was on all the time on the wards and the children would constantly sing along. During the week the children had lessons and the radio started at 4pm. When that familiar tune of Lollipop, Lollipop came on sung by The Chordettes all the children would cheer. It was a really enjoyable part of my training. I also worked there for a year in 1978 with the disabled children before I started nursing in 1979. I loved every minute of my time there and look back with very fond memories. 
     When we woke up this morning the sky was clear and the sun was shining. The wind had dropped and the rain gone. I knew the weather forcast was for another storm later so we decided we had to take the dogs out to enjoy this calm in the weather and I knew exactly where I wanted to go! After breakfast we walked off in the direction of the old Queen Mary's Hospital site to the park they have made there. 
     Everyone who had any connection with Queen Mary's was devastated when it was closed down and the land sold off. All the protesting came to nothing. Now it is just a couple of wards at St Helier Hospital and houses stand on the site. There is however a park on some of the land and we often walk up there with the dogs. I can stand and remember the little train and zoo, the cafe we used to take the children to and just the feel of the place. I could be 20 again singing along with the children. Only a couple of buildings remain including the lodge and the offices where I had my interview which are now flats. The other building is the chapel in the photo which is now a day nursery.

Walking past the houses you walk out into fields and you could be in the middle of the countryside not just a few miles away from central London. It was still windy but lovely and bright. The dogs loved it.

We walked right round until we came to The Little Woodcote Estate which has smallholdings and garden nurseries. built for returning servicemen after World War 1 to encourage them to take up farming.

Views across the fields.

Views Across The Fields On The Little Woodcote Estate

Yet just turn the other away and the buildings of London's skyline are only ten miles away.

Rain clouds were starting to gather so we set off  back home with an appetite built up for lunch. After an hours walking and over three miles covered the winter cobwebs were definitely blown away.

Rain Clouds Over The Little Woodcote Estate

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Bring Back The Sunshine

    It's been blowing a gale this evening. Our old sash windows are all banging in the wind and the rain is battering down. When I ran down to the local shop earlier an old man said to me "Nice weather for ducks!" "I have ducks in the garden" I said "and they won't come out of their house as they hate this wind and rain so much." There was a long pause and he said "Well I'll have to stop using that expression then!" Oh dear, he's probably said that for years and I have spoilt it for him!
   My eldest son flew down to Cornwall to pick up his car as he had brought up his belongings in a van. His flight was delayed by two hours so he was really fed up, as he thought flying would be so much quicker. We are not enjoying this weather. The barometer has dropped really low this evening which doesn't bode well for the next few days.

I just want some sunshine now. I found myself looking at photos of the garden in the summer. It's hard to believe on a day like today it will look like this again.

Our garden in Summer

Little Cassie the Yorkshire Terrier having a sleep in the sun on a hot day. Won't be long now and it will feel like that again!

Friday, 5 February 2016

Ideas For Thifty Presents And A Small Extra Income

     I'm always on the look out for ways to save a bit of money as I'm sure lots of people are. We have an allotment but last year it was rather neglected due to a lot of family illness. It has two lovely apple trees and a pear tree on it which are very old and last year we had so much fruit we were distributing it to all our neighbours and Tom was taking bag fulls into work to give away rather than see any of it rot. We have also planted lots of fruit bushes, which once we have built a cage round this year, we hope will also add to the fruit yield.
    Although I know I should be planting lots of vegetables as it helps to save money my real love for growing and planting is flowers. I come from a long line of gardeners and people who would rather spend hours in a greenhouse than in front of a TV and nearly all my presents to family are gardening themed whether it's plants or garden centre vouchers. So this year I have decided to grow as many presents for family as I can on the allotment and maybe try and sell surplus plants and later in the year fruit. I could also add eggs from our hens and ducks.

Fruit Trees On Our Allotment

The fruit trees on our allotment last spring.

     When I told my plans to my family they all roared with laughter. "This is London not the countryside Mum" they said "An honesty box wouldn't last five minutes." Well I have more faith in our neighbours than that and I think I shall aim to try later in the year. I know this is maybe a bit ambitious but I would love a stall like this in our little front garden. 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

A Full House And A Rabbit Who Thinks He's A Dog

   We have had lot's of activity in the house during the last couple of days as my eldest son is staying for a few weeks whilst he looks for somewhere to live in the area. He has lived on the other side of the country for a few years but has decided he is too worried about his grandparents whilst he is away as they have been unwell and he wants to live nearer to be able to help. It is hard for him as where he lived he had a nice large house, but with London prices will only be able to get a flat for the same price. He is very resigned to this as his mind is made up and he has missed his home area.
    It has been lovely to have him home and last night we sat up until 1 o'clock in the morning laughing and talking. My eldest daughter visited today as she is off work following a knee op and to have all the family in one room when it is not a special occasion is an absolute joy. I can't say, despite all the worries lately, how happy I felt. Our three dogs have been so excited at all the activities and even Louis our house rabbit joined in.

Louis The House Rabbit With Cassie The Yorkshire Terrrier

I think maybe it has all been bit tiring for Louis as at seven years old he is not in the first flush of youth but there is nothing like a nice warm fire to snooze in front of when you are a rabbit who thinks you're a dog!

Louis The House Rabbit

Monday, 1 February 2016

1950s School Days

Although I wasn't at school in the 1950s but in the 1960s I bought these photos in an album at a car boot sale recently and they did take me back to my school days. I don't think I was particularly happy in my early days at school as I was taught by nuns who were very strict and I was very shy but typically I only think about the enjoyable bits and block out anything I don't care to remember. These photos were taken in 1958 at Earlsheaton Nursery School in Dewsbury. I wonder where these lovely little children are now?

1950s Nursery School

Playing Shop. I remember it well.

No health and safety concerns in those days. I'm sure they are real hammers!

Starting a life long love of reading I think.

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