Sunday, 11 April 2021

Working At Aintree

 The Grand National holds a very special place in my heart. From a Liverpool family, when I was little we lived at Aintree, it wasn't just my link living close to the racecourse that makes it so special though. My Grandad worked on the racecourse for years. I grew up with so many tales of it and he loved it. Becuase of his work he would always stand at Becher's Brook during the race but alway said that jump was cruel. Horses always fell and even though it has been altered in modern times, still do. Many of these horses over the years died and in my Grandad's day Shire horses were then sent out to drag the dead horses away. These were the horses he worked with and loved. Among my most treasured possessions are some of the horse brasses my Grandad collected from these Shire horses at Aintree racecourse. As a little girl I would polish them at the table with newspapers all laid out. This was my job on a Saturday morning and when I polish them now with Scarlett I can't believe it has come right round in a big circle. Yesterday there was an enormous milestone in the history of the race, a woman jockey won! I doubt my Grandad would ever have believed such a thing would have happened, and all, because of the pandemic, with not a single spectator there, but what a breakthrough for women. This photo was taken of my Grandad working at the racecourse around 1930. He is on the far right of the photo looking very big and strong I always think. These are one of the sets of horse brasses from the Shire horses I have.

Coincidentally one of the items I saved from the boxes I brought down from the loft was another item it had been my job to polish on a Saturday morning. It was this brass planter. All through my teenage years I remember it in our house with a plant in it. My Mum had plants everywhere, all beautifully tended, she kept plants for years and they always did so well. We don't have window sills in our house now, so growing house plants is much harder but I love my plants too. I've polished up this planter and I may even keep it at the caravan during the summer so we have a bit of greenery there.It would mean I would be transporting plants back and forwards which I'm sure would make Tom despair of all the "paraphernalia" as he puts it I insist on taking, but I love it to look nice while we are there. He says everyone else on the caravan site is sitting sunbathing and I'm polishing!

Talking of polishing eldest son phoned yesterday evening and he is taking his old Routemaster bus out today and he has spent all week polishing it and getting it ready as it has not been used for months. He took it for a short drive round and everyone was waving to him as he drove past. He said it hasn't felt so normal for such a long time. I hardly dare to believe when so much of the world are still having such a terrible time that we may get back to some sort of normal life. I was telling him about the new wheel arch for the caravan I had ordered and he said he would get it resprayed for me the same colour as the caravan and then take off the old one and fit the new one. I'm ever so pleased as it looked like a very tricky job to me!

Tom is off today and we are going to a place near Heathrow to buy a white dove as a friend for Dottie. Then after a week or two, when they have got used to each other and if the weather has warmed up, we will put them out in the aviary together. Dottie is so adorably sweet I can't bear to think of her having a life on her own in a cage so I hope it all works out OK. I hope everyone has a lovely Sunday what ever your plans. xx

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Royal Memories And A Nosy Cat

The main news in this country yesterday was the death of Prince Philip, the Queen's husband. I am not really a Royalist but I always admire the Queen and Prince Philip for the way they get on and almost without exception, nothing phases them. Talking to my old school friends in our Whats App group last  night we remembered a day we saw him around 1974. We were told in assembly that Prince Phillip would be driving along the by-pass near our school and if we wanted to, we could take flags the school had bought and we could line the road to see him and wave out flags. A typical bunch of surly teenagers we all said "We're not going!" Then we realised it coincided with a double maths lesson and we all suddenly became staunch royalists and off we all went flags in hand. We walked through the fields to the bypass, if we stood there today we would be bang in the middle of the M25, and waited. We all said it was so much more exciting than we expected and when his big black chauffeur driven car appeared with the royal standard on the front, it slowed right down and he wound down his window as it drove by. Of course no one took photos in those day we just waved our flags and cheered and he waved back. We all quite enjoyed the morning and I can remember us all walking back to school arguing about who he had been looking at as he waved. Much more fun than double maths! 

One man in our group who used to own a pub in the 1980s told us a tale that happenend there, He had just openend at 11am and the pub was still empty. In walked Prince Philip on his own an ordered a pint! My friend said "Would you like it in a glass or a jug sir?" to which Prince Philip replied "You can put it in a bucket for all I care!" He drank his pint, looked all around the pub at the photos on the wall, and then said goodbye and left. He said it was the only time his wife had ever seen him speechless! As my friend so typically said at the end of the tale, and I could hear his cockney accent as I read it, "God Bless him, may he Rest in Peace".

I spent quite a bit of time out in the garden yesterday and when the sun came out it was quite warm, so much more is coming up, and I was delighted to see many of the acorns I planted last year from my Dad's oak tree have started to sprout and are just poking above the surface. It's as if they are all in communication with each other all appearing on the same day. The blossom on our cherry tree at the end of the garden is looking very pretty and each year I try and get a photo of it at it's very best, it's not quite there yet.

I had to laugh at Cleo our cat as I was out working. Our next door neighbours were out in the garden too and she couldn't hide her nosiness in what is going on.

I went up into the loft yesterday evening and got a couple of boxes down as there is still a bit of room in the boxes we are going to take to the charity show room next week. So much will be opening up on Monday, it is going to seem strange. Tom say's as he is driving along in his bus every pub he passes, staff are out scrubbing down the fronts and busy setting up tables outside which of course is the only place people will be allowed to sit. He said it is lovely to see so much activity after all these months. 

I'm going to spend part of the day sorting through the boxes I brought down from the loft deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. I'm on a roll with my clearing out so can't wait until next week when the stuff can finally go. I hope everyone has a lovely Saturday what ever you are doing. xx

Friday, 9 April 2021

Shop Games And Missing Cats

 Yesterday when Scarlett arrived she started talking about the "Bakery Shop" straight away. She was planning what cake to to choose, from 7.30 in the morning. It was all I could do to put off our visit until later on in the morning. The queue stretched right round the corner and down the road, but that didn't matter to Scarlett, she would have queued for an hour, I'm sure. She had nearly learned how to spell bakery by the time we went in! I brought my bread and she chose her cake. She chatted all the way home about the wonderful bakers.

After we had eaten our lunch she wanted to play bakers. She set up her little shop with her table and her till and I had to be the customer while she made the cakes in her pan and then served them to me. This game went on for hours, prolonged even more as I had to stand outside the "shop" for ages waiting to be called in. I'm surprised she didn't make me wear a mask! 

After she had left I phoned my Dad before we had our evening meal to see how he was and for a little chat. He said he had a really stressful afternoon as Millie his cat had gone missing. After all the months she spent as a stray cat, she is now most definitely a house cat. For a long time my Dad was so worried about her straying again he kept her in and now she shows no interest in going out at all. After a whole winter of evading capture in eldest son's yard where she hung around as a stray, she has no intention of venturing out again. She knows exactly where she would rather be and that is lounging on my Dad's settee or his bed and the most adventurous she usually gets is sitting on the windowsill watching the world go by. 

Today however she had disappeared. My Dad had been in and out going into the garden and was so worried he may have left the door open at some point. I was just starting to reassure him that I was sure she wouldn't wander far when he told me it was alright she had been found. After searching the house from top to bottom he noticed his wardrobe door was a tiny bit ajar. When he looked in, there she was on the top shelf, sound asleep amongst all his ties. To my dad's dismay all his beautiful collection of silk ties were unmarked but one tie had been ripped and scratched to shreds, his Liverpool FC one. "She must be a Chelsea fan!" said my Dad.

The 1970s fabric I bought on ebay arrrived yesterday and it is enormous! I vaguely thought that sounds large when I read the description but not being any good at coverting cm to inches I wasn't preapred for the massive parcel that arrived. I will be able to make the toilet curtains and hopefully matching curtains for the awning too. It may even stretch to a few cushion covers if I plan it carefully. I'm not going to waste a bit.

Today is lovely and bright and I'm determined to get a bit of gardening done as our garden is so wild (natural I like to call it) if I don't keep on top of it, it quickly runs away from me. There is lots to be done. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever your plans. xx

Thursday, 8 April 2021

No Housework Day And Sorting Books

 Youngest daughter and I chatted for a long time yesterday morning about her afternoon and evening out in St James's Park. She said they were the only daft people sitting in the cold with candles on a birthday cake but they really enjoyed themselves. They have been planning all kinds of things now resrictions are relaxing. She is the most cheefrul I have seen her in months! 

As it was so cold yesterday I decided I would stay inside and do a bit of sorting out in readiness for the charity shops opening again next week. I still have boxes packed ready for them opening. I have been ever so strong and not looked through them to rescue any bits that I have put in there. I decided to go through my books and see if there were any I could get rid of. Last week when we were eating our breakfast at the dining room table Scarlett was looking around the room. She said to me "Nanny you have so many books! It looks like ..." there was a long pause and she proudly added "a library!" So thrilled with her new word she said to me "A library is a place where you go to borrow books!" I do have such a lot of books and I can't resist them. I love history books, craft books and old childrens books. I could read history books all evening, I love those little incidental local history stories that you never learn about in history lessons. I'm not very good at borrowing from libraries as 9 times out of ten if I have borrowed a book I like I search ebay and buy it in case I feel like reading it again! I convince myself that as I always buy secondhand I am saving the world's resources.

My real weakness though is old children's books. I love them. I collect old annuals, ladybird books, Enid Blyton, Beatrix Potter, books about ponies (I used to love them as a child!) and hardback children's classics that are in really good condition that just catch my eye. All the time I was sorting I kept thinking I must get rid of something or I won't have any room for new books for my collection when car boot sales start up. In the end I managed to get rid of an enormous biography of David Lloyd George, I'm not sure why I ever bought that and an even more obscure biography about a naval captain who fought at Gallipoli! I thought and thought about my 1950s Train Annuals but decided I couldn't bear to get rid of them. That will do for now, at least there are a couple of gaps ready to fill and I had such fun sorting them all out neatly. I sat and looked through books I had forgotten about. Just as well it was National No Housework Day yesterday as what with chatting and sorting I didn't seem to get any done. Maybe tidying books counts as something. Here are some of my favourites. I know I should be stronger after all my clearing, but I am really looking forward to searching out new books for my collection.

Scarlett is coming today and youngest son and daughter are looking forward to spending a bit of time with her as they are both on holiday from work. It's not as cold today, a balmy 3C this morning, so I'm sure we will be able to get out for our walk. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever your plans. xx

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

London Trips And Crochet Letter Boxes

 It was sunny and bright but ever so cold when I went to my Dad's house to get his shopping. Sitting in the shade at the station I was so cross I had forgotten my gloves. It was only 6C with a freezing wind. What a change from last week when it was 23C! Dad's tablets were sorted out and his shopping done. It will be so nice when the other shops in his village open up next week. It will give it much more of a feeling of normality. Although a talented person had made a real effort to brighten it up by the post office with this wonderful knitted decoration.

When I got home at 6.30 Tom had already got in from work. Youngest daughter had gone into central London to meet some freinds in St James's Park. It was her friends birthday and they had planned to get a takeaway and a few drinks and enjoy their meal in the open air. She had wrapped up really warmly but I did think what a shame it was the weather had turned so cold as she had been looking forward to it so much. I was thinking to myself at least it is dry then I got a text message from her saying it was snowing there! 

I often think how strange it is she spends so much time going to St James's Park. She loves it and says it is her favourite park, in normal times she and her friends spend so much of their time there in nice weather. When I was 16 and 17 I worked in London in the 1970s and I would spend most of my lunch breaks there. I worked in a bank in Piccadilly Circus and on nice days we would buy our sandwiches at a little sandwich bar at the corner of Jermyn Street and walk down Lower Regent Street ,cross The Mall and sit eating them overlooking Buckingham Palace. As an extra perk of the job the bank would give us a 15p luncheon voucher a day, which in those days took quite a large proportion off the cost of a sandwich. Shops and restaurants would display a sign in their window if they accepted these vouchers. We would be given them on pay day for the month and sometimes we would treat ourselves, and my friends and I would go to a Steak House for a meal and pay for it all in 15p luncheon vouchers. We must have been really popular! 

After our lunch in the park we would walk down to the palace and wave to the soldiers in their bearskins guarding in their sentry huts. We knew them all by sight and thought they were so good looking! Of course they weren't allowed to move but there was one who would always wave back at us by wriggling his fingers. What a rebel he must have been, I wonder where he is now!

I love talking to youngest daughter about all the things she has seen when she gets back but she was so tired and cold when she got in after not going out at all for months she went straight to bed. She said she had a wonderful time though so I'll be able to hear all about it later on today. It is sunny and bright but ever so cold here today. It was -2C when I got up. I don't intend to walk the dogs until it warms up a bit more and I think I will have a day inside today as there is a lot to catch up with after Easter. I hope everyone has a lovely day and if it is cold were you are you are lucky enough to be able to be just looking out at the brightness. xx

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Cold Days And Clear Nights

 It was really cold when we set off to the yard where our caravan is stored yesterday morning. We took our old 1970s awning with us to check it fit on the awning rail. It was so nice to see our lovely little caravan again after the winter and just being inside it, even though we left the cover over three sides, so it was quite dark inside I could atlready imagine those summer evenings sitting inside it with the stable door open listening to our 1970s record player. Unfortunately yesterday while we were sitting looking out it was snowing! The caravan was all safe and fine except where the cover had been pressing on the fibre glass wheel arch, the small crack had got much worse so we are going to have to replace that now, but we have plenty of time before we go away. I bought the 1970s portable record player back with us as I had thought often over the winter I wish I had and on youngest daughter's request, our lovely orange sun lounger. She says she wants to build up her tan before the summer, well she's not going to manage that this week!

We had a couple more showers of snow around lunch time when we got back from the caravan. I had intended to clean out the aviary but decided against is as even though the sun had come out it was still very cold. We spent a lazy afternoon together and it was very nice all being at home. I did manage to source a new wheel arch for the caravan though as I know a man on facebook who is a bit of an expert with these old caravans and he is going to get someone to make us a replacement from the original factory moulds. Aren't some people clever! 

In the evening there was a really clear sky and when I was out walking, one of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen. Worrying about frost I dashed around the garden putting little cloches I had made from cut down plastic bottles over young plants. The fox looked on in amazement!

It is ever so cold this morning. -1C when I got up but it is nice and bright. I'm off to my Dad's today to do his shopping and try and sort out a problem with his tablet delivery which appears to have been affected by the long weekend. I hope everyone has a lovely day and gets to enjoy a little bit of  sunshine. xx

Monday, 5 April 2021

Walking And A Pile Of Old Rocks

We were very lucky as it was a lovely sunny day here yesterday. Tom and I took all three dogs out for a walk in the morning and walked part of the London Loop which is near us through woods and farmland. We have walked this walk for 15 years and would hardly ever meet another person. Not yesterday it was packed, joggers, boys on mountain bikes, familys and walkers marching along with Nordic poles. I nearly fell out with one woman who shoved little Cassie with her Nordic pole as we passed on the path and said "Ugh I have an aversion to terriers!" Poor little Cassie is the sweetest little dog, wags her tail all round the walk just trotting along. She didn't seem bothered but it took all my strength not to tell the woman were to shove her pole! In the end we went off down a little footpath off the main route between two fields, which was much nicer and after that we really enjoyed the walk. Although Tom and I both agreed after it that Tess does find these walks with all the dogs very stressful and it may be kinder to walk them separately. She just worries too much the whole time that Layla may possibly stray and sees it as her job to herd her back. In the end we walked nearly five miles yesterday and the dogs slept for the rest of the day!

After lunch I spent the afternoon trying to sort out the end of the garden. I have been saving all the old parts of wall and flint stones that I have dug up around the garden and want to make a rockery with them. Rockery is a bit of a posh word for what really is just an arrangement of old stones! Still I wanted to try and incorporate them in the garden in some way. The old parts of the walls still have the ancient concrete mix  holding the stones together. They are typical of some of the old walls around the area that are hundreds of years old so I think they should be preserved. While I was hosing them down and cleaning them up before I put them in place I kept thinking of the man who made the wall all those years ago. If only he could have known his work would still be in place all these years later. I have planted a few small box plants my Dad gave me and have a new alpine plant to put in also. I'm looking forward to finding more to put in between the stones.

After I had finished I sat on the seat at the end of the garden under the cherry tree with a cup of tea admiring my pile of old rocks! All I could hear were bees buzzing in the blossom it was lovely. One of the magpies flew in and hopped into it's nest. I thought they have chosen a nice spot to sit in the sun while the eggs are incubating. You cant see the magpie but it is sitting in there.

In the evening we had a really nice roast dinner, then watched Harry Potter relaxing with a glass, or two, of wine. I was so tired and aching from my walking and rock lifting I struggled to raise the glass but I still enjoyed the day very much. 

I  don't think the magpies will be enjoying the sun today. It is freezing with a cold wind blowing. We are going to check our caravan where it is stored, which I'm looking forward to but feel a bit nervous as because of lockdown we haven't been near it for months and months. Fingers crossed all is OK with it. I hope everyone has a lovely Bank Holiday Monday what ever your plans. xx

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Walking The Dogs

 Happy Easter Everyone! I didn't really get much done yesterday but I did walk a lot. Tom and I decided we would walk the dogs separately as everywhere will be so busy this weekend. We are hoping to give a walk through the woods near us a go today but the trouble is the whole country is at home and only allowed to be outside. All the millions of people who are normally away on holiday are trying to find places to visit and walk or jog! Joggers are a real problem for me when I am out walking Tess. Someone only has to run by us on the pavement and it awakens that Border Collie instinct in her to chase. Luckily she isn't that kind of snap at your heels kind of collie but she would love to run along too and I'm always worried she will scare someone, as she adopts that typical collie herding run, or even worse trip them up. It is not too bad if she is with Layla as she becomes fixated on her not allowing her to "Stray". Like a sheep she is constantly herding her along. It means Layla can't chase her beloved balls when they are out together which is a shame. Cassie luckily when off her lead just trots along next to our heels so doesn't cause Tess any worries. Nothing will distract her. After having Bud before Tess for 13 years we have learned to live with a Border Collie's natural insticts, but if it is very crowded I have to keep her on an extension lead, so I'm hoping today on our nice long walk all together, it will be a bit quieter. Poor Layla she just wan't to bounce along with her toys when we are walking but Tess has other ideas!

I was really pleased last night to win the auction on ebay for the curtain fabric for our caravan. I had been outbid during the week but held my nerve until the last 10 seconds of the auction and bid £20, my limit, but luckily got it for £17. I can't wait for it to come as I will be able to make the toilet curtains in the caravan and some matching cushion covers too.

I'm making a chicken roast dinner today for us as Tom is off and youngest son and daughter are both here. I'll be having Quorn as I don't eat meat but it will still be a nice special meal together. I hope everyone has a lovely day whether you celebrate Easter or not. xx

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Our Old Stomping Ground

 It turned out a much nicer day yesterday than the weather forecasters predicted. The afternoon was warm and sunny and I was out gardening all afternoon. I'm trying to redo the part at the end by the aviary but can't quite make up my mind how to do it. I want to keep the seating area as Scarlett loves to sit there and watch the cockatiels but also want it to encourage wildlife. The trouble is although I want a wildlife area and I love the whole garden to look as natural as possible, it has become just a mess down at the end. I enjoy planning though and may have a walk down to a local ecology centre this week (if it is open) to get some ideas. The foxes live in the part at the side of the aviary, so I'll leave that completely alone for them to have their own space but the rest is going to be sorted out a bit. I'm really hoping we may get a repeat of last year with fox cubs living there too.

My little trees are doing well I have three little plum trees now in pots, lots of apple trees, crab apples and hawthorn trees all grown from collected seeds. I have no idea how they will do and what sort of trees will grow from them but I love the experiment of finding out. I'm going to sort them out and photograph them so I can watch them grow this year.

I'm really enjoying these lighter evenings and walked yesterday evening until 7.45 and it was still just about light. I took Tess all the way up round the road we used to live in and that area, where we lived when Tom and I were first married almost 39 years ago. All those roads I used to walk around with different dogs over the years, it was very nostalgic. Neighbours long gone or even long dead. I really enjoyed it and if the weather doesn't get too cold I'm going to explore a few more of the roads on my "old stomping ground" this weekend.

When I got home it was nearly dark. I popped out into the garden as I remembered I had left the fleece I wear while I am gardening, on the bench at the end of the garden. It had been so warm I had taken it off while I was working. When I got up there I realised the fox had dragged it off the bench and up the garden, and even worse had weed on it! Well there's gratitude for you!

Tom is off today so we are off to Lidl now to buy some food for the weekend. I hope everyone has a wonderful and restful Easter and manages to get to see some loved ones. xx

Friday, 2 April 2021

Easter Cakes And Family Time

 The weather was nice and warm yesterday and quite sunny, not as warm as it has been, but still pleasant. Scarlett and I went out for a walk and she told me all names of all the children at her nursery (including the first letter of their surname if there is more than one of that name), the babies downstairs (so cute!) all the staff, including the ones on holiday finishing up triumphantly with Brian the chef and the two guinea pigs! I have no idea if she is remembering everyone but there are so many I doubt she is forgetting many. I am amazed at her memory and it makes it such fun out walking with her as she remembers everything we have talked about the week before and we can have a proper chat. I am making the most of these days as she starts school in September so our time will be more limited and I know how lucky I am at the moment.

We walked back via the bakers as usual and queued for bread and her cake. The shop was full of Easter cakes and hot cross buns. They have gone to so much trouble, I feel so sorry for them not being completely open as usual with the tea room part packed, inside and out, as it normally is. I would normally take a photo of all the Easter decorations but it was pretty impossible with a queue of people outside the shop and everyone having to socially distance inside. They must be losing so much money after all their hard work. Scarlett chose this lovely little cake and was so excited. It's all so thrilling for children.

Youngest daughter had finished work for the Easter holidays yesterday so was home with us. It was such a treat for Scarlett to have her around and we all went out in the garden in the afternoon. They watched the ducks and the cockatiels together while I watered all the plants in the greenhouse. I was really pleased to see the sweet peas are starting to come up. The whole garden is definitely coming more and more to life. I love taking photographs of it gradually over the next few months to see how it fills out with greenery and colour.

It's much colder this morning. I have been out standing with the dogs early in the morning when I let them out and it has been so nice listening to the birds singing and seeing the sun just starting to come up. Not this morning! I dashed in after a couple of minutes it was so cold and apparently it is going to get worse next week. It looks like it's going to be winter jumper time again! Youngest son has also finished work for Easter now so I will have more company today. I think I better get on with some work before they are up and about, but I doubt that will be anytime soon! I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever your plans. 

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Hip Hip Hooray!

I caught the train into Sutton to go to Morrisons yesterday morning to buy a few bits I was running low on. It was nice and warm but cloudy not clear blue skies like the day before. I bought two new plants a Clematis Aotearo and a little rockery plant Mossy Saxifrage. I have never had any luck with Clematis but I thought for £2 I'd give it one more go this year. The Mossy Saxifrage is a new one for me but I'm trying to build a little rockery from all the big stones I have dug up in the garden from the old farm buildings that used to be here. The only trouble is it is in a shady spot and I didn't have my glasses with me to read it likes sun or part shade and I think it may not be quite suitable but I really liked the look of it so will give it a go.

I was working away in the greenhouse and it was only when I stepped outside I thought I could feel something watching me. There it was, the male fox who is usually so shy, just standing there watching my every move. He often comes down the garden to look in at us when we are sitting inside but never outside before. I talked to him for a while and got my phone to take a few photos of him. He just stood there looking rather sad I thought, so I went inside and got a few dog biscuits. He was still waiting when I walked up to the end of the garden and I put them in the bowl. While I carried on working in the garden I could hear him crunching his way through them.

After we had eaten in the evening I took Tess out again for a long walk. I walked three miles around the roads, not to the park, and everything felt so relaxed. There was almost a party atmosphere, everyone was sitting out in front gardens with their front doors open chatting to people. The tennis courts at the local club were open and it was wonderful to hear people laughing and shouting to each other again as they played. I also noticed people seemed to be smiling a lot more. As I walked past the house with the light box in the window it said "Hip Hip Hooray" and I couldn't agree more. Things are starting to feel much more cheerful. 

Scarlett is coming this morning so it will be nice to have a walk with her today. The weather is cooling down but still quite nice today so hopefully time spent outside. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever your plans. xx

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

The Sun Always Shone

 I travelled on the train to go and do the shopping for my Dad  yesterday It was a really hot day and it reminded me that wearing masks out and about on a hot day isn't very pleasant. I really hope the rules are relaxed a bit by the time we have hot weather all the time. It was so nice though to see the sunshine and Dad's roses are going to look a picture this year as they are all coming to life. 

By the time I got home in the evening Tom was already in from work and had started cooking the evening meal which was nice to arrive home too and we all had our usual catch up while sitting eating. Youngest son and daughter will be finishing work for the Easter holidays in the next day or two so they are very cheerful at the thought. While we were sitting eating our meal it said on the news this was the hottest March day since 1968. Tom and I laughed and we said "Oh we rememember that hot day in March 1968 really well!" Of course we don't, but it did make me think how when I look back on childhood days I always remember sunshine. When  I am out on a sunny day and smell freshly cut grass I am transported back to school on a summers day. 

It is not just me, my school friends and I often talk about it. We had a big grass field next to our school playground and we would all lie on it listening to transistor radios on hot summer days. We all say we only have to hear a song from those days now or smell that cut grass smell and we think of it. The boys would be playing football and showing off and the girls reading Jackie magazine and making daisy chains. The sun always seemed to shine, it's all we remember. We often joke if we had any idea in those carefree days we would all be friends in our sixties discussing cures for arthritis we  would never have believed it! 

I can't remember where we went holiday in 1968, I must ask my sister if she remembers, but it would have been a caravan holiday in this country. I feel like searching through the old box I have of diaries I kept in those days to see if I kept one for that year. I was a sporadic diary keeper, January was always well documented then I lost steam but I often kept a holiday diary. One thing I am sure of though it would have been a holiday like this one and the sun would always have shone! Happy days!

It going to be another lovely day today I had thought of planting some of my little plants out from the greenhouse but the weather forecast is very cold over Easter so I may hang on a bit longer. I will definitely get some garden jobs done though as it looks as if it may be the last day for a while it is going to be so nice. I hope where ever you are in the world and what ever the weather is like you have a lovely day. xx

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

It's All Ahead Of Us

 What a lovely day it was yesterday. I worked in the morning and after an early lunch I went out into the garden to tidy up before they come to empty the garden waste bin today. The end of the garden up by the aviary is always a bit neglected furthest away from the house and the weeds have been really growing in the last few weeks. When I am working at the end of the garden the vixen is always sitting watching me. The male fox is more cautious and watches me through a gap in the fence. The vixen is so relaxed now she even doses off in the sun only ten feet away from me. 

So much is coming to life in the garden. I planted some apple pips from an apple off an apple tree in our garden and some plum stones from a plum tree growing in the garden and they are all growing into tiny little trees in pots. Another success is some blackberry seeds I collected while out walking through the woods last autumn. Tiny little blackberry bushes. I can't wait to see how they get on this year.

There are lots of other tree seeds not doing anything at all yet but I'm not giving up on them. Hopefully this warm weather will bring them on. The tulips are coming into bloom and my Persian Buttercups are just starting to appear in the greenhouse. The plum blossom is also starting so I'm hoping for another bumper crop of plums this year. 

Yesterday evening, after Tom had got in from work and we had all had our evening meal. I took Tess to the park. It was lovely to be walking in the light and it was quite quiet in the park when we walked around. The sun was just setting as we left to walk home. As I walked along our little path to out house, just as it was getting dark, I could hear our jazz pianist neighbour playing his piano. I thought it's all ahead of us now. It's a lovely feeling.

When I phoned my Dad yesterday evening he told me he had been out in the front garden when a family stopped their car outside. They told him they had come from Kent, on this first day of being able to travel further afield and wanted to go for a walk. My Dad told them where they could park over the road and the best place to walk to down to a local pond where there are lots of wild birds to see. Later on as they walked back to their car they told him what a nice walk they had. A  few minutes later the mum and little girl came back with an envelope which they gave to him. It said "Thank you for being such a nice man." and inside was a pencil and a notepad. My Dad told the little girl he would keep it by the phone and when he used it he would think of her. Aren't some people kind, it made his day.

It's going to be a another lovely day in the South East and I'm off to my Dad's house today to do his shopping. I'm looking forward to being out on such a nice warm day, it will make a lovely change to queuing in the rain. I hope everyone has a really good day and gets to enjoy some sunshine.

Monday, 29 March 2021

Enjoying Some Freedom

 I worked hard all morning rewiring the 1970s lamp. I had never rewired one with a brass fitting which has to be carefull earthed and I spent a long time studying YouTube videos and eventually found one from an Australian man who talked quite a lot about his alcohol consumption too but he explained nice and clearly how to rewire a lamp fitting just like mine. I'm very grateful to these people who take the time to make these videos as I always say to my family you can learn to do anything on YouTube. I don't know how I managed before it! I'm trying to find a retro 1970s lampshade now, I hope car boot sales open up soon!

I cut the 1970s bedspread in half yesterday and soon realised it is going to take more than just hemming it. If I want to make it neat and for it not to fray at the edges now it has a cut edge I am going to have to over sew the edges. I started it last night while I was watching TV and soon realised it's going to be a job that keeps me occupied for a few weeks. Of well there is no real rush. We have asked my Dad if we can take the caravan out of storage and put it on his drive for a couple of weeks in May to do some work we need to do. Yesterday when I spoke to him I could tell he has been thinking about it a lot as he was asking can he do this to it and can he do that to it. I think he is really looking forward to it. 

England has lifted some of it's restrictions today. It feels so exciting as we can now meet up with one other household outside in the "rule of six". Eldest daughter and I are already planning places Tom and I can go with her and her partner and Scarlett. We will also be able to go and see eldest son and sit in his garden. Although because Tom is working and then eldest son we probably won't be able to go until after Easter. The weather forecast is really good here for the next few days so I'm looking forward to being outside. I hope everyone has a lovely day and you get some of this nice weather. xx

Sunday, 28 March 2021

1970s Curtain Sewing

 I went for a long walk with Tess yesterday morning. I didn't take her to the park as it get's so crowded now at the weekends. I thought I would take her round and about local roads and as it was a lovely morning it was nice to walk all around and see gardens coming to life in spring. I love to look at other people's gardens, it can give me so many ideas for things to try in ours. There is a house on my local walk that has a light box in their window. Every day they put a message in their window. Yesterday it said "Spring Has Sprung" Sometimes they put such nice messages it really cheers you as you walk by.

I was so inspired with ideas for our 1970s caravan after booking two weeks away in June I spent the afternoon sewing. I finished off the curtain for the door in the shower room and tried to finish the curtain in for the toilet I am making with the Snoopy fabric I bought. Sadly the fabric is so slippy and difficult to work with I may unpick what I have done and make cushion covers with it. I have been looking on ebay for some more fabric for this little toilet window and found the exact same fabric that I have used on all the other windows. A real stroke of luck as it is old 1970s Marks and Spencer one. It's an auction though so there is no guarantee I will get it but I hope so.

Jobs for today are to cut in half  and tack an old 1970s bedspread I bought, another old St Michael brand one, to make two throws for the seats. It's a heavy brown material which we can cover both seats with during the day and then we don't have to worry about the dogs sitting on the original upholstery after we have been out for walks. Also I am going to try and wire this original 1970s light I bought in the local charity saleroom last year. 

I hope everyone is not too tired today after losing an hours sleep. Our dogs are all up waiting to be let out bright and early despite the clocks going forward so I think I will be tired later on this evening! I hope you have a lovely Sunday what ever your plans. xx

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Booking A Holiday

 Tom and I went to Lidl yesterday morning which was quite quiet. I wonder how long food shops will be this quiet for. It's quite nice really, I suppose everyone is shopping online. They still haven't any plants for the garden in stock but I bought a couple of little house plants. Later on in the day my new phone arrived. It's just an upgrade as my two year contract has expired but it's quite exciting getting something new even if it is a bit stressful getting all the new apps and settings right. I somehow managed to lock myself out of the online banking app and now have to wait for a letter from them with a new password. Luckily I can still access it on my laptop. It was the only mishap of the swap so I suppose it's not too bad.

The big excitement for the afternoon was Tom phoned up a Caravan Club Certified Location site in East Sussex and booked our caravan for a two week break in June. We won't be able to stay for the full two weeks as we do have commitments at home but it's only just over an hour away so we can drive backwards and forwards on days we can't stay overnight and we can take Scarlett with us on some days. I have told her we can spend the day, cook our lunch on the little cooker inside and sit outside to have a picnic. She is so excited I think she will burst before the big day arrives! We stayed on the site three years ago and it was the most beautiful peaceful site. I doubt it will be as peaceful with the whole country holidaying at home this year but it will still be a wonderful break that I have been dreaming about all winter. We had our old caravan last time we went but I have such happy memories of staying there.

I watched Gardener's World last night and picked up lots of tips for my dahlias. There was the most interesting item about the decline of insects in this country. Apparently there has been a decline of 75% in the last 27 years. I recently heard that if anyone is in any doubt about the decline of insects remember motorway journeys back in the 1960s and 70s. At the end of the journey you would have to clean your windscreen of all the poor dead insects but today nothing. Not a dead insect in sight. It is very sad. The item really inspired me. We never kill anything in our garden, live and let live is our motto for every type of creature but this year I have decided I am going to go the extra mile for insects. It is quite exciting to get planning. Oh and I do love Monty's little dog Pattie, she is just like our little Yorkie Cassie and she makes my night to see her trotting about!

I have so much to do this weekend. I'm hoping the weather is good enough to get out in the garden and put my plans into action but if it's not I still have things I have to get ready and sew for our caravan. The clocks go forward tonight which means an extra hours light for all the things I enjoy doing. I think it's going to be a good weekend! I hope everyone has a lovely weekend and if you are in this country enjoys the extra hour of daylight. xx

Friday, 26 March 2021

Losing Our Liberties

 There was a lot on the news yesterday about us having to carry vaccination passports if we want to travel or even go into music venues and pubs. It looks as if it may be on an NHS app on our phone that is updated when we have the vaccination. When the first lockdown started last March Tom was given a piece of paper saying he was a bus driver and had to travel to work so it was necessary for him to be outside. He was told he would have to show it if he was stopped by the police on public transport. Youngest son, who is very interested in civil liberties, was horrified and read the whole thing out to us in a Russian accent! How quickly things have changed in a year though, it is all accepted and we are so desperate to get back to normality I think we would agree to almost anything. Although I do worry about how these things are happening I try to remind myself that in other times of national emergency we have had to endure much worse loss of our rights and things returned to normal when the crisis was over. My Dad tells me that during the second world war they all had to carry a National Identity Card and you wouldn't have dared leave home without it. 

However there is another story I have come across recently that really upset me. Eldest son asked me if I would look into the history of his house in Hastings as he is so interested in finding out more about the people who lived there. On the 1939 register in his house I found a couple with their 25 year daughter living there. The wife Dorothy was a local Hastings woman but her husband Charles, or Carl his birth name, had been born in Saxony. They married in 1911 a 17 year old girl and and a young German waiter. Their daughter was born early in 1914. How could they have imagined how badly it would all go wrong. I have seen photos during the First World War of German shops being fire bombed and even dachsunds having stones thrown at them in the street. At some point the couple changed their names to an Anclicised version of their German name and who could blame them. When I saw the husband's nationality on the 1939 register I remembered an epsisode of Foyles War, which is set in Hastings, about German nationals being put in prison and that is exactly what happened to Charles. He was arrested shortly after the outbreak of war and sent to Onchan on the Isle of Mann. Thirty years living and working in this country and he was taken from his home and family to the other end of the country just for being German, it is hard to imagine.

He was released two years later in 1941 "without any restrictions" but it must have taken such a toll on the family. I found a reunited Dorothy and Charles in 1965 on an electoral register living in Bromley in Kent, still using their English surname all those years after the war ended. I was so pleased to find their daughter Irene on electoral registers in London, throughout the war and into the 1950s, when she got married, still proudly using her German surname. I will never be able to visit my eldest son and stand looking out at that view to the sea, without thinking of this little family and what they went through. I will try not to complain about the restrictions we have to contend with now. 

We had a really nice long walk with Scarlett yesterday and she loves the novelty of Tom walking with us. I'm not quite sure we will be able to go for such a nice walk with the dogs today as the weather is looking rather cold, wet and windy. We are going to Lidl this morning and I have a new mobile phone being delivered later so it feels a bit like Christmas, although no doubt it will take me about two weeks to work it all out! I hope everyone has a lovely day and the weather is not all bad. xx

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Kathleen's Purse And Ignoring Lockdown

When I'm out at car boot sales or jumble sales (pre-coronavirus) I'm always on the look out for interesting, unusual little items. I don't know what it is but sometimes something will just catch my eye and I think it is something I would like to photograph and put on my social history website.  I have memorial cards, old letters, Victorian birthday cards, diaries and certificates. I just can't help rescuing them from old boxes under tables at car boot sales. I always think one day I may find a family member who would be so pleased to have them back in their possession.  I can't bear to think these once precious items may end up being thrown out. Several years ago I bought from household auctions and sold many of the items on ebay or cleaned some up and sold them on for a profit in antique auctions.  I would buy large boxes of mixed items, often from house clearances, and then just sort them through. Sometimes it would make me feel so sad. Yesterday when I was looking through a drawer I found something I had put away from one of these house clearance boxes. 

It was a purse I had found mixed amongst old china and cutlery. I had forgotten about it  but when I saw it I remembered at the time I couldn't bring myself to sell it. Inside the purse were a house key, a library card and a hospital property receipt for this little gold locket made out to Kathleen Davidson and dated September 2000. 

The two photos inside are of a little girl and an Edwardian looking gentleman. Was this Kathleen and her Dad I wonder? I have photographed them and I'm going to add them to my website and they are carefully stored  with all the other items now in the hope one day a member of Kathleen's family may find them. I felt pleased all day this purse had turned up again.

Eldest son's girlfriend popped round to pick up a parcel that had been delivered here for him as hadn't wanted to be out and miss it. With all the lockdown restrictions I hadn't seen her since last year so we had a lovely chat about all that had been happening. On the doorstep of course but it was better than nothing and still so nice to see her.

When Tom got in from work last night at 9 o'clock and had had such a bad shift. A whole crowd of about thirty youngsters had got on his bus in the evening, refused to pay and refused to wear masks. He had no choice but just to let them get on with it and they were on the bus for about half an hour skating up and down the top deck on scooters. So much for lockdown so many people seem to be ignoring it now. He was really fed up when he got in. I had cooked his favourite scampi and he bought a portion of chips in from the fish and chip shop down the road and after a glass of wine with it he had cheered up no end and was really looking forward to the four days off he has now. 

Scarlett is coming this morning so it will be a nice first day of the four off. It definitely looks nice enough to get out for a long walk and maybe even some seed planting in the greenhouse that I been promising her. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Qualifications And Health

 I went to my Dad's to do his shopping yesterday, I sat on the other side of the train so I couldn't see the dead badger, and the day brightened up weather wise as it went on. We filled in Dad's census for him online and he was much less trouble than the rest of my family! There were a couple of questions on the census that set me thinking. One was the section about qualifications and I thought it was really written with today's young people in mind and was pretty irrelevant to a large proportion of the population. Most of the qualifications listed didn't exist when I was at that stage of my life and the "or equivalent" option was pretty irrelevant too.  I left school at 16 with six O levels worked in a bank for two years, then became a student nurse, three years later qualifying as a State Registered Nurse as it was called in those days. On  the census I jumped from O level to degree level with nothing in between. 

My Dad's situation at a few weeks away from 90 is even more far removed. Despite getting a grammar school scholarship and having one of the most brilliant minds I have ever met in any person, he failed his school certificate as he was not good at maths and to pass the certificate in those days you had to pass every part of the exam. As a school leaver of 14 with no qualifications he signed up as a cadet officer in the Merchant Navy and then went on to do his national service at 19 in the Royal Air Force. He excelled so quickly he was promoted to officer cadet and became a pilot which was incredibly rare for anyone on national service. He had to take numerous exams to reach this level and yet according to his census he has no qualifications with just one small box to check for "other". Filling in the census with my Dad really made me realise how much the world has changed. My young life and definitely his, bear little resemblance to that of young people today. Here is a photo of my Dad as a pilot when he was 20.

One question on the census that really has made me count my blessings though was the health question. My family, even me who has been treated for cancer in the last four years, chose the very good health option and my Dad who as I said is a few weeks away from his 90th birthday chose good health saying "There's nothing wrong with me!" . We are very lucky.

I am at home with only dog walking to take me out today but have so many things to keep me occupied as always. It's just trying to get the balance of tedious activities with fun activities. Hopefully if I plan it right the fun ones will win out! I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Queuing, Planting And Badgers

 It as a lovely sunny day yesterday. I caught the train into Sutton first thing to go to Morrisons and it was hard not to feel cheerful despite all these reports of third waves and variants. I thought I'm just getting on with my day and not thinking about it. There is blossom everywhere and that lovely spring feeling. It does seem strange with all the shops, but a few closed. I thought I would pop down to Wilkinson's and see how long the queue was. Luckily it was very short so I went in and bought some dahlia tubers and lily bulbs, by the time I came out the queue stretched to the top of the hill so I had got in just in time.

Morrisons was very quiet and I bought my food shopping and a couple of plants. They has quite a good selection but a lot I hadn't heard of, so I went along the shelf photographing them all so I could do a bit of research when I got home! These are the two I bought. I do love a Fuchsia and the Centaurea looks very pretty and attracts bees too.

On the way home on the train I saw something that really dented my good mood, it was a dead badger lying at the side of the railway track just outside Sutton station. I was surprised to see one as I had no idea there would be badgers in Sutton but I felt so sad as I kept imagining the poor thing just walking along and then being hit by a train. Last year we did manage to film a badger on the wildlife camera I set up in my Dad's garden and I think I'm going to look into how many badgers may be around in our area too.

When I got off the train I walked round to the bakers to buy a loaf of their delicious bread and was a bit daunted by the long queue there but decided I would wait as everyone in our house loves it so much. Luckily for me a traffic warden walked by the shop and three quarters of the queue ran off in panic so I managed to get into the shop really quickly! It was really worth it as I had a lunch of salad and warm wholemeal bread. 

I spent the afternoon out in the garden planting all my new purchases. I have never had much luck with dahlias as they always get eaten by slugs and snails as soon as they appear out of the ground so I'm going to keep them in pots in the greenhouse until they are big enough to put out and see if that is a bit more successful. I also planted out a rose bush I have grown from a cutting last year. I'm really looking forward to it flowering to see which rose it is as I have no idea.

The sunny flowerbed is starting to look a lot more spring like. It is full of blue bells and forget me nots which will be flowering soon. It is a year today since the start of the first lockdown, what a year it has been. If there is one thing I have decided in the last year it is that I'm just going to get on with my little life and make the best of the things around me which bring me pleasure. I'm going to my Dad's again today to do his shopping so more being out and about. I hope everyone has a lovely day and manages to get a little bit of normality and sunshine. xx

Monday, 22 March 2021

Back In The 1950s

 I worked for several hours yesterday. Even though it was dry with sunny moments, it was quite cold so I only ventured into the garden to feed the ducks and birds and have a quick tidy up. Many of the new photos I acquired were of the Isle of Wight so I joined an Isle of Wight history group on facebook and submitted some of the photos. Firstly I thought it would be nice for them to have access to them and secondly I wanted some help in identifying them. The clever people in this group managed to identify the places and decided they were taken in the mid 1950s. Photos from a different simpler time, post war so everyone had their own set of problems but better times where on the horizon. 

Coincidentally while I was scanning all these 1950s photos, youngest daughter was sitting in the room with me playing her "Fallout 4" video game on the television. It is full of 1950s music which she loves. For the last five years all I can hear is 1950s (or 1980s that is another love of hers) music coming from her room. Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Doris Day are among the songs blaring out. It's wonderful. She was listening to a song by Nat King Cole and we decided he was so incredibly talented. It reminded me of a story my Dad had told me which I relayed to her. 

When Dad was a teenager around 1950 he loved Nat King Cole. He was lucky enough to see him in concert when he was home on leave from the Merchant Navy. Nat King Cole was wearing a white suit which my Dad thought was so cool, with nearly all his pay, he bought one similar in Liverpool before he signed up for another tour on a ship. The tour took him up The River Ganges in India where they docked. While ashore for an evening out with his friends, to Dad's dismay someone spilt a drink on his precious and very expensive white suit and stained it. He asked around the next day if there was any place locally he could get it cleaned. Dad paid a young Indian man who assured him he would take it away and carefully get the stain removed. Later on in the day Dad looked across the River Ganges from the ship, which was so filthy it had dead animals floating in it, and there was the young Indian man washing his precious suit between two rocks in the river.  I can never hear a Nat King Cole song without thinking of this story but I do love Nat King Cole and for anyone else who loves him too this is the song we were listening to. 

Tom and youngest son and daughter are all out at work today so I will have plenty of time to catch up with things that need doing but I think I will pop to Morrisons this morning and have a look at their plants. I haven't been in Morrisons for about a year so it feels a bit of an adventure!  I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever your plans. xx

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Thinking Of Descendants And An Anonymous Letter

 Yesterday we filled in our census. I filled in the part about the house and my details and then got everyone else to fill in their sections. I wanted it to be them speaking in their own words for the future. I wish I hadn't bothered! When Tom got in from work he moaned about it and said you fill it in. I just ended up asking him the questions "Would you like to be known as British or English" "Either I don't really mind" "Qualifications?" "I can't remember that far back!" and so it went on with frankly no interest at all! Youngest daughter took it much more seriously wanting her descendants to know exactly what she was like and pondering on how every word would be interpreted in the future. She spent so long on her job description I had to remind her she wasn't actually filling in a CV! Then at 10 o'clock at night when everyone else had finished along came youngest son.

Now youngest son is very opinionated and if there is a "bolshie" gene in the family then he has definitely inherited it. He has however inherited a family sense of humour. There is no situation that he doesn't crack a joke about. He is so witty he has a funny aside to add to every conversation. A night out at a pub ends up with tales about every minute of the evening which are always hilarious, he can keep us entertained for hours. 

When he sat down at my laptop there was a look in his eye that worried me. "Now remember you can be fined if you aren't serious on this" I said. I'm not actually sure if that is true. "Remember your descendants will be scrutinising this in 100 years" "I couldn't care less what they think of me, I won't be around to see it" Oh dear. Although he reassured me he was just messing with me as he was loving the look on my face, I just know there will be something. One little thing he will have to add to stamp his personality on it. When he finished he said "All done then, I'll press submit." So that is it, it has gone. I'd just like to say to our descendants if there is anything odd on our census, it's nothing to do with me!

The other exciting thing that happened was an anonymous packet was delivered to me. Now when I say anonymous there was a note inside saying they hoped I would find the photos useful, but no address or signature. I have two work websites and one is a photo and social history one full of photos of people and things. A bit like with a census, I feel that every tiny detail in a photo or every little item is a moment in history that should be preserved for the future. So many photos that other people would throw out I scan and store on the website. I usually buy the photos at car boot sales or auctions but some kind people have donated photos to me that they no longer want. These photos that arrived yesterday are so lovely. A mixture of family photos and 1960s holidays. I spent the evening (between census filling) scanning them and I'm really looking forward to adding them to the website. The site is totally free to browse and enjoy the photos, if anyone wants to have a little look UK Photo And Social History Archive

It's quite chilly this morning, Tom is at work and I think I will set too adding some of the photos. It is very pleasurable work and maybe one day one of their descendants will find them! I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Guerrilla Gardening And Spiders

 What a lovely sunny day it turned out to be yesterday. I worked on my website in the morning, and walked the dogs. Everything seems easier when the sun shines! After an early lunch I spent most of the afternoon in the garden, planted some sweet pea seeds and potted up some more seedlings that are getting quite big. Last autumn I planted some crab apple seeds and lots of them have germinated. A whole tray of little crab apple trees. I know lots of experts say that they will never grow true to type, but I love the experiment of seeing how they do turn out and these little plants are totally free and fill gaps in the garden with different shades of foliage. I don't like order around the garden, I love it to look natural and a bit wild but not out of control! It's quite hard to strike the balance. We all laughed when we looked on the aerial map of our road. In a sea of grey terraces, garden furniture and trampolines our garden looked like a little tropical jungle in the middle of it all! 

The other day we fixed our wisteria arch. It is rotten in places and I know it will have to be replaced at some point but we are hanging on as it is going to be such a hard job. We mended it with some old shelf supports that were in the shed but as so much of the wood is rotten it is still a bit precarious. The wood pigeons are thrilled and are using it as a landing platform when they fly into the garden, I'm not really sure it is up to their weight! It is hard to imagine looking at it now that it will be a mass of green within six weeks.

When I was in the greenhouse I found a little spider that I had never seen before. It was completely white. I caught it, put it out into the garden and took a photo before it went on it's little journey!

I have looked it up on google to see what it is. Apparently it is a crab spider, colloquially known as "the white death spider" This is only because they are so successful in killing their prey not because they are a danger to us.  It is only found in the south of England and Wales they are able to change their colour to match their surroundings. It can take a few days, but they can appear white, yellow or green. How incredibly clever! I really wish Scarlett had been with me as she loves insects and would have spent ages studying it with a magnifying glass. My eldest daughter has tried so hard to make her grow up not afraid of anything and I know she would have loved it!

Yesterday evening after it was dark I  went out and scattered some wild flower seeds on the grass bank outside our house. We are lucky enough to be raised up behind a hedge, with a little path that in the summer can feel like we are in the countryside, despite the traffic on the road. There are some flowers growing on the bank by the hedge but I thought how nice it would be if this was a mass of colour in the summer. I'm not sure if my orderly neighbours will appreciate it, I have already been told off for feeding the birds in the front garden as they "cheep so loudly in the mornings!" I fear the conversation may go more down the weed route than wildflowers so I scattered them under the cover of darkness! I felt like a guerrilla gardener!

I'm going to have a look at the census this morning and try and get it out of the way and as Tom is working maybe take the walk to Lidl to get a few bits from there. I hope everyone has a lovely Saturday what ever your plans. xx
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