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

Friday, 19 March 2021

One For Sorrow, Two For Joy

 Scarlett and I spent some time yesterday watching the birds in the garden. She is very interested at the moment as my eldest daughter has put up a nest box near their kitchen window and Scarlett is very excited as to what may nest in it. We had Great Tits nesting in a nest box in our garden last year but sadly during the first lockdown Scarlett didn't come round so missed it all. We also had a thrush nesting in the hedge at the end of the garden and I really hope they may return but as a new house is being built adjacent to the hedge I doubt it. One thing we did notice was a pair of magpies busily picking up sticks and carrying them into the cherry tree at the end of the garden. Scarlett spent a long time with a pair of binoculars studying them very seriously. I have mixed feelings about the magpies nesting. I think they may scare off the smaller birds from the garden but of course they have the right to nest some where. The other thing that puts me off is that at our old house, every year we had a pair of magpies nesting and they were the worst bird parents in the world!

Each year they successfully brooded a nest of chicks and then appeared to abandon them the second they left the nest. The worst year was when they decided to nest in out chimney. As each chick left the nest it dropped down our chimney into the living room and flew around spreading years of old soot all around the room. Youngest son remembers in horror the young magpie that flew across the room and hit him squarely on the head as he ran in fear towards the door at eight years old. Another one got wedged behind the chimney breast in our bedroom and I spent an entire day chipping away the brickwork to free the poor thing. Tom came home from work to discover a hole in the wall and a fledgling magpie covered in soot sitting in the tree outside our house. We had to buy and antique fire place and spend days fitting it to repair all the damage. 

They returned every year to give us one problem after another. Wedged behind the freezer, the shed and the old outside toilet they found their way everywhere. An elderly neighbour told us they had nested in the tree in our garden for years and always returned. I'm slightly concerned this is the first year magpies have nested in our garden here and it may lead to them coming back year after year. Apparently they never migrate and always stay in their area. It is rare for a magpie to travel more than 10 miles from where they hatched. I know we will get attached to them and get involved in their hatching. I just hope this pair, if they remain, are a bit more parentally experienced than the pair at our old house! I'll keep them monitored.

When thinking of magpies there is always one song that comes into my mind. For anyone who remembers fondly the 1960s and 70s children's TV programme Magpie. Here is a trip down memory lane.

Tom is on another late shift today and although I have some work to catch up with, I have some of the day free to do what I want. I just can't quite decide yet what. I have several jobs that need doing. I think I'll eat my breakfast, look at the weather forecast and decide. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Battling With Ivy

 We got all the heavy work  done in the garden yesterday. The worst was starting to clear the ivy off the fence. It grows over from next door and a couple of years ago I got so sick of clearing it I decided to let it grow but that was a mistake as it is taking over the whole garden. It has killed my jasmine and lots of the valerian and keeps trying to make the leap across to the path to the house. I dread I may go into youngest son's bedroom and find it has covered him in his sleep! They only emptied our garden waste bin the day before yesterday and it is full again with only two panels cleared. I can see it lurking on the top still, waiting to come over again from next door if I drop my guard! We've got several more panels to go.

I planted one of my favourite little crab apple trees in another of the big blue pots given to us by my lovely jazz pianist neighbour. I spent ages trying to get it in the right place. It is so incredibly heavy, in the end Tom said "Wherever I put it next it is staying forever!" I can't help but think when I look out of the kitchen window it is a bit too far over. Oh dear! 

I'm not going to buy any little plants yet for around the base but will divide some Oxalis clumps around the garden and at this time of year I hope they will grow quite quickly. I love Oxalis although I know some people refer to it as a weed! I love their little pink flowers and the way they close at night. They need to be in a sunny spot as in the shade they do close up but this area of the terrace gets quite a lot of sunshine so should do well. It adds to the natural look I try to get in our garden here is some from a  few summers ago.

Scarlett has just arrived and we have a usual busy day ahead of us. The weather forecast isn't very good but we will still try to get out and about a bit. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever your plans. xx

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Simple Life In Lockdown

 I went to see my Dad yesterday to do his shopping. He has worked so hard in the garden in the last week and it has really lifted his spirits and given him the chance to have a chat with everyone walking by. While we were sitting having a cup of tea the breaking news notification sounded on my phone. "Oh" I said "Hairdressers are opening in Scotland!" That's good news we commented. Then we laughed if anyone had told us this would be breaking news and a topic of our conversation over a year ago we would never have believed them.

The other thing we talked about was the census. We have to fill Dad's online for him as this seems to be just about the only way to do it. There is an option to call someone if you can't do this but I have a feeling this won't be as easy as it sounds.  It must be very hard for some people, even though my Dad is a lot more "tech savvy" than many old people, my sister and I are in a Whatsapp group with him and we regularly chat and exchange photos, I doubt he would be able to fill his whole census in on his tablet. This also led to the conversation of what on earth people in a hundred years time will make of this lockdown census when it is released to the public. As my 89 year old Dad so perfectly put it "I know exactly what I'll be doing on the 21st March, the same as every other day. Bugger all!"

When I got on the train to go home I realised I had left my key at home so I phoned youngest daughter and asked her to listen out for me as I didn't want to be knocking on the door and setting the dogs off barking. We decided it would be a perfect time to test a new discovery we had made on Whatsapp. With all this talk of keeping women safe I had been reading about an option on Whatsapp where you can choose one of your contacts, tap on the little paper clip, then choose location, then live location and that person can track where you are for the amount of time you choose. Youngest daughter set her location too and we could watch each other on the map getting closer and closer. It certainly passed the journey and she was waiting at the front door when she could see me coming down the road on the map. Later on after we had eaten our evening meal she showed me she had recorded a video of my journey home. She then had fun speeding it up to show my little Whatsapp face dashing along the railway track and added it to music. We did laugh so much, although we also decided we definitely need to get out more! Hopefully soon. 

There was a such a beautiful sunset yesterday evening, I tried to get a photo of it while I was on the train, but wasn't able to really as the train was moving too fast. It was so beautiful though I hoped it would mean it would be a nice day today, as the saying goes, and it is a lovely morning.

Tom is off today and he want's to lay some more bricks on our job of paving over the flowerbeds next to our terrace. If it stays nice I'll definitely work in the garden as I have a few heavy planting jobs I need help with while Tom is here. Poor Tom I haven't shared these plans with him yet. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever your plans. xx

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Totally Free Items

 We had some really heavy showers yesterday. I had intended to plant some seeds but decided instead as the garden waste was being collected today to fill the bin as much as possible with the last remnants of winter waste around the garden. I spent the afternoon dashing in and out to avoid these heavy showers but when I spoke to my Dad on the phone in the evening, even though he is only seven miles away he hadn't had a single shower.

While I was inside I got on with a task I  thought was going to be really difficult but wasn't.  When we moved into this house Tom brought home a really lovely brass and onyx standard lamp that someone had put out for the dustmen. I really liked it but it was very wobbly and every time a dog walked by it leaned precariously. The nut which held the stem in place had rusted on so solidly under the base we couldn't tighten it. I couldn't bear to throw it out so we put it in the loft.

I noticed it when I was up in the loft the other week. Strangely Tom had noticed it but not mentioned it either and when he was walking home from work at 1am the other night he noticed a large lampshade on top of the bins to be collected by the dustmen and thought it may do for the lamp. We got it out of the loft and yesterday I set too with rust remover which I bought on Amazon and pliers. It was fiddly work but in the end I managed to fix it and it is completely solid now. It has only taken me 16 years!

As a family we can't resist bringing home free items and reusing them. Eldest son knows how much I love original art and he has often bought round a painting he has found in a skip. One day I may be on Antiques Road Show telling them my £50.000 painting came out of a skip!

The weather forecast is not very good today and I am going to my Dad's to do his shopping. He has been busy this week planting roses he bought from his David Austin catalogue so I hope the weather is nice enough to be out in the garden admiring them. I hope everyone has a lovely day and you manage to see a little bit of spring weather. xx

Monday, 15 March 2021

I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside

 I had such a nice day yesterday. Tom was working but I spent it with youngest son and daughter who I am so grateful to be living with in this lockdown and I had a really lazy day which is unusual for me but made a nice change. In the morning I chatted with eldest daughter on the phone who was spending her day with her partner and Scarlett. I remember a few years ago we all went out for lunch together. How we took those things for granted!

In the afternoon eldest son phoned and we chatted on the phone for an hour while he told me all his plans for his new house on the south coast. He has moved to a three storey Victorian house near Hastings with a sea view and it is beautiful! It has needed an enormous amount of work as it was in the kind of state that would make most people run a mile but he is gradually working through it all. We are just so sad we haven't been able to visit him as often as we wanted to because of the pandemic. I just love it there, I don't know what it is about the sea that makes me feel so at home.

Sometimes I wonder whether memories can be passed on in our DNA. It would really explain how sometimes you can visit a place and instantly feel comfortable or uncomfortable. My Dad joined the Merchant Navy at 14 and I have had a lifetime of tales about  life at sea. It was only when I started looking into my family tree I found out that on my Dad's side my 4x Great Grandfather was a naval captain living in South Africa and my 3x Great Grandfather was a sailor aboard HMS Vanguard in the 1840s. This print is of the Vanguard in 1837. 

I have a real feeling that the sea is "in my blood". I only have to hear the sound of seagulls and I'm off telling everyone how much I love the sea. Eldest son laughs at me and says "It's because your old!". I think it's more than that as I have always been like it. This is the view from his bedroom window on the top floor. I took it last summer in that brief time of some freedom when we could travel and visit. It's only a glimpse of the sea but the sound of seagulls are all around. I can't wait to visit him again. I wonder if anyone else has that feeling of being at home in certain places.

 It seems quite a nice today and I'm hoping to plant some of the seeds I ordered which have arrived. I've also got a few painting jobs in the house I hope to do in the coming weeks as I can leave the windows open a bit more, so searching through the shed to see what paint we have is definitely on my list of things to do today. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever your plans. xx

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Edwardian Gardens And A Much Loved Dog

 It was quite bright yesterday morning and Tom went to B&Q to buy some bricks to start paving over two of the flower beds outside our kitchen and living room windows. Because of the weight of them he only is going to buy 30 at a time for fear of damaging the car suspension! We have tried so many different ways of stopping the dogs running on those flower beds when they are let out of the back door but Layla just can't contain her excitement. She tries to be good for days and then one day she just loses control of herself and that's it, a newly planted flower is ruined! We have decided just to brick them over and put pots on them. I want it to look a bit rustic, not too neat. I have been reading a lot about Edwardian garden design as our house is Edwardian being built in 1908. It has given me lots of ideas. The planted standard rose is first in place on the newly laid bricks. I feel as if I am starting with a blank canvas in this part of the garden now we have cleared out the remaining sickly looking plants, which is a lot of fun.

By the time this was all finished really heavy rain and hail stones arrived so we didn't get round to fixing the wisteria arch. I had asked my Dad on the phone about the problem with the wisteria not flowering and he suggested I just give it a really good feeding with a rose fertiliser or such like which I am going to do. I would love for it to flower this year.

I have opened my present from my family this morning for Mother's Day and I can't begin to say how pleased I am. They have been co ordinating this present and organising it for weeks. It is a framed drawing of my much loved Border Collie Bud who died the year before last. They said as I always joked he was my fifth child (and the only obedient one!) it would be fitting to give it to me today. It has taken pride of place on my dresser and I almost feel he is in the room with me again. 

I hope everyone who is celebrating Mother's Day has a lovely day today and if it makes you feel a bit sad for any reason, and I know no matter how much I will enjoy the day there will always be that feeling now without my Mum,  I hope so much you can think of happy times to help you. xx

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Special Roses

 We had quite a busy day yesterday. The car was loaded with all the rubbish from the old duck run and we took it to the dump. With this new appointment system, we were in and out in no time then off to Lidl. We haven't been for months and although it was not too busy which was nice I was a bit disappointed. I had hoped to buy some compost and a couple of plants but although I bought a few bags of compost there were no plants at all. At this time of the year normally there would have been plants, fruit bushes and even fruit trees but today nothing. At least it was quite nice to get out and about!

My Dad had so kindly given me some money for Mother's Day to buy a rose to plant to remember my Mum with. I had been looking online at a company I had bought from before which sells really good quality roses and knew the one I wanted. It is called "Sheila's Perfume" my Mum's name. I can't wait for it to flower. It will always be very special to me. 

While I was looking on the website I noticed another rose I couldn't resist buying too as it would save so much on postage costs to buy at the same time. It was a half standard rose called "Special Friend". A year ago a neighbour and friend of mine died. Nothing coronavirus related but even though she had not been in the best of health it was a shock as she was only in her early 70s. She and her husband have been such friends to us over the years. Dog lovers like we are and such bright fun people, real individuals. Her husband is a jazz pianist and when he was away working she would phone for a chat and we would pop round for visits. The summer before she died she came round one day to tell me she had some garden planters being delivered and would we look out for them in case she was out. She was so excited telling me the plants she would be putting in them. 

Last summer the empty planters in their front garden with dried up shrivelled plants in them made me feel so sad every time I walked past. Then one day, during the winter, her husband stopped me and asked if I would like the planters as he didn't have the heart to look after them. They are ever so big and will need lots of plants to fill them and I have been trying to decide which ones as somehow I feel they must be really special. I have planted "Sheila's Perfume" in one and "Special Friend" in another. They are bare root roses so aren't doing much at the moment but are a really good start to making them look wonderful. For so many reasons I am really pleased with these roses.

I spent the rest of the afternoon tidying up the greenhouse. I have bought some seeds on special offer and when they arrive I want to be ready to plant them. It's all starting to look very spring like.

Tom had his coronavirus vaccine yesterday afternoon. He had the Astrazeneca vaccine the same as me, and he has not had any side effects yet which is good news. The lovely young Welsh man on BBC breakfast who wear bright brooches on his suit (I love brooches!) says the east of the country will have sunny spells today. Tom is off and we have dog walks and fixing the wooden garden arch planned. The arch is for our wisteria which is growing furiously but even though it has been doing well for 16 years it only flowered  once. I wish I knew what was wrong or more importantly how to put it right! I hope everyone has a lovely Saturday and manages to avoid this blustery weather. xx

Friday, 12 March 2021

Changing Cars And Phones

 Scarlett loved the new dolls house furniture and by far her favourite item was the tiny little telephone on a telephone table. She couldn't get over the little dial on it and it led to a lot of discussion about what telephones used to be like.

 It did make me think how technology is changing. It doesn't seem five minutes since the days when if a friend wanted to talk to you they had to call you on a house phone like this. How many of us had to sit in a cold hall on a hall seat just like this having a chat to a school friend? Telephone calls were so expensive in those days too, so the conversations were never long, it would be a quick chat to arrange where we were going to meet and then finished. In those days though we would then be out on our bikes meeting in the park, or just sitting on a wall chatting. We may not have had technology but we had so much more freedom.

Tom was off yesterday and I did have to laugh he was so cross with himself for losing Layla's toy the day before in the park. He walked round there on his own and climbed the tree to rescue the toy stuck in the branches! Layla is so happy to have her new toy returned and Tom didn't fall and break a bone which was what I was worried about. He came with us on our walk around and about on the way to the bakers too and Scarlett proudly showed him all the things we comment about when we are out walking. I had to pre warn him to look suitably delighted or horrified at the right moments (Pretty flowers or graffiti!) . 

A couple of things kept us talking for a while though while we were out and they were the same but very different. I mentioned some weeks ago about a house near us that had been empty for nearly 40 years! If you want to see photos of the house you can see them here The History Of A House I mentioned that there was an old Morris Minor behind the gates. Someone has dragged the poor old car out into the front garden and now it is sitting there looking so sad.

I really wish I was able to restore something like this. I love restoring items back to their former glory but my limit is old toys! I hope so much that this poor car isn't just scrapped but some clever person rescues it. When we had walked up the hill to the baker's shop there was another car parked at the top that caught Tom's eye much more.

It is part of an advertising campaign for a newly extended restaurant who I suppose are planning ahead for when lockdown ends and Tom loved it. He spent ages looking through the windows and admiring it. It says something about me though that if I had the choice of the two, and the Morris Minor was restored, I would choose the Morris Minor! When elder daughter picked Scarlett up yesterday evening she dropped off my Mother's Day present as sadly, because of the current rules, she won't be able to come round on Sunday. It is a wrapped up present from all four of my children who have got together to get something for me they say they know I will like. How exciting and how clever they have been to coordinate a surprise during this lockdown!
 Tom is off again today and we have a busy day ahead. He has a spot booked at the dump to take the old duck run panels and then we are going to go shopping to Lidl which we haven't been to for months! I will go with him to the dump so we can go straight on to Lidl and it almost feels exciting going so far afield. Things are bad when I'm looking forward to an outing to the local refuse tip! Later on this afternoon he is having his first coronavirus vaccination at Epsom Downs Racecourse which feels like such a positive step forward. I hope everyone has a wonderful day what ever you are doing. xx

Thursday, 11 March 2021

All Behind Us

 Well what a difference a day made in the weather. It was horrible yesterday. Raining, cold and blowing a gale. Tom was on a late duty so he took Layla to the park before he left. It was so windy when he threw her new toy it was caught by a gust of wind and ended up caught in a tree. Sadly too high to be retrieved poor Layla had to walk home without her precious new toy to carry and I will have to order her a new one from Pets At Home.  

At lunchtime I went to my Dad's to do his shopping on the train as usual and it was so horrible sitting at the station I was glad of my mask to keep my face warm! When I arrived at the station the usually lovely view was very grey 

Even though the shops were quiet, probably made worse by the bad weather, it was really nice to see school children round and about again. It's only about four more weeks until more shops will be opening up and it will give a nicer feel to the whole village. Just to see people sitting outside the cafes again, even if they are not allowed to be inside for a while will be so nice. I did have to smile there were two old men sitting on old fashioned shooting sticks in the main street drinking cups of coffee. They looked so pleased with themselves sitting socially distanced having a chat. How resourceful people have become! One of the really good things to come out of this pandemic has been the ingenuity of so many people and businesses to keep going in some way. 

To have a clear out and raise a bit of money, our lovely little florist has put a table of very sickly looking pot plants outside asking people to help themselves but they would be ever so grateful for a donation. I took a Christmas Cactus and left some money in one of the little envelopes. It had lots of brown leaves and looked very sad. I have cut off the dead leaves and re-potted it and it is looking better already. I'm hoping by the time it flowers in the winter I will be saying "Remember when I bought this plant during lockdown, well thank goodness that is all behind us now." Fingers crossed, I'm sure it will be.

The wind blowed a gale all night and I could hear was things blowing around and banging round the whole neighbourhood. All I could imagine was my little greenhouse blowing away and ending up on the main road with all my little seedlings scattered around the garden but when I woke up to my relief everything looked fine, if a bit wind swept. Scarlett is coming this morning and another little parcel for the dolls house has arrived for her to open which I know she will be thrilled with. I hope we will be able to get out for a walk today, we'll just have to see how the weather goes. I really hope everyone has managed without too much damage from the gales and has a lovely day today hat ever you are doing. xx

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

The Finished Duck Run

It was such a beautiful sunny day yesterday I managed to finish nearly all the last little bits in the duck run. I painted their house, I just have one more side to go but ran out of time. The whole time I was painting naughty Carue our male duck pecked away at my ankles making it all much harder than it should have been. I just ignore him and carry on and I can see the annoyance on his little face I don't react! As I have said before we drove a 100 mile round trip to a farm to pick him when he was two weeks old. We had hatched one solitary duckling and wanted a companion for her. We rang around duck sellers and eventually found a farmer who said we could have a male call duckling as he had hatched too many and if we didn't take him he would have his neck rung anyway. I sometimes wonder whether a hatred of people developed in those first two weeks as he has never liked us despite all our salad treats! Scoot however who spent her first two weeks in our house and having a daily swim in the bath, loves being carried about and having her neck scratched. Carue looks so cute though waddling about we forgive him anything (almost!).

Even Scoot let me down when I was trying to film her enjoying a swim on such a lovely sunny day!

Although she really does enjoy her swimming. Our next job, now we have a bigger run, is to try and find her a bigger pool. She would love it.

This morning is a horrible comparison to yesterday, cold and wet with a forecast of heavy winds. I spent yesterday evening before it went dark checking the run and greenhouse were as weighted down as they could be. The last thing we want is it blowing away! All my planted seeds are back in the greenhouse so fingers crossed it's not too bad. I'm off to do my Dad's shopping today so I hope the rain isn't too heavy as queuing outside shops in the rain isn't much fun! I hope the coming storms are not too bad for everyone and you all manage to stay safe and enjoy your day. xx

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Growing From Collected Seeds

 Everything went smoothly yesterday for youngest son and daughter with all the children they look after back at school. Although youngest daughter did comment that she found all the crowds of people at the school almost overwhelming after all this time of it being so quiet. It did make me realise that life is going to be quite hard for lots of people as we gradually get back to normal. In many ways maybe it is just as well that it is gradual and not an overnight letting out. 

I have been sorting out plants in my greenhouse that are growing from seeds I collected last autumn. Monty Don on Gardeners World said to plant perennial seeds in the autumn and although they won't do much over the winter it will give you a good start for the spring. I think he may be right as lots of them are doing quite well although it is mixed.

My sister gave me some Hollyhock seeds and they have done ever so well. I am promising hollyhocks to everyone!

Sadly quite a few of my perennial poppy plants died when I repotted them but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the remaining ones. The echinops I collected from seeds in my Dad's garden have done well and I'm going to repot them in the next few days, so I hope I don't finish them off too!

The Meadowsweet I collected the seeds from last autumn when we were out walking the dogs through local woods have just started to appear. 

One of the trays of seed growing I'm very pleased with are the perennial  salad leaves Red Veined Sorrel. We had some growing in our garden when we moved in and I have really become a fan. The plants regrow every year if you cut them back low at the beginning of the winter, and last autumn I left some to go to seed so I could grow some more. I treat them like spinach and cut the baby leaves as they grow to eat in salads and leave some plants to get bigger and use those leaves for cooking adding them to stir fries or in the vegetable bakes I make. They are packed with nutrients and have quite a distinctive tangy taste  which I really like but best of all they are so hardy. I have grown them for years without managing to kill them and slugs and snails seem to just ignore them.

Today seems to be the last nice day before a few days of wet and windy weather so I think I will get out and try to do a bit more repotting in the fresh air. I hope everyone has a lovely day and the sun shines on you for a while at least! xx

Monday, 8 March 2021

Planting Summer Bulbs And Writing Letters

 I managed to get the letter to my old school friend written yesterday. I had bought a jolly little greetings card of a puppy tucked up in bed in the hope it may make her smile. Also on a card you have limited space so you are not struggling to fill a whole page. It actually felt quite fun taking pen to paper and writing a proper letter! I didn't want to launch into a saga of my life until I found out how life had treated her. I have just told her what is going on with a reunion added my email address and phone number and said I really hope to hear from her. I made a point of adding even if she didn't fancy going to the school reunion it would be lovely to be back in touch. I had found the last letter she sent me when we were 19. she had just met her future husband and it was so full of fun and hope for the future as you are at that age. I so hope life has been kind to her. It's sitting in the hall waiting to be posted this morning when I walk the dogs so fingers crossed for a reply.

I was going to paint the duck house yesterday but it was very chilly and painting is a job that requires standing about so I  planted a few new summer flowering bulbs in the greenhouse and did a bit of hoeing which certainly warms you up. No treasures found, just lots of worms so I was followed about by a little robin all the time I was out there. I had bought some summer bulbs on ebay as I haven't been to the garden centre and I have never even heard of the flowers before. They are called Persian Buttercups and in the photo they look so pretty. Apparently they are wonderful for cut flowers so I'm really looking forward to seeing how they grow. I hope they end up looking as good as the photo in the advert! 

Children are back at school in England today. Youngest son and daughter are both really looking forward to seeing some of the children they look after that they haven't seen for months. Hopefully it's a step to life being a bit more normal. I'm almost starting to forget what normal is! If you're affected by the opening up steps that are happening today I hope it all goes really smoothly for you and everyone has a lovely day what ever your plans. xx
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