Friday, 30 April 2021

Dancing And Poles

 Scarlett wasn't too well yesterday, she had a cold and a cough and was feeling a bit sorry for herself. Luckily I had found something to really brighten her up. She loves our oil painting of a ballerina and often says "I wish I was a ballerina." When my eldest daughter, her Mum, was just a little bit older than her she used to say exactly the same thing too so we enrolled her in little ones ballet classes. After about a year she lost interest and didn't want to go any more but it an enjoyable time she remembers fondly, even though the old lady who taught them was rather "old school". I often remember her and her massive old Victorian house with part of the downstairs converted into a dance studio as I walk by where it was. It was as if you had stepped back in time when you went in and is still firmly retained in my mind, even the smell of the polish. Sadly the whole house has gone now and a block of flats has replaced it and even though I remember the place I can't remember the old ladies name. That is going to irritate me until I do, I hate it when I forget names.

This week I searched out eldest daughters old ballet shoes and gave them to her. She was so excited. They just about fit, maybe a little big but they still have the pink elastic I sewed on to keep them on. She danced and pirouetted about the place all day. We weren't allowed to call her Scarlett we had to call her ballerina! It made her completely forget her cold. While she as practicing her ballet positions the fox came down and looked in at her. I said "Look even the fox is so impressed with your dancing he's coming down to watch!" I'm sure she believed it was true.

Tom is off work today and we are going over to my Dad's house to set up our caravan awning in the garden as the new poles have arrived. We bought the old 1970s awning without poles and thought it would be easy to find replacements but it has been a real struggle. We have searched and searched. Youngest daughter says for the last two months our main topic of conversation has been poles. Tom has even been texting me from work saying "Any news on the poles!" I think everyone is bored to death with the subject. Well the much anticipated poles have finally arrived and we have now got to double check they fit. We have decided the best place to do this is in my Dad's garden, where there is much more space than in ours, not to struggle in full view of other caravaners when we are away. If they don't fit after all this I give up!

It looks quite bright this morning but apparently showers may be coming later, hopefully they will hold off until after the great awning assessment! I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever your plans. xx 

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Clearing Out And Snoopy Pennants

 It was a cold, rather miserable day yesterday. We had rain but the only really substantial rain we had was when I went out into the garden to feed the birds and change the ducks water! I had a few jobs planned but the main job was clearing out all the drawers in the living room. It took much longer than I had imagined it would and I threw out a bag full of items. The trouble is with clearing out drawers after all that work there isn't much to show for it. I did find a few interesting things though. These old Caravan Club badges from the 1960s I had put a way a while ago after my Dad found them and gave them to me. We used to collect them and they were all displayed in our caravan on a board. He is still looking for more we had. I want to put them up again in our caravan now but I'm struggling to find the best way to do this. I'm trying to find a retro looking board, something a bit 70s but not too large. I remember when I lived in the nurses home in the late 1970s we all had cork boards with photos pinned on them, I'm really looking forward to Car Boot Sales starting up and maybe I will be able to find something suitable. 

The other items I have put aside for the caravan is something I bought on ebay for just a few pounds. I am trying to make another flag for the flag holders and wanted something to reflect what I would have had in the 1970s. Everyone who knows me knows how much I have always loved Snoopy! My old school friends laugh at me as they say I used to have Snoopy all over my books at school and now I'm still sharing Snoopy post on facebook  50 years later. It has been pointed out to me I've never grown up! I looked at old Snoopy pennants but the cheapest I could find was for £35 and I'm not going to pay that! Instead I bought these old 1970s Snoopy patches, do you remember when we had patches on our clothes like this! I'm going to make a flag using the old Caravan Club pennant as a template and sew one on each side. My sewing pile is growing!

It looks like a nice bright day today and Scarlett will be here soon so I better start getting her breakfast ready. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Struggling With Technology

 It as a really sunny, bright, cheerful day yesterday. When my sister and I arrived at my Dad's house, he was sitting out on his bench in the front garden. He loves to sit after he has worked and gets to chat to so many people as they walk by. He always says "I don't know them from Adam, but they seem to know me!" It makes me laugh, it's not just neighbours, it's local school children, delivery drivers and even groups of cyclists all in their cycling gear wave and call to him as they go past. So many people are so kind. Now he can get out and about again he had been to the local garden centre to buy some hanging baskets and they looked so lovely we all sat and admired them for a while.

A couple of years ago my Dad went on a course to help him get to grips with the internet and technology. It was one day a week and was one to one which really helped him. The young man who was teaching, set up a WhatsApp group for him and my sister which we still use all the time. We send him photos throughout the day and even though he makes mistakes sometimes (don't we all!) he manages to do the same. We get photos of Millie his cat watching TV, and new plants he has put in the garden! It is a really good way for him to feel connected throughout the day. When I tell my friends we have a WhatsApp group some of them say "My Mum or Dad could never manage a mobile phone!" I think that is a shame. Trying new things is what has kept my Dad young.

Today is Ed Balls day. Youngest son tells me each year of the fact! Apparently the poor MP Ed Balls, obviously struggling with technology, tried to search on Twitter to see what was being said about him, and just tweeted his own name by mistake. It amused everyone so much, it was retweeted millions of times. Luckily he finds it very amusing and goes along with the joke, which is just as well as today is the tenth anniversary of what has become an annual "Ed Balls Day". I think we should use this day to remind ourselves as we get older that we should embrace technology and not be scared of it. If we make mistakes who cares. My Dad often sends back the photos we send him but because he willing to give it all a go, his days are much more fun and connected with the family than they could be. 

There is actually rain forecast today, we haven't seen rain for weeks! The garden really does need it. I think I will get on with some inside jobs today that I have been putting off for a while. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Middle Class Fly Tipping

 I managed to get quite a lot of tidying up in the garden finished yesterday. At this time of the year if I have a spare half hour I will go out and do one task in the garden as there is so much to do. I'm good at shutting my mind to the bigger picture and just doing one task as otherwise it's so overwhelming. I choose one bush that needs cutting back and don't look at anything else. Our garden is so packed, if I see one gap in the soil I think what can I plant there, it's the only way I can stay on top of it. The Cosmos and new Hollyhock seeds I planted are starting to come up in the greenhouse and sickly tomato plant is growing a few new tiny leaves. I  put it out in the sun in the afternoon and then bring it back in to the kitchen windowsill when it starts to get cold. When I was queueing outside the Co-Op yesterday I bought another tomato plant and a trailing petunia. At £1 each I can see standing next to the display outside the shop is going to be very tempting!

While I was out walking Tess yesterday evening, I came across a box of children's books at someone's front gate with a "Help Yourself" sign on it. All old books, I couldn't resist taking a few, I wish I could have carried more! 

At least the people in this house put a sign there but I still felt a bit embarrassed taking them and did a little grateful wave to the house as I walked away in case they were looking out! Eldest son doesn't care at all when I used to sell on ebay he would regularly phone me up with questions like "How much can you get for a game of Operation, is it worth me taking it for you?" It did remind me of an incident that happened a few years ago. 

I was walking Bud in a very well to do area with enormous houses. By the front gate was a lovely little wooden and wicker child's chair. Scarlett was just a baby at the time but I thought how nice it would be for her when she got a bit older. I dithered and dithered about whether I should take it and in the end went and knocked on the front door and very pleasantly asked if the chair was free to take. "Of course it is" answered the woman "It's what we call middle class fly tipping!" She managed to make me feel as if I should doff my cap and say "Thank you M'lady" as I took it away! I can never walk past things by front gates without thinking of it as middle class fly tipping but it is quite a good idea. I've noticed during lockdown, with charity shops closed, it has really increased and I have to be strong to stop myself sometimes as I have a house full as it is, but the books were different, I can always find a gap for a book. Scarlett loves her little chair and has used it for over two years carrying it from here to there all day so it was well worth it.

It's another bright morning and I'm off to my Dad's house to do his shopping and all the other little jobs that need sorting out. I hope everyone has a lovely day and gets to enjoy some sunshine. xx

Monday, 26 April 2021

The Young Have Arrived

 It was another lovely sunny day yesterday after another cold start. Poor Tom, leaving at 5am everyday at the moment has to wear a warm coat and then spends the rest of the day having to lug it about. I decided I would try and fix the Roberts Radio. In the end I used a plastic wire connector to connect the new battery terminal wires and it worked, the radio has power and it switches on! However very disappointingly I still can't get any sound. The must be something else wrong with it. I'm not giving up yet though, I'm going to do a google search to see if I can find out what else the problem may be and another search on trusty YouTube. 

In the afternoon I gardened and weeded and cut back. The garden waste bin is collected tomorrow and am I the only person who feels that because I have paid for it to be collected, it must be full! While I was "slaving away" as youngest daughter called it, she lay on the sun lounger working on her tan and giving me a running commentary of what the wildlife was doing. Our vixen has kept a very low profile in the last few days but the male fox has been up and down all the time. While we were out there she suddenly appeared. "Is that our vixen?" said youngest daughter. "She looks different" When I looked at her she stared back in the usual trusting way but she looked thinner and strangely dirty. She must have had her cubs. I wonder where they are they must be very close, probably just behind the fence I think. I set up my wildlife camera as really want to catch them on film as soon as they emerge out. Last year after the cubs were born the male fox disappeared completely for a few months so I'll be very interested to see if that happens again. Here is the male fox keeping an eye on us.

The other interesting observation youngest daughter noticed while she was lying there was the magpies are busy in and out of the nest now in the cherry tree so their eggs must have hatched. What I feared has happened and we appear to have no other small birds nesting in our garden this year because of them being there but I suppose they have a right to nest too. They have such a bossy way about them I do have to laugh.

It seems both sets of parents have had young over the weekend. It remains to be seen how well the next few months goes for them. I'm going to look into what food I can put out for the magpies to give to their young as if I can minimise the chance of them stealing young from other birds nests it must be for the good. 

It's quite overcast and chilly this morning and apparently we have more cold weather on the way. As my Mum used to say "Never cast a clout till May is out!" I'm going to be working this morning, then trying to fill the garden waste bin to capacity this afternoon. I hope everyone has a lovely day today what ever your plans. xx

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Coronavirus Vaccinations And Tomato Plants

 Scarlett really enjoyed being here on a Saturday too. We watered all the plants in the garden as everywhere is really dry. We haven't had rain for quite a long time now, I can't even really remember when it last rained. Luckily I had my little helper with me and all the plants got watered. There's a lot to water now. I can't quite bring myself to put my seedlings out yet, after all the hard work of collecting the seeds and growing them, I'd be ever so upset if they were killed by a late frost.

After lunch my eldest daughter picked Scarlett up, sadly the house they were looking at was no good for lots of reasons. It was such a lovely day I decided to walk into Sutton to get my second coronavirus jab. I had the AstraZeneca again and explained that I had, had a temperature and a headache after the last injection. The nurse advised me to take two paracetamol before I went to bed, which I did, and I have been fine. Maybe I would have been anyway, but so far I feel very well and am so relieved they are both out of the way.

On the way back I bumped into a man who works at the Co-op. He was telling me that they have had lots of tomato plants delivered for £1. We had a chat about what we were both growing and how it was all doing and I said I would pop down later to buy a couple. As the evening went on I forgot about it then at about 9pm I remembered. As I felt tired by then, Tom said he would go, he loves seeing what they have reduced at the end of the day, usually cakes he finds I've noticed! He was very pleased to have bought the last tomato plant left. "It looks a bit dead" I said trying not to appear ungrateful. "I thought you would be able to bring it back to life!" I'm not sure about that. It's in "intensive care" on the kitchen windowsill but I still I think I may watch for the delivery lorry going by today and then run down an hour later and see if I can buy a few more. 

I've got some spare time today so I think I may have a go at fixing the old Robert's radio. My fingers have been itching to do it but I have needed a day with some free time. I hope everyone has a lovely Sunday what ever your plans. xx

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Astonishing Coincidences And Quarantine Hotels

 Everybody's life I think seems to be a succession of coincidences. When you come from a strain of a family that has travelled so much it's a miracle really each person met, they so easily could have just missed each other and then none of us would be here. A few years ago I was amazed to discover that Judith my 4x Great Grandmother was born where I live now. Part of a London Borough now, in 1791 when she as born it was a tiny village but it had the same pub, same ponds and same church. The church she was baptised in is the one I walk through the graveyard with Scarlett all the time as a cut through to the park. The graveyard that my 6x Great Grandparents are buried in after they settled in the village with their young son, my 5x Great Grandfather. I have never been able to find their grave as the old stones are so worn but I know they are there and think about them when ever I walk through. As a Liverpool family moving "down south" it is a miracle that we ended up in the same place. However this year I found and even more incredible coincidence. 

I decided I would see if I could go any further back from Charles and Sarah my 6x Great Grandparents. It was relatively easy as they have such an unusual surname Sprules. The coincidences continued as my 7x Great Grandfather also called Charles was born in the village we moved to in 1967 where my Dad still lives now. He was baptised in the church we have walked up to a thousand times just around the corner from the lodge my Mum and Dad moved to in 1980. Even more astonishing though was the fact his father, also called Charles (they didn't have much imagination in those days!) was the bailiff and book keeper for the Park Estate where my Dad lives in the lodge now. In the 1680's and 90's he would have lived literally a few hundred yards from where the family home is now. When we moved there it was just a name on a map of England. We had never heard of it but we said it had a really nice feel to the village. I'm beginning to wonder now if some sort of memory has been passed on in our DNA!

Around 1700 Charles the book keeper moved to Mickelham, a few miles down the road. I have found his will, four pages long with bequeaths to everyone he ever knew I think, he named so many people! I like to think he must have been very kind.  He was described as a Yeoman for a large estate in Mickelham. In 1719 he died and was buried in the graveyard there with his wife Mary who had died 12 years before. Yesterday I went with my Dad and my sister to St Michael And All Angels Church in Mickelham. We searched and searched but couldn't find his grave as the old graves were so worn. We did however find the grave of his son William who is my 7x Great Uncle.

It was the most beautiful peaceful spot there and a warm sunny day. I could picture our ancestors standing in the graveyard. It was a lovely afternoon and we sat on a bench for a long time talking about it all. I'm going to email the church office to see if they can tell us the exact spot of Charles's grave and we have other trips planned. I feel a bit, it is our duty to other descendants of the family, who are spread all around the world, to find more information as we live so near. 

When I got home eldest son phoned to tell me he had a contract for the next 16 weeks supplying a coach to transport people coming into the country from India to hotels to quarantine, under the guard of Group 4 and the police.. He said it was a really down day hearing all these poor people talking about their experiences in India where they are suffering terribly with their second wave of coronavirus and he felt so sorry for them just being sent off to hotels in parts of the country they didn't even know. He isn't allowed any where near them or to touch their suitcases but I kept worrying all evening about him catching this different strain, especially as he is the only one of us not to have had coronavirus, and is too young to have had his vaccination yet.

Talking of vaccinations I am going to get my second jab later on today which feels very positive. First though I'm looking after Scarlett for a few hours this morning as my eldest daughter and her partner are going to look at a new house they are interested in buying. How exciting for them. It's another sunny day, no rain forecast so I better go out and start watering all my seedlings before she arrives. I hope everyone has a lovely Saturday what ever your plans. xx

Friday, 23 April 2021

Trees In Urban Areas

 After a cold start it was another lovely sunny day. Scarlett and I sit and plan our day while we eat our breakfast. She loves it as we have a bird feeder hanging off our dining room window that is the House Sparrows domain. We have a constant stream of them all day and I'm sure they eat more than the aviary birds but Scarlett just loves them as they are so entertaining to watch. Already planning her trip to the bakers she asked "Will you be buying a wholemeal, square topped, sliced as well as my cake?" They don't miss a thing do they!

After our walk and the trip to the bakers we ate an early lunch as we were so looking forward to spending the afternoon in the garden. Scarlett  is happy to sit and watch the birds and help as much as she can when I'm doing little jobs around. 

She is fascinated by all the little trees growing. Of all the things I grow, I get most pleasure from growing trees. I can't think of anything nicer than being the person who started a large old tree that is still growing, years and years after I am dead and gone. What a simple but wonderful legacy to leave. Someone years ago planted this beautiful ornamental cherry tree opposite our house and I see people constantly stopping to admire it. 

There has been much on the news in the last 24 hours about the spread of trees in the UK. It was really interesting. There are more trees now in urban areas than in the countryside. Large farming areas such as Lincolnshire have the least trees in the country, where as the boroughs of Camden and Croydon, the second being just down the road from me in London are in the top twenty places in England with the most trees. If we are lucky enough to have a garden I think it is important we should try and plant one if we can. I feel really sad when I'm walking the dogs and see front gardens completely paved over. When I was a child all little front gardens had a lawn, flowers and often a pretty tree. I remember when we moved down to Surrey in 1967 the first thing my Dad did was to plant some trees in the garden of our new build. My sister and I were thrilled when we went down the road a couple of years ago to see the lovely ornamental cherry tree he planted was still there in the front garden. I wonder if the maple and apple trees are still in the back garden. 

The survey said that Surrey is the county in England with the most trees and that is where I am off to today to do a bit of family tree investigating. It is a lovely day so I'm really looking forward to it and I'm going to make sure I admire the trees while I'm out and about. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever your plans. xx

Thursday, 22 April 2021

New Garden Buys

 We took all the boxed figurines to the charity salesroom early yesterday and even though I felt guilty, once they were all gone I felt so much better. They may not be my taste but I know there will be someone out there who will like them. Then we went on to the garden centre. Other than going last December to buy our Christmas tree we haven't been for over a year. In that time, what was a family business has now been taken over by a large chain. Local facebook groups have not stopped complaining but I thought I would go in with an open mind. I must admit it has totally lost it's individuality and the farm shop has even become a Sainsburys Local. I was talking to one of the staff and she was telling me that every area has been franchised out to separate companies and so no one who works there has any idea where anything is. You couldn't fault the staff though, they were all really helpful and friendly. The home sections were nice with a big selection, but the plants seem to have doubled in price. I have become a bit stingy with growing so much from collected seeds and roses from cuttings so there is no way I would have paid the prices. I did buy a little Pieris for the rockery as it said it liked shade, for £4, but it was tiny. 

I bought this garden clock with a thermometer on the other side. It will be so useful so when I am working out there I can just glance up to see the time.

I bought some new solar lights for the aviary. Over the winter our last lights snapped on a windy night and I chose some really sweet ones in the shape of bees. You can't really see them in the first photo but I took another one of the detail of one. 

The other item I bought was a crystal wind spinner. It's so pretty in the sunshine. I may try and get another one for the end of the garden. It was only when we were on our way home in the car I realised I had completely forgotten the compost. How annoying. I'll have to check out the prices online.

One thing that happened yesterday was a total surprise. When I went up to the end of the garden to check the birds first thing in the morning the figure I had put in the rockery of a runner was missing an arm! The fox had bitten it off and carried it ten feet away to the other side of the garden. Well, I thought that figure certainly isn't bronze! I'm going to try and repair it but I can't help but wonder if anything at fox level may get chewed up. At least I didn't spend any money on it! Yesterday evening the new lights lit up beautifully. I suppose the fox will be able to see what it's chewing now!

Scarlett is coming today and I'm looking forward to showing her what we have done in the garden. It's rather a shame I can't do any planting with her but I'm sure we'll find something to do. I hope everyone has a lovely day and has time to enjoy some of this lovely sunshine. xx

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Rockeries And Missing Gnomes

 I didn't really get a relaxing day yesterday in the end but spent most of the morning sorting things out to take to the charity salesroom. The items we are taking I pondered and pondered about. A few weeks before my lovely neighbour died she called me in as I as walking by and told me she had a really big collection of figurines she wanted to get rid of and she wanted to give them to me. She thought I may like some but any I didn't want just sell as she knew I was selling on ebay at the time. After she died her husband said would I still take them as she had wanted me to have them. It took half the morning to move them and they were piled practically to the ceiling in the dining room all still in their boxes. It was very awkward as none of them were really to my taste. I kept a couple that were quite nice so I had something to remember her with and then the pandemic started so we put them in the loft. We have decided it's no good we are going to have to be hard hearted and get rid of them. I can't help but feel guilty though. 

When I was looking through them I came across some bronze figures of old fashioned sportsmen. I thought they may be quite nice as garden ornaments, especially if they get a bit of an aged, antique look. After lunch I took the stones I have removed from the aviary and scrubbed them clean and hosed them down. Then I added them to my new rockery. I had intended to add three figures, the cricketer, the runner and the snooker player but the snooker player's cue was like a darning needle it was so sharp! I was worried one of the foxes would walk into it in the dark and do themselves an injury so that is going. I'm quite pleased with the finished area. 

Youngest daughter wasn't so sure as I was taking them out. "I'll have to see it" she said with a very disapproving look on her face. I had to smile, it all reminded me very much of something we were talking about at my Dad's house the other day. Years ago my Dad brought home a garden gnome, he called him Fred and proudly displayed him in the flower bed. Mum was horrified as she used to really dislike garden gnomes. but didn't want to hurt Dad's feelings so would just push him behind bushes every time she was in the garden, my Dad would bring him back out never knowing how he ended up behind a bush. This gnome moving went on for 35 years. I can picture my Mum tutting and saying look at Fred sitting by the lawn, as she dashed out to hide him. 

When we were in the garden the other day I said "Where is Fred?" There was a long silence as we looked around the garden. "He must have got broken and thrown out" said my Dad. "I'd remember that" I said thinking about the years of gnome moving. He has completely disappeared! None of us have any idea how. It is very strange. When I had finished the rockery youngest daughter came out to have a look. "They look quite nice" she said in the same grudging tone my Mum would use about Fred. If they start moving, or even worse disappear I'll want to know why!

I spent the rest of the afternoon weeding and tidying. I still haven't got any more compost so my planting has come to a halt. Everything is coming to life so much, I won't be happy until it is a mass of greenery but it is getting there. 

This morning we are taking all the boxed figurines to the charity showroom then going on to the garden centre. My Dad gave me a garden voucher for Christmas that I still haven't spent because of the lockdown so I have that to treat myself with. I'm really looking forward to finding something nice, but it definitely won't be a gnome! Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. xx

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Family Tree Coincidences And A New Hobby

 It was a really bright warm day yesterday after the cold start. I worked first thing in the morning and then planted a couple of butterfly bushes I have grown in pots from little seedlings that have just appeared in the garden as butterfly bushes do. I love them but you have to keep them a bit under control and we cut down an enormous one earlier this year that had just got away from us. I have planted the new one in the same spot, it may not flower this year but they do grow very quickly so we may be lucky. After an early lunch I went to my Dad's house. I often think, when I arrive at Epsom Downs station it is one of the most beautiful spots, especially on a sunny day.

It was so nice to be out and about and my Dad, my sister and I had a really lovely catch up and planned some open air outings. We decided it will be a perfect time to do some investigating in our family tree which we chatted about all afternoon. I have been studying it for years and have recently found some incredible coincidences on my Dad's side. We couldn't quite believe it when it came to light and we said if it was written in a book no one would believe it could happen. Later in the week we are going to a nearby church to have a look around the graveyard. My Dad joked things have got bad when he's looking forward to a trip round a graveyard. He also joked that at nearly 90 people will think he's choosing his plot! I'm just looking forward to us all spending some time together and uncovering more of the mystery. I'll write more about it soon. 

Another really exciting thing that happened yesterday was my very kind brother-in-law has given me his spare butane gas blow torch. I have had my old Robert's radio that I used to listen to as a teenager, for years. It doesn't work as the battery connectors have become corroded. I have contacted a few places and they have said they don't mend these old radios, I've even been on to Roberts themselves with no success and I have been looking at repair cafe's but none of them seem to be open because of the pandemic. I would love to be able to get this radio working again, so I have been studying Youtube videos and have decided to give it a go myself. I have bought some new battery connectors on ebay but first I'm going to be very careful and try out the blow torch on a broken brooch I bought at a jumble sale, then I'm hoping to progress to the radio. If I master it I have all kinds of things I want to give a try. The blow torch has it's instructions so it shouldn't be too hard to work out. I'm really looking forward to a new hobby.

It's another sunny day today and Tom is off work. We're going to have a bit of a relaxing day as tomorrow we have a few things planned to do that will keep us busy. I'm going to sort out another couple of boxes for the charity salesroom though today as we have got some more boxes down from the loft (does it never end up there!) and of course I'm off to find a cannister of butane gas! I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx

Monday, 19 April 2021

Cheap Upcycling And Growing

 What a lovely sunny day it was yesterday. Youngest daughter finally got to sunbathe on the sun lounger. It was really cold first thing though and I stayed inside finishing off the step for the caravan. It looks much nicer now and I won't be embarrassed to have it at the caravan door any more. After I had sanded it down I painted it with black metal polish and covered the step with a piece of oil cloth that was for a tablecloth. The whole large piece only cost £4 and I have lots left over to replace if it gets tatty and the black metal paint was in the shed from when I painted the garden railings so it was a really cheap upcycle.

I planted some Cosmos seeds in the greenhouse after lunch and repotted all my little echinops plants that I have grown from seeds I collected in my Dad's garden. I love growing things from seeds I have collected and am already planning what to collect and try later this year. I love the fact it is totally free and it almost seems like magic when they grow from just little seeds collected. It also saves a fortune! More sun like this will bring everything on very quickly. 

I still have several trays of collected seeds that have done nothing yet. I check them every day and today I was really pleased to see that one of my Tree Peony seeds has started to grow. We have a beautiful yellow Tree Peony that was in place when we moved into the house, it never flowers very well though. I have tried to take cuttings from it but that hasn't worked and last year I saved some seeds. I would love to plant one somewhere in the garden a bit sunnier so it would do a bit better. I'm hoping it does well and I may even get a few more. I've run out of compost now so until Tom is off and we get some more on Tuesday or Wednesday there will be no more planting for a day or two. 
Now the weather has improved Cleo our cat has changed her busy day time schedule from sleeping on our bed or youngest daughter's bed to sleeping in the garden. I can always tell when spring is finally here! Yesterday I could see her all day stretched out by the aviary in a little piece of sunlight. When I was in the kitchen I looked out and the male fox walked next to her and stood having a drink from one of the bird baths. They were inches apart and he stood and drank and drank. Cleo just watched him, then stretched and yawned in a very relaxed way. He finished drinking and carried on his journey into next door's garden. So many people worry about foxes attacking cats, but over the years it has not been our experience at all. If anything the foxes are more wary of the cats and it is only because our foxes have worked out Cleo is too lazy to move they are relaxed with her. Even our old male cat Archie who loved a good punch up when ever possible would sleep on the shed roof next to them as they slept in the sun too. I find it fascinating watching the interaction between all the animals. I'm going to set up my wildlife camera and see if I can catch some of it. This however is my usual kind of photo of Cleo!

It's another sunny day today and youngest son and daughter are both back at work. Tom is on his final late shift before his days off and I am going to see my Dad to do his shopping. I have got to get on with some work before I go but it will be nice to be out and about on such a sunny day. Dad has been working hard in his garden in this nice weather and my sister is coming too so we will be able to sit in the garden and admire it all. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you plans. xx

Sunday, 18 April 2021

A New Start For The Doves

 "Never destroy someone's character." That's what my Mum used to say and she said her Mum used to say it to her.  She would never talk badly about someone to other people and that is how my sister and I were brought up. If ever there was a character destroyed by the press it was Prince Philip. We have all had a constant stream of stories over the years of his gaffs, his blunders, his rudeness. The same press who are now sharing the constant stories of his kindness, his compassion and his life time of good work. What a shame they didn't share it when he was alive. The funeral was simple and moving and the sight of the Queen all alone was heartbreaking. The military were all faultless. the sun shone and I found it very sad. 

My day yesterday went really well. I spent the morning spring cleaning the aviary. I started off just giving it a sweep round then I thought I may as well do it all completely. I swept and cleaned every corner. It took me hours. We had put a pile of large stones in the corner that I had dug up in the garden. Several years ago we used to breed Chinese Painted Quail and they used to love sitting on these rocks in the sun. Sadly they have now all died so I have taken all the rocks out as they just are a corner for collecting mess now. I'm going to clean them up and extend my new rockery. When the aviary was all cleaned we put out Dotty and our new dove called Del. I make it sound easy, it wasn't! It took youngest daughter and I ages. Transferring birds around from cage to cage and then to the aviary is really difficult when you are trying not to stress them, but in the end it was all done and they were out enjoying the sunshine. There is a nice warm inside part with a heat lamp so it shouldn't be too much of a shock but I hardly slept last night worrying about them.

I planted some more seeds in the greenhouse. Tomatoes and cucumbers, I hope they do well but I'm a bit of a chuck it in and hope for the best sort of gardener. If it doesn't work out never mind, move on to something else. I will just have to see how they go. When Tom got in at 10pm he said everyone out and about observed the minutes silence for Prince Philip at 3pm. Luckily he was at the turn around stand so could easily too. We watched the news special of the funeral as Tom hadn't seen any of it and I felt sad all over again. With all that seemed to be going on during the day I didn't get round to finishing the caravan step. That  is a job for today. 

First thing this morning I went up to the aviary to check them and Dottie and Del were flying up and down cooing away! They have seemed to set off every collared dove in the neighbourhood who were all answering them. Oh dear, that won't go down well with the neighbours! Dottie has come such a long way from that little bloodied, injured bird Tom found lying at the side of the road last November. I'm very pleased. The sun is shining again this morning so onwards and upwards. I hope everyone has a lovely Sunday what ever you are doing. xx

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Seed Planting And Funeral Thoughts

 I had quite a busy day around the garden yesterday. One job I started on was the step for the caravan. I had stupidly imagined that it would be a really quick job however it took me a long time to rub all the rust off, but the worst was scraping off the old brittle rubber mat on the top. It took me over an hour of scraping with an old knife and  rubbing it down with sand paper in between. The vixen came out from behind the shed to see what was going on and sat watching me, about ten feet away, for a while. I chatted to her while I worked and she stared at me, sitting there like a dog. I did notice while she was sitting her stomach looked really big. I wondered where she will be giving birth as since a house is being built in the garden but one from us I think their territory has shrunk in the last year, one of the reasons they spend so much time in our garden. By the evening I had painted the stand, so just the top to cover now and it will be ready.

I spent a while planting some more seeds in the greenhouse. I planted some sunflowers and some hollyhocks. I have lots of hollyhock plants from seeds my sister gave me last autumn, to plant out when the risk of frost has passed and these will all probably be red, we think. The variety I planted today are called Good Golly Miss Holly and are a mix of "vibrant colours" so they should add some more colour to the border, if they flower this year. If not it will be something to look forward to next year. The sun flowers are a giant variety which can grow up to 9 feet! I doubt very much these will do that well but I'm still looking forward to seeing how they grow. 

After I had finished and was inside having a cup of tea with youngest daughter, our eldest daughter phoned to say Scarlett had got into their first choice of Primary school for September and then the doctor's surgery phoned to book my second coronavirus jab for next Saturday. It was a coincidence as I had just been saying I was looking forward to having it done, and with the news the figures of coronavirus positive tests are at their lowest since September it felt like a really cheerful day. When I went down to the shops yesterday evening I saw our lovely local florist had decorated their shop for spring. All our local shops have worked so hard keeping their windows looking pretty despite being closed and it is really nice to see them open again. 

I was thinking a lot about the Queen and the royal family last night. That terrible night before a family funeral, they must be heartbroken, particularly the poor Queen . They are no different than the rest of us, they have lost a loved one and must be dreading today and the whole thing is going to be in front of the world's media, who will be looking for any look or sign of a drama to make a big thing of. I really feel for them and even though I have a lot to catch up with today, I intend to watch the funeral. It is a moment in our history. It's a lovely morning so I better get going with all the things I want to get finished. I hope everyone has a lovely Saturday and enjoys some of this lovely sunshine. xx

Friday, 16 April 2021

A Special Children's Book And Changing Shopping

 Yesterday made me realise you don't need to spend much money for young children to have an enjoyable time. A few years ago when Scarlett was a baby I bought a book at a jumble sale for 20p. It was at a jumble sale where every toy, teddy or children's hardback book were all 20p. I bought some lovely items and sold many on ebay but this book was so nice I put it away as I thought Scarlett may like it in the future. I wasn't sure as it was a Thomas The Tank Engine Book and I know that is more a little boy thing, but I decided that was rather sexist and remembered how much I loved trains when I was little. On holidays we would always visit steam railways and I thought there was nothing more exciting than those trips around Welsh mountains in an old train. I collected little metal badges of trains from places we visited and I still have them all. When I was sorting out items in my clear out I came across it again. The book is called All Aboard With Thomas and is a pop up book. She was over the moon! From when she arrived until when she left, with the exception of when we went for our walk during which she talked about it, she played with it. It is a pop up book with a little wind up train and cardboard people and animals which she loved, especially as there was a policeman figure. We had lots of imaginary games "Help call the police there's a cow on the line!" Wound up the train and let it run round the track to little train noises and read the story. It was a longer story than I would normally read to her but because she pushed the train around and looked at all the little cardboard village buildings as I read she was mesmerised. 20p very well spent! 

Yesterday evening at about 9pm I realised I had run out of cat food for the morning so went down to the Co-op to buy some. It was freezing cold and so quiet it was almost eerie! I didn't meet another person except for one young man going in the fish and chip shop with his hood up and a mask on, which is a bit startling when you meet them in the dark. All the takeaways were empty and I was the only customer in the Co-op except for a couple of deliveroo drivers waiting for their orders. I wonder if that is why. Who would have thought ordering food from local shops through Deliveroo or Uber would become such a thing. I wonder is it country wide or just in London? You can't go to any food shop now without having to wait behind a line of delivery drivers in their crash helmets. I'm ever so glad all these young people are getting work during such difficult times but if it carries on I can't help but think it will make people very lazy. Such a new thing yet part of everyday life round here now. 

When Tom got in from work at 11pm he said everywhere is so quiet, there's no one out and about. Maybe after just a couple of evenings in pub gardens, the novelty has worn off and the cold weather has driven everyone back inside. Apparently tonight is the last really cold night and then it's going to start warming up a bit. It's a lovely sunny start this morning and I am going to try not to waste a bit of it. My sister took my Dad for his second vaccination yesterday, so it really seems like we are getting through them and by the time the warmer weather returns we will be enjoying a bit more freedom than now. Something to really look forward to. I hope everyone has a lovely day and gets to enjoy some sunshine. xx

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Recycling, Upcycling And Turf Wars

 I've realised I get much less done when Tom is on a late shift. For seven days he is leaving for work just after an early lunch and getting back in at 11pm. I don't seem to get much started in the morning on these days, especially as youngest son and daughter are both still home from work for the Easter holidays. By the time I had tidied up and had a chat over a cup of coffee, most of the morning had gone and I had missed the sunshine as it went in and became quite cold again. One thing Tom and I were chatting about was something we saw on Breakfast Television about charity shops. Apparently they have been inundated with donations that they can barely cope with. They haven't the space for all the stuff people have been clearing out during lockdown and as was our experience, they have been turning people away. On Monday, so many people visited them across the country they took more money than any other day in their history. A reporter visited a massive charity shop in Bristol that even had a cafe on it's premises, it looked like my idea of a good afternoon out and I usually hate going to shops! Shame Bristol is so far away.

I love buying second hand. I love the feeling something has a history and while there are perfectly good second hand items I can't bring myself to buy new.  It's not just buying second hand, I'm an obsessional fixer. I really enjoy making old things work again. I get much more pleasure from fixing an old broken item than I ever could from spending lots of money on a new one. The lampshade I ordered arrived today for the 1970s lamp I rewired a while ago. Handmade from 1970s material I thought it would be perfect for it. All totally recycled.

Another item I started repairing today was a step for the caravan. I feel embarrassed to admit we put this tatty old thing outside our caravan door last year. Tom wanted to throw it out and buy a new one but I am determined to do it up. It's an original old feature of the caravan, probably from when the caravan was new, and because of that I want to try and keep it. I'm hoping in a few days no one will recognise it, I have big plans!

A strange thing that happened yesterday was some sort of territorial fox war is going on. Everything has been so calm in the garden for months, with our foxes plodding about, that it all came as a bit of a shock.  I was standing in the kitchen at about eight o'clock, just as it was starting to go dark, when I saw something moving in the flower bed, one of our foxes ran down the garden so fast it frightened me. I never see them run like that. There was the sound of crashing into fences and loud fox howling that went on and on. I ran out to see what was happening and the male fox was standing in next doors garden looking ruffled to say the least. There is definitely some sort of turf war going on. I'm not sure if an outsider is trying to move in on the territory or if the vixen is getting close to giving birth and the balance is upset. I'm going to keep a very close eye on them to see if I can work it out but it seems rather strange to be watching events in the garden that we have no way of influencing. It makes you realise nature is so much bigger than we are.

Scarlett is coming today and I'm sure will be delighted with our new dove, who is much more vocal than Dottie to put it mildly! Tom is here this morning so she will be thrilled to spend some time with her Grandad. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Too Good To Use

 Tom took the five boxes of cleared out items back down to the charity salesroom yesterday morning before he went to work so they are finally all gone. I resisted taking items out so everything went and I'm going to get a few more boxes from the loft this week and try and get some more ready for next week. Anything not useful enough to keep, good enough to take to the charity salesroom or to recycle into another use will  be taken to the dump. I'm hoping to keep the latter items down to the minimum. There is another category that I think everyone probably has which is "Too good to use!" You see them everyhere at car boot sales, charity shops and even jumble sales (remember them! sigh) . Those perfect little boxed items or pretty things that have quite clearly never been used. Pastry forks in little presentation boxes, cutlery sets, best linen table cloths and napkins or even sets of soaps and bath salts. Put away too good to use and in the end given away when the person dies to another person who thinks "too good to use". We talk about saving the worlds resources if everyone used everything they had put away for best we could probably avoid manufacturing another item for a year!

I have so many of these items and as I get older I keep thinking what on earth am I doing keeping these? I may as well use them. I have a beautiful little art deco sandwich plate wrapped in bubble wrap in a cupboard. I had thought to put it on a wall but have never really found a place for it. I decided I may as well give it to the charity salesroom next time but it seems silly to give it away becuase it is so perfect I don't want to chip it. I'm going to get it out and use it everyday for my lunch. It is so pretty I'm sure it will make me smile and isn't that what life is all about? If it gets chipped or broken too bad, at least it was used not kept in a cupboard. Several years ago I bought this pack of soaps at a jumble sale for 10p. I have no ides why I bought them just to put them away. Much as I would love one I haven't got a guest room with a guest en suite to put them in, so they just sit in a drawer with the box getting more and more damaged, the same as they have been for probably fifty years. I doubt Tom and youngest son would be grateful if suddenly dainty little lavender soaps appeared in the bathroom so I may as well just hang on to them for now, at least they make my dressing table drawer smell nice. William Morris, the well known 19th century British arts and crafts designer, famously said "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." Well why shouldn't it be both. I'm going to try and think like this more and more!

On the subject of using things, yesterday when I got to my Dad's, my lovely sister after reading yesterday's blog post bought this round for me.

I am so thrilled with it. I spent most of yesterday evening reading it. I have been reminded by a lot of people in the comments about some of the problems with fondues I had forgotten about, such as taking an age for the oil to warm up and being quite unsafe really, espcially in a caravan!  After reading this, I think chocolate fondue may be the way forward. If that doesn't win Tom over nothing will! There are lots of other 1970s recipes that I can't wait to try like Flaming Cherries marinated in rum. When the cherries come out on our tree later this year, I know what I'll be making!

It looks like a nice bright day today. I still have some seeds I want to get planted in the greenhouse so I think I will try and get out to do that. I'm going to give the aviary a bit of a sweep round too in preparation for the doves going in later in the week and see if I can set up a platform for them as doves seem to like that not perches. I hope everyone has a lovely day how ever you plan to spend it. xx

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Fondues And Family Bonding

 It only snowed for about an hour yesterday morning and then graually cleared away. Tom came back from his hair cut very cheerfully and we packed our five boxes of items I have managed to clear out in the last three months into the back of the car. When we arrived at the charity salesroom we were told they had too much stock and could we come back tomrrow morning! Tom was all set to drive off but there was no way I was leaving without a quick look round! I managed to find a few items and Tom was very quick to point out that after all my clearing we were coming home with more items than we left with.

I found the most wonderful 1970s bathroom set. I have thought a lot that our little shower room, toilet at the caravan is very dark and drab and needs brightening up. I couldn't believe my luck when I found this set for £2. It certainly won't be drab now! They were still sealed in their original packaging from somewhere called Rodmill of Liverpool. All these years waiting for a daring person who loves colour!

Another item I couldn't resist was a 1970s Swiss (home of the fondue!) fondue set. It was all in it's original box and I wondered if it had come from the same home as the bathroom set. I was over the moon, Tom less so, this is how the conversation went. "Look at this wonderful 1970s fondue set!" "Very nice." I think we should get it" "What would we do with it?" We could have fondue evenings when we are sitting out in our caravan awning." Long silence. I kept trying "Didn't you have fondue evenings in the 1970s?" "In Brixton!" "I'll set it all up when we are away, I'm sure you will love them!" Another long silence. As you can see from the photo, I managed to get my own way and it was only £6 but I know I still have a lot of work to do to win Tom round. 

I remember so clearly the fondue craze in the 1970s. My Mum would set it all up, with methylated spirits in the little burner and we would sit around it at the dining room table with our fondue forks and little pieces of food to dip in and cook. It was a lot of fun for a while but like all crazes very quickly it passed and fondue sets all over the country were put away in boxes. I should imagine my Mum's one is away in a box somewhere. I can't wait to give it another go, just for the fun and the nostalgia. Tom I fear will need a lot of convincing!

By the afternoon the sun had come out and it made dog walking much better than I had imagined in the morning. The only other excitement of the day was enlisting youngest son's help for the family bonding session of us getting out the caravan awning in the dining room to measure the dimensions and the windows so I can order the poles and start making the curtains. It was the hardest of jobs and no matter how hard we tried we couldn't get it back in the bag the same way as it was before. We left it in the end, it's still in their hanging out of the bag, too much family bonding for one day is probably not a good thing! We're going to have to have another go today.

I'm going to see my Dad today and to do his shopping so I hope this bright start lasts all day. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you plan to do. I'm off to have a quick look on ebay before I go out to see if I can find a fondue cookery book! xx

Monday, 12 April 2021

Travelling In London And Routemasters

 It seems quite exciting these days to go a bit further afield for a drive. We set off after lunch to go and buy a white Barbary dove as a companion for Dottie our white dove. We drove past Hampton Court Palace and over Hampton Court Bridge. All the flags were at half mast in respect for the death of Prince Philip. It was quite busy all around the area, although I noticed a sign at the palace saying that you could only visit if you had made an appoitment and I would imagine it is the outside only at the moment. I love that stretch of the river with all the pleasure boats and house boats. It took me back to childhood visits when my Auntie and cousins came to stay. My Mum and my Auntie would never stop talking they were so pleased to be together again and on one trip from Kingston to Hampton Court on a pleasure boat we missed our stop completely they were talking so much and had to go back up the river again to visit Hampton Court. I said to Tom that we should really visit some attractions this year. It's quite exciting to try and think of all the places we would like to visit again. 

One reason we have decided to travel about as much as possible this year is our free passes. If you live in London, when you are 60 you get free travel. Free on the trains, underground and buses. Tom gets free bus and underground travel as he is a London bus driver but now he is 60 he also gets free train travel and I got my free pass last August. I have counted the days to this and then there is a pandemic! I have no doubt that very shortly, with all the cutbacks that are on the way, it will be taken away from us. I intend to use it not stop until that day comes. 

We bought the new dove from a lovely young man who breeds them. Despite me navigating with my phone in an area I had no idea where we were, we got there. There was a tricky moment when it went wrong and we ended up going round and round an industrial estate in Feltham, as you can imagine that was quite scenic! It only ended up taking 40 minutes each way and we were back home with the cutest little young dove. We have put their cages together and at the start Dottie was horrified but by the end of the evening they were sitting next to each other through the bars. I think a freindship might be developing and I am hoping they will be very happy together when they go out into the aviary in a week or two.

Eldest son sent me lots of photos of his Routemaster bus out driving around. He said it was such a successful day and so many people wanted to travel on it and talk to him about the history of it as it is has a special Queen's Jubilee livery which seems quite apt this weekend.

There is another busy day ahead of us today. Tom is off work and is having his hair cut this morning. Finally, he will stop complaining. Then we are off to the charity sales room with our boxes that I have been sorting out for months. All non essential retail is opening up in England today and pubs and reataurants are allowed to open to serve people outside and in pub gardens. However I feel very sorry for all the pubs who have worked so hard getting ready for opening today. This is what greeted me this morning. It will have to be a hardy (or desperate) person who wants to sit in a pub garden today.

I hope everyone has a lovely day, manages to stay warm and if you live in England enjoys some of the freedom we are getting today. xx

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
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