Saturday, 25 April 2015


Woken this morning by the duck (who I have called Hilda) sitting on top of R's shed and quacking. As I have called the drake Noddy (because he nods a lot) I thought Hilda a good name for his spouse - Noddy - Hilda - dreadful pun.
(Apologies to fans of Slade).

Mow, mow, mow the lawn, etc etc, Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a slog (at times) - in trouble as have traipsed mud into the house again!

I seem to have developed a following in Russia which is interesting. I suspect that much of that may be due to the different seasonal changes we have here (but I did mention Putin a year or so ago so . . . )? This is not a "Midnight in Moscow" situation where messages were passed using changes in that melody - in the 60's I think. Over here The Kenny Ball Jazz Band had a big hit with it - but I am not sure which version!

It is cherry blossom time.

A flash of white is caught through my window and I know the bullfinch is back now the fruit tree buds are fat and sweet.
Chris Rea is playing Touche D'amour in the background and Noddy and his spouse are ensconced by the pond.

I watched Gardeners' World and enjoyed it more - just Monty Don and two visits to gardens - one  magnolia feast and the other day lilies. We saw a scented pale yellow one that would be just the thing called Daylight.

Yesterday, we went for a long walk back of Oxen Park - so called because it was one of the farms for Furness Abbey in mediaeval times (there are others - we also passed Abbot Park and above Coniston Water are Lawson Park and Parkamoor). We walked over to Ickenthwaite and round on the fell with views down the valley to the sea and out to distant Blackpool.

Afterwards I went into the garden and put in ten rather shrivelled chitted (CHITTED) Desiree potatoes and some broad beans. I also planted out the sweet peas J gave us carefully surrounding each small clump of seedlings with a bottomless plant pot surrounded by a band of copper tape to keep the slugs at bay (I hope).

Woodland still doing well - primroses, anemones and daffodils.


The quince D gave us is flowering but not completely happy as the soil by the wall is rather poor despite lots of muck and such.

 The pansies in the pot outside the kitchen are full of colour and the tulips are just taking over from the tete-a-tete daffodils (small, scented and multi-headed).

Drama!! Trouble at t' pond. Noddy has a competitor for Hilda's affections. They are sitting together and he is about six feet away waiting for his chance!

Oh! Monday night at the duck pond.
(1963 - The Cougars - Saturday Night at the Duck Pond - Ah! Musical memories.)

Sticks in, french beans have been sown and courgette seeds put in small pots full of compost in the shed.
The asparagus bed had been weeded but will need doing again. This has to be done by hand to avoid damaging the spears, the first one of which is already through.

I will have to oil the squirrel trap - they are eating the nuts without it going off.
So I did, went out, came back and the trap had worked - unfortunately I had caught a stupid collared dove - yes, they are dumb, well not dumb - they make an awful racket coo cooing - just brainless. They made a nest of about six small twigs on a beam and she laid an egg which rolled off and broke on the ground!
And I have found out what is taking the nuts - watched a pair of great tits go in and each took a whole peanut.

So to end with the view from the living room door window.

I love springtime in England.

Saturday, 18 April 2015


There is something dead in the Utility Room behind or under the boiler (and totally inaccessible).
The pong reminds me of previous encounters with dead mice.
All we can do is wait and hurry through the stink.
I think they have got in via the water pipes or something. 

Talking of wild flowers here are some from the garden - woodland area.

Wood Anemone

Wild Daffodil

 Lesser Celandine

Golden Saxifrage


It is obviously a yellow time of year - except for the Dog's Mercury - a wild euphorbia.

And talking of times of year - what is this doing flowering up in the wood - not due till May.

Talking of birds - two mallard and a plastic heron,

and two jackdaws not quite knowing what to make of Doc, the dwarf.

And the wood pigeons are billing and cooing on the fence outside. This one seems very fat but it was a cold morning and obviously he/she (cannot tell) had had his/her feathers ruffled.

And, like much of my blog here is more rubbish from the tip in the wood.

Pond news - we have the invasion of the dreaded spirogyra, its green tentacles spreading through the water. I will have to improvise some sort of extended rake to remove it until the pond can settle down and plants grow enough to keep it well oxygenated.

It is weekly mowing now, sweet peas given to us by J are hardening off to acclimatise them to the chill in the air. The rhubarb is in fine fettle and ready to pull (and eat). We have daisies and dandelions in the grass. I have spot weedkilled the thistles in the lawn but it is not bowling green stuff so full of such as plantain.

So to Friday - too much happening.
The swallows are back.

Have been digging and composting veg beds again - the more muck the merrier. I have made a netting cover for the strawberries to try and keep the birds away. On the left the little bit of unmarked bed contains parsley In the other pic you can see the rhubarb thriving.

Today the septic tank service man and the boiler service man arrived - the sign by the gate is unreadable - so have repainted that.

The camellia given to us by J is flowering but has been caught by the frost browning the petals. The soil there is too limey (from when the house was built - mortar, cement etc) and the leaves have a bit of chlorosis.

Now, sometimes I sit in the garden in the shadow 

of cherry blossom and try to understand the cruelty of man on man . . . and fail. Why does the quest for power, for wealth for so called righteousness and religious correctness engender such behaviour?
It is a sad mad world. (Where did that come from?)
Time for everyone to come and have cup of tea in the garden and talk of small things, ordinary things. I will bake some biscuits.

Mind you being the 30 Greats Grandson of Brian Boru (look up in Wikipedia) (and if you believe all the intervening ancestors were legitimate (that the stated parentage was correct (unlikely)) who am I to talk?

(I put that one in for G. in Dublin.) (Mind you her ancestors may well be Scottish so I chuck in Duncan 1st (never liked that play by Bill Shakey) and the Black Douglas for good measure.) 

Nuff said.

(Too many brackets).

Saturday, 11 April 2015


Monday -

This morning we were wrapped in a cold high pressure mist.

Now I am sitting on a seat beside the house looking west over the garden, my Portuguese hat on my head to shade the warm sun. It is a beautiful April day and I am reading a book by Jo Nesbo.

Tuesday -

My son C is down in the Wendy House working on his website - the educational company Educake. There are a pair of mallard sitting in the shade of the eucalyptus, resting. R has brought out a cup of tea, for herself, for me. She has been writing in the kitchen.
I notice two jackdaws have joined the usual tits, finches and sparrows by the feeders and then movement catches my eye.

From the shrubbery at the top of the garden two fat rabbits hop down to the longer grass and begin to groom and feed.
Sometimes a garden is heaven (except the b***** rabbits).
Of course there are disadvantages to ducks too - they have consumed all the frogspawn.
(Rabbit at bottom of beech hedge).

R. has been weeding and I have hoed everywhere, especially dealing with the sycamore and ash tree seedlings.
At this time of year - before the goosegrass and bindweed emerging - we have three bad weeds - ground elder (thanks to the Romans who introduced it (as they did with the rabbits)), nettles and, more recently - wild garlic. It is sowing itself everywhere and is a tough cookie.

Looking around the garden I see many shrubs pruned into the sales I want but two trees have their real shape - both pyramidal - a holly in the bottom hedge and a bay by the house.

And the lawns are mown for the first time, builders stuff - pipes and chippings have come on the wagon - I also got some slate ones for the paths.

Here is the engine in the wood - 4 cylinder block and cast iron - very heavy.

And here is the rabbit hole dug into the bottom of the bonfire before I blocked it up.

Later - 

So hoeing and mowing and weeding and feeding (with manure) have gone on. 
The two gooseberry cuttings that have rooted are to go to Herefordshire to my daughter and son-in-law.

Wildflowers like primroses are flourishing.

A spotted flycatcher is in the hedge, flying out from its perch to catch an insect and then returning, then repeating this again and again.

Later again - 

I have been weeding the bed near the pond with the candelabra primulas and was pleased to see so many plants and new seedlings. The flat stone "beach" has been drawn out to the whole curve and I have planted some kingcups (marsh marigolds) near the outlet. If we cannot get more big flat stones then slate chipping with an underlay sheet may be the answer in front of the Wendy House.

Then I brambled the hedge and it brambled me. One blackthorn spike went right through my Wellie boot into my foot!

I will end for now with pics of a Madame Le Fevre tulip (my  mother's favourite), pulmonaria and Anemone blanda. The garden is colouring up.

Time for another garden sit in the sun with my book and a drink of some sort - or OTHER!

Saturday, 4 April 2015


There are Toads in the road on the way into town all heading for Sue's big pond for a bit of nookie. It is very difficult to avoid driving over them despite the road signs warning us of the migration.

We have ducks - the mallard pair come every morning and sometimes in the afternoon for a snack and mooch about on the pond.

J has given R two pots of sweet peas and they will have to be gently hardened off and put in the veg bed area for cut flowers. There's nowt like the pong of sweet peas.

AS has been up and removed all of the copper beech hedge now and taken it for his new garden - well, old garden but attached to new house. 

I have ordered the stuff for Alfie and Josh to do the draining of the garden - loads of slotted pipe and gravel - but just when everything was drying out it has poured again so we have put things off till after Easter.

I continue to excavate the tip finding more engine parts, old bottles and assorted rubbish - rusty metal and broken glass - plus an assortment of solid tyres (?from a pram).

Talking of things yellow - well I wasn't but am now - the tete-a-tete daffs in the square pot outside the kitchen door are great, we have yellow shrubs in the garden and I have made 14 pounds of marmalade from the Seville oranges I put in the freezer.


There are shrubs beginning to flower in the garden but I have to concede that this pic of a lemon tree was taken in Monchique in Portugal - definitely not hardy here.

I have also made some Easter Biscuits - the recipe nicked from Mary Berry - so to infringe a bit of copyright here we go - 

Cream 200g butter with 150g caster sugar, add 2 egg yolks and whisk. Add 1 teaspoonful (UK) mixed spice and same of ground cinnamon. (I felt a little more spice would have suited me better.)
Add 400g plain flour and mix well moistening with about 2 tablespoonful (UK) of milk. You may need a bit more if too dry.
Add 200g currants and roll out 1/2 cm thick. Cut with a round biscuit cutter whatsit and place on buttered baking tray. 
Cook at 180C for 10-15 minutes - till the edges are beginning to brown.
Sprinkle with a little caster sugar whilst still hot.
Allow to cool and stuff in mouth as accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee.

Talking of teaspoons I have just finished mounting my prints for the Photo Society's Annual Competition, and I know I have posted this before but it is worth another go - so here are 40,000 spoons.

Here is another tongue-in-cheek pic - can you guess the title?

Of course - it is 'How Now. . . .' 

I hear a distant cry that those reading this in Kazakhstan would not see the reference.

Well, though my postillion may have been struck by lightning and the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain, to develop the speaking of '-ow' words there is 'How now brown cow.'

Ouch! Ha, bl****, ha!
It is all a bit puerile isn't it but then I am what I am . . .