Friday, 28 October 2016


I think our fox has gone walkabout, at least is not doing his/her job - small rabbit in the garden this morning, no two rabbits nuzzling - spells trouble.
Today I attack the stream, rake out leaves, cut grass, wonder why the water has plummeted into a sink hole in the stream bed - that sort of stuff.
My friend PB wants pond plants for his new lake so have been potting up water lilies, irises and so on - a mucky job.

With November almost upon us, (we had our first frost last night), the big tidy up under way (R has done the asparagus bed ready for a mulch with compost) the garden is still full of colour.

Witch Hazel, maples, spindle tree and azalea, corals and willow stems all are lighting up the days.

There are self sown sunflowers in the lily tub (that is not strictly true - there are coal tit sown sunflowers there.) The orange version of the Welsh poppy is out again and the Michaelmas Daisies are falling over themselves.

Then there are the roses still looking glorious, Gertrude Jekyll, Emma Hamilton, Rosa rugosa, Rhapsody in Blue, something orangey and William Shakespeare. No need to say more and all of them scented.

Just broke a tooth biting on a stoneless date - only it wasn't - shucks! More baked apples tonight.

HW told me a doctor joke - Old doctor taking out his young, soon to be replacement, on visits. Come to first house - old lady in bed complaining of the runs. Old doctor takes out his stethoscope and drops it on the floor, then stands up, examines her and tells her to stop eating so much fruit. 
Outside the young doctor asks how he made the diagnosis to which the old boy replies that when he dropped the stethoscope on the floor he looked under the bed and there was a plate full of orange and apple peelings.
Next visit and another elderly lady saying how tired she is. Same  thing - the old doc drops his stethoscope, then stands, examines her and tells her that she has been doing far to much for the church. The old lady agrees and promises to do less in future.
Outside the young doctor again asks how the diagnosis was made to which the old doctor replies that when he dropped his stethoscope and looked under the bed the vicar was hiding there.

Monday, 24 October 2016


So there I was, with a shopping bag fixed to the end of a rake, trying to pick apples high up in the tree when one of the dislodged fruit missed the bag.
It was at this moment that I had an Isaac Newton moment - that gravity is stronger then I expected and that big Bramley apples are harder.
I still have a little eggy bump in the centre of my forehead.

Talking of heads - I have tried to submit a passport photo online - what a mess. Nothing is right and then they tell me my eyes are closed. Actually I have slightly hooded lids. So to be able to get a passport I will need plastic surgery for my saggy old face.

So I nip off for a day or so to play the worst round of golf I have ever played and whilst I am away the garden is awash with wildlife - cats (of course), grey squirrels, foxes and now badgers!
Double click on arrow in centre then arrow bottom left -

Made some bread and could not understand why it did not rise - until I looked at the Use By Date on the yeast - 2008! Think it may have ben past its best. The other tin of yeast I had used was old too which explains the rather solid loaves we have been eating. Using new yeast it overproved and stuck to everything - the bowl, tin, me - but the bread tastes much better.

I am shot at - just mown the long grass on the steep banking below the house - toads and frogs all over the place. R weeding and dead heading and stuff.

Having said that here are still delights in the garden - backlit Cosmos -

Red flowers and autumn foliage,

and fruit - big apples and one ripe fig - Brown Turkey.

I can hear the half shoulder of lamb sizzling in the oven, mint sauce and red jelly at the ready, time to go for now.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


I know autumn is here. As I sweep back the bedroom curtains I am greeted by a golden sunrise over Ingleborough. The world is going into wind down, preparing itself for winter and the short dark days.

So to colours starting with green, the most common hue in the garden. (The pear is like a brick!)

Followed by foliage -

And the cherries are starting to turn, so far just the top leaves but more to come.
R and I are recovering from our holiday in Croatia, detoxing, losing weight and getting some rest and sleep!

There are blues, oranges and reds as we get a second flush of flowering. The rose given to us by A and P on the shed is doing well as I continually dead head it.

Whites are important in the garden, especially as the days shorten and darkness crawls in.

The Michaelmas daisies have exploded with flowers, feverfew has started to come again and the delicate ammi lights up dark corners including the table in the hall.

I have mown all the lawns, albeit with the small mower on mulch, trimming the top of the grass ready for slowdown.

Outside the kitchen the abutilon is thriving and full of flowers.

The apples are falling from the tree - Bramleys - baked three today, cored and stuffed with dates and honey, sprinkled with demerara sugar and baked with a gill of water for 45 minutes at about 180C.

Then we had no custard - disaster? Used yoghurt but not as good?

The leaves are really coming off the ash trees now, here we go.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


And the fall of the daylight hours, dull days and the whole garden is sighing with imminent decay. The marrow grows on apace, eased off the wet turf to try and postpone rot.
The apple and the pear are still with fruit through the pear is now depositing much windfall. The asparagus bed is heavy with feathery fronds and I hope this bodes well for next spring's harvest. I have never seen such a dense leafage before.

The thornless hawthorns (makes no sense?) are loaded with berries bending the branches low. I thought the fruit from the golden raspberries would be well done, the canes cut and tied in for next year, but they have decided to give us an extra taste, albeit not as flavoursome as earlier in the year.

The variegated apple mint is sprouting several totally white leaved stems - not something I would expect to be viable as a stand alone plant. The big hydrangea has developed a pink tinge though this is preferable to the brown sepals of Annabelle by the door.

The Michaelmas daisies are six feet tall and leaning over the paving and paths, the flowers lighting up dark corners, in fact they have only been in flower for about a week or two. Odd plants - oriental poppies, yellow day lilies and such are giving us a bonus late in the year - cutting them back after flowering has worked.
So now it is confession time - we have been pootling through the Croatian Islands stuffing our faces, drinking free booze and having what I would describe as a G and L holiday - they know what I mean - touristing in a big way. Were are home and semi-comatose. The only good thing is that I have put on but two pounds in lard.

Saturday, 1 October 2016


The garden is gradually settling into an autumn jungle. R had dead headed the white anemones again and her savage cutting back of the catmint when it was spent has been a success with a new flowering.

White tailed bumble bees (Bombus leucorum) are feasting on the sedum to build up strength for the winter. It is so important to try and keep some flowers going in the garden into the autumn for these insects. We do not get many honey bees so rely of the bumble bees for pollination.

There is quite a lot of red in the garden - reflowering oriental poppies, roses and also rosehips.

One surprise is the Rosa mundi which, a la Monty Don,  sheared back by a third. It has responded by flowering.

The blue salvia, given to us by the late Sue R, has done little all year so far but finally is flowering with its wonderful deep colour.

It is a time for clipping and both a box in a tub and the sarcococcus by the back door are now globular - more to come. R usually does it but I got itchy hands and went at it first.
One of R's favourite plants is the alchemilla mollis, especially after rain when the drops glisten magically.

We had a fantastic lightning display the other night and, after the rain, the sky cleared to be laced by cirrus and contrails - there are planes everywhere looking liker they could collide at any moment - but I know really they are thousands of feet apart in height - at least I hope they are.

And the grass it groweth every day, hey nonny no! 
And the rain it raineth every day!
So no man goes to mow, goes to mow a . . . anything.
And the online BBC weather forecast says the sun is shining as the rain drives against my window . . .