Sunday, 20 December 2015

Holiday Mishaps I Have Known

I was cruising round cyberspace ( in my Buick convertible, no less) reading people's Christmas posts and got to thinking about Christmases past when I lived in East Africa. They were extremely varied: occasionally disastrous, often hilariously funny and always action-packed.

There was the year when I gave Eldest and Middlest (aged maybe 6 and 4?) the hand-beater to whip the cream and they got so enthusiastic they turned the entire dish of cream into butter...plum pudding and home made butter anyone?

There was the year I catered for about ten and all the guests brought extra people who were lonely. We had the oddest multicultural gathering ever, including an ex-pat French Chef working in a Nairobi restaurant, and not enough chairs, plates, or food. Bread and butter for Christmas lunch all round. That was the same day that three  guests decided to climb on the roof to fix the TV aerial...the corrugated tin roof which was not built to withstand three men tromping round on it. It sagged so alarmingly that Pa-in-Law made us all get out of the house in case it caved in!

There was the year when, due to financial constraints, we had to go vegetarian but some guests just couldn't stand it so they nipped out mid-afternoon to the nearest kiosk (a sort of tiny African shop in a shed) for 'nyama choma' (local fire-charred goat's meat, tough as old boots but very tasty). That was also the year the askari (security guard) brewed a huge batch of changa'a (moonshine) under a bush in our garden without our noticing and the entire farm staff got so intoxicated they didn't wake up for nearly three days...

There was the year Eldest was three years old and the Hub made her a wooden Rocking Horse and the minute she got going she rocked so hard she upended it. By 8.30am Christmas Morning I was examining her at 20 minute intervals for concussion, having already bandaged her head and arm.

There was the year we were all at the in-Laws for Christmas, which always involved a huge table, beautifully laid out under the umbrella tree, and one of Pa-in-law's farm suppliers arrived with a belated gift of two turkeys...very alive and gobbling furiously! He had heard that wazungu (white folks) like turkey at Christmas and was being truly generous. Pa put them in the pig house to keep them safe from the dogs, but they gobbled and squabbled all day and quite put everyone off the usual grand turkey spread that Pa had prepared! Pa was only DISGUSTED!

There was another Christmas when Pa-in-law had the usual twenty or so people to lunch and mid-afternoon a gang of the twin's friends (17 years old-ish) decided to saddle up every horse they could find and go for a gallop on the vlei...I never discovered exactly what happened but it had something to do with swimming the horses across the dam and unexpectedly discovering a grumpy hippo in residence...anyhow they all returned indescribably wet and muddy, including the horses!

I won't say things have calmed down in recent years, but the entertainment tends to Church and other people's children related, so just different. Pa-in-Law, God rest his soul, was one of the greatest party givers I've known and tolerant of incredible chaos during the holidays. I won't say he instigated things, but they sure happened around him and he would just sit and smoke and smile like the eye of a tornado.

So how will your Christmas be, do you think?

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Dangerous Texting

Here’s a funny story from today for you- I met an 8 year old on the school stairs at break when I was texting.

Oh sorry, sez I, I shouldn’t be texting on the stairs should I?

You shouldn’t be texting in school, sez he.

Aren't teachers allowed to break the rules sometimes? asked I.

No, teachers have to extra obey absolutely every rule and always, sez himself.

I laughed- I thought that was a most excellent  answer!...especially coming from one of the boldest boys in the school!

Monday, 16 November 2015

So Where...?

'Heavy rain led to flooding in parts of Country Tyrone and motorists were advised to drive with care or avoid roads altogether due to the adverse weather conditions.' 

Strange advice for Met Eireann to be giving motorists...I wonder how the farmers will feel having to tow random cars out of their fields?

If they'd meant motorists to take to the boats they should have been specific.

Honestly guys?!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

A Gift of a Day

Today I spent at the beach. After the rotten summer that was in it, the last thing we expected at the back end of October was the sort of long mild sunny day which demanded a winter picnic on the beach. But there it was.

After a good walk at low tide, some friends and their little people arrived. We had hours of poking about in rock pools, wading in the waves, digging up dead crabs, trying to push limpets off their perches, hunting for fossils and comparing all the different sorts we found, climbing rocks and just generally doing beach 'stuff'. Afterwards we sat on the rug with mugs of hot chocolate, apples and crackers watching the tide creep in and the waves grow higher. Surfers arrived and we watched them too.

It was nearly 4pm by the time we all got back to the cottage for a rather late lunch but such a day just wasn't to be wasted indoors!

I know I enjoyed my children when they were little and they remember some of the fun outings. But now that I get to occasionally borrow friends' little people I am enjoying the 'footling' times and inquisitive minds all over again. Little people are such good company, whether they are inadvertently knee deep in a rock pool or emptying the mantelpiece of all the wooden elephants...

Yes, a day like today is simply a heart-warming gift, there's no other way to describe it.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

October Weekend

Recently there was an online post written by an American (to other Americans) who had spent a year living in Britain and Ireland about some of the differences between the continents. Apart from being awfully funny to us local yokels, there were scraps of insight, as you might expect, of how others see us. One of those scraps went along the lines of; 'A bar is called a pub and is actually a sort of communal living room.' All the people I have repeated this to have firstly laughed and secondly agreed.

On Friday night last in Ellen's that was particularly apparent. It was a filthy night out, lashing rain, too dark for the moon to be seen, and the wind rising to gale force. In fact the wind was so strong that the front of the pub was bolted closed and everyone was splashing through the mud to the back to get in...where else but the West do you try every door in the pub to see which is open? As a result there were only about fifteen or so die-hards crammed into the small dimly lit front bar, elbow to elbow with fiddles, bodhrán, guitars, an accordion and a dancer. The drink was flowing alongside the music and of course, coming up to Hallowe'en, there had to be ghost stories.

Now the thing you have to understand about Irish ghost stories is that they are a most singular genre; they can be startling, horrid, gory, fearsome, suspenseful, true, imagined, but are as likely to end in laughter and argument as tingling fear. In fact, the one thing they generally are not, is macabre, although you may want to check under the beds when you get home...also, to an academic, they often have no beginning or end or apparent resolution. A really good Irish ghost story is as much the starting point for conversation as a story in itself, and there was never yet an Irishman who didn't have an opinion and like to hear himself propound it!

And so it was that we told ghost stories, and, being western Irish, we told true stories as well as imaginary ones, and laughed, and looked to each other for more. And then back to the music, some poetry, insult and laughter, more music, and then, refreshed, back to the real world of driving rain, wind and the road home.

Yes, the Irish communal living rooms are as alive and well as their music and their story telling.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Hole In Wall

Right this minute there is a hole in my sitting room wall. Panic not, people, it goes up, before out. When I left the house early yesterday evening the landlord was perched on top of the chimney mildly landlords do?

You want the story?

Installation of a closed stove. Pending installation? Potential installation?

Some of you will know that its a rather old (in places dodgy) cottage I live in, so it will surprise you not at all to learn that the installation was not progressing as hoped.

The plumber, referred to as 'yon fella' by the landlord,R, arrived yesterday about 2 o'clock and within 30 minutes had  the carpet rolled back, furniture moved (myself having emptied the room of sundries last Wednesday when Yon Fella was first expected), ripped out the 1950's? '60's? fireplace surround and were navigating around the piano with barrow loads of shovelled rubble and debris. Next the  back boiler was dismantled and hauled out, soot and substantial trickles of water all across the floor. Luckily there's no foundation so I guess most of it just soaked into the ground between the tiles.

I will post photos when it is done, because the remains of the original fireplace which emerged were quite interesting, typical 18th C rural Irish, which is appropriate to what I know of the house.

Apparently the chimney has to have a 'liner' inserted, so next thing R. is strolling around the roof with the QE2 on his shoulder...actually its more of a long metal bendy tube which had to be slid down the chimney, with a rope attached to the end so that it could be pulled from below in case difficulty arose, which of course it did.

A sample of the conversation being yelled between Yon Fella, crouched in the fireplace with his head up the chimney, and R. sitting atop the chimney:

YF: Let it down easy now, I've the rope, twist it as ye go.

R: Can ya see it? I've a good part down.

YF: (tugs on the rope) Not a bit. Would there be a kink in this chimney?

R: There could be anything in this chimney for all I know. Have ye got it yet?

YF: (tugs again) Nope. Can ye see anything?

R: I'd say it was relined recently, its definitely not the original chimney.

YF: Recently?

R: 20's maybe, good strong brick. (no body asked 'which '20's?' 17s?18s?19s?) Throw me up another bit of the ould tape till I try something.

YF: (goes out to van, rummages, tells me to duck and fires a roll of tape onto the roof which R catches) How can ye not know which way the chimney goes?

R: Was I here when they built the damn thing? Try now...

At which point I unfortunately had to leave, but I expect my absence freed up their language which probably expedited success. By the time I returned last night the lining was through and various  cementings had been done, the water had gone and there were no dead or wedged bodies that I could see.

And that, dear readers is how it stands. No sign of them this morning but sure its early yet for Yon Fella to be about. I swear R will have him murdered before the job is done. Like many plumbers round here he is as unreliable as an Irish Summer but just as pleasant when he finally arrives.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Yet Another Stupid

Yesterday mid to late morning I received a call from a friend: 'We're having an early lunch at the café down the road from you, come join us! Ten minutes!'

Oh how lovely, sez I and rush around collecting keys, phone, money, put the fire-guard in front of the fire (yup, still not warm enough to let the fire die out), lock the back door, jump into the car, look at the clock and think: 'What a cinch, I'll easily make it in ten minutes.'

Something felt funny though and I looked down at myself to find...

...I was still wearing my pyjamas!


(The weather is so bad and drying clothes so difficult that I've been staying in pjs until all the chores are done, as its easier to launder them than jeans or tracksuit pants, and cleaning out the fire etc gets pretty mucky.)

So I leapt out of the car, rushed into the house to dress and comb hair and then got caught behind a four-miles-a-fortnighter at the end of the lane. I was only five minutes late though, which, considering the circumstances was pretty amazing of me, don't you think?

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Things My Mother Never Told Me...

...but I probably should have realised?

Children only seem to move out. When you least expect it, up they pop.

They may pack their 'stuff', empty their room (and the fridge and the kitchen utensils drawers and the bathroom toiletries), say 'bye' most cheerfully and you think 'ah! the place to myself' till mid-term/ Easter/ Christmas/ or whatever, put up your feet, get out all the books you have hidden to read in peace...and a week or so later they text 'c u @ wknd'.

I have to say that one good thing about my girls is that they seldom bring their laundry since my drying facilities are along the lines of the Widow Twankey's, i.e. draped round the kitchen, but they waltz in with comments like:

Where's the spare towels? why d'you move them?
Can you just run me into town to see...and I'll call you when I want collecting...taxis out to your place are so dear, you know that.
Where's the bread I left in the freezer? She ate it? Huh!
Have you no biscuits?
Where's the second book of that trilogy you were reading? Can you finish it please by tomorrow as I was really hoping to take them with me?
Did you move my shampoo? No I didn't take it (frantic rummage)...oh maybe I did.
I can't find the muffin pan...she took it? Well she shouldn't have as it was yours and anyhow I wanted to take it back with me.
I can't find your black cardigan, I'll take your red one it'll do and your black shoes, you won't be needing them til after Christmas. (which Christmas?)
And I need a spare duvet cover and some pillowcases as I've friends coming to visit...

You get the drift right?
And then I think of all the parents who would love their children to visit.
And then I look at my depleted wardrobe and wonder why I only ever have the really tatty clothes left...

...and the depleted fridge...bathroom...linen press...and I haven't even catalogued the sewing notions which have disappeared...

I am grateful, really, I love 'em...but I'm still waiting for that empty nest syndrome 'they' speak of, its more like overflowing borrow syndrome around here!

Is 'no' a real word?

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Not Another One...

Yesterday evening, on my way out to collect a friend, I threw my hand-bag onto the floor in the back of the car and then noticed that someone had put a letter through the guest room window. Since investigating couldn't possibly wait until later I went back into the house to see what it was about. After satisfying my curiosity I returned to the car, climbed into the open door and absently reached with the key for the ignition.

No ignition.




If one gets into the back seat instead of the driver's seat one is unlikely to find the ignition.

Climbed out, got into the front of the car and guess what?


Ignition just where it was last time I drove!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

How Many Stupids?

Wouldn't you have thought that two stupids was enough for a day?

Firstly there was the cappuccino incident, then there was the chicken stock odd-hap as technically it didn't matter but in practice, well, eeeugh and bother. And then, when I really thought I'd done enough for one day there was the dill pickle oops.

So, the cappuccino: (this may not surprise the more regular readers among you, as there have been cappuccino incidents in the past). I keep sugar in a gold tin marked Christmas Spice which used to hold a very nice candle. It is necessary to have foodstuffs sealed in this house as it can be a bit damp (no foundations or central heating, common to most old houses here in the west!). Under the sugar tin resides the curry tin, also gold but clearly marked 'Simba Mbili Curry Powder'. You can see where this is going right? Youngest and I made curry dip to go with the carrot sticks at lunch and I had moved the sugar to get to the curry, so when I went to get sugar for the cappuccino I picked up the top gold tin...and it wasn't sugar!

I pride myself on being thrifty and frugal, but even I could not drink curry flavoured instant cappuccino. Stupid No. 1.

This evening I was filling up my hot water bottle (yup, our summer is so delightfully hot we are still using hot water bottles at night and keeping the fire in day and night), picked up the water jug and as there was steam coming out poured the contents into the hot water bottle. It wasn't until I was stoppering it that I smelled chicken stock and remembered that I had earlier decanted the newly boiled stock into the water jug to cool...what a waste of good stock! I suppose I could have still used it but it smelled kinda rubbery and cleaning out the hot water bottle was no joke either. Stupid No. 2...sigh.

You see why I might be excused thinking that two stupids was enough?

The pickle jar is unimportant too, but annoying. I bottled up some home-made dill pickles to give to people tomorrow and refrigerated the jars. Then this evening I suddenly realised I had forgotten to label them. Forgetting condensation I stuck labels on, which promptly slid off, the ink ran, and I have had to wind sellotape around the jars to try keep the practically illegible labels attached. Very efficient and decorative looking. Stupid No. 3...grrrr.

So Murphy's Law is alive and well and having a great time in my house.

Anyone who wants him can have him.

Soon, please!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

The Sandwich Generation

When I first heard the term 'The Sandwich Generation' I thought yummy! coleslaw and bacon? or cheese and ham? But after another moments' thought I decided it was a really condescending term to use to describe a stressful way of living for many, many families. The situation may be more prevalent with our increasing longevity, but people, often women, have been working to keep children and parents, and very often nieces, nephews, uncles and aunts adequately cared for for generations.

What is difficult to understand is the sheer volume of busyness involved in keeping up with all the demands and duties. As a mother I thought my girls were high maintenance as toddlers! Then they got to be teenagers and I thought, well this is fun, but I was permanently wrecked with all their school and activities and friends' socialising. They are in their 20s now and although they are away it shows no sign of slowing down...and they are independent, resourceful young women.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the parents have aged, slowed down and need increasing attention and assistance. There are days I have to decide whose need is greater and let one family member down in preference to another.

And besides all that there is the small matter of part-time work and self-employment to try and keep a roof over my head and stay out of debt.

On any given day I can be listening to one daughter on the phone, having another rock up unexpectedly and wonder why there's no bread in the freezer (another sister finished it at the weekend), help folks with the garden heavy work, assist another daughter with getting the washing machine in her new flat working and then on the end of the phone via multimedia messages (excellent invention) help her find the whereabouts of the water valve when the kitchen subsequently floods, bump into someone else in town and take their shopping home for them so they can have a decent walk (dry days are increasingly rare!), and eventually return home having forgotten to do all my own errands.

I'm lucky as I've only had part-time occupation for years so I have the time for other people, and still time to be ill myself. What about others? Those with bedridden parents or disabled family members? What about those who are financing family members' care and are so tightly strung financially they can't see the wood for the trees? What about those who become so isolated in their busyness of minding others that they become depressed and too worn out to function efficiently. I know several families where the wife works full-time, with children still in high-dependency mode, and parents and parents-in-law who need constant care. What about them?

This may be the reality for many people but it is not easy, usually thankless (who thanks anyone for 'doing their duty'?) and as the only realistic end can be the death of someone, how can they look forward to that without all sorts of guilt and grief?

Like I say, I have it easy compared to many and still my resources are not such that I can offer too much help to others without making myself more ill. Eldest's partner copes admirably with her illness and disabilities, the other girls come and go with just the usual hiccups, my parents are still pretty independent and I have siblings among which to divide the responsibility.

It's a tough situation.

And then some idiot says 'you only work part time? and your children all grown? sure what do you do with yourself?'


Give me a moment to myself and I'll figure an answer to that...

Friday, 3 July 2015

A Summer Problem

The last week or so I keep noticing that my pyjamas are muddy.
Odd, thought I.
How'd my pyjamas get muddy?

Finally I figured why...(intelligence en't my strong suit!)

With the arrival of the lovely warm weather we have been enjoying the last few weeks, I have been getting up very early to make tea then walking straight outside whilst the kettle boils. I pick beans, do a bit of weeding, water the windowsill pots, inspect what new has come up or flowered overnight, and just generally potter in the yard.

Hence, muddy pyjamas!

I know most people would get dressed before heading outside, but even when we were children we used to be outside in our pyjamas, both really early and really late if it was hot and we couldn't sleep. Not an everyday occurrence here in the windy north west of Ireland, but an enduring summer habit nonetheless.

So I guess that muddy pyjamas are just another sign that summer is finally here.

And its beautiful up here under the mountain.
Bag End, home to Mr Underhill?

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Of Things Ancient

On the one evening this week that we had a temporary burst of sunshine I took myself a-walking along a less frequented road below where I live. It was a lovely evening but cold and as usual, I stopped to talk to anyone who crossed my path, a rural Irish habit I have never managed to break no matter where in the world I am. One meets the most interesting people this way.

One person I met was a local farmer, born and raised and lived all his life in the house by the yard where we were standing. Yes, there are still people like that. Was I local? From across the bay, sez I, and pointed, because as you can see from the photo, up here on the mountain one can easily see across the bay. Takes less than half an hour to drive there. Ah, sez he, I was never across that way more than maybe three times in my life, no need to, you know? And town? Well now isn't there everything I need Grange-way? And the hay? Well now its a fierce wet time of it we're having. Interesting and interested.

I know the locals put on the bumpkin Irish for the tourists; I've been guilty of it myself, and, what's more, got a reprehensible amount of enjoyment from winding people up. But when you're local talking to locals you do receive all sorts of information and local folk knowledge just by chatting. A sense of place? Connection? Like minds? Whatever it is it gives me thinks to think.

On the way back I looked for and found the ancient enclosure I had noticed on the map. On the photo above, in between the two parallel field walls there is a transverse wall, like the cross bar on a rugby post. It is the back wall of an ancient enclosure which loops around in a semi-circle, but the rest is too fallen down to be seen clearly. (sorry, phone camera). An ancient enclosure, built more than a thousand years ago, still used as part of the field system. And outsiders wonder why our sense of history is warped, how yesterday can be five or ten generations ago and why we still tell the stories and muddle the 'when's'.

In East Africa I visited Olorgesailie a few times and there I found the same time warp that is all around us here. There were many ancient places like that in East Africa where the past and the present merge, which is partly why the Leakeys found so much in the way of artefacts, and why the Rift Valley is so well documented.

Interesting, huh?

Monday, 1 June 2015

Of Triffids, Sand and Rhododendrons

It is an indication of the long, light evenings that I never noticed this triffid growing since it has obviously been growing for some time! Actually it is jasmine and has been flowering since late November on the inside window ledge. Considering it sulked for about two years I do think I am getting the value from it now!
Triffid- aargh!
On Streedagh during the week the wind was so strong that the sand was in constant motion. It is difficult to see but all those white streaks are lines of moving sand. It doesn't always happen in the wind but when it does it feels like walking in a snowstorm, or how I imagine shifting snow might look, bit warmer though! We are still getting ground frosts at night here, and that is very rare.

Travelling Sand
The rhododendrons are coming into flower, along with the May and the end of the bluebells. Everything is so out of sync as the May and bluebells ought have been over weeks ago. Today we are enjoying gale force winds and pouring rain so no flowers would stay still for photo ops! The cuckoo has been here for the last fortnight, to me the sound is so old world rural, seasons have always turned at the sound of the cuckoo. It is quite rare to hear the cuckoo now, I believe, but perhaps people do not always have the time to listen.

I have said it before and I will say it again, I am so lucky to live where I do. It is a privilege to have the opportunity and the time to watch the seasons and scenery. Of course there are down sides, rural living is not all dreams and daisies, and some of the frustrations are more 1890s than 2015 but for me it is worth it...preferable to living over a pub in the centre of town, although at the time that too was ok in its way.

P.S. Have you ever realised how loud a snail's chewing sounds in the middle of the night? I'm telling you I thought I had a cow in the room and it was only a snail which had managed to find its way on to the spathyphillum on the bookcase.


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Darn Cold May

I may have previously mentioned that I don't mind darning or mending clothes. If it fits me and I like it I wear it until it has more patches than my car... except that welding bits on to jeans can become uncomfortable...I won't say I am particularly good at mending, but I wield the ould needle with enthusiasm, in aid of my own apparel and that of friends who ask.

I have to admit though that I consider darning, in particular, a winter sport. (If they had a darning competition in the Winter Olympics I would enter for sure!) So therefore, on May 19th when it should be nearly summer, I am strongly objecting to having had to darn my driving gloves.

The fact that I tore them and they began to unravel is simply one of life's little trials.
The fact that on May 19th the weather remains so cold as to make driving gloves necessary is another matter entirely.

If anyone has a direct line to the Great Weather Co-Ordinator please would they send me the email, Skype or mobile number in the reply box. I would be infernally grapeful as I have a strong complaint to be making.

Thank you.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Running Out

What would you do if you knew that your time was running out (your own, not a friend's or a family member's, difficult as that is, I know)?

Think about it...

Would you rush to cram in all the things you'd planned for the next thirty years and wouldn't now have the ability for?
Would you take it easier in the anticipation of making your body last a few years longer and hope that at a slower pace you could achieve some quality of living, albeit not precisely what you had planned?
Would you be so swamped with hopeless plans that total inertia would ensue?
Would you give up?
Would you ignore the situation and carry on living as normally as possible until your body put you in a wheelchair?

If there is one thing I have recently learned it is that being brave, positive, supportive of a friend and daughter in their illness is a far, far easier thing (and its still tough as hell) than being brave and positive for oneself.

A friend who has cancer decided that he would climb the four highest peaks in Britain and Ireland. Whether he reaches the top is irrelevant to the project, he will climb as far as he can. He is in Kerry at the moment with a crowd of friends, different friends for each peak! He is having a whale of a time, motivating and inspiring everyone around him which is truly amazing to see.

I know I refer to Eldest and her fibromyalgia from time to time, but she continues to amaze me with her determination that despite being crippled with pain and needing constant support and help with everyday tasks and living, this condition is not going to remove her future. At present she is back at University doing a Masters, hoping to be qualified for a more sedentary career, its not her dream but she adapts.

We all know of other people, young, old, not so old, who have suddenly had their futures diverted through illness and unlooked for disability. Some of them turn into amazing people who inspire others, I guess everyone has their level which they need to find.

Perhaps we can look at it as a shot across the bows, an early warning that one is not immortal (did we think we were?) and had better get on with real living. Maybe we are the lucky ones, others have their lives snuffed out with no warning who were definitely not ready to go.

People say 'where's there's life there's hope', but have they have ever considered how it would be living with chronic, debilitating, incurable, long-term pain knowing exactly the prognosis and the destination, if not the time frame? Can they imagine waking up every single morning (if indeed they have slept) feeling they have simultaneously been beaten up, run a marathon, got early Alzheimer's and maybe a dose of 'flu?

We can be cheerful, optimistic, smile when we can't move, try not to break other people's crockery or fall over in public and embarrass you, we can take well meaning useless advice and platitudes with a gracious smile, and judgemental attitudes with an even wider gracious teeth grit, we don't look ill so we can pretend for your sake that this disease is temporary because we know your mind can not contend with our problems, we can try not to resent your comments that since we are looking good and laughing we must be 'better', but still we know there is no hope for improvement, the pain is turning our brain to mush and our time is running out.

Go with your happy optimism, we will try to buy into it where we can but please do not presume to know what it is to be us.

And yet, underneath the pain, disability, fear, endurance, black humour, we remain the same person we always were.

Welcome to our new world.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Potted Kitchen

The other day I bought me a shelf for the kitchen because there just isn't enough storage...
well, ok, maybe I have too much gardening junk...
and the trouble with gardening junk is that it's so bulky and messy:
So for the moment it is relatively tidy, or at least compact in its untidiness!
But hey! Look what I found after I had finished:
 I have a kitchen table! And there was me thinking it was a potting bench under all that 'shtuff'!!
Ya sure do live and learn!!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Ramson Pancakes

Do you know ramsons, otherwise known as wild garlic?
Well they are just coming to the end of their season about now, but for the last few weeks I have been picking the leaves for salads. Verra tasty! Then I saw a recipe for adding ramson leaves to pancake batter:
It was delish! And you know that virtuous feeling when you've achieved something really good without paying for it??? Added bonus!
It was such a wet, cold day that I ate my lunch by the fire. 

Total decadence so!!

Friday, 1 May 2015

The Seasonal Order of Merlin

Are we there yet?
Is the Winter over?
Can I make like a tulip and stick my head above the blanket?
Is it safe?

I know we had nearly three weeks of glorious sun and heat in April but the last week has been back to temperatures below freezing, torrential rain, hail and sleet, howling wind and wearing every sweater I own all at the same time...and I own a LOT of ganseys let me tell you!

The daffodils had the best of it, tulips and cherry blossoms have been flattened and blown away, even the bluebells have turned white in horror:

Frightened bluebells.
I think we are having the seasons in Merlin's order (ie. reverse) this year; summer, spring (sort of) and now winter.
Right so, I'll be off for another spot of hibernation then!

P.S. I was reliably informed by a three year old today that if you wear your gumboots indoors when you are not supposed to then you should walk backwards to stop the floor getting dirty.

Useful piece of info, I thought...


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