Friday, 19 April 2019

Moss

However quickly I sweep up the moss from the patio at the back of my bungalow it still appears again as if by magic.   No magic involved.   I find it is the blackbirds pecking and scratching at the clumps of moss which have formed on the roof's North side over the Winter.   They fall off and then the birds scratch them apart - presumably looking for anything that moves that is eatable.   Tess wanders in through the patio doors and paddles bits of moss into the house and then I have to start again.   Ah well, it keeps me busy.

Another really beautiful day here today and we went for a stroll round after tea tonight, stopping here and there to chat to folk gardening  or  just enjoying the remains of the day. Now we are back and shortly my favourite gardening programme will be on the television.   Monty Don, accompanied by his two Labrador Retrievers ,
will be giving all sorts of tips for the week ahead. 
These days there is so little I can do in the garden but I often list a few jobs when I have watched his programme. I do know that we urgently need rain but let's hope it keeps off until after the Easter holiday; it is so good today to see everyone wandering around our little market in their shirt-sleeves.   Enjoy your holiday.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

A Happy Day

Once each month I go with a group of ukulele players to play for a group of Alzheimer's patients and their carers.  Today was such a day.  We play old songs - really old ones like Pack up your Troubles, traditional ones like Daisy Bell - some which were sung by Elvis, the Beatles and such like.   In other words, songs which might jog the memories of people who have very limited areas of memory left.   I wish you could see how much they enjoy the singing (most of them sing), the laughing, the sense of togetherness, the cup of tea and biscuit, in fact everything about the afternoon.   It is a privilege to be part of it.  And it is humbling too.

Eighteen  degrees this afternoon and really for the first time up here in the North, a lovely Spring day.   This morning after my morning walk with Tess I did a few gardening jobs -mainly watering and sweeping up moss which has fallen from the roof of the bungalow, but physical exercise.   I need to keep this up as it is so important. Yesterday's exercise class told me this quite clearly so I have my sheet of notes out on the kitchen unit where it will stay for now - certainly until I can balance more easily and get up from my kitchen chair without a struggle.

I read from John's blog (Going Gently) that he has fallen.   I too fell at the week-end.   These things usually go in threes so be careful all readers out there.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

This and that.

Because friend S is away for a few days she was unable to take Tess for her Wednesday walk this week.   I took her round the estate before I went out and again when I got back - I went to a special exercise class for the over sixties.   It was very good indeed.   I have come back and have already stiffened up - but I have learned a lot of new exercises to do to help my mobility and the teacher also gave me a sheet of exercises designed to help with balance, which is exactly what I need.

I wasn't sure what stage had been reached with Mr and Mrs Blackbird - but now there is little doubt.   Of Mrs Blackbird there is no sign and all day today Mr Blackbird has been sitting in the hawthorn tree singing his beak off.   The weather has been nigh on perfect - warm and sunny at last,although now - almost seven o'clock in the evening, it is quite cold and I have switched on the heating. 

 I have a large clump of daisy-like flowers in my garden and they will soon be out.   I climbed the steps to look at them this morning and found them absolutely covered in ladybirds -presumably emerging from their winter sleep.   There must have been fifty at least - yes - things are really waking up at last.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Dandelions.

One of the things I admire about plants - and one of the things I love about gardening - is that however much you try to tame them, if they wish to move elsewhere then they will do so.   When I lived in the Midlands we used to visit a National Trust property (can't remember which one) where a tiny, daisy-like flower had taken over almost every gap between paving flags all over the garden.   They flowered for almost the whole Summer and people came from miles around just to see them.   And, of course,  they had never actually been planted there.   Vita Sackville west said in one of her books  that plants always seemed to choose better places to put on a display than the place you had chosen for them (she was talking about violets, which also have that disposition to choose a different spot.

At the moment the patches of grass on our estate
 (and their are many.  It is a very well laid out estate) are peppered with dandelions.   What a pity they are viewed as weeds - with a name like 'lion's teeth' they would be such a popular choice if they were in pots in garden centres.   Alas, within the next week the council lawn mowers will be round to cut the grass and they will have gone before they have time to seed - not that the council will ever win.   They will be back in profusion next year with all those thousands of seeds on their heads many will take root however hard we try to stop them.    I looked out of the window this afternoon and D, my gardener, was carefully watering my front lawn with weed-killer (or should I say dandelion killer because that is mostly what they are).

The other popular plant round here that 'does its own thing' is the grape hyacinth.   Oh yes, they start off as neat little blue patches of flowers this time of year - next year they have double in size and the year after that they have started waltzing away down the road to colonise any spare bit of ground.    One of the plants we love to hate but we can't bring ourselves to pull them up as they are such a beautiful blue.  Yes, I am afraid we are just big softies at heart where gardening is concerned.

Monday, 15 April 2019

News

The news has just reported that Notre Dame in Paris is on fire.   No more news as I write this and we must hope that it was got under control before too much damage was done.  No doubt we shall know more in the morning.

Other news of course is of Tiger Woods's comeback after a few years in the wilderness.   You have to admire a man who can get himself back to that level of performance don't you?

I don't watch the News all that often because it is too depressing at the moment, but after my fall yesterday and three walks with Tess today and an hour playing ukuleles with friends I just felt like a sit down after tea.

I returned from ukuleles to find my gardener D was here removing a small area of lawn which I intend to have as an area of garden with small shrubs.   I did ask for suggestions from my readers but nothing much came forth.   At present there are two small box trees of conical shape waiting to go in. Tomorrow afternoon I intend to trawl a couple of local garden centres on the look out for something else to fill the space.   Never a dull moment.   Sleep well - I did in spite of my fall.

 

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Sunday

Today didn't begin auspiciously because as I was tidying round prior to having my shower I noticed a vase of Mothering Sunday flowers had almost died so I took it into the kitchen and sorted out the few blooms which were salvageable and put them into a smaller container.   As I was carrying them back to their place in the sitting room I tripped over a chair leg where I had left my breakfast chair pulled out from the table.   I fell heavily on my left side into the hall, throwing flowers and water everywhere.  I lay there for a couple of minutes and then sat up to make sure I hadn't broken anything.  Then, shuffling on my bottom to the chair I had fallen over (anyone my age will verify that getting up from the floor is nigh on impossible), I finally twisted over on to my knees and pulled myself up into a sitting position - and then sat there for five minutes to 'come to'.  I dressed and took Tess round the block for her morning walk, reasoning that it would do me good to move gently for a quarter of an hour rather than sit.

It is now quarter past ten at night and, although I am sore in a few places, I am alright and am able to move around.   It didn't stop me going out to lunch as usual.  Dare I say that that is four times this week?  Smoked trout, scampi, quiche and salmon in that order.   This week, coming up to Easter, will be much more controlled! 

Our weather forecasters speak of it getting warmer as the week goes on and letting the dog out just now for her last wee I must say that that sharp frosty feeling has gone - so perhaps the warmer spell has already started.   I do hope so.



 

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Saturday

Can it really get any colder for April?   Sharp east winds by day,sharp frosts by night, central heating full on.   Maybe my blood is getting thin.   Whatever the reason, it is jolly cold in spite of a bright sun shining directly into the sitting room window.

Strangely enough everything in the garden progresses as it normally does.   The daffodils are fading just in time for the tulips to come out and the perennials I planted last year grow daily and will soon fill in the spaces of soil at the rate they are going. 

After a busy, useful week I had intended to do all kind of jobs today but somehow have never really got going.   Friend H came round for coffee this morning.   After she had gone I cooked myself some lunch, read The Guardian (why do I take it instead of my usual Times on a Saturday - I really must change it - there is nothing like the content in it).   The only thing I have done since then is to walk Tess again and to wash and peg on the line two cashmere jumpers which are now flapping nicely in the wind. 

There is an excellent series on the television at present about Italy so I am looking forward to that tonight.   I have watched the ones on Naples and Venice.   Tonight's is on Florence so I am sure I shall enjoy that too.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Freezing Friday

Any suggestion that it is already Spring up here in Yorkshire is greatly misplaced.   It is a very cold day;  there was a sharp frost this morning and after a sunny start it is now grey, cloudy and with a sharp easterly wind whipping down the road at a cracking pace.  In the space of the last half hour my gardener has been and mowed the lawn and gone before I could pay him, the window cleaner has been and washed all my windows (what I would give for the 'old' way of washing windows - these days it is a brush on a long hose and it leaves drops of water all over the window, never producing as satisfactory a result).

Lunch out at The Three Horseshoes was, as usual, delicious - and as usual I had Quiche, salad, cole slaw and crispy salty chips - delicious.   Now I shall have nothing more to eat today other than a bowl of mixed blueberries and strawberries (Dutch and very good) with yoghourt. 

My plants which I had ordered were on my doorstep when I got home and although I didn't feel like it I put them in immediately and watered them in.   Then in a fit of enthusiasm I took all my boxes, tins etc. up to the tip (I forgot to put them out in the week).   Now it is time to settle down and watch 'The Repair Shop'.   A busy day.   Tess has had her PetPals walk and came back just as I came back from town.   She walked today with Mitzi, a rough-haired rescue Pointer - such a delightful dog but apparently a real 'scamp.   I just hope Tess doesn't pick up any tricks.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Thursday

Not a lot warmer here but lovely sunny days - and dry too, although we could actually do with a good rain to green up the lawns.   After my usual hair appointment this morning, in a fit of enthusiasm I changed the bed - sheets, pillow cases and duvet cover.    Washing them all I took them outside to peg them on the washing line and looking along the line of back gardens I saw that almost every garden had a line of washing flapping in the breeze.   The difficult thing for me now is not stripping the bed but remaking it.  Sheets and pillow cases I can manage but the physical effort needed to put on a new duvet I find almost beyond me (and yes, I do know the trick of keeping hold of the corner until I reach the far corner).

It was only when I collapsed onto the sofa with a reviving cup of tea that I realised I should have driven to Bainbridge in Wensleydale to play at the Residential Home there, as we do once a month for the elderly residents.   So that is two of us missing this afternoon.

But there is something good about climbing into a completely clean bed on that first night after changing it.   Later on this evening I shall try to whip up the energy to iron the bedding and put it to air.   I don't wish to leave it until tomorrow -I find the longer one leaves the ironing the harder it is to do and Friday is a going out to lunch day.

Is anyone watching 'The Repair Shop' on BBC 1?
I am enthralled by the workmanship, the nimble fingers, the sharp eyes and the absolute perfect workmanship each evening.   If you haven't watched it, do catch up on iplayer.

Now at ten minutes to go before it starts - time to feed Tess, make a cup of tea and a sandwich and sit down in comfort - so until tomorrow -

 

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

A Good Day

This morning I drew back the curtains to find the sun shining and two absolutely beautiful male partridges strolling along the terraces in my garden.  I stood very still and they were almost near enough to touch.   Their markings were so exotic that they just didn't look like any ordinary 'field' bird.    When they caught sight of me they strolled up to the top of the garden, flew on to the stone wall and then disappeared into the field beyond.   They are in short supply around here, unlike pheasants (which are bred for the shooting season and released for just that purpose sadly) but  I suspect just as likely to be shot once the shooting season opens.   This, of course, is why there are so few of them about.  I had three or four minutes in which to enjoy them and they started my day off well.

Out to lunch with friend D (scampi, chips and peas if you wish to know) and then home in time for friend S's call to take Tess for her walk.    I am so lucky to have so many good friends and I really appreciate it.

Now, as the sun begins to set, there is a clear blue sky and a sharpish wind blowing.   I suspect that, like last night, there will probably be a frost.  I planted four lupin plants over the weekend - I just hope they can stand it.