Friday 31 October 2014


You can always tell what season of the year it is from the fruit that tops my bowl of breakfast porridge. Yesterday I finished picking autumn raspberries and took the net down from the fruit cage. Sadly, this morning at breakfast none of the food was home grown.

As ever, the gardening year has been a mixture of success and failure.
The leeks that looked so promising a short while ago have started to bolt. How annoying, I usually rely on them as a prolific and well-behaved crop.
The seed heads look rather pretty, but that's not the point!
I've picked some to put in the house.

The brassica bed is another hit and miss affair; sprouts only middling, lots of caterpillar damage on the primo cabbage and the red cabbage a disaster!
But there is a new crop of mange tout to enjoy while the mild weather continues.
The garden looks bedraggled and our main activity at the moment is leaf sweeping. There's colour to be found

but the flowers can be appreciated more easily when brought inside away from the wind.

Some of the auriculas are giving a second flush of flower.

It's jam-packed in the greenhouse
with seedlings and cuttings for next spring
and anything else that might benefit from a bit of cover.
My friend Molly lost her battle with leukaemia and last Friday I went to her funeral. She was a great gardener and we had many good times together, weekends away exploring gardens in differing parts of the country. We liked the same things and often shared a purchase, choosing plants that looked promising for division. We thought that we were being very economical but of course it was just an excuse to buy more than our conscience would otherwise allow! In typical character she planned her funeral in every detail. We were to wear bright colours and bring pink roses. I picked a bouquet from the garden because I know that she would have appreciated that the most, flowers whose names she would know, some that she would have remembered from our various jaunts. I added rosemary and rue. 
In each season of the year I have flowers in my garden that will remind me of Molly.
Her service ended with  a track of Frank Sinatra singing, 'fly me to the moon' so here is tonight's moon with pink roses for Molly 

Friday 10 October 2014


We have been to Whitby on the north-east coast for a lovely catch-up with my brother and sister-in-law. My, but it was chilly, autumn has definitely arrived. (But we warmed up nicely with a plate of fish and chips and mushy peas!) The derelict abbey dominates the town
and has long been a favoured subject for artists. These small watercolours were extremely popular in the Victorian era.

 They were painted by George Weatherall who worked in the Whitby bank. He was so successful that he eventually gave up the day job to concentrate on selling his paintings!
There are no large sailing boats in the harbour now and not so many smoking chimneys, but not a great deal else has changed.
There's lots to see from our relatives' windows; the abbey, of course,
 and the steam train coming and going, billowing smoke and hooting, cormorants fishing from the mooring posts or spreading their wings to dry.
 These cheerful heads of autumn chrysanthemums were for sale in the local flower shop
but there was little colour to be found elsewhere
 and quite a swell outside the harbour walls.
Captain Cook was keeping an eye on the weather, with help from a seagull!
Several famous people have links with Whitby.
Bram Stoker wrote 'Dracula' while staying in the hotel seen on the left of the horizon
and in a few weeks the town will be full of people dressed for halloween.
We drove home across the moors on a much sunnier day, stopping at Horkum Dyke to enjoy the view.
Back home in time for Friday Skywatch.