Tuesday 27 January 2015


Auschwitz liberated on this day in 1945.

Friday 23 January 2015

Into The Woods

Woke this morning to a sunrise suitable for Friday Skywatch.
Clear and frosty, 
no gardening today!
This week we have been into the woods.
What did we see?
Not a great deal in our own woods
although I looked very carefully.

Who's that?!
Earlier in the week we went to see the film of Sondheim's musical. How I love a good fairy story!
We were blasted out of our seats by the volume of the music but in all other respects it was a delight. I thought the casting excellent and it was a pleasure to see in the final credits that everyone had done their own singing. This type of film is produced in such a way as to be pure magic these days, not the string and cardboard creations of my childhood. I sat through the long credits to see where the filming had taken place and read an army of names that had been involved in creating the illusions of giants, witches, beanstalks and so forth. It was interesting to learn that the filming took place in Windsor Great Park, an area of five thousand acres known in the past as Windsor Forest. It had first been a deer park reserved exclusively for the king as a private hunting ground for deer and boar. No doubt it also supplied the castle with birds, fish and wood. These days the Great Park is owned and managed by the Crown Estate but is mostly open to the public.
The woods surrounding our home are sadly neglected, with quite a lot of fallen timber. We could do with a 'parker'.  (Prince Philip is the current 'Ranger of the Park' at Windsor although I doubt that he clears any wood!) But, like the oaks in the Great Park, we do have some magnificent old trees that must be hundreds of years old.

We got out of the woods safely.
There were no giants or witches, or princes, come to that!
(I don't think that Sondheim thinks too highly of princes, they didn't shape up very well in the film. They were amusingly vain and unreliable. As one of them said, "I have only been brought up to be charming." Naming no names but perhaps Sondheim has met one or two of our British princes and has based his opinion on them. And if so I'm inclined to agree.)

Friday 16 January 2015

Janneke's rose?

Like Janneke I want to know the names of the roses that I grow in my garden but the flowers that I buy from the supermarket come incognito. I've bought this variety before, it looks rather dull when spotted amongst the other colours on display, the outer petals tinged with green, almost like a stain, but I now that once I get the bouquet home I shall enjoy it's quiet and rather strange beauty. I think it's the same variety that Janneke bought as a plant for one euro. What bargains there are to be had! My bouquet cost £2 from Aldi.
I can remember when a rose bought in January would cost that amount for a single stem.
Today I'm cooking with a large squash, grown last year from seeds bought at the seed swap.
I'm going to make some soup for the freezer - rather a lot of it!

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Orchid feed

This was a dull old plant for so long. Then I bought the spray. Now it's thrown up new stems and is promising to be a riot of flower!

The plant food is in a small bottle and I'm a bit sniffy about the name - 'Orchidmyst'! I can just imagine some bright spark in a design studio coming up with it. Mist, mystery blah blah blah....
But let's not be churlish, it works!
I never use tap water on my orchids but scoop some rainwater from one of the outdoor butts which I heat to blood temperature before applying. I do this only rarely, most of the time I leave the plants dry. So far so good!

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Wet,wet, wet.

Whenever I try to pop my nose out the door the heavens open. Even the briefest glimpse of sunshine is welcome.
The kitchen table is cheerful with a selection of plants and bulbs given by friends.

But in the greenhouse the citrus trees look as unhappy with the cold and wet as I am. The leaves and stems are covered in black mould and I should really go out there and clean them up a bit.
My much cherished Meyer is starting to crop - lemon curd here we come!
I bought an orchid food spray before Christmas. It seemed an empty gesture. But no, they are all in bud and getting ready to burst into flower!

Friday 2 January 2015

Friday Skywatch

I'm sure that you are all a bunch of optimists, given as you are to looking with appreciation at the sky and the world about you! The sun shines often in the skies that we post and may it continue to do so in the months to come. With every good wish for 2015.
 Sunshine and a daytime moon for Friday Skywatch.

Strict times ahead!

The celebrations are over and the feasting has taken its toll, how can I have put on so many pounds in so few days?! Plenty of indulgent treats still remain in the house and the chocolate keeps calling out to me! I have always loved chocolate. It was in short supply when I was a child and I can clearly remember the excitement of the day when sweet rationing finished and my father went to the local shop and cashed in our coupons. His favourite chocolate bar was Cadbury's fruit and nut, a milk chocolate bar with raisins and almonds.  That was about as sophisticated as it got throughout the '40's and 50's. How things have changed, chocolates now are a work of art, concoctions of unusual taste combinations.
I think that you are supposed to eat only one, slowly, contemplating the artistry, but that requires great willpower, and where chocolate is concerned I don't possess any. I've already gobbled my way through all those that look like designer duck eggs.
I bought in a few gluten-free for those members of the family who were eating sensibly, only to discover that they were taking a sabbatical from healthy eating over the holiday period. The box will keep, I imagine, (although I don't really know since chocolate has never lasted any length of time in our house) as long as I can resist taking the lid off.
The food on NewYear's Eve was irresistible, Elaine, as ever, cooking up a storm and presenting everything so attractively. There were chocolates!
Some in the shape of lips - I had to try one!

Everything was delicious
and we all wanted to try on the labrador's new diamond Christmas collar!
AND there was dancing!
On NewYear's Day we went to a cast and crew party at Heartspace, our friends' gallery in Bristol.

Our hosts did us proud, the workrooms at the rear of the gallery had been cleared for entertaining
and before we settled down to look at the film we all tucked in to a hearty Indian meal.
All in all a very good start to 2015!
Wishing you health, happiness and lots of blogging
throughout the coming year.