Monthly Archives: May 2020

All churned up, the finale…..

Yesterday saw the filing down of the ten gallon milk and butter churns. This morning we woke not so early but wanted to get the churns finished. I don’t like being half way through something, I just want to get it done and the mess cleaned up. Who knows also how the weather will pan out later. It’s very changeable at the moment. As we unlocked the back door to continue our project, a big shadow flew across the garden. Heron was back, but…… he did not land. Victory to us I think.

The churns needed a second coat today but as I looked at them I couldn’t decide if I really liked the dark green one. The previous green had been a lot lighter but then I worked out that my mum last painted them about 20 years ago they are bound to have faded. A few people had said they particularly liked the one that was black with green trim including Ben. So what was I to do? Carry on or go and buy a lighter green? Mmmmmm. Ok we shall stick with it and see how they turn out.

Patio covered I set to work. Some of you know I do not have a sense of smell but boy this stuff must be strong, certainly gives you a headache. After an hour or so and a very impatient Suzy trying to distract me to take her out the churns were complete.

I had a few errands to run and thought this would be a good time as I couldn’t move the churns yet and I was just preying it wouldn’t rain! It is nice having a choice of vehicle to drive, however I have to keep thinking, right which car went out last? Which one needs a run this week? Especially as our shopping is being delivered we don’t even drive to the supermarket. Today it was the turn of dads car so after my errand I gave it a drive down the A2 and found myself at the aquatic centre to buy some treats for the fussy budgie. The garden centre also reopened today and even though it only had a short queue I resisted and just went to the aquatics. On entering each side was displaying stunning water features.

I got the budgie snacks and drove home but the water features were still on my mind. After a lunch of reheated roasted veg and feta I checked the churns. At last they were dry and I could arrange them on the patio and source pots to fit in them ready for planting. Now that they are all done I can live with the dark green. They compliment each other very well.

The green and black together.

The pots in them could do with spraying just to make them look a better match and I have to put the copper tape back around the one holding the hostas but over all, a job well done.

It’s no good the water features are still on my mind so I did a little research and went back to the aquatic centre. This time to give my car a run. The one I had decided on was out of stock but the assistant said their manager was at another branch today so if they had one he would bring it back and even drop it off home for us. Great service and I’m pleased to say the water feature arrived a few hours ago. So can you guess what tomorrow’s project might be? I won’t tell you which one I chose but upon measuring it it looks like it will fit the space better.

There you have it. Another project filled day and of course a Country park walk with Suzy, who incidentally wanted to be friends with everyone over there today and completely ignored me. She really does have what Rich called big dog syndrome as she often finds the biggest dogs to play with. As usual I will leave you with a few garden photos. It’s so wonderful seeing these blooms and photographing them daily. You can see how they subtly change day by day. Tomorrow I shall also try and give you a wildflower meadow update. Night for now. X

The first cucumber is on its way.
The lettuce are starting to look more like lettuce.
Little starburst flowers in the Allium.
How cool are these individual flowers on one bud?
A little more sewing this evening to occupy my mind.

All churned up……

Another early start, Yep you guessed it, Suzy and the crows 5am on the dot. I didn’t seem to mind so much this morning though as I just made a cup of tea and went back to bed and did my impression of my dad. Every morning he would sit with the iPad on, showing the cctv and wait for the paper man to walk on to the drive. Then it would be a race to see who could get to the front door first. ☺️ But this morning I wasn’t looking for the paperman, I was on Heron watch! The wind was almost non existent this morning so I thought it would call by and I could double check he couldn’t go fishing without my permission. Two hours of cctv later, well from the corner of my eye, no sign of the heron.

By this time I was wide awake and raring to go. The weather was due to be warmish and no wind today, perfect for sanding the milk and butter churns. It was a project dad and I spoke about a few weeks ago and I said I would get round to do it. As we are home and still don’t really go out (remembering that even though Boris is relaxing a few measures, the virus still exists and there is no vaccination or cure for some yet) I thought today was the day to start.

So patio prepped, covered in sheets and cardboard I set to work with my safety goggles, gloves and face mask. This took me hours and I had to keep stopping in between as using a wire brush is not something my hands like very much. By lunch time very churns was wire brushed, washed and put out to dry by the pond. One was extremely rusty so I just knocked out the bottom as it was well beyond repair.

Mummy’s little helper wasn’t allowed out to help, she may have got metal in her paws.
Before.
Rusty bottom.
This churn was the worst and extremely rusty.
The two green churns scrubbed up and rough paint removed.

Now as I was working on the churns, I noticed company names around the necks of the churns, so I did a little research. One had co op dairy, the others had C&G Prideaux ltd. I quite enjoyed sitting with my cup of tea and trying to find out the age and history of these. So here goes….

The Prideaux Family

In 1878 Charles and Veronica Prideaux moved to Motcombe, and set up a business selling eggs and butter.

In 1892 they opened a factory in Stalbridge followed in 1897 by one in Shillingstone. By 1900 Charles began producing edible casein or Casumen, and the Prideaux Casein and Milk Food Company Ltd was founded. They gained contracts for military hospitals and opened a factory in Evercreech. This was followed in 1907 by a factory in Mere and in 1910 by one in Castle Cary.

In 1914 C & G Prideaux Ltd was incorporated, the shares being held by the family. Full cream milk powder was produced under the name Dorsella. The First World War brought new Government contracts and increased business – especially with regard to dried milk powder for hospitals and abroad. During the war the turnover amounted to £1 million per year. It also meant a change in the workforce.With many men leaving to fight and women taking their place, the workforce now totalled over 200. A print works in Gillingham was started during this time to produce packaging.

Evercreech was mentioned in quite a few articles that I’d read. Seems to be a popular junction for milk trucks and a railway station for the milk to be loaded on to trains. This was in 1966.

So there you have it, a little bit of history in our back garden and we stick plants in them. But they do suit having plants stuck in them.

After lunch I decided to do a click and collect for the black paint I needed as I already had the green. It was so odd going out. I purchased on Screwfix site and within ten minutes I had an email to say my item was ready for collect. Now I wasn’t sure if there would be queue of people but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself the only person in the queue. In no time at all I was back at home and ready to paint.

Fortunately we have a decent amount of space on the patio!

I started with the black churns and worked my way along. It didn’t take to long and they would be touch dry in about an hour. But I couldn’t apply the second coat today so that will be the job for the morning. The green paint was way darker than how they had been but I reckon they were last painted 25ish years ago so the green must have faded over time.

Very dark green.

A few will need a second coat but not all. They now look so much smarter, but I’m still not sure on the dark green. Ben liked the one where I painted the rim and handles the opposite colour and I tend to agree, so I shall replicate this on one of the others tomorrow.

Some plants also turned up today from a friend and I think their striking colours will look great in one of the butter churns.

All tidied up and a much needed shower had, it was time for a simple dinner of chicken salad and chips, do try popping some strawberries in your salad. Fabulous combination.

Suzy had a nice evening watching a dog training programme on the television. I’m not sure if she liked the dogs most or Martin Clunes narration voice!

Fingers crossed for a bright but no wind start to the day tomorrow. But that’s it for today. I shall leave you with today’s flower pictures. The alliums are opening steadily and the rose climbing across the shed looks the best it has for years. Night all..

Odd few days……

This lockdown is not to difficult when the sun is shining but on days like today when the temperature suddenly drops and the winds blowing hard things can be a bit more challenging.

So I didn’t feel I had enough content to write a daily post the last few days as I’ve had to tackle some of that challenging paperwork stuff and start making lots of phone calls but I try to remind myself that some of you have commented that you love my blogs and seeing our garden. As one friend said today, she has garden envy but dosn’t have the time to devote to her garden so lives mine through the blog. That’s a really nice thing to say x

So here goes, Heron alert!! Monday morning and Suzy and I woke early ( now there’s a surprise) she had her usual run and bark at anything and everything she could smell in the garden whilst I made a cup of tea to take back to bed. Once settled again I logged into our back garden CCTV and did a very good impression of my dad. He would sit and watch the camera for ages. So did I this morning. Two hours passed and no sightings of the Heron. The wind must be keeping it away today so we shall be ready Tuesday morning to check if all our fishing spots are sorted.

Old milk churns.

So my next project decided and equipment now on hand to start but wait, what is this today? 40mph winds predicted at lunch time! Best not be preparing those just yet and risking bits of paint in our eyes.

After Ben, Suzy and I had our daily walk which today took us past the greengrocer that is at the hospital Monday’s and Fridays we decided to bake some cinnamon buns to enjoy with a cup of coffee to warm us up. Very yummy and tough to resist eating them all at once.

The weather really is a let down after the last week and I was at a loss. So nothing for it, I needed to make a start on more paperwork. Does anyone actually like paperwork? I’m certainly not keen. Along with a few phone calls this passed the majority of the day.

Now I don’t know about you but I’m far more mindful about what I cook and when now. Ben and I have our shopping delivered once a week so we have to plan our daily menu based on what dates are on things or what can go in the freezer. Today the whole chicken required cooking but that’s ok as that’s two nights dinners pretty much done then. Tonight it was to be roast chicken with roasted veg and the remainder of my home grown and homemade rhubarb crumble made the day before. The next day we tend to have enchilada but we are going to have a change this week and make some chicken noodle soup for dinner. It is the quickest easiest recipe and there will only be one saucepan and two bowels for Ben to sort after. It’s great as you can use cooked left over chicken and whatever veg or noodles you happen to have laying around. Ours will probably consist of baby corn, mange tout, cabbage, mushrooms and cashews nuts.

Whilst dinner was cooking I spent a little more time doing the Suzy cross-stitch then catching up with some friends via video chat later on. Thank goodness for the internet.

Sunday morning I did manage to replant our sunflower as it was now way to tall for its current pot and outgrowing the cane I had put in to support it. Cherry tomatoes also planted up in the newly sprayed hanging basket which has been bought under cover for tonight along with some other delicate plants as we are due frost!

Sam and Craig’s sunflowers, doing very well.
Nearly there.
Peony and wallflower perfectly matched in colour.
The Azalea starting to bloom.
No mum, please sit down and take 10 minutes from doing anything.
Just a little sewing tonight as busy night chatting to friends via video call.

Doing up the garden continued…….

Still trying to keep busy. You May recall a few days ago the pond filters were fully cleaned out. The next morning when I was woken early again by Suzy, I had a quick look at the pond. Crystal clear waters this greeted us. Fabulous, happy fish. Turns out though happy heron too. Saturday morning I was up early again and as I looked out of the window the pesky heron was back. I thought all the potential heron fishing spots had been covered, alas I was wrong. Down the hatch in one. A bright large orange fish. The heron continued to return though out the next hour so I decided enough was enough.

Clear enough to see the bottom of the pond.
Cheeky heron again!
Heron thought it would check out the small pond but he left very disappointed.

It was due to be a very hot sunny day again so by 7.15 Suzy and I were up and in the garden. I had seen that there was some fence paint in the shed, the same colour as the wood surrounding the pond, Hopefully just enough. Busy to work moving the stones away from the wood work and after a quick sweep down it was soon painted and refreshed. Phew just enough. I’ve also patched up the new fishing hole, cheeky heron. We shall be waiting Sunday morning.

Wood before painting at the front.

Whilst I had my painting attire on I got out the spray paint mini workshop, a cardboard box and sprayed up another old wicker basket that had been in the shed. Only grey left but it looks a lot fresher than before. Then with new liner in, the cherry tomatoes seem quite happy.

Cherry tomatoes
A new shade of grey.

I’m really enjoying the challenge of up-cycling. Lockdown really makes you look at what you have and I am really trying to avoid going to the shops. For the next few projects though I was missing sand paper for the sander and paint for the old milk churns.(The sander is for the patio furniture and faded cupboard in the snug.) Dad and I had discussed repainting them and now seems like a suitable time. Good weather and the need to keep occupied. That and I love seeing the before and after. Today I asked my friends the best way to tackle the milk churns and have received some great advice back. One of my good friends texted me this afternoon and asked if we needed anything. I jokingly gave him a list of sandpaper, metal paint and compost for myself and my neighbour. A few hours later the doorbell rang and to my surprise there was the paint, sandpaper and compost. Thank you so much. You can guess what will be started tomorrow. Especially as I found not one but two wire brushes in the shed. That’s one for me and one for Ben☺️ He doesn’t know this yet 😉

Two ready for action wire brushes.
Just a few of the churns ready for refurbishing.

Ben was awake in good time today so armed with his list he set to work. He did a marvellous job of mowing the lawn, hoovering up and making my dinner. We have a new agreement that we are dividing jobs up a bit more now that there is just the two of us and he has offered to do dinner three nights a week. I really don’t mind what it is, it’s just so lovely to have a night off from cooking. Tonight he gave me a Goan fish curry and naan bread. It may be a ding dinner but I’m so grateful.

More of the plants were moved on today including my first ever successful cuttings. I can’t wait to be able to plant them and make up the hanging baskets. As I had so many I gave the neighbours some of the cherry tomato plants and I’d grown a couple of sunflowers from seed for the young man next door. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the smile on someone’s face or the surprise when you are able to give them plants.

Suzy had a busy day as well today. She had an appointment with the pooch salon as they have been able to reopen as we could exchange on a long lead. She is always so excited when she knows she is going and can’t wait to get in the garden. When I picked her up she was like a new pooch. Walking all fancy, head held high all the way home.

Very pretty Princess.

The flowers in the garden are coming along beautifully and time was even found for a relax on the patio with my gardening magazine and an ice cream. Happy Saturday everyone.

Honeycomb ice cream, yum.
Soon to be strawberries and ice cream
Finally after two years a bud on the pond iris.
The peony in bloom.

The 75th anniversary of VE Day. A day to remember.

Today was to be very different from what many people had planned. So many events had to be cancelled but that wouldn’t stop us remembering those who made the country what it is today.

My grandad , William Clement Eade was born on the 3rd September 1914. William met my nan, Olive and married her in January 1940. A bible was given to her by Will on 24th December 1938 and I am fortunate to still have it in its original box. I also have a lovely letter given to me by my grandad explaining about a key he had made my nan for her 21st Birthday on the 28th August 1939, a year before he was reported missing. Grandad was a soldier in the Kings Own Scottish Borderers.

William and Olives wedding 31st January 1940.
The cross grandad presented nan with on their wedding day, 31st January 1940.

His regiment had surrendered to the Germans in June 1940 and he was reported missing on August 16th 1940, found to be captured and taken to the Hohenfols Stalag camp in Germany.

As you can see from the news article, Will was filled with determination and escaped on a few occasions. Swimming icy rivers and eating turnips, dug with his bare hands from the frozen fields.

The camp was liberated at the end of the war but he remained in Germany for a while helping the sick and wounded before returning to my nan and his daughter Pauline who he had yet to meet.

Grandad left the army in 1946, becoming a teacher before becoming a civil servant working at the Air ministry in Worcester. Olive and Will also welcomed the birth of my dad, Royston in April 1946. Then Colin, five years later.

In 1957 he was promoted to Sergeant Major and relocated to Kent.

Nan and Grandad.

Olive passed away in 1993 and after living back in Worcester grandad moved to London where he became a Chelsea Pensioner at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. I have fond memories of him visiting me at my place of work in Knightsbridge in his smart red uniform and having many tourists asking to have their photos taken with him.

I welcomed Ben in April 2004 and grandad was over the moon to become a Great grandad. He doted on Ben and would show him off to all his friends when we visited Chelsea. What a Great Grandad to have and be proud of.

Ben and His Great Grandad.

Sgt Major William Eade, died age 92 as the last surviving member of the army to hold the rank of WO3

We are so privileged to have been part of his life. He didn’t really talk about his time in the war but at least we have some history and memories to share. We are extremely proud of him and we remembered him today by sharing stories with Ben and sharing an afternoon tea with Champagne at safe distance from our neighbours. Thank goodness for gardens and outdoor spaces in these strange times. Thank goodness also for the internet and video calling in these isolated times, something they didn’t have the privilege of 75 years ago.

Our front garden today.
Bunting in our back garden.
Our neighbours fabulous patio.
Self distancing VE celebrations with our neighbours, Iris and Karen.
Cream tea, minus the tea but replaced with Champagne.

A few days, trying to keep Busy.

As you May well imagine Ben and I don’t really know what to do with ourselves. So we continue to try and remain busy. If I stop anxiety creeps back in.

So keeping up with what’s being posted online, their has been posts with people adding in old school friends recently some of the old pictures are familiar.

My best friend at school was Cheryl and as well as school we did dancing, Netball and later on St John together. I thought I’d share some of those moments in pictures (Sorry Cheryl 🤭)

Cheryl did well as Goal keeper as she was so tall. I was centre.
Class photo. I’m front row on the right. Cheryl, back row on the left.
Dance show at the local community centre. I remember those polka dot skirts so well.
Cheryls 7th birthday.
My lovey grandad standing in the background.

The camper van had had been having hot water issues. Something to do with the frost setting and me not resetting it properly before I ran it again. I want quite sure how to fix it as Rich worked these bits of the panel and I had my little jobs. But with the help of a lady on a forum I managed to fix it. Small wins.

Hot water in the camper again.

As the weather had been so delightful Ben and I have been taking Suzy to the country parks for walks, quite literally. ☺️

Ben taking Suzy for a walk.

Odd jobs done with the plants and more vegetables potted up in the greenhouse, grow bags at the ready. Hopefully next week we can start planting out as we really are running out of room.

Cucumbers flowering nicely.
The hosta repotted.
A late Hyacinth planted after being given to me last year by Matt and Adam.
A spot of colour by the pond.
Rebecca doing so well.
The Peony is looking fabulous.
Sweet pea and Black eye Susan seeds planted.
The first purple Alium starting to bloom.

So the next big job that needed doing that dad and I hadn’t got around to was just reshaping our tree at the end of the garden. It had grown to wide, despite its trim last year and was hanging over a lot of the flower border meaning the plants below aren’t getting enough rain. So with some help it’s now reshaped.

Before.
After.

Then it was the turn of the pond. I’d had no luck finding the instruction manual but thank goodness for you tube. A bit of guidance was found so gloves on, socks of, it was time to get messy. Very messy. Once apart we could see how much silt and gunk had built up inside. Bit by bit the filters came out and jet washed clean. Hopefully tomorrow we shall have clearer water.

Jet washing the big waterfall.
Pond water legs.

Rich and I liked to try new foods when we went out on our travels. We had spoke about trying goat as I drink goats milk. A few days ago I saw on the side of the milk carton the dairy sent the male goats to be turned into meat for sale. After looking it up online I found I’d order a selection of meats. Goats burgers, diced and chops. So you guessed it. tonights dinner was goat stew and dumplings. Very nice. Even Ben enjoyed it. Partly as I didn’t tell him it was goat until he had finished. if you get there chance, do try it. A little sweeter than beef and would have been really nice with some apricots added.

Burgers, chops and diced goat.
Goat stew and dumplings.

So a productive few days. Even found the sander in the shed and the treatment for the patio furniture but currently the sand paper has not been found. But I have got brown fence paint tucked in the shed so next job, repaint the wood round the pond I think. We will all be having tip top gardens at end of lockdown.

Once again for tonight I shall leave you with some smiling flowers from the garden.

Rich’s Lilly’s coming into bud. They have now been moved outside the greenhouse as I was out of space.
Happy bees.
I love how the outer casing is translucent and you can see the flower waiting for the right moment to burst out.
Clear waterfall.

The best dad, my dad ❤️

As if things are not difficult enough right now, it just got a whole lot worse..

Two weeks ago my dad collapsed and was admitted to hospital. Now for anyone who knows him will know he is a tough cookie and a real fighter. But this was a battle his body could not conquer. Dad had contracted Coronavirus and despite fighting like mad, amazing treatment and support from all the teams at Darent Valley Hospital he passed away on Monday 4th May 2020. All the time he was in hospital the staff would face time us as he was not allowed any visitors, but thankfully the teams there made it possible for me to be with him when it mattered most.

Dad wasn’t ready to leave, he had come through a triple heart by pass in July 2019. It was a slow recovery, but he listened to all the advice he was given, he was patient and he got there. Who would have thought in March he would be fit enough again to walk 7 miles in a day around Glasgow with me?

Royston William Eade was born on the 25th April 1946 in Worcester. Son of Olive and William Eade and brother to Pauline and Colin.

He told me had left school before obtaining any qualifications and worked hard all his life. I don’t know anyone else who did work as hard as he did.

Then in 1975 he became a dad to me. He was a fantastic dad, hands on and got me involved in everything. We lived in Cliff Woods back then moving to Dartford in 1982. The house mum and dad bought needed a lot of work and repair but dad did the majority of this himself, including building the first lot of extensions. He was a very talented man.

1975.
Dad got me gardening at the young age of two years old.
Proud dad. X
Supervising me with the extension of the pond.
Nan and Grand-pops 50th wedding anniversary.
A trip to Paris with mum and their friends, Fred and Pam.

Then in 2004 he became a grandad and what a proud grandad he was. He absolutely loved Ben and tried to teach him all about DIY, tools and all the skills he could possible pass on. The best role model Ben could have.

Very proud grandad.

We went on to enjoy holidays together, dad loved traveling in Europe and would drive for hours to get us where we needed to go. I have very fond memories of off the beaten track walks, calling him map man as he always had a map in his hand but never really seemed to look at it. He organised for us to go to Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland. Dad loved the food and of course the wine.

Ben and grandad watching the dolphins in Belgium.
Euro Disney Paris with Barb and Josh.
Look how similar Ben and his grandad look. Two peas in a pod x

For many years dad had been traveling to Guernsey to work at the dairy. Ben and I first accompanied him when Ben was just two years old. Each summer we would fly over there, hire a self catering apartment and just explore the island. As Ben grew older the activities would change slightly but one that didn’t was we always played adventure golf and crabbing. Dads last visit to the island was in August 2018.

Crabbing with Ben in Guernsey.
The ridiculously small hire car we were given one year in Guernsey.
Keeping an eye on Ben in the swimming pool, from our apartment in Guernsey.
Geocaching in Guernsey.
Back in Guernsey with Ben crabbing again.

He even tolerated my geocaching addiction, driving us around and stopping, eventually when we shouted STOP. Dad came on geocaching events to Bruge, Ypres, which was fascinating for all of us and our last trip which I have really fond memories of was to Glasgow.

Glasgow, geocaching. Loved his high vis jacket x

Dad would often be teased about his love of holding onto anything and everything, but when we needed a job doing you can bet your bottom dollar, Roy has one of those! Next question would be though, where? Then we would spend at least an hour looking for it or he would know exactly where it was. He would say it’s downstairs in the cupboard on the shelf or words to that effect. Some of you know though, we have a lot of cupboards 😁 Sorry for often teasing you about this little habit. It really is coming in handy in lockdown or all my little projects. Just need to find the instruction manual for the large pond filter system. Probably in a cupboard!

Then on September 28th 2019, after his heart surgery dad was well enough to make it to my wedding to Rich. He did me proud that day. He got tired quickly but he loved seeing everyone and said the day was perfect from the singer we had to the fish and chips.

I have so many fond memories of dad. Ben and I sat sharing our stories last night with a cup of tea and strawberry tart, one of dads favourites. We laughed and cried but we are so thankful he let us share his home and his life. Gone but no way ever forgotten dad. Love you lots. Sleep well ❤️❤️❤️

Bits, pieces and a tad of pottering……..

Morning everyone. I’d meant to write this last night but Suzy and I had been awake really early and the consequences of that is we fell asleep really early to.

So Sunday shenanigans….. First to bake a cake. It’s Rich’s sister Lisa birthday on Monday so we were having a family video call later in the day with tea and cake. Today Ben and I’s choice was to make a Mary Berry Cherry and almond cake. As usual you can’t go wrong with a Mary Berry recipe, easy to make and tastes delicious.

Mary Berry Cherry cake.

Whilst the cake was baking I prepared everything I needed for today’s updo project. Dad built a little coffee table outside our back door a few years ago. It’s really handy but often gets stuff dumped on it and it needed a little love to completely finish it off.

I had the idea after spotting a tin of the purple paint I’d painted the obelisks with last year in the shed. No need to go to B&Q still. Once the cake was out of the oven and cooling I set to work. Three coats later and the table looks so much brighter. Typically it did rain a little in between and I had to make a quick rain shelter.

The trouble with lockdown and our situation here, the need to keep busy I keep finding more projects. After painting this table my eye was drawn to the patio table and chairs. They are also now looking a little dry and in need of refreshing. I’ll have to search out the shed to see if we have more of the wood preserve. The only trouble with that job is I’m sure I need to sand them all first and I hate that job. The other job that is a potential on the list is to jet wash the drive. That will take a while but again I’m not that bored yet.

Time for our family birthday video call. It’s the best we can do during lockdown, but it’s still not the same as meeting up. It will do for now.

Ben is now up and awake so we harnessed Up the puppy and went out for our daily walk to the country park. There were so many people there today, some with dogs, some with their children and some on bikes. Fortunately it’s a big enough space to still social distance. Ben and I took a small diversion to visit the little garden area that my friend Cheryl and I used to go to as children. Many years ago it had a pond and if I remember rightly lots of frogs. Sadly the pond has broken up but the rangers still keep this area mown and tidy. It’s a great little quiet area to do some training with Suzy.

The pond used to be on the left.
The old pond area. Now covered in plants.

Back home and an easy dinner tonight of shove it in the oven premade Lasagne and to watch The Guernsey Literary Potato peel pie society film. Shame the majority of it wasn’t actually filmed in Guernsey as their coastlines are stunning. Visit if you get the chance when lockdown is over. We will be so that we can see our friends that we last saw at our wedding.

Quick tour of the garden, ensure all the plants in the greenhouse are tucked up for the night and off to bed for me.

My great nans peony opening up in bloom.
Lots of plants taken out of the greenhouse each day to harden off ready to plant out soon.

A green finger kind of day……

I started the day by not really knowing what to do. But the sun was shining and that always inspires me to get out in the garden. Especially on days that I find challenging and today is one of those.

Having anxiety is a horrible feeling and one I struggle to control. For the majority of the day I was buzzing from one thing to the next unable to relax with a tight chest. I really need to calm down and relax but that just wasn’t happening.

Some of you know already but my dad was admitted to hospital two weeks ago when I found him collapsed in his bathroom. His condition deteriorated rapidly and the medical teams couldn’t quite work out what was happening to him. Then the dreaded happened and he tested positive for Covid 19. We don’t know if he had it before or from the hospital but that’s irrelevant. What I can say is all the staff at Darent Valley hospital have gone above and beyond, especially as we are not allowed to visit. They sent me a video of them all singing happy birthday to him and they face time Ben and myself regularly so that we can talk to him. He responds to us.

Today when I made my morning call to see how his night had been the Sister told me something amazing. He had spent most of the night without his CPAP oxygen. WHAT! Did I hear right? I couldn’t stop the tears of joy and I was even more desperate to talk to him. So a little later in the day the nurse face timed us and we told dad how proud we are and to keep fighting. He nodded. That’s all I needed x x

So whilst he is battle continues you can now see why I just can’t sit down. Thank goodness for gardening and sunshine. Thank goodness I have a wonderful son. Thank goodness we have this gorgeous puppy to keep our spirits up and thank goodness for the most supportive family and friends. Without all this I would truly fall apart as my best friend, my Husband is also not here to keep my spirits lifted.

Suzy is often comforting me and by my side. Currently curled up on my feet as I write this blog. X

I think today is Saturday, who knows one day is just like another 🙂

The previous night I took part in an online quiz with friends. It was great fun even if I didn’t know many answers.

But what of today. Well the Melons that Rich bought me as seeds for Valentines needed planting on and this meant it was time to get a grow bag into the greenhouse and the supports for them to climb up. Where on Earth was I going to put it? So with a complete rejig and moving some plants to sheltered spots on the patio, moving the trellis and mostly just turning on the spot as it really is a small greenhouse the grow-bag was in and melons planted.

Melons now in place.
There is a floor somewhere.

In a strange kind of way I am enjoying lockdown. It makes me really think how and why we do things. I’ve looked at things in a completely different way. I always thought I did an ok job at recycling but I’m going to extremes now. We tend to have lots of old buckets and pots laying around (Dad loves to hoard stuff which is coming in very handy right now!) The trellis in the greenhouse used to be Covered in bright flowers in our spa room but as I currently can’t find my plant ball of string anywhere trellis will work perfectly. The buckets and tubs are bit by bit having holes drilled in them and reused for the Cucumbers and aubergines in the greenhouse. Sad looking hanging baskets have been sprayed and given a new fresh look. Plants grown by seed to save on cost, more veg then I’ve ever grown before to save buying from the shops (tastes way better anyway) done in potato bags and lined up along the path as I do not have space in my veg patch. Soil sieved and mixed with manure to reuse and make it go further in the new border. Plant swaps with my neighbour. They gave me a lovely hardy Fuchsia today for the new border and some established chives in exchange for the beetroot, melons and Sonnet I gave them. I’m reusing pots from a kind lady on the estate that she gave me just before lockdown. People are so much kinder and I hope this community spirt continues when we beat this awful virus, which we will!

Chives from my neighbour.
Rosemary that I cut back reused in the kitchen to add a touch of green. I’m sure it must smell nice to.

So the newly acquired Fuchsia went in the widened border today where Richs delphinium was originally placed. I moved that forward so that I could see it from the kitchen. My new deeper slug and snail copper rings arrived as well and this is the first plant one was deployed to.

Rich’s delphinium and new fuchsia.
My existing Fucshia moved forward ready for some Verbena Bona-saris that are currently in the greenhouse.

The waterfall on the small pond needed a bit of TLC so I tackled that. The lining was showing and it had been annoying me so I took it all apart, used up some broken slate that I found in the garden and replaced all the rocks. Much better.

Waterfall from the front.
Side view.

The Lilly bulbs that were also part of my Valentine’s Day present are coming up way to early in the greenhouse but I’m worried if I bring them all out now that may not acclimatise fully. But when? So I made the decision to bring some of them out today and place them on the patio and at night move them nearer the house and cover them in fleece. Fingers crossed.

Tucked up for the night.

There was beautiful bird song in the garden today from a pair of Robins that must be nesting near by. They are great company and Suzy found them quite fascinating to watch especially as they sit so close to us making their distinctive noise.

Bob.

Had a bit of a wobble at lunch time, well my boiled egg did when it fell of the plate! At least it was a dippy egg. Fortunately I had enough to cook another one. You can’t beat dippy egg and soldiers.

This evening I enjoyed another online quiz with even more people. I did a little better with this one but I’m happy to win the wooden spoon if need be. It gives me something else to paint or up-cycle 😂

So that’s just a glimmer of my day. Writing these blogs are just what I need. It makes me sit down and look at what I’ve achieved throughout the day as well as being a record of what we did when that we can look back on. (Handy for the plants and garden) I’ve also had some lovely comments from some of you saying how much you enjoy them and you either read this whilst relaxing in bed or over breakfast. Thank you for those. It means a lot. I’ll leave you with todays garden photos to enjoy.

Next project to brighten up the wooden table dad made by our bench. It looks a little tired and I spotted just the thing in the shed to bring it back to life. Hopefully tomorrow if it’s not raining and whilst our cherry cake bakes in the oven. Until tomorrow x x

I missed one!
Rebecca looking stunning today.
Strawberries forming beautifully.
Stunning sky and sunset this evening.

Our local history……..

We didn’t have much on our list of jobs today so I pottered around and once the rain had stopped I took Suzy for a long walk through Darenth Country Park. My mum and dad moved to this area with me in 1982 and the previous hospital, Darenth Park Hospital was partly still open. I remember exploring its fields and farm as a child. It was a great place to ride a bike and run down the avenue of horse chestnut trees, collecting pocket fulls to then challenge dad to a match.

Today it is completely different. The old hospital gone and a new modern hospital was built in a slightly different part of the site. We are fortunate that lots of the land is SSI therefore protected and we get to enjoy the rolling fields and birdsong daily.

The history of the old site always fascinated me, so I wanted to share it with you. Please excuse that I have copied it and it is long but in my opinion interesting.

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