Tag Archives: flowers

Julia’s Excellent Day Out

Once Julia gets your email address you are doomed, as the secretary of the Flintham Ploughing Match found to her cost.  We do actually know her from our work on the farm (she used to give us apples and horse manure) so a request for freebies wasn’t totally out of the blue. Thanks to her generosity Julia ended up with free tickets for her Thursday group and two tickets for the VIP parking.

It was, by all accounts, an excellent day. The weather, which had been borderline at the beginning of the week, brightened up for Thursday so it was a great day for it even if it was soft underfoot in places. Generally the going was good, though they did have to close the second show ring because of drainage problems.

This is better than a few years ago when they had to cancel due to the weather. This year it is Southwell that has been cancelled. It’s a shame, because a lot of volunteers invest a lot of time in putting these shows on.The problem is that ploughing matches can really only take place at one time of year, and that time of year is prone to being wet.

As you can see from the photographs there was plenty to do and there was a display of old relics. I will say no more…

She brought several pies back – we will be eating them tonight.

Hope and Plums

In all the wedding cake, hope is the sweetest of the plums.

Douglas Jerrold

Despite the temperature and wind, a lone Peacock toughed it out in the garden this morning. I’m sure there would have been more if we’d had more time, but we could only manage a flying visit. Julia was taking a group for someone else at the main building and we had to be there for nine.

While Julia had a word with the school caretaker I took the chance to take some photos. These include the fruit and some of the beds. I took the fruit because it’s a nice thing to photograph (and some of it is just starting to ripen). The beds are quite good too, with some of the grasses now starting to show well.

I’m taking them as reference shots to help Julia with her garden planning. Now the mint has been cleared by one of the volunteers (too soon in my opinion) they are looking a bit bare, and devoid of pollinators. Apart from that I’m doing nothing – Julia can work out what happens next.

It’s going to be very interesting as the seasons come round, as we need to see what bulbs are planted.

In truth nothing much needs doing as it’s a well established garden with plenty of provision for wildlife, but there’s always something needing to be done. They look white and green from the photos but there is lavender in there and a few remaining orange lilies with scattered evening primrose.

Soon we will be picking fruit and collecting manure for the rhubarb beds. The rhubarb has been a bit week this year, a sure sign it needs feeding as it’s always known as a “hungry crop” by ancient gardeners leaning on spades.

When we fed the rhubarb on the farm we ended up with a rhubarb jungle, so watch this space for further news.

 

A Bunch of Irises

I try to buy Julia flowers nearly every week. The “nearly” is significant as it stops her taking me for granted. Even after 28 years of marriage I feel it’s important to stop complacency setting in.

I also feel you have to ensure you buy them often enough to avoid the suspicion that you are feeling guilty about something.

Mostly I buy roses because they are very reasonably priced all year round, apart from early February of course, and they last well. Younger men may buy with romance in mind but the more mature gent shops with value as his guide.

There is a delicate balance involved – on the one hand it’s an important business in Kenya and I’m supporting an industry in the developing world. On the other hand I’m exploiting poor Africans and the growing and transporting of flowers is damaging the environment. I keep thinking that we should grow our own flowers for cutting, but I always end up leaving them in the garden and buying more.

I try not to buy out of season vegetables, but don’t seem to apply the same thought to flowers, and have never, ever checked the air miles associated with chocolate.

Once the roses start to die back Julia dries the petals of the dark coloured ones for use in pot pourri. That is why I tend to buy the red ones -I feel less guilty about the ozone layer if we upcycle the dead flowers.

However, the choice of roses has not been good recently and I’ve been looking at alternatives. he alteratives are often dire, but they had irises this week. I like irises. Fortunately Julia likes irises too.

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Irises

The lighting seemed to good to miss, and the tight framing emphasises the beauty of the blooms. It also hides the fact that the living room isn’t as tidy as it could be…

Fifty minutes

This morning I dropped Julia at work and, fifty minutes later, was back at home.

In the garden I listened to the faulty strimmer and revealed a basic difference between the sexes, before taking some more flower photos.

Julia has many talents. She could probably, if her ambition lay in that direction, do a better job of running the country than Theresa May. I, on the other hand, have to plan in advance just to get my socks on. However, when called upon to diagnose the problem with the strimmer in the Mencap garden, I was able to spot the problem straight away.

I’m not an expert on strimmers but I could spot that the high-pitched grinding sound was a bad sign.

To be fair, Julia, who is completely deaf to the sound of mechanical agony, doesn’t need to know this as she has me for all that technical stuff.

I, in turn, use a mower shop for repairs as my efforts usually end up with a puzzled look and a tin of leftover bits.

Most of the rest of the journey home involved traffic and queues. One hold up was caused by an ambulance parked across the road as the crew treated a man lying on the road. I took some photos as we waited because  I had the camera handy.

I could see his feet moving so I didn’t feel too intrusive. Anyway, there were a lot of people hanging round so I wasn’t the only voyeur. As I drove past, I noted he was wearing a helmet and a bicycle was propped up against a tree. That is the price of reducing traffic and pollution.

I’m happy to report that he seemed quite lively, and hope he wasn’t badly hurt.

There is a question, though, about the ethics of taking pictures of accidents. There’s a long tradition of postcards showing various disasters including train crashes, mining disasters and fires, but does that make it right?

Is the picture journalism, local history or just intrusive?

It took me back 40 years to a Sunday lunchtime (the accident, not the photography) when the driver of a red Austin Maxi overtook me on my Vespa 200 (yes, I had a scooter at one time) and pulled over before passing me properly. Result – me in gutter with the knee injury that still bothers me today.

Accident on Woodborough Road , Nottingham

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It’s amazing what you can pack into less than an hour.

 

Working in the garden

Julia needed a willing workhorse this morning. When she couldn’t find one she had to do with a mithering fatman.

The task was sawing pallets up to make garden benches. Julia has a video on how to make a bench from a single pallet. Unfortunately our pallets aren’t the same size as the ones in the video (8 slats instead of 9) so there’s an element of mix and match involved.

There are some excellent benches on show, but we’re aiming for functionality rather than upholstery.

I will take some photographs when we get one together. With no electricity and a blunt hand saw, this might take some time. The fact I’m not allowed to be an official volunteer isn’t actually helping either. It also doesn’t help when you have to evict a family of magpies before starting. We aren’t sure why they like it in the polytunnel but the first job of the day is always to chase four protesting magpies out. Over the years we had a few birds in the polytunnels on the farm, but never anything like this.

Fruit and flowers were looking good, and the rain stopped for a while.

 

Robin Hood’s Bay

Yes, it’s more photos from the trip to the seaside. Robin Hood’s Bay is nowhere near Sherwood Forest – it’s between Whitby and Scarborough. It has a very interesting history, but to be honest, we tend to park in the viewpoint at the top of the hill.

It was a bit hazy on the day, so I used the “pop-art” setting on the camera to brighten things up. It isn’t very realistic, but it’s cheerful. It’s also as realistic as most of the 60’s postcards I remember from childhood.

There was a good variety of plant life in the grass around the parking area, and it was very easy to access as you had tarmac to walk on.

I’m not sure about the species of  the spider in the featured image, but the beetle is a soldier beetle, bit I won’t push my luck by being more precise as there are 530 European species and many of them look alike.

This, by the way, is my 800th post. I think I must be getting a little blasé about blogging because it’s not as exciting as it used to be when you hit a big round number.  However, I just prodded the dashboard at the top of the screen and found that I can put an accent on the final e of blasé. It’s only taken me 800 posts to find that out, but then I didn’t need it in the first 799. (It’s the Ω sign).

I’m going to write a post about Schrödinger now I can spell his name properly.

 

TGIF

First job of the day was to wake up. I did not achieve total success in carrying out this task. My mistake had been uttering those immortal words “I’ll just have another few minutes.” I set my new phone to give me 15 more minutes and, 25 minutes after it went off, was found cuddling it affectionately to my bosom.

Julia soon put a stop to that.

We visited the Mencap garden next and I had a look at the progress made during the week. Julia is aiming to build some interest amongst group members and to tidy up a bit. It’s never going to be immaculate, and that isn’t the intention, but she is aiming to make the garden more productive and define the wildlife areas more clearly. We know from bitter experience that visitors are all to keen to complain about weeds, and that this always causes problems.

Then, after coffee and cake (the remains of our stash from Mrs Botham) it was time to go home. It also seemed a good time to take Julia’s new Facebook profile photo.  She always looks happier after cake.

I realise that cake for breakfast is probably frowned on by Big NHS Brother but what harm can a bit of cake do? The sultanas alone must be worth one of my five a day, and if they really want us to go to ten a day I’m going to struggle without cake.

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Great job, cake, wonderful husband – you just have to smile

From home, it was off to the anticoagulant clinic again. I won’t bore you will the details, but after struggling to get my blood to respond to anticoagulants they are now struggling to stop it responding. I let them flap for a bit, but as stress is a killer I decided not to worry about it.

Final job of the morning is checking out a few blogs and writing my first post of the day. That is now done, and after loading a few pictures I will be doing my first job of the afternoon, which is eating lunch. The other plans are collect prescription, shop for evening meal, visit duck pond, eat ice cream and watch Pointless.

In the evening I shall coerce Number One son into washing up, collect Number Two son from the station, cook tea, dispense unwanted fatherly advice on a variety of subjects, and complain that nobody speaks clearly these days. They will counter this final assertion by pointing to hearing aid adverts on the TV, though I may well be asleep before any come on.