Tag Archives: herbs

Poor Time Management

I really meant to do better, but I’ve loafed the day away and left myself with 23 minutes to write a post. It’s a very poor example of time management. It is also an example of my failure to learn from misadventure, as I have done this before, and always say I won’t do it again.

Tonight I also went out to have a go at photographing the moon, but it is currently cloudy and the photos were not good. This is very vexing. Julia is currently trying to get to grips with it, and though she is producing interesting photographs, they aren’t actually pictures of the moon.

It does, however, match the pattern of the rest of the day. I have had to book another ASDA collection because I can’t get one at TESCO. This not satisfactory, as you can probably guess from my previous post.

I have tried the on-line ordering system for my prescriptions, and find that it is going to take a week. This normally takes two days but there is a Bank Holiday and a weekend in between, plus two days to process it (as usual) and an extra two days for the pharmacy to do something that should take them 20 minutes. Such is “progress”.

bunch of white oval medication tablets and white medication capsules

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Something else happened today, but I can’t remember what it was, and only have six minutes left.

Two of the pictures are herbs from the garden and one is a picture of pills.

I might have been going to moan about the Bank Holiday, but I can’t remember now, It hardly seems worth the effort when I’ve just had six weeks of aimless days.


Bay Trees – early stages

Looks like I need to paint some woodwork.

Had a good morning in the garden this morning helping Julia out. The group put up a shade shelter yesterday using the existing posts and a bit of camo netting. They will now be able to eat their lunch without the fear of sunburn or aerial reconnaissance.

A few final touches were required, and that’s where I came in. It’s good to feel useful, even if it was my height rather than my design skills that were needed – as you can see from the photos, it’s a bit of a stretch for one of us.

Julia did some painting and other bits while I took photos and swept the tearoom floor. That’s my place in this marriage.

One of the ongoing jobs is to make the entrance to the garden a bit more colourful and inviting. There was a decrepit barbecue in one of the sheds, with lots of rust and a selection of holes in the bottom. With a bit of vision (think “drainage” holes) and some surplus paint it is now a bright and cheerful herb planter.

The morning was, apart from the company, a bit dull. This was an impression that was further reinforced when I drove past Trent Bridge at 12.15 – they had the lights on for the Test Match. I’d hate to think of the bill for that lot.

Escape to Derbyshire (Part 1)

As I was sorting laundry this morning (another day off – we really are spoiling ourselves) we had a postal delivery for Number Two son.

“Why don’t we nip up to Sheffield and give it to him.” I suggested. (Having already suggested Stoke on Trent, which is usually a winner, and Bakewell as days out, I was becoming desperate at the thought of another day of housework).

It worked, and Julia texted him to arrange it. After waiting for a reply and wondering what would happen if she rang him in the middle of a lecture, she finally rang him. Me? Well, to be honest, at 10.15, I didn’t think there was much chance of catching him in the middle of a lecture.

I was right. What actually happened was that we woke him up.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, we popped up to Sheffield, got caught in traffic,  dropped off the letter, took him to lunch at KFC, lectured him on the importance of eating properly (yes, I know…) and did various parent things.

I also took a photo of one of the gardens in his street. The one with Virginia creeper growing up the telegraph pole was quite impressive but the one with the beans was more interesting.


The garden next door to the beans had a fine display of fuchsias, which was a coincidence as we’d been eating fuchsia berries from our garden this morning. I’ve eaten fuchsia berries before and not been impressed but these are supposed to be juicy and delicious. To be fair, it’s been a poor year, and they aren’t in a great position, but they didn’t seem any different to the others I’ve tried. Interesting idea though – plenty of flowers and a claimed 300 berries per plant. It’s the one in the header picture.

After that, having cunningly secreted the postcode of the Riverside Herb Centre in my shirt pocket, I entered the details in the satnav (I’m finally moving into the 21st Century) and set off. It was a visit of mixed results, with virtually no plants available. Fortunately there is a shop selling a variety of products, including oak-smoked rapeseed oil. I’ll cover that in a later post, once I’ve decided what to do with it. I checked on the internet and the main suggestions are to use it for salad dressing. It doesn’t seem very imaginative.

We also bought black onion seed, garam masala, beeswax hand lotion and a packet of ginger creams. They will probably appear in reviews on the other blog.

After that, well that’s going to be Part 2.



Have I done anything good today?

I took some ducklings to a care home for the elderly today and everyone seemed to like them.

In the first session one of them evacuated its cute little bowels into my hand as I showed it to the first person. In the second session I placed a paper towel in my hand and the little darling (which may or may not have been the same one) shifted itself backwards and unloaded onto the carpet from a great height. Fortunately with it being young and cute, people laughed. I doubt whether I’d have got the same reception if I’d done it and, in case you’re wondering, yes I am at that age where young and cute things make me growl.

My arms are too short to read without glasses, light bulbs aren’t as bright as they used to be, exams are easier than they were in my day, people mumble and modern hairstyles would look better on the end of a toilet brush. And gradually I’m finding that old age and treachery doesn’t beat youth and enthusiasm. That’s a shame because that and anti-inflammatories  were the only things that kept me going.

What with that and the flowers and herbs we took as part of our sensory presentation, it all seemed to go well. One of the ladies asked if I was married and another offered me a Malteser. I accepted the Malteser but had to point out to the other lady, in the words of the old song, I can’t get away to marry you today because my wife won’t let me.

We’ve done quite a bit of other stuff too, though nothing that approaches a duckling in bringing happiness.

So despite everything, yes I have done something good today.



Bay Leaves

Before I go any further, this is the European Bay tree I’m talking about- Laurus nobilis. I’m sure all bay leaves can all be dried in the same way but it’s best to be clear.

I ran out of bay leaves last week and as I hate having to buy things that are growing in the garden I thought I’d have a go at drying some. During the summer I used some for pickling but never got round to drying any. At the time I wasn’t using many and thought I had enough.


Anyway, it’s a simple technique – pick good, sound leaves (preferably in summer when the flavours will be at their peak), wash, dry and microwave.

We have just bought a new microwave for the farm kitchen so I could only find two choices for heat (I’m a man, we don’t read manuals). Thirty seconds on defrost produced an aromatic blast of eucalyptus when the door was open. That’s why dry and fresh bay leaves produce different flavours: fresh leaves produce a much harsher flavour due to the eucalyptus taste while dried produce a subtler effect.

Another six sessions at 30 seconds each didn’t quite do the job so I decided on full power for the next thirty.

That’s what the browning is on the tips of the leaves – I managed to overcook them in just half a minute. There’s a moral about patience in that story. Despite this they still helped make a great stock (more of that later).