Tag Archives: poppies

Flowers in the Frost

It was a bit cold this morning – minus 3.5 degrees C according to my car. With a bit of a breeze and the proximity of the River Trent it felt even colder. I started taking photos and twenty minutes later, when my hands could no longer feel the button, I called it a day and sat in the car with the heater on. Julia continued her inspection, declared the garden closed for the day and started ringing round to reorganise things.

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Frozen solid and minus three and a half degrees, though the moles are still active

I think it’s fair to say that they enjoyed themselves more in the main building than they would have done in the garden.

 

There was still plenty to see, though it was mostly droopy and covered in frost crystals. I tried to get some sun into the pictures but it was a bit low in the sky, and concealed behind trees.

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A cold-looking garden gnome

The poppies, meanwhile, are standing up to the cold weather better than the real flowers.

 

From there I dropped Julia at the main building and went to the jewellers to get a safety chain fitted to one of her Christmas presents. I will say no more…

I managed to do some shopping before my return home and a session of writing Christmas cards and blogging before starting to cook tea.

This is the street, complete with frozen snow. Despite the forecast of higher temperatures I fear it may last a week or more, and continue to be a hazard underfoot.

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A wintry scene

The Best Laid Plans…

I didn’t quite get the Armistice Day post done as I suggested in the last post.  After writing two part posts – probably a thousand words or so in total -I decided to give it a miss because it wasn’t working.

At that point I switched over to cookery. Belly pork and roasted veg for tea, chicken and ham pie for tomorrow and vegetable curry for Wednesday. Tuesday, which you may have noticed was missing, will be fishcakes. I cheated by buying fishcakes last night, so I didn’t need to make any.

With the associated washing up, and moving of red cabbage, this took a surprisingly long time. Finding the tarragon took the best part of ten minutes because it’s a small packet in a chaotic kitchen. Julia had unpacked it last night and as she had neither left it in the bag or put it in the fridge I was left slightly clueless.

That left me with the choice of breathing life into a moribund post on Armistice Day or transcribing the list of Farmers’ Markets.

If you consider that the transcribing was more fun than the blogging you will see how badly things were going. It kept turning into a rant on the use of the poppy and the Great War centenary as a way of making money.

Things took a significant downturn when we had to do a Health and Safety assessment and fill out a wad of monitoring and personal development forms. It went badly.

Not as badly as the search for a birthday present though, that is really going badly and Julia isn’t helping by refusing to tell me what she wants.

Hopefully she wants a brightly-coloured paper bag containing supermarket chocolates, flowers and face cream, because it looks like that’s what she’ll be getting.

 

Poppies – Yes, it’s That Time of Year Again

Julia and the Garden Group made poppies a few weeks ago, cutting the bottoms of plastic bottles, fitting wire stalks, spraying them red and sticking the bottle tops in the centres.

It’s not a very complicated process, though the step I missed out (smoothing the cut edges using a candle flame) does have the occasional interesting moment. Julia tried making leaves using green plastic bottles, but they turned out a bit see-through. She doesn’t have enough money in the kitty for green paint, in case you were wondering.

With the addition of some scrim netting (because it’s slightly military) and some rosemary (for remembrance) it is now forming an art installation in the garden. See how easily I slip into the language of the aesthete – art installation indeed. It’s some plastic flowers on a fence post. It also includes some sedums (because they are still in prolific flower) and some chicken wire (because there wasn’t enough scrim).

One of the group has printed out a suitable poem too. It’s the Moina Michael poem “We shall Keep the Faith“. I’ve left a link rather than displaying it in full. To be honest, I don’t really like it . Apart from the sentiment I don’t like the way it rhymes red and dead twice in seventeen lines.

As she’s the originator of Poppy Days I will cut her some slack and say no more. After all, my view may not reflect the views of posterity.

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Poppies and Rosemary

 

 

More From the Junk Box

The top picture is a lapel badge issued on Nottingham Warriors Day in 1921. It took place in March 1921 and was to raise funds for the Earl Haig Fund. There were a number of events, including a matinee performance that raised £400 for the fund and it was supported by the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII. He was popular in those days.

This would later be eclipsed with the launch of poppy sales on Armistice Day 1921 – £106,000 raised in just one day.

Poppy seeds can lie dormant for many years. People used to say 90 years but now we are in the centenary years of the Great War they tend to say one hundred. It’s possible that poppies blooming today were seeds in 1914-18.

Try this for a less sentimental view of poppies.

After many references to sports teams, martial arts and eco-warriors I finally found references in a newspaper archive. I knew most of it, but when you are about to tell people from all over the world you really need to check your facts.

Most of the links just proved that like “hero”, the word “warrior” has been devalued over the years. Playing rugby for Worcester or recycling your newspapers should not qualify you for the title Warrior. On the other hand, the ironic use of keyboard warrior does meet with my approval, and yes, I admit I can be one myself.

Moving on to 1928, we have a medal for the opening of the new University buildings by George V and Queen Mary on 10th July 1928.

 

We then move on to 1935, the Silver Jubilee of George V and Queen Mary. This medal, as you can see, was given out by the Nottinghamshire County Council Education Committee. I presume it was given to school children. In a Lancashire my parents were given mugs, which they used to display in a cabinet when I was a kid. They are wrapped up in a box now, When I die I expect my kids will sell them. I don’t blame them. A fascination with the detritus of past times is not for everyone.

You may notice that the coat of arms looks a bit like it’s been designed by a child with a handful of crayons. It was replaced in 1937 by a proper one. I quite like the old one but as coats of arms go I have to admit the new one looks more traditional. I can’t find more details at the moment.

One thing that could have done with a medal is the opening of Gunthorpe Bridge on 17th November 1927 by the Prince of Wales. Yes, him again. Nobody seems to have bothered, so we just have to make do with a plaque on the bridge. One day I might stop and take a picture. One day when I am past caring about being squashed by a lorry.

Once you cross the Trent at Gunthorpe, the next crossing is Newark. I’ll leave that for the next post.

Progress of Sorts…

Make chicken stew. It’s in the oven. Several hours late.

Soup? Er…just about to do it. Veg are ready but I need to wash a pan as I’ve been storing compost scraps in it for the last few days. Yes, I need to empty a bokashi bucket.

Curry. It won’t take long.

Living room – I’ve moved stuff round, which is related to tidying, though not closely related. More a cousin than a sibling.

Hoover. Perhaps tomorrow.

Meanwhile I have washed up and done the recycling, which I’d forgotten about. I often forget the washing up, though not as much as Number Two son, who is a world class amnesiac. Also watched darts and discussed the finer parts of sports marketing and sponsorship with Number Two son. Had bacon cobs with mushrooms for lunch.

Cut up plastic bottles to make poppies. (and give me an excuse to re-use old photos of poppies).

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Poppies made from plastic bottles

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Poppies and corn wreath

 

 

 

New Phone, Fingers and Flowers

 

Last night Julia went on line and arranged an upgrade for me with our airtime provider. Though you do have to pay for it somewhere along the line, it seems like a free phone and is not too bad.

The problem was that they set the ball rolling by sending me a code in a text. It’s tricky receiving a text on a touch screen phone when the screen is in pieces and stabs you in the fingers when you try to use it. Even when you try to use it carefully.

The new one is bigger than the old one, which seems to be the trend. It is also more complicated. I haven’t finished setting it up yet, but I have managed to fit the screen protector and insert it into the protective case.  Yes, definitely a case of locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.

(Did you know screen protectors come with their own screen protector protectors? I didn’t.)

I have also activated the fingerprint security system. Time will tell if this was a good decision.

Call me a pessimist if you will, but all I can think of at the moment is various ways I could lose my finger, and how I would unlock my phone if that happened.

The photos are from the Mencap garden this morning. There was no group in, and Julia needed someone to hold the other end of the tape measure.

A Treasury of Flowers

I’ve been looking at other blogs with envy this year, particularly Derrick J Knight and Tootlepedal’s Blog.  They have a lot of things in common, including beautiful gardens, great photography and gardening partners – the Head Gardener and Mrs Tootlepedal.

It may be time for a little pep talk with Julia. Nothing major, just point her to a few relevant posts and leave an unspoken suggestion…

That way I hope to avoid being told to do it myself, as I already have lots to do. That TV won’t watch itself and blogging takes time.

Meanwhile, just to show we can grow plants (despite the state of our garden this year) here are a few things from last year at the farm.