Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Last Day Of April

So. Matty's eighth anniversary came and went and I was really miserable. It wasn't just the anniversary, it was remembering that I felt really old when she died and kind of grateful to have had a mother so long and now I am eight years older again and feel that I'm not doing anything particularly great with my life and not finding much joy in it.

And I'm cross. Oh, so cross. Everyone (nearly everyone) annoying me. Wondering why everyone (nearly everyone) is so stupid, so obtuse, so ignorant. The *nearly* is a get-out clause for anyone who has been in my vicinity recently. Of course, I'm not talking about you. Obviously. It's not you, it's me.

Guess I'm depressed. Again. I thought I was done with all that.

However. It's not going to last. I'm sure of it. I've got all kinds of special tools to deal with it thanks to a special someone. She'll know who she is.

Other news. Hannah has gone to Europe for a month, Ziggy left to Nellybert's tender care. I'm trying to arrange a trip to deepest, darkest Norfolk to see my Englander grandchildren. Bert has a significant birthday approaching which might allow him more affordable travelling. The hens are laying well and the Irelander grandchildren have been camping in the woods.

Every day in May I'm going to blog my blessings. It's a special tool.

Here's one for the last day of April. All about home.


Wednesday, April 24, 2019


At this time of the year dandelions are in their full flush of flowering. This is the time to make dandelion wine if one is so inclined. Not me, for my freezer is still full of raspberries, gooseberries and redcurrants and anyway, dandelion wine is fiddly, faffy and, in the end, overly sweet.

When we were children dandelions were ‘piss the bed’. I tried making chains from them in the school playground. Bigger kids taunted me. Touch those and you’ll wet the bed. I was embarrassed. How did they know? I wet the bed anyway, even when I didn’t touch dandelions.

There were counting games. How to tell the time using dandelion clocks. We’d blow the seeds away, one o’clock, two o’ clock and so on. It was always mid afternoon or early evening with dandelion clocks.

These days dandelions have other meanings. For those of us who consider ourselves ‘green’ they are no longer a pernicious and evil weed, but rather a valuable source of food for early pollinaters and caterpillars and no decent gardener should ever be without them.

But now, at this time of the year, this first flush of dandelions on roadside verges bring back poignant memories. In the very last days of our mother’s life, when I was making those daily journeys to her home and the weather was so fine, the dandelions carpeted the central reservation of the dual carriageway and every year since then when they bloom in profusion I am nearly undone.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Snatched From The Jaws

It is a really lovely morning and I'm pottering around waiting for the first of the happy campers to emerge from the wood. All the doors are open to let fug out and Spring in. Then comes an odd noise from the kitchen. I investigate and there is Big Fat Fred with something tiny in his mouth. I think it might be a field mouse. He runs outside but I catch him and prise his jaws open. Out falls a little bird, a goldcrest. I assume it is dead. It's not. There is some movement. I bring it to Bert. He says leave it somewhere safe and see how it does. I find a box, place the goldcrest inside. Immediately it flies towards the window. I catch it and take the bird outside and place it in the rhododendron hedge. That's a good, safe place for little birds as it is too tangly for the fat cat to get into. The goldcrest looks a bit dishevelled and sits for a moment, then flies further into the hedge. I can still see it and fetch my camera to take a picture using a close up lens. Fifteen minutes later the bird is still there. After thirty minutes it has disappeared. Hopefully to live, fly and breed another day. And to stay out of the house. Cats live there!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


It's fifty years today since Bernadette Devlin was elected to parliament as the member for Mid Ulster. She was 21 years old. I was a few years younger than that, too young to vote but still very keen on politics. I remember her as one of the few who could give Ian Paisley a bloody good argument in the TV political discussion programmes at that time. How we cheered her in our house. For Paisley was a verbal bully and our Bernadette was well able for him.

When she was elected to Westminster the Daily Mirror had her on the front page. I don't remember the headline but it was patronising, concentrating on her gender, youth and fashion sense. She was photographed on a playground swing as if she was a little girl. I was very cross about this. Hardly a mention of her fierce socialist politics, instead comments on the length of her skirt. But it was 1969! Everyone wore short skirts then, even Elizabeth Windsor.

I tried to find the photograph on the internet using the keywords  'Bernadette Devlin Daily Mirror Swing'. No luck. Except for the news item about her taking a 'swing' at the Home Secretary, Reginald Maudling on the day following Bloody Sunday. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Lilac Dress

Yet another freezing day. Apparently, this blustery chill wind is coming from Scandinavia. It is to ease tomorrow. My Irish grandchildren arrived just after lunch for a sleepover that I had completely forgotten about. According to their mother, they were very excited and had been looking forward to it all morning. Yet the first thing they did when they got here was to have a big row about the contents of the dressing up box, in particular, a lilac taffeta dress and a toning lace trimmed shawl. Evie said never gets a chance to try the new items first. Delicate negotiations were carried out and Evie got her chance to wear the dress.

She looked very nice in it too but did not agree as Martha had told her it would look horrible on her so she wasn't so sure. Her red sequinned shoes (several sizes too big) don't appear in this picture as we got photo-bombed by Maya.

Here we can see the red shoes peeking out. Martha, ever the stylist, had informed Evie that they "wouldn't go."

An hour or so later and Martha was back in the favoured costume and Evie was happy in her hoodie and fluffy blanket. All are enjoying 'How To Tame Your Dragon'.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Blossom Oh Dearie

Well, here I am exhausted again, the result of two days and nights of socialising with the Banjo clan who mostly all talk at once and then a very early start for the airport this morning to deliver Miss Hannah to Norfolk for the celebration of her birthday with the Englander side of the family.

The weather has turned very cold with a nasty wind coming from the East. So brisk is the breeze that it blows the washing off the line and my glasses off my face. It has also blown the blossom from the apple and plum trees. There is always something to blight one's hopes of a bountiful harvest.

I've had a quiet day. Just one outing to the local shop where I stocked up on chocolate and biscuits. Needless to say, this was a short-lived pleasure and I am feeling both guilty and unhealthy.

Blackthorn blossom, hardier than plums and apples.

Monday, April 08, 2019

I Actually Quite Like Mondays

The weekend plan worked out well except Saturday turned out to be a very fine day so tiling was abandoned in favour of gardening.

We started a new flowerbed and most of the plants in the picture were planted, mostly verbascum and aquilegias. The rest of those pots were cleaned up and mulched. They are pines that Zoe grew from seed, a fig and some lilies. On Sunday Bert started the tiling and I tidied the garden.

That's a work in progress.

Today was another fine day. Bert spent the morning on the tiling and I helped with the cuts by spraying water while he used an angle grinder. He forgot to tell me to be careful of flying dust and tonight I have a sore eye. Tomorrow he will be purchasing a tile cutter to finish the job.

I spent the afternoon making dinner and having little chat with the girls. Martha and I were looking at pictures on Flickr and she noted that I get a lot likes from 'Jean' and 'Ganching'.

Who is Ganching? 

I told her about blogs and blogging and that Ganching and I have been writing blogs since before she was born.

It might be fun to see what I wrote when you were born.
We found this from the day of her birth,

Today was always going to be a busy day. We'd planned to go visit, with a view to procuring, Kune Kune pigs. Later we'd be going to the Wee Manny's for a surprise birthday party.

What I didn't expect was hearing from Dave that Zoe has been safely delivered of a daughter, our first grandchild. She was a week earlier than expected - the impatient little thing!

So now I must go and wash the smell of pig from my person and get myself ready to visit Zoe, Dave and daughter.

And a few days later,

How fascinating this little human being is! And really, all she does is nurse and poo and burp and pull the most peculiar faces. I'm told she cries but, so far, never in my presence.

She is, of course, far more beautiful than the normal run of babies. She is, which goes without saying, already displaying signs of superior intelligence. And, for a creature barely a week old, she is amazingly strong and active and alert.

Am I besotted? I think I must be.

But I had an oven to attend to and salads to make and Martha wanted to read more. About ten minutes later she was able to inform me that I'd written hardly anything when her sister was born and that Evie was almost a year old before she featured in Nelly's Garden. Sibling rivalry. I told Martha that Flickr was where I'd put all my Evie pics. I hope I wasn't telling a lie.

Friday, April 05, 2019

My Plans For The Weekend

These days, weekends don't mean that much. Every day, excepting Monday and Thursday, is the weekend for me. Nevertheless, I have plans.

Tomorrow morning I plan to be awakened early by Roy, barking to get out. Realising it is Saturday I will get up at whatever ungodly hour it happens to be, pull on a pair of jeans over my pyjamas, stuff my feet into my gardening boots, wrap myself in a big coat and head to the garage for the Saturday Guardian.

On my return, I will start breakfast whilst perusing the magazine.

I will remove jeans, boots and jacket and return to bed with coffee and bits of the paper.

Sometime later I will get up, feed and water the chickens, drink more coffee, check the internet to make sure no celebrities have died in the previous 12 hours and drink more coffee etc. etc.

By now Bert will be up and aching to begin tiling the kitchen. I will have cleared it to aid him in his labours. To further help him, I will repair outside to sow vegetable seeds in the polytunnel.

At some point, I will return to the house, admire Bert's progress and if it is a fine day will work in the flower garden. And after that, I will simply potter about.

If visitors turn up and if they are at all politically minded I shall run my latest survey past them. Which is,

Name the worst Prime Ministers in your lifetime?

So far most people are saying May and Cameron.

On Sunday... oh, I haven't a clue about Sunday. I'll potter a bit. Maybe sow more seeds. Read. Take some photographs if it's fine. A walk?

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

10 Things I Did Today

This blog post is a steal from Ganching for I really do need some inspiration to keep this blog on the road. You do know that this Brexit shambles has a large number of people suffering from low spirits, despair and bad nerves? I am one such person and it is even affecting my night's rest. This morning I was awakened (by a dog) from a dream where a hot young priest was being fed into a hospital incinerator. Mind you that particular dream might have been more to do with Fleabag than Brexit.

So, the ten things.

1. Got up at 7 o'clock. Which was really 6 as my body is not yet used to British Summer Time. Why? Dogs.

2. Went to Newtownabbey and picked kitchen tiles with Hannah's assistance.

3. Sowed four different kinds of sunflower.

4. Watered the polytunnel

5. Went for a short walk.

6. Sat staring at the computer screen in silent despair as I realised that's all I actually did today because cooking supper barely counts as it was only mince and onions which is one of Bert's favourites.


7. Thought about charging my phone.

8. Poured a glass of wine.

9. Watched a clip of Stephen Colbert,

10. Updated Nelly's Garden. Does that count?

All in all, a quiet sort of a day.