Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Three boxes of tissues later...

Finally seeing the back of our flu after working our way through 3 boxes of man sized tissues and all the odd ones tucked in bags and pockets.  Together we managed to cut the front and garden lawns today which are now mostly nice and green after 20 mm of rain and lower temperatures ! But had to have a long lay down with our books at afternoon tea break.  Veg garden and field will have to hang on a few more days before we can do any serious work.

The flowers on this bush produce a deep red berry on the ends of springy arching branches. The blackbirds are desperate to get them and lurch up and down and tumble in and out.

What else is happening here?  Tomato crop is producing well. We have been unsuccessful at selling surplus at the gate this year as the main road in the village has been closed for road works for 7 weeks and everyone is going round the other way!  So lots of tomato soup this week to help with our sore throats. Sweetcorn is ripening now and providing some nice quick lunches.

In my sewing cabin I have been going through a box of 2-3 year old toddler clothes left by one of my sons for recycling. Here are two polo shirts, a pair of pyjamas and some shorts.  What to make?

I cut the clothes along seams to give as much flat material as possible.  Did not need the shorts. A shopping bag is tried first, using the rocket theme to reflect the print material.

The back is a patchwork of left over rectangles. Avoiding the hole in the left knee of the trousers and using any logos which had cheery messages.

Lined with some new calico curtain lining.  The polo shirt material proved quite thin when cut into so I used some old cotton fabric from some summer trousers under the applique rocket and under the patchwork.  (I must try to get some cheap fusible backing material for these projects.) So the bag is quite soft and padded.  I was going to use the old collars to make handles but they are quite narrow and would not quite fit round any strengthening cord I had available.  So used some straps from an abandoned apron for handles.

They also left a lot of odd baby socks.
If you cut down back and sole you get quite a lot to work with and the heels and toes make good ears and noses for SOCK MONSTER PUPPETS!

Friday, 10 August 2018

Summer flu

We are laying on the settees, working our way through 2 boxes of tissues and taking all the flu remedies we can find in the back of the cupboard.

Made a big saucepan of minestrone soup to ease down the sore throats and even thinking porridge tomorrow as corn flakes can hurt!

Back soon - sneezing and coughing when you are using a laptop is impossible. 
Good job teddy and monkey have been left here by the grandchildren to comfort us along with a stack of books to read as current TV programming is hopeless.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Wigwam or Tepee?

Last year I made the grandkids 3 hobby horses on broomsticks for the summer holidays. This year I made them a wigwam. My son called it a tepee.  My 4 year old grandkids  called it a tent and had no idea of a cultural background. Wild west or "Cowboy and Indian" films obviously not on CBBC or Tiny Pop or these other channels??

It was made of 4 of my husbands best giant thick bamboo poles (not needed as we were only going for one row of runner beans this year) and four cloth triangles. I used one half of a white king sized duvet and a long length of thin black cotton dress material (donated free to me) from my stash. No great loss as it was so thin it was no good for dresses and I had already had 3 blouses out of it.  So cost nothing except a few afternoons puzzling out the mechanics.  Secured at top with string in a hem and made a door way by splitting one triangle and putting a facing on it with odd ribbons sewn in to fasten up.  I did sew heavy washers into the corners thinking I could use the wire hoops from the veg netting to pin the sides but the ground was too hard and this was last piece of green grass in the garden.  So I made a hem in the excess material round the bases and threaded in some old roofing battens from the scrap/fire wood pile on three sides which held it out nicely as long as it was not too windy. Old bed covers for sitting on  and stretching out to provide a play patio.

It went down very well, as you can see the giant lego stuff was out here and not all over lounge floor to trip up Granddad. Teddy spent time in the tent and often came flying out. It was a good shady place to send one fractious girl with a digital device who was tired, hot and wanted to watch a cartoon when we were all having a cup of tea and chatting and did not want to go indoors.  Not strong enough for the 18 month old of substantial proportions to practice his standing up skills though.

On reflection how I may improve it next year I did think I would keep an eye out for those kids duvets in the charity shops with the garish characters and it may be something they relate to. I think the kids would like that and it would thicken the sides up a bit. I would also fasten the triangle seams to the poles on the insides it was a pain re lining it up each time it got a bit out of line.

They are all gone to the west Country to annoy their other grand parents now. Poles returned to garden stash, string rewound in the shed, wigwam rolled up and stashed. Hobby horses stacked in corner.  Left the bunting up tied to the bushes and fences for a while.  Bit like after Christmas when you take down the tree.

Come back next summer!  But please get out of nappies - my bin has a stench all of its own and it is not collected for another week!!

Friday, 3 August 2018

Summer veg

Now all the family have departed for other holiday destinations I can have the time to reflect on the veg garden.  Plus its too hot to do much outside although I am taking the opportunity to wash blankets and pillows!

Like everyone else there have been days this year when we have wanted to give up gardening.  Cold winter, long difficult early spring then the "big dry". 

What went well?
Broad beans - very light crop with loads of black fly. Enough from one single row as I don't particularly like them.
Dwarf French beans - despite looking poorly when they went in and got cold and blasted by easterly winds are cropping well despite not being very big plants at all.
Washing up bowl full one day.

Courgettes - again plants took a while too get going and now won't stop, Pleas all round for NO MORE courgettes for tea.
Tomatoes - slow, slow and much smaller than ever before but are now cropping well Sold 4lbs at the garden gate yesterday and have enough flowing through for tomato sauces and soups as needed for us.
Cucumbers - one big one every 2 or 3 days so more than enough for us and the visiting grandkids who all adore slices and would prefer that to sweets.
Peas - surprising left alone by pigeons and we had loads off a short 6 ft row. Grandchildren loved to help pod these and it teaches them where food comes from (city dwellers - peas come from Tes**cos!!).
Carrots - only managed to get one row and second sowing to come up as it was much too ho for germination. Husband watered a lot and now we have fairly decent crop.  Had a thunderstorm last weekend so he quickly re rotovated where the broad beans were and put in 2 more rows in the damp soil.  Hotter now so not much hope there.
Runner beans - weird.  No other word for it. Multi stems all from the base and very thin at top of poles. Beans are small, short in length and liable to go to seed quickly,  Had a sneek round a few veg plots on way round village and most people's seem the same.
Cabbage - look like lace with so many white cabbage butterfly but they are big. Pity no one wants to eat them as hot meals are just not wanted.
Leeks - good crop as they went in early, may be going to seed and again no one wants much hot food at present so I am hoping they last out til Sept.
Broccoli - came and went with very small heads withing days.  Got a couple of meals and some soup.
Parsnips - poor germination but after the one day of rain those that are there are putting in some growth for the winter.
Potatoes - poor, the seed pots were effected by cold in the shed, made early growth then just stopped when it went over 25C.  What we have dug have been small and very dry to cook with, just as they turn soft enough for boiled they go to mush in the pan.  Not bad roasted but again who wants the oven on?
Sweet corn - very short but put on 2 feet after the thunderstorm and we straightened the flattened ones back up.  The soil was so dry they were tossed about in the winds as the storm raged round us. Thanks to hares eating the side shoots early on there are some plants with no cobs but some are doing well.  A light crop predicted.
Lettuce - I should have photo'd those! Have you ever seen lettuce literally cooked in the ground?Husband has replanted among the shade cast by tomatoes plants and meanwhile I am BUYING lettuce to go with cucumbers and toms.
Radish - great early crops but later ones devastated by flea beetle.  So easing off planting more.
Spring onions - good crop off the seeds on a tape.  Really recommend the ease of this.  But we have not used them all up quickly enough and they are getting big and tough now.
Onions - grow from seed this year and have done really well.  Ready to use and mostly medium sized.
I will stop by soon and reflect on the fruit crop.  Just remembered the one task I was going to try to do today which will take 20 mins outside - if I can stand the heat as it is all ready 29.8C at 10.30 am.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018


Had a day out at    Bressingham near Thetford last week.  Alan Bloom's wonderful gardens were a delight to wander round.  Older Uk people will remember him on  gardening programmes back in the day.   Especially restful as the grass was very, very green and lush.
Son and family had paid a fortune for a day at Hampton court show and said this was far better!

The steam rail and historic bit always looks a little tired especially in the heat but we found things to enjoy like this carnival horse grandson rode with ted and monkey.
It was actually very quiet with few visitors in the museum sheds and no staff or volunteers around so we were suitably naughty and rang the fire engine bell and wore the helmets.

Thursday, 26 July 2018


I simply don't believe it!!

Bone dry, fire brigade on their knees, cereal crop filled fields surround the village and yet a certain percentage of villages keep having bonfires!!

When?  At night.  No one can see who it is (presumably).  But believe me we can all smell it!!!

We have had a pile since February.  Wind has been in east for so long it would blow into houses, now it is dry and wind from south, the bonfire can stay there till it rains in October probably.

Found our community Facebook page and I am definitely not alone on deriding the idiots!

Friday, 20 July 2018

Going blue

For the last few years I have restricted my wardrobe size by using up everything till they are only good for rags and only buying when necessary and often making my own.  This last bout of warm weather has had me running through all my very light cotton tops and loose blouses. Over the winter I am going to have to do some replacing as they are washed thinner and thinner as I change everyday. 

Needing another decent top for going to the shops I pulled out some brightly printed polyester that I got for £3.50 a meter and a free pattern.
I like a long line top so I am extending the length 5 inches, and putting 2 inches on the sleeves too  and I hate high necklines so I will probably put in a split on the centre front.  Its slow work as it is hot and sticky in the sewing cabin.

Meanwhile my husband has booked an autumn holiday on the west coast of Ireland so I am reviewing the winter clothes stock.  Going to need some warm stuff.
I got this T shirt for a £1 in a charity shop sale. It was brand new with the tags still on.  Its quite thick and far to warm for this summer.
While waiting for my husband in the opticians the other day I wandered into the supermarket to use the loo and have a look at the clothes sales.  He did tell me to go and have a coffee while waiting but I thought I would use that cash towards this winter jumper instead.

It was not marked so it took some time to find out the price was £10.  Its size is marked as 20, but its not that big and it is loose enough on me to put a T shirt or something warm underneath.  Its in keeping with my new blue theme too.

We are flying there so I will not go too mad with clothes as I doubt we will want to pay for extra luggage.

Three boxes of tissues later...

Finally seeing the back of our flu after working our way through 3 boxes of man sized tissues and all the odd ones tucked in bags and pocket...