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Showing posts from May, 2009

Sunday and a day of gardening ahead

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Iris Siberica in bloom and a day of gardening ahead of me - but today I will have some help in the form of my youngest son who will help with the heavier jobs. We are going to start with sorting out the chicken run but I have a list of jobs that would last three weeks I think - anyway we will see how we get on.

While I am waiting for him to arrive I will put a coat of teak oil over the garden furniture which I washed and sanded down yesterday. I then have to deliver a clean Basso by 9am to my friend who is going to show him today. I'm sad that I will not be able to see how he performs but it is better that I am not there as I only distract him.

Val, I'm glad you mum is back home it is always difficult when you have relatives who are unwell and hospital visiting is so time consuming not to mention expensive on car parking. I nursed Mikes mum through a bout of scarlet fever [Streptococcal infection] and despite supplying her with a bell she would not use it and we had to listen ou…

Saturday morning and it is light already

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Hydrangea petiolaris in full bloom over the garage. This is such a useful plant as it grows happily on north facing walls. Basso had a late night as he was out at ring craft where apparently he behaved himself very well and allowed himself to be examined by the judge without sitting down. He had a shower yesterday to prepare him for the show on Sunday and his coat was allowed to dry in the sun. Technically he should not be bathed so I didn't use any shampoo on him and just rinsed him off to get the dust out. I spent the day cooking to get ahead for the weekend so that I can spend some time in the garden with James on Sunday. He is coming down to give us a hand with the heavier jobs that need doing and then on Tuesday John the gardener is due. We need to get the chicken run sorted as the new hens will be ready by mid June and we can install them in the renovated premesis. We also have the pond leak to sort out so that will keep us well occupied. I have made a big potato sa…

Friday and a busy day ahead

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Golden showers rose is now in bloom and the recent rain has perked everything up a bit. It was nice to read your comments yesterday and I will have to start saving my pennies if I want to visit one of Heston's eateries. The menu sounded super Anne. I had a surprise visit yesterday from a friend who I hadn't seen for some time so we had a great catch up gossip over a few cups of coffee. Other than that I did very little I was feeling very tired and gave myself a day off so other than sorting out the computer and saving money on car insurance I spent most of my time resting. The computer problem was diagnosed as a defective router which once disconnected from the machine rendered everything functional. I then had a trawl about looking for car insurance, our renewal quote came in at £466 which is ridiculous, anyway it is now down to £260 which is a bit more like it. Interestingly, I discovered that although the DVLA will expunge speeding fines from your licence after 3 ye…

Thursday and bin day

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Photo of me shooting yesterday in the rain. We were very lucky that it was nearly dry for most of our shoot but then the heavens opened as we were on the last stand. I shot a very mediocrely round but the lunch was a great success. For the first time my gun felt heavy to me as my arms were very tired from dog training the previous evening but that is just an excuse I think. Today, we have clear blue skies and the wind has dropped, the washing that I managed to get dry yesterday is waiting to be ironed, so that will be my starting point. I have been having considerable trouble with my Internet connection and I think my cable modem is not all it should be so I will need to spend some time on the phone to virgin technical support people. Did any of you see the programme last night about the 10 things you need to know about dieting? I paid close attention as I will need to lose some weight as I am off to another wedding in August next year so I have plenty of time to loose the weight. Unf…

Wednesday and a shooting day

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I had a nice relatively relaxed day yesterday which is probably just as well as I was very stiff from all my exertions in the garden. Jane came and did her stuff so the house is respectable. James came down with all his forms which needed assorted dates and places of birth added. It was interesting to see the type of things he will be expected to do on his assessment day. We went off at 6pm to dog training. While we were congregating waiting to pay our money Basso was pulling on his lead so Roger[one of the trainers] took him and had a "word in his ear" with in 5 minutes he was a transformed dog and walking to heel as if he had always done it. The lesson went well and he was fairly well behaved but unfortunately there were some really badly behaved dogs who rather set the tone. However, we only had a couple of minor indiscretions the rest was all fine. He will now carry his dummy as we are walking which is rather nice and he was allowed one retrieve. By the time we…

Rats and electricity

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Well I started my gardening at 5am yesterday and got the glass house all sorted with a leaky hose which is on a timer so that I don't have to water every day. The tomatoes, lettuce and some marigolds are all planted. I always plant marigolds with tomatoes in an effort to keep down the white fly. When Mike got up we had a go at changing the filter and what a job that was - it is very awkward kneeling in a flower bed trying to plumb the tubing on. We still think there is a leak at the far end but I was too shattered to start investigating that. I managed to tread the electric cable through the pathway and into the glass house and in so doing managed to give my self a huge electric shock as the pump wire which is plugged in in the same place had been gnawed through by the rats and the wires were live. Fortunately it blew the circuit breaker, but it did give me quite a shock!!!!. Once we had the old filter out and had a chance to look at it we discovered that the rats had also ch…

Nine bean rows will I have there and a hive for the honey bee

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Well what a glorious day it was yesterday. I spent the whole day in the garden and yes the beans are finally planted. I have one bed of dwarf french, one of borlotti and one of runner beans. All the boxes have been planted up and the one outside the kitchen window is full of tumbling tomatoes. Today, I am going to finish the glass house planting and then I might finally get round to mowing the grass. The weather forecast is for heavy rain this afternoon so I am going to start early and hopefully get most of it done by lunch time. Yesterday evening, I was very tired and decided to have a long hot soak in the bath before bed to ease the poor old muscles. But it was not to be - the damn boiler had blown out and the water was cold - I could have cried!!! instead I had to go and relight the boiler which is not the easiest of tasks. I did, however, have one success and the rat trap had done its stuff. A big fat brown rat was very dead in it when I went to check. I have reset it so we…

Sunday and a day of gardening ahead

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The weeping cotoneaster in the front of the house is in bloom and also in desperate need of a hair cut. Yesterday was a day of shopping and preparation I restocked on coffee and Parmesan and also plants for the window boxes. I have decided to go for a white and deep purple colour scheme. I also bought a chili plant , some basil plants and some lettuce for the glass house. Now all I have to do is put it all into practice. Buying plants is easy but you have to remember that they represent not only colour but also work. I also decided to have a look at the bees who are doing very well but then after I had finished and taken off my suit and wellingtons one rogue bee decided to sting me on the heel which was rather more painful than usual. I then had a minor allergic reaction and but I'm not sure if it was the bee sting or me being stupid. Anyway, I took some piriton just to be on the safe side which needless to say made me very sleepy so I ended up with an early night. It seems to…

Saturday and the weather is set fair

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If this photo comes out OK I will be very pleased as it is actually four photos stitched together to make a panoramic. Well yesterday was a fine day weather wise and I got lots done in the garden but it seems that you go out to do 3 jobs but come back in with a further 6 still to do. John the gardener came and turned over 4 vegetable beds which I will now only have to rake over before I can plant out the beans which are desperate. I made a huge lasagne which is tucked in the freezer so I will not have to worry about a shooting lunch for Wednesday. The fitting of the pond filter was deferred until today and we also have to make a quick run out and do a bit of shopping. Unfortunately it means going to Faversham which is some 20 miles away as we are almost out of coffee beans and Parmesan cheese and that is the best place to get them. I also need to buy some bedding plants for the window boxes which are at least prepared and ready. I have stacked the winter boxes at the back of th…
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A vase of iris I picked from the garden before the expected rain ruined them. As it turned out there was no rain so the rush was a bit unnecessary.
Yesterday was a day of phone calls and laundry. I managed to get 7 machine loads of washing done and dry and ironed and put away. Shiona dropped in but unfortunately she had brought Mary with her and she is in season which meant she had to stay in the car outside. She has apparently been mated and so we are hoping that she may be expecting a happy event. My boys were in a state of collapse and just lay about sleeping and recovering from their holiday.

This morning I will be making a large tray of lasagne for our shooting party on Wednesday which could include Shiona and her mother as well as Jeff who has been sourcing some goodies for our gun cleaning equipment. Once that is done and put in the freezer we need to get on with installing the new UV light filter for the pond - It doesn't look like too big a job but these things have …

Back from the wilds of Suffolk

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Well here we are back to reality again, the dogs are all very tired as they have walked a million miles through the Rendlesham forest and I must admit I feel pretty shattered myself. The weather was pretty mixed with both rain and brilliant sunshine. Everything went well with the exception of the caravan battery failing. It took us a while to diagnose the problem and when we took the battery to be tested it was shown to be defective, did they have a replacement - no of course not - so we were 24 hours without which meant the toilet didn't flush, there was no power to the fridge, the TV ariel didn't work, the water pump was out of action so all in all a pretty miserable day. However, as soon as the new battery was installed every thing burst back into life. We didn't realise that the although we were plugged into the mains 240 volt so much depended on the the battery power for its function. We had decided not to bother with the awning and I must admit that was a right…

Wednesday and bin day

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The water in the pond is very green and yesterday we had a good look at the UV filter which is as we expected non functional. Mike has ordered a new one which will arrive while we are on holiday but it will have to be one of the first jobs when we return. The promised rain came in over night and though it isn't raining this morning everything is sopping wet in the garden. It has been so dry everything will benefit but we really need lots more. I am just having my coffee and bracing myself to get everything ready and pack the car - the minute I start the dogs will go mad. They get very concerned when they see suitcases and only settle down once they are in the car and know that they are coming with us. I bottled out of dog training last night as I though it would be too much for me and the weather was pretty terrible - more like October than May but at least the wind has dropped this morning. We have decided to have a mega breakfast before we leave which will keep us going until d…

Tuesday and blowing hard

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One bee hive completed, I know it just looks like a box but there are four sections the floor, the brood box, the crown board and the roof with its aluminium outer cover. Anyway it is now in situ at the top of the garden with the others. The gardener came for his inspection visit and was quite surprised at the garden as he was expecting a standard urban domestic garden with lawn and flower beds. I walked him around pointing out things that I felt needed to be done so I think he was reasonably happy with what I will be expecting. Anyway, he is booked in for a three hour stint on the 22nd of the month when we come back from our holiday. We have October weather at the moment it is very dull and we have strong winds blowing and the temperature is right down to jumper temperature. Today, I have a major decision to make and that is whether to go to gundog training this evening given that we are going to leave at 10 am the next morning. I think if the forecast rain arrives I will give …

Basso practices jumping

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Mike caught this photo as I was doing a bit of practice with Basso when we were having a break from hive building. I'm glad to say that the hive is now complete but we had an incident with the PVA glue. I was levering the lid off the tin when it suddenly exploded, the lid hit the ceiling [9'6"]and splashed glue all over it which of course has left dirty marks where I tried to remove it. Still it could have been worse at least the lid didn't hit me in the face or smash the light fitting. The weather was lovely yesterday morning so the dogs got a good long walk first thing and were happy to sleep while we were occupied with the hive. Let's hope the bees are pleased with their new accommodation. This morning it is very windy and clear but no sunshine. I have been invited to visit a neighbour who is in her late 80's but a lady of some character. She was married to a diplomat and has lived in many different countries and is therefore fascinating to talk to.…

Sunday and a hive of industry

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Yesterday was a day of busy bees we spent the morning making 20 frames to go into the new hive. The pictures show the component parts and the finished article with Mike in charge of putting in the nails. Today we are going to build the actual hive which at first glance looks like a pile of sticks!!!! but no doubt it will all fit together and make a hive. Anne, thanks for putting in the recipe as you say 178 is not bad and they do seem to be very filling I had one for breakfast yesterday and I was not hungry before lunch so they work well as a slow release carbohydrate. Is that with or without the butter? I made another batch and vacuum packed them to take on holiday. The weather was kind to me yesterday and I managed to get the lawn cut. My tomato plants finally arrived and have been potted on but they are very small and I think we will be way behind this season. I also started to make some headway with the vegetable beds in anticipation of the beans which are ready to be plante…

Saturday and a long lie in

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The fig tree growing up the back of the shed is looking like it is going to be loaded with fruit this year.
Yesterday started off so well with lovely sunshine but then the heavens opened and it came down in stair rods and where was I? Yes you've got it, out walking the dogs and we all got thoroughly soaked. Fortunately we were walking in the wood which afforded us some protection from the cold wind and sheltered us a little from the rain. When we got home I decided that we needed to go and do a bit of shopping so off we went while the dogs dried off at home. I needed a pair of light weight jogging bottoms which I bought in Marks for the princely sum of £9.30. They will come in handy for the caravan holiday so that I can quickly throw on some clothes to get out with the dogs in the morning. While we were walking around the shops I went into Dixons to see if they did a camera that was pocket sized but also had a view finder as I find it impossible to take photos in the sunshin…
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The black pittosporum dress in bright green new growth. Yesterday started so well with bright sunshine but by 10 am it was clouded over and very black looking like rain - It never did rain but the wind got up and it was a freezing cold blast from Siberia. I did manage to get three loads of washing out on the line and and dry so today there is a nice pile of ironing for me to do. I also spent quite some time watering every thing in a pot as the weather has been so dry - we desperately need some rain. Poor old Mike has tooth ache so I made an appointment for him to see the dentist in the afternoon and now he is on a course of antibiotics as we think he is brewing an abscess under a tooth -just what he needs for his holiday!!!! James came to visit after work and it was nice to see him back under his own steam able to drive and with a car that works!!!! He must have known we were going to have steak for super which I did with some creamed spinach [from the garden] the first jersey roy…

Thursday sunny and clear

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Aquilegia "Nora Barlow" Every time I wander around the garden with the camera I find yet another plant in flower - this is such a lovely time of the year. Yesterdays shooting session went well I actually managed to get a 10/10 on one stand this is a first and I was very chuffed. I had a couple of really bad stands as well but the good one made up for the other disappointments. After lunch I went for a lie down and a snooze with the intention of getting out in the garden in the early evening and getting to grips with some of the weeding. However - the best laid plans and all that - the phone kept ringing and time passed as did my enthusiasm so I ended up doing nothing. Basso was, as usual, in a state of total collapse following his training session on Tuesday night, every time I asked if he was tired he got up and threw himself in his bed!!!! So I guess the answer was yes. It seems to take him 24 hours to get over his late night training session. Anne, your running fills me w…

Wednesday morning sunny and windy

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Broad beans in flower.
Good morning all, we have a bit of sun shine here with quite a strong wind blowing. There was a strong wind blowing yesterday evening when I went to dog training. We had a different lady trainer who was very nice and Basso responded well for the first time we did heel work off the lead and he didn't leg it across the field so he was allowed to do his first retrieve. He was like a dog with two tails he has been dying to do this. By about 9pm the light was failing and it was getting bitterly cold so we packed up but I noticed that scary Sheila's class was still going. On the hours drive home they had closed the slip road onto the motor way so we had to do a major detour which meant we didn't get home until about 10.30pm and both Basso and I were totally exhausted. We had a bowl of soup and went to bed but I slept badly waking up almost every hour through the night.
Today, I am expecting Jeff to come from Bagshot and we are off shooting as this is our las…

Tuesday and off to the vet

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Can you believe a year has passed?

Yesterday we managed to get things just right we went and picked up our friends at 10.30 and went off for a walk through the most gorgeous bluebell woods. We then sat outside and had our brunch. I had the full English which consisted of 2 rashers, 2 sausages, 2 eggs, a fried slice and a ladle full of beans served with a slice of bread and butter and a mug of coffee - price £4.95 freshly cooked to order. That is what I call value for money and whats more it lasted me for the rest of the day. We then decamped to our friends house and played some bridge which went well. I played not too badly and made only a few mistakes which I was forgiven as I don't play regularly. We then came home just as the weather turned cold and wet so it all worked out really well.

This morning the sky is leaden and there is not a glimmer of sunshine so the trip to the vet will not be a problem as I would not want to be outside gardening anyway. Tonight is gundog training a…

Bank Holiday Monday

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As you can see Basso has found a chair that suits him and allows him to look out of the window as well. Yesterday was a pretty miserable day weather wise but we decided to take a walk at a different place called Cobtree Manor park which is the remnants of an old zoo and still has the old elephant house but better still it has 30 acres of bluebell woods and super dog walking. Right by the entrance there is a small cabin that serves food and judging by the number of police cars it must be a good place to eat. So after the walk we gave it a try and ordered a coffee and a bacon sandwich - well all I can say is they are not mean with the ingredients. A lovely doorstep with about half a pound of bacon in it, no wonder the law stop off for their refs there. I managed to get a bit of work done in the garden but not being 100% I am not getting as much done as I would like but am trying not to get frustrated. Today looks better with some sunshine and only very high cloud. I am up late as…

Sunday and wet and cloudy

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The pond water is beginning to clear and the fish are up looking for food. The less said about yesterday the better - I started the day well but really felt terrible by lunch time and took to my bed where I slept for hours and hours.
The poor dogs never got their walk and I feel very guilty. I did have a training session by way of compensation but I know they were unimpressed. The washing I put on the line has stayed there and is now wet so it will be spending another day on the line. There is a light breeze blowing so it might dry quickly. Well so much for a lovely bank holiday weekend. My tomato plants, which I ordered from the Telegraph, have still not arrived but that has given me a bit of extra time to prepare the glasshouse, where the weeds are coming along a pace. For lunch today I thought I would make pizza as it only takes 45 mins in the machine to make the dough and then only a few minutes in a red hot oven to cook. I like my pizza simple with tomato anchovy cheese …

Sunny Saturday

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Wisteria venusta just bursting into life. This wisteria is hung on a catenary of rope between several poles and because it is so vigorous it takes a bit of restraining but it is really lovely and has a beautiful scent.

I managed to get a bit of gardening done yesterday but nowhere near as much as I had intended - I just kept running out of energy. I guess this is the lingering effects of the cold.

I took Basso to ring-craft classes last night with Louise as she was without her other half. It was crashingly dull and involved a great deal of waiting and hanging around. Basso was pretty bubbly as he had not had a good walk first but he did acquit himself quite well and is learning to stand well for the judge and not to collapse when his back end is touched.

Today the weather is fine and the sky is blue so it will be on with the gardening but first I must get the dogs out for a walk and then I should have a clear day to get on with the garden. I will have to make a couple of baguette…

Pinch punch first of the month and no returns

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Feeling better, the nose has dried up and I feel a bit more energetic. Thank you all for your condolences after the chicken trauma. Today I feel strong enough to make a start on clearing up the feathers. As you can see the dwarf lilac is in full bloom and if I say so myself the garden is looking pretty good. I managed to get a large pile of laundry done yesterday so now I have a large pile of ironing to keep me out of mischief. It is hard to believe that another month has passed by and we are looking at summer. I have made us a nice potato and frankfurter salad for lunch which we will have with some tzatziki - you know cucumber garlic and yogurt. For dinner I fancy making some chicken goujons with a nice mixed salad. That should give me some time to play in the garden. Basso is off to ring craft school tonight in preparation for the next show which is at the end of the month and as it is the first of the month I do all the dogs ears - they have a special powder put in their ears w…