Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Cold Showers

The weekend went suddenly cold for two reasons; firstly the weather turned grotty and as with all Bank Holidays was abysmal and secondly because our boiler broke. I felt chilly and fed up. I love my shower so a quick dash in a freezing cold torrent of water did not suffice. We tried to make the most of the weekend, keeping busy and warm.

Drying onions & garlic

It might have been warmer living in the allotment shed for the past few days. My onions and garlic are drying here. Sadly, at least fifty percent of the onions had white rot and were thrown in the bin. We have still had plenty though and I must use one a day in whatever I happen to be cooking since they are a base ingredient for so many savoury dishes.

London Poster

I spent Sunday afternoon rearranging several of my recent thrifty finds. The above is a piece of wrapping paper from Paper Chase framed. I am still trying to gradually decorate the middle room which functions as an eating, playing and work space. Each night by the time all the ordinary chores are finished, it's a case of doing an hour's painting related tasks. Hopefully this week the ceiling will be painted so I can emulsion the walls in their final shades off antique white and grey. The whole house is pretty much the same white.

Elephant bookends

The Beatrix Potter books here were mine as a child. I hope Little Bird loves them too. At the moment they are out of reach as he is going through a chewing stage. Lots of his board books have soggy munched corners. Tsk! 

The book ends were from a charity shop and remind me of Dumbo.


I like quirky bits and bobs. I'm not even sure what purpose this strawberry has but it cost 50p and made me smile! I have been looking for stained glass type ornaments for the window and luckily found this pig for pence in my favourite charity shop last week. The ladies are always so nice in Age Concern and make a fuss over Little Bird. It is next door to the library too so we always go there for a mooch, usually buying at least one thing.


Baubles are not just for Christmas! I have hung these by ribbon from the picture rail.

Union Jack baubles

We have so many beans. Runner beans especially are just dripping off the bean arch at the allotment. This week I am having a mammoth blanching and freezing session so we can save some for winter. 

I have sadly failed on the tomato front this year. In my greenhouse I don't think I have a single one. Big fail.

Runner Beans

{Update} I now have heating and hot water thanks to our lovely new gas engineer who came and wiggled a wire for it all to suddenly start up again. 

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Rainy morning rainbows

Double rainbow

A magical double rainbow by the early morning light

Up above the streets and houses

Up in my loft room, looking out over the roof tops,
colours peeking out from the red chimney pots

Rain soaked tiles

Rain cascading down the tiles.
A beautiful view but I think we are in for a wet Bank Holiday weekend. Typical!

Rainbow brite

Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Swing

A little push

a bit higher copy

Higher still


The Swing by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894)

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down! 

{A quick stop at the park for some playground fun}

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Late Summer Garden


We have been enjoying a few days of sunshine despite my longing for autumn.

Autumn sign

I have been making a note of changes I want to make in the garden next year, whilst still enjoying the blooms of this summer. I am always keen to move on. I will not let Calendula and Nasturtiums take over as much next year - it was a cheap and cheerful option as I had grown so many from seed. The Crocosmia (below) can stay but the garden this year has just been far too orange for my liking.


Some plants are already starting to turn autumnal brown, you can feel it in the air too, especially in the morning. Have you noticed ?


Last week I got Daddy Bird to put up a couple of piece of pretty trellis to break up an expanse of wall and it's also a strategic screening too. Since a tree a few gardens away was chopped down I am suddenly exposed, dressing gown, bleary eyed and morning cuppa, to the upstairs windows of two terraces on a side road. I have planted Star Jasmine to eventually climb up but for the time being it has a twinkling of fairy lights to enjoy at my evening brew time.

Verbena and trellis

The clematis was a surprise, I actually thought I had lost it but it has been flowering profusely - more luck than I usually have. I'd definitely like to grow more Hollyhocks and other cottage garden plants next year, more pinks and purples.

Hollyhock and Clematis

The slugs and snails have had the better of my vegetables in the garden, especially on the decking, which is obviously a slime critter hotel underneath. My veggies will stay at the allotment in future.

Next year we might even get a slide.....Little Bird will be two and a half!


And some of us will be as lazy as ever.


As much as I am really longing for the dark evenings and the start of hibernation, I am going to try and enjoy the sights and smells of summer just a little bit longer especially these Sweet Peas on my kitchen window.

Window display

Sunday, 21 August 2011


Red cabbage

The jury is still out on my red cabbage soup but I have to try and use the cabbages I have lovingly grown on my allotment. They're huge beasts and the envy of my plot neighbours.
  • Half a red cabbage (of course!)
  • 1 chopped Onion
  • 2 pressed cloves of Garlic
  • 2 diced Potatoes
  • 2 sliced Carrots
  • sprinkle of Cumin
  • pint and a half of Veg Stock
  • Salt & Pepper
Red cabbage soup

Boil then simmer for 20 mins and then blitz with my blender stick (my best kitchen item)

Despite its colour it tasted good.

Perhaps it might be a good soup for Halloween? Yes, it's nearly autumn!

Friday, 19 August 2011

By the Riverbank again

Anglers association

Another late summer's evening walk along the river bathed in glimmering shafts of light.
Leaving the locks behind, we all head up the path to see who and what we will meet.

Locks into town

Canary Grass shadows


Lots of dog walkers, pitter patter paws and crunchy gravel. One of our dogs, Milly once jumped in the river here but scared herself so hopefully she won't do it again.

Dog walking



The river passes  Sir John Deane's College which has it's own leisure centre, pool and outside courts etc. The floodlit pitches are always in use by the local footballers and the fields are packed at the weekend with rugby players too.


There are a few routes to take for your stroll or your bike ride. My town is brimming with nature reserves due to a lot of previously industrial/mining land that cannot be built on for residential use, so it has been developed for nature instead and it's thriving! Over time these nature areas have been linked together and much time and effort has been put together to provide beautiful areas for us to explore. A curiosity of this area is that we have plants from the seaside growing in parts due to the underlying bedrock and the previous industries remnants - it's all about salt!

Bike rider

Going fishing

The boat yard is a curiosity. People moor here too and it 's lovely to see groups of people having barbecues and sat on deckchairs enjoying the summer by the water. I wish we could join them.

Boat Yard


It's almost like a scene from Lost!


Gin Fizz

To return home we can cut through a new housing estate where I used to live. It's a well established community now and a lot of thought went into the design of open space here. There are several duck ponds and plenty of play areas and all are well kept. Many of the original trees have been retained and wildlife is still aplenty. Some of the grander houses have a river outlook and onto the fields beyond. Perhaps I would like to move back onto here so Little Bird can play outside more since the roads are quieter. Maybe.....

New Community

Play area

Monday, 15 August 2011

Down to the River - Part 1

I thought I'd take you on a local walk, just 10 minutes from my home. I live in between two rivers and this walk is along part of the River Weaver. We start guided by the weather vane of the art college, past grand Victorian houses until you see a chink of light through a secret passage.

Art college


A little peep into a lovely river garden.

Gate to nice garden

And a look at the river houses, what a view they have every morning. 
Daddy Bird wants to live here.

River houses

We cross a wondrous new swing bridge and look each way, hearing a train in the distance.
There are always plenty of ducks here and if you look carefully, you might spy a heron silently waiting.

River view 1


I would love to canoe down here in the evening sun too.

Ladies canoeing

Crossing the bridge we arrive at the locks. 

Powerful wooshing of water, chattering of the lock keepers, canal boats bumping their way through and swallows screeching and swooping above.


Lock gate

Hunts Locks

The viaduct runs close by, such industrial beauty.

To town

Proud boat keepers with their little rooftop gardens, so pretty. My local college runs a course in canal art that I did a couple of years back. Here we learnt how to paint the pretty roses that you can see on the side of this canal boat.

There is a large boating influence in my town, it's what drew me here to settle.
 My first ever view was driving across the main bridges as a single woman with no ties and breathing in the marina. The image stayed with me and I eventually found my way back many years later finding Daddy Bird on the way.

Narrow Boat Gardening

Another day we will head over to the nature reserve but today we must get back for tea as my tummy is rumbling.

over the bridge 1

Canoe ladies on way home