Saturday 29 February 2020

Here Comes The Bride...And Groom

I haven't been doing a lot of crafting just lately what with one thing and another. My dad has been in hospital again, this time with a kidney infection, so visiting has been taking time out of my day, along with other things just now. He came home on Thursday so all is well again for the time being. I have made a start on my cross stitch though and have managed to complete the bride and groom, well, apart from their eyes which are French knots so I'll sew them in at the end.

As you can see, there's still plenty more to stitch yet but I'm taking this slowly. I enjoy putting a few stitches in here and there.

The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that the colour of the bride's hair is different from the colour the chart calls for. This is because I'm hoping to have this finished in time for my niece's wedding in September, in which case I shall give her and her new husband it as a gift, so I wanted the bride to have the same colour hair as my niece. It's nice to be able to personalise it the way you want.

I'm really happy with the start I've made.

Wednesday 26 February 2020


I don't grow many potatoes now but I do still like to have at least a couple of containers to empty out at harvest time, I don't think you can beat the taste of home grown potatoes boiled with mint and slathered in butter. My mouth's watering just thinking about it.

This year I'm growing Charlotte, mainly because I came across this packet in one of the discount stores and thought that eight tubers for a pound was a bargain. Charlotte is a second early salad variety and very popular amongst those people who 'grow their own'. I've grown them a couple of times myself in the past when I had my allotment but they were planted in the ground. I can't remember ever growing them in containers before.

It's time now to lay them out to chit, basically laying them out in the light (not direct sunlight) so that they'll start to sprout prior to planting. Let the growing season begin.

Sunday 23 February 2020


Although I've spent years growing many different things outdoors, I've never really gone in for houseplants. I've had various orchids over the years, at present I'm down to one which Mick's auntie and uncle bought me for my 50th birthday, but as for other houseplants, they just haven't rocked my boat. Things are changing though.

Over the last year or two I've picked up a couple of Christmas cactus and a money plant, but just recently these little plants keep jumping into my basket when I'm doing my shopping. The one at the front was bought from Tesco, it had a yellow sticker on it and was reduced to just a pound. It was a little droopy but it soon picked up when I gave it a drink of water. The other two were bought from Lidl for £1.99 each. Aren't they cute?

I remember having spider plants when I was a child, they're easy to grow so it shouldn't give me too many problems. I have no idea what the other two plants are though. Fingers crossed I manage to keep them alive.

Thursday 20 February 2020


I was getting to the bottom of my reading pile so I thought I'd better do something about it. Just recently, I've discovered how easy it is to reserve a library book online. I had to go into the library first so that I could obtain a pin number but once that was sorted out I could search the catalogues, choose which books I'd like to read and then reserve them, all from the comfort of my living room. If the book you're wanting is only available in another library, they'll transfer it to your library of choice and send an email when it's arrived so that you can collect it from there.

I'd requested that a copy of Alexander McCall Smith's latest installment in the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series be placed on hold for me and whilst I was collecting it I had a quick look on the bookshelves and came home with a second book. The blurb sounded interesting so we'll see what I make of it.

Charity shops are great places to pick up second hand books, but there's charity book stands in quite a few shops now too where customers leave books for other customers to take if they leave a small monetary donation for charity. I picked up a few books from these charity shelves in Tesco and one from our local chemist's shop too.

I'm looking forward to reading The Woolworths Girls. My mum was a Woolworths Girl, she worked on the pick and mix counter and met my dad when he was working there as a French polisher when the store was being refurbished. She played hard to get but my dad was persistent and she eventually went on a date with him, nine months later they were married.

So, I'm restocked with my books and I've got plenty to go at. Hmmm, what to read next.

Monday 17 February 2020

Another New Phone

I've had a couple of new phones over the past few years, not because I like new or up to date technology but because I've been trying to find a phone with a decent camera so that when I'm out and about I'm able to snap things I see without having to carry a separate camera with me. Unfortunately I haven't been very successful so far.

Up till now I've gone with android phones, I've heard good and bad things about iPhones, but two things have now persuaded me to go with the Apple brand. The first is that I haven't found a decent camera on any of the android phones I've had, and the second is that I've been using an iPad for over a year now and I've got on with it really well.

You can pay hundreds of pounds for a phone but I don't want to spend all that much, so when I saw that Argos were selling second hand iPhones on Ebay with a years warranty, I decided I'd buy one from there. It arrived in perfect condition and it was easy to set up and get working. Being used to how my iPad works has made the transfer from android to iPhone very easy. I'll admit that I haven't actually used the phone to take any photos yet so I've yet to see how that function performs but I'm very happy with it otherwise.

Time to get snapping.

Friday 14 February 2020

A Sweet Valentine's Day

We've never really celebrated Valentine's Day. There's been the occasional year when we've bought cards or made a token gesture but more often than not we just haven't bothered. I couldn't resist these cupcakes when I saw them in Greggs though, aren't they cute covered in tiny hearts?

And yes, I'm on a diet so they weren't bought for me and Mick, Eleanor's going over to York after work tonight to stay at her boyfriend's for the weekend so I gave them to her for a little treat for them both.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday 11 February 2020

Storm Ciara

As forecast, Storm Ciara blew in during the early hours of Sunday morning. We awoke to the rain lashing against the windows and gale force winds. Unfortunately, even in this sort of weather, dogs still need to be taken outdoors to do their necessaries. Mick drew the short straw, as he always does when I don't want to venture out, so he waited until there seemed to be a bit of a break in the weather and then made a dash for it. They must have been out just a matter of minutes when the sky, once again, darkened and without warning the worst weather of the day materialised. The downpour was as heavy as any I've ever seen, and to make matters worse, the rain was coming down horizontally as it was caught by the wind. Archie had his hoodie on, but Mick refuses to walk him with the hood up so his body was kept nice and dry but just look at those ears. He felt very sorry for himself for the rest of the day.

Mick fared much worse, he was soaked to the skin, literally. Every bit of clothing was drenched and was put straight into the washing machine, even his pants and socks.

The storm continued throughout Sunday and it was still raging when we woke on Monday morning, though it settled down a little as the day wore on. There was still plenty of rain about but the wind started to abate. I thought the storm was blowing itself out but that wasn't to be, it's back with a vengeance today, one pane had already been blown out of the greenhouse on Sunday but there were another four panes strewn around the garden when we got up this morning. Luckily, it's just polycarbonate and not glass so it will just clip back in once the wind's died down.

It's still very windy, but we seem to be getting all sorts of weather today, sunshine, rain and even swirling flurries of snow. Let's hope it settles down soon as other parts of the country are having it much worse than us with flooding and wind damage. For now, I'm hunkering down indoors and letting the storm pass.

Saturday 8 February 2020

Delft Blue

My Delft Blue hyacinths are beginning to open and they're giving off the most heady scent. It has such a big impact as soon as you walk into the room, absolutely beautiful.

I bought this pot of three planted bulbs from the supermarket and it's been a joy watching them grow and finally opening up. As you can see, the one at the back is very nearly fully open now but the other two still have a little way to go, they'll soon catch up.

Once they've finished flowering I'll pop them in the garden as I do with all the indoor bulbs I buy, or those I grow in containers. Sometimes they just rot away but they'll often flower again for a year or two and I can get more enjoyment from them.

Wednesday 5 February 2020

Seed Stash

I had a very healthy seed stash when I had my allotment. If I saw a packet of seeds I fancied I'd pick them up and buy them, there was always somewhere that I could fit them in. When I gave up my allotment I was quite ruthless and pared down the seeds I kept to the few I knew would definitely get sown, the rest I sold on Ebay. Honestly, bidders went mad for them, even the opened packets which were already out of date sold. These days, my seed box is sadly rather empty.

Since giving up my allotment I've grown very little in my garden, not only because space is more of an issue, but other things going on in my life made me consider the time I'd got to look after the plants.

Last year I grew just one variety of cherry tomato and a couple of containers of potatoes and this year will be much the same. I would like to add a salad tomato to the mix and also a cucumber plant or two so I thought I'd take a look in my depleted seed box to see what's there, not really expecting to find what I was looking for, so it was a nice surprise to see that I have everything I need. There's some Maskotka tomatoes, my absolute favourite cherry tomato, some Bloody Butcher tomatoes, which is a larger salad tomato, and some Mini Munch cucumbers. It looks like I'm in business. Obviously, these aren't new seeds so I shall sow more than I need, I should still get some germination.

There were also one or two other things which I shall get round to sowing this year too.

All that's left to buy now then are the seed potatoes.

Sunday 2 February 2020

The Nurses Of Steeple Street

I've enjoyed the Nightingale series by Donna Douglas, so much so that when I discovered she'd started a new series about district nurses I knew I wanted to read these books too.

The other draw is that the story is set in and around Leeds and it's been fun recognising places I know whilst reading this book.

'Welcome to the district nurses' home on Steeple Street, where everyone has a secret...

Ambitious young nurse Agnes Sheridan had a promising future ahead of her until a tragic mistake brought all her dreams crashing down and cost her the love and respect of everyone around her. Now she has come to Leeds for a fresh start as a trainee district nurse.

But Agnes finds herself facing unexpected challenges as she is assigned to Quarry Hill, one of the city's most notorious slums. Before she can redeem herself in the eyes of her family, she must first win the trust and respect of her patients and fellow nurses.

Does Agnes have what it takes to stay the distance? Or will the tragedy of her past catch up with her?'

Set in the 1920s, this book reminded me very much of Call the Midwife. The various characters each have their own story to tell, from the district nurses themselves to the patients they attend. I enjoyed this book every bit as much as the ones in the Nightingale series, Donna Douglas does a great job of setting the scene in her books and the harshness of life after World War I had ended is brought to life.

I already have the sequel to this book, District Nurse on Call, waiting on my bookshelf and I can't wait to read it.