Saturday, 31 May 2014

Like minded

Last week in the staff room one of the teachers sat beside me and handed me a pretty bag and spoke quietly.  "I hope you won't be offended but I think we're like minded since you've talked about getting your lovely dresses on Ebay.  I bought this in the charity shop but it doesn't fit me and wondered if you'd like it." Offended??  Absolutely not!!! :-)

It's a lovely Wallis skirt in black broderie anglais, just my size and just about fits me (must stay on the straight and narrow now summer is here and I've got lots of lovely clothes that are a wee bit snug!!)

I was rather chuffed to find a like minded person at work and now we chat quite happily at breaks about our clothes bargains, growing veg and keeping chickens (she does and I want to!!)
My tomato growhouse hasn't been a success so far as one of the zips has burst and every time it rains the water pools on the top making it sag down.  I didn't keep the receipt (am really bad at this!) so am wondering if I should go back to Homebase to complain.

However, my tomatoes have flowers :-) I've 3 different varieties so fingers crossed I end up with something edible.

Tomorrow I officially take over my allotment plot.  Woohoo!! Mum is coming to visit so she'll come with me to cast her expert eyes over it.  The Teenager and his older brother are also coming.  Hopefully they'll start the digging off and I'll get some potatoes in.  Bit late but they're good for getting the soil turned over.

I'll remember my camera and take lots of pics of the weeds :-)

Monday, 26 May 2014

Waiting and growing

It feels like I'm waiting for a few things to come to fruition atm.  My job position isn't as secure as I was lead to believe and I may be out of work by the end of June.  I'm waiting for HR to find out if the person I'm covering for has changed her mind about an extended maternity leave and will come back in August instead of February next year.  Whilst I've been good and managed to save a few months worth of salary the loss of 6 months guaranteed income on full salary is a major blow.
I'm waiting for my allotment lease to begin.  It's now commencing 1st June,  the weeds must be having a party while I wait!!
So while I wait I have been planting and growing :-)

Sweetcorn planted by OH (who isn't terribly green fingered so he's rather chuffed they've grown)

 Purple sprouting broccoli and onions in bed 1

Carrots, beetroot, chard and sugarsnap peas in bed 2

Forget what these are!!! Beans of some sort???

Top shelf: sweet peas, courgettes
Middle: free petunia plug plants from seed company when I ordered sweet potato slips and a reduced to 50p lavender plant
Bottom: spinach and lettuce seedlings from mum, chilli plant

Tomatoes, sadly not looking too healthy :-(
Fingers crossed everything keeps growing despite the pretty damp weather we've been having up here. Only 5 weeks left until the school holidays.  Cannot wait!!!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Waiting, waiting

Still waiting for my lease and key to allotments to arrive.  It's to be backdated to the 1st of May so am wondering if I should be cheeky and just climb over gate to get started on my plot!!  Anyhoo, while I'm waiting my own wee garden is starting to grow.  First blue raised bed L to R:  carrots, beetroot, chard, spinach (not showing yet) and sugarsnap peas. All Sarah Raven seeds leftover from last year so no cost.

Purple sprouting broccoli and onions.  My mum picked up a bag of onion sets in Lidl (300g, not sure how many but loads) for very little cost.  Got plenty left for my allotment.

Strawberries in troughs are flowering.

Potatoes are starting to sprout so need more compost on them, that's today's job.

Gorgeous Lily of the Valley left by previous owner.

And one of my favourite free flowers Aquilegias, they just keep coming back year after year.  I've saved seed from my old house so hopefully they'll grow too.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Lucky 13

Well, lucky 13A to be exact!

Can you guess what it is yet?  It's my allotment!!! I have been lucky enough to be offered one of 2 half plots.  When I moved into town and into my small paved back garden I knew I wanted space to grow more stuff so I put my name on the waiting list expecting to wait a few years.  So imagine my surprise when I got an email asking if I'd like one after only 8 months!!

It's been neglected for a year, hence the weeds!! But the one I've chosen (after talking to a stalwart on the site!!)  has lots of raspberry canes (to left of pic) and a healthy patch of rhubarb.  It's also next to the tap so easy to get water to it!  The plots either side are both well maintained.

The fees work out at £1 per week.  Bargain!! The council provide wheelbarrows, communal composting and they cut the grass.  The only downside is that it's close to a river so during very wet summers the river floods.  But that's only happened a few times so not much of a risk.

My parents had an allotment for years so I'm under no illusions.  I'm hoping my boys will help with the heavy digging to begin with but once it's knocked into shape I hope to produce as much of my own veg as possible :-)

Wee bit excited!!

Monday, 5 May 2014


Phew!!! Thank goodness that's all over.  Having an HMI inspection (OFSTED if you're south of the border) is a horrible horrible experience.  I was ok but I can't say too much as it's all confidential until it's published in a few weeks. However, let's just say returning to work tomorrow is not going to be pleasant.  Hey ho, as my gran always said 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.'
In between the flood of paperwork loads of house stuff was also achieved.  I painted my raised beds at the front of the house a lovely shade of blue and collected my blue pots together.   A few more things are flowering since this pic was taken so it actually looks lovely.

I bought an electric fire.  Cost me £155, hugely cheaper that the nearly £3000 quote for the other one to be fitted!!! We inserted one chimney balloon (£25.95) to cut down on the draft and OH bought me a cover to put on the chimney pot.  Better than flowers or chocolates any day!!  My magazine rack covers the wire nicely.  And my baby turned 16, hence the cards. 

I was going to throw out this wee greenhouse as the cover was in shreds.  Then I spotted that you can buy replacement covers.  £14.95 later and it's back in action.

Wee bit long but fits perfectly elsewhere
The biggest job of all was finally emptying the family room.  This is  the one room that the removal men threw all my stuff into as they were running out of time on moving day.  It's been like this for 7 months!!  Totally unusable.

It took me, my mum and The Teenager a couple of hours to get it looking like this........

Bottom right hand corner is his computer desk, opposite corner is playstation etc all hidden away in an old cupboard. Chairs from my old house.  The tartan curtains were rescued from a big old house that was being renovated.  Totally free!! Very heavy, fully lined, wee bit faded ( I kinda like that) but good quality designer (if a bit dated now) ones.  They've still be hemmed properly as we just chopped off a few feet of fabric so we could put them up. Eventually this will be my dining room when I relocate my kitchen to the room next door, but for now it's a family room/teen den.

This was the left over stuff to be recycled, donated, sold etc.  Thank goodness we managed to do this on a dry day!!
Now that the main threat of frost is over I can get my plants sorted out.

I found these bean planters in the garage with my potato sacks, never used.  Think my mum gave them as I don't recall buying them.  Runner beans already planted and waiting to be transplanted.

And potatoes were planted.  These will (hopefully) produce lots of lovely Charlotte spuds, good for boiling and salads.  OH has planted good old Maris Pipers for mash so between us we've got it sorted.

Today is a Bank Holiday and so far it seems to be dry.  A day of planting and sowing in my wee garden is all that's on the cards.  I haven't bought any seeds this year so am risking planting last year's leftovers.  I took in some really old seeds to school for my kids to look at under magnifying glasses as this term's topic is Growing.  They planted some beans and sunflower seeds and thankfully they seem to be growing.  Getting the next generation into growing food is a great pleasure for me.  They are so excited to watch their wee beans growing :-)