Sunday 28 January 2024

Plot 60

 This is my second year at the allotment.  My first year was fun, lots of learning, we had more to eat than we needed and I had a wonderful time, we have also made some great friends with fellow plot holders and, as you will see in my short video, the volunteers made a beautiful shelter last year so our get togethers could be all year round!  We have a pizza oven, wood burning stove, sheltered seating area and a kitchenette/bbq area.  I have done a little video to show you how lovely it is.

I am going to do a monthly video on my blog so I can see how things progress throughout the year and look back next year to see if everything I did worked or could be done differently.

I bought a ton of manure last Autumn, delivered to the plot by lorry, it wasn't the best quality but I had enough to cover the area and I gave the rest to fellow plot holders.  I covered and left it over the Winter and it has rotted down really well.  I think the soil is now ok to be left alone until planting.  I don't dig unless it's virgin soil, so this year will be easier, I only need to rake it over.

I have bought my seed potatoes from the local allotment shop where they can get our seeds and plants in bulk at a discount, as it's non profit making and run by volunteers, prices are really low, all the seed potatoes, including my jersey royals, were £1.65 per kilo.  I am storing them in crates in the garage where it is cold and dark and not chitting them until late February and planting in March.  

At this site everyone shares and unwanted items are left to be taken.  My water butt is an old ad-blu drum and it has an old kitchen tap, my wooden manure store was made for me from palets and my two compost bins were given to me.  All my tools came from the recycle centre at £1 to £3 each apart from my fabulous hoe which my neighbour gave me!

Friday 26 January 2024

Out and About

 We had a really delicious curry at Lahore in Tooting a few weeks ago when meeting our oldest son who lives nearby.  Lahore is not fancy and you have to bring your own booze, but it's always packed out and the food is brilliant... we had a shared order for 3 of:

Butter paneer, chicken paneer, chicken masala, bombay potatoes, sag aloo, lentil dhal, rice, naan bread.

This week I had a steroid injection in my wrist for carpal tunnel pain.  The surgery a few years back hasn't really helped and eventually a bone may have to be removed due to the thumb/wrist pain.  However, hopefully in a few weeks the benefit of the jab will be felt!

Obviously I needed to reward myself for being so brave so the following day I skipped off on the train to Brighton for the day.  I took another look at the dress I mentioned on my previous post.  Thank you Vix for pointing out the pattern placement issue .  I went back and tried on 5 and found this one which has the black pattern much lower and  hangs so much better so it came home with me!  I have jeans on underneath and have realised that you could wear this without having to wait for Summer!

Brighton was grey and deserted, until I got to the seafront where it was University Graduation Day and all the young grads were posing for photos in their mortarboard hats and robes.  The parents all looked so happy and proud.  One girl, who I think is from Thailand, wore the most incredible traditional dress and headress and was happy to pose for me as well as her mum! isn't she beautiful?!

I have never been in All Saints before, there clothing is beautiful quality but I don't know much about how they source their products with regard to fair trade and the environment;  They told me their beautiful soft biker leather jackets are made in India, other items Turkey and Portugal.

I love the charity shops around The Lanes, isn't this the most upmarket faux fur hoody you ever saw!
With so few shoppers around I was able to get some nice pics of the shops and landmarks that are usually hidden by passing buses and crowds of people!

I took a pic of both piers, the burnt out West Pier is actually my favourite, because there's a really good sun bathing spot right in front of it and a tiny bit of sand when the tide is out.

The pump room in the arches used to provide water to the Grand Hotel (the sea water was considered a health therapy), the arches are now used as lock up shops  this one is for icecream and coffee!

On the seafront the arcade shops haven't opened up yet but the little fishing museum (free) was open and I popped in, it's tiny and only takes 2 minutes to walk round.  The seashell shop usually has its sign obscured when open and sells plastic windmills, buckets and spades and, of course, bags of seashells (from tropical shores, you would never find conches and sea urchin shells like theirs on Brighton beach!).

In The Lanes:

Yep, I noticed that beautiful maxi wool tartan skirt but it wasn't my size. 

I stopped for Weatherspoons sustenance, the Spoons pubs in Brighton are always crowded and there's no need for a lady alone to feel uncomfortable, newspapers are provided and I had a nice cosy table by the window for my pint of orange and lemonade.  

I finished the day with a good hour or so in Waterstones book shop - this branch is my favourite because, If I'm lucky, the third floor window seat is free and I can sit reading all the books.  I take a pic of all the books I like, then spend some time searching my library to borrow them, we can order online through the library app and collect from a chosen branch which the books are delivered to, some are free, a few titles might cost 75p to order in  - if they don't have one or can't get it for me, then I justify buying one. 

 I bought The Caliph's House and began reading on the train home, it's a true story about a family moving from London to Casablanca to a very large, old house, full of  eccentric staff that the owners have inherited as guardians of the property and there may also be some Jinn's too  (ghosts).

Today I managed to get my 30 lengths in at the swimming pool, then did my supermarket shop and nipped up to the allotment to drop off some ground coffee waste (hubby gets it from work and I use it to keep insects off my seedlings).  We now have a tarmac path up to our plots, lovely to drive on - no more potholes!  Also the ground is being cleared by the organisers for the bee hives to be installed in the Spring.

Well that's all my news this week, thanks for reading and please leave a 
bit of chit chat if you have time!

Friday 5 January 2024

This Week

I took a cheap day return train to Brighton.  The mission was to try on the new Emmylou dress at my favourite shop, All About Audrey.  They have made this lovely modern day replica of a 70s hippy kaftan.  But it justn't wasn't right for me .   from this changing room pic I see not enough material for my liking and the rear view was not the best... hair's getting long though which is good.... but never mind about the dress, I already have a few very beautiful things from this shop (that specialises in vintage and recycled sari silk made into floaty dresses) and the kaftan of my dreams will one day appear on EBay at a fraction of the retail price, hopefully.

I'm loooking plump, gym has not been visited much lately. bursitis of the hip and carpal tunnel of my hand are my excuse.  I kept up swimming 30 lengths twice a week though.  Will do better.

Brighton was cold and grey, there was no sign of all the lovely paper lanterns of Solstice night, recycled no doubt, but there was a delicious avocado wrap and hot coffee waiting for me at Pret and a nice look round the chazza shops, but nothing of note brought home.  It was a good day for sea air and a lot of walking in flat, comfy boots though.  As I spent childhood holidays here with granny and her nutty sisters Hilda, Lily and Babs, I have some very happy memories and enjoyed wandering The Lanes just like I did as a child of the 60s.  They would have approved of the kaftan dress.

Window shopping only ... I spotted a very lovely amethyst ring, its my birth stone.

I took the Christmas tree and foliage swags down yesterday, it feels empty in the house without all the fairy lights and bling.  I forgot to put the curtains back up... am not sleeping well, infact blogging at 4 in the morning here which is not healthy.

I have been to my allotment over Christmas, saw deer up there several times (the other plotholders want to prevent them getting in, but I don't mind sharing a bit of veg with them.   had to check my red onions.  Sprouts and leeks are ready and I couldn't resist moving the spades and paraphernalia of netting/pea sticks and plastic tubes around to make them look more arty in my manure box.  OCD is featuring heavily at the moment.  

My recent shopping has been boring and sensible, some non slip matting for the back door, as the patio gets slippy, but the cat hates the new rubber outdoor mat and leaps like a gazelle over it rather than step over it.  I felt it was essential to replenish underwear supplies  - 'new year new undies' is my motto.

We are half way through watching a real life 4 part tv series which we recorded Mr Bates v The Post Office .   700 postmasters were wrongly accused/prosecuted for mismanagement of funds.  This was due to bugs in the Fujitso software, Horizon, installed in UK post offices Nationwide.  The books didn't balance and the Post Office prosecuted these poor people for mismanaging or removing funds - some were prosecuted, convicted and even went to prison, wrongly.  It's heartbreaking to think of the years of misery these people went through fighting their cases...

Mr Bates vs The Post Office true story: The scandal behind ITV's drama | Radio Times

Source:  Radio Times, Mr Bates v The Post Office

This weekend we will be visiting our oldest son in Tooting (London) for a curry and a quick look round the ethnic food shops in the area where I hope to stock up on fenugreek leaves and black mustard seeds for making our own curries.

I'm off to catch up on some sleep now!

Thursday 4 January 2024

Goodbye to 2023

On 12 December I decorated the house in an afternoon, made my door wreath with foliage from the woods and put up our little fake tree.  Hubby brought the boxes from the loft with my Christmas tea set and Christmas reindeer plates (which got plenty of use), curtains came down, fairy lights went up round windows and the furniture moved a bit to fit everything in. 

Both sons came to stay, 3 of us worked through Christmas on one shift or another - it was the first year I had cooked Christmas dinner without help - as a vegetarian that was a challenge - I had strict written instructions from the other half and a meat thermometer for checking the turkey!

On 12th night I will take the decorations down, put the curtains back up and say goodbye to the fairy lights for another year.  

I didn't watch much tv over Christmas but just found series 1 of Kin, on BBC (if you liked Peaky Blinders, you will like this) I won't spoil the plot.

source;  Bing

We kept an eye on last minute bargains online and were lucky to get a short break to Marrakech for the not too distant future.   We bought a big World map to go on the wall as we are planning a lot of travel for 2025 and it needs some thought.  

New Year resolutions are nothing too challenging and only positives, I'm not into self denial or beating myself up for failure!  I listed them on my Solstice post but here they are again in case you would like to take some of them for yourself:

Don't let anyone steal my vibrancy
Wear something sparkly every day
Don't step on insects
Do something in nature every day - talk to a plant, walk in the woods, visit my allotment
Don't think of work as a chore, it's a great opportunity to socialise!
Travel as much as possible 
Don't think about being old, think how great it is to be alive!
Slow down and savour the moment more often
Remember to have gratitude
Always look for the magic in things

Wishing bloggers a happy and healthy New Year 
and thank you for following.

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