Friday, 19 April 2013

Back To The Allotment

Shhhhhhhhhhh! Don't tell anyone, but I've escaped! 

For a short while I have left behind the building work and returned to my enchanted land. 
That magical place;

The plot of land that is my retreat; my sanctuary; my guilty pleasure -

I know you have been wondering why there has been no mention lately of the allotment, so I will confess to you that following the unpleasant incident of the looters at the end of last summer and then the relentless long winter months, I had been feeling slightly disenchanted with allotmenting.

However, at long last the weather has offered us a brief and definitely overdue reprieve from the cold; with a glimmer of sunshine and a hint of warmer temperatures. I felt a stirring inside me and a longing to be back on that sloping plot. To hear the birds singing in the hawthorn hedge; to see the robin flying down

- first to the handle of the spade and then to the newly dug earth - his head turned to the side and one eye watching me as he deftly plucks a fat pink juicy worm from the turned soil.

There is much digging to be done. The Autumn raspberries are now cut back 

and strawberry runners planted. 

The allotment looks bare and brown, but the rhubarb is vigorous and tempting 

- soon there will be rhubarb crumble to bake and taste.

Low down and almost unnoticed, beside the brick path leading to the shed, I found to my amazement the Heartsease Violas

displaying their delicate blooms, 

whilst the bare stems of the fruit bushes are adorned with tightly furled green buds, slowly opening - just waiting for the first opportunity to burst forth.

My herb beds have suffered this winter. 

The Rosemary did not survive the hatchet attack from the looters and both bushes are dead. 

The Lavender, despite being cut back after flowering is looking the worse for wear 

and the beautifully scented Chamomile is now a brown dead stringy mess.

With the raised beds prepared and manured, I have sown seeds; (flowers first of course) Calendula and Poppies. Pots of sweet-pea and runner beans fill the greenhouse.  Seed packets of peas and leeks; onion sets all still to be planted.

Seedlings that have self-sown on the plot from foxgloves and teasels, (why do so many seed onto the pathways?)  are carefully lifted and repositioned around the plot in more appropriate locations. I cannot bear to pull them up and discard them like weeds.

At the bottom of the plot, behind the picket fence young nettle shoots are evident. This pleases me - I shall collect the young nettle tops and a pot of Nettle soup will soon be simmering on the hob.

As I close the gate after a wonderful day of being back with nature, and gaze around at the brown earth (okay there are still some weeds to be dealt with), the allotment has once more performed its magic and I have fallen under its spell again. I know that this year due to the renovation of La Petite Maison I may not have much time for allotmenting, but oh how I treasure every minute spent here.


Thursday, 18 April 2013

Briefs and Pants!

"How Did That Happen?"

I uttered out loud as I entered the room and found the errant Percy – a neighbourhood cat who believes he is entitled to go wherever he please; prancing and rolling around; frolicking and cavorting - keeping well out of my reach.

Predictably frisky, he played to me as his audience and flaunted himself in all his black and white glory, only this time he sported a new additional accessory – that of ………


In the past I have had the dubious privilege of being the recipient of gifts presented to me by Percy; including -

a small pink glove from a child


a man's navy sock

The sources of these gifts were unknown to me and I am in no doubt that they were surreptitiously removed by Percy without any awareness of the rightful owners, unless of course, the child is still suffering from the psychological scars of being mugged by a black and white cat comparatively bigger than the average sized small dog!

So I could only presume that Percy may have had someone in mind with whom he was thinking of making a present of my admittedly scanty garment. As he is a rather large, spirited and independent cat, with a tendency for biting - who permits stroking and attention only on his terms, I could foresee problems in any attempt I would have to make to extricate him from his chosen attire and possible surprise gift. 

How it had happened I could only guess, but somehow – whether intentionally or unintentionally, he must have rubbed against the clean clothes drying over an airer and managed to put both his head and two front paws through the pants!

Percy retreated crossly with a "grrrrrrr..." into a cardboard box full of Country Living magazines as I made futile attempts to free him.

Eventually, relatively unscathed - after a chase worthy of any Tom and Jerry cartoon and before he could flee with my apparel through the cat flap, I was able to retrieve them, following which he departed annoyed and huffing. 


"How Did That Happen?"

I demanded furiously as I stood looking at the foundations and footings at La Petite Maison and realised that the architect must have drawn the plans for the extension to a lesser dimension than was required.

Measuring tape out, plans consulted and.......................

Oh Yes! Can you believe it - the extension is 1 metre shorter than the length it should have been!

I Am Not Going To Get Stressed!


"How Did That Happen?"

I whispered in disbelief as I stared in horror at the tiling catastrophe that greeted me in the bathroom at La Petite Maison. My gorgeous handmade tiles formed a pattern like undulating waves - not one line was straight; the look was purely and simply higgeldy piggeldy! (I'm sorry but I couldn't bring myself to photograph it!)

I had wanted a hint of sea-side in the bathroom scheme, but to be honest this simply made me feel sea-sick! Mr Long-Suffering stood beside me in miserable silence, eyeing up the disaster that had unfolded as a result of us uncharacteristically leaving an unknown tiler alone and unsupervised.


So to summarise;

The Architect did not follow his brief and La Petite Maison is now La Très Petite Maison.

The Tiler's work was nothing short of pants, and requires radical remedial action;

however on the positive side

At least I managed to successfully foil Percy in his attempt to air my laundry in public!

I'm off to do some gardening and de-stress!


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not Path
(Source 1)

Last night I had a dream. It was a good dream. It was sunny and warm in my dream. It was the South of France. I was with my mum and we were sitting soaking up the warmth of the sun; my mum with her slim legs stretched out in front of her, tanned and healthy looking, her dark curls soft against her cheek.

Like a young Elizabeth Taylor.
(Souce 2)

I remarked that she looked so much better with a sun kissed glow upon her skin. (So much better than what?) We laughed together, enjoying the moment. Mother and Daughter. But as the dream continued something was wrong; something was missing! I searched around in my dream drenched sleepy state. What was missing? What was wrong?

My mum was still there. She is still here, even were I to wake, my mum is still here. Except that.... hold on.... yes, my mum is here, but it is not the woman in my dream. It is not my mum as I knew my mum. She has gone; the woman in my dream, my mum has gone, slipped away. My mum - who when I was little read to me, who taught me how to sew, who taught me to bake - she is not there! Even as she sits now in her armchair smiling vacantly. She looks familiar, but not. That soft dark hair now grey and grizzled. Her blue eyes, once so full of life and intelligence, now a glassy vacant blue, like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

She is like a rose that has withered - it's blooms faded.
(Source 3)

She laughs (without humour) and hums (without tune). At what? - she doesn't know! Neither do I.  Is she happy? Is she scared? I don't know and neither does she. Her thin arthritic and bony age-spotted hand clasps mine - we look at each other and smile. She doesn't know what date it is or remember what I just told her. Does she really know who I am? How much longer will it be before she will look at me and that vacuous expression in her eyes remain as she wonders who is this stranger holding her hand?

Forget Me Not, please Mum!
(Source 4)