Monday, 29 August 2011

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

The garden is sporting the last of the roses.... though the peace roses may continue to bloom through September and October.

As the nights are drawing in, the last few butterflies are drifting lazily past the lavender;I cut and dry the seed heads in the airing cupboard; later I usually place the heavily scented seeds in tiny bags - eg those given at hen parties or weddings- so I return them lavender-filled back to the bride or her mum.

Autumn bears fruit in terms of exciting celebrations as wedding invitations have arrived!

I have bookcrossed 'Telling Tales' by Ann Cleeves (I couldn't put it down) and I have dug right into Alan Titchmarch's 'The Knave of Spades'; I have never really read a gardening book before.....

My friend C is extolling the virtues of her Kindle but I like the weight of a book- this one is a hardback! I enjoy the feel of turning the leaves of a book; the crispness of a new volume as you unstick the page edges; it is solid and holds so much promise as you pick it up from your bedside table and look for your bookmark lurking in the chapters. I can read it even on a sandy beach or where there is no WiFi; I can take it on a holiday and leave it where ever in the world I am; I can give it to a friend or I can Bookcross it leaving it to run wild.

The Ladies were supposed to walk the length of Druridge Bay but exchanged the exercise for relaxation- a picnic amid the sand castles!

Autumn is certainly arriving; the trees are turning yellow; the horse chestnuts are withering copper;there are loads of conkers. Are we in for a hard winter as the trees are laden with berries and fruit; apples glow rosy even on our little tree.

Yet I am surprised at the number of cereal fields still not combined- are farmers trying to give drying out time but keep getting caught out by heavy showers?

D3 and I have brought in OUR harvest though the tomatoes remain on the vines to redden up.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Help needed!

It is eleven minutes past two a.m. in the Big Brother house.

In the blue bedroom Arabella is now awake.

Arabella was fast asleep but something or someone has woken her up.

The bedroom is lit by a bright light which frames the blackout-lined curtains.

The light goes out at 2.31 a.m.

The searching light comes back on again at 2.43 a.m.

Arabella pads to the Diary Room to talk to Big Brother.

Arabella tells Big Brother she can understand that when the cats are away the mice will play; she says that it is just what all youngsters do and she has little problem with the adolescents having friends round each night and partying in the early hours- even if this meant a rude awakening the previous night due to youthful shouts. This happens every year and at least once a year.

Arabella explains to Big Brother that the problem is the youngsters walk in and out of the house which triggers the security lights; these pierce the darkness and light up rooms (including the bedrooms) in the Big Brother House, awakening the residents. She is particularly worried as some of the residents eg Ludmilla, have to work the next morning. It also seems to put Geronimo off his golf shots!

Arabella tells Big Brother that as this light lights up their lives with flashes on and off every night of the year, Geronimo has been round to chat to the Lady of the Lighthouse; unfortunately the Keeper denies there is a problem and refuses to do anything about the searchlights- she will not even re-angle the problem apparatus slightly.

Arabella is exhausted and is in the Diary Room to ask Big Brother for advice on how to resolve this- preferably without falling out with neighbours.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Begrudged blogging

Whilst I would love to see if my photos from my new camera actually decant satisfactorily, I want to delve into my book.

D3 and I are running (she is) and cycling (I am); it seems to ground the two of us- or maybe it is just the routine of it.

Our visitors have gone after a smashing weekend.

All the bridesmaids were together for a fitting and giggle.

A fajita/games night at D1 &C's was such a laugh- I must try to watch more television so I can do better at 'Logos'.

Friends came to stay and D3 was kind enough to take the 4 of us up to and from a surprise retirement party for mutual friends at Linden Hall; it is strange when the boot is on the other foot and your offspring can ferry you to places rather than you taxiing them! Wow! what a venue! plus super food, drinks and friends we hadn't seen for a while- what more could you want? Breakfast al fresco then more catch-up and coffee in the sun.

The only thing which marred the weekend was the flashing on and off of the 'interrogation' lights behind us for 2 nights; then eventually they stayed on after a midnight patio party and didn't go off for 24 hours; a 4a.m. wakeup call, then on the hour every hour, does nothing for my beauty sleep. It is like the evil eye piercing the darkness to see what is going on in our rooms.

The garden is looking better as we have cut clovered lawns and laid compost on the borders; lobelia cardinalis flashes scarlet in front of an Alnwick rose. Cosmos flowers float among feathery foliage while Rudbeckia attracts all sorts of insect life- but then so many of my plants (now anonymous because I can not remember what they are called!) are a-humming. Purply pink, chintzy hydrangeas are in full flower.

The patio pots are full of nasturtiums; they always remind me of childhood when we found caterpillar eggs on the backs of the leaves. Geraniums line the troughs while nearby fuschias hang from the baskets (and the book is getting the better of me - I am going to have to finish writing.....)

The shower is baseless and vigilance for leaks is high as plugging is on a temporary basis... watch this space..... how long have you got?.....

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Grand envy

I am surrounded by gloating grandparents! I listen attentively to their descriptions of 2 year old's potty contents and training; I give requested advice on language/ reading development; I admire photos of tousled , small heads. I may look stonyfaced as I internalise ENVY!

But I would never put pressure on daughters, nieces, friends or other relatives to produce. I don't presume on marriage as a ticket to the production of offspring; I do not look expectantly when someone announces they have 'good news'- a new job, promotion, or the buying of a house- all equally bring a celebratory beam to my face, the cracking open of fizz or three cheers.

After all, the couple may not be able to have children, may not want children, may not like children (who often these days create danger under waiters' feet or fetch a racket and indulgent grandparents into your chosen area of peaceful solitude); they may prefer to have a dog- or may be happy to have 0/1/2/3 or more children- or be willing to take what they are given- their business as to if, when and how many.

I put your Christmas extended family photos on my Wall with pleasure and look at them throughout the year with green eyes. In church or neighbourhood I talk to/ pick up/entertain your grandchildren with glee and speed! H1 looks at me with a benign smile- he knows my needs (& announces them on radio!) but like many men, he will take or leave grandchildren as their requirements may (but just a may)conflict with his golf or bridge.

Meanwhile I keep my mouth firmly closed and wait to see if and what the future holds.

My sun-filled garden and the planting of sea-holly awaits.......

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The great unwashed.

I freely admit to being a country cousin. I find London claustrophobic, hot , fumefilled and traffic enmeshed. I know it has history, tradition, wonderful architecture(even the Gherkin?), good friends & relatives but it no longer seems like England- and I only breathe deep again as we head north and pass Elstree (with the studios) and see fields and forests. I admit London has lots of parks- more 'lungs' than most capital cities but...

The shower is still a non-functioning leak. Like our brains at the pub quiz!

I have read 'Chameleon' by local lady Beda Higgins; this book was a gift from K. and prompted a few memories and contained unusual twists.

Now to Vera..... but only after J.K.Rowling's 'Who do you think you are?'

Friday, 12 August 2011


Some months ago we attended the Northern Film and Media showing on the big screen of the first of the Vera series starring Brenda Blethyn; the Tyneside Cinema is a favourite haunt especially with a silver screen card! There was, of course, a Q&A (pretentious!? but a very 'in' expression) with a panel of Ann Cleeves (author and dyed in the wool Northumbrian), Brenda Blethyn, the actor who played Joe, the producer and the president of Northern Films and Media; we all enjoyed the film (played spot the location) and free books were given out; I have just finished and bookcrossed 'The Crow Trap'.. Now to start on 'Telling Tales' by the same author.

It's raining
It's pouring
The old man is snoring.......

A week of stotting a place to visit indoors is the free Norman Cornish exhibition at the Gallery of Northumbria University. Aged 93 and an ex-miner, Norman Cornish captures 1950s and 1960s North East pit villages with terraces of houses, Silver Cross push-chairs,pubs, headscarves and men with whippets and pints..... and he can draw/paint; we all loved his work - being shown till early October.

I am surprised by the people who read my blog; statistics show it is read all over the world; Hi! I am flattered but can I say that if you think I am writing about something you don't like then bear in mind I don't mean to offend anyone but I suppose I could say if the cap fits, wear it; but maybe if you can't stand the heat then don't go into the kitchen so use your mouse to click the weblog off; my blog is my kind of journal and maybe presents my perception of things and reflects emotions such as hurt, anger, pleasure,relaxation and my observations on my surroundings; it is my voice offering my take on things. Everyone is human and therefore not always right in the eyes of others.

I never ever thought I would see in England what I have seen on television this week; as D said to me, " Is this what our parents fought for?" Pointless riots and looting- stealing and thuggery.

Thursday, 4 August 2011


The shower has been leaking for years; it is now gushing out and once again water is decorating the ceiling below. Would this and hot weather encourage a crisis that would kickstart H1 into action? Unfortunately not! Two weeks and still counting.... can in hand he is sitting watching the television while I am doing jobs....Are all husbands like this?

The house is filled with flowers-
these from D1 are still doing well after 2 weeks.

Some allwhite, strange smelling, antirrhinum-like garden flowers were bought at Simonburn Village Fair a week ago.

I received another bunch of neighbourly sweetpeas (with livestock & a heavenly perfume).

and finally (photographed when they first arrived) shop-bought roses which have died after only 7 days.

I feel so decadent....afternoon tea at the Marriott with D3

and a faraway marriage celebrated with a garden party lunch which, unusually in Britain, was not spoiled by rain!

Subsequently my 3 days of graft at nonstop gardening may counteract some of the consumption. But today rain stopped play!