Thursday, 30 August 2012


I never fail to be surprised by men. I have been married to one for over 35 years and he still manages to perplex me.

Last night the Paralympics Opening ceremony was on television. As D3 said,
"This is totally random but I love it! Science lessons have never looked so good".
I have no idea what the rest of the world made of our scientific history and 'The Tempest' but I agree with the general opinion- great!

However watching that and recording 2 other programmes on our Humax ( maybe a little elderly but.....) sent the recorder haywire; today I went out with a friend while H1 played golf- and I returned to find H1 was home and had been playing around with the Humax- he had wiped all MY recorded programmes off the Humax- not his- just mine- you work it out because I cannot under any circumstance.

How many words can I find for angry?
irritated (not big enough!)
spitting tacks
blowing a fuse?


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Four sleepless nights

The hiss of taxi tyres brings me to the surface.A clubber heading home to bed? It does not take much to wake me these nights. I gently patter to the ensuite as the rain gently patters on the window. In the distorted darkness below, yesterday's washing hangs like sad, forgotten poltergeists.
I am awake.
I will write.
I think better in pencil.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Staycation 1

After Sorrento we ran around like a scalded cat- but it is difficult to remember the wheres and why fors! My garden has burgeoned with all sorts over the 3 weeks we were home and away. D3 had holidays to take and days in lieu had gathered too so we did the British 'thing' this year- recession means holidaying in the U.K.
Walking Northumbria is no hardship for me at any time of year! However my garden in bloom was only to be viewed early in the morning before we hit the road or from behind glass on days when the rain stotted too heavily for a day out.

My south facing border was a profusion in purple; clematis,

rockroses, foxglove, hebe.

The flowerbed was much admired as natural and tres jolie; the bees sounded happy with my efforts.

We were given an Alnwick Rose years ago as a silver wedding present; unfortunately the actual flower itself is so multi petalled insects have a job getting in to the centre. The ancient, gnarled, woody Peace rose always manages to withstand whatever weather is hurled at it.

We have just been down to the Fish Quay at North Shields for tea; a plate full of sizzling chips and fish lobbed straight out of the North Sea makes the queue worthwhile; eerily , between buildings, the silent ghost of a DFDS ferry slid  past us, heading down over the harbourbar to freedom.
Now a full tummy dictates a glass of wine should follow ............
See you tomorrow for Staycation 2

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Restaurant Week

I forgot to mention that it is Restaurant Week in Newcastle. It encourages us every year to venture into different eating places outside of our normal haunts; 'Alive after 5' invites us to taste a variety of meals beyond our ken. All at a reduced cost....... last night we dined at Fenwick's Cafe 21 before the comfort of the Tyneside Cinema stalls to be 'Bourne ' once again into a wild bike chase and muffled speech which I blame for my lack of understanding some of the Legacy!

Getting ready to grow or... passing on the excitement and love

It is difficult to write a blog about a garden retrospectively. Gardens, like time and tide, wait for no man (or woman), but move on even if the gardener is not there. Thus while I am about to write about summer, I have just been out to buy bulbs.... daffodils, crocus, allium, tulips etc., planted now will light up spring 2013.

The most exciting occurrence this summer has been discovering that maybe gardening is in the genes after all; D3 has dug, weeded, emptied her garden and has been excited as edges and borders are being filled.
"What do you mean aspect?", "Where is the best place for it to go?", "How high will it grow?" "Will it have perfume?", "I haven't got a howker to weed between the block paving", "Please may I borrow.........?"

I can see the anticipation in her eyes as she checks the height of a honeysuckle and rings me to say there is only another inch to go and it will reach the netting she has hammered into the fence. I glimpse the pride that the cheap, 'rescue' plant has survived courtesy of her tender handling.

Her garden is already filled with green gifts which have been donated mainly by my friends (especially M.) who are excited by this novice planter of the next generation; I hope, like me, she will stroll around her garden and remember all the friends who gave plants to encourage her; we all imagine she will watch the seasons come and go with the same pleasure we have.... and remember us.

I think she is a natural gardener too, not an educated flora fanatic. I know the country names more than the latin species; Grannys' bonnets stick more in her mind too.

I think she will be a better gardener than me, but then she does a lot better than me...... I don't mind as long as she feels the creativity, warmth and love a garden gives back.

Monday, 20 August 2012

East, west, home is best.

I feel guilty that with so much to do, I haven't blogged over a period of 4 weeks. My thoughts , like my garden , have grown until I can not really remember everything we have done.

While we do travel, I refuse to become a slave to visiting parts of the world. Looking at the sources on this blog, I fear I am going to get some readers backs up as they probably think I should want to visit their nations, but I am as well travelled as I want to be and I have satisfied my curiosity over certain places I want to go to; as a geographer I taught about cultures I wanted to taste and in R.E. there were faiths I wanted to witness; those  questions are now satisfied: however if I travel it has been/is/will be mainly to visit people I like and want to catch up on- that is what enduces me to undertake hours by car/plane/boat. I dreaded retirement and the ' we must travel' obligation that seems to go with the pension. There seems to be a need to 'go everywhere' and feverishly fill in our golden years till we drop off the end of this mortal coil; for me this does not contribute to the future- I guess I need a purpose in life and aimless drifting is not my idea of contributing to our world.

Antigua, Bali, Cancun, Dubai - you can keep them all - they are not for me- I will certainly go if H1 wants to go; there is nowhere I feel a need to go back to (not even the beautiful Taj Mahal)- I am as happy as a sandboy here.
I would not have missed the thrill of this summer's activities in the UK for anything- even if I watched the Olympics on television not in person (well I did get to 2 smashing football matches at St James' Park!) Even Sorrento was a ' what did I miss?' and 'Isn't it hot?' week -the best bit was being with the best company in the world. I am not a person of extremes- in temperament or temperature- so hot and freezing weather both leave me uncomfortable. I love Britain and its seasons; I love coast and countryside- even some of its urban settings eg the architecture of buildings and our pageantry and traditions.

So it is that I liked the Quechua people of Peru, the Russian barmaid on our cruise round the Baltic, the herb selecting chef in the Oberoi Maidens Hotel in Delhi, the stall holder in Helsinki, the two friends we cruised the South China Sea with, our friends (and their dog!) in Menorca; it will be friends from long ago that entice me to cross the Pond....

But then I don't have to travel far to meet people I like; I enjoy the company of the gardener at Belsay, the housekeepers at Wallington, the couple selling ice cream in the gardens of Delaval Hall, the laugh with guys in hard hats (digging up our whole road to install new electricity cables?) the man at the allotment gates- no gossip -merely chat about the weather or to pass the time of day with ......and when I choose I can retire to the solitude of my garden which may fill my day; therein is no heartache, no personal interrogation, no interference-just  me and my successes and failures and a cup of tea sitting on my bench. Joy!

Thursday, 16 August 2012


Oops! I forgot to say- I have just finished reading Jodi Piccoult's  'Songs of the Humpback Whale'; a typically hot-issue Jodi book written in 5 voices. I am going to Bookcross it as I picked it up on the sharing /swop table in our Sorrento hostel. Now I have started on a book lent by my friend E. written by American Kitty Kelley called 'The Royals';  I sense it is going to be very controversial.

Where's the trowel?

Durham Book Festival

Today I crashed online to find there was information in my inbox on Durham Book Festival...... oh Carol Anne Duffy.... Kate Mosse....Ann Cleeves.... but I don't have time to go hear/see them! The prospect of today- a day at home to do mundane things like make an impact on my overgrown garden and (our) ironing basket.... where's the Dyson? We really haven't rescued our bedroom from the installation of the beautiful new en suite.... and I had so many requests to meet up socially with friends who I had to plead busyness and request a rain check- and now catching up with them in the next few days/weeks.
H1 has just been on local radio- they seem to wheel him out when they want an sane comment on education/ apprenticeships/universities etc.  'A' level exam results out today

I will try to get back online but this is really my first day to do lots of domestic things so before the forecast rain arrives I am heading for a garden filled with sunshine.......

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Olympics

I thought the opening ceremony was so eccentric and so British! I thought it was technically brilliant- and how did they get all those dancing and singing volunteers eg all those doctors and nurses from the NHS and children from Great Ormond Street Hospital , to stay hush and not let the cat out of the bag?

We are walking such a lot out in the shire that I have not had time to scribe my blog; we have been out to Vindolanda which was rather soggy (a good year to miss digging!); we have walked at Falstone, Pallion (a Metro walk), several sections of the coast......

..... also we have just returned from St. James' Park after supporting New Zealand in the Olympic football match against Brazil; alright so the Kiwis lost 3-0 but the atmosphere was family and fun. Well organised with lots of security but we only took minutes to get through the whole procedure and we were in. It was like United Nations with people of every nationality, colour and creed there- Ab fab!

Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome have just won gold and bronze in the time trials... the hockey is on..... what date does the Olympics finish and I will find time to blog then?!