Monday, 29 October 2012

Snow before Halloween?

Yep! We have snow; I cannot remember ever having snow before Halloween; we went down to the Fish Quay at North Shields on Friday evening and glimpsed Admiral Lord Collingwood haloed by grey, snow filled clouds then he disappeared into a swirl of snowflakes.

A short while later we watched an interview on television which took place in Saltwell Park; a garden of Remembrance has been created of tiny poppy adorned crosses; caught between a bitter wind and whirling snow the interviewees looked frozen. Opening the curtains we realised how deep the white covering had become in under an hour.

The clocks went back last night so sunset is about 4.30p.m. tomorrow night. It is dark but at least the days of fog have lifted.

Needless to say, my red Christmas cactus and my unusual cream flowered cactus are both covered in buds ( I have told you before these plants must not be moved, even for dusting; get some- they are a perfect excuse- if you need one). So for these succulents, once again, Christmas will come early. Having said that, I realise Advent is not far away- but Marks and Spencer have already got reindeer striding through the mens' shirts and sparkly baubles suspended above the socks- NO! No! No! Not till December please.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Conversation of the Year

Me- 'Darling- while I am washing up , could you run the hoover round?'

H1- ' I'm not a hoover man'.

Did I hear you say that you bet that went down like a lead balloon? It was like a red rag to a bull actually..... Was I born wielding a Dyson or an iron??!!
Where did I go wrong? I have taught him to do all sorts of things incase anything happens to me- he irons a great shirt- and several years ago I stopped ironing his shirts altogether as God made him equal to me in skills and now in time. He now has certain staple meals he can make; only convinced that he CAN do cooking by my insistence that this was merely domestic SCIENCE (does the word science convince men of things being 'manly'?) and he should just regard cooking as a physics experiment- AND everyone is allowed to make mistakes.... but the answer is to learn from them.

I now realise I do all the heavy work eg the gardening- digging, planting etc- he mows the lawn- while Newcastle United are playing away and the match commentary is on the radio which is plugged into his ears while Asperger's stripes are carefully ruled across the grass.

I shall not even describe barbecues in which I slave away over a hot stove while watching him through the window- he in the sunshine and with can in hand, requesting I bring the oven cooked food out to get a cremation over the hot coals.

So much for my New Age Man.

Saturday, 20 October 2012


The weather is holding -fine if chilly some nights..... so much so that I have given in and put the autumn duvet on- heaven is snuggling under the quilt with 'Voyager' third in the series by Diana Gabaldon.

There are just not enough hours in the day; I have been so busy eg helping relatives move up north to York and kicking up the fallen leaves in Northumberland and Durham.

H1 and I have been to see 'Untouchable' recommended by my cousin- and I can see why she thought it was so good. We have managed a family night of board games- why was it I could not remember the rules of Chinese Detective? It is hardly intellectually challenging but I was glaky last night when we got together. Never mind! We laughed our socks off at my faux pas (how do you plural that?)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


There that caught your attention!
It is 7a.m. I have been awake since 3 a.m. It is a long night made longer by not being able to do anything as the body next to you chortles away, snoring, snorting, popping and fizzing like the Northern Sinfonia. I shouldn't complain as I am lucky to have H1 next to me but if I put the light on to read then he gets cross at being woken up.
Through the window a flight of birds heralds the dawn; coffin black trees poke into the peach-pink lights of early morning; above that hangs the blue sky of another cloudless, autumn, northern day.

Pink reminds me- Are you going to 'Wear it Pink' on October 26th? October is Breast Cancer Action Month so Breast Cancer Campaign is really mounting an awareness month- even Buckingham Palace turned pink on October 2nd. I think we are going to do a Pink Bake and stall at school on the 26th. I shall be in the pink.

On Friday gone H1 and I went to The Pink Gala at Whitley Bay Playhouse; fab! is the only way to describe our night. N. Tyneside have Painted the Town Pink for 4 years now but then they are a very pro-active Council. The Mayor and his wife were just 2 of masses of us who turned up 'dressed to impress' and ALL wearing pink somewhere. We bought a 'favours' box (a stack like a tiered cake stand of all black tiny treasure chests and each adorned with a pink 'jewel') which we found contained a pink and chocolate button AND a message to say we had won a prize- a picture. The all-female cast were brilliant; so much talent in dance, song and costumes; in the backgound the orchestra (such smart 'men in black' with pink ties) provided great and varied music. The night was certainly 'in the mood'. I tried to send E, Ds1,2 and 3 photos on this new mob- but nothing arrived- and nor do I know how to download the photos so I can show the Gala to you. Their swimming pool waves pink sometime this month.

I have yet another stack of bras gathered in from friends that I need to donate to Breast Cancer Campaign, who are pushing this month like fury. Normally you can take them (the bras not the friends) to places like Debenhams- ours has a box in their lingerie fitting rooms for your cast-offs! However the box had been filled last time I went so I await a renewed box which I will provide with more discarded bras for recycling in all sorts of ways. If you want to throw away your bras with gay abandon do get in touch, leave them on our doorstep or drop them into Debenhams for the Breast Cancer Campaign box; darn! I missed the BCC bra box in Eldon Square last week.
Lots of people have painted their pinkie- have you?
What are you going to do to be a superhero?
Check them out girls- and boys- be aware and keep abreast of the times!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Golden autumn days

I have sat outside for lunch for several days  in the last week- I love it! 'Sandwich in the sun' could be the title of a book.

Inspite of the warmth of the sun , the air temperature is cold; the leaves are colouring yellow, tan, gold, bronze, russet and scarlet. The flowerborders and pavements are drifting with leaves.

Many of the flowers of summer are dying; I have begun to deadhead a variety of phlox which have cast fragrance over the garden for weeks.

I wonder why a number of gardeners have asked me specifically for some of the one above-maybe the pretty foliage? and how do I give them some?

The poker straight, cardinal lobelia still pontificates that it will not die off yet. So too do the roses which often hold their heads up into November.

The troughs of geraniums are still hanging on in

and the begonias actually seem to have enjoyed the whole summer and are flourishing in these first days of autumn.
Under the siver birch, the bed of marguerites are playing host to earwigs; these daisies never inspire me to flower arrange them because of the creatures they bring in to the house.

I stuck (literally- pushed in with my finger) some of last year's nasturtium seeds in the primula pots since there is nothing there after Spring but greenery for most of the Summer- and their reddy-orange trumpets have graced the patio for ages; I must remember to collect up the nasturtium seed heads for next year.

We have given up and put the central heating on morning and evening

but when will I finally admit defeat and fight the winter duvets onto the beds?
The hydrangeas,


and buddleia are providing nectar for the last of the flutter-byes

But the glories of autumn are definitely on the way.........

Okey dokey I am off to watch television- D3 tells me I must watch the semifinal of The Great British Bake Off.

Friday, 5 October 2012


The broth is in the making; the pressure cooker hisses ,filling the kitchen with sound and steam. Chicken carcass, lentils, split peas, onions, turnip (swede to some), carrots- today a potato and some mixed herbs. My theory is whoever gets the bay leaf clears the table after our meal but invariably it is in my bowl- I think they all pull a fast one when I am not looking!
A few 'accumulations' of cumulus bubble in a clear, blue sky. I shall plant bulbs, sort pots and absorb some Vitamin D before ladling out a bowl of broth to eat outside on the garden bench.
An incoming lengthy phonechat- and the cloud is thickening up- better dash......

.......5 hours later H1 was back from golf to find me still in the garden but the 'beasties' were prolific for some reason and I gave up and headed inside; during the Little Theatre's 'Crown Matrimonial' I discovered I had been bitten but just once so I was lucky and the borders look tidy.

I reckon more of the same today (after a 'ladies who coffee') but where to put the rubbish since yesterday I filled the garden bin?

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


I have just found my photos of Rennington Scarecrow festival and realised I have not blogged about August Bank Holiday weekend.
A lot of the scarecrows were synchronised round the Olympics!
Where do the residents get their ideas from?Brilliant!
The Paralympics came over loud and clear too.

 Britain's wonderful coalition government took a slating.

 and of course our equally wonderful summer weather got hammered.

The weather was so bad that for the first time in 15+ years we did not get as far as the RNLI Fair at Seahouses- I will have to buy RNLI Christmas cards instead to make my contribution to the volunteer lifeboatmen. (No! This is not a member of the lifeboat crew!)
Nor are these three freezing, huddled cats who gave in to the driving rain and biting wind and headed for board games in their own warm abode.
Meanwhile the Queen reigned supreme with the help of Prince Philip and 007.

Durham and castles

It is October already and life still is not slowing down. Looking back we crammed so much into the summer holidays and I have not had time to divulge all on this blog.

The Ladies have been so lucky with the weather. We have been all over the place over the last few weeks.

We walked along the south bank of the Tyne via Bill Quay farm.


I have been to Warkworth twice- once with the Ladies on a walk (via Topsy Turvy in the village) round the coast.

We chose the most beautiful day- with sun, a blue sky painted with altostratus and a light breeze.

and found others enjoying a plodge too. Northumberland at its best then; it is chillier now and the nights have definitely drawn in.
Our Dutch friends B&E came a-visiting; E likes castles so , explaining that historically the county had been a war zone, mainly between England and Scotland, therefore we had an abundance of castles- we headed north to Warkworth,


Bamburgh and finally Alnwick.
Alnwick is still lived in- Harry Potter learned to play quidditch here on a broomstick!
Depending on the weather, the Ladies get up to all sorts. In torrential rain last week we went to the Laing to admire the Quentin Blake exhibition.

This week we lazed along the River Wear on a riverboat cruise with commentary about Durham;

in fact we have visited Durham City twice of late; we walked the streets of old Durham town the week before. Like Warkworth Castle, Durham Cathedral is built inside a natural moat- a river meander; then Durham Castle has been built on the neck of the meander to protect the monkish wealth from invaders.

Harry, Hermione and Ron were first seen coming into this snowcovered cloister (alias Hogwarts) clutching their books in -was it the Philosopher's stone?

We mooched around like tourists drinking in everything as though it was all new to us. Tired, I arrived home to find D3 had brought me a gift from work

which was spiky,(or was it spikey?) modern and lasted for AGES.