Thursday, 29 November 2012


November opens its arms rapidly to embrace December- where did the month go? Mainly to York? Where ever it went it dribbled on mainly in the rain; we have been more fortunate than many in Britain who have suffered again from flooding. Fields locally are harbouring ponds and lakes providing new homes for wildlife; lawns glisten with the excess of water lying on the surface as the aquifers  & underground reservoirs are filled to capacity. Tonight the temperatures are down below freezing and forecasts are it will stay below freezing for some days. It took tonight's visitors quite a while to de-ice their car in order to drive home.

The men who have grown moustaches for Movember, (sponsored to provide cash for research into prostate cancer) will certainly feel the chill when facial hair is shaved off on Saturday.

I baked three wedding cakes on Saturday; heck! I hope they are as tasty as the last three- the responsibility weighs heavy!

Sunday was StirUp Sunday but I was on the gallivant at Beamish Hall Christmas Fayre on Sunday so I stirred 3 puds up on Monday; they are now sitting chilled in the garage biding their time till their moment of glory on Christmas Day.

I bet you wondered where I had got to all this month; not much gardening going on due to abysmal weather conditions and so much on my plate- however I have cut back the buddleia, most of the roses (rain stopped play) and had lots of good physiotherapy sweeping leaves together across the lawn.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


By crikey me keks are clarty from walking with the group these last few weeks; the highways and byways have been wet and muddy; I cannot be bothered wearing gaiters so i just clag my trousers (keks) in the wash to de-mud them. We walked along the old railway line from Langley station garden tearoom about 3 weeks ago- soaking underfoot but we only caught raindrops in the last 20 minutes.

That must have been around Hallowe'en- or to some of us- All Hallows Eve (October 31st). Though as a family we have always celebrated Hallowe'en with ducky apples, catch the doughnut as it is swinging - and gone out with snanny (turnip) lanterns haunting- and we always did a 'party piece'- a song/joke/poem,  a lot of folk have gone more American- 'trick or treating'. I also sent cats' eyeballs (silverskin onions), witches' fingers(hot dogs), giants toenails (crisps) etc into school for staff to dispense. Oh boy-we found hollowing out turnips (the yellow kind!) difficult- did you?

This year we went for a softer, easier option- carving pumpkins. We had a fun night on October 31st decorating pumpkins after D3 cooked us tea. Later that week D3 had a wonderfully decorated party attended by lots of witches, wizards, monks etc!!!! Everyone brought some food to add to what was provided- mmmulled wine is my favourite.

Definitely hard work preparing for Halloween.....

I recall it was about then we woke up to our first heavy frost; silvered lawns glinting in the morning sunlight. The trees had hung onto their leaves much longer than in most years but this cold snap and the snow turned my acer scarlet overnight.

Winter is approaching!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Hulne Park

Hulne Park is the domain of the Dukes of Northumberland.
It is where part of the film 'Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves ' was made.
Virginia Creeper heralded our arrival; she will be bare now.

A search for a geocache brought no luck on the way in but then there were muggles around.
Here one can view the biggest bulls with the thickest necks......

jewel-coloured pheasants......

Medusa haired weeds

and an avenue of horse chestnuts

shedding leaves and conkers.

By now the conkers will have met their match in the school yards of Britain and been emptied from childrens' pockets into dustbins !


Saturday, 3 November 2012

Guy Fawkes Night

'Remember, remember the 5th of November....' so why is the dark sky outside lit with the glow of fireworks? Today is November the 3rd not the 5th.

The festival is called Guy Fawkes Night,  not Bonfire Night; I know it is  gruesome but it is an English tradition and to drop the celebration or hide its origins away is like....... not speaking to the French because William conquered us in 1066, or not speaking to the Scots because we constantly fought them here in the North- or them not speaking to us because we battled them at Flodden- or they hit us at Prestonpans. Life is too short! and tradition is about remembering the lessons and consequences of the past- passing culture and history lessons on - no matter how horrid the lesson may be.

We always worked hard at making a guy then put him on a bogey or old pushchair or pram and touted him around the neighbourhood shouting 'penny for the guy'.

Guy Fawkes was a Protestant who converted to Catholicism when his mother remarried to a Catholic; Guy was a mercenary (known as Guido when he swopped and switched sides and ended up fighting in Spain.) In 1605 a group of Catholics planned to blow up the House of Lords (the Lords and the King) to kill James I et al in order to restore a Catholic monarch to the throne; Guy Fawkes was found below Westminster Palace guarding the explosives; thus the rhyme goes on
'Gunpowder, treason and plot......'

If you plan to commit murder then you suffer the consequences of the time- regardless of religious reasons for the intended crime- and though a guy is thrown on the bonfire every year, actually Guy Fawkes killed himself before his execution.

So 'I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot'.

We shall look for some fireworks to light on Guy Fawkes Night ie Monday night- November the 5th- but we will not be celebrating Bonfire Night tonight with the Round Table as we have done for years and years and years.