Saturday, 18 March 2017

Spring has Sprung (and gone again!)

We had a few days of beautiful spring weather this week and what a difference it makes to how one feels.  Sunshine and some warmth in the air, suddenly makes you forget about the gloom of winter and the promise of summer seems just around the corner.  I decided that my poor neglected allotment needed a spring clean in preparation for the growing season ahead.
Unfortunately a few weeks ago I suffered from an attack of Sciatica.  I have never had it before and was in agony.  Luckily my wonderful physiotherapist friend immediately came to the rescue with her magic hands and took the pain right away.  However, she also gave me a stern talking to about not doing any heavy lifting etc for quite a few weeks and especially whilst the treatment was still ongoing.  Pete, my hero, has been doing all the vacuuming etc (do you think I can spin this out for a few months?!) and also offered to do the heavy work at the allotment.
So after a few hours of him working and me 'directing', most of the raised beds are mulched and have a fresh cover of compost, although more compost is needed yet.  The early potatoes are in, parsnips and beetroot sown and new raspberry canes planted.   Instead of flowers for Mother's Day, my boys are going to do a bit more digging and spreading woodchip over the paths between the beds, they are such good lads.
Last year I missed the main sowing and planting season as Mum was in hospital for 10 weeks and I was visiting every day, so I am looking forward to a more productive season this year.  You cannot beat freshly harvested fruit and veg, the taste is so different.
Only two more weeks until the Easter break and I cannot wait.  One of the downfalls of being a teacher is that you spend half your time wishing your life away til the next holiday :)




Sunday, 12 March 2017

Getting Ready For Spring

I spend half my time moaning at Pete for not clearing up his tools in the wheelhouse, making it look more of a workshop than a pleasant living space.  Now I have turned it into a greenhouse!  My allotment greenhouse took a bit of a battering in storms over the winter and I lost several panels.  I am going to replace it with a small polytunnel, but until then I needed somewhere light and warm for my precious baby seedlings.  So the wheelhouse was the obvious place.

The only thing growing in the allotment at the moment is the garlic, which Scarlett helped me plant last year.  Scarlett came with me to the garden centre last year to buy the garlic.  I wanted white garlic at £1.99 for three bulbs, she wanted pink garlic at £1.99 for one bulb, so guess what I am growing?  Yep, pretty pink garlic!  We also harvested the new potatoes at the same time, which according to Scarlett, was like a treasure hunt.  Later when we were eating them, she declared that they were the best potatoes she had ever had in her life (all three years of it!).

Anyway, I digress.  Pete and I spent a couple of hours at the allotment, mulching and adding new compost to the raised beds, getting them ready for planting.  This gave me the incentive to start sowing once we got back to the barge.  I have soooo many seeds that I really must not buy any more this year, just use what I already have.  However, any allotmenteer will tell you what an empty pledge that is - there are so many lovely looking new varieties to try each year, that it is nigh on impossible not to buy the odd packet, just to try you understand.

So this is the chart table right now and I haven't even started on the window sills!




Saturday, 11 March 2017

A Teaching Day Out

For those that don't know, I teach children, that are for many reasons are not in school, on a one to one basis.  Usually these lessons take place in the library or the child's home.  I love this work as I have a certain amount of freedom and poetic licence with the core curriculum as I am also commissioned to teach life skills to many of these children.

Yesterday was a glorious spring day, much too nice to spend indoors so I decided that to take my young person to the East Anglian Railway Museum in Wakes Colne, Essex.  I have never been here before, but what a fabulous place.  We saw all sorts of different engines, carriages and wagons back to the invention of the railways.  There is a huge restoration shed, with all sorts of trains in various states of repair, there are ticket offices, freight sorting offices and so on.  It is very child friendly with lots and lots of hands on things to do and touch.  You can clamber in and over most of the engines and carriages.  The only thing was that I ended I feeling quite old that the trains of my youth are now deemed Museum pieces!   I also learned more about the old line that ran to Tollesbury.  It was called The Crab and Winkle Line as it used to carry the fresh crabs and oysters straight from the fishing boats to market.  Sadly it was demolished in 1951.

Over the Easter period Thomas the Tank Engine comes to visit and there are lots of activities, including a train ride.  I am thinking of taking the grandchildren, as they will absolutely love it, Bobby in particular is a huge Thomas fan.






Monday, 6 March 2017

Clean Clothes Finally!

After Pete's fall last summer, it took a long time for him to get back to doing any sort of work and when he did do some work, it was on Carpe Diem, getting it ready for selling.

But one job that desperately needed to be done was the wardrobe doors.  The wood burning stove seems to produces soooo much dust, along with Tollesbury being the dustiest place on Earth (second to the Sahara perhaps).  Consequently all our clothes in the wardrobe were always covered in dust.  Clothes that were worn on a regular basis were okay, but anything else needed washing again before it could be worn.  We decided on sliding doors as they take up less room.  So Pete got to work and did his usual magic, transforming an area.  It was quite funny before the stops were installed, as every time the tide came in or out the doors would open themselves, first time it happened was in the middle of the night.  It made us jump as they are heavy doors that made quite a racket.  The doors are fabulous, yet to be painted, but they do have nice crystal handles!  I also took the opportunity to clear out clothes that really weren't worn or waiting for the day I could get back in to them, so the charity shop did well too.  Sorry the pictures are not so good, it is very hard to show the doors off to their best.  There are three doors on each side and the wardrobes are deep because they go underneath the decks.  The second picture is of my 'accessory' wardrobe, how posh does that sound!  But I definitely have too many shoes, bags, scarves etc I need to have a good clear out there xxx






Sunday, 5 March 2017

Hello

I decided to take a short break from blogging, however I admit it has been longer than I intended.  I felt that the blog was just sort of drifting without any real direction.  Other blogs that I follow often have 'themes' or some great ideas and amazing photography.  My blog was a mish mash of shots of life here and I suppose when you are living the life, it doesn't seem that interesting.
Pete and I also seemed to just be drifting along; working, eating and sleeping.  For years our life had been about sailing, getting out as often as we could, going to new places and exploring.  We thoroughly enjoyed that time in our lives and have some great memories to look back on.   But for the past few years all our time has been taken up with the barge.  Carpe Diem (our yacht) suffered when we lived on it full time and then took a battering during a storm when it was put back on its mooring. It is now out of the water being renovated and will shortly be put up for sale.  We had to make a decision about whether to buy another (smaller) yacht or not.  We decided on the not, but still felt that we needed to do something to add some spice to life.  A campervan was our first choice, but to be honest, at the moment is a little out of our price range for something decent.  Another option was a caravan, but Pete didn't fancy towing it and again, if we wanted to take it abroad it would prove more expensive.
As you know, the last couple of years we have had some short breaks camping and have loved every minute of it.  Our tent was bought second hand for £40 and has served us well, but there were just a few niggles with it.  So we decided that for the next few years we would concentrate on camping.  As we are getting a little older (!) we thought that we should make it as comfortable & easy as possible.  So we have bought an amazing blow up tent that goes up in 10 minutes apparently, some super duper extra large, brushed cotton lined sleeping bags and a couple of beautifully padded chairs.  The new tent has a sewn in ground sheet, carpet, a porch for cooking and sitting under  and is big enough for at least a couple of grandchildren.  I cannot tell you how excited I am that we are going to be off exploring and looking forward to our adventures.  We plan on going away at Easter, though I think we may practise putting the tent up first so we don't look complete idiots!

I don't want you to think I am miserable because I am definitely not, life is actually good.  The grandchildren are all great and growing up way too fast.  I am very lucky to be able to spend a lot of time with all of them and have a great relationship with them.  We have another granddaughter due in June and my Mum and Dad celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary in July.  Pete reached the grand old age of 65 and now gets his state pension, unfortunately being 'considerably' younger than him and changes to the state pension age, I have to wait another 10 years before I get mine.  But I do get my teachers pension in two years and eight months, not that I am counting, and I have dropped down to part time work.  The government might think we should work until we drop, but blow that, we want to enjoy our retirement and enjoy it now!

So I have decided that my blog is just going to stay being a simple diary of a simple, but fulfilling, life along with all its ups and downs.  Nothing fancy but then that's me all over.  I am looking forward to catching up with all my blogging pals who I have neglected so badly in recent months, I have actually missed you all.  Take care and speak soon.  Oh, and here is a totally gratuitous picture of my wonderful grandchildren having a ball at Bobby's 2nd Birthday party xxx





Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Holiday comes to an end with a Bump!

We had a lovely time during the last week of our holiday.  We moved to a camp site near Hereford, which was very central to a lot of wonderful areas.  We actually spent quite a lot of the time in Wales and it is definitely an area that we would like to go back and explore more.  Our site was overlooked by the Black Mountains, which were magnificent.


We also spent a day in the Brecon Beacons, which were stunning.  We got out of the car and walked and walked, the scenery was breathtaking.



I had forgotten to take my walking boots on holiday and walked the mountains in a really cute pair of cerise pink ballet pumps, which were immediately binned when we got back to the tent as they got so wet the sole fell off!


We also tried to get in to Merthyr Tydfil as I wanted to pay homage to Kier Hardy.  However, the place was packed and we couldn't get parked anywhere, so we gave up and went into the Welsh Valleys.  It was only later that we learned that the reason it was so busy was because Jeremy Corbyn was in town.  I really wish we had made more effort to find a place to park as I would love to hear him speak.  We really did have a lovely relaxing time on holiday and came back completely chilled, until......

.....my daft husband fell from the top of his ladder to the stony ground, hitting his side and back as he went down.  Having spent his entire life running up and down ladders, Pete is well aware of ladder safety rules, he always ties his ladder off.  Anyway, he had untied the ladder that was against the yacht when we went on holiday to prevent any theft, and was putting it back and was going to tie it off again.  The ladder slipped on the stones and down Pete went, about 12ft.  He has broken several ribs and punctured his lung and had to spend several days in hospital.  He is in considerable pain and will be for sometime yet, but he is also aware that it could have been a lot worse.  Pete is not one for sitting around doing nothing and I see problems ahead in keeping him down.  Please send all jokes that I shall save for when he is being particularly difficult!

I have had enough of Broomfield Hospital this year, what with mum being in for several weeks and now Pete (funnily enough they were both in the same bed, not together obviously!).  But once again, the staff did an amazing job especially considering the pressure they are under.  I am always in awe about how cheerful and caring they are.  So thanks again to the staff there.  Oh, and to finish, I bought the girls little Welsh National costumes and Bobby a flat cap and waistcoat, so here is Jessica modelling her outfit.  


Back soon ......hugs and kisses all.


Friday, 5 August 2016

More Exploring

Yesterday we took a trip north of Hereford to Weobley and Ludlow.  Weobley (pronounced web-lee) is a beautiful little village.  It is one of the 'black and white' villages and is so pretty.  The Delacy's had a castle here in the 13th Century but they upset good old King John I and he confiscated all their land.  All that is left of the castle are the earthworks.  Brewing and glove making were the Saxon industries, although there is no evidence of this today.  We had brunch in a really sweet little cafe that allowed Alfie in and served an excellent cup of tea.  As you can see from the photo, I think summer has departed as we have not had any sunshine, just cloud for days.


We then moved on to Ludlow, which is a medieval town with another castle.  The town had many really beautiful medieval houses and was bustling with activity.  There was a small market selling local produce and 'antiques' and Alfie got to taste his first Liver Cake - how revolting does that sound! 

We didn't actually pay to go in the castle, as we are getting a bit tight in our old age, however we did walk round the perimeter which certainly gave us an sense of just how big it actually was.  Set on the hill it was quite imposing. It is another of the DeLacy's castles; just how rich were these people! It is a mixture of Norman, Medieval and Tudor architecture and has a long association with royalty, becoming a royal palace in the fourteenth century.  The two boy princes lived here before they were taken to the Tower of London and mysteriously disappeared (their bodies being found under a staircase a couple of hundred years later), Mary Tudor, Queen of England, spent her winters here and Catherine of Aragon spent her first honeymoon here with Prince Arthur before she then married her brother-in-law Henry VIII and we all know how well that marriage worked out!


Ludlow was a typical medieval town with lots of little streets and courtyards and looking down into the little passages gave you a glimpse into bygone days.  This passage was such beautiful colours, but the phone camera is not so good at showing that.


Today we are off to explore the Brecon Beacons and its Neolithic history, more later xxxx