Monday, July 27, 2020

Radishes, beans, tomatoes, flowers and butterflies

On Friday we decided to visit the local farm shop again to see what fruit and vegetables they had in stock.

We found radishes and beans straight from the fields.  The beans were delicious with our evening meal.  Radishes lovely and peppery with a cheese salad roll for lunch.  We still have some left.

Plums not long picked and brought into the shop.  The fruits on our plum tree are still green. These were delicious stewed with a little custard.

This year we covered he raised beds with netting to create a cage to grow fruit and vegetables in  as last year the visiting badgers dug up and ate a lot of our root vegetables.  Things were going well but over the last week potatoes and carrots have been taken.  We couldn't see how the badgers had got into the cage it was like an Agatha Christie 'door locked from the inside' mystery.  We finally realised that they were getting in under the flap of material in the entrance way without moving the stone that was holding it down.  Clever but naughty badgers!

Scenes from a recent walk.

I must try and join in with the Big Butterfly Count this summer.  I will have to do it in the garden so that I can use the oven timer to measure the fifteen minutes recommended for the count.  My watch battery ran out a couple of months ago so I never know what time it is when we go for walks.  I can't yet contemplate going to the Watch Repair shop in the shopping centre up in the city centre where I usually go to get a new battery fitted.

Meadow Brown




Tomatoes from and in the greenhouse.  We are getting quite a few now although like the plums they need more sunshine to ripen them.

A few flowers from the garden, taken before the rain could damaged them.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Teasels and Wheat

This year we've had both wheat and teasels growing in the garden. No doubt both self seeded from bird food or by birds dropping the seeds over the garden.

We've just left them to grow

  The teasels have grown so tall and have now started to flower. Apparently the bees love the flowers.

I'm looking forward to the Goldfinches finding them in the autumn. We really should grow sunflowers too as all the birds love the sunflower hearts we put out for them.

The wheat grew sturdy and stong in one of the flower beds, surrounded by Purple Loosestrife.

Last week Paul decided to harvest the wheat and leave it to dry indoors.

When it was dry he took one head and separated the grain from the chaff.  The result is below.

All ten heads of wheat have now been separated.  Next thing is to grind it just for the experience as there wouldn't be enough to produce anything with. We just need to find some suitable stones to make a makeshift quern.

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Memories of a Holiday

Until we retired July would always be the month we took a holiday sometimes for one week sometimes a little longer.  I was watching a television programme recently about a year on the coast in Pembrokeshire and it brought back lots of happy memories.  I decided to look through the photograph archives to see how long ago it was.  I was sure it was over ten years ago and so it was, July 2006 infact.  We stayed in a self catering cottage which was basic but comfortable.

Below are some photos of our visit.

 Above and below St Davids
Red Valerian growing in the walls


Solva - I still have the hat.

 Pentre Ifan - A Neolithic or New Stone Age burial site.  The giant capstone is about five metres in length and has probably been in the same position for over five thousand years. The stones are Pembrokeshire bluestones from the nearby Preseli hills, the stone which was also used to build Stonehendge

 Newport beach where we saw a small pod of Dolphins far out in the water.  There was a general excitement across the beach as people rushed to the water's edge to watch them.

Dunlin on Newport Beach

 Castel Henllys a replica Iron Age Village not far from the coast.
Inside one of the iron age huts, it was hot outside and there was a roaring fire with smoke swirling into the rafters on the inside.


The boat to Skomer Island

Dinas Head

Carreg Coetan - a Neolithic Chamber tomb with links to Arthurian legend.  It is a burial chamber of the New Stone Age. Excavations at the site have produced finds of Stone Age pottery, stone tools and cremated remains.

Colby Woodland Gardens

 Haverford West Town Museum and Archives Office

We visited the Musems in both Haverfordwest and Tenby because of their connection to one of my favourite artists Gwen John who was born in Haverfordwest and lived for sometime at Tenby before moving to France.
Narberth I don't know what the town is like now but when we visited is was a lively main street with lots of little individual shops, cafes and delicatessens.

I enjoyed looking back at the photos of our visit. 

The second in the series of programmes this week is about a year on the Fens.  As we lived for about twelve years in South Lincolnshire and just over twenty miles from the Wash I'm looking forward to watching this programme too.

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Monday, Tuesday and the Oven Saga


For a short while Monday morning felt like an ordinary morning, the kind of mornings we had pre Virus, pre Lockdown.  The car came out of the garage.  We called at the local Co-op for milk and a newspaper, I took a book back to the library and we visited a local garden centre. Of course it wasn't the same at all but the list of things done sounds normal. 

Some libraries here in the city have opened again but under strict regulations.  I was able to take the book I'd had at home since mid March to the returns bin outside the library door.  If I want any books I have to order them on line or by telephone and then make a pre timed visit to collect them as they have to be picked off the shelves by the staff. No browsing allowed, you have to know what you want in advance.   It seems like a good system for now although I have books on my Kindle to finish reading so I'll leave the library for a while.  It's good to know it is back though.

We chose to go to a local family run garden centre as we needed bird food, compost and tomato feed.  We were there around 10a.m. and only one other person was inside, there was a one way system ouside for compost, chippings and etc and loads of floor markings for distancing inside.  Purchases were made and staff were protected by perspex screens and masks.  The coffee shop was open with social distancing in place but we didn't linger today and came home for morning coffee. It felt okay for a first venture into what is termed 'the new normal'.

At the start of this year both washing machine and oven were beginning to have problems which we knew we would have to deal with, most probably by buying new. In April the washing machine began to leak and make a terrible noise, it was time for a new one which we ordered on line and had delivered with no problems.


The oven had been overheating and sometimes burning the tops of things like loaves and cakes.  We'd been compensating for this by setting the temperature lower than the recipe required and the timings were often shorter. Late last week, however,  the oven tripped the fuse box three times whilst we were cooking tea so it had to go.  We ordered a new one to be delivered today.

Yesterday a man from a well known electrical and computer company rang to check all our details, name, address and what we had ordered and said the delivery driver would ring us before he came to the house.  This morning the driver rang at about 10.50a.m and said he would be five minutes. We watched from the window.  A couple of minutes later a van pulled up halfway down the opposite side of the Crescent (the even side) and we watched him deliver a parcel which was suspiciously oven shaped but as the van wasn't marked and he was way down the road we thought it couldn't possibly be our delivery.  Oh, how wrong we were.  When the delivery still hadn't arrived we began to realise what couldn't possibly have happened had happened.   It took an hour and thirty five minutes to finally get through to a number and holding on in a line for just under an hour to find out that yes, the parcel had been delivered but that nothing could be done about it until the van driver reported back to the depot and unlocked the computer of his daily round of deliveries.  They could collect tomorrow and redeliver the next day.  Not likely, our oven was just down the road!  So we wrote a note and posted it through the door where the parcel sat in the porch and we had to wait until late afternoon when they came home from work.  Using the wheelbarrow the oven was collected and it has now been fittted but not tried out yet.

It looks okay though dosn't it? Very clean and shiny.

  Cheese scones tomorrow?

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Into July - In the Garden

  I can't believe it is July already. Over the last few days it hasn't felt like July at all.  So cold and windy. 

Below are a few photos taken in the garden over the last few days.  We've had lots of lovely visitors. Mostly birds this time.

 Male Bullfinch

 Female Bullfinch

 Two of the little group of Long-Tailed Tits who occasionally visit to feed and use the bird bath.

 Robin having a bath

Blackbird enjoying the berries on the Amelanchier tree

Wood Pigeon and Herring Gull tolerating each other.

Frog - glad we still have at least one in the garden.

Fox - I had to take the photo quickly and the bird feeders were in the way.

New Flowers have been appearing






Poppy - yesterday it raised its head and this morning it had begun to unfurl its petals.  I took a photo straight away in case the petals blow off in the wind.  Although windy it is at least dry this morning.

In the garden crops are beginning to grow

Potatoes growing in a supermarket bag

Tomatoes in the greenhouse, there are two or three varieties in all.  I think there is a plum tomato and a Tigrella, plus either Gardener's Delight or Moneymaker.

The first ripened tomatoes - Mini Munch, these were from a packet of seeds for children with Mr Men on the packet.

The first raspberries - only a handful so far.  They have gone into a summer pudding with strawberries from the garden and some black cherries from Kent, bought from the local Co-op.