Monday, 24 July 2017

Monday 24th July - It's Raining

Rain - like I said ages ago, I have a different view of rain now that I have a vegetable garden on the go.

I planted some seeds a week ago, and they have all come up! The radishes were first, but the pak choi, spring onions and beetroot have all got little shoots now.
spring onion
pak choi
beetroot, I promise...

The peas and beans are growing like mad - we've had several meals of french beans so far. The peas never seem to make it into the saucepan, as we both like eating them straight from the pod. Freshly-picked straight from the pod! That's a revelation! I'm looking forward to home-grown sprouts.

french beans
brussel sprouts beginning to form
Slugging, however, is going to have to become a regular activity. As you can see, they have been eating the peas and beans, and getting altogether too bold.

Slug on outside - us on the inside! 
I grab them with the silicone tongs and drop them into the garden recycling bin. Every time I open the lid, I discover them clustered around the rim, but they are too slow to make a dash for freedom.

The last lot of spinach bolted (I read that hot weather makes this happen) so I'm about to plan more, and some lettuce as well as we have actually had to BUY lettuce this week.

And how about this tomato! What a beauty!

The bay tree is surrounded by tomato plants which appeared from nowhere - proof positive that tomato seeds can survive composting. I've yet to see any evidence that they will produce fruit.

Vegetable gardening has been fun - so far - even with all the watering back in the dry weather.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Sunday 23rd July - A Whole Month since the last post!

Where has the time gone?

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In increasing chaos as the end of term rushed towards me like some kind of Dr Who - Science Fiction - Special Effects - whirly-whirly-whirly thingy.

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Every lesson I taught seemed to generate changes to the diary and a flurry of urgent emails and phone calls. At the end of the day I was in no fit state to attempt to type any coherent sequence of words. But at last, I have finished all the school lessons (and end-of-term assemblies and instrument checks).

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I've got six more piano lessons, two end-of-term socials and a drumming workshop scheduled for this coming week, none of which require any forward planning. That is, apart from turning up at the right place at the right time with the right accessories - be they sheet music, djembe drum or money.

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I'm awaiting the results for three piano exam candidates. I don't hold out much hope for two of them but the third should be a properly good result. I've gone through all the results of all the exams I've entered pupils for since 1997 and discovered that, on the whole, my results are good enough, all things considered. So I'm not going to get upset over these two. I did as much as I could - that's my side of the teacher-student relationship.

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Anyway - after nearly three days of  zoning out, saying and doing almost nothing, going nowhere, neither listening to nor watching anything much, I'm beginning to feel human again. Blogging will recommence!

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(All clocks copied from

Friday, 23 June 2017

Friday 23rd June - Nearly a Day Off

Apart from a piano pupil at 4pm, my diary was clear! That must be a first since Term started back in April. (Slight guilty conscience - I realised too late that I'd forgotten to warn the other members of a drumming group I lead that we weren't meeting this evening. Oh whoops)

So, what did I do?

I redeemed my voucher for a free drink and cake at Waitrose (Americano with hot milk, and a slice of lemon drizzle).

I ate sushi for lunch, bought from the new sushi counter at Waitrose. It was OK.

I did gardening. That took up most of the afternoon. I have these plants, bought on Monday, waiting to go into a newly/nearly cleared border.

 One of them is about four feet tall - slightly tricky getting it into my car.

Two were bought from a garden gate plant sale near a school I visit on Monday mornings. I took pictures of the detailed labels, as they had to be left behind. The tall one, with little purple flowers at the top, won me over with "... hardy...self seeds, self stakes, flowers over a long period".

The main attraction of this little silvery plant was the magic description "good ground cover in dry sunny places - SPREADS!"

So this blog will act as a reference when I've forgotten what they are called. The other two plants in the blue tub are geraniums, of the cranesbill type, chosen for "thrives in a poor soil". One has while flowers, the other purplish-pink.

Here's the flower bed; stage 1

stage 2, after he has attacked it with a sort of claw-hoe implement

and stage 3, after I have spent an hour digging over it with a hand fork, as I can't manage to drive a border fork into the compacted earth.

I'll ask him nicely to do the "dig a hole twice the size of the pot" business, and hopefully get the plants in before the end of the weekend. I've also got various pots of variegated ivy that I will put in, and then cover the whole lot with a fine bark mulch. Then any plant that appears subsequently will be considered to be a weed and removed with extreme prejudice. That's plan, anyway.

After a cup of tea, I turned my attention to the dining room table - it's got itself into a state again, somehow.

There's a bit more clear space now, and the heaps have been slightly reduced and squared up. That will have to do.

Nearly a day off?