Thursday, 1 April 2021

Thursday 1st April - No more fooling this year

 It is 12.30 pm so no more April fooling - 

 - where did all those days disappear to since the last time I posted on this blog?

Some of them disappeared in a kind of sleep-walk - there were a couple of 'zero-energy' days when neither of us could summon up the 'oomph' to get more than the absolute minimum done. The weather was cold and bleah, the days were samey and grey... all I felt like doing was eating chocolate and buying stuff on the internet. The cat felt the same way.

There was nearly a catastrophe when we hadn't realized that Leo had managed to climb inside her duvet and we were going to sort it out and get rid of the strange lump that had appeared in it.

 Luckily I had just enough strength of mind left to keep both chocolate eating and internet buying within bounds. Although I now have a great list of stuff due to be delivered over the next few days.

The veg plot is well underway now. I would like there to have been more signs of life, but so far I have two sticks of rhubarb and a fine display of tiny salad leaf seedlings. A few peas have emerged, and I am hoping the sun will encourage some more to appear. No sign of spinach, radish, brussel sprouts, spring onions or carrots yet.

Yesterday it was warm enough to sit in the garden and paint;

The cat is drawn using a method I call 'emergent drawing'. I just keep drawing and drawing until a cat emerges from the lines. I stole the description from a method of teaching writing which was popular back in the 1990s, or maybe earlier, called 'emergent writing'; I was a bit sceptical but it seems to work. The child (pre-school, or reception, or early years) starts by just 'pretending' to write - doing wiggly lines to make shopping lists or stories - and over time and with appropriate teaching and encouragement these first 'writings' become letters and words and sentences. Well, that describes my drawing method exactly.

The sunflower seeds are all ding well. But very floppy. I plan to stake them all using the bamboo skewers I discovered when I reorganised the cutlery drawers using these rather clever thingies.

We just have to chant 'little on the left' as we open the drawer to know which size is where. There is a tiny symbol printed on the edge by the handles to show whether there will be a knife, fork or spoon on the other end. (you don't need to tell me that 'large on the left' would work as well; I have put the little knives on the left and That is That!)

There is a grey cutlery organiser buried on the left hand side of the kitchen drawer, holding the small implements like pastry brushes (we have two?) small blue sharp knives (we have three?) apple corer, lemon zester and so forth. The big green thingy is a splendid contrivance for coring and slicing an apple all in one go.  

It is a great pleasure to be able to open the kitchen drawer without a struggle, find an implement without impaling oneself and then close the drawer again, all without a single expletive.


Sunday, 21 March 2021

Sunday 22nd March - Rehearsing clocks changing

We woke up early, around 5am, and were sufficiently awake that 5.30 felt like breakfast time... which meant that 10am was long past elevenses (toast and jam). Toast meant we could hold off lunch until 12, just, and then a little tea time-ish moment at about 3 and supper at 6.

I'd quite like to stay awake to watch a PD James murder mystery this evening... don't know if I will manage.

Next week the clocks go forward. I don't know if we were rehearsing for next week or for next Autumn; that's too much like hard work to sort out without paper and pencil and various charts. Who cares, anyway? Apart from the cats who don't understand why mealtimes change. McCavity was perfectly happy to have breakfast early today, and Leo confused as to why, when she went upstairs, I wasn't there (because I was getting breakfast downstairs...)

Next week I'm getting a new clock for keeping track of lesson start and finish times. The little alarm clock that sits neatly on the music rack of the piano gave up the ghost last week resulting, in several over-running lessons. New batteries had no effect, and on close inspection (He took it to bits) it seems that the plastic gears have given up. I expect it will arrive just in time for me to set the time and then change it again. 

I've been sorting out what I could call 'the vegetable garden'; actually an array of  patio tubs set out on the old shed base. 'Sorting out the veg garden' became much easier once Himself came and joined me; I stood around directing where the tubs should be and he shifted them around. I only changed my mind once or twice, honest. There was a short-lived difference of opinion as to how many holes should be drilled into the two largest tubs; my priority was drainage, and his priority was ensuring the base didn't split. We compromised. I've sown seeds in some of the tubs, others still need weeding or topping up. 

You may recognise the round tubs from their previous function; they used to be the drums from my junk samba kit!

I've been testing one of my notebooks to assess its suitability for use as a garden journal

It is a bit of a compromise but seems to behave reasonably for fountain pen, pigments pen and watercolour, as long as the paper doesn't get too wet, so I have ordered one. It will have to run from March to March... I can persuade myself that this is OK as Spring starts at the beginning of March.

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Saturday 20th March - Equinox. Vegetables. Books. Strawberry Pots

I think one of the best things about these weird Covid times is ordering stuff on-line, and getting deliveries.

I ordered the 'Persephone Books' bi-annual newsletter, and it arrived today so I have been enjoying reading the articles. The bookshop is in Lambs Conduit Street in Bloomsbury, London - a favourite haunt. An hour or so in the shop, followed by refreshments in the nearby Foundling Hospital is my idea of a good time.

 I discovered a cache of Persephone newsletters from 2013-2014 which has been my main reading recently, and decided to order the current one. On the strength of this, I also ordered a couple of Persephone books - second-hand - which arrived today. They are sitting in 'quarantine corner, in the hall, until a few days have passed and I can open the parcel.

My 'graze box' was released from 'quarantine corner' today;

this must be one of the most extravagant ways of buying snacks, but more than half the pleasure is in getting the box through the post and discovering what is inside. Chocolate dip, cinnamon biscuits with afternoon tea, and a couple of savoury nut and crispy thingy selections. 

My Lakeland cutlery organiser box also came today and is in quarantine, especially as I suspect the order was only packed yesterday. There's another happiness moment in waiting...

Spring! Time to think about sowing seeds and so on! It is the Equinox tonight - I'm sure that means something important. Equal day and night. I've had good reason to order a strawberry planter for the plants that have recovered from being delivered as nearly-dead stalks last week and need to go into something more substantial than some pots in the spare bedroom. Also a plastic trowel that can live outside the back door for the unlovely task of clearing up after the foxes (they 'dump' on the grass) and our ancient cats (they 'dump' on top of the soil in the flowerbeds). And another load of seeds for more exotic veg than the ones I have two packets of already.

This year I am determined to have a more serious attempt at following this planting scheme;

 The plan is to have a number of large tubs, each of which will have a spring crop followed by a summer crop of vegetables. Judging by the illustrations and the instructions in 'All You Can Eat in Three Square Feet' it should be simple. I've made notes, and bought seeds, and acquired soil and tubs. I wonder how close my efforts will get to these photographs. Watch this space.