In which there is nothing much happening

I have been really bad at taking photos of things: Grandad’s jumper is finished, maybe he’ll have worked out how to work his new camera and send me a picture by the time it is cold enough to wear it. The grey cardigan is properly finished, it is cold enough to wear that but am not capable of taking a photo of myself whilst wearing it.  A blanket for Small (because Tiny nicked my pretty flowery one and he said it wasn’t fair) is started but I haven’t taken any photos of that yet either. Here is an obsessive photo of some beans.


Aren’t they nice?

In which there is some catching up to do

Sorry I haven’t posted anything all week, I meant to do one on Monday and now it is almost next Monday.  The trouble with not posting things very often is there is too much to fit in and I don’t know which things to write about so then I put it off even longer and it gets worse and worse… (By the way it is almost the summer holidays so apologies in advance – I suspect the frequency of posts may become even more erratic than it is at the moment for a few weeks.)

This week I learnt to do Tunisian crochet which is interesting but probably needs its own post to explain it.


The secret stash of Christmas presents is growing: there is a robot

and also a mouse. At Bible study the other day were talking about being made in the image of God the other week and what that meant; I am unlikely to ever breathe life into anything but I do love the moment when a pile of pieces turns into a little creature with some character.

The garden is full of life as well. I have been told I must prune the fruit trees once we have the fruit off them as they are impeding progress across the garden. The greenhouse is looking a bit jungly as well and we have had various vegetables (mainly purple, although not really intentionally) to eat from the veg bed and caterpillars (mainly green and definitely not intentionally, but did you know they go white when you cook them?) from the purple sprouting broccoli.

The morning glories have been looking glorious in the sun, they are more bedraggled this morning but I did notice this one lurking in at the bottom. I’m not sure where it came from because all the others are dark purple or pink.


It doesn’t quite match the colour of my bottom after I fell down the stairs on Thursday but it’s not far off. I won’t show you a picture of that one, you’ll just have to use your imagination…

A garden for my Grandad

Every time I see my Grandad he asks what I am growing and how the garden is so I thought I would put up some pictures here for him to see what is going on. (I expect a couple of other nosy parkers might like to have a look too!)

I’ve managed not to kill the sweet peas you gave me in the autumn despite ignoring them all winter in the greenhouse, they are just starting to flower and I’ve got a little bunch of them in a rather nice jug in my kitchen (the photo of it is not in my kitchen but that is where they are now).IMG_0971

I found some seeds the other day which I had been saving to plant at about half past May and when I found them again I realised most of them said you should plant them in April, so I threw them all in and they are sprouting already to make up for being late.


There are some purple dwarf beans (Small chose those), some runners that I saved from last year, some red cabbages and multicoloured courgettes hiding at the back, some tomatoes that need to go into the grow bags, some bonsai tomatoes that desperately need to go in bigger pots and to a new home (does anybody want some small tomato plants?) and some miscellaneous flowers that I can’t remember what they are now (Small chose those as well). There’s some broccoli off to the side where you can’t see it that is going outside tomorrow and some morning glories and sunflowers lurking in the corner next to the lemon tree (also invisible) which produced two lemons this year.


This is the organised bit of the garden which has garlic, red and white onions, Duke of Yorks (or should that be Dukes of York?), Charlottes, some miserable slug eaten beetroot, far too many parsnips and some carrots (hopefully if they start growing sometime soon).


This is the jungle, the wisteria is holding up the back wall, there is a damson (looking a little swamped) and some lupins and foxgloves somewhere in there which I put in last year and seem to have survived, the rest is mostly aquilegias which I have never planted any of (oh, no, wait I lie, I planted some yellow ones over the other side but not any of these ones) in shades of bluey-purple, purpley-purple, pinky-purple, purpley-pink, pale pink and white. They grow everywhere and I love them because of the colours – every now and then they jumble themselves up for no reason and at the moment there is a very dark purple one, almost black like an aubergine, which has pale yellow edges on the bell and then there is one white one which is so beautiful it shouldn’t be called white – if you look a bit closer it is extremely pale yellow, the next time it looks just pink, the next time the palest blue- it is almost pearlescent, the colour of princesses’ wedding dresses in fairy tales or maybe fairies’ pyjamas. And they just grow there with no help.

This one’s not an aquilegia, I can’t remember what it is. It could be a geum that I planted last year.


This one is a ridiculous poppy that I don’t understand how it works. I mean how did all that stuff fit into that bud? Who has the job of folding up all the petals like butterflies’ wings crammed in a chrysalis?


Speaking of chrysalises, Kit (short for Christopher the Chrysalis but really that just sounds silly) is starting to look a bit brown so either he is going rotten or he is going to hatch soon…

In which there are more plants and too many buttons

Sorry for the lack of posts, the Easter holidays seem to be a week later in Wales than everywhere else so things are still a bit manic here. They’re all off building lego at the moment so I have snuck in here (after first enlisting the help of the chief photographer) to show you some stuff. The garden is being nice and gardeny, I like gardens, they do that – you ignore them for a few weeks and they just get on with it:

Click for bigger pictures of weeds etc.

The trees are blossoming, the parsnips are sprouting (although they do need weeding) and the onions seem to have survived being trampled on by Small and the Outlaws on the last day of term a couple of weeks ago.

I am plodding along with jumper number three (which is actually a cardigan) and the end is in sight. I ran out of blue with just one sleeve cap left to do which was incredibly frustrating and then having ordered some more and carried on with it, I spent the remaining rows worrying that I would run out of brown too. I didn’t. The knitting is all done, the button band didn’t take as long as I thought it might and it doesn’t look too wonky. I have got fewer than one fifth of all the ends left to sew in and then I can do the seams. Now I’m just having trouble choosing which buttons to use. What do you think? I couldn’t choose between the ones at the top with the tree or the next one which has sort of creeper stuff on it to go on here so I got both to see what they looked like in situ but then I also succumbed to a bag of a hundred random buttons which are mostly very pretty with the vague idea of making something interesting out of pretty buttons and now I have too many to choose from: All the same? Mismatched dark brown? Trees? Butterflies?IMG_0673

Too much choice. But don’t they look nice?IMG_0678

In which there is a spider and a fire engine (you have been warned)

I won’t show you the spider until the bottom so that you don’t have to read that bit  if you don’t want to but here is a fire engine because I don’t know anyone with a phobia of fire engines.

The Man in the Shed wanted me to show you what he has been doing this morning; Small wanted to pinch one of his friend’s toys and then complained that it was broken so the Man in the Shed said they would borrow it and fix it at the same time. The ladder was missing so they have made new one out of teas stirrers and match sticks. I am sure that he must secretly be related to the mice who live in the Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Organ…


Tiny and I have been planting things in the greenhouse and it is definitely looking more green this week. I am fairly amazed that I have managed to keep a tray of sweet peas alive over the winter – my Grandad gave them to me in a heap in an ice cream tub at the beginning of December and being a fair weather gardener (I only go out there in the cold if the compost pot in the kitchen is threatening to explode and coat the entire room with rotting veg peelings) I have more or less ignored and neglected them since and miraculously they look nice and green and bushy now.


The spider is coming, stop reading now if you don’t want to see. The planting of things is what made me want to tell you about Dennis. He lives in the box where I keep the spare flower pots and I know he lives there but I always forget and his sole aim in life appears to be to give me a fright by scuttling around suddenly and looking enormous every time I open the box. I like spiders at a distance so he has agreed not to come and visit me in the house as long as I let him have use of the box. I am scared of spiders when I see them unexpectedly or when they are taller than me (i.e. on the ceiling) but I can cope if I know they are there and, like Howl, I don’t like anyone disturbing the resident cobwebs.


Isn’t he a beauty? I’m not sure why he is called Dennis (normally the house spiders are all called Fred, daddy long legs are Boris and for some reason the garden spiders don’t have a name but there is a colony who live in the greenhouse and are very pretty) but he looks like a Dennis to me.

I have been getting on with jumper number three (which is really a cardigan) so I’ll tell you about that next time maybe but I am also waiting for some 100% cotton yarn to arrive so I can make some boobs. There is a group called Knitted Knockers who make prosthetic breasts for mastectomy patients (they say the silicon ones are really heavy and uncomfortable) and I thought I might as well put some knitting to good use and make a few for them, (my Grandma is going to test drive the first one for me) I’ll let you how I get on…

But in the mean time here is a cat being silly (Sorry Pip!). But at least it means that the jumper must be almost dry because cats don’t like having soggy bottoms:


In which things are growing

In which things are growing

I love this time of year when everything is in bud and starting to grow and you can see all the potential of what will be (slugs and hose pipe bans permitting).


It still amazes me every year that I poke these little, brown, dead looking things into some mud and then more or less neglect them for a few weeks and they turn into plants and flowers and vegetables all by themselves. I have never understood about being green fingered – plants want to grow and they don’t take much encouragement.


Even our magnolia twig which has been in four or five years has decided to produce one single solitary flower this year:IMG_0227

And the knitting is growing too, jumper number two has reached the interesting bit, it’s not so easy to photograph because the are 232 stitches crammed on the needle so I can’t spread it flat very well but you get the idea.


I tried joining the armpits with a three needle cast off this time. I’ve used kitchener stitch before which makes it lovely and smooth underneath but you get a whopping great hole at either end of the seam which has to be sewn up anyway and I never get it very tidy, (I’m not sure why it bugs me because who walks around examining people’s armpits, but it does) so this time I cast off the two lots of stitches together at the point that I joined the sleeve which gave a much smaller gap at the end of the seam and I could just pick up an extra stitch to fill it and then lose it again in the row above, much tidier, I think.

Also I appear to have accidentally cast on another pair of socks, (this is getting to be a habit!) which were much longer but the cumulative irritation of about three things wrong with them was building to the point where I ripped them back to the start of the patterned section and began again from there. They are behaving much better this time round (so far) .IMG_0229

In which there is a little colour and I remember about Howl

Hurrah for antibiotics! I’m feeling a lot better and can have a proper conversation without a five minute coughing fit after every third and a half word. And the garden is waking up, I spotted the first bit of colour this year (apart from the green and brown, which clearly are colours, and the plethora of plastic toys that are a more or less permanent feature but don’t count because they don’t photosynthesise) and it’s purple.IMG_0080

I haven’t done much this week what with still feeling grotty but I did manage to finish a book. I used to read almost constantly – I spent the best part of my A levels either skulking in the music practice cupboard, bashing the piano loudly and hoping they wouldn’t hear it through the wall in the next room (which was where I should have been for a maths lesson) or when I didn’t need to be in the maths department I was normally sat in the corridor there working my way steadily through the fiction section of the college library. So it is very strange to not have the time to read and when there is time there is normally too much going on to concentrate on it anyway; I’ve been reading ‘Anna Karenina’ since August which has to be some kind of record, I think that even beats ‘The Lord of the Rings’. The book that I finished wasn’t that one, I was telling someone about ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ by Diana Wynne Jones the other day and then I realised I couldn’t really remember what happened in it so I thought I’d better read it again. It is another book (like Mr. Milne’s) that has chapters ‘In which’ things happen. One of them is ‘Chapter Six – in which Howl expresses his feelings with green slime’, there now, don’t you just want to read it to find out what all the slime is about?

I won’t tell you too much about it in case you do want to read it. ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ is about Sophie who should be young but is old because of a curse and can do magic without realising, she talks to things and tells them what to do or to be and talks life into them without knowing she is doing it. Another character is Calcifer, a rather grumpy fire demon, who makes the castle move and the castle belongs to Wizard Howl/Howell Jenkins who is from a strange land (can you guess which one with a name like that?) and who according to Sophie is a ‘slitherer-outer’ and who according to Calcifer is ‘heartless’. It’s a lovely story, it has shooting stars, the sosban fach song, mermaids, seven league boots, the Witch of the Waste, a yummy cake shop and the castle is fantastic – it scuttles around the hillside and is somehow in four places at once which is very useful and it is a different shape inside than it is out.

I like reading, I will read most things, grown-up books are ok and I enjoy them but fairy tales are great and kids books always seem like a lot more fun and anyway who says I have to grow up?