Weeding, a Progression

May 31, 2010

“This year, I’m definitely going to pull up all the little tiny weeds as soon as they appear, and that way I won’t let them get on top of me…”

“… or maybe I’ll concentrate on the really bad weeds, because the daisies and the forget-me-nots are actually quite nice, whereas nothing says bad gardener like a load of dandelions…”

“…although, it’s easier to see the dandelions when they come into flower, I can just home in on those bright yellow pompoms and pull them up then…”

“… in fact, the really important thing is to get them before they set seed, because that’s when the problem gets really out of hand …”

“… only, now that they have set seed, really, what’s the point of pulling them up, the damage is done after all, all those little tiny weeds just waiting to spring…”

Next year, I’m definitely going to pull up all the little tiny weeds as soon as they appear…”


Clout Casting, now with Extra Cows

May 29, 2010

I told you it had been a long, hard winter.

This was exactly how we felt when it ended…

(Of course I do realise that this post is still possibly a bit premature, especially with the Rayburn being off and everything)


May 28, 2010

Top tip for all forty-somethings out there (hang on, that can’t be right, oh no wait, it is…)

Don’t try and get the full value out of your tennis club day membership by playing morning and afternoon after not having played for a couple of years. Let’s just say, the morning after, our ears don’t hurt. But that’s about the only bits of us that don’t…

Clearly, we’ve lived in Scotland too long.

The Time has Come

May 25, 2010

We’ve been putting this decision off for a while now, even as the weather has been lovely and sunny, and the kitchen has been approaching T** H**. And it makes sense, because we’re going away for a few days, and it’s just sitting there burning oil, and we’re trying to cut down our emissions and everything. And it’s been a long time – ooh, days – since I’ve wanted to sit with my back to it to get warm of an evening. And there’s always an outside chance – if we don’t let it get too gunked up – that we can relight it if we really, really have to. If we have a summer like last year’s, for instance.

But even so, it just feels WRONG to turn off the Rayburn before it turns itself off.  And somehow, even though I’ve said the time has come, and the kettle has whistled for the last time, and we’re going to be heading off soon, we haven’t – yet – actually turned it off.

We will though. I mean, in a minute. Quite soon, anyway. Well soonish.

Maybe I’ll just go and sit with my back to it for a few minutes first, for old times’ sake.

Close Encounters of the Cute and Furry Kind

May 24, 2010

*boing boing*

I was just sitting on our front step in the sun this morning, quietly working…

*boing boing boing*

… when our resident red squirrel came bounding around the corner…

*boing boing*

… and went right past me and into the long grass at the edge of our neighbour’s garden so he was nothing but a golden tail, bouncing along in the sunshine…

*boing boing boing*

…and then he came bounding back …


…right in front of me, all of five feet away, and stopped for a bit of a scratch…


…picked up some of the bread we leave out for the birds and had a nibble with his little ear tufts all a-quiver…


looked me right in the eye and seemed to consider coming closer…

*boing boing boing*

… and then thought better of it and bounded unhurriedly away. Whereupon I was able to start breathing again.

These things never happen when you’ve got your camera, do they?

Busy, Busy

May 23, 2010

I had work to do today, and the endless weeding, not to mention keeping up with the broccoli picking (and blanching and freezing). And there are things to be watered, and things to be planted out, and broad beans to be propped up, and French beans to be encouraged to climb up beanpoles. And slug traps to be filled, and emptied, and the contents fed to the chickens.

But mostly what we have been doing in the garden today is moving the picnic rug so that it continues to occupy just the right combination of sunshine and dappled shade and then sitting on it.

How about you?

Diminishing Returns

May 21, 2010

Fellow compulsive spreadsheeters will be delighted to know that as of this week, last season’s vegetables have finally broken even, after the latest serving of broccoli. The broccoli is still going strong, but it’s getting a bit fractal: each time I cut a stalk, I leave two smaller sprouts on either side to grow up into new stalks, so each individual stalk is getting smaller and smaller, making picking it quite time consuming. Still, it is quite delicious, adjusted for being a vegetable.

Not only that, but the first crop of the 2010 season has just been picked:

Yep, a homeopathic quantity of salad worth all of 23p, according to the supermarket comparison site. Set against £50.01 expenditure so far, but hey, everyone’s got to start somewhere. This also means that we’re eating last season’s and this season’s vegetables at once which, I think, is pretty damn cool.

Also nothing’s died yet*. Although that, surely, is only a matter of time.

*except about 476 slugs.

Summer Begins

May 20, 2010

No, the May is not out yet, clouts are only provisionally being cast, it’s not even particularly warm unless you’re in a sheltered spot and the sun is actually shining, instead of sulking behind a blanket of cloud as it is today. But I was out with my cycling pals and as we finished our lunch and prepared to ride back from Bigtown with our library books we got the first ‘Och, it’s far too hot for a cycle ride the day’ of the season from a kindly passer by

Yes, the whingeing about the heat has already begun. I just wish they’d wait until I’ve at least had a chance to put away my thermals.

They Think it’s All Over…

May 19, 2010

Just when I thought the election was done and dusted, a fat envelope plops through the door inviting me to vote in the election of members of Bigtownshire’s Health Board. Seventy candidates standing for 10 places (and the chance, so the muttering in the pub goes, for £4,000 pa in attendance fees). The ballot paper invites me to put as many as I like in order of preference, and is accompanied by a booklet listing all 70 candidates’ election statement to help me decide. The other half laughed as he saw me going through it this morning. ‘I’m glad to see you’re taking this so seriously,’ he said. ‘Just be thankful you don’t have to elect the local dogcatcher and sheriff as well.’*

Having gone through the various statements, I’m not much the wiser. I’m not really sure what makes for a good Health Board member anyway, so I’ve decided to adopt my normal long listing technique and eliminated everyone who Uses Capital Letters Inappropriately, doesn’t know how to use an apostrophe, can’t spell, claims to have ‘a vast knowledge’ of anything, or that some abstract noun or other ‘is their passion’.   I’m not sure if our health care locally will be any the better for it, but if I get my way, at least the minutes of their meetings will be a joy to any pedant’s eyes. That whittled it down nicely. Maybe elections to the education boards next?

*Actually, if David Cameron’s Big Society gets off the ground, maybe we will – or maybe everything will be run by a self-selecting committee of the only people who actually care about these sorts of things enough to turn up: the Linda Snellification of the country.


May 18, 2010

There will be no blog today, due to quite incredibly clement weather.

You will find me outside, stockpiling vitamin D