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Coldest Day of The Year

30/1/2020

You can always rely on the British climate for variety. We have gone from mild T-shirt wearing weather, to bitter, damp, cold in the space of 24 hours! It was clear that today was not an outside day, so after cleaning and feeding Pecky, and retrieving another egg from the bag of bedding shredding (is this the new nesting/roosting area?), I retreat inside. We are back at the weekend, so DIY is back on the agenda. Patrick is in the living room puzzling over panels and cupboard construction, ably assisted by Diane. James and Aideen are in her bedroom trying to make some progress before Aideen is sent crazy with frustration…she wants to start painting. Poor Meave has to continue working as she has a deadline to meet and I decide to continue with my quilt, I am now starting on the second patchwork panel. I hear Mary Portas on the radio praising the fact that so many people have become more creative during lockdown with various artistic projects including sewing…well that is certainly true. There are some advantages to being shut away for weeks and months on end with no work…it is an opportunity to have a go at all those things that I’ve wanted to do for years but would never normally have had the time. There is a long list; memory quilt, painting (not just decorating), writing a book, sorting out photos, sorting out all of the hundreds of cards/children’s paintings/programmes into scrapbook/albums, not to mention reading numerous books… I might need to be locked down for a decade!

Another nice by-product of extra time at home is cooking. I’ve always cooked from scratch for the family but I was ‘time limited’ as I worked every evening. It is lovely to be able to take more time and experiment with new things and this doesn’t just apply to me. Aideen keeps making scones and last night, Meave made ‘proper’ Jerk chicken, with her own rice and peas, home-made coleslaw and sweetcorn, this was spicy, but absolutely delicious. For tonight’s dinner, I brought in Brussel sprouts and red cabbage to have with chicken casserole, with carrots, mushrooms and peaches topped with sliced potato.



Plants that bully, plants that nurse!


31/1/2021

Today would have been my mum’s 80th birthday, had she not died so tragically early at just 54. I get dad up and we talk about how impossible it is to imagine mum aged 80, as she was such a youthful person, in looks and character. Quite possibly, mum and dad would still have been living together in Ruislip and she would have been caring for dad, who was 9 years older than her. Instead, dad has lived with us for 17 years and become part of our family unit, it is very strange how things work out.

It is still very cold but I do intend to go outside, at least for a while. My plan is to do some work on the herb garden, as one bed in particular – ‘The Household Medicinal Bed’- has got rather out of hand! The herb garden was planted in 2017 and is a small area of ornamentally arranged brick raised beds intended for more unusual and interesting herbs. The more normal herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme, parsley, chives and bay, grow prolifically throughout the garden. There are 7 beds at different heights, arranged around a central brick path made of tiny hand made bricks, salvaged from the stable/living room floor at the start of t