Monday, 29 November 2010

Too Cool For Cats

Even for poor Wendel who's usually up for a frolic in the shrubbery!
Well, winter's finally here with a vengeance and all the sensible people (and animals) are all safely tucked up in-doors with their feet up and a nice hot cuppa. I, on the other hand am wearing 3 layers of merino and still plugging away as, although December is almost upon us, I'm still fortunate enough to have work. Wendel's owner is still happy for me to come in and clear the overgrown sections of garden and it really doesn't matter what time of year you weed, so it's all good for me.
I'm currently working my way along the right hand side of the garden and today involved removing lots of self-seeded Sorrell and dead ivy, which actually belongs to next door. In the process I discovered 2 bags of frozen bark chips, a lovely little wooden barrel and a Honeysuckle! I'll be going back in a couple of weeks for my final visit of the year - mind you, the snow's due tomorrow so this is dependent on whether or not we're snowed in.
Roll on Christmas - yay!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Frozen Vegetables!

Spent today on a chilly allotment as part of a tree felling co-operative between us (plot 1) and Bronwen & Gwill on plot 7. The council had been around at the beginning of the year and marked, with an attractive yellow dot, the trees that they were willing to loose in order for plot holders to gain some much needed light so the felling began. Between us 3 trees sadly hit the dust, but as with all allotments the wood and branches have been allocated for use either on wood burning fires (Dina, plot 3), as fencing, gate posts and all manner of weird and wonderful constructions.
I'm constantly taking inspiration from my fellow plot holders and never cease to be amazed at their inventiveness and, in the case of the recent scarecrow competition, their craziness! I now have lots of ideas that I want to put in place but most of them will have to wait until the weather eases as the clay soil is totally impregnable at the moment.
We did intend to start digging the path - we've manfully drunk our way through our wine collection in an attempt to produce enough bottles to edge the path and hold the membrane down, but as you can see from the photos the frost stayed with us all day making it impossible to dig as B found out when she tried to wedge a fork into the ground. Now that everything's died back there's a real melancholic, autumnal feel to the place - I love it! You can just see our rather sad rasberry bushes and the willow supports for our broad beans (bent double and frozen stiff in the bed closest to the rasberries), which I hope will survive the winter - eek.
B will hopefully be extending her willow fence along the whole length of ours and the adjoining plot so that we can finally get rid of those horrid sheets of rusty corrugated iron.
Here's to Spring!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Mad Hatters Wedding?

Having now spoken to the 'Bride to Be' (BTB) regarding the theme for the decorations I am now firmly on the hunt for design ideas for the table settings. A mutual friend has given BTB some gorgeous place card holders in the shape of tiny, white topiary balls, which is perfect as that's the theme she had in mind all along - who knew? Fate does work in mysterious ways.
The attached photo is an advertisement from milliner Bridget Bailey of BaileyTomlin and the tea cup on the left is my inspiration for the most perfect centre pieces! It's a great combination of Aussie verve and English style of BTB and her UH (ultimate hero) and the bonus is she loves the idea - yay!
I won't be able to get a squint at the venue until next March, so am not sure what else I can come up with just yet - will keep you posted (once it's passed BTB's approval that is).

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Branching Out

My terribly glamorous PR friend, Katie, is marrying her Ultimate Hero in April 2011 and I've been asked to come up with some design ideas for the reception, which is all very exciting/flattering/scary/insane. So yesterday and with flowers in mind, I attended a course at the Judith Blacklock School of Floristy to hone my flower arranging skills.
Judith (who's an absolute star) runs the only accredited floristy school in London and her teaching style is relaxed and uncomplicated, breaking down each design and technique into simple, easy to follow steps. In one afternoon I managed to make the attached wedding/church arrangements (traditional, beautiful, but definitely not our Katie) and became the perfect dinner guest this evening by presenting two of them to my hostess and the bride to be.
Our delicious pie and mashed potato dinner was washed down with cava, followed by ice cream and tight waistbands, all overlaid with friendship and chat - the perfect evening. Even the Ultimate Hero (the only male at the feast) seemed to have a grand old time.
Anyway, now I've got an idea of what the bride (and groom of course!) are after it's away to ponder all things PR wedding - T.T.F.N. daahhhling!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

I Was Lovely Once You Know

OK, I am about to have a little rant, so if you're not not in the mood to listen to me moan, please don't read any more.
I work for a local estate agent, going in to rented accommodation to maintain or clear gardens on behalf of the tenants and landlords, which whilst providing a good source of income, in this instance has teed me off completely! The tenant asked the landlord to clear the garden, which is fair enough considering the state it was in, but when I got there she was quite insistent that I chop everything down or take it out which is wrong on several levels.
1. Why rent a flat with a garden if you're not interested?
2. It's the wrong time of year to prune most things (which you'd know if you liked plants - duh!).
3. It's not actually your garden, is it?!
Sorry, I just get very frustrated when I salvage what was once a well loved and attractive garden under the weeds and know, with sinking heart, that it's all in vain and will it'll be back the way I found it in a matter of weeks.
Anyhoo, I left a list of appropriate weed killers for the patio/paths and grass with strict instructions not to use them on the raised beds. Not sure what the chances are for this garden, but I am, if nothing else, an optimistic soul!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Hello Sailor!

You may remember (and if you don't, why?) that in the summer I signed up as a volunteer for the Imperial War Museum and was put on the waiting list. Well, the good news is I now have post on board HMS Belfast one day a week as part of their visitor interaction team. This involves encouraging visitors to use some of the equipment and items on board to enhance their learning/enjoyment, and is great as I get to work with members of the public all day.
I've also leaned quite a few things in the process myself:
1. never call it a boat, or in my case utter the damning phrase 'driving the boat'. V bad!
2. port is left/starboard is right.
3. The bow is the pointy bit at the front and;
4. the stern is the slightly less pointy bit at the back.
5. you enter on the quarterdeck.
6. the difference between the Admiral's deck and the Captain's and their respective roles on board ship.
7. that I am totally useless on a walky talky radio - I sound like someone's maiden aunt and don't use the correct language at all.
8. that I am never gonna be able to go down those stair ladders front-ways!
I work on Thursdays and share the day with another volunteer called Ernie who's an absolute star and very enthusiastic about all things IWM. He does an additional day at the Museum in Lambeth taking pictures of all the firearms for the catalogue and is also very knowledge about steam strains.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Where The Bloggin' Hell Have You Been?

You may have noticed (or not depending on how much other stuff you've got going on at your end) an absence of blogging on my part of late. This is due to the fortunate fact that I've been really busy with the old diggin' 'n' hoein' - to the point of aching elbows, sore hands and being good for nothing unless it involves imbibing a glass of wine and then falling asleep in front of the telly. Not that I'm complaining mind you, the extended summer has seen an increase in work at a time when most people start to re-prioritise their gardens, so I count myself lucky indeed.
This frenzy of autumn activity means, however, that I've been a bit lax with the old photos and updates - apologies. I was gonna try and catch up with myself but realised it was an impossible task in regard to both the blog and life in general and starting from here on in seems the best option - so watch this space!!!