Thursday, 6 December 2012

Weather Report

Apparently, there was snow somewhere in London yesterday.  North of town, and those airports up there (Stanstead and Luton) had some problems.  As I heard on the news in the morning, getting ready for work.  I saw it was cold out there - and I'm not one to say "cold" easily, coming from Chicago, as I do.

But 20 degrees F is pretty darned cold to me, and that's what my thermometer outside the kitchen window said.  Okay, it's in the shade (not that I get any sun at all in the garden at this time of year), and it was early on in the day, about 8:00 am.  BTW, I don't really do Celsius.  Metrics never really stuck with us Americans.  I have to convert all the time.

Well, even if I didn't see snow in South East London, my train company had a problem.  I get it.  Out of London, our little warmer micro-climate, it is cold enough to snow, and it does.  So my trains were messed up coming up from Kent.  Not that this should have been a revelation to Southeastern Trains, as it was forecast.  *sigh*

Tonight, walking home from the train (which wasn't too messed up) there was some strange precipitation in the air.  Not quite snow.  Ugh, is that ... sleet?  Yuck!

At least, if it continues, I am off work tomorrow so won't have to deal with any possible travel chaos.  I have racked up too much time working weekends during fairs, or just weekends.  I wish I could have added this on to (1) my trip back to Chicagoland in August/September or (2) my upcoming trip to Chicagoland for Christmas.  But no, I had an idea to go back for Thanksgiving, which didn't happen.  I am stuck with a bunch of days to take off - use it or lose it.  It's fabulous, how much time we get off compared to the States, for example.

Oh, in fact, that's the only example.  The rest of the civilised world gives enough time off to it's employees for a well-rounded life, by law.

Tomorrow?  We shall see what I get done, but I don't think there will be much outdoors.

Next week?  Hmmm, depends on the weather ...

Monday, 26 November 2012

What a Mess

It looks awful, doesn't it.

So is my life.

A dear friend won't answer my calls. Makes me very sad.

My husband, bless him, is working all hours and is away every night - has been for the last three weeks, and will be for the next to come.

Oh, and my mother died on the 2nd of July 2012.

Life is just a bit difficult at the moment.

And the garden looks like ...


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

I Can Feel It Coming In The Air Tonight

There is a certain smell, this time of year, that I rather love, even if I don't like winter.  Or coldness. Or snow.  Or all that is associated with a winter.

It smells like snow.  When I say that to my English husband, he laughs.  "How can you smell snow?"  he says.  You can.

It's not that it's going to snow here.  Anytime soon, anyway.  Or even where I come from, just now.  It's just a smell of ... cold.  It's going to get cold eventually, seriously cold in Chicago, and cold-ish here.

I smelt it the other day and the next day, was a cold, crisp one.  Not autumnal cold, but winter cold.  Enough that you'd better get that scarf out, and maybe the gloves.

It makes me nostalgic, somehow.  For what?  Other days, I guess.  Not necessarily my childhood, which was nice and all, but no.  My salad days, I guess you could call them (how appropriate for a gardener).  When I was young and carefree and the day before Thanksgiving meant a night out with two days off, plus the weekend, after.  A night out with friends.  A night "on the tiles", as you might say.

And then the lead up to Christmas.  Parties, kissing under the mistletoe, friends, fun, family.

This time of year always gets me.  In a nice way, of course.  Perhaps this year, just a bit more so than any other year.

For my USA friends, a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Don't shop at Walmart on Black Friday.  But have a great weekend!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Oh, okay then

Here's some more art.  But I promise, after this, it's back to the horror of the garden.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

In all "Fair"ness

I should share with you what I've been up to over the last couple of weeks - back to back, Affordable Art Fair Battersea and Hampstead once again. For the last time.  But it's all so beautiful!  However, if you want to keep the dates in your diary, Battersea is early March next year,  Hampstead is June, and Battersea again in October.

For the time being, I can only share with you what I want.  I WANT. I badly want this exquisite piece of work, just because of the look on the dog's face.

But really, (1) I LOVE dogs (and cats, of course, but I really love dogs).  (2) There is a suitcase involved.  (3) there are seagulls, and a lighthouse.

I love this. I love this piece of perfection.

And ............ not going to happen.  £3000. :-(  Hey ho.  Not even a print of it.  I asked.  Much respect to the artist, however, Jimmy Lawlor, at least he responded to my begging email.  Hey ho.  It lives in my memory.

Sunday, 4 November 2012


Yes, I'm talking about the superstorm, and my love and positive thoughts go out to everyone who was affected by it.

I've been thinking, for the last few weeks, of making a suggestion, and in the aftermath of Sandy it just seems all the more relevant.  It started when I watched this video.

TED talk: David Roberts on Climate Change

Science, climate change in particular, made understandable for the non-scientist.

So I got to thinking, if you have children that you love, this is not a world you want to leave them to deal with.  If you happen to have too much time on your hands, that weighs heavily on you, it seems to me that time could be well spent on trying to make a change and save our planet, for future generations.  After all, we don't want to see a world like Starhawk's The Fifth Sacred Thing, do we?  Perhaps it's not as inconceivable as it first seemed; hydraulic fracturing wrecking safe drinking water making it one of the rarest commodities on the planet; a wealthy, coporate elite controlling the general populace with a standing army on their side.

So I saw this on Facebook today -

With supporting material on how to get involved.

Fundamentally the point is this:

"These fossil fuel corporations are driving the climate crisis and spending millions to block solutions. Instead of buying climate silence, the fossil fuel industry should be funding climate relief.

We’ve set up a page where you can donate to relief efforts, as well as call on Big Oil, Coal and Gas to take the money they’re spending on political campaigning this election and put it towards disaster relief instead.

The fossil fuel industry has spent more than $150 million to influence this year’s election. Last week, Chevron made the single biggest corporate political donation since the Citizens United decision. This industry warps our democracy just as it pollutes our atmosphere. And we’ve had enough."

So he's started the Do The Math Tour, a fantastic way to get involved on one of the most pressing issues facing our future generations' life on this precious planet.

Forget gardening in the future, if the temperature continues to scarily rise.

Get involved, get reading, get organised and get out there.

I wish you luck.  This could be life-changing.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Chop Chop

Or perhaps, buzz buzz.

I had an assignment a few weekends ago - to deal with front, as we were going to get a gate and some trellising installed.  Given that my husband was working on Saturday, and I was working on Sunday, the best day (in bright sunshine, mind) to do the necessary was the Saturday.

As I left the flat at the same time as my neighbour, he commented "Wow, chainsaw and sunglasses.  Nice."

The target, you see, was this.

It's a buddleia (no kidding). And rather an obtrusive, grow-like-a-weed kind.  Believe it or not it was cut back in the Spring.  Yes there are some flowers on it, which smell nice, but as an attractive piece of foliage it's - not.  Besides, on the wall to the right it where we are going to have some trellising installed so, something had to give.

If you remember, when we moved in, I transplanted a palm tree from a pot into the front area here.  Thanks to said buddleia, it has never had a chance to really do it's thing.  So firing up the electric saw (it's not really a chainsaw, not quite) I went to work.

Hmm.  Round One to me, I think.

Sadly I had to lose most of the palm tree, which was leaning on the wall.

But look!  Still some left.  And the wall to the right, free for the necessary.

Here is where we will have a gate.  Nothing fancy, but stops people walking in to our front yard (remember the stolen window box?).

I'll have you know that all of the debris created, is now in the back, but that's another story ...

Sunday, 14 October 2012

There were three.

And then there were four ...

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

New furry friends!

Well, perhaps more spiky than furry.

The hedgehogs are back!  That's right, plural.

You see, whilst I was away, well, my husband has something of a love-hate relationship with the cat.  Ginger's meow does certainly pack a punch.

So, he would fill up the cat's bowl (two sided - one for moist food, one for dry) and then put it (and the cat) outside.  On a daily basis.  So naturally,

our new little friends discovered this.  And they liked it.  Oh my, do they like it.  Crunch, crunch, crunch.

As you can see thankfully Ginger (the cat who brings me dead mice and birds) wants nothing to do with them.  Smart kitty.

So in the end, I gave them their own bowl.

Sometimes they eat in ones, sometimes in twos.

But wait.  Are there three??  I hadn't noticed the potential third one until a friend commented when I posted it on Facebook.  But sure enough, it DOES look like there might be a third.  The one in front, big guy, the one on the left, littler, and then one in the back??

Tell me what you think from this slightly blurrier shot.

Sure looks like three.  I don't know.  I try not to get to close as I don't want to disturb them too much.  It's bad enough me playing garden paparazzi with the flash, although it doesn't send them scurrying.

No, they love that food too much!

Sometimes they just have to get in the bowl with it.

So as not to run out (not that Ginger much likes it) I invested in a bigger bag.

Night after night, crunch, crunch, crunch!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Garden Revisited

I had a chance to visit my family, and check the progress of the little garden I planted in April over there, if you remember.

Everything did well except the plant in the upper corner, closest to the house.  I can't remember what it was now.  I've replaced it with a red Verbena which I hope takes.  But I am pleased with the progress overall.

I especially love this, spreading nicely.  My mother picked this out, and it was a good call.

These are all shade loving plants, as they need to be because they only get the morning sun in the summer.

And what a summer!  It was a hot time in Chicago, I tell you. Very nice.

The other best thing was the discovery of an outside tap!  My brother-in-law discovered that one, around the corner.  It appears to belong to this garden, because the woman next door has her own hose attached elsewhere.  So of course I bought a length of hose to attach to it.

Good thing, especially as there was quite a drought going on this year.

Finally, for good measure, I added this

Which lights up at night, and changes colour.  And then a few bulbs, which will come up in the Spring, for good measure.

Very pleased!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Friday, 10 August 2012

It's Better

My poor abused lawn mower made it through once again.  This was almost two weeks ago, and guess what - I'll need to cut it again this weekend.  At least it's not going to be a complete nightmare.

You may have noticed at the back that there is a bag of compost with three tomato plants in it

which I managed to salvage from the overgrown weedfest that is the right, formerly vegetable border.

Three tomato plants were put in there, I can't even remember when, as a sort of temporary stopgap before I figured out which pots to seperate them into.  It never happened.  This is, of course, not ideal to have three plants in one pot.  I trimmed them and tied them up as best I could, but I'm not holding out a lot of hope.  There is some fruit forming.  I am also nurturing them with this

fantastic stuff (fingers crossed) - no mixing in a watering can and then schlepping said watering can over to the tomatoes up at the back.  Life (certainly time) saver!  Found it at Poundland (Pound Stretcher?  The Pound Shop?  No, I think it was Poundland).

Time will tell.  The best thing I did out there was this:

marguerites for Marguerite.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

It's Bad

It's very, very bad out there.  Prepare yourself.

Never say never, huh?  Didn't I say I wouldn't let the grass get this bad again?  Huh.  A combination of weather and a horrible event in my life has left me with this to repair.

Let's get a closer look.

Not pretty.

Wish me luck.