Monday, 20 February 2012

It's Official - Drought!

This in the news today:

"The south east of England is now in a state of drought, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has said.

The region joins parts of eastern England which have been drought-afflicted since last summer, with some reservoirs, rivers and groundwater aquifers in the South East well below normal levels after two dry winters.

The state of drought in the region was declared after the Environment Department convened a summit of water companies, farmers and wildlife groups on Monday to discuss potential water shortages in England.

Following the summit, Thames Water warned that there was a high chance of water restrictions such as hosepipe bans this summer unless there is significant rainfall or customers use less water."

You can be assured there will be a hosepipe ban this summer. Good thing I don't intend on doing a big vegetable garden this year. Maybe I'll do a grow bag of tomatoes, because I would hate for a summer to go by without the homegrown variety.

Good thing I don't have to water the jasmine ...

I intend on clearing the left border of dross (sometime soon!) and putting in flowering shrubs - the intention this year is "easy-care".

Hosepipe bans don't mean you can't water your garden - you just can't use a sprinkler, or the hose, but you can fill your watering can for the purpose.

Oh, I look forward to that. Traipsing up and down with a watering can, back and forth from the spout to the plants.


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Do You Know What?

One year ago today, I got the most wonderful, unexpected, out-of-the-blue phone call of my life. And it made me ridiculously happy, and still does to this day, and always will.

It's just a coincidence that it happened to fall on this date in the calendar.

So happy Hallmark-created "day of love" to everyone, which to be honest I've never particularly been a fan of, but hey here's a thought -

Love, flowers and chocolates aren't just for one day of the year. They are for every single day.

Especially love. I feel it every day, and I hope you do, too.

Monday, 13 February 2012

When the cat's away ...

Well actually it's not the cats being away, it's the man. All cat stuff breaks loose.

Ginger of course is in and out every day, and meowing like a big voiced cat that is just ... oh he drives me crazy sometimes. But I love the little guy.

This evening, as I have the night to myself, I discovered Big Brother outside the back door. I let him in of course, it's been about a week since I've seen him, and Ginger left the building to let him share the food.

All well and good. As I walked down the hall and looked into the bedroom, I thought, ah, Ginger is back, and down having a little cat nap.

So I went to give him a pet. Ah no, this was Bro. He did his own meow, and his percolator purr, as I stroked him (I'm told I'm good with my hands). Hey, make yourself at home, okay?

It's been about an hour now, and he shows no sign of moving. We just had a little scratching session and he turned on that purr that could tear down a building.

Between the one who has a meow that could cut glass, and mister purr factory, I've got some cat stuff going on here.

Trouble is, neither one of these really belong to me. Except Ginger I guess, as he insists (daily, and nightly??) that I belong to him.

Ginger cat city in Hither Green.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A Little Pot of Sunshine

Ah, the daffodil.

I love the way, after a few days, this

becomes this.

I was quite surprised to see them in the shops this early, and British grown - perhaps it was before the snow hit, or from a greenhouse. They sell them in bunches for £1.00, and you find yourself carrying armfuls home, and dotting them around the house.

It makes a nice shot of bright yellow into what is usually a dreary month. Not much to be said for February, really (although I have reason to like it!).

Sunday, 5 February 2012


has it's uses. I've been very productive on this snowbound Sunday.

I made a batch of yoghurt - very easy of course since I use Easi-Yo. Bio Manuka Honey, this batch, lovely for breakfast with the right cereal and some berries (Grape Nuts are preferable, but they are hard to find here).

I finally got rid of all the eggshells hanging around, waiting to go out to compost. Which means the containers can out to recycling.

Yes I've been a bit lazy on this, but they are now in the staging post, between my kitchen, and the actual compost bin.

My compost caddy, which sits outside the kitchen door and holds the usual - vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, tea bags, and eggshells. I just didn't feel like traipsing through the snow to dump it up there.

Especially considering my wellies are in the shed, which would mean traipsing through the snow, anyway, to fetch them. Not in the mood.

I made a batch of breadcrumbs from all the crusts lurking in my freezer (I don't like crusts). Useful in many ways, notably in my favourite pork chop recipe which I'm making tonight for dinner (except I use pork loin steaks, easier to make and eat, without the bone). Tear the bread in pieces and pop them in the food processor, then heat the oven to the highest. Spread them on a baking sheet, turn the oven right down, and leave for 10 minutes or so. They keep for ages in the fridge.

Also lurking in the freezer, chicken bones/leftovers/portions. So I made chicken stock, using up as well some of those vegetables in the fridge that are really just about to go useless. (leek, spring onion, bok choi in this instance. Should be good). This will most likely be used in risotto, or just as a cup of warming wonderfulness, especially when you have a cold. An old remedy, but it's true. Can't beat a warming mug of chicken broth.

Which tickled the nose of this little hibernator.

He's hardly left the house since the snow, unusually. Not surprising.

All very virtuous. Time for a glass of wine, methinks.

You can tell I'm bored, can't you? Two blogs in one day.


Well no, not really, I just like that word, only a couple of inches fell. Although, with the way a few inches of snow affects the transport system in this country, you would think it was. At least it snowed over Saturday night, so fingers crossed the Monday Morning Rush Hour won't be too hellacious. Here's hoping, as British Rail has a good 24 hours to sort themselves out.

The view from my kitchen window this morning.

Say what you like, I don't find anything remotely "pretty" about snow. It's white, it's wet and cold, and will very soon turn to slush, or even worse when the temperatures plummet tonight, ice. And I will have to make my way out in it in the morning.

Possibly the only thing going for it is that it is hiding the copious amounts of weeds out there. So much for getting stuff done in the garden to deal with the God-awful mess it has once again become. It was temperate all through January, and up until now. I kept saying to myself, every weekend, "must get out there."

You know, until the last 5 years, I could probably count on one hand the number of times it has snowed in London since I lived here, at that point about 17 years.

Damn you, global warming.