Reflecting on my week #98

I don’t think I’ve had so much time away from my blog for quite a while, if ever. But that time away isn’t because I’ve fallen out of love with it, but more because when things are full on something has to give, and that thing has been this space. Which thinking about it objectively like that, I’m not so happy about.

Today I’ve had a day out of the office at a conference for work, and it has been the best thing. Yes, work is busy, and a day out now could be classed as indulgent, but it’s also amazing for the perspective it brings. All round. I left Victoria today feeling more inspired than I have done for a while, still with a list of things I want to achieve as long as my arm, but with renewed determination to tackle the important things.

That includes making time again for this space. Making time for proper meals. And making time to do things that bring joy - and incase you think that’s related to a big tidy up, it isn’t, but it is about spending time together when we can both get off the treadmill of work-sleep-repeat.

MOH’s had it worse than me though, his hours have been crazy. When there’s seventeen hours overtime done in a single day, yes seriously, it’s all a bit wrong. It’s amazing what clarity there is when you have time, and headspace. And views like this from Platform 2 at Victoria earlier on.

view from platform 2

No doubt tomorrow I’ll be back on the grindstone and my resolve will be challenged, probably more than once. But there is only so much you can do, isn’t there?

So what else has been going on? There’s been gin. Well more precisely gin liqueur tasting. MOH headed off to Shoreditch on a Monday night and drank some gin. And very civilised - and tasty - it was too. I’ll share more another day though.

There’s been cake too. We wandered into the Farmers' Market in the Village last weekend for cake, it’s the rules when at Farmers’ Markets. And we left with two weird and wonderful creations. Mine was green, totally vegan, sugar free and as tasty as it was unusual looking. MOH opted for something slightly more traditional, but equally as gooey and between us we demolished the two - we had to share each one (another rule) and in keeping with my digital hiatus, there’s no photos.

Sunday afternoon was spent on the sun loungers in the garden, and after a long Saturday, it was needed to recover. Wasn’t the weather nice, and wasn’t it nice to be able to just sit out in the garden again? Looking ahead to this week, we’re already planning to head out to lunch on Sunday after England’s first game in the Rugby World Cup, though I noticed today as I came past our planned restaurant of choice it’s closed for a refurb, let’s hope they’re quick and open again by the weekend, or that could backfire, somewhat.

Making three ingredient scones

I am rather partial to a scone. Whether it’s plain, fruit or cheese. With afternoon tea, or with soup (the cheese ones obviously). If you’re a cream then jam, or a jam then cream kind of person, I don’t mind.

I read a recipe recently, in the Sunday papers, about a three ingredient cookbook. It clearly stuck with me - one of the recipes was for scones - and I developed a scone craving. So while MOH cut the grass I gave it a go.

Can three ingredient scones, really work? The answer is kind of. Probably not for scone aficionados, but I think they’d be good for a scone craving, a bit of a science lesson or if you ever had the need for impromptu scones.

3 INGREDIENTS: LEMONADE, DOUBLE CREAM AND SELF-RAISING FLOUR

3 INGREDIENTS: LEMONADE, DOUBLE CREAM AND SELF-RAISING FLOUR

Yes, that’s right lemonade and cream and flour. And it works, weirdly. It fizzes too, hence the science lesson comment before. The recipe called for the flour to be sifted. Usually I wouldn’t bother, but given it was already a cheat recipe, I did. And quickly remembered why I usually don’t.

the downsides of sifting flour

I do bake, but with more of a rustic style. Usually I can manage scones though. This time the mixture was quite claggy and my cutter was struggling, so they weren’t all quite as scone-like as perhaps they should be.

scones ready for the oven

They taste ok though, with not unexpectedly, a hint of lemon.

The most scone looking scone

Some looked like scones (see above), but others just looked as if they had a comb-over.

the scone with a comb over

They taste like scones though. And one added to our lunch, means there’s less chance I’ll be hunting down some chocolate.

What do you think? Would you try them?

PoCoLo

My garden in August

August has been a mixed month weather wise, hasn’t it? Warm days and very warm days, and days when it felt like summer had left completely, and then coming back warmer than ever. The very warm weather isn’t for me, that is, it isn’t for me when I have to function normally, which at home I do. Give me a beach and hot weather, and it’s a different matter. That’s also a different post, so let’s get back to the garden.

August was the month that finally the agapanthus really bloomed. They’ve been every-presents throughout the month, and even survived the strong winds. It’s definitely the month that they’re at their best, they’re also right by the conservatory window so we get to see them every day too. The second smaller pot, never managed any flowers, so I’ll need to rearrange the pots so they get the conditions they need to thrive. With plants, there’s no point trying to grow them where they’re not happy, as they just won’t and you’ll only be disappointed. We’ve had some success in previous years where they are now, but I don’t think a wet winter helped.

agapanthus in flower

My garden accessory of the month has had to be twine. I’ve finally finished this ball - the last throes of the ball seemed to last forever. The fence and trellis on the patio has been the main recipient of most of the twine, which I’ve used to rearrange the overgrown climbing plants which I’d saved after quite a bit of thinning. I think we’ve gained about three foot of garden at trellis level, so the garden has a much more open feel to it.

twine - my garden accessory of the month

At the back of the garden, in my new pots the lettuce has reached and grown through the chicken wire, no doubt helped by the rain. It’s also kept us fed and avoiding those plastic bags of salad. It’s still going strong, and I’m hoping while the weather lasts, so will the salad.

lettuce under chicken wire

Here’s the work in progress, and where the twine has ended up. It now looks a lot more tidy, and the plants are already filling the trellis again providing privacy once more. There’s good news too in that the honeysuckle has survived, and I think it will benefit from a bit more space. All of this enforced tidying and pruning was as a result of some overzealous ivy removal from our next door neighbour. They cut the ivy so it died, but then just left it there looking ghastly and brown, so with some help from my side of the fence it was released to the floor, and subsequently the green bin.

tidying and tying up plants on the fence

Time for another agapanthus picture. Enjoy.

plenty of agapanthus photos this month

In the sleeper bed the Lords and Ladies have thrown up their hand grenade ‘flowers’ which have started to turn orange throughout the month. I’m not sure they’re coping so well with this latest bout of warm weather, or if they’ve just got top heavy and given up.

Lords and Ladies turning orange

The everlasting sweet peas on the patio have been enjoying the early evening sun and golden light of the evenings, just as much as me.

sweet peas in the sun

This month we’ve been reminded again of the wildlife in our garden. The foxes have been noisy, and while out investigating one evening we almost tripped over this toad. He went into survival mode, and stayed dead still. I thought I’d trodden on him, so was feeling a bit guilty. However after a poke with my flip flop (sans foot) the poor thing acted like one of those frogs from the board game of old. It was still alive, but then I soon felt guilty again as it seemed to fly head first into the base of our parasol. Whoops. After that I left him to his own devices, I’m sure he was grateful.

a night visitor in the garden

There’s also been time for some annual maintenance, the yew had it’s yearly shape and trim. This year I mostly directed MOH, until it got too painful and the shape we’d been growing towards looked in jeopardy. Our hedge trimmer though is heavy, so it makes sense to split the trimming between us, and let’s be honest who doesn’t like a bit of power tool action?

reshaping the yew

As well as the lettuce, the courgette has started to flower. No vegetables yet, but I’m ever hopeful. The seeds were planted quite late so I’m not too upset with no yield yet, I suspect we might not be in glut territory with this plant, but that’s ok too.

flowers on my courgette plant

Look, all of our hand grenades are orange, but as you can see the largest had already collapsed.

fully ripened Lords and Ladies

And finally we have beans, in pots. The runner beans failed to germinate at all, but we still have some dwarf beans - although they seem to have taken a shine to climbing up the pea sticks, which is a little odd.

beans in pots

So despite the weather, the garden has done really well. The tomatoes are taking forever to ripen, but I think I know why. Our trees are at the tallest they grow to, so there’s less sun coming into the garden, and onto the greenhouse, so getting those cut will be on our list before the growing season starts next year.

How’s your garden coped this past month?