Reflecting on my week #90

I missed this post last week as I was on a bit of a mission. Back at the start of the year I’d bought some photo credits to create yearbooks so we have our memories in print, and not just digitally. Of course we have them in our memories, but the thing with memories is they get all jumbled up and remembering which was in which year is getting even harder than it was before. It was such a good deal that I thought I’d catch up with myself - yes I’m behind where I’ve planned in all areas of my life, but I’m coming to terms with that, slowly - and pledged to do three at once. You get so long to make your creations, and you can extend the credits, but only for so long as I recently discovered.

Despite being a planner with good intentions, I’m also one of life’s last minute kind of girls, so I found myself with two photo books to create, or lose out on that very good deal. Which didn’t seem like such a good deal at all, put that way. So I finished the editing of my 2018 photos, and got the photo book organised and ordered, which left 2016 to sort out (I’d sorted out 2017 already, months ago - I can do it, if I try!). The only thing was that there were many, many 2016 photos that needed editing, and with it being so long ago (relatively), it’s harder to remember what went on, and what we enjoyed.

Looking at the photos though, the memories came flooding back - so proof in point that the photo books are a good thing, as I rarely look back over my digital photos - but of course, with the memories back we reminisced and that took more time than I had. With the deadline looming, it was clear I wasn’t going to do the year justice, so I needed another plan. That plan was to go back to some earlier holidays, and create a photo book of those trips instead. And just ahead of the deadline, I made it, and made use of the credit that had the clock ticking. I’ve still 2016 to do at some point, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next good deal, and no doubt I’ll be in exactly the same position up against the deadline next time too.

But anyway, it is done for now, and so my blogging time is also back, and I’ll do my best to get you up to date. I can’t promise it’ll be in chronological order though. On Saturday we were in town celebrating MOH’s birthday. He was keen to get into Padella at Borough Market, which operates a walk in policy. We’d tried before when we were hungry, and the two and a half hour wait was unpalatable, so this time we planned our strategy. After putting our name down we had a bit of a wander, found this painted heart wall and then found somewhere for a G&T and a Pimms until our table was ready.

hearts at Borough Market

It’s a pretty, and pretty Instagrammable, wall isn’t it?

The food at Padella was great. The portions were smaller than I expected though so we ended up with three pasta dishes between us. If you go I’d recommend taking your own wine and paying the corkage fee, the Primitivo was perfectly drinkable but at £18 for a 500ml, on the steep side. You can tell by the state of our plates, how good the food was.

clean plates at Padella in Borough Market

Back in the garden, and the previous week, we’d encountered the Very Hot Day. It was a day I’d earmarked some time for photo book creation, but with temperatures in the mid thirties, having a laptop anywhere near me was the last thing I needed. I like the heat, but in moderation. I find it hard to operate normally at extremes of temperatures, especially warmth. My head felt full of fluff and fuzz, and so the best thing to do was to decamp to the sunbeds in the garden. Unusually, even MOH managed to sit still for most of the afternoon, and it was really good for the pair of us to do that.

We spent the day looking for the shade in our garden, moving the sun beds to the right spot. The Sunday was cooler and so we braved the sun for a bit, finding ourselves in the middle of our Mock Orange snow. Fragrant, but quite messy.

mock orange snow

With the more moderate temperatures and enough sitting around for one weekend, we were both itching to get on a do something. For MOH this was bike-related, and for me it involved getting my hands into some seed compost for the first time in a while. I took advantage of the warm and humid weather and set about sowing some parsley, which I usually have mixed results with. My thinking was it likes the heat and that could be in my favour. As it turns out I was right and today I’ve noticed that it’s starting to germinate. The lettuce though, is way ahead of the parsley.

lettuce seedlings

In the last weekly post I shared a bowl of cherries and grand plans to make a gin and cherry trifle. That didn’t quite work out as planned, as once I started to make the cherry compote I noticed some white wiggly things escaping from the cherries, and so the whole lot was binned. Thankfully it was at the stage before the gin was added, but extra meat in your trifle isn’t right, is it?

We did get a delivery of gin though - how fab is that? It came with plenty of accessories: tonic water, ginger beer, dried grapefruit slices, snacks - savoury and sweet, and a gin magazine with ideas for how to make gin cocktails. It’s a monthly thing, and our first month. Although a bottle of gin a month is quite a lot, but I’m interested to see how this goes.

Craft Gin Club - July's gin Theodore Pictish Gin

Friday night became gin night, and this Theodore Pictish Gin was very well received, and was a good warm up to the weekend just gone. As well as eating at Padella on Saturday, we were off out for lunch on Sunday, like you do. Sunday roasts all round at the Curious Pig in the Parlour, I rather undiplomatically opted for roast pork, but think I got away with it. The decor was great though, and the tiles in the loos will feature in an interior inspiration and Loo Series post soon.

interiors at the curious pig in the parlor
agapanthus unfurled

Our agapanthus flowers are making great progress with the warmer weather, and by the end of the weekend they were mostly breaking free of their casing, so it won’t be long I hope before we’re enjoying their flowers.

Reflecting on my week #89

Thankfully the weather has improved since last week, though I’m still carrying my umbrella in my handbag just in case. There’s thunderstorms threatened and some more rain, but somehow in London we’ve got to that stage where a thunderstorm to clear the air would be welcomed, as it’s already got to the “too hot” stage for some. I could do with less muggy-ness, but I’m pleased it’s warming up.

There’s been a sudden burst of fruit activity in our garden and we’re regularly picking - and eating - handfuls of strawberries. I love it when plants just carry on producing when left to their own devices, it’s the best type of home grown veg. Short on effort, but long on flavour.

Strawberries from our garden

It’s been a funny week in Greenwich. There’s been a couple of big events at the Old Royal Naval College, where a tremendous amount of fantastic flowers have been brought in to make a stunning place look even better. Then on Friday some cattle arrived and took up residency in a large gilt picture frame as part of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival.

cows at the old royal naval college

They were hefty old cattle and while I was keen to have a peek I stayed firmly on the outside of the picture frame and did my best not to make eye contact. There was an electric fence, but let’s face it this city girl wasn’t going to put that to the test. It was quite an attraction though, and without the cattle I’d have happily tried the picture frame seat for size.

On Sunday we realised why people have those collapsible fold-up chairs for picnics and such like. We headed over to Greenwich Park for one of the first Bandstand concerts of the year. Sunday wasn’t as nice as Saturday, but armed with a picnic blanket and an impromptu picnic which mostly contained cheese, which was perfectly fine by me. It’s been a few years since we’ve been to a concert in the park, and in those years it seems the ground has got a lot harder, and a lot more uncomfortable!

The bandstand concerts in Greenwich Park
cheese - an impromptu picnic

There’s plenty more bandstand concerts to come throughout the summer, and we’re hoping to go along to more where we can. Each weekend there’s a different ‘flavour’ to the music, this week was country. The one I’m hoping to get along to sounds as if it might be more Cuban, with a band name of Here to Havana, i think there’s a fair chance, don’t you?

The other thing we’ve been picking from the garden over the past week, while enjoying the heady jasmine smells, is cherries. We’ve bowlfuls of them - the pigeons have stripped the top of the tree, but seem reluctant so far to strip the tree bare. So we’re making the most of it, and of my photo editing software as you’ll see below.

editing fun with just one of the bowl of cherries we've picked

I’d been wondering how we could use them, as while some are sweet enough to eat as they are, I prefer them cooked. Today, while having a bit of a browse of the Craft Gin Club site I spotted a recipe for a boozy gin and cherry trifle. Yes, i know, I wasn’t really looking for this, but once I’d found it I knew it would be useful. While we could make our own swiss roll and custard, I’ve opted for some specially made for us by Marks & Sparks, so we can concentrate on the main event, i’ll let you know how we get on!


Reflecting on my week #88

Well that was quite a week. And quite a wet week at that. I half-joked about the drop in temperatures from the much balmier days in Lisbon, but it wasn’t any fun persevering with your summer clothes - and footwear - and getting wet every day. Eventually even I had to cave and wear proper shoes again.

Usually when I get back from holiday I can’t wait to get out into the garden and see how the garden has fared, but this time it took a couple of days for there to be a sufficient break in the rain. I realised that my tomato plants would most likely be swimming in the trug I’d left them in by now. So there was nothing else for it, the tomatoes needed rescuing. However when I got out there, it was clear that these cowering peonies also needed some help.

peonies cowering in the rain

And I’m sure you will have seen the rescued peonies either here on Friday or on my social channels. It’s only today that they’ve drooped and are once again looking sorry for themselves again, so their next stop will be our compost heap where the whole cycle will begin again. And while I was out there, I couldn’t help but have a longer nose around. The tomatoes were also rescued and returned to the greenhouse, where they’ve since been planted and will need feeding as it looks as if there’s tiny fruits appearing. I’ve only got two tomato plants this year - which is far from my usual tomato farm, but that’s probably representative of our garden endeavours so far this year too.

But look at the cherries. The pigeons have saved us some! Well for now at least.

Cherries glistening in the rain

Over the weekend the weather improved and I’m sure the sun has helped them ripen even more. It’s also made them appear even more attractive to our local bird population and now I’m sure even more have been pecked. Today MOH could wait no longer and he picked a tupperware tub to bring inside so that we at least get to eat some. Our garden has become very popular with all sorts of birds, so I think it’s a wise move.

It wasn’t all good garden news though, we did arrive home to this.



In fact it’s looking rather dead, rather than not healthy. It’s right on the patio too so wasn’t a great sight. I can only assume that it’s been snipped on the other side of our fence by our newest neighbour, who does seem rather keen on having things just so. I was all for having A Talk with the neighbour, but they weren’t in. I know neighbours can cut back overhanging branches, but they don’t have the rights to kill plants.

As the weather was nice - it was much nicer on Sunday - out came the ladder for a much closer look. And it was worse when I got up the ladder, as there was further deadness, as I looked. It’s quite dense in here, and is a mix of honeysuckle and the small pink flowered plant I shared here a while back. And it did need a trim, but even so, this was more drastic than I had in mind. And just so you know, if a garden is deemed to be overgrown or unkempt (and ours certainly isn’t) that doesn’t give neighbours any more legal rights to take things into their own hands.

up the ladder and starting to tackle the brown bits

I’m still all for having A Talk with our newest neighbour, as I don’t want our other plants along this boundary to suffer in the same way. Having looked at this from up the ladder, it’s possible that it was snipped in error - but it’s still quite a lot of dead plant to do by mistake. There is a lot of ivy on their side of the fence, which I know they’ve been trying to remove, sadly I know that as the fence is in places showing the wear and tear of their efforts, which I’m also not happy about and is also another reason why I still want to have A Talk.

As I tried to untangle live growth from slightly crispier growth it was clear that I could rescue a fair amount of what was there, and give the rest of it quite a severe trim. It has given us some extra space on our patio, and has made me cut further back than I usually would, but even so, I’m still not impressed. I’ve a new plan to grow more of the plants lower down the fence, but allow it to grow up again to cover the trellis and retain our privacy.

rescuing what I can
temporarily tied into place

But after a full day’s gardening yesterday, that will have to wait as there’s still some severe pruning that needs to happen. As the weather is due to turn (again) the parts I’ve rescued have temporarily been tied back in place, as I’m sure in the wind they’d really look quite wild.

And I still think I’ll be having That Talk. Would you?