Reflecting on my week #24

Well that was quite a week of weather wasn't it?  But before we get onto that I've got a new book, and it's one I'm keen to get my nose into. While digging can be therapeutic, especially on the plot, when you're doing it over and over again and don't appear to be making any progress, it can get demoralising. 

Last year we saw a throwback episode of Gardeners World where Monty showed how ahead of his time Geoff Hamilton was, and we were both intrigued. We decided to have a bit of a go on the plot, but it wasn't as successful as we hoped. The weeds came back, and I suspect they're just waiting to spring back into action again. So when I saw this book pop up in my feed I thought it was well worth a shot and well, reading up on this approach will satisfy my inner geek need to know everything about everything, and then I can put the theory into practice.

A new book which sounds right up my street

I suspect that what let us down before was not putting a barrier down, although in theory we shouldn't have needed too. But again in theory, our plot should be so full of weeds either, but it is. I need to read the book though - in fact, I need to find some time to read the book.  

I'm already collecting cardboard, but that's in preparation for the conservatory work starting in April to protect our wooden floors and stairs from builder's boots.  I've a feeling that collecting cardboard might become a bit of an obsession this year!  

But it's too cold to dig now isn't it?  Or even no dig.  I should have got my broad beans in by now, I know - but I'm not sure if I was a broad bean, or any other kind of seed, I'd be tempted to do anything like germinate. 

The snow that was forecast, and the snow I was hoping wouldn't arrive, did arrive and pretty much the whole week was dominated by the weather. My day job is in comms so it also took up a fair bit of time to keep everyone updated, and you'll not be surprised to know that I have just as much to do as I do at home, and there's always something to keep me occupied.

On Tuesday - which was the first day of the snow here - I was, as usual, running later than I wanted to be. Luckily the powdery snow was better to walk on that the slippy, slidey stuff later that day, but boy did my legs feel it for the rest of the week. I don't expect I'll learn my lesson about leaving it until the last minute, but it's weeks like last week that I wished I would.

A tree in the snow in Greenwich Park

In my haste I didn't get to stop and take any pictures, but I did the next morning. The picture above is in Greenwich Park looking up towards the Observatory.  It's a view I see most days, but one that looks completely different in the snow.  I think this snow was different to normal too, the trees in our garden reminded me of the pretty, snow laden trees I saw in Germany last year.

It was nice to see close to home, but thank you, we've done that now, so that's enough!  Thankfully once the snow was done it disappeared pretty quickly and there was none of that slushy stuff that hangs around for ages to deal with.  Today has been balmy by comparison, and it was almost as if March had remembered the type of weather it should be bringing, let's hope it carries on remembering.

It was good to leave work a bit earlier on Friday, and I used the time wisely stopping off at the shops on the way home to ensure that I didn't actually need to go out for the weekend, and I was quite happy not to.  MOH on the other hand was itching to get out by Sunday with quite a severe case of cabin fever, so off he went on his bike, while I settled in with my Spring colours crochet blanket.

Progress on my Spring crochet blanket

I've made good progress since I last shared a picture and I'm starting to connect sections of the blanket to each other. It's grown too as each square has a neutral edging row added to it before the granny stitch joining row.  As you can see I decided to join the squares using the scrap, multi-coloured approach and I think it'll look great.

I'm keen to get these edged and joined before I need to move them off the spare bed. I know I could photograph them for positioning but leaving them in place seems much easier - and it's a good place to escape to as well.  A couple of times this weekend MOH poked his head around the door checking I was still alive and providing drinks ranging from cups of tea to gin and tonics - he's very well trained, and very good to me.

I've also managed to book our next trip away, we're heading to Devon to see family later this month. This time we're heading there via Bridgwater, which is a bit of a detour, but it means I can sneak in a visit to the Walled Gardens of Cannington and to Hestercombe Gardens. I've not been to the former before, but it looks great - and has a tea room - so I'm looking forward to that. I have been to Hestercombe before, we stopped there on a previous trip, but arrived later than we hoped so didn't make it past the Stables cafe. There's a theme developing here isn't there?!

I'm also trying to wangle a visit to RHS Rosemoor while we're in Devon. Although it's about an hour and twenty minutes from where we'll be, it'll be much closer from there than from home [insert pleading face]

I've another relatively quiet week ahead, but I am hoping to get along to a work movie night supporting International Women's Day, and get some more of that croche joined together - what are you up to this week?


In my garden: What a difference a day makes

With worsening weather forecast and expecting to have little free time on Sunday, there was only one thing for it and that was to briefly get out into the garden on Saturday in an attempt to get it as winter-ready as we could, in about thirty minutes flat.  Our main priority was covering the pizza oven and the logs, as with frosts and worse on the way we didn't want to risk it cracking, and well damp logs are no good to anyone are they?

The tarpaulin's arrived a couple of weeks ago and the two smaller ones, measuring 2m x 3m were earmarked for the back garden. To give the pizza oven some added protection and old fleecy throw that we used on an old sofa was repurposed as a middle layer in the tarpaulin sandwich. Tied on and weighted down with bricks, our work was almost complete.

Covering up the pizza oven
One pizza oven tarpaulin-ed

The log store was artfully draped with a folded tarpaulin and secured with random bricks, blocks and slabs. In fact these are less random than they would be before the skip, when MOH encouraged me to throw the very random assortment of garden weights into it. But of course, he was the first one to say, have we got any stones to weigh this down...  I did, oh so well, not to say we did have, before the skip...

the logs were covered up too

I think he's starting to realise the benefits of having some garden detritus!  So with our tarpaulins secured much more quickly than we expected, as I was out in the garden then I thought I'd have a poke around.

I moved the trugs into an already full greenhouse - and even from this picture I think it's clear I'm a fan of colour, don't you?!

trugs piled up in the greenhouse

I told you it was full, didn't I?

And the greenhouse floor is pretty full too

I spotted some chillies though and clambered through to harvest them. Definitely worth it, but will these be the last of the year?

The last few chillies were picked this weekend

Elsewhere in the garden there was some true winter colour, and I spotted our first hellebores, shy as they are.

our first hellebore of the winter

The primroses, although a bit nibbled, continue to flower. I'm expecting them to be flowering a while yet and it's great to spot their cheery colours as you walk down the garden.

yellow primroses in flower again

Heading back to the house I spotted a lone fuschia in one of the larger bushes it's been climbing up, it's only a small flower, but it really stood out.

a lone fuschia

The fatsia is looking as glorious as ever, at this time of year, and I think it's providing a good food source for the birds in the garden.

looking up to at the fatsia

There's still plenty of leaves to collect, and one of our concrete hares has an almost slightly guilty look, don't you think?

our concrete hare sheltering under the camelia

I thought it'd be useful to check out my favourite corner, and I think it'll be fun to collect a series of photos with me standing in the same place.  Mostly these photos have been in flip flops, but not today. Socks and wellies all the way, and I didn't even know what was coming the following day, at that point.

A familiar shot in my favourite corner - clad in wellies this time though

And yes, the very next day we woke up to a dusting of snow, or quite a lot for London - and there was no way I was going outside for a similar shot, so you'll just have to use your imagination for that one!

But, what a difference a day makes, hey?


Reflecting on my week #14

It was quite a surprise to wake up to snow yesterday, it's been a while since we've had any here. It was forecast, but not until the afternoon and well, if I'm honest I never really expect them to get the forecast right! The picture below is taken from the spare bedroom window and it continued to snow and rain most of the day, and we still had snow when we headed off to bed last night. I'm hoping there isn't more overnight... 

our snowy garden, december 2017

We'd managed to get out in the garden briefly on Saturday and cover the pizza oven with a fleece and a tarpaulin, and cover the log gabion baskets too - just as well too really, but I didn't think to put fleece on the hibiscus, or the agapanthus, and so they're sporting the snowy look too. Oops.

Snowy hibiscus and agapanthus - oops

I'm hoping they'll survive... 

It's been a social week this week, with three consecutive nights out, all good but I think the highlight had to be the Carol Service which took place in the chapel at the Old Royal Naval College, such a beautiful setting. And ending this social week, we also headed into town on Saturday for afternoon tea at the lovely St Ermin's hotel in St James Park, which was festively decorated - and yes, there's another loo series to come, although not so many photos as on both visits there was an attendant diligently tidying and folding the linen hand towels, because it was that sort of place. 

After afternoon tea there was a pub visit to a great and new-to-me pub, the Adam and Eve, a traditional, proper pub with great hospitality, and more important, seats! The evening ended with a stop off at Five Guys at Charing Cross, and they really do great burgers! 

We've spent the week getting up to date with our advent calendar, which really hasn't been a hardship at all and even got back to hanging pictures on our slopey gallery wall in the craft-room-cum-study. Three pictures are up, but not without snags, so MOH is off to the big orange DIY store on his way back from work later today, to come up with plan B. I have every confidence in him...

I've my own errands to run and will be stopping off at HomeSense as I'm planning a Christmas table post and I'm off to see what they've got for that. I think I'm also going to stop into Hobbycraft while I'm there, because why not - and because I might find some Christmas present inspiration, as well as some wool for my granny square blanket. I picked that up agin for the first time since Porto this weekend, and I'm hooked all over again.

I've some great posts lined up this week: a pre-snowy garden catch-up, a post to celebrate the recent National Tree Week and a gorgeous hamper, as well as the next room set from the Ideal Home Show at Christmas, but in the meantime let me bring you up to date with my December Reflections

5. Best book of 2017

There's been  couple of tricky prompts this week, and this was the first of them. I mean, how can I choose just one? In the end I went with this notebook which I've used for all manner of things in a messy bullet journal kind of style. It's worked well for me and I'm already working out which of my notebook haul I'll use for 2018.

And every time I see this notebook I'm reminded of my first visit to the Geffrye Museum, if you've not been - go! 

December Reflections - Best book of 2017

6. I was challenged by

I told you some of the prompts were tricky for me, and this was one of those. In the end I settled on a positive challenge, learning to crochet. At times, it still challenges me, bust as I've projects lining up to be done, it's something I'm keen to master, and quickly.  And I'm sure I will, it's not as tricky as it looks!

December reflections - I was challenged by

7. Best photo of 2017

Woah! Where to start? I'm not sure if this really is my best photo of the year but it's one I waited for and thought about *and* turned out well, so given the thought and patience that went into it it deserves a mention doesn't it? 

It was taken on a visit to RHS Hyde Hall this summer and was taken on the sculpture trail. Once I'd spotted the robin, I waited for him to get to where I wanted him to be...

December reflections best photo of 2017

8. Green

More of a khaki, if I'm honest. I have lots of green garden-y pictures, but opted for this one for the memories from Porto. And for heading off the beaten track while we were there - it definitely pays off! 

December reflection green

I'm a few prompts behind (you're not surprised now, are you?) and I'm still pondering those - if I come up with anything I'll share it next week.  In the meantime, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas isn't it?