Sunday 24 September 2017

Not - Everything but the kitchen sink

So, the sink that I shined last night greeted me first thing yesterday. New dishcloth and scrubber at the ready - I can nearly see my face in it.

It's not lasted long as the sink is a workhorse in this kitchen. The fridge and microwave were tackled and the sink had to help.

Next up was the hob so a bowlful of hot soapy water was needed.

Scrub, scrub that's the way.

Bread was needed so out came the mixer and the dough hook was rinsed in the still hot water.

Kitchen floor tackled next with the same water - which is getting rather dirty now.

Sink cleaned again but a cup of tea soon put paid to that.

How many times must I use a tea towel to shine my sink - it's always getting wet!

Yep, going to get wet again to rinse out the mug.

Sandwiches and another cup of tea for lunch.

Who sneaked the next cuppa?

The bread is on its second rise so the mixing bowl is now soaking in the sink.

Let's prepare the veg. for tea.

Tea time over and pan put to soak.

All washed and what's this - another tea towel.

The bread's been baked and the tin is soaking. I know where all the crumbs come from that end up on the floor.

Half the loaf put in the freezer and the other half ready for slicing for toast tomorrow. The kitchen sink has had its last shine for today.

Plenty of tea towel washing for tomorrow though! Well that's the kitchen sink and everything.


Saturday 23 September 2017

Grape vine pruning

Dani has asked if I could post a close up shot of my grape vine pruning. Your wish is my command but this is my way of pruning and the vine still produces fruit for me. Basically I prune for me rather than the grape vine. The greenhouse is not large and I want the vine to go where I want it to go rather than where it wants to go. There is one main stem which comes into the greenhouse from its planting position outside. Roots outside, stem inside. This bigger vine has survived transplanting from growing in our kitchen to growing in the greenhouse. Each year I prune it back to the bare bones - usually in spring. Throughout the growing period I am continually cutting back the pieces I don't want. On the bigger vine I have 2 main leads, one running down the centre of the greenhouse and one over to one side. I cut off all the side shoots in spring and then wait. Quite a lot of side shoots will grow from the main stems. Wait until you see a bunch of grapes and then cut off the side shoot one leaf after the bunch. More side shoots will grow - just keep cutting them off.

Here's my very last bunch of grapes.

Unfortunately I only ate about 3 of these as the rest are definitely 'past it'.

The vine leaves have started to fall.

This is a picture of our most recently planted vine - (planted about a year and a half ago). The roots were planted outside the greenhouse and the shoot trained in through a gap to the inside.

Our main vine comes in along the same wall. It's much thicker as it's much older. See the side shoots? They can be cut off.

The stem grows up to the middle of the roof of the greenhouse ...

... and travels the whole length. A side shoot off the main stem has been trained to run along one side of the greenhouse.

Here you see the side shoot. From these main stems other side shoots grow and on them grow the grapes. (Grew the grapes.)

All the leaves will eventually fall off and then I will be able to see the skeletal vine. From there I will start to prune back long and unwanted shoots.

To sum up - prune to however many leading stems you want. From those leading stems prune off any side shoots you don't want. The vine will grow like mad in the growing season. Keep pruning to keep it in check and in some form of order.

Hope this helps, Dani. I will post whenever I get out my secateurs so you can see the vine's progress over the year.


Friday 22 September 2017

I don't know why ...

I've saved some of the hollyhock seeds because ...

... when I pulled all the dead plants down thousands of seeds flew everywhere. We won't be able to see out of the front window next year.


Tuesday 19 September 2017


  1.  2-tone trim phones
  2. windjammers
  3. frost on the inside of window
  4. warming the day's clothes on the clothes horse in front of the fire
  5. running downstairs in the freezing cold to get dressed in front of the fire
  6. my friend's roll on
  7. vests - I used to hide mine
  8. the noise and sight of the now old-fashioned dentist's drill
  9. putting rags in my hair to make ringlets
  10. perms - what a heavy head!
  11. white kinky boots
  12. pink calamine lotion for my chicken pox spots - yuk

  13. childhood ailments - chicken pox, scarlet fever, German measles - I didn't get measles or mumps
  14. my friend's liberty bodice - what a lot of buttons to do up
  15. plastic sandals
  16. bubbly swimsuits which always smelt of the sea
  17. playing in the rough sea with a car tyre - no adult around
  18. Lucky bags - what a rip off for 3d
  19. knicker bocker glories - another rip off
  20. aniseed balls
  21. liquorice wheels
  22. butterscotch and liquorice gums
  23. skipping
  24. handstands against the school wall - had to tuck my dress into my knickers
  25. Brownie cameras which only took 8 pictures

The list could go on and on.

Sunday 17 September 2017

Repurposing a jumper

Take one 'too small' jumper which belonged to DD.

and one cushion pad,

Sew up the neck, the armholes and the bottom with the pad inside ...

and voila - a cushion with two pockets which can hold remotes easily.

Small things!


PS Dani, I'll write about pruning in another post.

Friday 15 September 2017

"Time for bed", said Zebedee

About half of the greenhouse has been put to bed with the taking out of the 2 cucumber plants and all but one of the tomatoes. The grapevine is 'staying up a bit longer' as it has a few more bunches on it that I shall eat this and next week. In the middle of the window is the newly planted vine which I will train up and along next year.

Most of the leaves will now just fall off of their own accord and I shall prune back the branches in about a month. 

Some of the grapes on the bunches are turning bad so I must pull those out and just eat the good ones.

The corn has gone to bed already with the cobs being picked and the plants put in the council compost. The husks will be taken off and the corn cobs frozen. We will eat some this weekend ...

... boiled up and then drizzled with butter. :)

It's not quite time for the runner beans to go to bed as they are late cropping and are still my main vegetable each day.

The beet root will be tackled tomorrow and will probably give up and go to bed with a bit of persuasion.

The leeks are the campers and will rest outside for the winter.

I've picked quite a few patty pan and will definitely grow them again next year, I think, even though they take up rather a lot of room and only yield little tiny morsels.

The spinach is still wide awake and will only go to bed when I've eaten it!

Oh courgette, your eyes are closing. Only another grill with cheese and tomato and then you will finally rest.

Now pear, I've already eaten one of you and one has dropped off into the strawberry patch and run away. Please don't drop off until you're a little softer and I can eat you for afters.

Keep bright and cheerful, apples, your bedtime isn't until October.

Strawberries, you are going to need a haircut before you go to bed. NO argument!

Little outdoor grapes, it seems a shame to eat you before you've had a decent half year's sleep. I'll just prune you a little before it gets cold. Then you can rest.

Night, sleep tight, to half the garden. See you in the springtime.


Tuesday 12 September 2017

The Play Room

In preparation for the decorating of the upstairs - which is a long way off yet - I decided to sort out the play room which had been a dumping ground for various bits and pieces from downstairs. There's a large roll of new carpet underlay in here that is destined for the front bedroom when that's been painted so I had to work around this. The sorting took all afternoon because this room houses craft stuff and 'things' I want to keep at the moment. Here's a local newspaper pull out from 2003 which lays out future plans for Blackpool. We don't look a bit like the front cover yet. Obviously this dream is not likely to become a reality at the moment.

Here's a picture drawn by DD when she was 3. I think its a self portrait.

DS drew his dad who is obviously very fierce indeed.

Another of DD's efforts from later years showing the family cat.

I don't know why I keep patterns. I have 3 sewing machines but do not seem to have time or inclination to use them. I love looking at old patterns though.

I have a storage cube of cross stitch patterns, silks and threads which I should really get round to sewing. Time, again, is needed as well as the desire to complete everything. I think I gave up cross stitch when I couldn't focus properly.

Oh dear - I shouldn't have emptied the storage unit. Just how much craft stuff do I need for card making? Ribbons, embellishments, sticky things, old and interesting toys, puzzles, games - the list goes on. 

It's not getting any easier or clearer.

I'm having a 'right good time'.