October has ended…

with three rather wet and windy days so I’ve not been to the plot since Thursday morning.

I recently mentioned that the communal wood chips bays have been empty for a long time so I was pleased to see that one of the local tree surgeons had been and refilled all three bays.

The rose Pretty Lady has been blooming continuously since mid May, although less and less floriferously, and I think these will be the last blooms for this year.

Yesterday I checked all the onions and potatoes I have stored at home.  I found one onion that needs to be used but otherwise the rest are all okay.  I do this periodically, and think that it’s a job well worth doing.

I’ve been settling down after lunch some days to carry on seed sorting and saving.  I’m doing candytuft, cosmos, pot marigolds and sunflowers some of which I’ll keep to use next year and the rest to give to someone who passes them on to a couple of worthy causes.

Thankfully next week looks like being mostly dry, but with temperatures close to 0 C one or two early mornings.  At least I’ll be able to take a look round the plot even if I can’t do much.

Take care, and have a good week!

Talking of tomatoes

I’ve only made two brief visits to the plot this week as the weather has been miserably damp and dull.  Thankfully from tomorrow and over the weekend into next week it looks like being colder but mostly dry with some welcome sunshine.

Needless to say I’ve been doing plenty of armchair gardening thinking about what I’ll be growing, and where, next year.  I’ll be endeavoring to grow less better again, especially tomatoes as I grew eleven plants last year which is almost twice as many as I usually do or need.

Talking of tomatoes I’ve been given an unopened packet of Little Sun which are well past the sow by date.  I’ll give them a go regardless and see if I can grow one or two in pots on the windowsill at home.


Further to last Sunday’s sunflowers post how about this painting by Gary Bunt titled The Sleeping Gardener. 


Have a good weekend!


Windowsill plants

At the moment the only plants that I have on the windowsill at home are this small house leek, in a three inch clay pot, and a spider plant.



The three pots each planted with three hyacinths which have been in a cool, dark place since I planted them.  This is the best pot with the tallest plant now about a couple of inches high.


I tried growing gazania rigens Talent Yellow from seed last year without success.  I’ve bought some more to try again, and hope to do better this time.


I generally grow one or two tomato plants in pots on the windowsill but they’ve never done that well but I keep trying.  This year it will be with the variety Tiny Tim.

It rained for much of yesterday, and today it’s sunny but much colder with the temperature feeling around 0C.  It looks like staying like that until at least the middle of next week so I’ll be just taking a quick look round the plot most days.

Have a good weekend!

It’s been a while…

since it was last damp and dull on a Sunday.  There’s been welcome rain overnight and through today.  Not so good has been the wind gusting to over 30 mph at times.


At home on the window sill I’m growing this gazania Talent Shades Yellow, which I started off from seed earlier in the year.  I’m hoping that it will be in flower in time for the horticultural society show being held in four weeks time.




A few weeks ago I got a welcome surprise in the post when I received this traditional gardening mug and coaster.  It was kindly sent to me by Karen who has a tiny balcony garden on her 17th floor flat.  Her enclosed note said…I saw this and thought that it suited you to a tea!

After today there’s no further rain forecast to at least next weekend,  and from Thursday onwards the temperature is rising again to the high 20’s C/low 80’s F.


Have a good week!

Sofa reading, May 2018

The author Anthony Horowitz has written over 100 books, being best known for his bestselling teen spy series Alex Rider.   Magpie Murders is a stand-alone novel, published in 2016, which we’ve both read recently and this is what we thought about it.

Liz – Anthony Horowitz has written a tour de force, sharp and funny being a whodunit within a whodunit and oh so clever! A book editor narrates her experience whilst reading the final draft of a book written by her publishing house’s best-selling author.  Magpie Murders is a homage to the mystery writers of mid 20th century Britain.  The protagonist, Atticus Pund, is a detective in the manner of Hercule Poirot, although German not Belgian. He undertakes the investigation  of two deaths in the peaceful West County village of Saxby on Avon.  Of course nothing is as it seems.  The draft comes to a sudden end  with the solution left hanging.  The editor is then drawn into a voyage of discovery  to track down the missing chapters.  Full of word play and anagrams, with the editor’s story shadowing the book draft this novel is nothing short of delicious.

Mike –  Although I enjoyed reading this book I found that I faltered about half-way through, and it took considerably longer to read than I expected.  It’s certainly clever and well-written but I think perhaps a novel within a novel makes it just a touch too complicated for my taste.  Despite my reservations I would certainly recommend it as a worthwhile, and of it’s kind somewhat different, read.

Please note that there probably won’t be any Sofa reading posts for the next few months as it’s taking a summer break.

Happy reading, and have a good weekend!

With fondness and a smile

Regular readers will know that Liz over in Lexington, Kentucky had two dogs, Charlie and Dulcie, who have appeared here occasionally.

In her email to me last Friday Liz wrote…Sadly Charley is going downhill. I have been lucky to have him live another year after being being diagnosed with congestive heart failure in March 2017.  So enjoying Charley while I have him is precious time. 

He’s seen here back in January 2016 enjoying sofa flying.

Sadly Charley collapsed over last weekend and Liz took him to the emergency vet to be put to sleep.

Yesterday Liz wrote in her email…It’s empty without him.  Poor Dulcie is bewildered. She wouldn’t walk round the park with me this morning and she’s been curled up in a chair most of the day.  She can’t be an only dog, which Charley loved, for long. 

Earlier today Liz’s email said…Poor Dulcie has been so out of sorts that I took her to the humane society this morning and put a hold on a ten month old black terrier-mix pup. Think we’ll call her Sophie.  Here she is getting acquainted with Dulcie. 

My mum always said that we should remember our pets with fondness and a smile, which I’m sure Liz will do with much loved and missed Charley.

Sofa reading, February 2018

It was certainly the weather to do plenty of sofa reading during February, and especially this week.

One of the books that both Liz and myself have read recently is A Legacy of Spies by John Le Carre.

Liz – There were so many articles written about this author  when this book was published last year that I put my name down on the library reserve list to borrow a copy.  It didn’t disappoint as Le Carre returns to revisit the days of George Smiley through his now retired colleague Peter Guillam. The book interweaves episodes from the Cold War at it’s height with the present day.  For me this author is still a master story teller.

Mike – Among my favourite books are Le Carre’s Smiley trilogy, written during the 1970’s, which includes perhaps his best book Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  I was slightly disappointed with A Legacy of Spies as, although well written, it seemed to lack a compelling plot compared to his earlier books.

The noted author Val McDermid says that Mick Herron is the John Le Carre of our generation, and having really enjoyed reading the first four books in the Slough House series I have to agree.

The fifth, London Rules, has just been published and I’m sure that when I read it sometime soon I will find it as engrossing as the others.

Happy reading, and have a good weekend!


Sofa reading, January 2018

Kate Atkinson is probably best known for her first novel Behind the Scenes in a Museum, published in 1995 which won the Whitbread Book of the Year.

Liz thinks that she is a clever writer and Life After Life is her favourite Atkinson book.

It’s an extraordinary  novel with an unusual structure.  In an English country house Ursula Todd is born on a wintry night in 1910 and dies before drawing breath.  In the second chapter it’s the same scenario but this time Ursula lives. And so it goes; instead of life after death, it is Ursula’s lot to relive her life at different stages. There are well-drawn family members and friends, and dire events, particularly the London Blitz which is vividly described.



I enjoyed reading the four Jackson Brodie books, published between 2004 and 2010,  and I’m looking forward to reading her new book Transcription which is due to be published later this year.  It’s a story of deception and consequences set in 1950’s London featuring Juliet Armstrong, a dissatisfied  radio producer.




Jo, on her Through the Keyhole blog, does a regular post about books and reading.  Her post last Sunday, Waiting on the Bookshelf, mentions the Harry Potter series and Agatha Christie murder/mystery books, as well as some Christmas themed ones.

Happy reading, and have a good weekend!


Lastly a reminder that this coming weekend is the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, which I look forward to doing as usual.


It’s been a cold and wet weekend…

and was especially miserable this morning when it was sleeting heavily for a time.

At the horticultural society trading shed I was lent a copy of J Parker’s Wholesale Catalogue Spring 2018 to peruse.

I will settle down this afternoon to do that but I will endeavour not to order anything.

The post that I was going to do today will have to wait  until next week.


Have a good week!

%d bloggers like this: