Friday, 29 April 2011

That wedding

Not everyone watched.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

The magic of numbers

Outside a back door in another  street (i.e. not Bacteria Gardens):

It reads "34 + 1 (6) innit"..... Or, as Lucille suggests, "(b)innit".

The official sticker tells me it's really the wheelie bin belonging to number 41 Bacteria Gardens.

Another of life's little mysteries.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Now what?

I can't eat all these by myself.

I have my ample hips to consider.

I shall invite you all round to help.

Especially poor  MrsM.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Flowers in the house

We weren't going to bother this month, because the flowers aren't very interesting.

We'd rather snooze.

But we were persuaded.

So here they are.

Happy now? Can we go back to sleep?

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Not so easy

Note to flower thieves: This is in my back yard, and requires more effort than you might wish to expend.

To damage or steal my new clematis, you would have to climb a high wall, terrify wall-mounted sunbathing cats, avoid lots of plants in recycling boxes, trip over the yard broom and the hose, and generally defend yourself from the ear-shattering yapping of a Yorkshire terrier who will then trigger the booming bark of a labrador who won't have a clue why she's barking, but will do it anyway, with enthusiasm.

At the moment, she's just keeping an eye on things, and helping with my sweeping-up.

The clematis was bought with my Euromillions Lottery win* of £6.90. I had to top it up a little, as it cost just under a tenner.

*Easy come, easy go with us spendthrifts....

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Poppies and pinching

Up bright and early today. I would whizz through the chores, I thought, and get to B&Q before the Bank Holiday crowds.

Not many chores to whizz through - house still spotless and tidy after yesterday's viewing*. Dogs seen to, and I was off.

*Viewers: young couple with 5-week-old baby who was hungry and bawled loudly throughout their whistlestop tour. They had just sold their flat, and understood how much preparation goes into a viewing - young mum remarked on house being lovely and... wait for it... immaculate. Immaculate!! IMMACULATE!!! I have to keep saying it. Me with an immaculate house! Laugh, ye who know me well. But maybe she was still suffering from post-natal pottiness... 

And then they rushed off to view another 4 houses in the vicinity, declining my offer of an immaculate room in which to feed bawling baby - they would feed and change him in the car - and I suspect that everything they view will merge retrospectively into one hideously-confusing mass with a sound track of grizzling/crying/howling small boy wanting his lunch.

Somehow, the house had remained immaculate for the rest of the day. Perhaps I have been taken over by an alien entity from Planet Housework.

Anyway, to B&Q - the nearest place that sells plants -  for an Easter gift for a friend with an insatiable garden. I saw that my red oriental poppy beside the front path was bent on world domination, and now had six enormous blooms. Very attention-seeking plant, that one, spreads in a lively manner.

The Bank Holiday crowds had obviously had the same sensible idea as me, all arriving nice and early to avoid themselves. I bought a pink oriental poppy, reckoning that it would be such a thug that half my friend's yawning border would be filled up within weeks.

And then I came home, and saw that sometime after 9 a.m. all my poppies, plus a handful of the palest pink tulips, had been roughly snapped off and stolen. 

Someone's mum is going to be disappointed when her surprise Easter bouquet from her ASBO Boy canny lad has dropped most of its petals on the way. The tulips had been in flower for some time, and poppies don't like to be picked.

Still, the plant itself isn't deterred, but marches on....

My neighbour commiserated, and told me that she had overheard workers in the newly-refurbished park yesterday saying that they now had to compile a list of all the plants that have been stolen. 

I suppose a few blooms from my tiny patch aren't too great a loss.

Friday, 22 April 2011

A walk in the woods

With friends.

Some paddling.

Some mud.

Lots of fun. Happy Easter!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Life is a little uneventful just now. There's the perpetual round of keeping the house up to scratch in case of viewings: washing, and ironing, and housework, and weeding, and garlic-eradication, and snail control, and touching up of scuffed paintwork, and dog walking, and more dog walking, but nothing very exciting going on.

So here are some pictures from elsewhere, that keep me cheerful and interested.

Sent by my sister from Greek island Syros, where even the butcher's shop looks rather jolly.

And Easter candles on sale at what she describes as "a holy shop/tourist tat shop/candle shop plus anything else you care to mention to get people into the shop shop".

And then there's C's enormous antique engagement ring with diamonds and emeralds.

And from Canberra, a possum (click to enlarge its cuteness) in Tricia's friend's tree.

Living vicariously; better than nothing. But wouldn't it be nice to be in Canberra or on a Greek island?

Friday, 15 April 2011

In which I surprise myself

You know the driver that you get stuck behind on a narrow road, the one who potters along sedately, somewhere just below the speed limit, untempted by long empty stretches of road in front, and to whom the notion of pulling over to let you overtake just wouldn't occur? The male of the species usually wears a tweedy hat; the female is a little short, sometimes having to peer through, rather than over, the steering wheel, and is sometimes me.

As I get older, my driving gets slower; some of this is because my route to the supermarket takes me past a speed camera, and, when going in the opposite direction, past a regular hiding place for a mobile speedtrap van. I know I'm a pootler, and I do try not to be too annoying about it, but I'm careful about speed and fuel consumption, and with a cycling son, extra alert for bikes.

So I was surprised and peeved when an unpleasantly-worded letter arrived recently from Northumbria Police, informing me that I had been driving at the speed of light 38 mph in the Middle of Nowhere, Northumberland, when I took Flossie to visit Fran. Me, speeding!

The letter is clearly composed to head off the angry and argumentative (not me; I'm all too quick to put my hand up to an offence, even if I am later reminded that I was an innocent passenger). Every line of feeble defence is countered in advance.

I was tickled to read that if I remained unconvinced of my guilt, I could view my offence online, where the filmed record of my transgression would be available to me. (I would love love love to know how many people log in to do just that. I bet they heckle their computer disbelievingly as they watch.)

But I responded to the threatening, accept-no-arguments letter, admitting meekly that yes, I was that driver, speeding along an empty road between sea and fields, dog in the back of the car, making nose marks on the windows. Serves me right; I have little or no sympathy with anyone ignoring the speed limit - but I just didn't think it would be me.

Another letter arrived; penalty time. I could choose between a £60 fine and three points on my licence, or I could take the Speed Awareness Course.

Which costs £84.

The key benefits of choosing this option are listed, including the opportunity to discuss my driving beliefs. Hmmmm....I've been very thoughtful since the leaflet arrived, examining those driving beliefs. Perhaps they've been entirely misguided, self-deluding.  Maybe I'm really a middle-aged speedster, a ruthless road hog, a reckless jumper of lights, engine-revving screecher of tyres, doing 0-60 in a nano-second, yet all the time believing that I am a sedate and steady driver.

Maybe those nose marks on the windows are not a sign of Flossie's placid gazing at the scenery, but an urge to hang her tongue excitedly out of the window and whoop "Faster, faster!"

(favourite brooch)

But I prefer to think I was just careless; I chose the fine and the penalty points. My driving beliefs may have to go unchallenged for now. I shall just pootle more carefully.

PS: I sound terribly conceited in this post; really, I would never pretend to be a good driver, just  - or so I thought - a speed-aware one.....

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Desiree the Long-Fingered

Nature doesn't give up easily.

The meter cupboard is a great place in which to store potatoes. There are handy hooks just for their hessian or paper bags to hang, quiet, cool, out of the way, in the dark.

And for the last few of last year's crop of Desiree to be forgotten about entirely.

But they don't give in and die.

Oh no, not at all.

They reach out....

And out....

And out.

I am impressed, amused and ashamed.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Spring in our house

Some things don't change much, year on year.

I buy tulips.

Scooter appreciates them.

Elspeth gets us all roped in. "Minimal gardening ability required" vs maximum competitive spirit.

Millie starts up the mouse factory. Scooter receives the first one off the assembly line.

And is politely requested to take it outside.

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