T’was a good day.

Mum and I synchronized our watches and successfully met up on the same bus departing from Kenilworth, then the next bus on our journey was ready and waiting for us to alight as we pulled into the top of The Parade. It took us just over half an hour to get from home to the hospital. I almost jinxed it, by saying to Mum, just as we were turning onto The Parade, that the bus we next require, which is a bus I used to use for work was often ready and waiting, but it probably won’t be, because I’ve just jinxed it, but it was.. “Yippee”, I yelled, “the 68 is here” as I ran for it, Mum came trotting up closely behind. Then, I nearly forgot to get off at the correct stop, but it was all good, I managed to redeem myself and quickly pressed the stop button, whilst at the same time launching myself into the aisle.

Dad was good, he’s a bit down of course having just learnt that he may well be there for some weeks, but we grabbed a wheelchair and whisked him down to the coffee shop run by ‘League of Friends’ who were doing an excellent job, Sis met up with us and we bought tea for four for one pound sixty something. Which was incredibly cheap and it was a very nice brew, I nearly asked what tea bags they were using as it was so satisfying.

The good thing about being laid up in a local hospital is the people that you meet, earlier in the day Dad had spied a very lovely person who I haven’t seen for getting on for thirty years. She though had spotted Dad’s notes and had thought to herself there can only be one person in Kenilworth with that surname and had come along to him to take a peek and she was proved right. It was a brother of mines first love, we (as in all of us) were so giddy to see each other again after all this time. Whilst she was administering tablets and an injection to my Dad we quickly caught up. The reunion was lovely, I’ve promised (she made me!) to take in piccies of my boys etc. (to be honest the latest piccies are just on the computer, which is what I most dislike about the digital age, but I’ll find something). It really was so nice to see her after all this time. She even made comment to my Mum about how much she missed our lovely Sunday teas, especially the coleslaw (which actually my Dad used to make!) there were always home cooked doughnuts, fairy cakes, butterfly cakes, fruit cake and trifle, Mum said later, how she had forgotten about her Sunday teas, (when we were all living at home, she was feeding seven on a daily basis, ten on a Sunday) it bought back very nice memories for her.

And then, I got dropped off at my very favourite place, my Tuesday night knitting group, to spend a couple of hours or three with the girls. I’ve really missed them you know.

During the evening Carie helped me when I had crossed the wrong way in a cable stitch, I did my up most to try and understand exactly what was going on as she rescued my knitting, I might need to practice that.

Mary chose some lovely sock wool, I’m so glad she chose something she is happy with, there is nothing more wonderous than knitting with something you Love.

The time that I appreciated the most, is that when I waffled and wittered, sometimes on and off course, about things that have affected me most in the last few weeks, they nodded, offered me chocolate and understood where I was at.

But the thing that came out of the knitting group this evening and you know it makes sense, I really think we need to make …. Santa hats knitted for our Christmas party!

Good news on Dad

Just a quick post, as some of the Kenilworth gang have taken to reading my blog.

Dad has been moved to the local rehab hospital tonight which is very good news. It means he’s no longer on a medical ward with all that that entails and they will be able to concentrate on just getting him back on his feet. He’s transfering from bed to chair well and is able to stand and do the shuffle with the aid of a walky thing up and down the ward. So its just a question of his strength returning as he uses his legs.

I’ve sorted out the bus timetables for my Mum and we will be going on new buses and new adventures. (she’ll be a whiz at this bus malarky by the end of this)

The only good thing about the main drag closing in Kenilworth for the next 24 weeks is it routes the x17 (bus to Leamington) nearly right to our front doors, we don’t have to walk to St. Johns Church. Which makes me incredibly lazy, but will make mine and my Mums next section of our life much easier, especially with all this rain coming in.

Hopefully, I will be able to see the girls at my knitting group next week, I have really missed going to my knitting group and seeing the girls, they are all such good eggs, with many a chuckle during the evening. Depending on how shattered I feel I might even sneak in for an hour tomorrow, but I’m just going to suck it and see. I haven’t forgotten you Mary, you choose what your heart most desires, (I’m sure the girls will have lots of ideas!) you know I owe you some sock wool.

And on that note, I shall depart.

(mandy departs in a cheery mood with a glass of red and a good nights sleep to look forward to)

Tomatoes and Marigolds

We are in the very enviable position of having completely weeded our plot. (my ironing pile has reached epic proportions but you can’t have everything) This gives hubby and I a very warm glow and we are just hoeing, sowing seeds, watering seeds and allowing our imaginations to run wild as we envisage our bumper crops. Its always a lovely time of year Before the weather or pests conspire against you and all your work.

This weekend I potted on our tomatoes, seven varieties this year to try.

These are dwarf french marigolds. I grew a few last year to keep away the white fly in the greenhouse, they did an excellent job as they emit pyrethrum a natural insecticide. We didn’t have any white fly in our greenhouse at all. So, I thought, as I watched the white fly descend in huge clouds onto our brassicas, I wonder if that would work outside. I intend to grow them on in pots, so that they are movable. I feel this might be important around the brassicas as the marigolds can attract slugs! And if they do, then I will have to make a decision as to what to do before the slugs munch through my cabbages. Perhaps beer baits around the marigolds might be the answer.


Its not easy you know, searching for a wig. Its such a huge commitment, not like a pair of shoes that once bought, if not exactly right for reasons of style, comfort or blisters you can say “Oops” carefully place them at the back of the wardrobe, allow them to collect a little dust whilst still considering what may be done and then most probably casually donate them to a charity once hubby’s back is turned.

A wig may not be for life, but it could be for three years (human hair), which would seem a lifetime if it was something you were not happy with.

Hubby has been tootling me up and down the motorway of late to see a wig maker. I have a NHS prescription for two human hair wigs, which will still cost me £235.00 each. I thought we were near the end of my adventure and two weeks ago I sat and had my huge head wrapped with cling film and then covered in sticky back plastic, other wise known as Sellotape. Because I have such a huge bonce, nothing fits, so I need a mold of my gorgeous head to then send off to whoever would make the actual wig. This was to be sent to Thailand. Me, being me, did enquire as to whether they knew the standards of the particular factory they were dealing with and I was reassured that the staff were well looked after and well paid. Obviously I had my doubts, but then, I’m not perfect and tshirts from a certain supermarket that does extremely cheap clothing have been known to fall into my shopping trolley.

We discussed style, colour, (I took my own hair for a colour match) length and density, cut comes later, at great length. I did get the impression as did hubby that basically once ordered one would have to accept whatever came back. Which did make me slightly nervous and at that point, I simply said, “Whilst I am willing to accept a wide margin of flexibility of whatever comes back, if it is wrong and it simply looks horrendous, I will not accept it” I thought that was reasonable to state. We carried on talking at great length, I had taken a photo of me in so she could see me and my gorgeous locks having taken into account that she had said on a previous visit not to have something too curly as it would be difficult to manage. So I had taken a casually, more wavy than curly piccie of me in for her to study. Don’t get me wrong, she was lovely and was being very helpful although she did say she would need to discuss it with her curl advisor.

Then, she showed me a human hair wig that had just come in that she had not actually studied, it had just been washed and allowed to dry naturally. With all due respect and she agreed it would need to go back again, the hair line at the front had one small bare patch and on closer inspection I quickly found another bare patch at the front of the head. Oh dear I was thinking.

But you know, you get to a point where you still press ahead. And I was at that point, although I am nowhere near as upset as I was when I first lost my hair, I still found this quite exhausting.

So, I tell my parents my news that a wig should be on its way to me in eight weeks, they bless them, have donated the cost of one wig to me. This is a fair sum for pensioners and I am deeply touched.

Two weeks on, I receive a letter today, which is wonderfully written and to be honest quite brave, it simply states that they don’t think they will be able to provide me with what I require and offer an alternative wig supplier who actually make wigs in this country. Lets hope Warwick Hospital will allow them to service my NHS prescription. Although I know nothing of this company and so am at a loss at to what to do.

And I’m a couple of months further down the line, my present wig is far from looking its best (synthetic wigs are only judged to last about six months or so) and its well over that now. I did buy some cheap party wigs, (not pink and fluffy!) that could keep me going to toddle around the supermarket in or walk the dogs, but they really are scratching the bottom of the barrel.

If anyone does catch this blog post, (well you never know) can you recommend a Wig maker in a fifty mile radius of Warwickshire that could make me a gorgeous, long, wavy, nice and thick human hair wig. Although it may have to be nearer to allow my NHS prescription to be accepted, I don’t exactly know the ‘rules’ on prescriptions.

I live in hope, thats all I have.

Veg and socks

Hubby worked very hard yesterday, he took a digging day off work and went to work on putting my lovely cabbages, brussel sprouts, purple srouting and cauliflowers in. I think I may have overdone the sowing of seeds a little. But as we are trying lots of different varieties it may well be worth it.

I put in the lettuces, there are quite a few, but when the peas come good, braised lettuce with peas is a lovely dish.

Including the infamous speedy seeds! which look like they have lots of lovely different types in. No bagged lettuces for us this summer!

The strawberry bed has been cleared and replanted, although not in a very uniform way, it was just a question of filling in the gaps with a few shop bought plants, so you will have to excuse my lack of straight lines.

An anomaly, if you look closely at this picture you will see a row of four blackcurrant bushes. One of which is in full flourish, the rest are some way behind. Why this has happened we have no idea. They are all the same variety, bought at the same time, planted in the same way, pruned last year at the same time. Odd isn’t it?

And lastly but by no means least a pair of socks for my Dad. Although he is very much on the mend his feet have swelled up and apart from one pair of socks that I knitted him for Christmas, (which he has yet to try, so may not fit) none of his socks fit him.To be sockless is a dreadful thing and there was only one remedy. A ball of wool and some knitting needles were hastily put to good use. I cannot find the ball band but it is a Double knit, probably Regia, using 3.25 mm needles and casting on 64 stitches made to a generous size UK 11 feet. I cast on using the two needles together method which gave a very nice and stretchy top. I took them in last night and although huge they fitted him lovely. I suspect he’s wowing the nurses with them as we speak. I need to get going on a second pair, I thought cotton and a lighter weight as it is getting warmer. So my knitting friends, do you think that if I cast on 100 stitches in a 4ply cotton on 2.5 needles they would be big enough?

To add I’ve just found some extra roomy cotton socks on the net which I have just ordered for him, hopefully these will be big enough.

The cat and the lump.

My son has just come into the study with a not very happy pussy cat, she hates to be picked up, she’s twelve so she’s not going to change.

“Mum” he says, “Willow has got a lump”

I gasp.

“Where” I say.

He tries to turn her over, “its on her belly”, all sorts of medical problems whooosh through my head. She does her up most to escape, I exclaim to my son not to let her escape which he does from his firm grip and then he quickly closes the study door, fortunately he doesn’t trap a cats head in it, (but really it was a very close call).

He then brings her to his lap and turns her over for my inspection. Again I say “where” and he says “here”

And how do you say this to a teenage lad..

Although I managed to find the words in my heightened anxiety,, “Son, its just a nipple”

“Oh is it?” in slightly embarrassed tones..

“Yep, it is”


“I really think you should go and feed her after all of this”,

Which he then did. Bless him..

Dad is on the mend.

I just wanted to share that my Dad is on the mend. His confusion has almost stopped, he’s alert, compos mentis and happy that he has spoken to his specialist regarding his knee operation.

He has lost a stack of weight, he still has a long way to go regarding stability, being able to walk and it would really help if he was able to eat the hospital food (he just doesn’t like it), he had a full body CAT scan today, but (at the moment, fingers crossed) its good, all good.

An experiment!

They say every cloud has a silver lining. Much as my grumbles about the new recycling edict are, there is a certain joy as our galvanized dustbins have became obsolete. Spuds were my first thought. Common knowledge (in the growing spuds in containers field) dictates that Earlies (new potatoes to me and you) should be your first choice. However we grew Home Guard last year and whilst they were wonderful, pearly white and everything you would want out of a new potato, we craved for a good old fashioned proper spud.

These are King Edwards, I wondered whether to plant up with three or four or five, obviously I settled on five. Hubby drilled holes in the bottom of the bins for drainage and we cracked open a compost heap for the soil.

Keep ’em peeled for an update in September.

I love my shed, its almost the perfect hide. I just need some mesh that could be hung across the doorway when the door is open and it would be perfect. We are very lucky that our plot is next to an old and established hedgerow. I’m never quick enough on my camera but today, I caught a Chaffinch.

A host of Golden

Tennis balls.. such is the wit of this allotment holder. I don’t quite dance with the tennis balls but I certainly dance when I gather my crops and I often wander lonely as a cloud, wondering when the ‘eck I’m going to get some help up ‘ere.

Peas… yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, I love peas, I do, what can I say, I just love peas.

This took me hours today, erecting canes, unraveling netting (not really a one person job), finding tennis balls, tent pegs to pin the netting to the ground. It does take quite a while.. then an hour of solid graft just putting the peas in. It is so going to be worth it.

There are two varieties here, Hurst Green Shaft and Klevedon Wonder.

And this is a few hours work earlier in the week, four rows of parsnips (three varieties) one of beetroot (two varieties) and three carrots (three varieties). I would tell your their names, but my info is up the plot.

They say, (the met office) we may get a little rain over the weekend, I’d quite like that as it will water in my seeds and get them off to a good start. Last year they were as dry as a bone.

Guilty as charged me lud!


Although there are extenuating circumstances. (said tongue in cheek)

Firstly, the rhubarb is situated on common ground, it nestles half way around the communal water trough.

Secondly, I have studied and dribbled over this rhubarb from afar and to the best of my knowledge and I was watching very carefully, last year no one picked any. The rhubarb became a huge and glorious plant with a huge crown.

Thirdly, when I mentioned that no one seemed to be picking said rhubarb to the Secretary of our Allotment Society last year, (sadly I never said anything until after June, my Nan said never to pick rhubarb after June, although I can’t actually remember why) he told me if no one else is picking it, help yourself.

So this year I have..

Maybe I could say it was a crime of passion, (oops wrong country) a passion for gorgeous, fresh, squeeky clean fruit and veg.

Rest assured, I never pick anything that is not actually mine, well, apart from,, the blackberries that are in the hedge that surround the plots and no one picks them either!

Today on the plot I have sown another six trays of peas, three different types, one a petit pois, so that should be very interesting. Three different types of cauliflower, five different types of lettuce, (including the infamous speedy seeds!) raked over and started to prepare soil and sorted out seeds for planting carrots, parsnips, and beetroot. Wind stopped play on actually planting any seed outdoors. I’ve played that game before and ended up with carrots strategically placed on my allotment. And then, weeded out my onion bed, several stops were required for tea.

There is so much to do at this time of year, it kept me awake last night just thinking about it all. Dad has been relegated to the evening slot this week, just so that I can catch up.