Sometimes a glimpse of sunshine breaks through.

I took myself to the plot yesterday afternoon, grumbling along as I do. I picked veg for supper and met up with a lovely lady, drank lemonade in the blustery becoming colder by the second wind and we generally put the world to rights.

Homeward bound, I was called over by plot no.1 with a cheery, “I’ve been waiting for you”.. “oooh have you” (Haven’t had an offer like that for years!!) and presented me with these….

Actually this photo is a mixture of two gifts, the red apples were given to me on Sunday, by a very generous lady.

The gentleman on plot no.1 and I had chatted as I’d just finished a blackberry run on Sunday and I’d commented that I’d love some apples. So, he asked plot no.3 who has a big Bramley tree and plot no.3 then poked his tree with a big stick, to get the last of the bramleys at the top of the tree, just for Me! And gave them to plot no.1…. Who had then waited for me to finish at my plot to catch me. It was well past half six when I decided to go home. Isn’t that a lovely story and restores my faith in basic human kindness.

And just because I am Very Proud of my hard work. Here is a picture of my raspberry canes all tidy for winter. Seriously, I am really proud of them..


Sunsets on the sea are wonderful, but countryside sunsets can be equally beautiful. Aren’t I lucky to be able to see a sunset such as this without roof tops in the way. Although I have to say, which you don’t seem to get on a sandy beach,, the mosquito’s were out in force and one bite on my forearm made my skin react to a 1.5 inch by 1 inch oblong,,

So, hubby suggested a fire….

Our first, as allotment holders.

Oooh my aching back.

I’ve been up the plot every day this week, mainly digging. Today I dug for about 10 minutes and thought.. Nooo.. there has got to be something less harsh on my muscles to do today. So I cut out the dead canes of the raspberries and tied them in. This little job seemed to go on for about an hour and I’m not sure if it was any less harsh on me.

Earlier today I had nipped into town as my darling son no.2 had guzzled the last of the milk, not even enough for a cup of tea! Whilst there I bought Japanese onions, shallots and garlic to plant. I’m hoping to have dug enough to get them into the ground this weekend. One of those chickens that must have their own private gym was reduced from nearly £15.00 to…. drum roll… £2.35. This was quickly removed from the shelf and landed in my trolley.

So tonights dinner comprises of this…

The first of the parsnips and brussel sprouts, the last but one dustbins worth of potatoes, along with our own carrots and runner beans.


I love picking blackberries, even though it means that I am stung by nettles and have very sharp thorns embedded in my skin. Strangely I always make a mental note of when my next tetanus jab is due, (just over a year away) as a very sharp and strong thorn attaches itself to the skin of my arm/hand. I’ve been picking blackberries in this area since I could walk, which is quite a long time. I know of areas where cultivated blackberries are, these are the first to fruit, these have gone over now and where there are miles of wild blackberries which are just ready for picking. The wild blackberries take more picking, because of thorns and their fruit is much smaller, but to me they have an intense blackberryness which is well worth the effort. I picked three pounds in an hour yesterday.

I’ve lost two of my areas this year, one farmer has decided to cultivate his field that had been left to stand for many years, so has blocked access. There were a couple of nice sloe trees on that run, which my gin will sadly miss this year. Another area has been rather cruelly blocked in by builders using this exact area to store their equipment. I’m still debating whether to take myself up to it, with basket in hand and smile gently at them to see whether they will let me climb over there diggers and other equipment to let me in..

I, to my great pleasure have also been promised a crop of cooking apples from a chap that I’ve known for years. So, as long as the Black Rocks continue to lay during the short dark days and the freezers that have seen better days continue to work, we shall be enjoying some very fine winter puds.

Lucy’s First Sock

Very late last night Lucy and I were sprinting towards the finishing line, would we manage to fling ourselves through the tape or would we get stitch and drop to the wayside. The mysteries of kitchener stitch were revealed and then after a quick lesson on sewing up ends….

Taaa Daaaaa !!!

I very quickly cast on her next sock and said a very sad farewell to Lucy as this morning she went back to her studies at Uni.

Aladdins’ Cave.

It was a false start start this morning, hubby was called into work, we made it to Tempsford Stained Glass shortly before closing at three. We were then made to feel very welcome by their two dogs (and their owner), one of which was a young, very gorgeous, long haired Jack Russell, who couldn’t quite decide who’s feet he would rather lay his toy at, for either of us to throw. I was desperately trying not to be distracted by this handsome puppy dog, well after a couple of games!

But try I must.

I (with permission) this is only part of their shop, there really was too much to capture. Its wonderful…

There was also a lampwork beads kit… I have no idea.. (yeah right!) who put that into my mind!


Mid September at the plot.

Having had rather a long absence from the plot, (apart from half hour spurts of picking and watering) mainly due to the wet weather and other inconveniences, the sunshine called to me today and off I trotted.

The tomatoes are still doing well. I’m hoping for a long Indian summer to ripen them all.

A moments break allowed me to capture the mood of the allotment, can you tell that Autumn is fast approaching. Leaves are changing in both texture and colour, the once vibrant, ‘come and get me’ luscious greens are slowly fading, some are dying whilst others will give us their magnificent show of rich russets and golds before returning from where they came.

Haricot beans left on the plant to dry, when the pods have turned yellow, I will dry them further to store them and then use them in a deeply warming cassoulet. A perfect dish left to bubble gently in the oven for hours whilst your enjoying outdoor winter pursuits.

Surprisingly our runner beans are still flowering and forming beans. I am very surprised at this as our beans were one of the first to fruit on the plots and I took this to mean that ours would be the first to finish. It must be all that muck I dug into their trenches.

Parsnips are doing well, as are the leeks which you can just see. These will be the mainstay of winter dishes for the next few months… Along with these…..

Brussel Sprouts. Although the plants themselves look a little sad and on some of the plants the buttons haven’t formed as well as I would have liked, there are plenty of plants that look as good as this. This is a much better performance by mandycharlie than last year.

We cropped carrots, I weeded the parsnips and beetroots, we dug out the weeds where the carrots were. I want to move the strawberry bed completely which will take quite alot of effort but needs to be done as the mares tail, no matter how quickly we hoe, always takes over and it needs digging out, and then digging out again and again and again as the roots are thin and brown and travel a very, very long way into the earth, too far to be able to satisfactorily remove them in one go.

There is much to be done to make sure the plot is tidy and dug over before winter.

Wigs, stage 2.

My hospital have approved the use of longer length hair. (I will be paying for it) Which is for me, very good news.

So, its all systems go, I’ve just spoken to my wig maker and my hair has been ordered, my base has entered the work shop and density of the wig was discussed.

Next stage will be the second fitting of the cap in about three weeks.

Stained Glass 1st Lesson.

Hubby and I trotted over to Warwickshire College yesterday evening for our beginners lesson on making stained glass windows. After registration, the usual safety, fire drills and signing your life away to say you have read the safety procedure booklet and the part where you introduce yourself.. (I’m Mandy and I knit socks) There are some seriously arty people in this group, from registered silver smiths, people with art degrees, and others working in several mediums, oil painting/wood/ceramics/jewellery. Eeek! Then there were others much like ourselves who wanted to explore the world of stained glass.

We were introduced to the equipment and shown how to cut glass, how to snap glass along where you had scored with tools and for small pieces with our thumbs and were then sent away for a little practice session.

Curvy Glass, Impressed eh??!!

Then there was more information about where to buy and who was the best supplier of glass for stained glass windows. Who Knew… that there are outfits selling just pretty, pretty glass, simple kits etc, one chap turned to me and said.. and at this my heart sang.. “Its much like a wool shop, but with glass” and then when I must have grinned like a cheshire cat, he said, “You’ll soon find your stash getting bigger” I giggled. Am I that transparent? Can others see that I am already on the dark side?

Wigs, Stage 1.

Such a glamorous girl!

This is stage 1, which is a fitting for the base. This is the only base that the NHS will pay for, there are others, much nicer others, which would be softer on my head so therefore more comfortable, but they don’t last as long. This will hopefully last two to three years.

As you can see the base needs more work, but this is the starting point before the girls that sew the bases get to work with my measurements.

I have to ring the appliance department at my hospital to see whether they will allow me to have a longer length of hair, even though I will pay for the extra length which will amount to £250.00 plus VAT (times this by two as I’m ordering two wigs) they may still say No.. and then I will only be allowed 13 inches, which you have to allow 1.5 inches for turnover at the wig, which will then mean the hair is only 11.5 inches long, which compared to how I used to wear my hair is very short.

So, as I have to pay £250.00 for each wig on a NHS prescription, my total bill will be £1087.50 (if my maths is correct) Which to be honest, we could have a good holiday with. You’d think there would be a way of claiming back the tax on your hard earned pennies, wouldn’t you.

I find it all very tedious. It really wasn’t what I wished to be doing with my lovely hubby on a dry day in September.

Back to the knitting for a little zen like, deep breathing moment.