St Pauls.

I wanted to pop along to St Pauls, it had been years since we have been inside and even now we have never done the full blown trip, we got their too late this time, but decided to stay for Evensong. Randome tree 1 (1 of 1)I am always amused when I see a lone random tree.  I must start photographing them around London, they are very amusing at times. St Pauls  (1 of 1) The front of St Pauls.
St Pauls 3 (1 of 1)And nearby, just in front of the stock exchange an area to wait and relax and watch the tennis and play a little table tennis just around the corner,St Pauls knitting (1 of 1)and catch up on a little knitting.

St Pauls was beautiful, I gave thanks for my life as it is today.  Last time I went I had just lost my hair and low and behold another Alopecian sat in front of me and I was able to strike up a conversation with him which helped no end.  He was the second Alopecian of the day that I had spoken to, before that I had not spoken to anyone what with living in leafy Warwickshire.  I gave thanks for the road I have travelled and how far I have come, I was in a very different place last time and always felt that I was meant to meet those lovely bald fellas who gave me such kind words of encouragement.  And this time, during the service I felt utter, utter peace.

And so the vegetables grow.

I love watching our vegetables grow, hopefully without too many pests and diseases.  It is nice at this time of the year, everything is vibrant and green, there is enough water hitting the ground, especially this year, at regular intervals not to be overly concerned and the bugs that do create problems haven’t reached epidemic proportions.  It is in fact the illusion of a bountiful harvest and a garden full of promise before the pests and diseases remind you that there probably was a good reason why DDT was invented.

Vegetables 1 (1 of 1)Our beans are fast climbing their poles.  Beans love poles and before hubby put the poles in the beans were simply not moving, but as soon as they found the poles, helped twice a day by hubby or I gently wrapping their tendrils around the bamboo canes they have shot up. If we can keep the slugs away from nibbling through their juicy fleshy stalks all will be good and runner beans will be gracing our dinner table in a few weeks. Vegetables 2 (1 of 1)The cucumber continues to thrive.  Well it has some sort of problem, probably fungus or mites, I must pick the worst of the leaves off, I am not overly concerned as yet, the top looks healthy and we have had cucumbers survive with this problem.  (fingers crossed it doesn’t curl up and die during the night) Vegetables 5 (1 of 1)I love the flowers and the delicate tendrils. Vegetables 3 (1 of 1)And last but not least our tomatoes are doing well.  Although I do wish that the humid conditions would ease up, my mobile is bleeping me at regular intervals to tell me that their is a blight watch in my area and we are in a full Smith period.  The last thing we need is a greenhouse full of tomatoes with blight.Vegetables 4 (1 of 1)But oh the joy when you spy the first of the toms, no bigger than a thumb nail, full of the promise of a hot summer.

Our very own Springwatch.

As I write this I am watching the very last episode of Springwatch and feeling just a little bit sad that its all just about to be over for another year. So I thought I would show you a few successes of our own.  We have been feeding the birds for well over a year now and have worked hard never to leave the bird feeders empty.  Years ago, many years ago, it was said that one should only feed the birds in the winter, but it was then found that what happened is the birds would breed near their food source and when it stopped the baby chicks would die.

We now have flocks of blue tits, coal tits and great tits, sparrows, starlings, pigeons, a robin, as well as a pair of birds that I shall tell you about in a few moments.

Firstly we’ve watched the darling juvenile blue tits around the feeders, here are a few piccies. Birds 1 (1 of 1) Birds 2 (1 of 1) Birds 3 (1 of 1) Birds 4 (1 of 1) Birds 5 (1 of 1) birds 9 (1 of 1)They have been wonderful to watch as they grow up.

But then we had a wonderful visitor and wondered if they would stay around. Birds 6 (1 of 1)A pair of goldfinches, nesting.  How exciting is that. Birds 7 (1 of 1)A pair of juveniles have been floating around as well, so we think this may well be their second nesting of the season. Birds 8 (1 of 1)It is the greatest of treats to see them and they have gained in confidence, coming to the feeders while we sit in the garden.  Let me tell you the knitting stops when they visit and we both stare, transfixed for however long they stay, sometimes a good ten minutes while they fill their tiny tummies up with niger seed and sunflower hearts.

Sugar Block Club, halfway.

Firstly I would like to say thank you for all my birthday good wishes. I’ve had a lovely week doing all of the things I love to do, which included a combination of racing around London and sitting in the garden knitting in the sunshine, there was a good combination of the two and I feel absolutely content.

And there has also been sewing.

I’m up to date on the Sugar Block Club by Stitchory Dickory Dock, which is an unusual state for me to be in as the days fly by and I realise the month is nearly finished and often I haven’t started the block.

I’ll show you what I have done to date. Quilt summer 6 (1 of 1)January was Churn Dash.  At which point I realise just how rusty my sewing is. Quilt summer 1 (5 of 5)February was Log Cabin.  At which point I realise how rusty my colour choosing is, really not sure about those corners. Quilt summer 5 (1 of 1)March was Orange Peel.  And the realisation that a quilt will be what it will be. There were no such things as quilting fabric shops of years gone by, just scraps. Quilt summer 3 (1 of 1)April was Ohio Star.  I really like this one, I know its strong but its me all over. Quilt summer 4 (1 of 1)May was Lone Star.  Who I felt was far too lonely and put a colourful centre in.  I felt it balanced the block better, although of course we have no idea what is coming up next. Quilt summer 10 (1 of 1)June was Maple Stack.  Which I am so in love with. Quilt summer 7 (1 of 1)All six together, half way through the year.  I think it is going to be quite a colourful quilt.

Fifty Today!

Mandy 17Sweet Seventeen, how times change – and how the technology has changed!

I did most of my celebrating yesterday actually, I’d planned to go to Brighton tomorrow and when I spoke to my parents on Monday they told me they were going on a coach trip to Brighton the next day, so we swiftly changed plans.

We arrived earlier than they did and managed to fit in a huge slap of Birthday cake. Birthday cakeIt was delicious, a baked cheesecake with a meringue and peach topping, just scrummy.

And then we toddled off into the Lanes. And just as I was getting my camera out and taking a few pics of choccywoccydoodah (this is all made of chocolate btw) Brighton 50th 1 (1 of 1) Brighton 50th 3 (1 of 1) Brighton 50th 4 (1 of 1)This is their tasting tray, huge pieces of rocky road,Brighton 50th 2 (1 of 1)which were amazing.

It came peeing down, and then it started to thunder and lightening…. We couldn’t move, trapped in a chocolate shop, just imagine, ‘laughs’,  just as I got the phone call from Mum and Dad that they had arrived and were sheltering under some scaffolding… Brighton Birthday 9 (1 of 1)We managed to get out, run to a few shops down and buy a stack of emergency umbrellas and headed off to rescue them.

We found Mum and Dad and herded them onto the pier to have some lunch.  It was lovely, from inside the restaurant we could watch the thunderstorm pass over the sea whilst eating piping hot fish and chips and drinking some very welcome cups of tea. The rain had soaked us through, but with good conversation and a warming meal we were soon just damp and could carry on with our adventure.    Brighton Birthday 5 latest (1 of 1)Mum and Dad enjoying the day.  Brighton Birthday 6 (1 of 1)The day started to brighten Brighton Birthday 7 (1 of 1) Brighton Birthday 8 (1 of 1)and we wandered the pretty lanes.

All too soon the coach came and picked them up and hubby and I headed off for adventures of our own, which mainly included champagne, oysters and lobsters and jolly nice it was too. We got home soon after midnight, at which point it was my birthday!

It was a lovely, lovely day.

The momentous week.

Well, this is the week that I become Fifty!!!!  I know, How did that happen???

To be honest its been by the skin of my teeth, I’ve had more than my fair share of dodgy life threatening happenings but here I am and I am grateful for every single second of it.

So to celebrate we are tootling around being tourists for the week, finally getting around to doing things we have promised ourselves we will do.

We started off with a gentle walk along Westminster and took a few shots of our old favourite Monday 1 (1 of 1) Monday 2 (1 of 1) Monday 3 (1 of 1) Monday 4 (1 of 1)Big Ben.  I love the detail that you just don’t see with the naked eye whilst looking up and if you enlarge these photos the detail is astounding. Monday 5 (1 of 1)Then the object of my desires appears on the horizon. Its been a long time coming, I’ve been waiting for this trip for many a long year. Monday 6 (1 of 1)Isn’t she pretty. Monday 7 (1 of 1)One for the engineers. Monday 8 (1 of 1)And another piccie for me. I’m quite giddy by this point and yes, it was fast track all the way. Monday 9 (1 of 1)And then we are up, floating in the air, rising higher and higher and higher above London. Monday 11 (1 of 1)And so Very, Very, high above Big Ben. Monday 12 (1 of 1)The Shard in the distance. Monday 14 (1 of 1)Buckingham Palace and St James Park – couldn’t see a pelican though. Monday 15 (1 of 1)Horseguards parade, practising…   I believe its a big birthday for the Queen as well. Monday 10 (1 of 1) Monday 13 (1 of 1)Piccies of us.  And then we are back on the ground.  It was amazing, I loved it, we must do it again!!!!

After this we were in need of refreshment and we toddled off to John Lewis roof garden. It’s an absolute treat and has been furnished by the Gardening Society… , the planting is sublime and the cocktails aren’t bad either.  I’ll leave you with a few pics as I must get to bed. Monday 19 (1 of 1) Monday 17 (1 of 1) Monday 18 (1 of 1) Monday 20 (1 of 1) Monday 21 (1 of 1) Monday 22 (1 of 1)



We had a lovely day on Sunday, we got up late and then headed off to see a matinee of Guys and Dolls, which was just wonderful. Sunday 1 (1 of 1)It was a gentle story, not exactly womens lib, from the fifties and a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

Later we caught the bus and went for a quick stroll by the river, I don’t always carry my big DSLR camera, its simply too exhausting, but the light was lovely and I whipped out my camera that fits in my handbag and took a few shots. Sunday 2 (1 of 1)Sunday 3 (1 of 1)A lovely end to the day.

The Garden in June.

Firstly I must apologise for my absence.  What can I say, blogging seemed to pass me by,  I was much happier wrapped up in a crafting project or planning the next days jobs while chatting to hubby.  It is lovely to have him at home full time, its not to say its been without its moments of course as we learn to live full time together.  But on the whole I must say its been a success and I put this all down to my remarkable personality, I mean to say, planning.  Once I started planning and bullet journaling and making notes generally on our to do list for the next day and things that would be nice to get done that month, it all slotted into place.  And he tootled around and I tootled around and then we tootled together. Garden in June 2 (1 of 1)One of our jobs has been put in another step from the house into the garden.  I had noticed we needed it, and asked for it,  but then my right knee really started to grumble from the jolt it was getting by going in and out of the garden that I put a little more pressure on hubby to get the job done.  And I must say he did a very nice job of it, using old bricks and tiles that were at the bottom of the garden.

Let me show you the garden in June, there has been much tidying and weeding, mowing and planting. Garden in June 3 (1 of 1)Cuckoo Spit on the rosemary, a sign that summer has finally arrived. Garden in June 5 (1 of 1)Poppies just about to burst. Garden in June 7 (1 of 1)Jasmine flowering. Garden in June 8 (1 of 1)Garden in June 9 (1 of 1)I’ve no idea what these are called, but they have been flowering all winter.  I was going to cut them back, but they carried on flowering and they are making a very nice show, so I am going to leave them as they are. Garden in June 1 (1 of 1)The geraniums are potted, I do love that flash of scarlet in deep summer. Garden in June 11 (1 of 1)Garden in June 12 (1 of 1)My white lilac is doing the best its ever done.  Its still a very young plant and putting the greenhouse in front of it I wondered if it would get enough light to trigger a flowering, but it has. Garden in June 13 (1 of 1)And the roses are just in bud.

And then we move onto the vegetables. Garden in June 10 (1 of 1) Garden in June 6 (1 of 1)The runner beans are struggling but keeping going, its been very damp and cold for them, they really don’t like it, fingers crossed. Garden in June 14 (1 of 1) Garden in June 15 (1 of 1)The tomato plants have been transplanted into buckets with the bottoms taken out.. They are getting over the shock and starting to flower. Garden in June 16 (1 of 1)Just so pretty. Garden in June 17 (1 of 1)There are twelve tomato plants comprising of cherry, plums and salads,  two cucumbers and this particular plant is doing spectacularly well.  I have fingers crossed as I am typing this because cucumbers are notorious for curling up and dying rather spectacularly.  One leaves the greenhouse at night, returns in the morning and finds a completely dead cucumber plant and I have no idea why it happens.  Garden in June 18 (1 of 1)But taking a closer look, tiny cucumbers just forming. We will be having cucumber sandwiches at the end of June. Garden in June 19 (1 of 1)And that’s it, my tiny North London garden, that gives us such pleasure, in June.