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* * *
A cyclone hit Bangladesh last Saturday, cyclone Roanu.  Did you hear about it on the news, Dear Reader?  I didn't either, and I specifically watched the News last Saturday and Sunday (and every day since.)  Ok, so I was knitting at the same time, or eating tea, but I think it might have registered if it was reported.

  Trouble is the BBC News programme, half-an-hour long at 6pm weekdays has had the first ten to fifteen minutes taken up with Brexit and all the guff either side are spouting. Every day! For the past few weeks, and there's still four weeks to go!

  Srsly, Dear BBC-person-who-decides-what-is-'News', we need to be informed, preferably about the facts of the whole Stay/Leave issue.  We don't need to know all the minutiae of the name calling, rubbish (lies?), scare tactics and who said what about whom.  Certainly not for ten to fifteen minutes every evening!

  There are plenty of other News-worthy things going on - and not just refugees fleeing wherever, how they are getting wherever and how they are being (mis)treated.  Nor how upset people are at the thought of more immigration.  Heck, if they only looked into their family trees they'd probably find they were descended from immigrants anyway!

  Come to think of it, have you heard of the famine in Ethiopia, apart from here?  Cos I don't recall that making the News either.  Ok, so there always seems to be famine somewhere in Africa, but that's more News-worthy than the antics of various politicians, particularly every night!

  I dunno.  Right, I came across a list of ingredients for a beetroot smoothie yesterday.  Or part of a list anyway.  As I have a couple of beetroot knocking around (as you do) I shall try making one.  Now I need ginger, blueberries and pineapple.  Probably need some form of liquid too.  Hmmm, milk/pineapple juice/water?   I'll let you know, Dear Reader.

  Meanwhile y'all have a good day now!  And a good Bank Holiday Weekend, if you have one where you live.
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
frustrated frustrated
Current Music:
BBC News - theme music
* * *
A study has been done.  Apparently half of the mysogynistic posts on Twitter are from women!  Some woman posts a picture of herself/home/cooking/whatever, and there are (far too many) other women 'out there' who feel a need to badmouth her and her achievements.  Would some of them benefit from 'therapy'?  Or is that just me (a woman) attacking them (women who attack other women)?

  It's the same in the US, the coming presidential elections.  Hilary Clinton could be the first female American President.  But there are a lot of women voters who just won't vote for her.  They don't like her, for whatever reason, not just because she's the Democrat candidate.

  What with Trump tapping into the frustration of those who've felt ignored by politicians and these women - you can see how he might end up in the Oval Office.

  It was the same through the nineteenth century - many women reckoned that a woman's place was making a home for her husband and family, or looking after her aging parents.  Those women didn't want the vote.  It wasn't just Male Chauvanism that the Suffragists and Suffragettes were fighting!  (We covered that in History classes - so long ago that that period is now covered in History classes!)

  Women worked hard to get equal wages during the sixties and seventies (that's 1960s & 1970s), among other 'rights'.  These days Feminism is often viewed as a Bad Thing.  Oh, women are happy enough to have jobs, many even have careers.  Still some are just thankful that they can earn enough to help out with family expenses.  But this habit we have of attacking each other online (or in Real Life) isn't helping anyone.

  Honestly girls, we're never going to achieve anything if we keep attacking each other.  Certainly not political leadership.  We've already had a female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.  I think the experience rather put the country off the whole idea!

  Angela Merkel seems to be doing a good job in Germany.  Maybe she'll leave better memories.

  But women attacking other women, it's not going to help us progress.  There's a parallel.

  The Labour Party has been a shambles since Blair.  Mind you, Blair and his policies were often to the political Right of any policy touted by the then Conservatives!

  Since Blair the Labour Party has wobbled between New Labour (Conservatism Lite) and Traditional Labour (much more Socialist outlook).  I don't know whether it's the way the news media have reported matters, but various groups appear to have formed, all of whom are so busy attacking other groups within the party that they appear to have forgotten who the real 'enemy' is and have rendered the Labour Party unelectable.  For years and years.

  Even now, under Traditionalist Jeremy Corbyn, there are whole swathes of the parliamentary party who are dead agin him and work covertly and openly against him.  Thus there is seen to be no electable alternative to the Conservatives, and we need one.

  So come on, guys and gals, get your collective acts together.  Otherwise we'll continue to bump along, squeezed and ignored by those who have.  It's not an enticing prospect, is it, Dear Reader?

  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual;
Current Mood:
thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music:
We All Stand Together (The Frog Song)
* * *
Yesterday afternoon a friend came round and together we made inroads into the rampageous honeysuckle with a pair of borrowed garden shears and her secateurs.  About an hour, and five bin bags of 'cuttings', later we decided to stop.  We'd cleared a good half of the plant and anyway, she needed to go collect her daughter from school.  The rest of the honeysuckle needing removal doesn't look quite so daunting.  Hey, I may yet have a garden!

  We even managed to come up with a rooted bit of the honeysuckle, so she's going to ask her husband (who is in charge of their garden) whether he'd like some.  Regularly pruned, of course!

  The moral of this particular story is that I need to cut back the honeysuckle every one or two years at most, not leave it for seven.  I plead illness.   H doesn't do gardening, though he does appreciate the results.

  I must remember to 'plant out' the parsley I got the other day too.  You know the pots of growing herbs you can buy from the supermarket?  Apparently if you take the overgrown clump of herb seedlings, divide it and replant into several pots or in the ground, you can get quite a few herb plants, which will grow on all summer and into autumn.

  The plants I planted out last week - French beans, some form of leaf crop and bunch onions continue to grow, the french beans despite rampageous attacks by snails.  I put some coffee grounds on the pot as mulch yesterday.  Let's hope this deters them.  The french beans I didn't plant out are setting flowers (purple ones) up on our bedroom windowsill.  They really need planting out - somewhere snail-free (in our yard?)  I could probably do with sowing some more too, if only to replace those chewed by the snails.

  On the theme of gardening - it's the Chelsea Flower Show this week.  I've been quite enjoying the TV coverage, though they tend to show the same gardens time and again.  Have a look at the link, it contains a picture of the knitted/crochet poppies exhibition.  If you look closely at the close-up of the 'flowers', you can see that they are just that - knitted and crochted.  So much for the gardening presenters who seem to not know the difference!

  Now I know my (very) little patch will never resemble a Chelsea garden (too many snails for one thing,) unless it be in the 'construction' or 'taking down' stages, but this summer it's going to look (quite) good.

  Right, having chased the dust yesterday, I suppose it's time to plant out the parsley and have another hack at that honeysuckle.  Oh.  Dear.

  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual, but in the 'garden'
Current Mood:
creative creative
Current Music:
Victorian Kitchen Garden: Suite (1) - Paul Reade
* * *
A chap in Singapore, Don Sah, took photos of a storm last night.  He then stitched together the shots with lightning.

  All that power in just the one storm!  Those who know about such things reckon you could power Singapore on one lightning strike for quite a long time - IF we had the capacity to capture so much power in a split second AND we had the ability to store it.

  It's like with solar power, though there the 'capture' techonology is better.  The 'storage' capacity still requires work.  Only there isn't the drive to do such research and development.  Particularly now a council has licensed Fracking in North Yorkshire*.

  Dur?  It's burning Fossil Fuels, particularly in the past half-to-three-quarter-century that's gotten us into the mess we're currently in.  We do not need to source and burn more.  That will only make things worse - and as recent winters have shown, it's not just far away places which are subject to the vagaries of Climate Change due to Global Warming.

  And that's only the end result of Fracking.  There is also the possibility of ground water pollution,  environment degredation and, possibly, (remember the last trial?) earth tremors.  Come on Guys, get with the program and invest in power storage technology.   Preferably technologies that don't also cost the earth.  Then we can harvest the sun and, maybe, power our cities with lightning.

  Come to think of it, maybe better methods of power distribution would repay research and development too.  I think most people are more-or-less ok with pylons and power lines, though some still object when they get too near their homes/local beauty spots.  Yes, I can see their point, but do they want power or not?

  It's kinda like the people who want mobile phone coverage but start getting headaches at the mere thought of having a mast anywhere near them!  You can't have it both ways.

  Hmmm, and here am I trying to find out quite where my 'mobile' will agree to send txts from (yes, I know that's an inelegant sentence construction, but anything else looked worse.)  I suppose I could always put in a request for a new mobile come my birthday or Christmas.  Always assuming the present model lasts that long.

  And Finally - Happy Birthday, as might have been arranged by Richard Wagner (Tristan und Isolde and all that!)

  Right, off to chase more dust, then, perhaps, some more knitting.  Either red linen mix, which is rapidly approaching the bottom edge of the cardigan; or rainbow coloured woollen stripes, which is approaching the neck.  Thinx: I have at least one sock on the needles still, plus three skeins of the Knitting Goddess wool-plus-sock-pattern club.  Guess I'll finish the cardi and jumper set, then maybe start on one of TKG's socks.  Will that be before the next pair arrives in July?  We'll see.

  Y'all have a good day now!



  *There's a petition you can sign about it.
Current Location:
as usual, with duster
Current Mood:
thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music:
Hallelujah Chorus - George Frideric Handel
* * *
Guess what visited (sort of) locally at the weekend?  As it's currently 'The Cathedrals Express' I reckon it should come here.  We have a cathedral, heck, we have two!  And no, 'here' isn't Liverpool.

  Now why did it have a diesel loco on the back end?  In case of engine failure?  To work the heating?  I didn't think it was that chilly this weekend, but . . .  I dare say that if it comes more locally (see above about cathedrals) we'll go have a quick look too.  Hmmm, would they be able to take it to the Harbour Station, or would the loco be too heavy for the pier?  Never mind trying to run it around and stick it on the new 'front' end of the train.  They could, probably, do that at Town Station, even if they had to run the loco up to Fratton and 'fiddle' with it there!  Hmmm, perhaps that's why it won't be coming here.  Though we've had other steam locos visit.

  Meanwhile this week sees the Chelsea Flower Show.  w00t!  I shall be enjoying the BBC coverage, the meantime wondering why modern TV producers and directors seem to think that shots have to change every few seconds.  I mean, who can have a proper look at anything if the camera angle/location keeps 'flipping'?

  And knitting has gotten in on the floral act too.  No, Chelsea hasn't been yarnbombed, as far as I know.  There is, however, an exhibit displaying nearly 300,000 knitted poppies, made by people worldwide, paying tribute to those who have died in war.  A bit like the 'Field of Blood' ceramic poppies that are now touring the country after their successful exhibition at the Tower of London last year.  Well, the programme last night said they were knitted.  The news website article reckons they're crocheted.  No difference there then.  Clearly the journalists and gardening presenters who did the programme and the article just don't realise the difference.  And there was I thinking that kind of ignorance was the province of provincial news media - like our local paper.

  As I've written before, our local paper has articles which contain spelling errors, gramatical errors, use the wrong word entirely (but which won't be red or greenlined by the computer because it's spelled correctly, see 'flaunt'/'flout'), have their 'facts' plain wrong (this in articles about which we have specialist knowledge) or have articles which finis. . . because the space for them is limited.

  Apparently the paper sponsors Journalism courses at a local college.  Here's hoping they bother emphasising such things as 'using your Spellcheck', or even a dictionary, 'using the 'greenline' facility', 'improving your vocabulary', the importance of ensuring that your 'facts' actually are before you press 'publish' and checking that you get the whole article into any edition of the paper.

  It all makes H & me rather wonder quite what the Editor does these days!  Mind you, it has been thus in all the years we've been reading the paper.  So the Editors have been remiss for over thirty years!  Time to remind them of what 'Editor' actually means and bring back the blue pencil?  Or maybe time to send the Editor on one of those Journalism courses?

  And it's another month til the EU exit/stay poll.  Oh.  No!  That means we've another month of 'news', 'opinion', opinion polls and various politicians spouting what seem like ever more ridiculous predictions as to what 'will' happen if we stay/leave.  Will!  It's not 'will' at all, it's 'might'. We don't know, however fancy your formulae!  Aaaarrrggh!

  Ah well.  And Finally - have a rather good marble maze thingy.  Thnx H.


  I particularly like the magnetic 'plug chain' bits!

  Right, I'm off to chase dust, then do some more knitting. Mercy is progressing nicely.  I'm on the chevrons at the hem now, then sleeves and bands to do.  I've also started a baby's* jumper, hat and bootees set in wool in rainbow colours.  Mercy is now at a 'needs attention' stage, so the rainbow set is for TV knitting.  So far I've only had to tink a few bits!

  Aaaarrrggh!  Aaaarrrggh!  And Aaaarrrggh! Again!  I've just noticed that the front of Mercy has garter stitch button bands knitted in with the rest of the body of the cardigan.  Why did I not notice that before, or read it in the pattern?  I foresee a lot of reknitting of a few stitches coming on.  Or maybe I'll just re-jig it by knitting on garter stitch bands, a bit like at the neckline.

  Y'all have a good day now!




   *No, I don't have a particular baby in mind.  I just wanted a change** from Mercy and like rainbow colours - despite the way they've been hijacked by too many Special Interest Groups!

    Hmmm, would recipient parents think that their child might be representing LGTBs?  Would anyone seeing a baby so dressed?  Honestly!!!

  **Monogamy?  In marriage, yes.  In knitting, probably not.  Too long a project and I get a little bored.  Then there's always the 'needs attention' and 'TV knitting' thing.
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
cheerful, until I noticed the cardigan button bands!
Current Music:
Piano Concerto #3 (1) - Rachmaninov
* * *
* * *
Oh boy - Wool Warehouse (my main supplier) is now doing kits for dog jumpers!  Should you have a chilly pooch - Dachshund, Toy Dog, Terrier (presumably the smaller varieties) or Whippet, you can creat a personalised sweater for them.  I think that even in the UK it is probably too warm for a doggie jumper now, but it might be a suitably small creation to have on the needles so that it would be ready come autumn.  Not that I'd have a dog that would 'require' a sweater.  All the breeds mentioned are 'trip hazzards' at the very least, and yappy with it.  But there you are, you gotta admire WW's attempts at marketing.  Or something. Fancy knitting Apple a sweater, Anne-Laure?

  To a more serious subject - astronomy.  Those in the know say that the planet Mars is approaching perigee (the nearest to the Earth that it ever gets).  It's pretty close at the moment, on 30th May it will be a mere 46.8 million miles away!  So, should the evening be clear, Dear Reader, look southeast at nightfall.  Hmmm, wonder what the angle of elevation will be?  We have 'ahses in between to the southeast.  (We have 'ahses in between all round.)  Maybe I should look from the bedroom window?

  There's a full moon due 21st May to add to the spectacle, think the forecast for tomorrow might be 'overcast, with precipitation', but both Mars and Moon will be visible for another week at least.  Come 2018 Mars will reach absolute perigee - 36 million miles, something it does every ten years or so.  This would be the obvious time to send rocket of any sort to Mars, seeing as it's reputed to take two years to get there.  Launch it now and it'd have a shorter distance to travel, by several million miles.

  Mind you, in space a million miles more or less is but peanuts, as are a few light years more or less.  Hmmm, Star Wars, Star Trek et al are all very interesting, but I think monies would be better spent sorting out things on earth.  I think it indefensible that we have people dying from preventable diseases, whose only water supply is contaminated and who have very little to no chance of even a basic education, yet we're off exploring space.

  I've said before, and history has proved it time and again, squeeze, oppress, ignore the poor and they'll, eventually, rebel and destroy you.  At least make attempts to help the world's poor before you try exploring even the rest of the solar system.  Please.

  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual. Knitting, but not for dogs!
Current Mood:
thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music:
Canario - Johann Kapsberger
* * *
A similar process applies for crochet or sewn-from-fabric garments/accessories.

  1. Decide what you want to knit - jumper, cardigan, shawl, baby clothes, children's clothes . . .   (Steps 1. & 2. are interchangeable)

  2. Find a good selection of knitting patterns.  I like Knitty and Drops. Ravelry is also good (though not always free)

  3. Pick one which you (or your recipient) like, suits you/them, and is of a suitable skill level for you.  This is important.  An aran sweater,  or a lace shawl, are not first-time knits.  Heck, they're probably tenth- or eleventh-time knits, at least!

  4. Make sure the size of knitted item - number of stitches, thickness of yarn, finished size - is within your knittting interest.  Something which will take several months is no good if you have a short attention span.  Similarly a complex charted pattern just doesn't go with TV or Boxed Set knitting!

  5. Bear in mind, just because socks or gloves are small DOESN'T mean that they're also that simple.  A sweater might well be more straightforward.

  6. What kind of yarn is suggested?  You can substitute different wool yarns for each other.  You can substitute acrylic yarns even.  Actually acrylic is often a good idea for baby clothes, good acrylic washes well.  You cannot substitute cotton or linen yarns in a pattern for a wool garment or vice versa.  Wool has elasticity.  Cotton or linen doesn't.

 Ok, having chosen your pattern, measure yourself/recipient.  Most patterns these days have a 'schematic' which has various measurements already in place.  Measure yourself and add these measurements to the schematic.  Note where the measurements differ, and by how much. I invariably have to knit long sleeves much longer than specified.  It involves working out how many rows to knit between increases/decreases, as opposed to the numbers given in the pattern.  Getting the sums straight in your head helps, as does a calculator.
 
  From all this you can calculate the yardage/number of balls of yarn you'll need.  Yardage/metreage is a good guide if you are substituting yarns.  Then

  1. After much careful thought, select your yarn (online generally has a better selection than your LYS.  At your LYS you can touch the yarns and see the actual colours.  You pays your money . . .)

  2. Knit a Swatch.  Do NOT skip this stage.  You might want to dive straight into the garment.  Knit the Swatch.  Make it at least 6"/15 cm wide and 6-10/15-25 cm long.  Preferably make it a bit bigger (after a while you might well have enough swatches to make a blanket).  Maybe you could get another ball of yarn just for the swatch, specially if they're small balls (25g anyone?)  Knit the swatch at the (general) time of day you'd normally knit.  Knit in stocking stitch.  If there are any knitted patterns, also swatch them.  Measure your swatch - number of stitches and rows per 4"/10 cm.  Make a record of this!

  3. Wash your swatch - I find shampoo helps here.  Just disolve it in warm water, submerge the swatch, swish it about, don't rub, scrub or wring.  Rinse swatch.  Wrap in a towel and exert pressure (walk on it?) to remove excess water.  Dry FLAT.

  4. Measure your swatch again.  How many rows/stitches per 4"/10 cm?  Make a note, compare it with the unwashed note.

  5. Compare your swatch (washed) tension with the pattern tension.  Is it the same?  Great, cast on.  Is it different?  If so, how different?  I stitch/row, three or four stitches/rows?  You can (probably) get away with one stitch/row, more and you'll need to swatch again with a smaller or larger sized needle to give a tension nearest to the pattern.  Make a note of this - you'll either be using different sized knitting needles, or a different size in the pattern!

 With all this information - go through the pattern marking the number of stitches/rows/sizes you'll be using.  Be careful as you do this and make all markings clearly, so that when you get to them you know what to do!

  Now, and only now, you can cast on.  Enjoy your knitting.  I find it a lot easier to knit ends in as I go along.  it saves a lot of 'sewing in' at the end.

  Enjoy the process of knitting your garment.  If you find yourself hating the process - try putting it away til later (remember when and where you put it!)  Try and work out why you are hating the process.  Is it the yarn - texture/hand feel/colour?  Is it the pattern - too simple/too complicated?  Is it the programme(s) you are watching?  You never know, a different programme/boxed set and you might enjoy the process.

  If the pattern is complicated then it isn't 'TV knitting'.  Some people swear by listening to podcasts, the radio, audio books.  Take your pick.  If your pattern is too complicated for 'TV knitting' then it's probably too complicated to knit while having a conversation.  Use it as 'me time'!

  If you find your hands/shoulders tensing up and aching after a knitting session - there are exercises you can do to improve things.  Take some time off too.  Knitting for hours in a row, specially if you are unpractised, can cause problems.

  Block your garment.  Do NOT skip this step, particularly with lace!  Yes, it takes a bit longer, but you've already spent a few weeks preparing for and knitting your garment, a few days more won't matter and will affect the appearance of the finished garment.  If your garment is knitted in pieces - block each piece, measurements should be in the schematic.  If your garment is knitted in one piece - block the whole garment.  Pat and pull it gently to shape/size.  Lace needs pinning, as may the separate pieces of a garment.

  1. Using either shampoo or special 'wool wash' and warm water, submerge your knitting.  Leave for 15-20 minutes to soak.  If you used shampoo, rinse your knitting (this can be done in the washing machine on a gentle 'rinse' cycle.)  DO NOT wring your knitting.  If your washing machine has a gentle 'spin' cycle you can spin your knitting.  Othewise wrap it in a large towel and press out excess water - walk on it!

  2. Pat and pull your knitting gently to shape/size.  Lace needs pinning, as may the separate pieces of a garment.  You can get special blocking boards, pins and wires.  Or you can use a dry towel.  Whatever you do, DRY THE GARMENT FLAT.  This can take a day, or several, depending on the weather and the yarn.

  3. When dry sew in ends, assemble garment pieces, sew on buttons/snaps etc

 Enjoy wearing your knitting.

  As the meerkat says, 'simples!'
Current Location:
as usual, with knitting
Current Mood:
creative creative
Current Music:
Anything which helps
* * *
There has been quite a lot of fuss over recent months about the use/licensing of pesticides by the EU.  Or the wisdom of their use in general. There's the Monsanto weedkiller Glyphosate - there's a petition to get it banned, or at very least severly restricted.  There are the neonicotinoid pesticides - were banned in the EU, then UK gave them a one year 'period of use', now there is pressure from some to extend that to a two year period.  Meanwhile there is great pressure to reinstate the ban.

  Apparently neonicotinoids, which are used to coat seeds to prevent pest damage in storage, persisit into the grown plant and into any flowers.  Thus they are picked up by the ever reducing number of bees and other pollinating insects.  Pollinating insects on which the otherwise treated crops depend.  Come to think of it, apparently 30% of all crops grown are dependent upon there being an adequate population of pollinating insects.  Looks like you can't use 'neonics' to protect your seed crops in storage and have pollinating insects for when they're growing!  Hmmm.

  Of course there are other ways of doing things.  In many cases the 'pest' insects have other creatures:- insects, mites, fungi, which predate them.  We've all heard about ladybirds eating aphids - I'm currently awaiting the local ladybird population to tend my rose.  Meanwhile I'm squishing any greenfly I come across.

  We may have all heard about the Encarsia wasp which predates whitefly.  Thus commercial growers of whitefly-prone crops, eg: tomatoes, tend to stock their glasshouses with Encarsia wasps every year.  We may know about the nematode parasites we can buy to water onto our vegetable plots, which parasitise slugs.  And we've all heard about, maybe even seen, thrushes and hedgehogs in action, though these are a lot harder to get hold of.  Just imagine, mail-order hedgehogs for slug and snail problems!

  Other countries are also getting in on the 'pest of the pest' act.  Kenya is at the forefront of this sector.  Kenya exports millions of pounds worth of agricultural products to the EU - from fresh fruit and vegetables to fresh flowers.  These are grown by hundreds of farmers.  As the EU has increasingly banned or restricted the use of chemicals in farming, Kenya's farmers have had to follow suit to continue selling their products in Europe (best-priced markets).  Consequently companies which research, develop and breed 'pest of pest' biological controls are also developing.  The companies do their own research, source agents locally and develop their own production technologies.  They also employ local people.

  One drawback is that it can cost twice as much to treat a crop with bio-control agents than with chemical pesticides.  Thus they tend to be used on 'expensive' cash crops - eg: those sold to the EU, like roses or green beans.  I suppose bio-control production prices will come down, eventually.  You never know, the production and use of chemical pesticides might fade away too (even with Monsanto's lobbying), which will be better for the environment.  Then, maybe, ordinary Kenyans will be able to benefit from pesticide-free crops too.

  Right, I'm off to check my rosebuds.  The ol' finger-and-thumb-pinch is also bio-control of pests.

  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music:
Fight of the Bumble Bee - Rimsky Korsakov
* * *
Yesterday, with my various leg joints being stiffish, though not screaming as they were Monday night (they're feeling much better today, thank you for asking), I decided to stay at home.  I pottered, I hobbled, I planted out some seedlings - particularly some form of leaf crop which, growing in a seed tray, had decided that it'd better go straight to seed.  I nipped off the flower buds.  The plants looked a bit floppy after they'd been planted.  We'll see.

  I also potted on a couple of chilli plants, I have four, just hope they'll grow now, and the tomato plants.  Two of the tomato plants are back on the bedroom windowsill, the other two are out in the yard (in pots) getting blown about and rained on.  I planted out a few French Bean plants (bush-type, not climbing), sowed a few different seeds 'in place' and 'de-aphided' the rose buds.  I also took up the shears and hacked back some of the rampageous honeysuckle.  Now all I have to do is bag up the offcuts.  Hmmm, maybe I'll wait til it's drier.

  As I mentioned, today is breezy and wet.  Well, I suppose it would be after I've planted things out.  I'm keeping the Morning Glories in the front room windowsill for now.  They're getting long and trying to climb up the nets or escape the windowsill, but it's too cool outside (particularly today) for them.  I wonder, if you nip out the growing tip of a Morning Glory seedling, does it make a bushier plant?  Morning Glories like it warm.  If it's too cool the leaves go pale and they refuse to grow, let alone flower.  They'd have loved it over the weekend and Monday.  That's British weather for you.  I know we were getting all four seasons in one day back in late April.  So far this week we've had Spring and Summer.  Today looks more like Autumn.

  I did have one of those metal-framed, plastic covered 'greenhouses' one year.  It worked quite well, even though the tomatoes that year tried to grow too tall for it.  Trouble was the back panel flapped so much in the wind that it flogged itself to tatters.  I did see a replacement cover at the Garden Centre on Monday, but don't know how much of the metal framework has survived.  It's buried under the rampageous honeysuckle.  I'll get round to excavating it eventually.  On a dry day!

  Meanwhile the salad greens in the trough in the front room windowsill are more than ripe for another picking.  Which is just as well as they'll be needed for tea tonight.  They've been quite a good planting, even though the packet said they'd be ready for harvesting within three weeks of sowing - it was more like six weeks.  I reckon they'll be good for another couple of weeks of harvesting too.  Hmmm, maybe it's time to plant up a replacement trough.

  Right, that's it for the nonce.  Must go chase some dust.  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual, getting rained on!
Current Mood:
creative creative
Current Music:
Pastoral Symphony (2) - Beethoven
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Yesterday being brightly sunny I decided it was high time I visited Staunton Park again.  So I caught the bus from the end of the road much further and went to the garden centre first.  Had a look at the various plants available and thought (thoughts like, "If I'm going to Staunton, do I really want to have plants with me?")  Tried out the cafe (a tad expensive, I thought, but not bad,) then wandered round the indoor part - pet's corner, gardening tools, seeds, two clothing outlets (I got a couple of price-reduced t-shirts), scented candles, stuff, you know the kind of thing, Dear Reader.

  Then I sat and knitted* for a while, then knitted some more at the bus stop until the bus came.  Then knitted some more en route to Staunton Park.  Here, having joined up for a year, I flashed my membership card and went into the Model Farm side.  Hmmm, I thought there were few animals the last time I looked.  This time there were definitely fewer, though there were some lambs with their ewes.

  They're redeveloping the play area too, so that wasn't much to look at.  I suppose there were quite a few disappointed young visitors recently.  Apparently it'll be done for the half-term week, in a fortnight's time.

  What animals there are are distributed somewhat randomly.  There was a paddock labelled 'Rheas and Fallow Deer' which most definitely contained Rheas (even a leukistic (pale coloured) or albino one, it was too far away to tell).  It also contained no Fallow Deer, but there was a lying-down Llama.  I know what a llama looks like, Dear Reader, I'm a yarn nut!  There were a couple of Shetland ponies in another paddock and some sheep lying down in the shade in another.  I suppose it'll be time for shearing in a few weeks.

  The rhododendrons are just coming out.  Think another trip next week or the week after should catch them.  The Walled Garden was lovely - I have yet to discover the Sensory Garden and the Golden Jubilee Maze.  Some years they grow vegetables there (walled garden, originally the Kitchen Garden for the Big House, which is no longer there), which they sell.  This year they appear to be growing herbs and flowers.  I ducked into the glass houses briefly - the hot/dry house with pelargoniums, the cool/damp house with ferns, the hot/damp 'tropical' house with various 'jungly' plants and things like cocoa highlighted.  That always steams up my glasses.

  There is also a tropical pond house which, usually, houses an Amazon water lily, Victoria amazonica (the white flowered form).  Sir George Staunton was only the second or third person in the country to grow said lily back in the day (c1850s).  These days the pond is being treated, possibly for blanket weed.  Consequently you are warned not to put your hands or feet into the water.  I watched the guppies swimming around for a while, then escaped into the cooler, drier outdoors.  I also had an ice-cream, the first this year.

  All this involved a fair amount of walking, mostly done without my stick - which maybe wasn't such a bright idea.  Hobbling around at home later on with my left hip and right knee both shouting at me I concluded I should have brought the stick into use a lot sooner.  Ah well, shan't be going far today, stick or no stick.

  It was a very pleasant outing but I didn't get home until six pm.  Realising I might be late (this around 2:30-3:00pm) I tried texting H to let him know.  Three hours later, after a good fifty tries and being almost back on the Island (Portsea) the message actually sent!  By which time, of course, H had returned home, noticed neither I nor my shoes were there and concluded I'd gone out!

  But honestly!  First World Rant coming up!  My 'mobile'!  It's a (somewhat elderly) Nokia 5140i.  It will let me txt from home, no probs (usually).  A few weeks back it suddenly started objecting to txting from anywhere else - including halfway across Portsmouth.  Oh I do all the usual things: try 'sending' a different way.  Save message, turn off.  Turn on, 'send' saved message.  Repeat until it goes, or doesn't.  Yesterday it took forever.

  Now I know coverage is patchy, at best, at Staunton Park.  But even when the side bars were (apparently) all there, indicating good signal availability, it wasn't sending.  Come to think of it, while we were in Exmouth it absolutely refused to 'send' too.  Not from Exmouth, nor Sidmouth, nor Dorchester, not until we got back to Portsmouth and were at home!

  What use is a 'mobile' which only sends texts from home, Dear Reader?  That's not a mobile, it's a land line, and we already have one of those.

  I shall try emailing EE - IF I can find an address!  I shan't try phoning them, they only want to sell me a new mobile, preferably with an flashy (and expensive) contract.  I don't want a smartphone.  I want one which will phone, has calendar, calculator and alarm functions, and will send texts from anywhere there is a signal.  Is that too much to ask, Dear Reader?  Oh yes, and I want it PAYG.





  *The head and body of the dog, from a kit which came free with May's Let's Knit.
          Kitt
Think I'll also knit the cow, pig and sheep, but not the mouse.
Current Location:
as usual, possibly with stick!
Current Mood:
refreshed refreshed
Current Music:
The Trout - Schubert
* * *
* * *

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