Summer revisited

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Having gone to bed rather late on Wednesday (27) evening meant I didn’t arise too early on Thursday. I had remained up until E returned from her visit to the hospital to see her mom who had been taken ill late in the afternoon. It turned out that her mom had to stay in hospital overnight for further tests and according to E was feeling a little better before E left for home. It was approaching midnight by the time she returned. She too slept in late and didn’t come down for breakfast until after ten-thirty, I had finished mine an hour earlier. I wanted to go for a walk but waited until she was up and about before doing so. The weather forecast was good, dry, warm  and sunny for the whole day. That is how it turned out, in fact I was feeling a little too warm in my coat and thought I might have been better not wearing it until I got to the sea front where it felt a bit cooler. Had I gone out earlier it would have been much cooler. Once the sun was up it was just like another Summer’s day even though it was now Autumn and almost October. By the time I had returned home two hours later I really needed to remove my coat I was so hot! The gates on the drive to the garage in which E  parks her car were open. She had gone out, in fact I learned she had gone to the hospital as I had expected and would follow on and do the weekly shopping later if  all went to plan. I ate lunch then spent a couple of hours on the patio in the heat of the Autumn sun. Tomorrow’s forecast was for plenty of rain. The lawn was getting covered with fallen leaves again after we had swept it the afternoon before………now I knew it was Autumn.

PS. To E’s relief her mom was back home by evening after being discharged from the hospital.

Shirley Anne

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The season’s work

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There’s no getting away from it, Autumn is upon us here in the UK. As the temperate areas of the Southern Hemisphere are welcoming Spring, we in the north are moving in the opposite direction. Leaves have been falling from the trees in greater quantities and for anyone living near that means the annual sweeping up of them! It’s either that else let the mess continue. Having a garden is a lovely thing and for those who wish to keep theirs tidy and well-maintained sweeping up the leaves is a must. The problem is the leaves don’t all fall at the same time. A couple of days ago I decided to sweep up as many of the leaves that had fallen as I could, mainly off the pathways because quite simply I got fed-up looking at the state of the garden. As the green waste bins were full after my trimming back the bushes in the front garden there was limited space for any swept-up leaves. I managed however to get them all in by compression. On Wednesday we were expecting another visit from the installers of our new garage door prior to it being installed the following week on Thursday. More accurate measurements were required and an assessment of the preparatory work we had done for the installation was needed. It was just as well I was at home for they had misunderstood my original request to maintain head-clearance and the reason for my having the roof at that point raised to accommodate the unit. They didn’t stop long and after five minutes or so were on their way. They weren’t sure if it would be themselves or the other local crew who would return to carry out the installation. E had been working in her studio during the morning but after lunch she joined with me and we cleared-up the fallen leaves once more but this time we included the lawn. Fortunately we have one of those devices , a rotatory sweeper which sweeps up the leaves into a hopper by simply pushing it along the ground. We had the work done in less than fifteen minutes but then had to put the leaves into one of the builder’s bags we keep in the garage. The green waste bins wouldn’t be emptied until two weeks later so storing the leaves temporarily in the bags was the only option and there would be more leaves to sweep up long before then. Autumn in the garden is never dull, there is always something to do, in fact I have some plans afoot already.

Shirley Anne

Not so bad really

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More Than I Asked For

More Than I Asked For (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When asked by someone how we are most of the time we answer as above even if it isn’t true. Many ask but don’t really expect us to say anything different and if we do then the subject is swiftly changed. There is an element of insincerity in being asked how we are for if we want to reply honestly and truthfully we often don’t get the chance. Asking about our well-being has become more of a way of merely saying hello. How many folk do you know who actually want to know the details of your struggles in life? How many will actually take time out to listen? I am often asked how I am doing but can only answer that it isn’t so bad, and really, it isn’t. We might say that things could be better but could they really be better or are we simply wishing for things that in fact we already have? Are not all the best things in life free? We do well if we’ve food at our table, clothes upon our backs and a roof over our heads do we not? Anything over and above these basics is a bonus, like enjoying good health for instance. Not all of us can say we are completely free of one ailment or another, except perhaps when we are young. No-one is really exempt from falling ill or becoming tired and exhausted. Even the most healthy can fall sick sometimes. All we can do is take preventative measures and be cautious in what we do or what we eat and drink. Life can always be better I suppose, it all depends upon our attitude and how much we can remain contented with our lot. Striving after gain is stressful  and can lead to ill-health. I remember the story, perhaps you do too, of an older guy who went fishing one day and sat at the side of a lake for hours with only a catch of one or two fish. Along came a well-dressed man who cheerfully said hello and broke into conversation with him. ‘Listen’ he said, ‘You could catch a lot more fish if you’d a mind to do so for there are plenty here in this lake. Just think, you could sell off what you don’t want and make a tidy profit. If you really had ambition you could save for a fishing boat and catch even more fish. You could then retire with all the cash you’d make and do whatever you wanted’. The fisherman thought for a minute then replied, ‘What do you think I’m doing now’? You see we often don’t see what we’ve already got right beneath our noses………It’s not so bad really.

Shirley Anne

Well spent

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My van will be ten years on the road come Spring, March to be precise and during that period so far it has covered a mere thirty thousand and a couple of hundred miles only. Not a lot of mileage and considering the engine is run on diesel, a mere drop in the ocean. That means little wear and tear and of course little expenditure too. Nevertheless despite the low mileage the engine has been started many, many times which of course has been a strain on the battery. The original battery, as I write this on Monday, is still under the bonnet but I made the decision to have it replaced and by Tuesday a new one will have been installed. I had the old one checked beforehand of course and a replacement was just about required. Although I could have managed with the old battery for a while longer I thought it prudent to have it replaced just in case it failed at an inopportune time. Money well spent I think. On Wednesday this week (27th) another measurement will be taken in the garage to ensure our alterations will be adequate for the new door installation. There is no reason why it should not as we have followed the instructions regarding the installers requirements. The door will be installed on Thursday the following week and I am to pay the balance on the day. However, the fitters are to be paid separately preferably by cash. With that in mind and whilst I was out arranging for the battery replacement I withdrew the remainder of the cash which I couldn’t withdraw the first time in readiness. The fee will be £415 requiring two withdrawals from an ATM on separate days because of the present £300 limit here in the UK. All routine stuff as we all know. That expenditure will be money well spent too. I asked E if she would like to dine out for we hadn’t done that for a time but she had to spend the late morning and early afternoon out with her mom. On my return home she still hadn’t left the house but did so soon afterward. It was one-fifteen when she returned and we went out to lunch. We drove to a place located on the other side of the next town, somewhere we have visited many times. This time however service was slow even though there were few diners in there. Disappointed we left and went to another establishment not far down the road, another place we have visited many times before. This time the service was prompt. Well we thoroughly enjoyed the time spent there laughing and joking with the staff as well as ourselves. Time well spent cheering up other people and bolstering our own relationship too. We didn’t stay for coffee though as we might have done but drove homeward passing Dobbies (garden centre) on the way where we spent a little time drinking coffee. The coffee was free, that is each month I am entitled to two free drinks of coffee or tea because I have membership there. That was nice too and again our time had been well spent.

Shirley Anne

The future……………your future!

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What is going to happen in the future? (1 Corinthians 15:51–58)
What happens when we die? The New Testament indicates that people experience an “intermediate state,” which refers to a person’s existence between their time of death and the promised resurrection of their new body. Their earthly body goes into the grave; their spirit lives on in one of two places—in God’s presence where they enjoy a time of peace until they receive their resurrected bodies or in a place of torment where they await final judgment. Jesus talked about this vividly in the story about a rich man and Lazarus (not the Lazarus Jesus raised from the dead). Jesus depicted the place of blessedness for the righteous as Abraham’s side and the place of torment for the wicked as Hades. (See Luke 16:19-31.)
The grand promise of God and the ultimate hope for all Christians is the resurrection. Just as Christ was raised from the dead and received an imperishable body, so will all those who believe in Christ. Paul, writing to the church at Corinth, details this major truth.(See 1 Corinthians 15:51-58.)
The event that will trigger this promised resurrection is the Second coming of Christ. Often the Bible refers to the return of Christ as the “day of the Lord.” Paul explains that on the great day of Christ’s return God will resurrect those who have died and then all believers will be brought together and will be with the Lord Jesus forever.
After Jesus returns and we are resurrected into our imperishable bodies, there will be a final judgment by God of every nation. John saw and recorded a vision from God about what will happen at this time of judgment. John wrote down the final movement in God’s grand story—the restoration of what was lost in the beginning. What we read in the opening creation story of Genesis we see again in Revelation—a re-creation—but on a grander scale to accommodate all the people over the centuries who have embraced Christ and received eternal life. (See Revelation 20:11-22:21.)

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? (John 14:1–2)

I believe (Christians) there is a heaven and a hell and that Jesus will return to judge all people and to establish his eternal kingdom.
What difference does this make in the way I live?
I ask you to prayerfully take a moment to do an inventory of your relationships. How many non-Christians are currently in your circle of influence? And of these non-Christians in your cir­cle, how many are you actively sharing God’s love with?
Taken from NIV Believe

For my non-believing readers: Although you may not believe in God it doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. For many years I resisted the possibility that there was a God and no matter what people told me I just refused to take it seriously. What did I want with a God? How was it possible for God to be omnipotent and omnipresent? Thinking as a human being who was proud and unyielding and could only see things my way kept me from my Creator. All this time He waited patiently until one day……….I reached out to Him and was welcomed with open arms.

Shirley Anne

A dry slot

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I had placed an order for a new leather-look skirt on Thursday evening (21) and was informed it would arrive the following Monday but as seems to be usual for on-line shopping it was delivered sooner on Saturday 23. I had been woken by the mobile phone jingle that indicated a text message had been received. It was still only seven o’clock in the morning! That meant I had to get up just in case the postman arrived early. He actually arrived at ten-thirty, about his normal time for deliveries at our house. Now I had it in mind to do some work in the garden on Saturday morning whilst we were enjoying a couple of days of dry weather. I had to shelve the idea at least until the postman had arrived. The work I wanted to do was to mix some fine concrete and apply it as a fillet around the stone edging along the flowerbeds where it meets with the footpath. Early in the year I had installed some stones as an edging along the long flowerbed and had applied a thick fillet of concrete. Now I wanted to do the same to three other main beds, around the Mound, alongside the greenhouses and along the west bed. During the summer we had been pestered by ants digging in between the stones and the footpath in those areas leaving as they do the removed soil or sand. I wanted to put a thicker fillet of concrete down to prevent further ant destruction. Having mixed the concrete I got on with the work which took me two hours to complete.

The pictures were taken shortly after the work was completed so there remained the task of cleaning up the concrete from the paths. That couldn’t be done completely until the following day when the fillets had set. As usual click on pictures to magnify or right-click and open in new tab.

Shirley Anne

Free coal and dinosaur bones

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I never thought I would enjoy retirement, not having to get up early unless I want to but to simply enjoy each day as it comes. One of the things I find I am able to do more often is going for a walk, once that used to be a run but then I was working too. The only time I am tied to the house these days is if I am expecting visitors or people coming to do work for me. I took one of my morning walks on Friday (22), this time walking south along the coastal road and returning along the beach. For the best part of the return on the beach it is so pleasant and as usual my thoughts are at their best at those times. Further toward my turn-off point the beach gets wetter, then muddier and it isn’t so good to walk on. It never used to be that way but the paths I used to be able to take to get me directly on the sand have been left to Nature and have accordingly disappeared. I shall not give up looking for a better way in the future that will take me through the overgrown part of the dunes and get me directly to the sandy beach.

Irritator challengeri is probably a spinosauri...

Irritator challengeri is probably a spinosaurid dinosaur related to Spinosaurus. It is thought to have lived in the early Cretaceous period, around 110 million years ago. Current estimations indicate a length of 8 metres (26 feet) and a height of 3 metres (9 feet). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyway I suppose many, if not most of my readers will not know that here in Southport and along the shore southward toward the River Mersey, there exists out to sea a submerged coal seam, probably more than one which can only mean one thing, there must have been a forest, tropical or otherwise long before the coast became to look as it now does. Anyone having an open fireplace at home has access to free coal every day if they are prepared to pick it up off the beach. The coal gets washed onto the beach and lies there amongst the sea shells, sea weed and anything else that finds its way there. I was walking along thinking if anyone has ever discovered dinosaur bones which have become exposed or washed up the beach. If  forests indeed once flourished in the area, and they must have because the coal proves it, it is very likely that dinosaurs and small animals once roamed here too. I seem to recall having seen a map of the UK as it most probably looked in pre-historic times where it was located much further south than it now is. Of course the land was then still part of the much larger continent called Gondwanaland. I could have walked over many dinosaur skeletons without realising it. Now there’s a thought!

Shirley Anne   .

Moving along

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A week or so back I wrote about having a replacement garage door installed. I had been having problems with the old door that fairly recently was converted to electrical operation though it wasn’t the electrical conversion but rather the inherent mechanical components beginning to show their age. The picture below shows almost the exact door as the one we are having replaced….

Photograph of a chain-drive garage door opener...

Photograph of a chain-drive garage door opener. This residential unit is manufactured by The Chamberlain Group, Inc. under the LiftMaster brand name. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For a few years I have wanted to replace the door with a roller-shutter type so I contacted a company which manufactures and installs them to call and give me a quote. Having agreed on the price I told them to proceed with the work. I was informed that it may be a month or so before it could be done. In the interim I arranged for the garage roof to be raised where the new roller was to be fitted and that work was carried out during the following week. Since then it has been a case of waiting for things to happen, that is up to the time of writing this on Thursday (21) for on Wednesday I received a call informing me that after a second survey on Wednesday 27 to check the preliminary alterations have been completed the installation will take place on Thursday October 5. The work will be completed in one day. I never did like the old door because there were too many things in its design that were prone to fault. Things move on though and hopefully there will be less problems associated with the new door.  The other garage has a rolled steel shutter door which gives us little problem and there is no reason to replace it. Hopefully in my next post regarding the new installation I will be able to post a picture or two.

Shirley Anne

 

Nocturnal visitors

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There have been many incidences of finding cat stools in our rear garden over the years. Having these nocturnal visitors is somewhat of a nuisance as far as I am concerned. It isn’t so much the visitor, it’s what they leave in their wake and the fact that I have to clean up after them. Cats however like to bury their waste deposits which is even worse and for two reasons. Firstly, unless I have noticed the burial there is always the possibility that I could dig it up by accident then have to clean up the mess. Secondly, cats don’t give a hoot where they dig up the ground and often leave more of a mess in spreading soil all over the place. I am glad to say that nocturnal visits by cats has become, at least for the time being, less frequent. A few mornings ago I noticed many very small patches of grass had been dug up on the lawn and a couple of large black stools lying on the grass. Now I know cats don’t usually dig up lawns, they prefer digging in soil as it is easier. Typical of cats to be that lazy. I wondered what animal or bird could be responsible. Our garden is visited by a variety of birds, some of which could have been responsible for digging up the lawn, Jackdaws for example. They dig for moss to line their nests and moss is something our lawn has. I have been treating the lawn for that reason lately. However, late Summer or early Autumn isn’t the nesting season but then I thought they may have been digging for worms in the moist ground. It is possible but I have doubts about that. The reason I say that is the digging happens at night and apart from the owls in the area, all other birds would be asleep. So although the digging could still have been done by birds I have doubts about it. Now I also know that squirrels like to bury some of their food, storing it for harder times in the Winter but again I don’t think squirrels would be out and about when it is dark. They like their sleep just as we do and besides, they would be prey to any of the owls we hear after nightfall. Mice I think we can rule out, they just don’t dig holes in grass, especially at night! There is only one other possibility, foxes. We do have foxes hereabouts, we have seen them and heard them, oft-times in the night. One morning recently and still while it was dark, I happened to be looking out of my bedroom window which overlooks the rear garden and could just about see the outline of an animal on the garden wall. There was very little light but I could tell that it wasn’t a cat, unless it was a very large one. In seconds it moved behind the trees and I lost sight of it. I am almost certain it was a fox. I think therefore that our nocturnal visitor is almost certainly a fox. I looked around the garden perimeter searching for an access point. I know foxes can leap over high walls if they have the space to do it but they usually take easier routes. There are only a couple of places around the garden which make access that easier and they are both in the same corner of the garden, in the corner behind the holly tree in this picture…

This is a picture of the same corner taken some years ago during Winter…

On the other side of the wall where the lower wall meets the tall one behind the Sycamore tree left of centre the ground is high and just on the other side of the tree in the high wall there is a gap. At this time the ground on the other side of the wall  is filled with fallen branches and access through it has been rendered almost impossible, even for cats. The small gap in the wall would only allow small animals through, even foxes and I suspected this was the access point. I have fitted some chicken wire over the gap and now have to see if  my lawn will remain free of dung!

Shirley Anne

Front garden

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Much of the work I have been doing in recent months has been centred upon the rear garden mainly because there is always more to do there. However, though it may seem that the front garden gets neglected that is far from the truth. It simply requires less maintenance than the rear garden. Most of what we do in the front garden is keeping the weeds in check and laying down snail and slug pellets to keep them from devouring the plants. I am not sure how many other areas in the country are so infested with slugs and snails but Southport certainly is. It is only in the last year or so which saw us revamping the front garden flowerbeds. Prior to that it was several years ago, just before we had major renovations done around the garden and house that anything major was done in the front garden. We had three tall pine trees removed and a yew tree cut back a little. We also had removed a hawthorn and a holly tree and they were all just behind the then front wall. The wall was rebuilt with an extra opening in it. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the original frontage but only a couple taken just after the new wall was built. By that time all the tall trees had gone..

From the inside the existing shrubs grew to look like this about three years ago but became much taller since this picture was taken…

Those shrubs had beforehand been kept in the shade because of the pine trees and we had left them alone since then which was seven years ago. I had been promising myself that I would cut them back sometime and indeed E has dropped a few hints too! I had been out for a seven-mile walk on Monday morning (18th) so wasn’t particularly looking for much to do but after lunch I set things up and using the hedge cutter set to work. Now it looks like this..

It may not seem that much was removed but in fact they have been cut down more than half a metre. The hardest part of the work, which took me two and a half hours, was putting the cuttings into the bins as most of them needed cutting again to get them in. At least that is one job that won’t need repeating for a time.

Shirley Anne

 

What a mess

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E was going to the hospital for her first physiotherapy session early on Monday morning. The appointment was connected to her having problems with one of her feet following a recent suspected accident. As she suffers with her motability because of her other condition too I had  suspected part of the treatment was for that also but it wasn’t. Meanwhile I was going for an early morning walk. On Saturday I walked a different route to my normal routes, going south along the beach for a change. It had been more of a case of not being able to walk my usual route because of the annual air show being held there. Anyway I enjoyed the alternative route but really wanted to do it mostly on the beach. The terrain had changed so much since I last went that route and I was unable to find my way to the beach until I had walked quite a distance. On Monday therefore, although I could have taken one of my usual routes I wanted to make another attempt at reaching the beach directly. I walked directly out toward the sea, the tide was out so at some point I could turn and walk along the sand. However the path was muddy and full of pools of water and being the same one that is used by the ‘cockler’s vehicles who use it every day to get to the water it is not exactly an easy path to walk. Marram grass and other plants grow either side of the path and they hide numerous pools and small streams of water making walking that way almost impossible. As I was wearing boots I could stay more or less on the path until I reached the open sand. It would be impossible to walk that route if the tide was high but on the day, the morning, it was far out. I reckon I had to walk out 300 metres before I could turn left to walk south along the sand.

English: Ainsdale Beach and Sand Dunes. This p...

Ainsdale Beach and Sand Dunes. This photo was taken on New Years Eve in 2004, looking north along the sands approaching Ainsdale. Behind the dunes lies Ainsdale National Nature Reserve, home to Natterjack Toads. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There were no other people on the beach until I reached the Ainsdale turn-off two to three miles away. Once there I could walk inland to take the coastal road north and back home. I have to say I am not impressed by the way the local authority has abrogated its responsibility to maintain the beach south of the town, the north side was left to its own devices many years ago and it has become marshland. In fact the local area is named ‘Marshside’, a great place for those who like watching the many birds who visit or habit the area. I suppose one day the whole of the beach will be covered in grass and sand dunes and the sea will be further to reach. According to studies the coast at Lancashire is already encroaching further out into the Irish Sea, whilst on the opposite side of the country the North Sea is eroding the land.

Shirley Anne

This and that

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I had thought Sunday was going to be dull and windy with a little rain but I was far off the mark: it turned out warm, sunny and dry with just a slight breeze. I had mowed the lawn the day before and I was glad I did for during the early hours of the morning rain did fall and the grass remained wet for a time. What I wanted to do was a little bit of garden maintenance before lunch time such as cutting the flower stems from the Agapanthus plants and saving the seed pods for E. That I did before pruning back the overgrown Lavender shrub which I think has been attempting a take-over of the adjacent plot, the Mound. It has to span the footpath between and had made some progress toward that end. Nice as Lavender is it does like to spread itself about! I read somewhere that very few plants want to grow beneath or too close to Lavender, especially weeds which can’t be a bad thing. I have noticed that to be the case in our garden, at least as far as the weeds are concerned. Other plants don’t seem to mind but I suppose it depends upon the plants. Anyway having done that I went into the front garden to help E with the pruning of plants and shrubs. It would be green bin day on Monday, that is the collection of green waste. This time we had only the one bin full and ready for emptying; next time it would probably be two because of the Autumn leaves. It was around lunch time that we finished. After lunch I decided to move the plant I had been waiting to die-back for the Winter so that I could put another plant in its place. If you remember it is the one against the wall to the right of the new fan palm in the centre of the picture.

I moved this plant much further along in the same border. It will not sprout new leaves until the Spring followed by bright yellow flowers a few weeks later. I planted the Olearia in its place.

The Olearia is an evergreen shrub producing daisy-like flowers in Spring to Summer giving it the nickname of ‘daisy tree’. Hopefully it will grow to a height of two metres and have a spread of about a metre and a half to brighten up the wall. Later we sat out on the patio in the warmth of the sun for an hour or so.

Shirley Anne

Went south

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From anywhere north on this planet going south means getting warmer but in my case, at least on Saturday morning , it was due to my not being able to go northward on my walk. The Air Show was taking place over the three days from Friday which meant road closures for a while. It might seem odd but it had been many years since I walked along the beach or even through the sand dunes in a southerly direction. In any case I was usually running, not walking. In the intervening years the area had changed somewhat, different paths, the old ones lost in the shrubbery meant I was led away from my intended route. I remembered the time I could walk or run along the path and still be able to see the beach and the sea, in fact the path ran alongside the beach. Either I had taken the wrong path initially else the original one had simply become lost. I should have walked as far out toward the sea to be able to turn and then walk along the beach but I had thought the path would eventually take me to the beach instead. That was my mistake for I ended up walking along this path with sand dunes on my left and the coastal road beyond that and with dense shrubbery and trees on my right beyond which were more sand dunes and the beach. There were no paths leading off to the beach until I had walked two-thirds of the way to my destination where I would turn left and back toward the coastal road for my return home. I finally found the path leading to the beach so I was able to walk the last section on flat sand. Having turned from the beach I walked along till I reached the footpath on the coastal road to get back home. I doubt I will ever use that path again because I found it boring. Next time, and there will be a next time, I will make sure I follow the beach route. From my access point to the beach if I go north I pass the town’s seafront but if I go south I can walk on the beach for miles depending on how far I want to walk, even as far as Freshfield where I used to live….

English: Sand Dunes and Beach, Freshfield. San...

 Sand Dunes and Beach, Freshfield. Sand dunes and the beach at Freshfield. Blackpool tower and the Big One rollercoaster could clearly be seen from the top of this high sand dune on this day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Southward the beach is lovely and many use it in summer for all kinds of water activities but northward the beach, apart from directly in front of the town, turns muddy and is covered in grass. The sea covers it all when the tide is in and it hides it. Some years ago the local authority decided against defending the beach from the build-up of grass and has allowed it to grow for a short distance to the south. Consequently sand dunes have and are taking over more of the beach to the north but not south. Because of tidal action the trend is for the sand to drift northward leaving the south clear, clean, flat and sandy. Further north toward the next river, the River Ribble, there are large sandbanks due to the action of the tide. A few years ago I was on a yacht with two others when we were marooned on a sandbank for a few hours because the tide receded faster than we could make it to deep water. Our ‘captain’ thought we could make it. How wrong she was. That is another story which perhaps I’ll post one day. As for my walk, I might just go south more often, it all depends on the tide.

Shirley Anne

Warming up

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I slept in late on Friday, deliberately so as there was nothing planned for the day. It was warm and there was only a slight breeze. I chose to sit out on the patio with a drink and E joined me. Unfortunately it clouded over after thirty minutes and E went back indoors. I mentioned that as soon as she went indoors the sun would probably reappear and it did. Not only that but it remained sunny after that for quite a few hours. By now the house’s shadow had placed the patio in the shade for a while so I moved my chair down into the garden in front of the Mound and it was even warmer there than it had been on the patio. My chair was sitting on the pathway on the far left in the picture below. 

That side of the garden is such a heat trap as well as it being less windy there. I sat there for over an hour just relaxing in the warm sunshine. It was almost time for lunch when I returned indoors but whilst I was outside I heard and saw a couple of RAF airplanes flying over to the west, which would be over the left wall in the picture.Today (Friday), Saturday and Sunday the annual Southport Air Show was being held so I guessed the pilots were warming up and checking the lay of the land so to speak. The skies get quite noisy during those afternoons. If I was to go for a walk northward along the coast I would be denied as the whole area is cordoned off and patrolled for three days. I would have to choose another route instead. For a time after lunch it went dull again but by late afternoon it was bright and sunny again. Unfortunately the weather forecast wasn’t very promising for Saturday, thought supposedly it would be better on Sunday. This is how it is weather-wise in this country but we are used to it.

Shirley Anne

Garden bits

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On Wednesday after some high winds overnight I hung out the flag having taken it down on Tuesday afternoon. I needed to do a spot of maintenance on the flag anyway. The top of the flag has a toggle which slips easily into the loop on the stay rope but there isn’t one at the bottom of the flag, only a small length of rope. Why the manufacturer doesn’t supply flags with two toggles on them defies logic. I have to use another method which is why it needed maintenance. That done I returned indoors to make a coffee for E and myself. She went upstairs to her workshop to do some work but I was at a loose end with nothing much to do. Well I couldn’t think of anything that wanted doing. I went into the garage to check if there were any leaks after the recent work then decided to tidy-up the raised planting bed between the greenhouses. This year we hadn’t planted anything new but had removed the strawberry plants that we had growing there. We decided that strawberry plants were too much of a problem. They put out feelers and produce more plants and need pruning back often. The fruit they bear is more often than not eaten by bugs despite efforts to prevent that. We are now thinking of growing potatoes once more which are less of a problem and produce a good yield. The bed awaits the planting season

The small greenhouse we purchased years ago has long since been used for storage and nothing is grown in it. It has become a store for plant pots and other odds and ends…

Whilst the large greenhouse has been used for growing some strawberry plants in pots and these bell peppers…

E usually grows tomatoes and cucumbers too but this year she hasn’t bothered much with the greenhouse except for growing the peppers. Whilst I was getting dressed in my bedroom earlier I noticed that the wind had caused an already broken off branch to fall lower from where it was hanging but it had been prevented from reaching the ground in our garden by the sycamore tree’s branches below. The sycamore tree is growing against the wall inside our garden. The lime tree grows on a neighbours land. See if you can spot the fallen branch. It is at the top right lying diagonally toward the centre in the picture. It looks small but in fact it is over three metres in length.

A couple of much larger dead branches hang on the same lime tree from which these branches keep on breaking off. One is shown in the centre of the next picture. Fortunately they are not hanging over our garden though there are live branches doing so

Finally I took a picture of the only apples growing on the trees this year, and these all on the same tree branch…

It has been a very poor year for apples for usually they count in the tens.

Shirley Anne