Saturday, July 21, 2018


Things got rather out of hand while I was sick. Pisces is well intentioned but not well organised so a lot of the stuff I do on a regular basis simply didn't get done. This includes maintaining the garden - he did water the pots when we had a brief dry spell - and general housework.

So today, as a distraction, I bring you one of the glorious bearded irises which are out at present in my garden - this one is beside the frog pond where the tadpoles are looking fat and healthy - while I set about restoring order. Enjoy.


Monday, July 16, 2018

Hello Again World

I have been sick and not just any old sickness, the kind you're over in a few days. No, this was the really, truly flu, much worse than the bad colds that often are claimed to be the flu. It started with a sore throat, progressed to what I thought was just a bad cold the next day - and then it really attacked. High fever, sweats, aching muscles and I was so weak I couldn't stand up without support. That was my life for a full week. I am actually up and walking around again but it's left me so weak that I'm still not able to go back to our regular exercise classes. Next week, I tell myself, next week.

That this all happened during the school holidays was even more frustrating because it's when I usually get to catch up with our granddaughter. The last thing I wanted was to pass it on to her or her parents - or anyone else for that matter so I had to put them off.

But towards the end of last week I thought I was past the infectious stage and so we could have visitors - and very enjoyable that was, too, although I wasn't able to do any of the usual fun stuff. Still I think I've been forgiven to judge by the cuddles I got.

On another topic altogether there's a great idea going around on Facebook whereby people are agreeing to write personal letters and send them through the post. Emails or Facebook messages don't count. The plan is to put an invitation on your Facebook page saying you will write a letter to the first five people who ask for them in the comments and they in turn are to write and send out letters to five more people when they receive yours. I was too unwell to take part when this turned up on my Facebook feed but I think it's such a great idea I intend to try it. Want to join me?

Wednesday, July 04, 2018



Here's one of my unseasonably early daffodils taken when it stopped raining for a bit and the sun came out for a brief spell. It's a trifle blurry because sunshine doesn't mean no wind and that is whistling around the house, setting things rattling and blowing over my neighbour's bins.

While the daffodils are very pretty - there are five out now - they are around a month earlier than I'd have expected. It seems our once predictable seasons are completely confused and what will happen next is anyone's guess.

Monday, July 02, 2018


My first daffodils are out. The jonquils have been in flower for a few weeks starting with the white ones that I posted about at the end of May which came out unseasonably earlier about six weeks ago. Those blossoms have long since died back and we now have the common jonquils along the front driveway in bloom and two pots - one paperwhites and the other yellow - bringing brightness and perfume to the back patio.

But while the jonquils have been up for in some cases for months, the daffodils have been really slow to even shoot - and given I had planted over a hundred I was getting a little concerned. Then, a couple of weeks ago I noticed the first leaves and yesterday buds. Now today I have flowers. I would like to show you a photo - I may later - but today the rain has set in and since we need every single drop after an exceptionally dry summer I'm not complaining even if it's preventing me from getting outside.

Seeing the flowers has reminded me of the old children's rhyme Daffy-down-dilly of which there are several variations. The one I grew up with was

'Daffy down dilly went to town
 In a bright yellow petticoat
And a green gown.'

This is not very far from the first recorded version which appeared in Mother Hubberd in 1593 but differs from some other later versions. Although the American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne is often credited with creating the term daffy-down-dilly in his novel Little Daffy-down-dilly published in 1843 the term had been in use for much longer and was generally used as an insult. This leads to the question of how this verse became a children's rhyme, something I doubt we will ever know. Mind you many nursery rhymes began as verses intended for adults and have since lost their original meanings so maybe it's not so surprising.

If you want to know more about Daffy-down-dilly you can find it here.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Wheelchairs For Kids

is a charity which makes wheelchairs for children and sends them all over the world.

I was shown around their workshop yesterday with a group of friends and we are all in awe of what they do. Wheelchairs For Kids was started twenty years ago by the Rotary Club of Scarborough and is supported by The Christian Brothers. This charity makes wheelchairs specifically for children to World Health Organisation standards and sends them world wide to impoverished countries. These wheelchairs are adjustable and can be used for children aged up to fifteen. There are two other charities - one in Canada and another in the USA - which make wheelchairs for adults but this is the only one making wheelchairs for children.

The workshops in suburban Wangara are staffed entirely by volunteers, both men and women, many of whom are retired trades people. A few components are brought in - such as the frame and wheels  - but the bulk of them are made on site while others need to be modified or altered to fit the specific requirements of children. The volunteers include two occupational therapists and a physiotherapist and a large number of people who make knitted toys and crochet the rugs which are included with each boxed wheelchair. Each chair is put together, inspected and checked before it is dismantled and packed up for shipment.

In the twenty years since it started Wheelchairs For Kids has put together and sent out 40,000 wheelchairs and they have orders on their books to keep the workshop working at full capacity until April 2019. What an incredible achievement. There is a desperate need for wheelchairs for children worldwide and what these volunteers are doing is nothing short of inspiring.

If you are interested in finding out more or donating to Wheelchairs For Kids you can find out more about it here. They also have a Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Things You Don't Expect

to find in the veggie patch in winter.


As you can see a couple of the zucchinis which should have died back quite a while ago have continued to fruit as have the beans. I'm not sure why this is happening given it's been a bit nippy but there you go. I'm not going to a look a gift zucchini or two in the mouth, am I.

Guess what we're having for lunch.

Monday, June 25, 2018

I Really Had No Choice. Honest.

I've been shopping. If you know anything about me you'll know that I really, really hate shopping for clothes or pretty much anything else now I come to think of it. I hear someone say 'retail therapy' and my immediate response is 'Are you mad?' For me shopping is something that has to be done, not a pleasure. I don't even window shop as a rule although I make exceptions for looking at - but not buying - jewellery and a fabric shop will get me in any time since it's impossible to have too big a patchwork stash.

The time comes, though, when however much I try to avoid it I'm forced to buy clothing and that's the point I was at on Saturday. I needed some tops to replace old ones being retired to around the house use, some shoes since the soles of my favourites were coming adrift and were quite beyond repair plus some warm pants and some gumboots for the garden.

So I hied me to several websites of stores near us and found the best range of what are now apparently called rain boots at Target. This worked well because the shopping centre where the nearest Target is has a large number of clothing and shoe stores so I could - with luck - get all my needs in one shopping trip. According to the website Target stocked no less than three different styles of rain boots in several colours including sensible matt black. Just what I wanted because this time I was going to be sensible. No more bright red or other multi coloured gardening boots for me. I was going to buy matt black. Not even going to  look at the others. No, sir, not me.

Once we hit the shops while Pisces was doing the grocery shop I was off to Target.  A couple of tops and some warm pants went into the basket and then I was on my way to the shoe section where I was disappointed to find a total of five pairs of boots - one black pair and four shiny red. Determined not to be seduced by red again - if you haven't seen my wardrobe I have to tell you that around three quarters of what's in there is red - I looked further along the aisles. Nope, not another rain boot in sight.

I didn't even have to pick up the black pair to know they were much too big and so was one of the red pairs. So I was down to three shiny red pairs - and ooh they were so pretty and they were all my size. Now someone else would probably have thought well, let's go to another shop, but I'm not that someone. I had the perfect excuse of shiny red boots that fitted and I wouldn't have to go shopping anywhere else. Woohoo! See I really did have no choice.