dEAr diary ~ bonnie Scotland

We travelled up to Scotland (to our wreck of a cottage by the sea) last Thursday it was a gorgeous Spring day.

We stopped for a picnic lunch close to the start of our journey at a place called Windy Hill just off the M62 not far from where we live rather than pull into the services.  The layby looks over a beautiful expanse of wild untouched moorland which if you kept walking from here into the distance would eventually meet up with the famous Saddleworth moor. Now look behind me – not so quiet and untouched as this is the busy M62 cutting through across the Pennines at its highest point.Now look again – every verge as far as the eye can see littered with rubbish. We drove 250 miles in all, mainly on motorway and a major ‘A’ road, and every verge revealed so much litter – even this lay by near Dumfries in bonnie Scotland!  Not so bonnie at the moment.Dumfries and Galloway Council in their wisdom have removed many of their litter bins from the lay-bys on the A75 down to Stranraer – a decision they may live to regret.

I am saddened – our journey was like driving through a landfill site – just who is it that is leaving this litter and feels the need to throw it out of their cars as they drive along rather than take it home and put it in their bin?

……On a brighter note we had a lovely few days at the cottage (staying in the caravan still).  We had not expected such good weather and we spent all our time in the garden.  It was so peaceful broken only by the sound of birdsong and the waves of the sea.

As usual even though I had rid the borders of every weed possible on our last visit it looked like we had done nothing.

The cottage garden is much further north than our garden at home in West Yorkshire but is much further on due to the milder weather of the Gulf stream.  Most of the daffodils are already out – each year new ones are springing up all over  – I am always surprised at some of the places they choose to grow – these are growing through some beach pebbles in quite a dark spot hidden from the sun but seem happy enough. The catkins on the corkscrew Hazel are just coming into flower.The big surprise was our family Rhododendron growing in the lower wood (named after DH’s grandfather who grew it for the Castle Kennedy estate, he was head gardener).  We grew this from a cutting, it is an early flowering variety but even this is quite early and the one at home in our garden is only just in bud. And some even more unexpected news – coming home late yesterday evening we left the M62 at Milnrow as usual and drove through New Hey, Denshaw and Delph towards Marsden and to our surprise came across about 8 fire engines and a few police cars parked on the verge side with flashing lights.  At first we thought there had been a bad collision on the road but as our view opened up we saw the mass of fire on the moorland (this is looking from the other side of the moor you see in the top photo).  It was quite bizarre as the fire raged in straight lines across the open moorland – some of the burning lines zig zagged across the moors way into the distance.We stopped on the side of the road with many other passers-by to take pictures and spoke to some of the fire beaters who were having a break.  They told us it may have started in the nearby lay-by and could have been just a cigarette.  Although quite spectacular it is sad for all the wildlife that will have been harmed by this.

….Today we have been busy unpacking, washing and shopping as tomorrow we travel up to North Yorkshire to collect my mum again and bring her back to stay with us for a few days – needless to say I will probably not have the energy or time to write very much for a day or two as mum is quite high maintenance now, bless her.  My sister is having her respite – she is feeling a little stressed trying to sort out all my mum’s recent health problems, she seems to have developed a lot of niggly complaints that need my sister’s constant attention.

Any plans we had are now put on hold once again for a few days – I am finding it increasingly hard to pick up where we left off on a project and we are ending up with a load of unfinished jobs.  Every time we turn into our drive I am reminded that we still have to paint the front door, then there is the shed waiting for a coat of weatherproofing paint and we must get in touch with the contractor who does the resurfacing for the driveway – that is just to mention a few but all of them require warmer weather and I think it is about to turn cold again according to the forecasts.

The plans for the pantry are progressing slowly – during the cold spell DH moved the cupboard in the garage housing our household cleaners and ‘stuff’ to a different position to make room for yet another cupboard to house the vac and outdoor gardening coats which are presently kept in what will be the new pantry.  We will have to have another visit to IKEA to get the new cupboard but that is no hardship for me – I love to have a browse around.  Once this is in place we can move the coats and vac out and I think we will be ready to strip the walls of the old wallpaper and put in the new cupboards and shelves.

So I will leave you there and I hope to be back in a day or two – unfortunately my constant coming and going at the moment on my blog is just a reflection of all the coming and going in my life.

Welcome to my new followers and sorry if my posts are a bit erratic at the moment and a bit of a ramble.

Back soon x





sEAsons ~ the delights of Spring

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant”

Crocus Iris Snowdrop

The weather was so lovely at the weekend you could sense the fresh clean smell of Spring in the air – I just had to down tools inside and go outside for a while.  In the space of a couple of hours I had tidied up a few of the borders, gathered the last of the leaves and replaced some of the earth scratched up by the local cats.   The cats can be quite a problem so to protect the emerging plants and prevent them from being uprooted I pushed a few more twiggy sticks around the shoots – at least the crocus in the lawn are safe.

It is very encouraging at this time of year to see little buds appearing on most of the plants and signs of life poking through the ground here and there – I just hope any future frosts or snow does not damage them.

I also had a visit to our local independent garden centre because I still had £60 left on my voucher (the one the partners gave me when I left work).  The expiry date was 2nd February  this year but I managed to persuade them to extend it for another month as they have very little stock of anything at the moment – the season for them has not yet started and they do not sell many garden tools or gardening products like the large national garden centres.

In the end we decided on a Braeburn apple tree on M27 rootstock for our Scottish garden as it is a good time for planting and we will be visiting our cottage (caravan) in a few days time and can take it with us in the car.

We have a bit of a mystery in that in Scotland we have a Bramley apple tree and it has always fruited well – abundantly well last Autumn – but they are not self-fertile and are actually classed as triploid (requiring two other apple trees)  but there are no other apple trees or crab apples in our garden or the neighbourhood yet it keeps on producing fruit.  The Braeburn is self fertile but might be a reluctant fruiter so far North – we are banking on the mild Gulf stream climate that we have at the cottage to help it along but it may not like the winds.  We will give it a go.

With the remaining money I chose another of the glazed Heritage pots to match the one below that I bought last Autumn only a smaller sized one this time.I have always thought the one I got to put beside our front door looks a bit lonely so now it will have some company.  With the last £6 on the voucher I bought three pots of lovely pink tulips to go in it.

Today the weather is much cooler again and quite windy – good for the washing though – I have been working my way down all the dust sheets from the decorating at my daughter’s house.  I think we have more than we need now between us so the worst of them will be going out, they are not even fit for the rag bin.

I always like this time of year  – I feel energised to start cleaning and clearing, blowing away the cobwebs that have gathered in the corners over the winter and at the moment I am a little more motivated after feeling rather lethargic and probably a little lazy since Christmas.

dEAr diary ~ a shortage of time

“I’m busy, man, too busy. There’s a lamentable absence of free time”.
Juan Pablo Montoya

Firstly welcome to my new followers and apologies for the longer than intended absence – I hadn’t actually intended an absence at all…of any kind, but there you are… it happened…and even though I have tried a few times to sit and write this post I have been unsuccessful each time in finishing it.  I seem to have been busy – a kind of business that involves a lot of this and that and not a lot of anything I would call really productive.

But surprisingly things have been getting done and as it has been a while since I last did a post I’ll just fill you in quickly.

Baby X now has a name but for the purpose of my blog I will be referring to him as Freddie.  His cousin Little L is fast growing into Big L now – but I just cannot refer to her as Big L so she will now be known on my blog as Libbie.  So there you have my merry little band of three grandchildren – Libbie, Sweetie and Freddie.

On the first Friday in February we set off mid morning for North Yorkshire to go to the village pantomime that my sister and her DH were taking part in.  The sun was shining and the traffic not too bad.  We treated ourselves to a Costa lunch of toasties at the Wetherby services as we were saving our homemade soup for tea at our daughter’s house.

We had a further stop in Thirsk for a walk around and a browse in my favourite independent book shop White Rose books.  I picked up a copy of this book for £3.99 reduced from £12.99 and bought a book token for my mum for her birthday, then on to Holland and Barrett to get a packet of yummy chocolate raisins for the pantomime later.Little Sew & SewThere are some delightful projects to make inside – I particularly like the embroidered peg bag.We had tea with my daughter and then set off for the panto with Libbie (Little L) who if you remember was ‘super’ excited – unfortunately the snow became very bad on the way through Bedale and we didn’t know whether to turn back or press on.  In the end we kept going and made it to the village hall to the north of Northallerton just in time for the start.

The panto was brilliant, Libbie laughed and cheered and clapped – she loved the fact her Uncle N was the baddy and Aunty A was Aladdin in a wonderful glittery costume.  It was a very fun night and afterwards we decided that we would try to get back to my daughter’s house outside Masham, rather than stay at my sisters.  A decision we may have lived to regret!  We took a longer alternative route back via the A1(M).  Two of the lanes were still running thanks to the lorries but once we got back onto the country lanes towards Masham it almost turned out to be a challenge too far as the snow was covering and becoming quite slippy and we were down to 20 mph.  Just after midnight we had got as far as Fearby but still had a few miles to go to Leighton Resevoir,  which is in the middle of nowhere on a road full of steep twist and turns and ungritted.  I am still not sure how we got up the final hill to my daughter’s farmhouse but with a wing and a prayer we did and of course stayed the night with her.  Libbie slept through the whole adventure in the back of the car – but never again. The next morning we woke to brilliant sunshine and the snow had started to melt.  The roads were clear once again and it was hard to believe it was the same place we had struggled to drive through in the early hours.  DH and Libbie went out to make snow castles and then we headed home stopping here and there to admire the beautiful views as we drove past the resevoir and back into Masham. Leighton Resevoir Fearby Since then I have been busy helping with little Freddie  – his mum, my elder daughter, had to go back again to hospital with her problem but hopefully all will be well now.

When I have had some free time I have been turning my attentions to jobs around the home  – It feels like an endless task list and I seem to have a number of projects on the go in each room but slowly it is all starting to come together.  I find that going back over a space I have already cleared often throws up more things that I no longer wish to keep.

The paperwork continues to be a headache and to add to this I have amassed a large number of files on my computer so I have been giving this a bit of a spring clean to get rid of old stuff and free up some space.   It is quite time-consuming going through a mass of folders but just like having a major clear out in my physical files clearing out my files on the computer feels just as good and I don’t have to bother shredding or burning it all.

I have also been giving our finances a bit of a makeover too, trying to simplify matters where I can and in doing so we were invited to a financial review with the Nationwide, our main banking and savings provider, and this proved quite useful.  We have transferred money to better interest accounts and closed down old ones no longer required.

We had a nice surprise too – the HMRC made an error with our marriage allowance application which has now been straightened out after a phone call and I await a cheque for £238 – every little helps. ValentineWe didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s day other than exchange cards.  I have had my Valentine card for a while now – I must have bought it a couple of years ago and then forgotten about it.  I often make my own but when I found it during a recent clear out I thought it would save me the job of making one and it is quite cute – I love the fact it has a little flask on the end of the bench – very appropriate for us now – I have no doubt this is what DH and I will look like in a few years time!

DH made one for me (he probably hadn’t thought about a card until the shops were shut) – but I think it is rather sweet and means so much more to me than a bought one.ValentinesThe meal planning continues and for some reason we have had a few pastry dishes.  The Carrot and Leek pasties were a hit and great for picnics – I will make them again –  and this week I made a cheese and tomato Quiche.Quiche QuicheTonight it is curry and it would have helped if I had known we didn’t have any curry paste in the cupboards.  We had to have a mad dash to the local supermarket but their range is limited so I had to buy a jar.  I am wondering if it will freeze – anyone tried this?

Hope everyone is well – I have been trying to keep up with all the blogs I visit though may not have commented very much.  I usually post a list of my monthly intentions at the beginning of the month but I might just start these again in March – February is not a long month and with the new baby each day has been a bit unpredictable for us so we have not been making many plans.

Back soon x








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