dear diary :: back to normal

After the events of the last few days we are slowly settling back into normality….. such as it is here. 

The heating is on when we need it, which is mainly to take the chill off in the morning, we have hot water once again so we have showered, washed our hair and the dishes are done making us respectable once more.   I have hoovered the floor whilst listening to radio 4 and it is heaven to have all these facilities we normally take for granted; no wonder then that my thoughts recently have been with all the refugees that are experiencing hardship day after day.  How on earth do they cope? At least during our powerless plight we had a roof over our heads and a gas cooker enabling us to make a meal and a drink.

And somehow whilst we were thrown into mayhem October crept in….how did that happen?

Yesterday we had planned for rain all day but mid-morning it stopped and the sun appeared and it turned out to be a glorious day.  So we gardened all afternoon.  We did far too much and regretted it later especially when with our aching backs we had to prepare and cook the tea when all we really wanted to do was collapse in a heap sit and relax. 

I didn’t even sleep well last night; we were early to bed, well early for us, and after only 10 minutes reading turned the lights out and we must have both been asleep within minutes. All was snug but then something woke me at about 2am and after that my mind began to churn over – never a good sign and never conducive with sleep. 

It rained heavily again this morning so I spent a good hour updating my yearbook.  It is my catchall – part notebook, part bullet journal, part task lists and diary but also filled with snippets of information I want to refer back to at some point.  At the beginning of each month I go through my Country Living magazine and pull out anything of interest and stick it in my notebook.  This month for instance I have cut out the snippet about Asda starting a vintage clothing section in 8 of their stores.  You are able to swap unwanted clothes for vouchers apparently. I also kept the recipe for the cold remedy ginger and poached pear which sounds like something I might drink even without a cold…..and I am very tempted to buy this book ‘How to Grow Plants from Seeds’ published by RHS. Or perhaps something for my Not so Secret Santa list.

We ate the last of the mushroom soup for lunch which we made just before our power cut and couldn’t really eat because of course the stick blender is electric so it went into a large pyrex bowl to be stored in the fridge. Even though the fridge was off for a few hours during the power cut everything in there seemed OK and we have no ill effects from eating it (and of course we don’t eat meat or that might have been something we would have had to throw away).

Tonight we decided on an easy evening meal so we chopped loads of veg, tossed them in oil and slung them into a baking pan to roast in the oven.  It is one of my favourite autumn meals.  We had sliced Halloumi (which we brown in a hot non-stick frying pan with no oil) and couscous to go with it though it is just as nice with brown rice or often we add a little Passata to make it more moist and stew like and eat it with large chunks of Ciabatta bread dipped into the sauce.

Last night I managed to finish the front bodice of the little dress I am making for Sweetie.  I was quite pleased with myself as being quite a novice knitter I am never very sure if I am actually understanding the pattern instructions correctly and I have no-one other than Google to ask. Well it looks quite even on both sides of the neck and I even managed to ‘fashion’ the decreases around the armhole and neckline, which wasn’t actually written in the pattern but I think it looks so much neater and I find makes it easier when sewing together at the end.

There are some nice little corners in our cottage garden appearing.  Some planned but also some surprises. Did I mention we gave the very large and leggy pink rhododendron the chop this year and cut it back almost down to the base, then crossed our fingers.


Luckily it has started sprouting but the huge hole it has left in the garden is testament to how large it had become over the years, however, in the meantime while it is regenerating we can see the beautiful weeping larch tree beyond which nicely frames the view into the lower wood beneath.


I spent a good hour in the fernery by the pond (Polystichum munitum – Western Sword fern) a great fern for coastal areas with glossy deep green leaves that are evergreen and doesn’t die back in the winter but does require any browned and dead leaves removing every so often to keep it looking at its best. I also have to reduce the mass occasionally when is begins to creep further and further into the woodland garden, overstepping its allotted boundaries.

My little seat beneath the old Cherry tree is now completely covered in moss but I shall keep it like this and find somewhere else to sit as it has such a lovely natural appearance. I spent a few minutes picking up more windfalls from the Bramley tree and this year we salvaged one or two eating apples from the young Braeburn, planted 2 years ago. It only produced 5 apples and three of these must have dropped and rotted before this visit. After taking the photo we shared the larger of the Braeburns and it was extremely nice – not too sweet and quite crisp just how I like them. Hopefully there will be more next year.

I have a mass of daffodil bulbs to plant out – I must have dug these up prior to Covid and with all the disruptions and lockdowns last year never got them into the ground. All that lovely natural raffia attached though.

I never managed to find a rose for the garden arch either because of the restrictions so in desperation to have something, anything climbing on it this year I picked up two cheap Clematis in Morrisons the ones for £2 each. The one on the right has taken off better than the one on the left and I now have stones in place to protect it from Kelly (who cuts our grass when we are not here) and her strimmer! For £2 each though they are not doing too badly.

And I love this little ‘green’ corner with all the different leaf shapes.

And with the weekend almost over we will be back to Monday soon enough and we shall have to make plans to return home where, according to my neighbour who is looking after things for us, we have an abundance of ripened tomatoes!

15 Replies to “dear diary :: back to normal”

  1. glad your hydro is back on and all is well regarding that. and the photos are absolutely lovely to look through. thanks for sharing you life once again.


  2. It is so lovely to see the pictures of your pretty cottage garden. I am glad you were able to solve the mystery of the electrical issue! I made a very similar meal for dinner this evening- roasted veg, served with Quinoa and brown rice and a drizzle of a dressing I made with olive oil, lemon juice and Greek yogurt and fresh herbs. It was so tasty. I enjoy reading your blog very much. I am sure your granddaughter will be delighted with her dress.


    1. Quinoa and brown rice together is a great superfood and high in protein for vegetarians and tastes dlicious doesn’t it. We didn’t have any suitable herbs here at the van to add in but it tasted really good anyway. We do make the couscous with water and an added veggie stock cube. Sometimes we flavour the rice in the same way.
      Just hope granddaughter doesn’t have a growth spurt in the meantime – I am not a quick knitter.


  3. Is that a Japanese wind flower in the third photo? I have several in my front garden. Some I took as root stock from a friend last year. Hoping they will spread and give me a a mass effect soon.

    I love rhododendrons but it is too hot for them to do well here. Azaleas strive though. And some camellias.

    I agree with you. Leave the mossy bench. It looks so vintage and lush.

    Do you have a problem with tomato moths and caterpillars? Had to spray last year when I grew some. Sticking with lettuce this year.


    1. Japanes Anemones. I have a mass at home but here they are not doing as well. They are getting a bit too overshaded with the trees now so I am going to move a clump or two nearer the edge of the lower wood. I really must remember to use the photo caption tool and add in the names of these plants as I go along.
      I haven’t had either moths or caterpillars and strangely enough I haven’t even had a tomato to eat yet as they were only just starting to ripen as we left home so our neighbour has had all the benefit of my tomatoes whilst we are here in Scotland. She tells me they are delicious! I suppose you could net them against the moths maybe?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad everything is working as it should again. Although, I’m not surprised you endured a sleepless night, you’ve had a lot going on.
    I am also enjoying making soups once more, now that the cooler weather is here. And roasted vegetables- yum! X


  5. Beautifully written, I love your bench and I’m sure the moss will take a little squish every now and then when you need a sit down 😀

    After a couple of hours without power last night due to a shortage on a main high voltage power line, I had a brief taster of what you went through. My first thought was ‘I’ll just have a nice cup of coffee and relax’ … then I realised we are all electric here, no coffee to for me!!


    1. I’ll send you one down LOL!
      It made us realise though that one day in the future we might all be electric and like you everything would go down even the car. We will be back to camp fires outside and the old cast iron kettles!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Amazing how cozy the van can be with a little bit of electricity to light the way, yes? 🙂 So glad that was sorted. Garden looks lovely–and, no doubt, you both have the bent backs to prove it. You did a lovely job on the knitted top piece. I struggle to follow some pattern directions and have a few too many UFOs to show for it, so you should feel very pleased with your work. Hope you have some decent weather for your last few days at the cottage…and access to petrol for the trip home.


  7. Really glad everything is back to normal for you on the power front. The garden is looking lovely. It always amazes me how brutal you can be with a rhododendron and they still come back nice and healthy 😃


    1. We lost the one that was cultivated by DH’s Grandad for Lord Stair when he was head gardner on his estate. It got very waterlogged during last winter when the pond overflowed. It hasn’t any signs of coming back but I haven’t dug it out yet as there might still be hope. We have another at home so DH took some cuttings. Other than that they have some for sale at Castle Kennedy (Lord Stairs estate) but they are £32.
      The pink one is a toughy though and should be OK – there is even a branch to the side which has leaves on but the stem is completely hollow inside!


  8. Yum to the tomatoes – nothing nicer than homegrown in a salad or sandwich! The greenery is lovely but I hope the rhododendron comes back. We can’t grow them here as they are not winter hardy for our zone.


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