garden bits

Due to weather and ‘flu (mainly the latter), it’s the first time for very nearly three weeks that I’ve managed to get into the garden. Well, apart from pulling the odd leek or bit of kale for supper, that is. But sunny – though chilly – this morning, so I managed an hour.
The late winter / spring chard has been planted out. Worcester Black Pears have been picked – those without bird/insect damage stored in the shed, while the others have come indoors. I’ll cook them, but they’ll almost certainly remain rock hard, as traditionally they should be kept in a cool frost-free place until February or March, to allow the starches to convert into sugars.
Also indoors, the last green tomatoes, put into a paper bag on the windowsill at the start of the month, have finally turned colour.
(images are “clickable”)

collapse of printer trolley

I did a batch of Green Party printing, and was pushing the machine back into the cupboard,when one of the castors came off. As it was already missing one, things ground to a halt!

I did manage to raise the dodgy end by levering it up with a heavy-duty garden spade (using a couple of bricks as a fulcrum), and have temporarily slipped a small furniture dolly under it, so the printer could be pushed back into the cupboard. However, that means it’s unstable, and way off level, so doesn’t print sensibly.

After talking to Louis when he came to collect the printed newsletters, I emailed Andrew, who’s a great DIY / repair cafe stalwart, who has kindly agreed to do repairs. It will take two people (excluding me) as the printer itself weighs about 130kg.

I sent Andrew pix of the printer in situ, the pull-out carry handles, and one of the castors – the images are “clickable”.

Meter change

Well, I’ve eventually had to have the electricity meter replaced, and have gone for a “Smart” meter. It’s largely so that I can take advantage of the decent feed-in tariff from Octopus (my supplier).

I was told that the engineer would arrive “between 8 and 8, and would give me a call first. He rang around 0945, turned up at 1000, and was all done and dusted and tidied away before midday.

All very painless, apart from having to shift a lot of furniture and “bits” (and the Green Party printer!) before and after, to give him decent access.

Before (white card above meter)


after (Smart box above meter)

Difficult week

It’s not been a good few days! A week ago I posted this to Facebook:

Covid-doctor has said that I *must* self-isolate for ten days, as I’m displaying symptoms. A postal test has been booked.
I’m perfectly OK for food and suchlike (I usually carry enough stocks to last me a month), but feel a bit grim due to high temperature etc., and food (one of my real pleasures in life) doesn’t taste right.
Please keep your fingers crossed for me that it’s just a mild case, or even just a ‘flu that the ‘flu jab hasn’t dealt with.
I spent most of the week shivering (despite the heating being at 23.5C), with increasing pains in my chest. The fitbit-clone showed blood oxygen saturation dropping as low as 88%, though never for long periods, and my lips were looking rather purple. On Friday night, I was sufficently worried to think about calling the covid line again for advice.
The test was delivered on Wednesday, and collected on Thursday. I got both a text an an email on Sunday, at about 3pm, to say I’d tested negative. As I put on Facebook:
My COVID-19 test has come back negative. A relief, I suppose, but the lurgy I’ve got (“ordinary” ‘flu, presumably) is still distinctly unpleasant!
I’d have a bit more confidence in the testing/trace system if it wasn’t so screwed up – one email from them giving results had my date of birth 1995 (not ’55), while the other got that right but misspelled my name!
I’m still feeling very breathless if I do anything – even just stand up and go to the front door to check the post! But I felt yesterday that I was turning the corner, even though I expect it will take two or three weeks to get fully back to normal.

Apple and quince jelly

Having put the boiled mush in the jellybag to drip overnight, I pretty much had to finish the job this morning, despite it being a “bad arthritis day”.

It’s a mix of Laxtons Superb and a quince (both from my Mum’s) with a couple of Bramleys left over from my last Ocado delivery, so although the quince element isn’t very pronounced it can still have the label “Apple and Quince Jelly”.

5 jars of jelly


It’s that time of year again, and Mum’s pear tree is laden. Yesterday I came home with a carrier bag almost full, and today it was into bottling. There were just enough left over for stewed pears as pudding tonight.

heap of pears on kitchen table


5 kiloner jars done

Over at Green Mount

After a fairly tiring day “doing jobs” around my Mum’s house (culminating in re-varnishing the outside of the back door), I managed a hirple down to the River Evenlode in the late afternoon. The bits near the former mill were crowded, but further down there was the accustomed tranquil scene. Nice to see the old swimming hole is still evidently in use!

River Evenlode


swimming hole with swing ropes


The result of a fairly fierce hailstorm, which happened 30 seconds after I’d left the surgery after my ‘flu jab. I don’t think I’ve ever cycled in hail before! I turned on the bike lights, of course, but it was still very scary … and I was a bit scared that my glasses might shatter as some of the stones were quite bruising.
Needless to say, the hail turned to rain as I approached home!
hail on ground by French window