This morning, there are distinct signs that the tomatoes have finally started thinking about ripening! It’s been a very late year. This variety is “Bloody Butcher” (the first time I’ve grown it), which was supposed to be much earlier than the Black Russian I also grow.

The “Pink Brandywine” that’s this year’s experiment is either exceedingly behindhand or just plain not doing well, sadly.

"Bloody Butcher" tomato blushed orange


I finally managed a short walk – less than a mile – down to the canal and back. Exhausted, and a touch of angina up the 1in8 hill on the way back: I’m really not in the best of states at the moment. Still, nice to see the swans …

swans on canal

“wildflower bank”

An exceedingly soggy morning! There’s a pervasive dampness, and all the plants are sodden. It hasn’t stopped the scabious in the wild-flower bank from opening, though it does look rather sorry for itself!

It’s not a plant I remember introducing, so its appearance this year is a pleasant surprise.

pale purple field scabious flower

garden bits

I don’t have enough space to grow strawberries to pick a bowl-full, but throughout the summer there are usually one or two to provide a glorious mouthful as I wander up the garden. It’s a “day-neutral” variety called “Toscana”.

Elsewhere, the first of the “Brown Turkey” figs is starting to show signs of ripening – fingers crossed! They’re certainly among my top three favourite fruit.

strawberry flower and fruit .

fig showing signs of ripening

checkup time

I haven’t had an “annual” checkup since September 2019, due to covid. However, the surgery is catching up, and I walked up there in spotting rain this morning. Obvious signs were all very good: BP 131/75, HR 71, weight “69” (it was 67.8 on my home scales this morning). Height a little disappointing at 1.80 dead – I’ve lost another cm in height over the past five years.

However the thing I’m actually worried about is the HbA1c (a measure of glucose long-term): it was 44 last time, which put me over the pre-diabetic threshold of 42. Having been on the “diabetes prevention” course for most of last year, and made alterations to diet and done a bit more exercise, I’m hoping that it’s at least stable and hasn’t increased! Ring in next Thursday for that and other blood test results.

garden bits

The head of the miniature bullrush (typha minima) in the pond exploded into a mass of fluffy seed this afternoon. Clearly it won’t be hanging about to form part of the winter arrangement of dried flowers! Oh well, there’s plenty of other things.

seedhead of miniature bullrush

garden bits

A day of brilliant sunshine interspersed with showers, downpours.and thunderstorms has played hob with my back, and walking is hard work. I did manage a trip up the garden to pick runner beans for supper, and this caught my eye on the way back. Phone photo, as I didn’t have a camera on me!

bumble bee on globe thistle

garden bits

My eye was caught by an unexpected flash of orange in the garden this morning. It looks as though the crocosmia (aka montbretia) planted four years ago has finally decided to flower – there’s a second flower spike coming along as well.

It was only a single set of leaves, about six inches high, when I took it from my Mum’s garden, but it’s been much slower than I expected to get to flowering size – I was beginning to despair of it!

I’m very glad that it’s finally doing something. There are great drifts of it at my Mum’s house, and of course it’s also reminiscent of childhood holidays in Cornwall where it fills the hedges, so it holds many pleasant memories.

crocosmia (aka montbretia)

a bit sad …

I’m a bit sad to see the back of this old tray. Not because it’s my kind of thing (it quite definitely isn’t), but because it’s last survivor of a pair of small trays that Maurice blagged from a publicity stall at one of the supermarkets when we lived in Tottenham. They were very much “him” (as was blagging things, of course). They got used rather a lot for meals in front of the TV (also very Maurice, and not at all me!).

For the past few years, it’s done duty as a stand for putting small pots on on, on the dining table, at the intermediate stage between “pricking out” and planting outdoors. But the plastic has got very brittle, and bits started snapping off when I picked it up this morning. So, after ten years or so, it was time to part company.

"loaf of hope and glory" promotional tray