over at Mum’s

Over at Mum’s again, mainly to sort out garden hoses after new taps fitted, and to install wall bracket for new TV. Additional jobs discovered on arrival included trying to fix the hoover (sorted), trying to fix the carpet sweeper (failed), and getting stuff down off high shelves and helping go through them, as part of sorting out the back lobby.

Mum in great form – up just after 1400, and when I returned from my walk I discovered her puliing up dandelions at the bottom of the lawn. A spot of sitting outside, an hour of back lobby sorting, supper around 7 and she didn’t go up until well after ten. She was clearly having a good day, but in general is, I think, much better than she was.

A good walk on the common this afternoon. As I posted on Facebook: “White dead-nettles in profusion. The bluebells are still not fully out – I think it’s about the latest I ever remember, as I think of them as an April flower! Windflowers now at their peak – glorious dancing sheets of whiteness. Ferns are starting to push through in the boggy bits, and the Giant sedge is in flower. Great Burdock leaves pushing up through the tangles of decayed bracken and dead twigs and dog’s mercury in full but inconspicuous bloom.

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Mayday

A dull, overcast and distinctly chilly May Morning. I’d hoped to get out and have a play with my newly-arrived, very second-hand, Fuji bridge camera, but it was not to be.

I did get as far as using it for a picture of the Green Man (foliate face) in the wildflower bank, with cowslips transplanted a couple of weeks ago from my Mum’s, which seem to be settling in OK.Green Man and cowslips

pond

The nets of barley straw arrived this morning. It’s suppose to greatly reduce the amount of blanket-weed in the pond (this year the algae have been particularly bad!). I’ve had very variable experience in the past – some years it seems to work, other years it doesn’t.

breezy !

Rather breezy here! It’s the first time that I’ve thought that my 5-year-old Glastonbury Thorn has probably grown robust enough to cope despite blossom- and leaf-laden branches. Fingers crossed I get away without running out with emergency tree-ties!

Bus Pass thing

Today, the Bus Pass application online form is working – it wasn’t, a couple of weeks ago. It wants a bill (of which I have plenty), proof of identity, and a selfie.

Bill – no problem. Proof of identity … well, I don’t drive, and my passport expired a couple of years ago, leaving me with Birth Certificate as the only recognised option. The file marked “Birth Certificates” turned out to contain Maurice’s one, Maurice’s mother’s one, Maurice’s son’s one, Maurice’s daughter’s one … but not mine! A couple of hours scrabbling round the house eventually turned it up in the briefcase of “important papers for banks and solicitors” used for the sale of my London flat and move to Worcester in 2011 !

Then to scan things. Scanner no worky … not from the laptop, not from the desktop. Scanner not found on WiFi network. Much swearing later, at the second attempt of tuning it off and back on, it reappeared on both machines. Scans successful!

But the real trauma was trying to find a blank wall, with sensible light, for an “I haven’t yet had a post-lockdown haircut but now have a beard” type selfie. I just know they’re going to reject it . I have a lazy eye which tends to drift – actually many of the muscles on that side of my face don’t quite play nicely. I fear I’ll fail on the “looking straight ahead” thing.

The cropped/resized version submitted, then the original:

passport size and style photo

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original photo

patio clearing

Well, that’s the patio weeded – a combination of hand-weeding and heat gun. Geoff Hodge pointed out to me a couple of years ago that electric heat guns are a bit less environmentally unfriendly than gas guns, so that’s what I now use.

I’d been planning to do the path as well – the cracks in the concrete grow weeds rather rapidly. However, colonies of ground-nesting bees have taken up residence, as the dry and very friable soil under the concrete is ideal for them. They’re to be encouraged, so the path remains un-weeded.

weeded patio

’til May be out ?

Not exactly May blossom (it’s a sub-species: the Glastonbury Thorn), not quite fully out, and I’ve only “cast a clout” on a purely temporary basis this glorious sunny afternoon!

And just opened, in the warmth of the late-afternoon sunshine – the first apple blossom, on the Annie-Elisabeth, though the Worcester Pearmain isn’t far behind.

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apple blossom

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Birthday

My birthday got off to a poor start – no central heating (though hot water was fine). I sent Mark a text about 0815, and he turned up just before 9 and fixed things within five minutes.

Special treat tonight – a raspberry flan, with the last of last year’s home-grown raspberries. As usual, a fatless sponge base to partially atone for the quantity of whipped cream on top!raspberry flan

early …

Mark Evans came to service the boiler today, having rung me very early yesterday to arrange it. He’s also serviced the boiler at Mayfield road, which needs a new heat exchanger … cost unknown but expensive, on top of the £240 for the two services. just as well that tomrrow I reach State Pension Age!

Despite recent overnight frosts, one of the strawberries has decided to flower – the shocking deep pink of this variety (Toscana) was one reason for buying it! I’m not optimistic that it will actually come to fruit, though.

The white iberis (perennial candytuft) alongside the steps up to the pation were absolutely glowing this morning!

An invitation to tea in the garden with Clare and Ian was great – my first social engagement for very many months. They have made the tiny garden there magnificent – far better than I managed when resident!

strawberry in flower

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iberis flowers by steps

over at Mum’s

Over at my Mum’s. She’s been pretty much restricted to bed for the last several days, but managed to get up and come downstairs for 90 minutes at teatime, and again for supper, which was good news.

As always, a walk on the Common. The blackthorn petals are just starting to fall, but there are butterflies (peacock, brimstone, orange-tip) in abundance, and sheets of windflowers. The seasonal ponds – restored last year by a newt conservation group – are looking good. Going up towards Abel Wood there were late celandines, and masses of stitchwort. Bluebells, which I’d hoped to see, are late here this year, with only the sparse ones on the dappled fringes of the wood flowering. Plenty of primroses alongside the path, though.

It’s now some 58 years that I’ve been visiting the common in Spring. The last pic shows a grove of fairly mature trees – an area which used to be bracken, gorse and occasional bramble has turned into woodland.

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