garden bits

The first flowers have opened on the ceanothus, and it will soon be a froth of blue buzzing with bees.

Predictably, these first flowers are right next to my face when I’m on the lounger on the patio … but the few bumble bees so far seem friendly enough.

a gentle hirple

I seem to have dropped a bit behind my target of 5000 steps a day (April to October, British Summer time!), so thought a stroll was in order. Down to the canal, and along as far as the Bilford Road bridge, then down the side of the recycling centre, back up the hill and home. It was rather hayfeverish, but very pleasant.

garden bits

Many people dislike the smell of Valerian, but I quite like it, and certainly don’t mind cutting it to use indoors in a vase. It’s planted next to the catnip – moggies adore both these plants!

Elsewhere, the blue irises are in full stream, and the “Allium Christophii (Albopilosum)” (which I love for the silvery metallic sheen in its petals) is just starting to open. The smaller, deep purple, alliums are in full glory.

garden bits

The first foxgloves are now open. This group of half a dozen in the flower border are all white, for some reason – the three in the “wildflower bank” are a few days behind, but seem to be all pink.

It’s one of the joys of self-sown plants that you never quite know what’s going to appear where!


Last night was an Indian meal at Delhi Spice put on by Andrew Cross to thank all those who had helped get him elected, and very nice it was too. I was delighted that Clare Wratten turned up: I knew she’d been doing data entry and envelope stuff for Andrew, but hadn’t expected to see her. I asked her about feeding Chelsea while I’m away next month, and also about being an emergency contact when I get the GPS wristband, and she said “of course” to both.

I’d cycled in, leaving the Brompton in Crowngate. Not the best of moves, as the Angel Place entrance was closed when I got there to pick it up, though the Broad Street entrance was open. Barriers up to channel people to the bus station, but I got past and to the bike store. Fortunately, there was a maintenance man cleaning the barrier carpet strip by the doors, who cheerfully let me out the front doors.

It’s been an expensive few days! Ten days ago, I had a message from Clare to say that the boiler there as broken down. Mark Evans looked at it, and I was faced with a choice between a new heat exchanger at £900, or a new boiler at £2,500 with a ten-year guarantee. Gulping slightly, I chose the latter.

Having been at Green Mount for an extended period 11th – 14th (partly due to train strikes, partly deliberately to see Sim and Phoebe), I’d finalised the canal trip and booked it. A deposit of £400 was required. All in all, my small savings have taken a battering, and I’m nearly back to where I was a year ago. Still, it was good to be able to cope with an unexpected emergency, and still be able to plan nice/expensive holiday things. Next moth will also be expensive: the annual Broads trip followed straight away by the exMCS weekend.


The thyme is in full and glorious flower, spilling out over the steps leading up to the patio. Sadly, there’s a marked absence of the bees that would normally be covering it. Last year was very poor for bees here, as well.

Some of my earliest memories are of family holidays in Spain, and drinking “horchata de chufa” (which is basically sweetened tiger-nut milk).
For the first time, I’ve made some myself at home! Not quite up to the standard of my memories (is anything, ever?), but a pleasant drink on a hot day.


veg flowers

Signs of good things to come in the vegetable garden! The first flowers on the dwarf pea “Tom Thumb” and on the yellow courgette “Soleil”. Elsewhere, the rose arch has the first flush of flowers, and the first blue iris has opened.


This morning was re-potting the Yuccas. Probably my least favourite houseplant to do, but at least this time I remembered to wear glasses to avoid being spiked in the eyes!

It was originally a single plant, but four years ago I cut the top off and planted it – both old (small) and new (large) top plant have flourished.

a hirple on the common

Over at my Mum’s, with Sim and Phoebe. Morning visit to Freeland Nurseries to buy clematis to replace the one on the porch. After some discussion with Mum last night it was agreed to have the usual pink montana on the south side, and a balearica on the north side. Assorted of us doing various stripping off of old clematis, adding wires, digging planting oles, tidying up, but we made a decent job of it.

Late afternoon was my usual walk on the Common. Drifts of bluebells among the swathes of last year’s bracken – the result of changes to the way the land is managed. Sixty years ago when we moved to the village there were no bluebells here, though nearby woodlands are full of them.

x-ray trip

Even with the assistance of the motor on my electric bike, the road uphill to Worcester Royal Hospital (for an X-ray) felt like a pretty unremitting grind today. After a winter layoff, I’ve only just started cycling again, so am obviously not fit … just as well I allowed half an hour, rather than the 20 minutes Google Maps suggested!