camera things

My much-loved Fuji S4000 bridge camera has died! After scraping round the internet, I’m replacing it with a similar – and equally very second-hand – Fuji S100FS. Only 11 megapixel, so well behind even a moderate contemporary phone … but it’s the 28-300mm equivalent zoom I like.

In the meantime, I’m not exactly short of ways of taking photos … there’s the shirtpocket Sony D33021, the very compact Panasonic DMC-TZ55, the iPad, and even the phone. But they all have different uses.

garden bits

In the shelter of a rosemary bush, some of the blue hyacinths are in bloom, though the ones further out were badly scorched by frost a few days ago.These are the survivors of indoor forced bulbs for Christmas five and six years ago … I’ve since decided that the scent is too overpowering to have them in the same room as me!

I’ve dug over the top bed and put up bean poles. Far too early to plant, but I do the bean wigwam first so that I know how many 7’6″ bamboos I have left over for other things.

garden waste

OK, I’ve given in. My nine-year-old compost bin – the “dalek” – has been repeatedly raided by rats and burgled by badgers (which have trashed the plastic hatch at the bottom), and clearly is no longer viable. The heap of non-compostable prunings and branches has reached a terrifying size. We’re into spring, so within the next couple of weeks it will no longer be needed as a refuge for overwintering animals.

So I’ve ordered a fortnightly brown bin garden waste collection. Hopefully only for a year, as I dislike sending potentially useful nutrients/humus out of the garden! But it buys me time to research and come up with suitable size compost facilities that are completely rat- badger- and anything else- proof! Something involving half-inch welded mesh is my initial thought.

garden bits

Sunny and mild today, which makes a change. The buds on the Worcester Black Pear (always the first) are opening.

Elsewhere, I’ve finally wrestled the oak tub that Mum gave me for Christmas into position. The seasoned oak is extremely tough: I didn’t manage to drill a single drainage hole using the 32mm flatbit before the cordless drill ran out of charge! Try again, using a smaller bit … the 25mm flatbit managed two holes per charge. Then fill with the contents of two old growbags and assorted pots, used last year for the tomatoes, liberally laced with fish, blood and bone fertiliser, and topped up with the last of last year’s bag of general-purpose compost. It’s all horribly squelchy at the moment, so will need to dry out for a week or two before planting.

It’s destined to have dwarf (patio-style) raspberries in it, but they’re perfectly happy on the windowsill in the spare room for the time being. Sadly, my large raspberries have failed to crop decently for two years, due to insect depradations – sawfly, I think. I’m determined to break the cycle, and the reason for going for dwarf raspberries this year is so that they’re a manageable size to spray with whatever organic pestkillers come to hand … milk, vinegar, and suchlike.

Also, because it was such a mild day, I gave the bedroom a thorough going over with flea powder – there’s been a problem for a couple of weeks. Applied at 11am, hoovered up around 3pm, and window in bedroom, bathroom and spare room all fully opened to ensure a decent through draft. Windows closed at dusk … there’s still a bit of a smell, but the flea powder does say it has a pleasing scent that lingers …. I think that’s all it is, as sleeping in an insecticide-laden atmosphere is not a good idea.

Green Mount

A weekend over at my Mum’s, as she got out of hospital yesterday. A howling wind from the North driving flurries of snow at breakfast time was replaced by a sunny (but still chilly) mid-afternoon. I managed my usual walk on the Common.

Old Man’s Beard and hazel catkins looked fantastic against a mainly-blue sky.


After a day of sleet with occasional snow that never really settled, dusk has brought a more serious attempt at snowing. Though the ground is still too warm for lying snow, the potted Christmas tree is starting to look as though it enjoys it!

snow (ish)

It’s alternating feathery snow and gentle sleet here this morning, so not really settling. But it’s slippery underfoot – too slippery for me, so I’ll have to give the International Womens Day walk that Hannah Cooper is leading a miss. I just don’t dare risk a fall at the moment.

The snow is just barely settling on the Christmas tree, and not really yet looking right for next year’s Christmas cards!

garden bits, Mum in hospital

A rare gleam of sunshine this morning lit up the flowers opening on the mahonia in a pot outside the back door. Otherwise, it’s been grey all day, and feels a lot colder than the 8C the thermometer shows … stove is lit.

Mum was taken in to JR2 on Friday, with most of the signs of a stroke though so far tests are negative. Most worrying are hallucinations and a complete personality change – she’s gone from being rather depressed about being largely bed-bound at home to being almost manically cheerful, which slightly makes up for an almost-complete loss of contact with reality. I visited yesterday (Sunday), but only stayed for an hour as she was becoming rather restless.

Between travel and waiting times between buses and trains, I was out of the house for nearly seven hours. It’s left me rather aching today, though surprisingly the knee ligament that’s given me trouble for the past week seems not to have been affected.

unexpected contact

I had a completely unexpected Facebook message last night, from someone I haven’t seen since 1967! It was Hugh Jupp, who now uses his first name of Chris. We knew each other quite well, as he lived in Freeland (the next village), so often caught the Number 53 bus together.

It seems that discovering a photo of me from back in those days was the trigger for this … he’s sent me a decent copy now I’ve given him my email. I’m not sure that I’d recognise many of us from photos aged eleven, but perhaps context gave him a clue who I was. I think the photo was summer 1966, so I’d have been 11 at the time.