garden bits

Finally, an afternoon when it’s mild enough and dry enough to be possible to get out in the garden!

New shears had arrived this morning, so I was able to cut off and remove the dead long grass from the “wildflower bank”, and under the tree seat.

The one solitary yellow crocus that escaped the squirrel depredation of a couple of years ago is nearly in flower, as are the first of the daffodils. First buds are breaking on the Glastonbury Thorn. The winter-flowering clematis continues, with copious blooms, though I’ll have to cut it back savagely once flowering stops, as it’s getting far too big.

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tomatoes in !

The first seeds of 2021 are sown! I always sow tomatoes on Valentines Day (in Victorian times tomatoes were also known as “loveapples”, so it seems appropriate).

Home-saved seed of “Black Russian” and “Latah”, and bought Heritage seeds of “Pink Brandywine” and “Bloody Butcher” as experiments, now sitting on the heated tray, in a south-facing window.

filled tubs and seed-packets


seed pots on propagator tray


It’s the first day I’ve felt properly recovered from last weekend’s vaccination, and able to do things. I’m celebrating with a raspberry flan, using nearly the last of the home-grown raspberries frozen last summer.

raspberry flan

Chilly !

Outside temperature barely rose to just below zero C in late-morning sun, but it’s now cloudy and the temperature is dropping again, towards the -4 to -7 predicted for tonight. The central heating has been struggling today!  It doesn’t really do quite enough to reach the 23-25C I need during the daytime if I’m not active, seem9ing to top out around 22C. So I lit the woodburner an hour ago, and things are now pleasantly cosy.


I’ve had a rotten couple of days after the covid vaccination! Aching joints, poor vision, headaches, and a temperature. The fever crept up to 38.6 (101.5F) before breaking yesterday morning. I still have difficulty focussing, and reading -even with glasses – is a struggle.

The front daffodils are biding their time before opening! I normally reckon on the end of January or the first week of February for these to be in full glorious bloom, but they don’t like the weather this year. I don’t altogether blame them …

daffodil buds, sprinkling of snow in background

covid vaccine

Covid vaccination at 11:54 this morning, so up just after 7 to be showered and sensible in plenty of time!

A rather chilly walk up to the GP surgery – I’d decided not to wear a long-sleeved T-shirt or a heavy jumper, so that I wouldn’t have to faff about for them to get to my upper arm. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel the actual injection, and as a result didn’t go light-headed or otherwise feel wobbly! It was, fittingly, the “Oxford” vaccine.

However, by mid-afternoon I was starting to feel shivery, and run a slight temperature. A hot bath and early bed will be called for! Hopefully, it won’t get worse – the side-effects of this vaccine can apparently be pretty nasty.

scan of information leaflet cover

final batch

Today was the final batch of marmalade. The first and third batches turned out fine, with no problems. The second batch – identical oranges, identical recipe – took a great deal of boiling before it would set, so is much darker than the other two batches. Seems to taste OK, though.

That’s 16 jars, one of which I’ve already started, and one of which will go to Mum (at her request).

jars of marmalade on table

indoor flowers

The paperwhite narcissus in the bulb vase is now in full flower. As a single plant it’s not massively impressive, but nice to see, anyway.

The second batch of forsythia is now fully out, and I cut a third batch which is in the cool front room, to be ready when the second batch starts to drop.

Upstairs, the amaryllis in the bathroom is sadly just about over. It never lasts long, but is a splendid post-Christmas treat.

paperwhite narcissus


forsythia blossom

garden bits

A frost this morning, making delicate patterns on the cyclamen leaves. The winter-flowering clematis is unaffected of course, but I’m a bit worried for the camelia, as the buds are entering a sensitive stage.

cyclamen leaves


clematis flowers


camellia bud

not a brilliant week, so far

Last weekend, Mum went into hospital with very low blood oxygen (88%), which after investigation turned out to be due to fluid on her lungs. After three days on supplementary oxygen, she came out yesterday, but it’s unclear if the problem has been resolved.

Monday saw the start of roofers working next door – Rupert and Abby are having their roof entirely replaced. I don’t think mine needs doing (I rather hope not, at a cost of over £5,000!) – my suspicion is that theirs got upset when the previous owners converted the attic. Much loud banging and use of power tools with noise travelling down the walls – though one of the younger roofers was just cute enough to be worth occasionally watching, even swaddled up against the winter weather.

However, the front shared chimney was in a state. After a couple of discussions with Rupert and the senior roofing guy (who says he’s a former structural engineer), we decided that as neither of us uses the fireplaces this chimney serves, it should be reduced in height by seven courses and capped off. Dodgy /fallen out-of-use TV aerials to be removed, of course. My half of this work is several hundred unexpected pounds …