Monday, 15 January 2018

HER VISIT TO POUNDLAND SOLVES A MYSTERY & SHE FINDS ALL MANNER OF 'EXCITING' THINGS.

When you are of a curious nature and don't know the of one of your own roses, life can be a bit 'tough' sometimes, for she has searched through numerous catalogues but has never found a photo that matches this rose.

Yesterday she went to Poundland on North End Road to get strong tape with which to close a box. If you're up to date with her blog you will know about this, if not, go and read the last post.

She found the pack of strong tape and was walking towards the front of the store to the tills, when she saw several assistants unpacking skinny tall boxes and various other larger boxes in what is the garden section.

Being of a curious nature, she went to see what they were unpacking and squeaked with joy!

For sitting at eye level was a skinny box with green shoots sticking out of the top, this indicated that whatever the plant was inside the box was alive and shooting and on the front of the box was a photo of her unknown rose!

She lifted it down, turned it around and there was the name 'Kronenbourg', then she remembered where she had found and bought the original.

Years ago, there had been a brilliant 99p Store on Streatham High Street, they had all manner of amazing things for the garden n this particular store, she had bought all her black and red currants, plus her gooseberries from there, plus several rose bushes.

Constance Spry, Compassion, Joro, Pristine and the unknown rose had come from this store and all of them have done her 'proud' over the years.

She remembered that the rose with no name was healthy but not in a box and was reduced to 50p, so she had never known its' name.

Research on-line has shown photos of this hybrid rose, some people have remarked that she has very little scent.

All she can say is that she must have been so grateful at being rescued and planted that she has out-done herself in giving us the most glorious scent for the past fifteen years or so!

'Well, she beautiful and I am very happy to have found another', she thought to herself, 'I'll plant her in the back border'.

And went on hunting through the shelves to see what the assistants were putting out.. 

'Oooh, yes, I'll have those' she thought as she spied Freesia corms (that's not a spelling error), then found Gladioli, two different varieties of Dahlias and several other all flowering plants that will do splendidly either in the large terracotta pots or in the back border amongst the globe Artichokes.

One of the assistants said "would you be interested in onions or shallots, I'm bringing them out next?" She grinned and replied "I most certainly would be interested in onions and shallots, thank you" and so she came away with just what she would have bought at the allotment trading hut, red onions and golden shallots plus fabulous flower bulbs etc.

And a rose.. a beautiful rose.. about whose 'ancestor' she'll write a post as it's a remarkable and truly wonderful tale, just fit to be a tale on a parrots' blog.

Gardeners around the world know this rose for she is very famous and although she wasn't 'born' in England, her name is English, she is called Peace.

GeeGee Parrot.
January 15th, 2018. 

FLY TIPPING & WHY THERE WEREN'T LOTS OF PEOPLE AT THE ALLOTMENTS ON SATURDAY.

'Fly tipping'.. for those of you lucky enough to not know what this expression means.. is a real nightmare for councils and landowners who have rubbish dumped on their land.

It, the rubbish, can be anything from household waste ie mattresses and broken furniture, to old tyres and machinery that no longer works.

On Saturday when she went to the allotments, it was devoid of people until Stuart arrived, he lives near by and cycles over. The other 'locals' aka neighbouring plot holders all live further away and drive in.

She was talking to Corinne today, who shares the plot with Stuart, they are her opposite neighbours and she remarked upon how there was no one at the plots.

"I know" said Corinne "it's because of what happened very early on Saturday morning, a dumper truck broke the chains on the main gate, smashed open the gates, backed in and dumped a huge load of garden waste just inside the gates and took off.

"You cannot get a car in, let alone down the track, it's a monstrous mess, huge chunks of branches and tree trunks, a broken greenhouse frame, old decking boards". 

"Someone has paid a company a serious amount of money to clear their garden but the crew, instead of taking it to the local recycling dump and paying to dispose of it properly, have fly tipped it all at our entrance and pocketed the money".

So that explains why no one was there, now we'll have to organize and pay our local council crew to come and take it away, she thought after they had said their goodbyes and arranged to meet later on this week.

And in the Guardian today there's an article about illegal fly tipping and the companies who take your money and dump stuff where they shouldn't.  

It's a BIG mess.

We are waiting for courier to come and collect our sick vacuum, it's in a huge box sitting just inside the front door, taped up with thick tape from Poundland.

Who, bless this company, solved the mystery of one of her favourite roses. But that story, and more, will be revealed in our next post, so don't go too far away 'cos as she 'trapped' here waiting for the courier, she may well write another post before the day is out. 

It's a wet day, as in 'chucking it down' wet. She's glad that she has to stay in because she doesn't want to be trundling about out there in the rain.

And I'm glad too because I'm full of egg and quite content to sit on her warm head and grind Beaky.

GeeGee Parrot.
January 15th, 2018.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN ON BBC 1 @ 8.00pm SUNDAY, JANUARY 14th, 2018.

Pssst.. want to hear what it's like to be Queen of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

Then tune into the BB1 channel at 8.oopm local time tonight, it will be different if you live in another country.

There is a 'taster' of this documentary in the Guardian Newspaper today on line. 

We are having a lazy start to the day, it's cold for the temperature has dropped like the proverbial stone, she's got to go out to buy strong parcel tape with which to package up the vacuum machine. It's sick, very sick, like in 'not working sick' and has to go off to be repaired.

The courier is coming to collect it between 09.00 - 18.00 and you know that they would come whilst she was out if she didn't get the tape today!

So seeds and shallots will have to wait for another Sunday, the earth is either frozen or too wet at the moment, so there's no rush to plant anything.

She's skimmed the papers and read, gulp, of the unbelievable debt that a company called Carillion have managed to acquire. Why the gulp, well until this last November, they were the company that managed her allotment site.

These sites of allotments were originally granted a long time ago to the area by the Devonshire Estate, as is Duke of Devonshire, the land was granted for agricultural or sports usage.

Some of the allotment sites were renegotiated and houses were built on them but her site remains one of the 'untouchables' and cannot be built upon.

'So that's why they gave back the management GeeGee, we were all a bit confused but now it's clear, they didn't want the cost of managing it all longer, hopefully it will now be run by our guys again, they were more efficient and hands on than Carillion ever were, that's for sure'.

It is time for her to trundle off down to the North End Road, she certainly isn't going to pay a silly price for packing materials in Ryness on the King's Road when shops like Poundland or Poundworld have what she needs.. for a £1.00!

Pip Pip.. don't forget to tune into BBC1 at 8.00pm tonight to see the documentary with our Queen.

GeeGee Parrot.
January 14th, 2018. 

Saturday, 13 January 2018

SNOWDROPS & ROSES..

We awoke to a cold, chillybilly day, I wanted to stay snuggled down on her shoulder in bed but she said such things as "egg and tea GeeGee, let's get up and start our day, we can always come back to bed if it's really grim outside", so, against my better judgement, I was persuaded to 'get up'.

Well, it's a good thing that she wasn't lying and we did get egg and tea because 'out there' in the big outside world aka Knightsbridge, it was cold and damp. 

She pottered about a bit, as mothers do when they secretly wish they were back in bed. But at about midday, she took another look outside and squeaked "oh look, it's cheered up, you're staying here as it's too cold and windy for you but I'm going to the allotments".

And go she did. When she arrived, there wasn't a soul in sight which she thought was a bit weird, no Linda, no Joska, no Ros, just herself and lots of birds whizzing about.

The plan is to build three tall raised beds on the old asparagus bed, it had beans in it last summer and she let the plants overwinter so that the nitrogen nodules would break down and enrich the soil. 

She wasn't planning on staying long, so didn't open up shack or tool shed, she pottered about, picked leaves of chard, landcress and spinach and looked at things.

The beds of garlic are in great shape, it should be a good harvest. The chives are sprouting and all of the other herbs are doing well.

The wild garlic has shot up, it's underneath one of the Stella cherry trees and has loved the thick layer of horse manure that was put down under the cherries last the Autumn.

It was when she went back to the table to pick up her basket that she saw them, clumps of tiny little dark green spiky shoots, she smiled and thought well, how lovely, Spring is on its' way. 

What were they? They're Snowdrops and beside one of the clumps, just poking out of the earth were the tips of some early Narcissi.  

She carried twelve of the longest boards over to the space where the three raised beds will be and spaced them out.

Just before she actually fixes them into placet and using a hoe, not a spade or a fork, she'll give the weeds a hard time, then she will place the boards into position and fix them securely together.

The horse manure will be put in together with buckets of sharp sand, this is to help lighten the soil and she will top the beds off with a sheet of thick black plastic, this will cause the manure to heat up and to rot down faster.

Mr. and Mrs. Worm will love it and do their splendid job of dragging it down into the earth.

On the narrow walk ways between the beds, she will lay a thick layer of cardboard or paper down on the walk ways to discourage weeds.

'Time to go' she said to heself, the air temperature was dropping fast and then she saw Stuart, opposite neighbor, coming down the track with a wheel barrow of manure.

They greeted and wished each other a happy new year and stood looking at the plot where the big sycamore trees have been taken down, what a difference in light and air it has caused. 

They said their goodbyes, she turned to walk off down the track.. and what did she spy?

Not one but several of her fence roses in bloom, 'Gloire de Dijon', she has a heavenly colour but.. roses in January? 

We might have roses and snowdrops in the same vase, what could be nicer?

She's off out early tomorrow to go to the allotment trading hut to purchase red onions sets plus seeds, we'll be back when she comes home.

Chirps to you all, stay warm, just think.. we are nearly half way through winter and the days are getting lighter sooner and staying lighter longer, yes, they are, I can't help it if it's cloudy or rainy, but above all that rubbish, the daylight hours are increasing.. oh yippee!

GeeGee Parrot.
January 13th, 2018.

Friday, 12 January 2018

URTICARIA & RUNNING OUT OF THINGS TO EAT.. WELL, NICE THINGS THAT IS.

Urticaria.. aka Hives are painful, they itch like crazy and erupt on 'tender' skin, like on the inside of your thighs, your stomach and underneath your arms and elbows.

She had never experienced anything like a hive, or so she thought, until she started using the drops prescribed for her Open Angled Glaucoma and they erupted all over her body!

She went back to Moorfields and showed the hives, which were monstrously angry looking lumps to her consultant , who said "Huh, boy oh boy, you're allergic to the preservative in the drops".

And then she remembered having had a severe reaction to the Anti-Tetanus injection that she had when she'd first started working on the allotments all those years ago.

So her eye drops were changed to preservative free prescription and the hives went away.

Recently, she's had more than a few erupt which she put down to eating Maneesh when she is with her Lebanese friends or having tea with Tereza who served pretty little tarts from Paul. Both of course, containing wheat. which she should know  better not to eat.

Normally her hives blow away quite quickly, but despite not eating wheat since Tuesday, she has a couple of 'real corkers' which she is trying hard to ignore as they're seriously itchy.

And as one of them became bigger and more itchy by the minute.. she went through what she's eaten over the past few days and has found out oatmeal, from which her beloved oat cakes are made, clementines, satsumas and avocados are all potential causes of hives.

AVOCADOS! She squeaked in a very aggrieved 
tone of voice, 'I knew that they are poisonous for parrots but I had no idea they could cause hives! Oh, Boo-Hoo'.

Now she'll have to do an elimination diet to see who the culprit is. It won't start today for she and I have gorged on everything.. she had an avocado, we've had teeny clementines, lots of oatcakes and are now nibbling dried Light Mulberries.

To cheer us up and to change the conversation.. BUB's coming to stay here when we go away for a few days in April.

BUB will spend one night with us before we go, so we can show him everything, then we'll go away, BUB will move into our bedroom and Jack..

No, you don't know about him.. he's the son of BUB's brother which makes him mama's 2nd cousin and BUB's nephew.. Jack will arrive and he'll sleep on the big sofa in the sitting room.

She will leave her museum cards for them and they'll have a happy time.

Now it is time to bathe and put drops in and wash supper plates etc. Then we will settle down with a new book and get ready for the weekend.

Her marvelous Bissell vacuum has to go back to the factory to be serviced, the couriers are coming to collect it on Monday, it's in a huge cardboard  box which I was told "no, you are not to nibble or chew it GeeGee".. how boring, I bet Beaky would find it reallyreally crunchy!

See how 'hard done' by, I am.. 

GeeGee Parrot.
January 12th, 2018.

THE AMERICAN EMBASSY IN GROSVENOR SQUARE.. BUILT ON LAND LEASED FROM THE GROSVENOR ESTATE.

Most people, including probably 99% of the population of America, think that the old American Embassy, in Grosvenor Square, London was built on land that belonged to the United States of America.

As is the case, I believe, of all of the other American embassies throughout the world.

But this Embassy in Grosvenor Square, built in 1960, did not sit on land owned by the USA.

Why not? Well, because the land is owned by the Duke of Westminster's Grosvenor Estate and they never sell Freeholds of their land. 

The American government made a song and dance about this as they wanted to 'own' this piece of land and petitioned Parliament in order to make the Grosvenor comply with their wish to 'own' the land.

However, the Duke of Westminster and the trustees of the Grosvenor Estate had, up their sleeves, a bargaining tool that was all powerful.

It was this.. 'The Grosvenor Estate will sell you the freehold of this plot of land in return of properties in America that were stolen from our family after the War of Independence - 1776.'

The American government knew they were beaten, the Grosvenor family had owned most of Maine and New York state. The Grosvenor Estate granted them a 999 year lease.

The American government sold the Grosvenor Square lease to the Qataris for £315 - $431 million and apparently have spent $1 billion on building "a larger, modern and secure state of the art compound for their staff of over 800".

It has been built in wasteland south of the Thames, in between Nine Elms - the wholesale flower market - and Battersea Dogs Home.

It's a hideous new building.. no wonder President Trump didn't want to cut the opening ribbon!

We are getting idler by the day.. except on Wednesdays! But she is actually going out today to give stuff to the shop.

And Beaky would love to nibble that Russian carving that we found sitting on a shelf yesterday afternoon but she caught us in mid crunch, it was very swiftly removed and put into a drawer out of Beak's reach.

Ah well, such is life. My own toys, of which I have several, aren't so appealing. I guess it's the old story of forbidden fruits, we always want other people's 'toys'.

GeeGee Parrot.
January 12, 2018.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

PLATO.. THE COMPLETE WORKS.

When she went upstairs for tea on Tuesday, she mentioned to Tereza that apart from reading new authors each week, she was also going to start reading 'The Classics' and she wasn't talking about Austen or Dickens.

She meant Virgil, Homer and Plato and Tereza, who is educating her two girls most beautifully, replied "well, you are welcome to borrow anything that we have" and led mama to the relevant bookcase.

She took down a fat book 'Plato' the complete works, they went back to the kitchen and finished their tea and mama came down with this 'brick' of a book in a her bag.

It's a dismally damp dreary day here in deepest Knightsbridge and she has just given me my breakfast, we woke up very late, and thought about this book.

And she marveled at several things that we, Dear Readers, all take for granted.

We take paper for granted, do we not? So imagine being a writer in the days of Plato. They wrote on Papyrus, an extraordinary and durable material which is / was made in several different qualities, from rough 'paper' to the finest smooth quality that was used for royal documents, for precious books and manuscripts.

Papyrus is made from a reed that grows in the Nile River Valley, highly specialized workshops produced it.

For people who did not have access to papyrus, they wrote on Parchment - a much heavier writing medium -  it is made from calf, goat and sheep skin, the word Vellum comes from the French word veau, this refers to parchment made from the skin of a calf.

Then there is the 'ink' with which they wrote and the coloured inks with which they illustrated their books and, of course, their 'pens'.

The ancients.. ie the Greeks and Romans valued their education extremely highly and wrote letters, books and manuscripts, the wonders of which you can find in the great museums of today.

Then there's the last thing that makes all of these authors works so extraordinary.. they only wrote by natural light or by 'candle' light. There weren't any light switches.. for there was no 'light' to be switched on.

It makes you wonder, doesn't it, well, she certainly did, for it made her marvel at these wondrous books and she hasn't even opened this one yet.

Dismal day or not, she has to go out for some things and I, with my tumtum full of egg and tea am going to doze on a door. We'll be back later at some point and wish you all a pleasant day, even if it's as dismal as it is here.

GeeGee Parrot.
January 11th, 2018.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

WHAT A DAY I'VE HAD, WHY I'M PLUMB TUCKERED OUT!

\It started at 07.30 hours with her sticking her hand into my night house and asking me if I wanted to get up?

I issued a minute growl, as if to say "get away with you, you stupid woman, no, I certainly don't want to get up at this dreadful hour, it's almost still dark and, why are you up so early?" 

She took the 'hint' and shuffled off out of the bedroom, I heard the sound of water running and kettle being switched on, blimey, she was serious about getting up.

She came back into the bedroom about half an hour later and she was dressed! Dressed.. at this time, what on earth was going on.

"Come along GeeGee, your yumyum is ready and you've got to get up, unless you want to be left behind, but then you won't meet Pat for coffee or come to the shop and that means you'll be by yourself all day until this evening"

Dear Readers, I was out of my house like a rat down a drainpipe, of course, it was Wednesday.. aka shop going day!

I slurped down my soft boiled egg and beakfuls of LapySang, travelling cage was ready in the big Ikea bag, I slipped in, she covered the top with a paper, put on a jacket, scarf, hat and having picked up her mobile and keys, we left the house and walked to the bus stop.

Where was all the traffic, did everyone know something we didn't, had work been cancelled? She had allowed lots of time to get there but we were at Fulham Broadway and sitting on a comfy sofa in Nero's within twenty minutes! 

She picked up a paper, bought a coffee which the barista was only too happy to put into her thermal travel mug and waited for Pat, who was early as well.

Yabba Yabba.. they hadn't seen each other since before Christmas, so there was much to talk about and catch up on.

She gave Pat the beautiful, vintage linen she had found and was given an enchanting 'slot-through' neck scarf that Pat knitted for her in the wool that she had given her in November.

Then they picked me up and we went across the road into the charity shop where mum volunteers on Wednesdays. Pat had sorted through cupboards and was donating lots of lovely stuff and a couple of books. 

Then Pat left, I was unpacked and settled into a new place, with a clear view of the shop and customers.  

What a busy day, then we had a visit from John, with whom mum had worked at the other charity shop in Bute Street, this was a nice surprise and it ended up with John filling in a form to be taken on as a volunteer.

He has worked for this charity but in a different location, so he is half way there already, especially as his old boss is now our area manager.

I was very happy to be there, I ate, I chatted but you'll be pleased to hear I didn't ring the dreaded landline telephone once, neither did I do the BBC time beeps.

We left just after 5.00 pm, I had had a long day in my cage and she was tired, she was silly last night and ate two delicious tarts from Paul, tarts with pastry made with wheat, she'd itched all night long from the evil hives that erupted on the inside of her elbows and her thighs. Greed.. silly mama.

We're ready for bed and sleep, we've had supper, slurps of hot tea, she has put her drops in and now she'll read for a bit, then I'll go into my night house and we'll go to sleep.

We have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow as well, it's all go here kids, "Good night" to you all. 

GeeGee Parrot.
January 19th 2018.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

THE URTICA DIOICA TINCTURE.. AKA STINGING NETTLE IS BACK IN HER LIFE

When Winter is upon us, she makes quite sure that she 'ups' her intake of goodly things like Vit D (in a liquid format) for there is precious little sunlight to be had and even on days that old Mister Sun is out, it's as cold as a witches tit, so she's not hanging about outside and certainly not exposing any skin to his feeble wintery rays.

The things that are the best to eat aren't even 'thinking' of growing yet, they're much too wise, so she does the next best things which is to take them in the form of a tincture. Urtica Dioica.

In fact, she slurps three tinctures twice a day, every day throughout these wintery days, Swedish Bitters which she takes twice a day, every day of the year, Elderberry and Stinging Nettle.

She takes Elderberry as from the beginning of November and Stinging Nettle as from the first of January. 

Who wants to get this wretched Aussie or any other flu, she doesn't for sure and hopes that eating properly, wearing gloves all the time she is on a bus and a tube and keeping a scarf over her mouth and nose will help to keep germs at bay.

She makes a point of staying away from people who are sick, for she caught a disgusting virus from a sick child on Christmas Day 2016 which absolutely knocked her for six and was not surprised to hear later that the poor child had been hospitalised with it either.

There are much too many nice things to do in the Winter to waste time lolling about in bed feeling ill with some gruesome influenza! The tourists have mostly gone back to from whence they came, so the museums are less crowded and there are new exhibitions and there are talks and things to do and places to go.

But I saw what was in her shopping basket, it was three packets of Italian seeds, the ground may be frozen solid or soggy underfoot but you can't stop a gardener from planning, plotting and dreaming about what they're going to grow, can you?

Now, if only those nettles would grow.. yum, for we are both very partial to a few leaves of baby steamed nettles with a twist of garlic and chilli.

GeeGee Parrot.
January 9th, 2018.

Monday, 8 January 2018

PINHEAD OATMEAL: THE BIG ASDA AT CLAPHAM JUNCTION DIDN'T HAVE ANY, NEITHER DID WAITROSE IN THE KING'S ROAD.. DOESN'T ANYONE MAKE THEIR OWN OATCAKES ANYLONGER!

She had to go to the dentist to make an appointment, so went into Waitrose at the beginning of the North End Road and found medium cut Oatmeal which will have to do, she would have preferred to have coarse cut but beggars cannot be choosers.

Then eureka.. she thought a health food store might have it and went across the road into Holland & Barrett and yes, there it was, coarse, medium and fine.

So now she has both coarse and medium and will mix them and all will be well!

You must be wondering why she is making an issue out of this, well, the next time you pick up a pack of oatcakes, look at the ingredients. You may well see Palm oil, or something similar, well she doesn't want to eat that in an oatcake, thank you.

She wants a 'proper' oatcake and if you've been lucky enough to have 'Granny' who was a Scot and made oatcakes whenever she came to stay with the family, you would want 'proper' oatcakes too!

Besides the taste and all those unnecessary stuff, a pack costs about £1.80 but 750g of pure oatmeal costs less than that and the only other ingredients you need are bicarbonate of soda, a bit of lard and hot water!

Depending on what she's eating with them is how thick or thin she'll roll them.

It was dismal today, the sunshine and blue sky had been covered up by a thick layer of dense, low lying cloud and it was chilly, ugh, and wet as well, she pulled a hat down over her ears and scurried for the underground as fast as she could, there would be as little waiting at bus stops as possible for her today.

Some places were only accessible by buses but traffic was light and she managed to get almost everything done and be home before it was truly dark.

"Brrr GeeGee, it's most certainly time for tea" she called out as she came through the front door and shed her coat and hat.

Goody, I'm always up for a dish of tea and flew to help her make it, or rather I stood on YumYum HQ's door and watched as she filled our flask with tea and hot water, then flew ahead into our bedroom as that's where we were headed.

It's early but she's already looking at catalogues and planning what to sew in the propagators in late January, then plant out later at the allotments under 'Sun Tunnels', they're bigger that cloches and although they cost her £9.00 each, they've lasted well, she's had them for over ten years. 

Dearest Patsy in California has managed to get a company over there to identify the varieties of Globe Artichokes that only grow about twenty four inches in height.

Now armed with these four names, she can search for a company who will supply her with seeds. In her mind, you can never have enough of these wonderful vegetables, there are different varieties that will 'fruit' at different times so you get an almost continuous supply of them throughout the summer.. oh, what bliss on a stalk!

But we are jumping ahead of ourselves, there is much work to be done out there at the allotments and she would dearly love to have a week or two of weather the like of which we had yesterday. 

When she took the plots on seventeen years ago in January, it had been a dry month, cold but dry and she, her plot neighbour, Brett and a couple of other people had gone almost every day to clear their plots to get them ready for spring planting, so it would be reallyreally nice if the weather would cheer up and allow her to do the same this month too! Well, we will have to wait and see, won't we?

Maybe this dull weather will be a big poke to get her to finish the sitting room, who knows, but since she retired, she'd much rather garden than do house work, that's for sure.

But you never can tell with mothers, can you?

GeeGee Parrot.
January 8th, 2018.