Friday, 11 August 2017

ROCKY BIT THE BURGLAR.. I BIT BUB..

It wasn't my finest hour but it certainly was Rocky's, that's for sure! Because having being bitten by Rocky, the burglar bled all over the house and the cops 'got' him the very next day 'cos they entered his blood into the database and lookielookie, there was a match, the blood belonged to a very naughty serial burglar!

I, unfortunately, bit BUB when we first met 'cos I had the thought, very unwisely, of impressing upon him who was 'boss' around here. I know, how stupid can a small, red arsed parrot be? The answer, Dear Readers, is very.

I don't have any exciting news to give you. But one bit is that Connie isn't coming to stay with us, she's having an operation which means that she has to spend time recuperating, not flying across from the USA to come and jaunt about with us for ten days.. sigh.. such a pity.

For not only were we looking forward to seeing her, but that would have FORCED She Who Prefers to Garden to sort out the back room, you notice I don't use the word sittingroom!

That's a good 'joke'! For you can't sit anywhere on anything in that room, except perhaps on one small corner of a trunk, one of three, as everything is piled high on anything that could possibly be called a chair or a sofa!

Whose laughing? Not her, for she's mightily fed up with the chaos in that room and she's just realised, oh lordy, that Autumn is a'coming and that we do have another guest coming, who will be here for sure, in September and that it's time she got her act together and finished sorting it out.

My help or presence is not required and I am banished from perching on that door, sad that, for that door is old, wide and extremely comfortable to sit upon. So I 'lurk' on our bedroom door and utter piteous squeaks in the, unfortunately, vain hope that she'll allow me in there, I say vain as the carpet is off-white, she doesn't like me to sit there at any time if the truth were told, which as you well know, it always should be.

And now it is late.. the Pewsey crew are arriving tomorrow at midday to divest us of masses of stuff which we have collected for their grandchildren.. aka Poppie, Freddie and Charlotte, this is very good news for it will mean she no longer has the excuse about not being able to bring the trunks back into our bedroom. They live under our bed. The bed rests up high on a large sturdy wooden frame, built especially so that there is storage space underneath for trunks and boxes.

So it is bedtime, fear not, I'm actually quite tired and I won't be flying about the room playing the old game of catch-me-if-you-can. There's new yumyum and water in my night-house and I am quite content to go into it, shake my tail and say "Goodnight" to you all.

GeeGee Parrot.
August 11th, 2017.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

MAKING LABNEH FROM HOMEMADE YOGURT USING RAW GOAT'S MILK..

There's great activity going on around here in the culinary department.. aka the YumYum HQ. For tasty apples and plums are literally dropping off her trees at the allotment and as we like eating our own fruit in the depths of winter, she bottling and freezing it as fast as she can!

It's a 'cracker' of a year for fruit! Our strawberries have been pretty much a 'waste' of space but as she planted them late in the season, she rather thinks it is her fault, not theirs!

But the apple trees! Wow and wow again! We have five apple trees and four of them, the oldest are creaking and groaning with a huge load of delicious fruit, this is despite her taking off several baby fruits to allow clusters of them to grow to a proper size, luckily, none of them are tip bearers! Two of the trees are carrying three different varieties which is a clever trick if you haven't got acres of room for lots of different trees.

And as for the plum trees! Her favourite plum tree is a yellow gage, she is a Reine Claude d'Ouillin, to give her her full name, which is absolutely covered in these scrumptious fruit from way up high to right down low! They start off green, the colour of jade, then go pale yellow and when they're fully ripened, they are a dark yellow with thin red 'veins' over the top!

The taste is unlike any other plum in the world and you know how mad she is about her Seneca Plums, luckily gages ripen later, so there's no having to chose which one she wants to eat! And it was a punnet of these golden girls which unlocked a Lebanese friend's heart and he made us a large pot (and gave her his recipe on how to make something which we both adore) of Labneh..

It's strained yogurt.. no more.. no less! BUT, to a Lebanese who lived in the Lebanon, or any other self respecting person from the Middle East, it must be made out of ewe or goat's yogurt. Yes, of course, you can make it out of cows milk but it won't taste the same and of course, she knows just where to get her hands on goaty yoghurt.. it's called 'make it yourself at home' out of Debbie's raw Goaty Milk.. from ELLIE'S DAIRY.. even better!

BUT WHATEVER YOU DO.. do not strain your yogurt through kitchen paper towel! It's got bleach in it.. ugh! Anyway.. back to making Labneh.. first make your yogurt!

You will need:
A litre of milk.
1/4 cup of yogurt.
A large glass jar, the big Kilner jars are perfect, it must be rinsed with hot water and dried & it must hold a litre of mlk with ease.. make sure that it fits into your fridge!
A large stainless steel saucepan.
A thermometer.
A stainless steel slotted spoon for stirring.
An oven with a pilot light or a warm place with a thick towel.

OR.. a yogurt maker!

Heat your milk to 180 degrees.
Turn off the heat and allow the temperature to drop to 115 degrees.
Add your 1/4 cup of yogurt and stir it well into the milk.
Pour the mixture into your glass jar.
Place in a warm place for at least 12 - 14 hours.
The longer you leave it, the thicker and stronger the taste will be.
Then refrigerate.

Having made your yogurt, now you make your labneh! Go and buy yourself a Cheesecloth, old fashioned muslin works well. If you're buying muslin, make sure you get a big enough piece! There are two ways of doing this, one is straining the yogurt in the fridge, the other is the old fashioned and in her opinion, the better way, it is quicker and the labneh is slightly 'dryer'.

The old fashioned way first.

You will need:
Your yoghurt, 2 kilos of yogurt generally makes 1kilo of labneh.
Salt.
GOOD olive oil.
The cheesecloth.
A sieve.
A large bowl to catch the whey (liquid).
An elastic band or cord.
A chain with a hook or a long piece of very strong string.
Something from which you can hang the cheesecloth from.. she hangs it from the pot rack which is directly above our stove.

Put the salt into your yogurt to taste.. everyone's tastes are different but it should be tasty not bland!
Put the cheesecloth into the sieve making sure that the corners of the cloth is lying over the edge of the sieve.
Pour the salted yogurt into the cloth lying in the sieve.
Gather up the four corners of the cheesecloth.
Taking opposite sides, make a little knot, this has to be secure, now do the other two corners
Holding them up, twist them together a little bit and just above where the yogurt is sitting, use an elastic band or tie a piece of string, this is to prevent any flies getting into the cheesecloth sack!
Place the drip bowl below where you are going to hang the yogurt.
Hang the cheesecloth sack up.
The whey will start to drip immediately.
The bowl must be large enough to catch and hold the whey but still check it so that it doesn't run / come over the edge.
She let's it hang for at least 24 hours.
When no more whey is dripping, open the cheesecloth and scrape all the labneh into glass jars.
Pack it down so that it is solid with no air pockets.
Smooth over the top and pour in olive oil to act as a sealant / preservative.

The newer way.. in the fridge.

You need all of the above except the elastic band, the chain.

Do exactly as above.
But instead of hanging the cheesecloth up, you place / fold the ends of the cloth over the yogurt.
Put the bowl with the yogurt in the sieve into the fridge,
As the cheesecloth is sifting in the sieve, the whey will take longer for the whey to come out and you must check the fridge frequently to make sure that the sieve isn't sitting in the whey! This method takes at least two days plus a few hours.. now you see why she let's gravity do it quicker for her!

YubbaDubba.. we have it on our boiled eggs in the morning with zataar, it's amazing on vegetables, as a spread, on meat.. straight out of the jar on a spoon! Who said that? Fancy telling everyone our strange habits.. whatever next?

I'm off.. for I know she's going to stew apples and I want those stalks..

GeeGee Parrot.
August 6th, 2017.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

I'M THIRTEEN, YES, THAT'S RIGHT AND YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS? YEEHAA.. I'M A TEENAGER FOLKS,

And not one of my so-called fans or friends remembered! She remembered but she would, wouldn't she? I mean, I'm right there in her face or on top of her head nearly 24/7, there's no chance she'd forget. Besides, she puts important dates into her diary, isn't that what they there for, to put important dates in so one never forgets other people's birthdays, why don't other people do that?

But back to MY birthday. Well, there were no birthday cards for me, apart from the one she made out of edible stuff which was pretty clever, boohoo, so to be true to typical naughty teenage behaviour, I nibbled Claudia's basket handle whilst on our way to the allotments this morning.

Oh, sh12,  perhaps I shouldn't have done that, for it's much nicer going by car than trundling along in those two buses which take forever or two buses and a tube which still takes a good forty minutes.

Moving swiftly along.. Yes, so I am now a teenager! Oh, yippee, you should see the look on my mum's face. Poor old bat, she fears for her sanity, you see, I'm already pretty weird.. read daft.. at the best of times and who ever heard of teenagers being on their best behaviour all the time?

Even St. Dagga Parrot ate the back of her Queen Anne Desk, the less said about that, the better!

The day started off fine.. then the British weather came out to play and it turned from a fine drizzle into quite heavy rain, you could see everything growing by the minute. Luckily Shack is snug and dry and she opened the curtains and I watched these two lunatics weeding in the rain.. and Claudia is German! You can't even say she's daft 'cos she British!

There they were, these two nutters, annoying weeds, digging out stones, getting wet, mum was ok 'cos she had her waterproof jacket on but we do have to go to Streatham Hill to get Claudia a set of waterproofs, a jacket and a pair of pull on trousers, for it's not so much fun gardening with a wet bum.  Especially when you then have to sit in your wet trousers and drive for an hour to get home!

Tomorrow she ain't going anywhere! The Prudential Bicycle race  is taking place and typically, yes, the roads we must travel upon are closed! More BOOHOOS.. as she wanted to do a great deal of carpentry work, she is replacing the edging of several raised beds but it will be a flippin' nightmare with the amount of road closures.

So she's staying at home and doing, perhaps I'll just frighten her by mentioning the dreaded word.. housework.. and oh dear, there is much to do, for a start, there's a humungeous pile of ironing and the back room MUST be sorted out.

Ugh.. rather her than me, I must confess.

So there we are. Monday she will be busy seeing folks. For at 10.30 she is meeting her most beloved Pat for a late breakfast in Fulham and then she is having lunch with John at 12.30at Jaffa Bakehouse on North End Road.

Gardening  we must go on Tuesday, those new wooden frames for the raised beds are not going to construct themselves and time is surely a'moving on, we are almost into our third and the final month of Summer. In fact, shock horror! Tuesday IS the First of August! GULP.

So now you're all up to date.. and in deep dudu for forgetting my birthday. Shame upon you.

GeeGee Parrot.
July 29th, 2017.
Get your diaries or electronic organisers out and put in the date.. July 29th GeeGee's birthday.. then you won't feel so dreadful next year.

Friday, 14 July 2017

FANNY'S LETTUCES & PORTUGESE JORGE'S MATTOCK.

They met when they were eight and were at Penderel school in Tenterden, a charming small town in the Weald of Kent. Apart from family members, Fanny is someone she has known the longest.

Having had an extraordinarily successful career, she took early retirement and now lives a very active life on a Spanish island. Speaking fluent Spanish and being fully intergrated with the locals means that her 'life' is there, not here so we don't get to see her very often but letters, yes, proper snail mail letters, and telephone calls mean that they're up to date in each others lives.

She knows my mum pretty well and had picked up on the fact that seeds were being germinated at home on our bedroom window.. put 2 & 2 together and arranged on-line for a marvellous electric propogator to be delivered in time for her birthday. Now that, Dear Readers, is when you know a friend knows you 'pretty' well!

Having reached the dizzy heights of her middle sixties, she no longer sneaks a peek at presents and had not a clue what was in the box which was delivered to MailBoxEtc, which is where all her mail is sent to.. yes, it's boring to have to collect your mail but at least it's kept safely and you don't get those annoying cards saying "Your package was too big for your letterbox"!

It plopped out of its box and having "oohed and aahed" over it, she set it up, poured a little water into its base, put in the capillary mat, filled the two trays with a mixture of vermiculite, perlite and very fine compost, planted a mix of Oakleaf and Lollo lettuces, placed the trays onto the capillary mat, put on the rigid lid and switched it on.

And rang the Spanish island.. and got her ansaphone. She reached back in time to the days when she spoke a little Spanish and thanked her friend for her wonderful birthday gift. And.. the seeds are already up.. one tray has twelve little seedlings, the other has nine and we're calling them 'Fanny's Lettuces'.

We love lettuces that aren't gassed.. in fact, we love all our home grown vegetables and tonights' treat is a dish of a couple of our own Turkish Cucumber with home grown mint and home made yoghurt.

"Gassed", I hear you say. Yes, gassed, because you try picking a lettuce, or leaves of spinach or chard and expect them to be crisp and crunchy two days later, they simply aren't going to be so. Most vegetables are gassed. That's why she grows her own as much as she can.

She's a trifle stiff today, it takes muscle to wield a mattock and yesterday she did the big square bed where the old redcurrant bush used to be. It's a brilliant gardening tool and she loves hers very much. It was given to her for her 51st birthday by 'Portugese' Jorge. He was her driver and such a great guy.

He had a key to her allotments and after a call at weekends to check that she was there, he would regularly pitch up with Isobel, his lovely wife, to dig and help tame the wilderness and it was he that gave her the Perpetual Cabbage.

So that's where we're going folks. And in her basket will be a piece of pork wrapped up in tin foil. Its skin has been scored, rubbed in herbs and spices and it will cook on the little barbecue with a couple of sweet potatoes. They will be our lunch together with a few just-picked beans and salad leaves.

The pork will sit and cool in its' juices and then come with us for we are bidden to supper with friends and she said "I'll bring the main course".

In a few weeks time, we'll be able to share 'Fanny's Lettuces', we've already started sharing our Blackberries and very sweet they are too!

GeeGee Parrot.
July 14th, 2017.
PostScript.. Bastille Day. Look it up if you do not know its' significance!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

OUR NEW TABLE.

You're shocked, how about me, she's a'tapping out two posts within a week, whatever next?

We had an extremely pleasant day yesterday, after a leisurely start with a delicious break fasting dish of eggs and all manner of exciting herbs and spring onions, we tube'd and bussed our way out to the allotments.

TO FIND.. oh, he is the kindest of men! Who.. What.. don't worry I'll tell you all about it!

This will fill you in on the story..

Having used one of the two tables in the Shack, she realised that the other would be perfect in the Machinery Shed, we're very 'long' on sheds but this left us with no table for the terrace.. hmmm. Well, the problem was very easily solved last week on Friday, for at B&Q she found a bigger than normal wooden table with fixed seats, you see them in parks and outside pubs.

It was in a kit form.. so back it went to the plots with other pieces of timber and three huge 125 litre bags of compost. She charged up her Bosch screwdriver's battery on Tuesday night as she planned to assemble the table, so yesterday, when we arrived at the plots, you can imagine how extremely surprisingly surprising it was to find it, the table, sitting up fully assembled on the terrace!

The kindest of men had gone to the plots early on Monday and assembled it for her as a birthday gift. How very thoughtful. He'll be getting a BIG bag of crystallised ginger, that's for sure!

Now we are off.. we are having a slooow start to our day, our supper with Leigh and Ossie was, as usual, delicious, "Thank you Leigh and Ossie" and poor Otto still cannot quite believe that Avian Hats exist!

But on the way home, we fell amongst thieves returning to their home and we were bidden in for coffee and nougat! Now who can resist nougat? Not us, that's for sure, so we sat and chatted slurping good coffee, eating fresh dates and nougat until a long way past midnight, which accounts for why we're not 'very quick' this morning!

But now we are up and about, we have another tale for you too about Fanny's Lettuces but for that you will have to wait 'cos we've got things to do and places to go.. PipPip folks.. Chocks away!

GeeGee Parrot.
July 13th, 2017.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

THE USUAL SUSPECTS FORGOT HER BIRTHDAY BUT SHE HAD A VERY HAPPY ONE & WE CELEBRATED IT ALL WEEKEND!

Boy, oh boy! What a time we've had!

Her birthday this year had three sevens in it.. 07.07.17 and she always seems to have an extra happy time when these three sevens appear.

There were many jovialities and much to'ing and fro'ing! She was busy all day on her birthday and then we went out to celebrate it with friends who live near-by.

On Saturday, the next day, she went to the allotments and had a bbq lunch with plot neighbours and came home early as she was going out to supper with Tereza and her two pretty daughters (HOW these girls have grown) at Colbert. Then on Sunday, we went out to the allotment and had another bbq lunch.

By now, I was completely full of fresh air and my latest passion, which are courgettes, raw or stir fried are equally delicious and she'd received cards and unwrapped some lovely gifts from friends spread around the world.

Some of which were from the following:

Pretty cards came from: Tom in NYC, his came with a loving message about how much he appreciated her in-put into 'our boy' Bob's memorial service (how she wishes she could have been there in person.. Darling Caroline from Exeter with a note that made her choke and also from sweet John, with whom she worked at Trinity, he has the most beautiful hand writing you are ever likely to see!

Dearest darling Pat had made for her the most exquisite jacket in the colour of a purple bluebell. Probably her oldest friend Fanny had bought on-line and arranged for an electric propagator to be delivered. And one of our Lebanese friends, Raja, gave her the most glorious of books 'A Little History of British Gardening' by Jenny Uglow, the updated version.

Monday was a rest day for me, I stayed at home whilst she went about her business, which, I might say, included eating Baklava icecream with two naughty friends in the Maroush Bakehouse on the Edgeware Road! And delivering truly delicious yumyum to her sweet homeopath.

And yesterday.. it rained! Not just a spitter-spatter but a lovely GOOD downpour of rain! It started at 1.00pm yesterday afternoon and continued throughout until just after 05.00am this morning. How wonderful! Especially as there has been a hosepipe ban issued by the authorities who run our allotments!

Because, and we'd like to know which idiot it was.. a cretin has been using a sprinkler and leaving it on all day! Hello? How dumb can you be? Apparently, VERY and stupid as well as dumb. Never mind, God waters with much better stuff than tap water and so all of our trees and plants got a really good and long 'drink'.

She had a long telephone call yesterday morning from The Wizard. He was calling to give her the news that he is just about to become a father.. now how about that for happy news, dear Rob, he is such a nice man and we wish him and Melanie all the very best of best wishes.

This morning is overcast and we are having a slow start to the day but she has to shake a leg or two and take some books back to the library and pay fines, for she mislaid the books! There were found yesterday where she'd put them by mistake with books that are due to go down to Pewsey! Grrr.. she does hate wasting money!

Then we are going in the afternoon to the allotments to pick yumyum and roses for we are bidden to supper with Leigh and Ossie is a very good cook, we always have scrummydumptious things to eat at their table!

And poor Otto, a beautiful Russian Blue, has to watch me stand upon my mama's head, he's seen it for many a year but still finds it hard to believe that such a thing exists.. an avian hat.

So there we are.. I know, we aren't posting every often but if you could see our allotments, well, you'd understand why! There has been a huge amount of work done in the past six weeks and they'll soon back to how they were circa 2009! Which was very productive, very pretty and extremely tidy!

Many chirps to you all.

GeeGee Parrot.
July 12th, 2017.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

THE CHERRY PICKERS..

Thieving bastards! They struck our plots at about 9.00pm last Sunday night and picked every single cherry off our trees and to cap it all, what is really upsetting, these evil people must have done a lookielookie as they came with a ladder in order to access the fruit higher up in the trees!

Oh.. so I cannot tell you how sad she was when she came home last night, she was quite shocked and, of course, is now fearful for the rest of her fruit. This year is going to be a cracking harvest and we have apple, fig, gage, pear and plum trees all laden with fruit and they're much easier to pick than cherries!

'Enough is enough' she thought and contacted Joe who used to be a game keeper, that profession are only too well aware of poachers and thieving and are all up to date with night vision / movement triggered battery operated cameras and that is what she's planning to install on the plots. Dear man has responded and is sending us the contact details.

Apart from that sadness, life is good but she's never at home! Mind you, I'm usually with her so I can't complain too much! But I have refused to go out on the occasion when the temperature has tipped over 30 degrees centigrade, the thought of a hot bus or tube has not appealed and I've chosen to stay home in our cool-in-summer.. warm-in-winter.. home!

We've spent a couple of days with our Lebanese friends in their garden and she taught me a new tune, but sadly for my mum, I only learnt the first bit of it, I now have to wait for her to return from Paris to get the next bit!

Now it is late, almost my bed time and it's been raining since about 11.00 am yippee,  which is what we badly need for everything as lubblyjubbly rain is definitely better for our flowers, fruit and vegetables than tap water.

So we wish you all well and rest assured, we'll post again more frequently when she isn't bent over those raised vegetable beds a' fiddly-diddling with something green or doing carpentry work! Yes, all manner of exciting things are being made!

PipPip.. Chirp.

GeeGee Parrot.
June 27th, 2017.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

THIS BLOG IS STILL ACTIVE.. BUT WE'RE GARDENING!

We are alive but veryvery busy on the plots! There is much to do and she's a'doing it!

We told you Little Shed was made secure. Well, last Saturday saw a new roof go up onto Machinery Shed and a new door was handmade and fitted, she still has to cover the west wall with a layer of waterproof roofing felt and paint the shed and.. horror of horrors, rip out and replace the rotten floor but at least the exterior is now sound and watertight so the shed is secure.

Our bedroom window ledge continues to groan under the weight of several seedling boxes. Two varieties of Sorrel, Rocket, Nasturtiums, Spicy Salad leaves, several different varieties of Spinach, a box of very SPEEDY (Bulgarian) French Beans, which were given to us by Tereza's father and our favourite little Yellow Patty Pan Squash.

And we have Lebanese Courgettes, these seeds were sent to us from the Lebanon by a friend of our Lebanese friends, they also sent other seeds which we will grow next year. We've already eaten one of these Courgette, it was a twin with two flowers and mighty tasty it was too!

The seeds of these plants, we have two, were potted up exactly the same day as a pair of Yellow courgettes and a pair of traditional green ones. The green variety have yet to produce anything edible, so we're calling it 'SlowCoach', the Yellow ones each have two teeny courgettes but the Lebanese.. wow! Well, it's a 'no-brainer as to which one we'll be growing next year in bigger quantities!

Plus, the flowers are truly ENORMOUS!

These kind people also sent us seeds for the very short and incredibly tasty cucumbers, the flowers of which are the brightest yellow you've ever seen! We now have three plants and she's erected sturdy frames for them to climb upon.

But now the sun is ris and we've got to go.. we send you all our very best wishes and hope that you 're all happy and healthy.. wherever and whoever you are!

Chirp.. there are still a lot of chirps to be had.. despite the appalling mess that the current government of the UK has created but I should think that HM The Queen is extremely glad that Ascot* starts next week!

GeeGee Parrot.
June 13th, 2017.
PostScript: *Ascot means Royal Ascot Race Week, it starts on Tuesday June the 20th.

Friday, 26 May 2017

OH WOE.. THE TALE OF HER TOE!

Huh.. what a few days of high drama we have had, well, to be precise the dramas have taken place between our home in deepest Knightsbridge and the local A & E dept. Let's go back to my favourite place to start tales, which as you all know is at the beginning.

It happened last week, she drew the curtains and saw a MONSTER black spider! Eek.. she clapped the fabric together between her hands but the monster escaped her clutches and scampered off. Later the same day, she was getting something off her bedside table when.. ouch.. something bit her!

Now, you're all bright and so you know what it was.. yes.. the monster had bitten her. She went to the bathroom, scrubbed the bite with surgical spirit and thought no more about it. Went out to dinner with our Lebanese friends for a delicious supper, came home late, rolled into bed and woke up early as she  had an early appointment.

She made our breakfast. Ran a bath, lifted her right foot up to get into the bath.. only to come to a screeching halt.. EEEK.. her toe was brown and puffy! She called the person and said "I'm sorry, our appointment has to be postponed, I've to go to A&E as I've been bitten by a spider".

She got dressed and flew out of the house to catch a bus to the local hospital, Chelsea & Westminster, on the Fulham Road. Luckily the department wasn't too busy and a triage nurse saw her quickly, She didn't like what she saw at all and mum found herself being fast-tracked in to see a doctor.

He didn't like it very much either and examined her toe very carefully, asked copious questions and then disappeared to seek out a man who knew all about spider bites. Apparently there are more and more highly poisonous spiders coming into the country and most of them are coming in via bagged bananas!

He came back and pronounced that it wasn't a poisonous species, if it had been, there would have been pain and throbbing in the area plus much more swelling and horrors, signs of the poison moving towards her ankle! Eek!

He cleaned it with a smelly liguid, let that dry, put an ointment on the bite, a plaster around her toe, told her to keep it dry for 24 hours and she was good to go. So kind, so thorough.

I know, I know, we have been remarkably remiss.. aka idle.. with the amount of posts this month. She Who Taps iPad has been incredibly busy at the allotments, so busy, that they are actually beginning to resemble the allotments how they were nine years ago! That was in the days when she was very fit, Mr. Beastly Briar hadn't grown his evil roots and there wasn't a weed in sight!

Now you can actually get into Little Shed! Poor Machinery Shed isn't able to be entered because be is still surrounded by Mr. Beastly Briar but this is for a reason. He is full, well, we hope he is still full of valuable machinery but his roof is damaged and one Saturday, our dear friend, her old driver, Dean is coming and they will renovate his roof and put in a new door and make it, we hope, thief proof.

So in the meantime, Mr. Beastly Briar is surrounding Machimery Shed keeping its' contents safe.. if they haven't already been stolen!

Little Shed has now the same anti-theft security on his door as The Shack and yes, it's boring as you can't just open the door to get your tools out but at least we know the tools ARE in there!

Now we're having a very early start today, she is going to finish a job she did for our Lebanese friends yesterday. I went too and had a marvellous time! I was spoilt rotten.. absolutely rotten but how I was spoilt is for another tale to be told at some point in greater detail.

Then after we do that, we're going to the allotments to plant triffids! You'd call them Climbing Runner Beans but I think they're really something else, she only planted them ten days ago and yet they're up and growing, whilst her normal beans are still lurking in a mixture of potting compost and vermiculite and deciding if they're going to germinate or not!

So toodle pip.. we're off.. for there is much to do and there are only, as you know, 24 hours in one day so you have to squeeeeeze every minute so that you can get everything you want done.. done!

GeeGee Parrot.
May 26th, 2017.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

WHAT DO CAT LITTER TRAYS & CAKE CARRIERS HAVE IN COMMON?

The answer is that they make brilliant seedling holders and propagators! Yes, the litter trays are higher than seedling trays so that you can carry your seedling pots very safely and the cake carriers make brilliant propagators! Who knew? Well, she must have as she's been using both these items for ages.

The latest, but actually she thought of this last year and it worked very well indeed, is to use cupcake carriers as seedling trays, they hold twelve cupcake papers into which she puts good potting compost, having sprayed it gently, she puts in a seed, fills up the paper with a little more compost, another spray of water and then the plastic clear lid is clipped onto the base.

Hey presto.. hey li cheese.. when the seedling appears, she places the paper into the designated previously dug and watered bed. The vegetable roots grow straight through the paper which, of course, disintergrates.

What's not to like about something so useful?

There's been much work done at the allotments, not only can you now actually see and touch Little Shed, she's slashed and burnt all the crap that had grown up and around it.. and in the process, has found wondrous things!

They are very old terracotta flower pots, given to her by her beloved Mary, when she was very little and Constance and Hugo travelled, Mary was her official guardian.

She was the most lovely, lovely woman, who in 2001 when she heard about the allotments, rang mum and said "I've got a present for you, I'll be with you by 3.00pm and I want to see your plots", and bless her heart, she piled them into a wonderful basket wicker that mum uses to this very day, and drove from Sherborne, in Dorset, up to London.

But her 'get-up & go' was pretty legendary, for this is the woman who in 1958, decided to take on the Dutch Tomato Growers at their own game, she had spent many years in France as a child and knew about the very old varieties of this culinary treasure, goodness knows how she found the seeds but she started growing the most amazing varieties which, of course, the chefs of the very fancy London hotels couldn't believe were being grown in Kent! And so she invited several of them down to see what she was doing.. and never looked back!

She was thrilled that Constance's daughter was picking up her mother's and her gardening habit and gave her these very old pots as a gift.

Yesterday she made the salad bed.. salad doesn't like to be too hot, so this long narrow bed is situated in the middle of the plots with a massive rose - 'Compassion' planted in 2003 in memory of her aunt Hay darling - at its' southern end, the rose is tall and wide and filters the sun perfectly.

What else has happened? Oh yes, she met herself coming through the first part of the beastly briar patch! She'd slashed and cut through on the northern side, now the next thing was to do the same on the western side but without damaging two 'Jacques Cartier' roses which are on the edge of this patch.

Having dressed again in slippery clothes and tall boots, she waded in to do damage to Mr. Beastly Briar! Oh.. yes, it Indeedy, it is highly satisfying to suddenly find yourself with a clear space in front of you! It's all been cut into manageable bits, will lie in a hideoes heap for about a week and then be burnt in the incinerator.

The first lot of climbing French beans have been planted out, she put glass cloches on them for A. for it's certainly not yet that warm at nights and B. these glass cloches will deter Mr. Slimy Slug from munching these new tasty things!

Nothing else much to report.. I am in disgrace because I got 'ants in my pants' and nibbled my little top feathers on the left wing yesterday, so I wasn't taken to the allotments today. That'll teach me to be stupid. I was left 'home alone' with the mice. She had a visitor which was pleasant, Corinne who has two plots opposite ours, came to call, that meant she could stop feeding the ever-hungry briar gobbling incinerator and sit and chat for a few minutes.

Corinne is a new comer to the allotments but is already a seasoned gardener, she shares the plots with Stuart, who is tall, strong and does the heavy duty stuff! We are most envious of Corinne for having such a useful person sharing the plots with her!

Whoops.. is that the time? Got to go, very early start tomorrow, we're going to the allotments with Claudia, she is from mum's other life when she worked with decorators, designers, architects etc and she's as passionate about gardening as mum is, so today will be a day of much hard work being done and lots of good food being eaten.

Chirps to you all.

GeeGee Parrot.
May 6th, 2017.