77. the one with the garden (and my rickety knee)

between all of the things and the sewings, i’ve been taking advantage of the continuing glorious weather, tackling loads of outside and gardening jobs.
technically, it’s probably been a bit too hot ‘n humid for stuff like digging in the full sun, but i think my south africa gene kicked in (once my very english heat rash had disappeared)

garden stuff

my garden’s still very much a work in progress, but i’m frequently frustrated and overwhelmed by it. and, like every other aspect of my life, i’m constantly berating myself for not doing enough.
which is when i bust out the old photos – just to remind myself i AM getting somewhere.

this is summer of 2007, when we first came to look at the cottage…
garden 2007

and this is the now…
garden 2013

it’s certainly much easier to get to the end of the garden now. and the hedge does not extend half way across it.

so i’ve been tinkering & weeding, repotting and relocating plants, chopping & painting… and i finally finished repointing the stone wall outside the kitchen window.

that was another stupid job – abandoned 3 years ago when sewings began to take up most of my time. and then, when i wasn’t sewing i didn’t want to “waste” my increasingly rickety wrists on it. so for 3 years, it’s been a daily visual reminder of yet something else you did not complete.
i actually didn’t even intend to mention this, but then i came across this photo of the wall as it was (in 2008), all covered in green slime and paint. grim.
wall 2008

which has allowed my stupid brain to consider this an achievement
wall 2013

well done, wrists! you did good.

we also erected (heh) some trellis above the wall ^ to screen our neighbour’s tatty old fence with future-climbers. no photo because some temporary summer insanity compelled me to paint it blue.
it’s hideous. 3 coats of brown applied (so far) to disguise it … but i’ve had to abandon that job for now…

i also fiiiiinally got all 4 chairs sanded & painted…
2 blue chairs

but all of that kneeling and crouching and digging and walking and bending proved too much for my increasingly rickety knees…


so i’ve spent most of this week relegated to the groundfloor, swollen knee elevated & icepack’d, mind-fretting about how much anti-inflammatories is safe to take whilst on anti-depressants.
the garden is still bathed in glorious however, and swarming with birds & butterflies, so it’s not the worst place to have to sit all day.

(although, i miiiiight’ve crawl-sneaked upstairs to do a little sewing…
sneaky sewing

i’m not very good at Just Sitting)


76. the one with belper food fair

now listen, right, it’s very important to bear in mind that
1. i don’t like leaving the house
2. i don’t like crowds of people
3. i really don’t like leaving the house to be amongst crowds of people
4. i especially don’t like leaving the house and being amongst crowds of people when there’s too much hot.

but i do like belper, and i do like food. and i especially like local stuff.
so yesterday i braved all of the things to attend the annual belper food fair :)

belper memorial garden 1

i’ve only ever been in the memorial gardens in november(s), so it was nice to eat my breakfast here on a glorious summer day in july. there were musicians on a stage nearby, so we sat on the grass, under a tree, and ate our (lincolnshire) ostrich burgers.

belper’s quite a small town – we’ve only got 1.5 supermarkets and one(ish) main high street – so it was pretty cool to see it packed with market stalls and people (gawd, so many people :/ ) all the way down the hill.
belper food fair king street 2

being an awesome blogger, i’d remembered to take my camera and use it.
being terrible at CROWDS OF PEOPLE, i was continually pissed off that they kept getting in the way of photos i might like to take (if i was an awesome blogger).

down a side street, (also with TOO MANY PEOPLE) was a classic cars display. i’m not interested in cars at all. but i liked this :)
delorean 3

(although marty mcfly and his grandma got in the way of all my shots)

there were very many wonderful stalls that i didn’t take photos of, but i elbowed everyone out of the way to take this – mrs bishop’s doggy deli – so i could show anakin when we got home.
mrs bishops doggy deli 4

fresh basil is one of my favourite shops in belper… but i couldn’t even get near it yesterday
fresh basil 5

as well as amazing cheeses, fancy olives, interesting chutneys and naughty meats, we bought lots of cakes… and did i mention how hot it was?… i kept everything safe in my handbag until we got home *thumbz*

after we’d spent all our pocket money, we walked home – it really was a most glorious and enjoyable day, and reminded me why i SO love living in a town that has no tesco and is not full of The Same.
home 6

for lunch, we had handbag cake and blueberry cheesecake – it was all a little squished but delicious n’ertheless
handbag cake 8

i didn’t mean to drink Husband’s beer, i only wanted a little taste because it was brewed on a farm just up the road a bit. but it was reeeeeeeally good. 3 bottles was not enough.shottle farm brewery 7

i googled them – shottle farm brewery – and after reading the “our story” bit on their website, that beer tasted eeeeeven better. need more. srs.

here is a picture of anakin forgiving us for leaving her at home / anticipating her fancy afternoon tea  (in her excitement, she walked backwards all the way from the kitchen)
anakin cake 9

i am practically walking backwards after such a brilliant week!

75. the one where C. comes to visit

on sunday, we returned from our glorious weekend away just in time to watch andy murray winning the wimbledons. the drive back had become increasingly “glorious” –  derbyshire is much closer to the equator than lincolnshire – so i was pretty much dying of hot when we got home.
but despite the wimbledons and the Too Glorious and the temptation of this,
glorious july
i had 2(ish) months of neglected housewifering to attend to real quick… because my friend C. was coming to stay! :D

the last time she visited, this occurred so we were both determined to Do Better this time. we’d planned leisurely local shoppings, girlie stuff, meals out, no passing out or alcohol-induced blackouts, romcoms, and much catch-up chat whilst sitting in the garden enjoying the glorious.
and then we actually followed through and did all of the things on our list!!!

there is usually some sort of public transport fuck up when C. visits, and this trip was no exception.
signal failure

^ signal failure in nottingham / trains delayed for hours *grump*

we had a lovely week though, doing all of the things.
i meant to document it, with smug photos of belper being glorious, of our independent shops, the variety of good places to eat… but i forgot.

the day that was slightly cloudy? that day we walked to ‘the devonshire’ on bridge street for a late lunch at their awesome carvery.
and the day that was Husband’s birthday, we drove out to…

(well, we went some other place first, but there were too many people there for my liking, and they weren’t sitting in the right place – i wanted to sit under an umbrella next to the river. also the menu was laminated and had pictures :/
“sorry you guys, i just don’t think i’m going to be able to eat here”)

… the day that was Husband’s birthday, we drove out to ‘the hanging gate’ in shottle. it was super glorious again, and we were all super relaxed (plus super starving) so we had a big lunch, and then sat out in the gardens for coffees and puddings.

hanging gate

hey, look! i remembered to take my camera!
but i was too stuffed / idle to go beyond the shade to take photos of the pretties and the countryside bathed in glorious.

for all of the other meals (including breakfasts), we mostly ate deli stuff from ‘fresh basil’. normally C. and i only have whisky (including breakfasts) so we were quite extreeeemely proud of ourselves. *proud*

all too soon though, it was yesterday already, and i had to put her on a coach to heathrow
derby coach station
in time for her flight back to south africa.

or not.heathrow shut



74. the one with dad’s birthday present

subtitle: the one with the crow road

crow road cottage

back in the olden days of black and white, when my dad was a wee boy, he used to spend time at this little cottage on the crow road in glasgow.
it was owned & run by his aunt and uncles – they had lock up garages for rent, and petrol pumps for the customers.

crow road cottage 2

when we were kids (oh, and still), dad *always* told us about the time auntie eva sent him out to serve sean connery…
there’s other stories too, part of family lore, but i promised dad i wouldn’t say on the internet due to possible libel reasons :)

sadly, their little cottage was demolished in the late 70’s to make way for Progess, but it – and its peoples – are still remembered fondly and talked about often.

for dad’s birthday present, i had the idea of commissioning kirsty elson designs to re-create the crow road cottage as one of her gorgeous little driftwood cottages… and she agreed :)

kirsty elson designssuper f***ing cute, right??!kirsty elson commissionthat was back in MARCH, so i’ve had a really hard time keeping my mouth shut about it until july!

mum & sal knew about it (obviously. because i’m not THAT good at secrets) so there was much conspiratorial lol-collaboration via the internet on some “finishing touches”

mum: “i’ve bought a ‘to scale’ model of an olden car. i’m not sure which scale though so it might be too small”
me: “i’ve made some miniature saltire bunting to drape…”
mum: “but did they even have bunting in the 50’s?”
me:  >:(

sal: “i’ve got the rowan tree for in front of the cottage. and i’ve made some driftwood petrol pumps… but i think they might be too big?”
me: “hmm… i fear your pumps’ll be towering over my teeny tiny sean connery”

miniature sean connery

last saturday was dad’s birthday, so Husband, anakin and i made the trip up north for a little family get together and deliver his special gifts…

“happy birthday dad!”

crow road

dad: “did i ever tell you about the time…”

crow road cottage 3no. 507, crow road.