Monday, 13 July 2020

What did you do in the Lockdown...?

...well in some respects, not a lot. I don't have an immaculately tidy house, a cleared loft, rows of homemade jams, jellies, etc. I haven't even made bread more than a couple of times! That was partly because I ran out of yeast, and partly because we found a baker that was delivering really good bread via our cheese man, who has also got together with a butcher, so we have been supplied with meat as well, when necessary, though our freezer was fairly full in March anyway. 

And I treated myself to a subscription of flowers every month for three months - from Bloom and Wild - this was the first month's selection - over a week after they were delivered, and still going strong, though by this time I'd had to get rid of a few. I have the second delivery now, but haven't taken a picture yet.

I do have a fairly well-weeded garden, but that's only because Mr Bufo went out for at least a few minutes every day, and dealt with anything obvious, as well as marching round to try and compensate for the fact that having the paper delivered means the daily walk to fetch it wasn't happening. And the strawberries have been magnificent!

But in January I started to follow a 'Crochet-Along' some of the early parts of which I showed in the April blog. And in early July, I finished it! Some of it was hard going - I thought I was never coming to the end of the 36 squares that were part 1; but then there were lots of triangles - not all the same, admittedly, but about 180 by the end, and finally 9 octagons. We were able to join up some of the triangles into larger shapes along the way, and then the squares were added to the octagons, together with 'wedges' made of three triangles each, so there were nine large roundels that then fitted to the odd shapes we'd made earlier. And finally a border round the whole lot. So I haven't been entirely idle, either...

Returning to add photos of this month's flowers - 2 vases-worth

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Spring confined

And so we enter a strange time of beautiful weather but unable to go anywhere. We are lucky to have a garden and local shops who will deliver, so although Mr Bufo is in his mid-80s, and I am just into my 70s, we have been able to stay fairly isolated, with a couple of ventures to the over 70s slots - which were more crowded than normal shopping times, so reluctant to do that again.

We both had terrible coughs last autumn and many of the symptoms described as the current virus, so are wondering if it has been around longer than was realised, and that is what we had. It was pretty nasty, and I hope we did have it, as we certainly don't want that again, or anything worse.

Our planned breaks and holidays are of course on hold at the moment, postponed until the situation resolves itself - in the case of our French barge holiday, until May of 2021. 

So we potter about the garden, and I am keeping up with the latest Crochet-Along. Have done 36 squares (not shown) and at the time of this photo, 80 triangles, here joined in 4 large and 8 small sections 

- but as you see from the photo to the right, another 36 triangles done there, and since then 20 more, so just 52 more before another joining session, and then 9 octagons. All in all 233 individual pieces, joined with crochet, and a border to go round the whole...the last part will be released in July - and I hope by then we will all be released too!

Monday, 3 February 2020

And now it's February

Not sure where January went, but I'm glad it's over, and there are snowdrops out in the garden. 

On Saturday 1st some friends came over for tea, and whilst we didn't do a 'Miss Read' and go for a walk afterwards, it was sunny and light enough to have done so. One of the friends came with a large handful of daffodil buds - enough to split between 2 vases, so I can enjoy them in the kitchen and the garden room. 

They arrived looking like this... 


...and 2 days later they look like this!


Signs of spring indeed!

Monday, 16 December 2019

Seasonal Greetings!

And so we come to the one post I do manage to make every year! Here are the pictures from our home-made Christmas card. We don't send many actual cards out, so chances are you won't have had one - please accept this greeting instead. Our donation in lieu of buying commercial cards this year is to Sands - the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity.

The main picture above is the roof of the Hotel Alliance Couvent des Minimes, which we took in February with the New Year, or St Sylvestre, balloons still up in the glass roof. We shall be there again for Christmas this year.

The eye is in Bristol - at the bottom, appropriately, of Christmas Steps. Mr Bufo found it when he was exploring while I was at the Diana Wynne Jones conference in August. Apparently this was once the window of a pub where they had to watch out for the Press Gang. Now blocked, the mural in its place is a reminder of the bad old days.

We send you all every good wish for a Happy Christmas 
and a Good New Year! 

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Where has the time gone?

Well, another dismal failure to keep up the blog for most of the year. Will be putting up our seasonal greetings here soon, but not before we have actually posted the cards with the same picture on.

The new boiler mentioned in the previous post has been working well, but the pipework has given some trouble - at one stage we were having to bleed the radiators twice a day! The firm who did the installation work refused to get involved as they didn't work for our energy supplier any more, and said only the boiler was guaranteed; our energy supplier would only refer us to their own maintenance contract people, but we have our maintenance contract with another firm, so we called them out, and they were very helpful, and advised that we need to raise the header tank to increase pressure within the system. So that's being done next week.

Am very grateful we shall be elsewhere for Christmas... 

Meanwhile, here's a picture of one of our days out this summer.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Heating and Raised Beds

As always, time seems to zoom by and blogging seems to keep dropping to the bottom of the list. But things have been happening. Our annual boiler service took place on 27 Feb ... the boiler was here when we moved in nearly 30 years ago, so for at least the last 5 years I've been expecting 'have you considered replacing this ...?' But this time, it was. 'This isn't safe, I have had to disconnect it!'

So we had to start getting people in to quote for fitting a new boiler. This of course was not straightforward, as the old one was a back boiler, and they cannot install new versions of those, as these days every flue has to be able to be inspected at each joint, which would mean hatches every metre up a chimney breast through the bedroom as well as the dining room - which of course isn't practical. So we needed to find somewhere for the new boiler to go. When you are in a semi-detached house, with a porch on the front and a conservatory on the back, there aren't many options, and in our case there were two - the loft, or the back wall of the integral garage. There was nowhere in the loft that wouldn't have meant the flue would be too long or have too many elbows, so that was knocked out as an idea, so we were left with the back wall of the garage. That was straightforward for getting the gas supply along as it was the same side of the house as the meter, but needed a lot of extra pipework to tie it all in with the heating and hot-water system, as the airing cupboard was the other side of the house!


We did the correct thing and got 3 quotes, made our choice and eventually were given a date for installation - 12 March. This meant we would be nearly 2 weeks without heating, and after the warm few days towards the end of Feb, the temperatures had of course plummeted again. We couldn't just escape elsewhere, as we had to clear space in the garage, removing the shelves on the wall where the boiler would go, and finding new homes for their contents, changing the position of the ladder that had been suspended from the ceiling at one end, and resting on the topmost of those shelves at the other, clearing the airing cupboard, shifting things in the loft to allow access for the pipes that would come straight up from the garage, and run across the loft to the expansion tank. we managed to have 2 nights at the flat, and the weekend before the work was to be done we had already arranged to have a night away as part of the celebrations for my impending birthday.

We were expecting the work to take longer, but in fact E-on sent enough workmen - there were four doing different things in different parts of the house at one stage! - that it was all done in one day, and we were able to start getting warm again!


A couple of weeks later - having arranged with our neighbour, who wanted a new fence on our boundary, to go shares in having it done - we also arranged that they put new edging round the raised beds in the back garden, as the old edging was rotting and falling out. So we have two very smart sleeper-edged beds; the deeper one for veg - which has lain fallow for a couple of years because of the frail state of the edging

and the shallower one with flowers - which has been growing on regardless!

Not only does it look smarter, but the edge of the veg plot is just the right height to sit on!

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Snow or Snowdrops?

The snowdrops are nearly out ... but we are threatened with the real thing tomorrow. Except we shall be on our way between here and the flat in Poole, via Yapp Brothers Wine Merchants in Mere, and the Udder Farm Shop, where we are booked for lunch. So we'll need to eat fairly quickly and get on our way, before the weather closes in at about 1.30!

The Scarf I started knitting before Christmas, with yarn bought last August, is nearly finished, and ready for handing over to its future owner in March when I see her.