Monday 30 November 2009

Just quickly - I know I'll forget

Another award, I blush. But this time it isn't all about me, me, me. Thank goodness I'm sure you could do without hearing more 'interesting' stuff about my life. No this award, passed on by Maureen and Gary (many thanks xx) gaves me a chance to big up 15 blogs I've come across recently and encourage you to give them a wee lookin' at.

The rules are super simple - post the award on your blog, (Done) along with the name of the person who gave it to you and a link to their blog (Done).

Pick your 15 newly discovered blogs you like and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they are winners! (Ummm....)

As usual I hate to pick out favourites; I have a blog roll for that. If you are reading this post and are on that roll over there to the right feel free to take this award in your hands and give a little acceptance speech. I tear would be good but try not to go overbroad (ie Hallie Berry at the Oscars). Much hugs and love. I'm off to weep quietly in a dark corner with this migraine.

Migraine from hell

As you may have gathered by the not to subtle title I am in pain. Meds are working and I hope to be back in full combat action again soon. In the meantime I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for all the comments left on the last post. I will get back to you all, Flighty, Maureen (thanks for the award x) Allot of Veg, Gary, Lauran petal and Janie (welcome x).

Just give me a while and hopefully when the sun stops hurting my eyes so much I can be more eloquent.

Big hugs xx

Saturday 28 November 2009

Somebody tell me why!!

A garden center a little drive away from here is a great place to go on a very wet cold weekend day. We were looking for some nice pots for our bulbs which, as I wrote about yesterday, we found and at a good price too. We also had a lovely biscuit and coffee in their very large coffee shop, which was naughty but warming and gave us both the courage and caffeine buzz needed to go to the lottie.

Now I don't mind a garden center having a cafe, in fact 2 we would go to regularly have very good cafes with Taste of Ulster awards and everything. But something else about these places really gets up my nose and last Saturday it had me in a bit of a fluster...


Christmas, at the one we visited (not Sunnybank), had arrived in all it's terrible gaudy style. Dear god, what does Christmas and all the tat that goes with it have to do with gardening?? Really I ask you, apart from a real pine tree why would a garden center need to be the hub of all things Christmas in the universe?

I give you some evidence...See if you can spot anything remotely to do with plants and the caring of them in these photos. Really, a prize for anyone who can. I took twice as many as this but even looking at them makes me want to boke.

Entering into the Christmas lighting section; the overpowering smell of cinnamon

Yes a troupe of dancing, singing Santas and Christmas dinner for sale on the cafe
Maybe I'm a little biased as I don't really like the whole Christmas 'thing'. It all starts far to early and by the time the actual celebratory days arrive I'm generally completely over the whole thing. I'm also a born worrier and Christmas present buying stresses me out almost as much as receiving presents myself, what if I can't find the perfect gift for my loved ones and what if I don't like the gift they've got me! It's a mine field. Which quite frankly I do not need to face in November in one of the places we retreat to when stressed already!

Dear Santa,

I would like to have a nice Christmas; please stop the commercialism from eating away at my soul.

Love, Carrie

P.S. I have been a very good girl this year x

Thursday 26 November 2009

Starting that fight against the winter

Last weekend, wow it seems so long ago, Andrew and I did our bit to help our minds focus on the spring. To focus on new life, brighter mornings and evenings and the memory of being out in the evening at the allotment.

It was bloomin' freezing down there, I had 4 layers on and still I was shivering, the wind more than anything cuts through you on our plots. Being a gentleman Andrew give me the shed to work in, he stayed outside and worked on the bench. What a man.

So we had 2 projects on the go.

1 - Andrew and his blubs in pots.
We have had loads of free-ish (we paid p&p) spring bulbs from a magazine sitting in our shed for a month or more now and it was decided we better bloody get some in soil or we'll never will. We had just been up to nursery and bought a lovely couple of pots so even though it was raining, blowing an arctic gale and quite dark (at 3 pm) we braved the lottie. I saw 2 other people down there, that just proves how hardy we Carrick folk are, haha.

Andrew did the layering technique in the big pot. Beautiful, closely packed bulbs on the bottom (it will be a surprise for me what comes up, I wasn't watching closely) and gorgeous cyclamen on top. Joy for now and some for later on, I love that in pots.

2 - Me and broad beans.

You see whilst Andrew was doing that I was planting broad beans (and turning round every now and then to first see if he had frozen to death and to take photos of what he was up to). I LOVE the sound and the feel of broad bean seeds. Lovely, that's the reason it took me so long to plant about 8 of them, I was in sensory heaven. I urge you to just spend time with your seeds, feel them in your hand, listen to them, give them a good looking at - they are astonishing things.

We choose 'Aquadluce Claudia' again for the third year running - they are prefect for our soil and taste so good. We always start some off in the cold frame at this time time of year so that when the season changes we can plant them out right away whilst plonking some other seeds in which will be a few weeks behind.

Calling time

' ...The sun sinks to rise again; the day is swallowed up in the gloom of night, to be born out of it, as fresh as if it had never been quenched. Spring passes into summer, and through summer and autumn into winter, only the more surely, by its own ultimate return, to triumph over that grave towards which it resolutely hastened from its first hour. We mourn the blossoms of May because they are to wither; but we know that May is one day to have its revenge upon November, by the revolution of that solemn circle which never stops - which teaches us in our height of hope, ever to be sober, and in our depth of desolation, never to despair.'

William Peter Blatty ~ 'The Exorcist'
This is one of my favourite literary quotes (I have a little book I write them in when I come across something in my readings that strikes a chord). It gives me hope in this dark when I do despair and helps me focus on the circular nature of the seasons; it won't be that long until spring fights through once more, giving me strength.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

The rest of Wednesday shall be Wordless

'Wordless Wednesdays' are hosted by An Artist's Garden.
NB: That all important phone number to vote for Eden Allotments in the People's Millions Competition is :
0871 626 8102
Calls cost 10p and the lines are open until midnight tonight, please vote!

The performance of my life

I have just watched a programme about the fabulous Dame Shirley Bassey and she sang a song written by the Pet Shop Boys that has struck a chord so deep in my heart that I can't really breath right now, I've been crying too hard. But to write helps me to make sense of things sometimes.

The lyrics -
' But to live I have to give the performance of my life'.

This is and has been my life, I want to be whatever you want me to be, I have little idea who I am. I write and feel like this is me, I tell anyone who wants to listen in this space what I'm feeling but I don't always tell the truth. Yes the allotment does help me, blogging helps me, I adore my husband, I love photography, I feel completely and utterly useless and I fight everyday against my wish to die. I even knock myself out many days just so I don't have to face my own thoughts.

I perform. I act. It used to be for others, now it has bastardised into acting for me, to somehow fool myself into wanting to be.

I feel like a flowering plant, I want to be beautiful, I want to give joy but ultimately you are going to buy into the act when it's in full flow and then get rid of me when I start to fade... I'm tired.

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Empty beds

This time last year we were scattering green manure seed in our empty beds. It was supposed to be a great way of keeping down the weeds and putting nutrients into the soil. Anyway, in our heavy clay soil and our typical rainy weather it was a nightmare crop! My goodness, trying to cut it back and dig it in well I wrote about my frustrations and at the time here, but it isn't very clear just how angry I was ~ I was mad, cold, sore backed and mad!

This year we have changed tack and are trying a new/old technique. I say 'we' of course, I mean Andrew. This year the beds were emptied (by me) and Andrew dug them over good and proper, then added a heck of a lot of the finest animal poo which we had been composting over the summer. If you like compost and manure you'll love this photo, if you don't look away now!

It's really squelchy... plus I think you could wave a seed over the top and it would germinate - powerful stuff is rotten poo.

Once mixed thoroughly into the soil the beds were ridged up. Yes, that's what I said, they were made into little mountain ridges. This way the rain (the lots and lots of it that makes Ireland the Emerald Isle I guess) will run off the bed and drain away better. We still need to get hold of some of that gorgeous seaweed from the beach to put on top - such a rich bounty, free from the ocean. Seriously if you don't live near the water (we live right on it) go on a day trip with some big bags and gather some up, yes it will stink out the car but it is worth it on the veggies.

We took Maggie for a walk last night along the promenade - poor Andrew it took so much self control not to go on to the shore line and lift it my the arm full. The storms are good for one thing I suppose - there's loads of it!

So, what are your thoughts on green manure? Personally I shall never have it near my plots again but that's just me. It's good old cow/horse crap for me!! Never thought I would be so passionate about poo, hahaha.
Note: The Conservation Volunteer project I spoke about last week is on TV tomorrow night between 6pm and 6.30pm UTV - they need your votes!!!

Monday 23 November 2009

Leaving Comments hopefully just got easier

The lovely Soilman has e-mailed me and told me that it can be hard for people to leave comments on this blog if they aren't tied in to one provider or another. I was thankful for this wee bit of info and have tried to change my comments settings. Now your message won't appear straight way but will go to moderation (so I can filter out any dirty talk ~ naughty) where I'll see them first and 'accept'/ post them.

I'll give this a go anyway, see if it works. I love comments; to think there are people out there who can't leave any is very sad :(

Plus, just found out I've missed the photo contest held by Gardening gone Wild. The theme was THE END OF THE LINE, so here's something I might have considered out of the few photos I've taken recently. Not that great and certainly not a winner but I wanted to feel a part of it. Just have to wait until spring to really try something good...

Sunday 22 November 2009

The last pumpkin

Well it had to happen someday, we've finished our little harvest of pumpkins. I feel silly but honestly, I'm a bit upset. What's that all about?? We grow and tend to our crops so we can enjoy the literal fruits of our labour. We worried about and pandered to the needs of these little beauties, especially after last years disaster and were so proud of them. I guess I miss that tension and the joy of what was to be, it's always better than getting what you want, right? I mean, often I look forward more to the planning of a holiday rather than the time away itself - I'm I alone in this?
Well, I thought it deserved a photo. It was being used in an Andrew risotto special last night, along with our own leek and garlic too. His risottos are wonderful, he truly is a great cook. With these ingredients there was risotto rice (obviously), stock, pancetta, marscapone cheese (just a little) and lemon. It was gorgeous. Just have to wait for a year until my next home grown one. Ah well.

Saturday 21 November 2009

National Blog Posting Month

What the heck have I done, I've joined this because VP spoke about it, it seemed like a good idea and now I'm realising that November is nearly over and I am a silly moo cow.

Anyway, now I am meant to post a blogette every day this month (or what's left of it). I'll have to start a little later as we have to get the house ready for a viewer - yipppeeee! Fingers crossed everyone, the estate agent said the couple were 'very keen', ohhhhhhh!!
In the mean time maybe you'd want to check out the NaBloPoMo site, it's got loads of bloggers of all different interests on it. You may find someone you really like.......
P.S. Weather here is terrible, dark, windy and raining very heavy - no way I'll be at the lottie today. Shopping is the name of the game this afternoon, speak to you later, hugs x

Friday 20 November 2009

Forgotten about :( sad....but thankful too

Today my hubby forgot about me. He was working in Carrickfergus Castle and was supposed to come and get me afterwards and let me hitch along side him up to Belfast. It's a beautiful (though chilly) autumn day and I wanted to take photographs of the Continental Market up for the Festive period in front of our amazing City Hall.

I rang him at 1.30pm, thinking 'oh I hope he finishes soon, I'm hungry and would love to share lunch with him'. He was in work, no not the Castle, work ie. the office, in Belfast. 'Oh my goodness, I totally forgot about you' (or words to those effect). Wow I thought, forgotten about, I shake my head in self pity, my own husband didn't remember to come get me.

So here I am in the middle of the afternoon with my darling sleepy Maggie snoring at my feet writing to you instead. The wind has picked up and I did see a few spots of rain so maybe I'm better off at home, at least that's what I'm telling myself - I've drawn the blinds as the sun is blinding me; perfect photo weather.

Anyhow, it has given me cause to think about Allotments and Blogs and the ever present joy they bring me. I am never lonely being a blogger, there is always a friend out there who has written a post I have yet to read. There are new friends always in the wings waiting to be seen. I thank you all for being there for me, yes, I am sure you often forget about me too, maybe you only visit once in a blue moon but I thank you for that. Being chronically depressed and acutely anxious this is my place of refuge from a world I can't usually face in person alone. Here I feel safe and I love to learn about you, your work and hear your comments.

This is Northern Ireland but I have become very aware that American Thanksgiving is just around the corner - I just want to thank you all for taking the time to read my humble ramblings, for making me feel I am not forgotten, for helping me feel that in some small way I might matter; I could be a little part of your day.

Thank you

(and Andrew, I forgive you xxxxx)

Thursday 19 November 2009


This is a little embarrassing but as I have no shame I'm going to share it with you all anyway.
I am nesting. Yes the shed is being turned into a home from home. I have already laid a new floor (vinyl - easy to clean) from offcuts my niece gave me, painted the inside walls the same colour as my bedroom (cosy) and highlighted areas in white (to make it feel brighter). I'm going to make new curtains and get boxes in which to put things in (shoe boxes wrapped up in gift paper). Then I'm bringing in the outdoor storage bench, painting it and putting some old cushions and a cosy blanket on top.

Call me daft but I really need a comforting place to retreat to down there when the weather is too bad, I'm feeling panicky or I just need a wee moment to myself; politics on the plots is really getting me down these past few months - nothing but complaints, it isn't good for me to listen to such negativity all the time! Between us, Andrew and I have made a pact that we aren't going to moan anymore, it gets us nowhere but down. Plus I now excuse myself from all negative conversations down there - the lotties are meant to be my refuge and sanctuary, I have enough mental nastiness in my head already.

I am not the best at coping with winter, I'd definitely have SAD if I didn't have depression already, I need my Vitamin D!!! Though funnily Andrew and I were talking about our Autumn/ Winter veg and how we kind of prefer this time of year, more about that tomorrow maybe.

I leave you with a funny, naughty parsnip - Matron will probably like this. Every man's dream?

ooopps, the above pic is of a white carrot, silly me!

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Honest Scrap Award

Last week my new dear friend Flighty was awarded this Honest Scrap Award and in turn he passed it on to all his 'lawn loungers' of which I am super proud to be one of. I love Flighty and his answers were fab so I suggest you dander over there and take a little peek. Oh, and the person who awarded him is also mentioned there and her blog, well, it is tasteful indeed!!
There are rules to this meme:
1 ~ Brag about the award - well, I am truly honoured to have received it and feel I am joining in with a happy crowd of wondrous bloggers around the world. To feel myself worthy of this is hard, (maybe I got in there by mistake!) but I take it and run with it - you aren't getting it back! Look at it, who wouldn't want that tin sign on there blog I ask you!? It is gloriousness incarnate.
2 ~ Give the name and link back to the blog of the blogger who gave it to you.
Click here to visit Flighty's Plot You'll like it.
3 ~ Choose a minimum of 7 blogs you find brilliant in content or design. (Only 7??!)
4 ~ Show their names and links and leave a comment telling them they too have won the award.
5 ~ List at least 10 honest things about yourself.
Humm, first off it says you can break the rules if you dare, Flighty broke them but I'm a bit scared. What will happen if you break them? Flighty hasn't written a bloggette since this, has he been kidnapped? Do you get your Internet connection cut off for being bad? I'm worried, so I shall play along oh mighty award gods.
Blogs I love? Well they're written down the side and I have about 3 more still to add. I find new ones all the time. Oh you know what, it says a minimum of 7 so I choose everyone on my list, I can't hurt any feelings and I do love them, they're all brill. Some have even received this award already.
So ten honest things about me:
1 I dye my hair - yes I've been greying since I was 18 and I don't like it!
2 I got my Swine Flu Jab today and it didn't hurt a bit. Brave girl that I am. The next few days are meant to worse though, eek!
3 I celebrated Halloween this year for the 1st time and I liked it! Apart from the concussion bit...
4 The four button on my laptop is very temperamental and you really have to whack it.
5 I do not like champagne, it seems to close my throat up and I can't swallow. The 'Champagne 'at my wedding was.... White Grape Shloer! Andrew still hasn't forgiven me for that.
6 My 1st dog was a Beddlington terrier called Scrap, honestly, he was Kennel club registered as that when we got him!My 2nd was a Cairn/Yorkie mix called Charlie and now we have the best dog/bitch in the world!.....Maggie the Mini Schnauzer!!!!
7 I love books, couldn't cope without them. Find Holocaust survival stories to be inspiring and they give me strength, I have many books on that subject. Though my favourite book is 'Rebecca' by Daphne De Maurier. At the minute I'm reading 'Catch 22' - fab.
8 I adore hand made things. Artisans' shops are wonderful places, potters, jewellers etc. Such talent. Oxfam is great for stuff like that too and it's Fairtrade.
9 I bought my Christmas Cards 2 weeks ago and almost starting writing them today, not because I love Christmas-time but the opposite, I can't wait for it to be over. Such hype!!
10 Like Flighty, I never wear a watch, wear glasses and haven't any tonsils (or adenoids).
11 (One for luck) I've never had a tooth out and I'm terrified of the dentists so I dread the day!

Tuesday 17 November 2009

CVNI are at it again!!!

The utterly fabulous people of A1 are in the final of the 'People's Millions' competition! Golly give that group a contest and they go for it in a big way. Remember they've already won the Green Heros Award this year! The mind boggles. Personally I have the kitchen and all those dishes awaiting me and I really can't say I'll be champ at the end of the afternoon!

So what is the 'People's Millions' then, I hear you ask. Well..... Auntie Carrie is here to tell you all, via the lovely Maria, who explained it all to her earlier today.

'The People's Millions is a competition between community projects were projects go head to head to try to win a £50, 000 lottery award. It's run in partnership with The Big Lottery Fund and UTV [Ulster Television].' The Conservation Volunteers in Eden Allotment Gardens have a project called 'Growing Communities in Carrickfergus' with the aims of teaching and encouraging fruit and veg growing in the community with a demonstration garden and an on-site horticultural training room. This would increase particiapants' knowledge of healthy eating, horticultural and environmental skills, reducing stress and improving mental health (Ecotherapy Rocks!!) all within a comfortable friendly community setting.

Its a super idea they've put forward and it's going to be on TV, eek! Wednesday 6pm on UTV on the 25th November, so you have to watch, maybe our whole lottie garden will be on tv, who knows!!! Anyway, the really important thing is the fact that this is a competition and in order for anything to come to fruition the project needs our help. This is done by simply voting for our A1 mates on the big night by phone.

I'll remind you all closer to the time and then on the day too, it's 8 days away!

Sunday 15 November 2009

GBBD in November

My selection of happy faces for November. Sadly the Lobelia, Calendula and Geum plants are all gone today :( But on an up beat note, I saw my first Daffs poking through and my Cyclamen are fab, I just forgot to photograph them.

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day is hosted by the lovely May Dreams Gardens.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday 12 November 2009

Weeds - real and imaginary

The tap root of some metaphorical dandelion is firmly lodged in my brain. You know what it's like to get those damn blighters out of the soil, well every time I think I've got some of that out of my mind, I discover there was (naturally) a bit left behind. This means the whole plant is just going to come back, right? Well I'm, sitting here with the biggest tap root ever entwined in my brain matter and I think I may just go insane. I don't think I can ever beat this no matter how many tablets (weedkillers, to carry the theme) I shove in my mouth and no matter how much positive thinking I do. Who ever thought a weed away?? Unless you're a master Jedi I don't think you have and I wouldn't believe you if you said you had.

I spent the weekend at the lottie weeding. I like that, I like the fact that you can see where you've been and the joy of getting the bugger out and letting your veggies have more room and nutrients. I hate weeds. Okay, they're just plants in the wrong place but that's exactly the point, they're in the wrong place damn them. I especially hate dandelions, they are brutes to remove, but this weekend I had got in there early and managed to completely remove every last bit of nearly every last one. Can you believe pre-alloment, these were one of my favourites wild flowers! I loved blowing, or let's be honest, kicking the seed heads off the stem, now I wouldn't dare.

Weeding is like a mediation for me. I switch off and just lose myself in the clearing away of unwanted things. I adore a full bucket of compostable green waste and I love the cleared soil, so dark and contrasting against my vegetables. Now someone just tell me how to get rid of the one in my head!

Tuesday 10 November 2009


It's raining again and although it's only 3pm, it's getting dark; this whole change of seasons lark is getting me down. So I have a confession (apart from the fact that I just ate 2 Tunnocks Tea Cakes in a row, one in a very unlady like fashion indeed!) that I need to get off my chest. I Carrie Gault am addicted to Farmville.

I guess you would possibly have to live in a cave in the middle of nowhere on the moon with your fingers in your ears, not to have at least heard about Facebook. Its that social networking site where you can talk to friends you haven't seen in a while, never seen, or can't be bothered to go and see. Photos are shared and people from your primary school years suddenly reappear and you try and pretend like no time has passed at all. It is an odd, yet wonderful place in the world of the web and I love it. I also love one of the games you can play there with your allotmenteering friends, this is Farmville.

Yes, a merry place where no matter the time of day or season you can grow fruit and vegetables until your little heart is content; the sun is always shining. None of the animals or trees die on this magical farm, no bugs or diseases attack your crops, it is truly glorious. Plus you don't get cold or dirty and you make cart loads of money (it isn't real, I know) to boot. The crops grow in 2 hours - 3 days depending on what you 'plant' and weeds are nowhere to be seen. In these crappy rainy dark days we are having it is a blessing to me, a bit like virtual Ecotherapy. And I have a load of friends doing it with me, we have a giggle, no politics or committee meetings, just rewards and gifts galore.

You now feel sorry for me don't you, you think I've finally cracked. Shaking your head and sighing you move on to the next blog and try not to think about me - its too painful... but later you shall think, 'uummmm virtual allotmenteering, well it is pitch dark outside after all...... Farmville was it?....'

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Lovely large leeks

My head is a good bit better, still a little fuzzy but okay. Thank you so much for all the kind comments; oh, Allotments can be dangerous!

So I have wanted to tell you about our leeks for a while now, I'm really rather proud of them you see. They have their own dedicated bed this year in 14b and have been going so well there. We plant ours in modules and then transfer them out into the bed, when they're settled in there we cover the lower stem with cut offs of drain pipe we found dumped in a river (waste not, want not). This gives them a great size to grow to and they get blanched whilst they're at it. Andrew told me it was in a recent gardening magazine that Pringle crisp tubes are good for this too. You'd have to eat a little more than your fair share to get enough for the whole bed of seedlings, but they do say 'once you pop, you can't stop'.

I was also introduced to the traditional way of growing them when we visited Glenarm Castle Gardens. The young seedlings are lifted here and put into a comparatively wide and deep hole, they grow to fill the hole and of course being in the ground, they get blanched in that way. Each to their own.

We've been eating ours for a good month now and of course it has just been getting better and better. Look at this beast, I couldn't believe it. Now they are all like that. I can't eat onions but I can cope with leek so this is super duper rewarding, they are very strong so 1 leek would do 2 dinners. Last week when Andrew was chopping one up in the kitchen I was crying in the living room - that's how strong they are! We have only ever grown 'Musselborough' leeks and I reckon that is the way it will stay. They did get some leaf rust this year but it's only at the top and doesn't effect the white bit, so I can't find fault in this variety at all.

Here's 2 more in amongst the autumn harvest of last Saturday. They're still in the fridge with everything else - a huge vat of soup is going to be made ~ yummy!! Perfect for these colder nights. Plus Andrew is off on Friday and has it planned that we are allotmenteering our socks off so some hearty soup will be needed!!

It being the 1st Wednesday of the month Andrew and all the other committee members are off having their meeting. Wish them well please, I don't think I could cope with that job - never going to please everyone.

Monday 2 November 2009

Pumpkin carving and concussion

Halloween, what a day. Pity I can't remember the second half of it.
We did some errands in the morning and headed to the lottie at what we thought was 2pm but later released it was 1pm (Andrew was wearing a watch for a change and hadn't put it back the hour from last week!). We had been to Tesco* and got a pumpkin and a few packets of crisps and drinks etc and were ready for a Halloween/Autumn clear up day.

Andrew did the clear up bit, I on the other hand was too super excited to have my very first pumpkin to carve. When we were growing up all us N. Irish kids had to carve turnips for Halloween (HARD work) and not that enjoyable actually, no wonder I only did it a few times. You see, back then it was mighty difficult to get hold of a pumpkin here, this year we were surrounded by them. There is no way on this Earth that I would EVER carve (and waste) a pumpkin of this size had we grown it ourselves, but we didn't so I went at it with a swiss army knife and a lot of glee.
Half an hour later and pumpkin innards galore and this was the result - a pumpkin so scared of Halloween that it had puked all over the place. I was very proud.

It was raining off and on quite heavy and was cold but there was going to be a lottie gathering to celebrate the year and bbq's were lit (with blowtorches, haha, the weather was just not co-operating) so we wanted to hang around. Really, we couldn't be bothered digging and weeding etc so instead we gathered up a load of produce and had ourselves a Harvest bench celebration. Look at that bounty!! I'll talk more about what's there during the week and just how proud of our leeks I am.

Wendy (my best friend) came down to visit for the first time. Which was great.
'Really!' you say, 'the very first time?!'.
'Yes', I say, 'she is a super busy girl and rarely gets time to visit lotties'.
'That is sad', you say.
'I know.... ', I say (shakes head in pity).

We sat round the wood stove and had a good chat then went over to get a hot dog and listen to a bit of a sing-song at the BBQ area. It was fab, really fab. There was a great wee atmosphere even though few people had braved the weather, the sausages were cooked wonderfully (thank you Billy Dick) and the guitar was played perfectly by Ricky, even if he didn't know any of the words. Hahaha, we all just da da dee deee daa dee-ed our way along!

'The beast' - massive version of our wood stove - note full moon too!!!
Back at the shed it was time to gather up our harvest and poke around with our own stove; such heat - lovely. Fireworks began in the town and echoed around the lough and that was the end of the fun for Maggie, she hid in the shed, a pitiful sight poor thing, she really couldn't hide in a corner enough; it was time to go home. On the walk up to the car I got this great photo of Wendy and shortly after slipped and fell on some muck that's been churned up and re-seeded with grass. I've fallen here twice before, the soil has a lot of clay in it and it is very slidey. Well this time I supposedly hit the ground 'with a fair whack' according to Andrew and Wendy (I prefer to think it hit me, I'm the innocent party here!) and knocked myself out. Boy, the rest of the night is something of a mystery and yesterday my back was so painful I could barely walk. Still feeling concussed today and therefore confused and very tired but I'm fine. Great memories for Wendy on her first visit!

* may be evil ~ still to be confirmed