Thursday 25 February 2010

Neeps and leeks

The world doesn't stop just because you're sad or a person passes away. Thats the cruelty of Mother Nature and her blessing. We need to keep going, living our own rich adventure and experiencing all we can (good and bad) along the way. I will think often of Bobby and miss him. But where he here, he would be unstoppable in his enthusiasm about the allotment, especially at this time of year. He would have Shelia's head turned talking about plans and Ronnie driven mad with rebukes about his smoking (it is bad for you and I guess you would get more done down there x).

So in that spirit I return to blogging. Life goes on.
We haven't been able to do a damn thing. Grrr! This weather is horrible and for some reason it gets worse at the weekends ~ what's that all about??!! We have things to plant, soil to prepare, picnics to eat.

Andrew has built the frame work for another cold frame but as it isn't finished I won't show you it yet and I'm not about to go out in that freezing rain and wind to take a photo of it away, even if it was finished, hahaha. He's also sorting out his seeds and writing lots of stuff in his little Moleskin book; I've said it before, he's the gardener, I am merely his apprentice.

We have instead been continuing to enjoy to fruits of our labour from last year. Leeks galore and boy are they huge. Plus we've rediscovered the joy of turnips. A good while back we harvested the lot and stored them in sand, in an old wine box and put them in the cold darkness of the storage bench. Well lo and behold if they aren't the best preserved, tasty wee firm yum veggies. 'Purple Topped Milan' ~ you just can't beat them.

November (ignore the coke bottle - it can be thirsty work this allotmenteering lark)

Last nights dinner - yum!

Monday 22 February 2010

Bloomin' Monday - Yellow Rose and White Carnation

I feel rather bad that all those posts came up automatically after my post on the death of Bobby. I had that all set up already before the news of his passing in order to keep the blog going whilst I was away in Fermanagh. It should have stayed focused on him for the rest of the week and I am sorry to have been, not exactly disrespectful but not respectful enough.

This week I will only post these photos of some beautiful blooms; a White Carnation (to express remembrance) and a Yellow Rose ( for my earnestness).

My thanks to everyone who spoke kind words of regret and encouragement. I am pleased to say that the funeral was beautiful (personal, touching and full of love) and the fabulous St Nicholas' Church in Carrickfergus was packed to the rafters, so loved was the man and his family.

Thursday 18 February 2010

Time to rip it all out and start again.

I am cheeky ~ here are a couple of photos I took on another (unnamed) plot. They need to clear out and compost away, I tell you!! A spring clean if you will.

Well we're going to be back in a day or two and then it's straight to work. Andrew ordered 'special' seeds from the internet which hopefully will have arrived whilst we are hiding away in our cottage. Plus we have viable ones from last year and of course the Pound shops have got their claws into the hubby too and a few packets here and there are popping up (''they were a really good price and we needed them'') every now and then.

Also have you noticed that the nurseries are actually acting like proper plant suppliers again after the mess and embarassment that is Christmas in a garden center??So many rows of seeds, oh seeds after seeds after seeds..... here's Andrew drooling over 1 aisle (there were 3 like this!) and not a stuffed, animated, singing toy or smelly 'holly berry' candle in sight - bliss.

It's time to get planting those little jewels into seed trays, the ground or toilet roll inners. I saw (darn it, can't remember where) recently a beautiful photo of a little girl planting seeds in egg shells - amazing, I would never of thought of that!! I've also been looking back over the photos of the past summer - wow what a vibrant place the allotments were then.

Wednesday 17 February 2010

We're growing a house!

You know you want to see it, don't you?? We got the new morgage sorted out, the valuer will be there possibly today and then we sign the contract with the builder - Eekk, poo your pants time!! But I know, I just know you have been tearing your hair out to see what all the fuss it about well........ here's the artist's impression and here is reality as of last Saturday!!!

Reality isn't quite as pretty but you can't live in a picture!!
We're getting a new house, a new house, a house, we're getting one, a house that is..ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Plus ~  we also put up my bird box creations. I'm so embarassed  by them that I am not showing you a picture. I used a blunt saw, really thick boards with knots in them everywhere and I have double vision = not very good bird houses. But Andrew (sweet as he is) put them up and maybe (if birds are that picky) we'll get a resident, but I'm not holding my breath. 

Monday 15 February 2010

Hope is a splendid thing

Okay I hated being there at my lotties last weekend, I've already admitted it. But now that I am safe and warm on my sofa with Maggie snoring aaway dreaming of biscuits and what not, I can see that there were signs of beauty and hope all around me. God, you see, this is why photography is so important to me! I am usually just in a panick or numb and it takes a while for me to really appreciate what I doing or where I am.

So I just wanted to share a few of the photos of HOPE I took. Hope lifts us up, keeps us going, it is the creator of love and joy. Embrace each little sign of it everyday if you can ~ the world isn't so scary with it by your side and in your heart.

Remember these bulbs being planted up in layers why back in November??

A forest of garlic (slight exaggeration?)

Tete a tete peeping up

Wallflowers doing well - but look at those tulips, so fat! :)

And nice big buds forming on my blueberry plants. Oh I want blueberry muffins, scones, cake with cream and strawberries, face mask?, alcohol? Everything blueberry this year - yumm.

Friday 12 February 2010

My friend Bobby Johnston

I can't breathe, my mouth has gone dry; this isn't happening. My friend Bobby Johnston has passed away.

I, honestly can't think. Honestly I feel like this is a cruel joke. But no. Bobby is gone and I can't believe it.

I don't do eulogies, I feel that when you have met someone, shared part of their life and had them share yours, words can't express the loss and the hurt, certianly not in a blog (he was the first person at the lotties I told about my blog). I turned Bobby into my make believe Grandfather, the one I wish I had alive, sharing the allotment experience with me, having chats about nothing in particular and just smiling with eachother. I've never told anyone else that, but I did tell him, to his face. He saw me cry, he saw me laugh and he always had time for me, the real me, when I was down.

Bobby passed away on his plot.

He leaves behind a very very close knit family and a lovely wife, they will know doubt need to be at eachother sides to get through this. He also leaves behind a great many friends, a great many, as he was a great man. I am friends with Bobby's son Bill and his family and I dread even seeing them ~ if I am like this they must be, well I can't imagine how they must be.

I wrote about him here and countless other times, took photos galore but really none of that matters. My friend has died.

The Ministry of Food - a look back at rations

I had a whole other blogette ready to go for today and just managed to jump in in time to stop it being posted automatically. I just saw this and thought it was super duper interesting. All my grandparents are dead a long time now and I never got to ask the questions that I so dearly wish to ask now. I do have old ration books and coupons but they don't talk. I want to know them as people, as children, as lovers and as people my age in their life. But alas I think we all feel the same - gone too soon.

Anyway, here is a lovely black and white film about rationing in Second World War Britian.  Grow Your Own folks and Dig For Victory!!!xxxx

Oh how I would LOVE to own those old posters now. They are fabulous and did you notice - not a plastic bag in sight. We take things for granted don't we; well, as we grow our own we become more in tune with the hardship, the joy and the seasons. Fresh food, grown by your own fair hands - yum.

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Poo, literally

Where should I start? I guess the first thing was we visited the building site on Saturday morning, we almost have a first floor - good news, eh? When I look at the workmen building away I can't help but think of those little creatures on Fraggle Rock, the Doozers, makes me giggle every time we visit.

I was at the allotment for the first time in quite a few weeks. To be brutally honest I hated every mintue of it and we didn't stay long. I felt really uncomfortable and panicky - it wasn't a 'safe place' to me at all. That's what happens when I stay away from somewhere or even someone, it's like the first ever meeting all over again. I tried to stick it out, took a sedative and went around photographing but it just wasn't working and Andrew had to take me home.

One thing that made me feel better was that the clay soil we have was still saturated so not much could be done anyway. Therefore Andrew shovelled some wheelbarrows of the new manure we had delivered on site. One of these bad boy mountains in each of the 4 fields. Lucky it's well rotted, can you imagine the stink and there are people living on the other side of that fence.

Funnily enough there were very few people about - the Rugby was on. Have to get your priorities right eh? But the quiet didn't make me feel any better. We go away for the week on Saturday so it's going to be a while before I'm back there again - I'm worried, I can't bare to feel like that on my lotties.

I'll be writing up some blogettes over the next couple of days and post dating them for the week ahead when I won't have the blessed internet at hand, so fear not - you won't miss out on anything. xxx

Monday 8 February 2010

Bloomin' Monday - Hellebore

How's this for perfection? A gorgeous blemish free white Hellebore flower nestled in amongst the heathers at a local nursery. I think this is the 1st Hellebore flower I have met that wasn't shy whatsoever. Pity mine, at the lottie didn't make it quite as well - oops!

Friday 5 February 2010

The dreaded Committee Meeting...

Okay, so I've left you hanging on tender hooks long enough. I know, you probably haven't been able to sleep let alone eat but now is the time to tell all.......


According to the Hubby the meeting was surprisingly good with constructive debate, clarifications and agreements!? Yes this is the same meeting I was so worried about. Turns out we're all fine and dandy and the world is a glorious place to live. The Exordinary General Meeting has even been called off. What a fantabulous relief. There were of course details, but details didn't matter on Wednesday night once I'd seen Andrew's smiling face instead of his grumpy one after the meeting. There was also some very tasty wine so even if I had of been listening very closely indeed I couldn't tell those details, but who cares - the outcome was good!!!

Hold on, one of two items are floating into my mind ~ there is going to be a bulk order of manure and compost and the toilet is going to be moved to the middle point of the lotties, where the 4 fields meet. Wow, my brain is capable of some memory skills then! Horrah for that too.

Plus today I can see BLUE sky through these fab Velux windows, I got loads of ironing done, cleaned the kitchen, was given a bottle of my favourite perfume as a surprise gift and have finally got hold of some sewing machine thread - the time has come to use the machine for the first time! Eeek, I swear, it's been looking at me, taunting me.

Tomorrow WE ARE going to the plots come rain or shine and work SHALL be acheived and everything will be wonderful. Yea!, for the prevailance of common sense and a happy lottie full of happy people, planting happy seeds! I expect to see smiles all round and plenty of hard graft.

Allotments Rock!!!!!!!

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Newton's 3rd law

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

I decided a few days ago when I was feeling better than I do today that 'depression and anxiety have opposites ~ love and hope. I am not giving up this fight to move forward with my life, I have love and I have hope and they have EQUAL POWER. I must remember the strength that lies within.'

I'm glad I wrote that down for myself, today is terrible and I needed a pep talk from the real Carrie. Also I have read all the comments left by you, my most loyal and supportive of readers and I thank you once more.

So, today I feel crap but I have my blankets, my little portable radiator by my side and the sound of the rain pelting down on the Velux windows. I've decided I like these windows, this is the first house I have lived in were there are any. I love to lie here on our Ikea sofa (bargin!!) and watch the clouds go by. Though today there is just one massive cloud over N Ireland so the view is, well, white.

Tonight there is another committee meeting. I am loathed to even think about it but as Andrew is going and the minutes of the last meeting arrived yesterday and the allotment forum page is up on this laptop all the time (Andrew not me) I am finding it hard to ignore. They always seem to descend into arguments and take much longer than the alloted 2 hours. But one good thing is wine is always brought home after ~ to calm Andrew's nerves and just tickle my taste buds while I listen to the whole saga.

Oh, there is unhappiness at the plots and it isn't just about the weather. I have mentioned it before but there is an Exordinary General Meeting proposed, some people are just so fed up. I for one am staying out of it, politics in N Ireland drives me up the walls anyway, I have an allotment to get away from such crap. The forums (though I try very hard not to listen to Andrew) are full of people letting off steam and others trying to clam them down and remind them WE HAVE ALLOTMENTS and that is a good thing; it's all that matters. If we rough up the waters too much with our council we may be seen as an nuisance and god knows what would happen then. I, like many other people down there, NEED my plots. I don't just want it, it is therapy and....oh bother I'm getting annoyed again. (Go to your happy place Carrie...)


More importantly we bought our seed potatoes yesterday. Damned if I can remember the variety, hold on til I ring Andrew......  Pentland Javlin (1st earlies) and  British Queens (2nd earlies). We aren't doing my favourite Maris Piper this year because we always seem to get horrendous blight on our main crops. Fingers crossed these do well, once we finally get to our plot to plant them and more importantly, fingers crossed they taste yummy and mash well!


Monday 1 February 2010

Intricate beauty of a flower (1) ~ Persian Buttercup

The Ranunculus is by far and away my favourite flower of the moment. I just adore their abundance of tighty packed petals and the white verision is the best ever. My Hubby bought me a beautiful bunch on Saturday when I was really very ill and I thought I would share them with you. Sort of a 'Wordless Wednesday', only it's Monday and I do like to ramble on a bit. So....a Bloomin' Monday instead.

My thanks to all the lovely people who have been sending messages to help me get through this awkward and stressful time, your words have not fallen on deaf ears and if I may be so bold... I love you xx
It sounds silly but I am still having trouble reading, poor concentration, bad double vision and the shakes. My mind feels like it's on the drain/spin cycle of the washing machine. It's taken me all day to write this one tiny bloggette. So, sorry I haven't been visiting my blogging friends, fingers crossed things will get better soon.