Friday 30 April 2010

Tulips - nature's happy pillls

If there is one plant so far this year that has really cheered me up it is the Tulip. I love them and need them in my life forever more. My fab hubby has been buying me a bunch every Saturday now for weeks so I can have nature's beauty in our attic space (I can't see anything but sky up here - Velux windows), he even bought a 'tulip vase' for them; if you're going to it at all, do it right!! ;)

But on the lottie we have some absolute darlings. Weird though, I can't bring myself to cut them and bring them home which was the whole idea of me having a cut flower bed. Haha, they just look so pretty where they are and the plots around us are very thin on the flower front so my beauties brighten the place up.

In celebration then of the Tulip I give you the different ones on our plots and end with Ronnie's super pouffy ones which I covet for next year - I think I may go tulip mad next bulb buying season.

Okay so I really should have done a collage but I have a date with that flighty temptress, adventure!

Thursday 29 April 2010

I'm still here and I shall win ;)

I received a lovely and loving e-mail this morning from a dear friend which has given me that extra bit of strength to fight my demons and write a quick post.

I have been staring into the abyss over the past few day, holding onto the cliff face my the tips of my fingernails, having chats with the devil himself. All in all, I have been going through the mill and feeling ready to give up the fight. I have been confused, be-fuddled and consumed with self loathing and weakness. I have hated myself entirely.

My camera is full with images taken in those little windows, those few hours here and there when the world hasn't seem to ugly to bare. But they lie hidden with the magical machine, not uploaded, not appreicated. The camera sits there mocking me to tell the truth. Yes there are nice images on it but they only go to prove how wonderful the world is and how I can't see it now. It also serves to remind me that I'm supposed to be putting photos into a gallery but my mount suppiler has messed up my order and I still sit here with my 'work' by the bed. I feel the utter failure and not even the news from the allotment helps. Nothing much has helped, but my hubby's unwaivering love, a quick comment from a friend on Facebook a few days ago and today's e-mails (out of the blue and tear inducing), one from Meredith and one from someone whose views on mental illness I have changed through my Allotmentherapy essay.

Ecotherapy is not a panecea, creative art isn't either and writing can just be too painful some days. So I have stayed away, I have stayed in this room alone, without even Maggie, staring into that abyss and wishing from the moment I wake up that it was bedtime again. WELL NOT TODAY!!

Today will be different, today I shall fight, today I shall create. The barbed wire around my soul shall be broken by the love that I have for life and the love I receive from others - unexpected, unwarranted. I am to fight until I fall alseep with the effort of it and I shall win! Today I shall win.

Friday 23 April 2010

My contribution to yesterday's Earth Day

Here is my blog for the Mind Depression Awareness week, put up on their site yesterday.

1 in 4 here in Northern Ireland suffer depression. Sad but true.

Good weekend wishes to you all xxx

Wednesday 21 April 2010


You might remember that I am a Mind Media Volunteer, well at the moment there are some personal stories going up on the Mind blog in relation to Depression Awareness Week April 18th-24th 2010. I shall be one of those people but I want to talk about today's post by Steve and I hope you will read it and then the previous piece by Dave.

Anyway one the comments after Steve's excellent piece really caught my eye today; a quote from Dr Martin Luther King Jr, I think it applies to all aspects of life and even gardening ;)

'We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.'

I personally find this very powerful and just wanted to share it with you. What a joy it is to be a gardener!! We never lose that hope, we never plant a seed and wish that nothing happens, we don't tend to the seedlings and the soil with a desire to make conditions worse so they will fail. We are eternal optimists, we can't help it and damn it why would be want to be anything else! Yes we face disappointment all the time; seeds don't germinate, plants die or we get blight but we fight on, we plant more seeds we do what we can to help the plant live, to stop the spread of infection, to kill as many bloody slugs as possible! Weeds be gone, you are but an inconvenience. A finite disappointment to a gardener never holds them back. Let's apply this to all aspects of our lifes.

I wish you infinite hope; I wish it for myself.

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Bloomin' Monday (on a tuesday, I know) and poor weather

The weather out there on the other side of the window is echoing my mood; I look up at it, listen to it and feel like I am staring into an odd sort of mirror. It's miserable out. It's dull and cloudy, light rain has started and the cold wind  is blowing a minor gale. Even the thoughts of volcano ash mixed with the clouds out there make me think of my fuggy head, the frustration that could explode from me any mintue and the utterly burnt out body I'm living in (I know I should see a Dr but I can't face it.)Weather has such an amazing effect on us I think we all must suffer, at least a little, from SAD, I know I do, though often a bright sunny day can be like the world laughing at me.

I got my voice back today, I had a bit of a flu over the weekend. I'm tired from it but diffentatlely feeling less bunged up thank goodness. Anyone who has shares in kleenex hankies - you have me to thank for the bonus, haha.

So then, I guess you know what I'm going to say...I haven't been to the lottie apart from half an hour on Saturday. Andrew has though of course and it seems everything is doing well bar the sweetcorn (Swift F1 ) of which there is no sign of any germination. He bought 'F1 Sundance' today and is going to be planting it here beside me in front of the tv any minute now.

We just had a late dinner, our own PSB (yes, again!) and Spinach included - oh how wonderful is that? We realised at the weekend that we haven't had a week yet this past year when we haven't eaten something from our own plot - that's kind of amazing and really, congratulations to Andrew for all the effort and planning he puts in!

The photo is of the row of gorgeous yellow tulips we planted in amongst the wall flowers that Bill grew. They are stunnning and such a happy colour. Plenty more were that came from, I just need to get my bum into gear and upload the photos I have and take more.

That's all for now my friends, just wanted a little chat and you know I can see blue sky peeking through now, so thanks for listening xxx

Monday 19 April 2010

The Enchanted Earth

Why is it I always feel like a fevered child being held in the cool loving arms of a wonderful mother when I read Meredith's posts? I always feel calmer, the panic and the dam of tears ebb away and just for a little while I can breathe…..I’m not writing today, instead I am just sending everyone over to The Enchanted Earth...

Of course this means I could be saying goodbye to a lot of you, you'll see how great a writer she is and never want to read my gibberings again, but ....

Friday 16 April 2010

Our 1st Rhurbarb harvest!

Andrew gathered some juicy rhubarb stems at the start of the week and Mamma G, who also has 2 slightly older plants in her garden, did the same. The stems were mixed together and the Gault's had their first Rhubarb tart during the week (they both had custard - I don't like it, mad I know). So hurrah another new experience and an enjoyable one at that!

Happy weekend xxx

Wednesday 14 April 2010

Purple Sprouting Broccolli - the results (Plus HAPPY news!)

First off - major big kudos to me, I'm outside, alone! This is the first time I have sat outside at Mamma G's house since we moved here at the end of January. Even before that I hadn't been one for sitting outside at my old home - I feel exposed, and embarasssed and a little paranoid. But here I am and though I can hear grass being cut 2 doors up, the only other sound is that of some very happy birds in the trees and bushes all around Mamma's garden. This is a great garden, a complete sun trap and not over looked, there is also the most beautiful magnolia ever right in front of me and the smell is intoxicating. So, this is what I've been missing.....

But on to the PSB I hear you cry!

Well, out of a judging panel of 2 (Andy and me) we have thought about this a good bit over the past two PSB dinners we have had.  The first was a fresh baby salad (from the lottie - thinned out salads from the coldframe and the tender pea tips) steamed PSB and spinach and lamb dish on Saturday. Well YUMMMY!

The second was last night (well we wanted this to be scentific!) and saw us eating a butternut squash, bacon and PSB rissioto. YUMMY!!

So the verdict is - PSB may take a hell of a long time to grow, the plants may look like they are dying but then one sweet, sweet day a purple sprout appears and then another and then loads come out all at once. "Hoorah!" you say to yourself and pick some with joy in your heart take it home and eat it right away - heaven. Yes I said heaven for the Gaults offically LOVE PSB and I demand that all negative references to it from myself in the past be withdrawn and also that you grow it too!

It's hard to describe you see and I just want you to experience it yourselves. It's not brassica-y, there isn't any sharpness or bitterness, it isn't overly 'green' tasing - just oh so pleasant on the taste buds. So pleasant.

So there we go.
Verdict 1 - being outside (especially now the lawn mower has stopped) is not that scary really (though  I did take a valium and am sitting right by the door;  it's early days).

Verdict 2 - PSB is fab and though it may look crap as a plant and turns green when you cook it so it looks like normal broccolli sprouts IT IS WORTH IT!

Thank you and good afternoon, I'm off inside now, half an hour is good enough for the first time xxxxx

P.S. Just came in and told Mamma what I had acheived - big bear hugs and giggles all round, I can't stop smiling :) :) :) my cheeks hurt. I need a lie down, hahahaha

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Where did Monday go?? - part 2

Bloomin' Monday - a fabulously pink, pink Gerbera, oh so pink..

Andrew built an ingenious new bench/storage system inside the shed. All from his own wonderful mind; he dreamt this up and then just went out and made it happen. I am one proud wife! It was so simple when you really took a step back, of course we could have a bench inside- eh viola! -extra room, extra cozy. Andy left it open around the bottom so we could store longer items such as bamboo canes and the azada etc. It's pretty darn nifty if you ask me and another feather to add to his already quite bird-like cap. Hoorah for 'can-do hubbys'!!

Now I just want there to be a terrible (but very quick) freak rain storm at the lottie, so we can go in and sit down comfortably, lock the door from the inside (oh, yes he has enabled us to do that too) and have a cuppa. Really must do the girly thing, the right thing and make cushions for our bums, ummm........

Stay tuned for tomorrow's results on the PSB taste session!

Where did Monday go?? - part 1

I've just jumped out of the shower, which I also give a good scrubbing whilst I was in there (2 for 1) and just thought, 'hey, this is Tuesday, so where did Monday go and can I get a refund??' I've been up and down like a blasted yoyo the past few days and yesterday was so bad I sort of knocked myself out and slept through it. So here I am a day older with nothing to show for it.

Today I shall be writing 2 posts for this blog and hopefully 1 for my other crafty one and then working on some of the photos I took at the weekend - we went out on a photography day on Sunday which was lovely.

There's a big cloud hanging over me at the moment, even though the weather is turning round and the days are brighter for longer. I'm worried, I'm worried about our new house and how it's taking ages to be built and we're slowly going mad living in the loft coversion, I'm worried about my weight (aren't all women) and the fact that though I don't eat much I'm not getting enough exercise (too scared to go out and to cramped to do a workout video in here), I'm worried at the amount of meds I take very day, I'm worried about money, I'm worried about stupid people blowing up cars and I'm worried about Andrew, because he's worried about the seedlings all being a little leggy on it. They should make worrying an Olympic sport - I would be the gold medal and world record holder. Oh, Great Britian would be so proud.....

Arggh, all the medication and worry is totally messing up my sleep and during the course of writing this I have drifted off twice, I need a nap and I guess that's were 'part 2' will come in. I shall return later with Bloomin' Monday and a couple of stories from the lottie, lots of people there this weekend, fair weather gardeners *rolls eyes*...hugsxx

Friday 9 April 2010

So much love floating around :)

I'm feeling the love today, could be due to delirium as I didn't get any sleep last night and I'm having panics today and bad double vision but somehow (the drugs?) I am feeling the love - OH. MY. GOD. I've just realised that smoothie I drank earlier was a little old - fermented perhaps, there was an odd aftertaste. With my medication and it -  am I drunk!!!?????

Golly, well I'm going to continue on.....

I love my Hubby, here is his looking after all his little babies - they grow up so fast! They are being pricked out and potted on here into their own roomy spaces they can call home for a while. Isn't his plastic potting on bench the best thing ever!?( I need more shots of it) He can be mobile with his seedling work, doing it up here in the attic with me and Maggie or down in the kitchen. Either way, there's hardly any mess at all and the tray is big enough to mix up his own special soil and holds the labels and pencils etc all in one neat place. Cool! No longer shall I have to forsake my dining room to the spring baby boom, it can all just be moved out of the way. I love Sunnybank nursery!! They got these in again because we asked for them - how sweet are they??!

So little babies moving up to bigger/better things. I like the way Andrew has developed a new technique (I think he pilfered it off GW) where he plonks all the babies down in a mass out of the communal home and lets them fall apart from one another without him pulling at their roots. Fab, really it works, just make sure the soil is nice and moist; he puts the unturfed lot into a seed tray of water before hand.
What else am I loving?

Harry Potter; I'm reading all the books again in one big go and it's fabulous.
Maggie sleeping on the floor on her favourite, pillow, snoring - so cute.
The anticipation of a nice nap for me, it's coming....
Esty, oh how I love Esty, ever been?? I found a love lovely shop I must share, I've just written about it in my other crafty blog.....
Penpals, I have to write a snail mail today to my friend in Canada, love snail mail :)
And, the fact that one of my framed  photographs is being used tonight as a raffle prize in a posh charity evening - I'm helping kids in Uganda just by doing something I love.

I need that nap. Have a LOVELY weekend and I'll write that Rowallane piece once I feel less muffled. xx

Thursday 8 April 2010

Boys a dear, I'm a sleepy girl

I've just woken up! I know, it's getting close to 2pm! Now I was up earlier and fed Maggie and had breakfast, checked e-mails got washed and dressed - you know, the usual. Then I sat down to read my book and lo and behold here I wake up, book on the floor and I've lost time, hahaha. Thing is I'm trying really hard to keep my eyes open still, I wonder if the whole matchstick thing works?

I was looking at the last batch of photos I took at the lottie over the Easter break and found some you might like. Random I know but I thought I'd keep my wee story but Rowallane Gardens for tomorrow.

First off, the weather was so terrible here that the electric poles came down all over the show (lucky we weren't affected) and it took the gallant Northern Ireland Electricity repair men a good few days of putting the mess right ( poor loves out in all weathers up high ladders and what not). But on the up side Andrew found these on their way to being dumped - they're off the very top of one of the said poles, he wanted the glass too but it was broken. They're a bit odd to have at the lottie but we like them - answers on a postcard as to what use they could be used for. Or maybe they are just art - there for our enjoyment....

We took a dander round; as I showed yesterday Andrew had been seed planting like a mad man earlier that day so there was little left to do. Well, that's not technically true - I should imagine a really mad man would scatter seeds liberally all over the place and maybe eat some and put the rest in his ears....Andrew put out small amounts in perfectly straight rows and labeled them etc = not quite mad.

LOOOK!!!! ---drum roll---- PSB! Yes we have some little spears of the elusive purple sprouting broccolli! Bask in the glory with me... No I haven't pilfered someone elses and placed in amongst our leaves, nor have I painted a green spear purple, this is real and I am going to eat the whole dam thing myself in one mouthful to see what all this bloomin' fuss it about. I shall report back in due course.

Then as this blog is never all about 'proper gardening stuff' I have to show you Bill's beautiful border of mini daffs and Colin's new little Jack Russel puppy - aaawwww.

Hugs and kisses and through the sleepiness I am feeling better today - yipppee.(Thank you to all who left lovely comments about my photography in a gallery post - it's starting to sink in I think; there's a quiet little glow around my soul, it's surely helping me.) Maybe I needed sleep, maybe I need more sleep. Umm let's think about this, conquer some of the mountain of ironing, proof read a new archaeology book or have another nap which may be of great benefit to my mental health.... ;)

Wednesday 7 April 2010


I don't like appointments, especially when the subject matter is me and my mental health, so today has been terribly tainted by a visit from my social worker. This was made all the worse because after an hour waiting for her and getting more and more uptight, I rang her office and she'd written down the wrong time in her diary. Luckily she was able to come straight over and luckily Mamma G had been in the house with me. I just hate lateness and the panicky feeling hasn't died down all day. So I'm grumpy and need Andy cuddles, but he's at an allotment committee meeting and so it's just me and you (Maggie is comfty with her Nana downstairs).

Prepare yourself for some devilishly clever play on words......
After months of going through a particularly awful and serious depression low I finally have some good news. My photography (developments - eh, get it?!)  has been accepted by a lovely gallery here in Co. Antrim and I am to hand in my first batch next week. The owners are absolutely lovely and both creative and artistic people. David is a stained glass specialist who has done churches, homes and our very own Stormont Castle - a large piece to commemorate the setting up of the offices of First and Deputy First Ministers. Stunning - see their studio here.

On top of that news, all our seedlings are just so excited to be growing (I imagine them having parties at night and being very rowdy - but I'm just mental). I must point out however that I have planted only some broad beans and sweet peas, Andrew has done EVERYTHING else and boy has there been a lot of it. Below are a few photos of the seedlings in the cold frames at the lottie but there are the same amount again on Mamma G's window sills and really goodness knows how many he had planted directly.

I haven't been down at the lottie except for about half an hour last week - my passion for life in general has dwindled and I am finding it more and more difficult to socialise or get things done.

Not quite back on my feet again and writing this is like pulling teeth, so I'm off to have another nap and then tomorrow I shall return with avengance. Hear me roar!!!! My heartiest wish is that you had a lovely Easter; I shall catch up on all the Easter-y posts later on tonight, thank you for you're Eastery wishes to me by the way x. Andrew and I went to Rowallane gardens and I'll hoke out some snaps from that day - it was lovely and Maggie had a whale of a time with all the the other dogs and sweet kids that wanted to play with her.

I WILL be cheerer tomorrow, promise x

Saturday 3 April 2010

OMG I am so far behind!

Normal operations will resume say, on Wednesday when Andrew goes back to work. It has been a super duper, jumbo, huge, extra extra large sized, monumentally terrible week.

I have been neglecting my Allotment, my blogs, my camera and you my ever lovey readers and fellow bloggers. Humbly, I sit on the floor before you, top button of my jeans undone (Easter egg - yummm) and wish you a Happy Easter break. May it be filled with chocolate, good food, a bit of sunshine, family (though not too much of that, let's face it, they drive you mad) and friends. Sleep in, watch old movies in your pjs when it's pouring outside and try do some gardening.

Loads of love, as always xxx