Friday 31 August 2012

Antidote to a crappy day

Oh shitty crap poo, I had a terrible meeting with my new psychiatrist today and it has me all shook up. One thing I will say to anyone who is seeing mental health professionals - take someone with you who knows your story and can talk for you when things get all messed up in your head.

It really has upset me. I know that a SHO is given a file and told to go see patient 'x' but I would at least have hoped that that person would have read a little more than the most recent letter in your notes and know what blasted name to call you! Honestly I thought a little bit of research would be needed before you spoke to someone in that situation - you are dealing with someones mental well being!

Anyway, it's over now and the next time will be better. As for my ruined day, well I have the antidote....

and looking at the Vegetable Seeds UK website and wondering what I shall spend my gift voucher on. Oh temptation, temptation.... Check them out, there is a link in the side bar :)

Good health to you all and enjoy your weekend friends xxxx

P.S. I am in the market for a fab new blog to read so any recommendations, send them my way!

Wednesday 29 August 2012

The prodigal daughter returns

I made my return to the Allotment yesterday, the famous phrase of 'be the change you wish to see in the world' on my mind and the beautiful music of Elbow in my ears. I was calm, I was ready, I was back; Carrie was back.

The paths had been cut, what a blessing, as I was able to walk to my plot without fear of falling or worse - falling onto something I couldn't see in the long grass. Andrew was with me, it being lunch time and I was so glad as the panic did set in but with him there I was okay. It calmed down quickly enough and soon I was alone. Alone for 2 hrs! It flew by.
The shame now lays entirely in our hands - the paths cut, it is easier to see just how the weeds have taken hold of our plots. Oh how I needed to get stuck in :) I would be there today too but for the rain and that thunder earlier and plus, I'm excited and want to write this down before I lose that sense of achievement.

I did a lot more work than I have photos for but this gives a general idea. No weed was left unpoked and prodded and I even broke a tang off the hand fork in one attempt - I got the blighter in the end! I've heard Baking Soda is a good anti-weed defence so I'm going throw a load of that around the patio bit and see if it works (I'll let you know). Goodness knows I don't use the stuff in the kitchen; I never bake unless it's Christmas *blush* and even then.....

So I did some beds too and under the bench but these photos are from when Andrew joined me after dinner - we are a power house team! Maggie naturally oversaw the works and later ended up right up close to the fire - see she wasn't working hard enough, I was warm alright!

This was a mess, more than you can see but what a sense of achievement and the red/blackness - that's weed suppressing membrane and some old carpet. The 'after' photo is shaky and dark but I was shaky, you'll see why in a moment and it was dark :)

Then I had the privilege of digging up the very last of the early spuds. It was going really well right up to the very last potato which exploded in my hand - boke! It was runny, like a fresh egg and smelt so disgusting that Maggie tried to get away from the area but her lead stopped her and I tried not to throw up everywhere (we had company at that point see). I did naturally take a photo of it - had to share the complete horror :)

It was dark when we left - Andrew had been working over on 14b (that is a scary weed infested place I am just too delicate to tackle at present) and also cut the grass with our crappy little push mower (blisters on his hands poor thing).

I'm tentative when I say this.....I'm looking forward to going back. Plus I have so much more to share with you about harvests and lots more photos :) Yep, I'm back :) woooo hoooooo!!!!!

Sunday 26 August 2012

A Tea Garden for the soul

Thank goodness it's today, that's all I can say. Well, it isn't really, I have quite a lot to say in fact and I am glad to be back and in the bosom of my little Blog. I have had a horrendous week, okay the house did not burn down, no one died, I had food and water but I also had a very nasty breakdown - very nasty
breakdown indeed.

Yesterday I thought it was all over and I was all better but no my mind has other ideas. I even texted my best friend and told her all was well - haha - the world always has a plan and we aren't even consulted. So I has spent a week unable to talk, walk, read or write properly and it has been a quiet and lonesome hell.
Today I am out in my garden :) I am showered and fresh, I have a warm coffee by my side and the sun on my face, Maggie is attacking random leaves that to her pose some threat to us all (thank you Maggie) and Andrew is reading. I can hear a lawnmower yes but that only started up (shakes fist) but other than that I was basking in the sun with the soft trickle of our new water feature as the only sweet and dreamy sound......

I honestly can't remember when I last showed you our back garden, our absolutely fabulous, hand designed, hand-made-by-my-hubby back garden. But things have moved on a pace very recently so I know this shall excite you AND I have photos :)

Flowers and glorious growth on all the plants over the past couple of months.

The water feature adventure ~

It started with the lifting of the patio (I swear we didn't kill anyone or anything and bury it, it was totally as seen in these photos) and the laying of conduit for the pumps, yes plural - we have another surprise waiting in the wings. Rocks we have gathered from all over the place, favourite beaches up and down the Antrim coast.

He drilled a hole in my house wall! Dear God this was a little scary but I trust him, cough cough.
 And .....

So now we edge ever closer to the completed Tea Garden of the Soul, only a couple more things to do and then we sit back and watch it grow :)

Thursday 16 August 2012

Cranachan - a gift from the Scottish gods

Hey lovelies, I'm back sort off. I haven't been to the lottie (Andrew has though) but I have been eating really well - our own carrots, kale, french dwarf beans, runner beans and loads of raspberries and blackberries - yummmmy! A pile of spuds will have to be sent off to my sister-in-law too (it's so fab when people get itchy waiting for more of your home grown goodies).

But I was in Bonny Scotland last week and was introduced to my new favourite thing ever - Cranachan, oh just say the word over and over and I purr like a kitten. Now you may look it up and see a million variations on the recipe but I am going to tell you how the chief at our pub/hotel did it and I swear you will never look at any other recipe ever! Well until you see the new and exciting Gault's low fat Blackberry Cranachan recipe ;)

Naturally we all know that the vast majority of the raspberries we grow here are Scottish, for goodness sake they all have 'Glen' at the start of their name, such as Glen Ample (which we grow) and Glen Cova, Glen Doll, Glen Fyne, etc. Well in Scotland they just grow like weeds I tells ya - take yourself for a wee dander and bam! you walk into hundreds of them, you'll never grow hungry out for a walk there.

The Hotel Allan Ramsay's Cranachan
  •  a lovely little glass - presentation is very important people!
  • Raspberries
  • Raspberry jam
  • Double cream
  • Whiskey (honey toned)
  • Scottish oats
  • Honey
* Lightly toast your oats and let them sit in a wee dram o' whiskey :)

* Whip up that cream like there is no tomorrow (burn some calories too) and add a little honey to it if you want.

* Play with the different food stuffs, layering them all like a trifle. Oats at the bottom, then a dollop of cream (with honey mixed in - or spoon a little on top), then raspberry jam over some juicy raspberries, then repeat until your glass is full and gorgeous looking.

*End with a raspberry on top and sprinkle a few more oats.

We made a load when we got home with our Blackberry glut (which is still continuing). But you know, shame on me, I didn't take a single photo ~ when you're at home all dignity goes out the window and you just unceremoniously get stuck in, you know its true. I bet there are some of you out there that even lick the plate, hahaha

Gaults' Low Fat Blackberry Cranachan
  • a lovely glass - presentation is still very important!
  • Blackberries
  • Blackcurrant jam
  • Fromage Frais zero fat
  • Whiskey (honey toned)
  • Scottish oats
  • Honey

    Just do the same as above in the layering idea, but in the wonderful knowledge that this is healthier and indeed could possibly count as good for you, hehehe. We didn't bother toasting the oats (we didn't have the patience) and we just spooned some lovely honey on top of the Fromage Frais. We fell down on the Whiskey though as though it was Scottish it had a peat tone - a little overpowering but we do like our whiskey in this house so it was fine :)

    Monday 6 August 2012

    How not to grow your own

    I feel I have been uninvited to the party. I feel as though all the things that are barring me from being at my allotment are being done to personally harm me. I know that sounds stupid but let us not forget that I am mentally ill ~ it pains me to say it but that is the truth. On top of that I am psychically disabled by double vision and access down at my plot? ggrrrr - I swear, I give up.

    I am not willing to put myself through another afternoon and night like I have just been through. I go to the plots to try and see beauty, to gain a feeling of usefulness and purpose, to feel embraced and protected my nature. There have been times in the past that being there, doing my hard work has lead to moments were I forgot to be afraid, forgot to hate myself, forgot that I was 'different'.

    Yesterday I was there 5 mins and took the biggest panic attack; the paths are not safe, the main road to fields A, B and D are still not even tarmacked and there are whopping great big potholes that someone like me just can't see properly. (I don't know how a wheelchair user would get down there either), the grass paths STILL are not being looked after, so I am walking from one plot to the other (both my plots) scared by the sudden entanglement of my feet and ankles in the grass (so long now) and the worry of what lies beneath all that growth - did someone forget to put tools away, will I fall again and this time land on broken plastic or some nails that have been dropped or scattered by the wind, it wouldn't be the first time.

    I am not able to go to my plots and thus there shall be no more reports of what is going on, no more boasting, no more spending time out in amongst the veggies and fruit I have tended for 5 years. No more photos of pure joy and amazement at what can be achieved. I have been very effectively, uninvited to the party. Me, one of the people to whom the allotments meant so much, they even helped me feel better and reduced the amount of medication I was on.

    Unless things change and I have absolutely no hope that they will, my journey in Allotmentherapy will have come to an end. I sit here in tears as I was also in tears at the site yesterday. The place is a mess; it grew too quickly and the infrastructure was never in place.

    It is with the utmost saddest that I am forced to stop. Maybe I can still gain therapy through continuing to write this blog (it has been one of the best things to have happened in my life) through the eyes of Andrew, I don't know. But after my bad fall in the town centre and my numerous trips and falls at the allotments in the past I simply feel that yesterday (surrounded by abandoned plots) was the proverbial straw that has broken my spirit.

    I am too upset to continue writing but I am so glad that I have managed to get this off my chest, it has been crushing me.

    Wednesday 1 August 2012

    Berry Boastful :)

    Looking back on the photos for this post I can't help but feel a little down. It was 2 Saturday's ago when these were taken and we had the best day at the lottie - look at the sunshine so apparent in the pictures (though often it was very overcast); today is the 1st of August and it has done nought but rain and rain heavy all day today. Anyway - I do have some hope that we shall get our Indian Summer. Hope, we must grab on it with both hands!

    So here is my boasting bit. Oh yes, behold and feast your eyes upon these fantastic statistics, the weight of fruit I harvested:

    Raspberries ~ just a small bag half full
    Red Gooseberries ~ 1kg 600g
    Green Gooseberries ~ 200g
    Blackcurrants ~ 2kg 50g

    Darn it all to heck though, as we haven't done a darn thing with it all, bar eating the raspberries, it merely sits in the crisper drawer in the fridge - so really I have no reason upon which to boast ~ shameful!

    I took this particular photo because I was really scraped to bits all up my arms and through my gloves by these thorns. I thought there was a great proverb just waiting to be written about this, you know, how the sweetest rewards come only through getting hurt along the way, but I can't think of how to say it all posh, I'm not that clever but the lesson stands..... :)

    We lifted the last of the early potatoes as well and cut the artichoke heads off - a nice wee gift for Mamma G, I hate them and she loves them = good swap for a homebaked wheaten, yummmmmmm.

    We also got the 1st of our peas - look how carefully they were carried by Andrew - we love fresh peas.

    Funny though, so does someone else and the smell of them was driving her crazy - leave alone with them for a minute in the back seat (our own stupid fault) and this was the result. Oh she knew she had been bold, hahahaha.
    One of the most beautiful things on the allotment (in my humble opinion) are tendrels on pea plants, I just love them.