Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Soil and clouds

From the dark cold earth to the misty white clouds, the last weekend in January saw the first of our visits to the Allotment and the first hike of the year. What a year we have planned as well! The allotment is going to get some serious loving and our wee legs are going to do some serious walking - my new camera was gifted to me at just the best of times.

With renewed vigour we intend to smash this year of 2018 into shape and make a heck of a lot of good memories while we're at it. Of course there shall be the usual mental health monsters to slay each day but we can do this together and I am not ashamed to fail (now and then). It's the year of learning self care, exploring new places and of the rebirth of our wee plot. The 10th year of plot holding; the 20th year of us being in love.

* That 1st visit *
the plot after 3 months of winter neglect - Carrie Gault
okay, it was very bleak but not too bad looking, right?
It wasn't as horrendous as we had feared - virtually no winter storm damage and the weeds had not succeeded in conquering every last inch of soil. Plus the shed was still there.

We had to plant our garlic and luckily the 'Andrew of November past' had thought ahead and left an area covered over in black membrane = gorgeous weed free soil to plant into.
garlic planting at the allotment - Carrie Gault
back to basics - remember to plant your cloves a good hand span apart and not too deep

I found signs of hope all around our little half plot and here are just three ...
- the glint in Toby's eye (plus he was very good and quiet)
- new buds on the apple trees
- gorgeous red blueberry buds

Toby the dog and some other buds - Carrie Gault

And I was able to harvest leeks too, we have loads that I had forgotten about.

* That 1st hike* 
Sunday started out so bad but there came a little moment in the afternoon where I just had to grab life by the shoulders and take control. I ran upstairs and got dressed; we left the house before I could even think about changing my mind. Off to Ballyboley Forest for a walk, in the rain. We literally drove up and up into the clouds and then walked inside them, it wasn't the most pleasant visit ever.
Ballyboley forest in a cloud - Carrie Gault
a very damp walk indeed and some shocking deforestation (forest service owns this area)
Ballyboley hike stats - Carrie Gault
Andrew has a cool app on his phone that records all our hikes :)

It wasn't a long walk by any means but it was a good start after the holidays and all the sickness and snot we'd suffered. I had not thought clearly in my rush and thus had jeans on which got soaked and left me freezing but other than that we all kept good pace and took photos as well. Toby was just running back and forth all over (he walks at least twice as far as we do) but always came back when called - good boy.

So very glad I managed to get this published before the end of the month - though you can ask Andrew, I have been cussing away at the photo app I have to us - I'm always wanting to be better at everything.

Got your potatoes yet? We got Sharp's Express again - what's you favourite???

Love and hugs

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Beach treasure and hallucinations

It wasn't a 'good' mental health day but Andrew managed to get myself and Toby out the door for a mini adventure on Saturday and in the end I was glad :) We went for a drive along the famous Causeway Coastal Route, I really wanted Toby to experience Maggie's favourite beach in Cushendun. Plus we just love the drive, any wonder it's TripAdvisor's highlight for 2018.

On the way we stopped off at Glenarm Castle tearooms. It was the first time I'd been since the extension and the addition of other small businesses. It's a beautiful place to celebrate my leaving the house and I had cake for lunch 🙂. Our food was delicious and we even had a second coffee each (personally I needed it to keep me going, boy I have been constantly exhausted these past weeks).

cake and window - Carrie Gault

I picked the cafe table and instantly got out my new wee camera to have a play around. With views of the kitchen garden right next to me, how could I not? What an idyllic scene and what a lot of gorgeous mulch they had! Tractors were needed - so jealous. I wished we could go out and really have a good poke around but it's not open until St. Patrick's day.

the kitchen garden at Glenarm Castle - Carrie Gault

Onwards to Cushendun and the lovely beach there. I think this is one of my all time favourite wee villages and I love it's beach; we see so many lovely people, friendly dogs and even horses on it. The village also has a resident goat that is usually tied up by the bridge beside a monument erected to all the poor animals that had to be put down due to the foot and mouth disease in 2002. Plus it has a wonderful very old pub - Mary McBrides.

Toby loved the beach, just as I hoped and it was beautifully clean as always, besides the seaweed from the recent big weather. He ran about all over the place and was a very good boy, until the very end when we were walking back to the car, at this point he ran up to a lady and bashed into her leg head first. He is a little crazy sometimes, hahaha.

Cushendun beach and some sea glass - Carrie Gault

We did find some little pieces of sea-glass that we see as treasure, it's always been a fun pursuit. Andrew also found a mysterious plastic animal...a giraffe or maybe a seahorse. We took it home anyway.

On the way home we had chips in the car, all of us - Toby loves a good chip.

As for the hallucinations, well how about these during this week.... Sheep in the street and grazing on the neighbours grass and this, a bumblebee in the back garden! A bumblebee in January and he had pollen on his legs which I can only assume came from the little box hedge flowers.

sheep on the run/ bumblebee - Carrie Gault

We are determined to at least look at the allotment in the flesh this weekend, no matter the weather!

My love and hugs

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Hope, Love and Computer gardening

Hello sweet reader; how are you? I fear don't ask enough or maybe ever and that has got to change. My wish is that you are all hopped up warm, maybe with a hot beverage and a loved one near by.

I am sitting here in my living room with my little dog and a decaff coffee (just in case you were wondering) and soaking wet hair - I just did the hardest thing - I just had a shower. When you have depression etc doing anything can literally be a battle and my mental health today is bad. And I mean BAD.


Look! - Daffodils are starting to emerge, to poke their brave little shoots up into the world and face the harsh realities of the cold and rain and snow. I think the snowdrops are doing the same but the deck of the tea house was slippy so I didn't risk it. ANYWAY - signs of hope are appearing, birds are singing ever so loudly and thoughts are turning away from the darkness and into the joys of planning, planting and pottering. Even with a blackness eating me up inside, I feel hope.


Last week Andrew and I celebrated 20 years of togetherness - something I never dared to hope for. He isn't fed up with little old me, he still loves me as I love him and both of us are looking forward to the next 20 years of adventures! (Light and dark by turn but always love.)

He made a book of photos from those last 20 years and it's adorable, I love it so much I can't describe it. We were meant to be Berlin but had to cancel as he was so ill with the cold but instead we had time in our pjs watching movies and napping; yes napping is one of our favourite things! And we stayed in Bullitt Belfast (a lovely hotel) and drank cocktails and had the best dinner ever and it was fab.

Shout out to Mamma G for looking after Toby!

It's still so very chilly and the weather is dreich and not looking up for the days ahead. So instead of being at the allotment (I wonder if I'll be able to find it - it's been so long, too long) we are looking at past photos, getting inspiration on Pinterest, thinking of what needs done, and even (I am embarrassed to say) playing Gardenscapes, hahaha. Gardenscapes is a silly game on Facebook where I am winning daft challenges to earn stars and then swap them for trades done to my huge garden - I'm on level 114 and it's looking fabulous, though no veg patch yet hahahaha.

Soon though we shall venture there to good old 24a with our garlic and our 'can do attitudes'. This my friend, is our 10th year as allotment holders and we plan to make it a good one :)

Love and Hugs

Thursday, 4 January 2018

A new dawn....

I had hopes. They weren't high, they maybe weren't based in reality, but still I had hopes. I have survived another Christmas and here we are in a new year, a brand new and sparkling 2018, first of it's kind.

my bullet journal header for Jan 2018 - Carrie Gault 2018
my hand drawn journal title :)
Already it's a mess; Andrew and I have feeling yucky with a flu-like cold. My mental health is at an all time low. Toby is bored out of his little mind and we're had to cancel our trip to Berlin next week. 😢

Yay isn't this a great start to a new year?

Truly we ought to mark our front door with a big X and keep all other people well away. Oh and it's 5 am; I've been up since 3 am....

.... Ever have a much needed sleep and felt worse for it? Andrew and Toby seem to have bought a one way ticket to Snoozeville but I'm awake and am jealous of them both, I got half an hour there.

Oh, my lovelies this maudlin attitude is not good but to be fair this is a blog of truth so maudlin I am.

I thought I'd share our Damson gin success (this is only 1 of 3 bottle fulls!) and a super wee book Andrew bought me - 'The Almanac' by Lia Leendertz (available in all awesome bookshops). Both are lovely and will last the whole year, haha.

Damson gin success and an Almanac- Carrie Gault 2018
delicious damson gin (a little goes a long way) and a great wee book

Goals for the year (aside from getting better) are -

* much more hiking (though a trip to the kitchen there almost broke me, haha) as we are going on another long multi day walk. We're doing The Hadrian's Wall Walk this summer.


* Allotmenting lots - yes, the hope is a lovely allotment year to also share. Less work - more produce is the key, ummm but how?

Now I return to my blankets and my book. I'm so tired (hence the eye mask) but can't sleep and there is a small dog here looking my attention.

Some essentials to get me through this cold- Carrie Gault 2018
A good book, tissues galore, blankets, eye mask and laptop

love and hugs
Carrie x