Thursday, 15 December 2011

My New Hobby or should I say Obsession is....


It must be nearly thirty years since I did any knitting worth speaking of, but I started knitting some party collars for my Doggy Dazzler customers to wear at Christmas and now I can't stop! The collars are on my website and my new Etsy shop, Lyncrafts.

So then I started to knit miniature clothes for the woolly celebrity Lurcher SOS dogs - yes, I lost the plot long ago! Myrtle and her brother, Merlin go on holiday with loopy people like me, to raise awareness and funds for Lurcher SOS.

After that, I thought it would be nice to make some human winter warmers, as it's turned rather chilly lately. My first need was for legwarmers, and I found luxurious, soft Alpaca wool in these heavenly colours. I love random wool.

I'm now hurrying to make presents for certain family members, which I can't put on here till after Christmas, for obvious reasons. Then, after Christmas, I want to start making nice things for my Etsy shop (see above).

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Christmas Cake - Yum!

The Christmas cake was made a week or two ago...

Unfortunately, it got a little dark around the edges! I have fed it today, but I'm worried about the burnt bits tasting bitter. I may cut the worst bits off, before I cover it.

I always make Nigel Slater's recipe, as it is the fruitiest, most delicious Chrissy cake I have ever eaten. I found it in a magazine some years ago, and not having been thrilled with any before, I instantly fell in love with this one. It is filled with all the yummy dried fruits you can ever want and whole almonds, and now I can't wait till Christmas! The only way I differ from Nigel's recipe, is that I soak the fruit overnight in the juice and brandy.

I'll make my own almond paste and royal icing, as always, then rough ice it in crunchy little peaks with robins and snowmen added for the children. My mum always did this and I like to carry on the snowscene tradition - plus I hate fondant icing and can't smooth ice to save my life!

Friday, 2 December 2011

A Doggy Christmas Story

Please read the story below - copied from Lurcher SOS.   If it makes one more person consider taking an older dog out of a rescue this winter, and giving him/her a nice warm forever home, the anonymous author will have done a great job.

Ollie - In the care of The Oldies Club
If only all wishes came true....

Toby knew what he wanted for Christmas. The same thing everyone here wanted. A ring!

Christmas was close, he could feel it. Ribbons were hung on the walls, and there were special treats with dinner. More people came by to visit, and everybody was in a good mood. Except Emmett. When Toby shared with Emmett his Christmas wish, Emmett just shook his head.

"Toby, you and I don't get rings," he said. "Look at us, a couple of losers who were given up on. It's the youngsters that get rings."

Toby looked at his reflection in his water dish. There was gray on his muzzle and along the tips of his ears. It was true he couldn't play fetch like he used to. And his legs hurt when he walked too much. But he could still race to the front door when he heard it swing open, wagging his tail like a pup, and go on a slow walk around the block, sniffing here and there. And how he loved to curl up at the foot of the bed, keeping watch during the night.

But those were the old days. Now he was here, with Emmett instead of with ...

"See, here we go again," Emmett said, as puppies up and down the long hallway yapped and barked, a sign that people had just arrived. Emmett stretched out on the concrete next to his water dish. "Wake me when it's over."

Toby peeked through the gate and saw a little boy and girl walking slowly his way. They stopped in front of almost every kennel, and sometimes they would kneel in front of one and laugh. Toby wished them closer, his tail wagging. He knew if they saw him, then maybe . . . just maybe . . .

"Don't get your hopes up," said Emmett, his eyes still closed. "You'll only be disappointed."

Toby looked down the hall. The woman in the blue shirt who brought food every day was opening one of the gates. A brown puppy bounded out and into the arms of the girl, who squealed with delight.
From her back pocket, the woman in the blue shirt brought out a ring, pale gray, just like all the rings. She slipped it over the puppy's head.

"Everyone wants cute and adorable," Emmett said as he heard the door close, knowing what surely had happened. "Years ago we were cute and adorable. No more."

But it was Christmastime, Toby thought. Things are different at Christmastime. There is happiness. There is cheer. There is hope.

Toby remembered when he had a home and a bed and a yard and a person who loved him. But one day people came and they were crying, and the next day he was here. Now all he wanted was a ring, again.

Emmett opened an eye when the barking started again but closed it as he stretched out. Toby pressed his muzzle to the gate and wished again.

"It's Christmastime," he said. "A season for miracles."

He saw the woman in the blue shirt, and she had by the elbow a man walking very slowly down the aisle. They were talking, but Toby couldn't hear them over the barking. They came closer. And closer. Almost, thought Toby. Almost. Toby squeezed his eyes shut. He wished harder than he had ever wished before.

"Hey, fella, what's your name?" Toby heard. He opened his eyes.

Toby noticed the man had gray around his muzzle and more gray around his ears. He was bent over slightly, and Toby noticed a cane holding the man up.

Toby wagged his tail and put his paw on the gate, and when he did, it opened.

The woman in the blue shirt reached behind her. There in her hand was a ring. Gray, like all the rest. But the man shook his head. Please, Toby wished. Please.

The man reached behind him and pulled out his own ring. It was red and had green and gold stones that glittered in the light. He slipped it over Toby's head. Toby was going home.

"C'mon, boy," the man said. "Cute and adorable, you are. Lots of life left in you, fella."

As Toby placed one paw outside the kennel, he stopped for just a little. Lowered his head for just a little. Glanced behind him for just a little. The man looked at Emmett, and Emmett looked at the man.

"That one, too, if it's OK," the man said. "Looks like a set I'd hate to break up. My home may be a bit small, but my heart is big enough." The woman in the blue shirt took the ring and slipped it over Emmett's head.

And that's when Toby knew Christmas miracles do happen.

Emmett wagged his tail and spun in a circle and barked. Just as if he were a puppy.


Copied from

Monday, 10 October 2011

T is for Trip Planning

As the cold, damp gloom takes over, I begin to plan next year's holidays. It is a lifelong habit, which I began when I was a child, looking through brochures with my mum. Those were the black and white booklets put together by seaside resort councils in the 60's, like Ilfracombe in Devon and the Isle of Wight. We would spend hours poring over it, looking for the perfect 'private hotel', ie. small hotel. In memory of those times, when I saw an old Ilfracombe brochure in a charity shop, I bought it and it could be the one, who knows. But anyway, the Cavendish Hotel is in it, advertising the dancing, among other things redolent of that era. My sister Jenny and I will never forget the laughs we had attempting ballroom dancing to the music of three very aged ladies, who looked as if they'd climbed out of the grave! We had so much fun.

I have always loved holidays, who doesn't, but it is more of an obsession with me! Once I had my own children, the brochures changed to coloured glossies of places abroad, Spain, then Greece and again we had loads of fun planning and then going on family holidays with their dad, Brian.

Since I met George we have always planned our own holidays on the internet, until this year,  when we happened to find the perfect house in the perfect place with free car hire, so we booked through an online travel agent. it was indeed perfect in every aspect.

And now we are thinking of next year's holidays, and we want to take Ruby with us, so we are planning to go to France, probably staying in gites in Normandy and Brittany. The basic plan is to drive down, take the Shuttle, so Ruby doesn't have to be left in the car on her own and I don't get seasick, then drive to somewhere in Normandy. We hope to spend a week there, then go on to Brittany for a further week. I have a very longheld wish to go to Giverny, to see Monet's waterlilies in the flesh, so to speak, as I fell in love with them and the garden years ago in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. I'm just not sure it's possible with a Greyhound!
I get really nerdy every year, saving accommodation, images of places to visit and articles in folders, but I have to say, we always love every minute of  our trip. It's so exciting and it doesn't half help me (as I'm a dreadful pessimist) to look forward to something positive. Roll on the summer and a happy, doggy holiday!!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

S is for Scrumpy!

I adore scrumpy and traditional cloudy cider, but it’s not that easy to find Oop North, so I often have to make do with bottled fizzy ciders, which aren’t the same. However, yesterday I found a lady on Freecycle offering loads of cooking apples, so following on from our embryonic wine-making career, I asked George if he thought we could make some cider. I phoned the brewshop and found we could hire a fruit press, so I asked the lady for some of her apples, we collected them and we were off!
We got four carrier bags of apples, and I started washing and cutting them, while George manned the scary drill/chopper bucket and the fruit press.

We’ve got half the juice pressed, and will do the rest tomorrow morning. The apple juice is divine though not the usual colour, and a lovely accompaniment to dinner. Now I can’t wait to try our Derbyshire Scrumpy, though the apples are from over the Stockport border. Thankyou so much, Lorraine, for your generosity. If it turns out ok, we’ll bring you a bottle! I do love Freecycle, especially when it gives us free food.
And another food freebie - George has found watercress growing locally, so I made a panful of watercress soup - a drizzle of cream on the top, and we had a perfect starter, plus two packs in the freezer.
                                                           Goyt Valley Watercress Soup

Saturday, 17 September 2011

R is for Ruby....

...our Greyhound, who we adopted from Tia Greyhound and Lurcher Rescue in Yorkshire, three years ago, as we had a dog-sized hole in our lives. She was about five years old and had been taken to the rescue when her owner had gone into hospital, arriving with her mum and four sisters. We asked for a quiet, gentle dog who would be good with our grandchildren and not pull on the lead, and as we walked her up the lane, we knew she was the one for us. Many Greyhounds have had rubbish lives before they end up in a rescue, and it is so rewarding to give them a chance to enjoy life. We don't know a lot about Ruby's previous life, except that she lived in a concrete kennel and may have been run on the un-registered flapping tracks, but we took her home and she settled in as if she had always lived with us. 
Ruby - The first day, looking a little unsure of herself
Many people think Greyhounds and Lurchers are too big, or will need too much exercise, but they are happy with two normal half hour walks a day, and if they can be let off to run in a big garden or secure field sometimes, that is even better. It is a wonderful sight to see a Greyhound running at full speed.
Ruby running on the beach
They will then flop in their bed or on a sofa for hours, and can squeeze up to make space if you need them to. They are usually sweet, funny and gentle dogs and they really love people. If Ruby passes a door as it is opened, she will always try to go in, as she just wants a bit of a stroke - and maybe a dog treat, if it's one of her 'special friends'. These dogs are such lovely pets. They are well worth adopting, and wherever you live, there will be a Greyhound and Lurcher shelter near you. We have just raised money at our garage sale for Lurcher SOS, a shelter based in the south east, which re-homes dogs across the country.
Ruby doing what she does best!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Q is for Queen

Sorry if this is controversial, but Q is for Queen, because yes, I really like her!
 This may seem odd to some people, but I have a lot of respect for the Queen and some of the royal family, especially Princess Anne and the two princes, William and Harry, and I did love the royal wedding. The Queen and her OH, even if he is bolshy, have always worked like trojans and there is no doubt that they bring loads of visitors to Britain. I think we should keep the status quo, with the monarch as a figurehead, as it does us no harm and the pomp and circumstance occasions are watched with envy, particularly from America (and lots of us like them too). However, I'm really not keen on Charles being king! Nuff said and please don't get angry!!

Being the age I am, I also rather like the music of another Queen, especially the twiddly guitar stuff of Brian May, though I never appreciated it until the last few years!
I can't believe I just put this on my blog!!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

P & O - No, nothing to do with Cruising!

I'm doing O & P backwards, as P has caused O!

P is for Polly & Abbie's Garage Sale, as mentioned on earlier posts. The fundraising sale took place on Saturday, after frenzied activity in the kitchen, making preserves and baking cakes and dog treats. The Lurcher SOS sponsor woolly lurcher, Myrtle was on hand to open the sale and promote the jams.
After all the weathermen's threats of heavy rain and cold, we had a wonderful day, chatting to lots of lovely neighbours and local people.
We sold and sold to our hearts' content, until every single pot of jam and chutney, including raiding the pantry for jars we'd stashed away for ourselves, every single cake or piece thereof and nearly every dog treat was gone. Yet still more people came to buy, who were disappointed to find the edibles gone, so we took orders for more jam and scones to be made in the next week or so. Ruby spent most of  the time lying in her bed and being made a fuss of, but it was obviously much too tiring for a princess Greyhound!
The total raised on the day was an amazing £270, which stunned us both, and with the extra things we still have to make, it should eventually total around £300. Thankyou so much, New Mills people, you are all fantastic and very generous, and hopefully we can do something similar again next year, because we loved the social side of it. I know the money will help Polly and Abbie to get well and find loving homes very soon.

O is for Ouch! and Osteoarthritis, as I am now reaping the rewards of running up and down our front steps for cake and dog treats! My knee has swollen up in a big hard lump, so it's off to the doctor tomorrow, and I will have to rest for a while and hope this darned damp weather changes! I do hate the effects of ageing, but then, who doesn't!!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

N is for Nice House in France!

Well, actually, amazing house with everything we would love, in Brittany. I can't believe it, but I opened my groomers' magazine and saw this beautiful house staring back at me, with a working grooming salon, a huge barn, various outhouses, 7 acres of land and a gite! I looked for it on Google, thinking it would be gone, but no, there it was looking fabulous and still for sale, at about the same price as our house would go for - but with so much more. It is horrendous, as I keep looking at it, and thinking how perfect it would be for us, but there is no way we could go now, mainly because of family, but also because of the price added to the cost of moving, plus we have just got new businesses. The businesses are the least concern, as we could move them anywhere really, but the other two factors are the deal-breakers. If anything makes me want to scream long and loud, this is it!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Delicious Damsons

We have already made damson and orange jam and damson chutney, and I thought that would be it for this year. However, a really nice, anonymous person left loads of the truly scrumptious little fruits in the playground near us, with carrier bags and a note, inviting people to help themselves. George saw them when taking Ruby for a walk and brought some home.

I felt, never having made it before, and with a sister living near the damson-growing area of Cumbria, where this dish is a speciality, that I had to make a Damson Cobbler, so put the words into Google and up popped pages of links. The one that caught my eye belonged to Rick Stein, who George and I love, so that had to be the one! It is from his Food Heroes book, and is very easy to make. One note for anyone who wants to make it - if you can't buy buttermilk, or don't want to buy a larger quantity than you need, use the same amount of natural yogurt - it works brilliantly.
As for the finished dish - WOW!!!! It is the most delicious, tastebud-tingling pud I can ever remember eating, and the crunchiness of the almond-topped 'scones' is lovely. It is also very pretty, with the deep crimson juice bubbling through the topping. Now I need more damsons - in fact I may have to get a tree!

And a big thank you to the generous soul who left the damsons in Hague Bar playground.

Monday, 5 September 2011

M is for Motherhood

I have loved being a mother from the first milli-second, adoring my two babies, then as they grew, toddlers, little girls, teenagers and now grown women, leading their own lives. They know I will always be here for them, just as my mum was for me, though there was a hiccup when I hit forty and lost the plot for a while, and I hope they have forgiven me for that. My mum would always be there when I got home from school, and would help with homework when necessary, especially English and French, which she loved. I have inherited my love of flower gardening and baking from my mum, as well as my love of language.

M for Motherhood came to me tonight, as my elder daughter Emma is due to send her little boy, Oliver to school tomorrow, so she is going through the bittersweet emotions of letting go of the youngest, seeing him grow up and wondering and waiting until it's time to go and collect him again. She, like us, has recently got chickens, and Emma is going to feel like the proverbial broody hen, wanting to protect her babies and keep them under her wing, yet having the courage to let them fly. We'll be thinking of you tomorrow, Emma, and you know where we are if you need a shoulder and a hug.
Oh boy, it seems like five minutes ago!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

George's Homemade Wine

Today we opened the first bottle of George's homemade wine and it's really nice! We got some demijohns from Freegle in order to make some fruit wines, but when we went to the brew shop for the rest of the stuff we needed, we were persuaded to try a wine kit. The idea was that as we wanted to make elderberry wine, and they wouldn't be ready for a few weeks, we could do the kit wine while we waited, as it's so quick. So we got a Pinot Grigio kit and tonight we had it with our dinner. It looks and tastes good, and works out at about £2 a bottle - can't beat that this side of the English Channel. So here it is, and next I think we'll be trying a nice little Rioja!

And it just happens that all but one of the bottles has a Pinot Grigio label on!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Chucks, Eggs and Freegle Jam

Dottie and Flo, our chucks, are so content, free-ranging in the garden most of the day, and today they found a patch of dry soil where George had removed an Acer, and hey presto - instant dustbath! They spent ages rolling about in it, and half the time Dottie was rolling over the top of Flo, but she didn't seem to mind. They also found a new edible treat - fresh corn on the cob, and they absolutely loved it.
I love the Freegle/ Freecycle ethos, and since we joined the local groups, we have offered and received several very different items. This week I saw a listing offering as many plums as you want to pick, so emails were swapped, and off George went to pick plums. I weighed them when he came back, and we had about 7kgs!! Thank you so much, Collette, we have given some to my daughter Emma for jamming, made eleven jars of jam ourselves for the garage sale, and still have plenty left for freezing as crumble/pie filling for the winter.
I have also gorged on them, as they are one of my favourite fruits, and my baby plum tree, which Emma bought for my birthday last year, sadly died in the spring, covered in little fruitlets. The tiny fruits hanging on the dead branches somehow made it seem worse - all that promise to never be fulfilled.  

The ex-bats have been laying eggs since the day after we got them home - well, three of them have, and I bought a fab Egg Skelter to display their lovely eggs. Love it!
We decided to call the four ex-bats after George's and my grandmothers, as we think old-fashioned names suit chickens. So they are Beatrice the baldy one, Doris the most feathered one, Harriet, the pecked one, and Mabel the palest one.

We have had to separate Harriet, as she was being pecked by all three of the others and was bleeding, so she is in a rabbit house we borrowed from Emma, which now opens into a dog crate - her run. She is so nervous, but is getting better day by day. Understandably, she isn't laying, as I think she uses all her energy to cope with the stress of her new life, but she isn't running into her house as much as she did at the start. She is sited between the Eglu run and the coop, so she can see and get used to all the other chickens. As Dottie and Flo are free a lot of the time, Harriet has face to face encounters with them many times a day, and she and Flo have started facing up to each other through the wire mesh and jumping in the air, presumably beginning to sort out the pecking order.

Monday, 29 August 2011

K is for Kefalonia, L is for Lurcher SOS

I am now so far behind with the Alphabet in August, as I found it too much to have to do every day, so it will become Alphabet in Autumn in September. Hopefully I'll get to the end before the winter!

K is for Kefalonia, where we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary, several weeks ago. We met not on, but because of a Greek island, Symi and got engaged there. We wanted to stick with the Greek theme, but decided on Kefalonia, as we thought it would be perfect.
It was, and we had the most wonderful time staying in the gorgeous little fishing village of Assos, eating the best local food in the Platanos restaurant. I don't think I've ever had so much outstanding food - every meal there was consistently amazing.
Wandering down the peaceful little lane from the Architect's House that was our base, the short walk to the picture perfect little harbour was lovely, and the jaw-dropping views from the top of the coast road will never be forgotten. Our only neighbours were the goats and sheep that were brought down to the olive grove opposite our house, in the evenings.

L is for Lurcher SOS, in their words, "A Surrey based Lurcher and Greyhound Rescue, primarily covering  Southern England. We have a network of supporters, fundraisers and fosterers in Kent, Hampshire, Sussex and the Home Counties, but we have homed our dogs throughout England and Wales. As well as being a Lurcher and Greyhound Rescue, we also rescue Whippets and other Sighthounds.  We are all volunteers and our mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and home abused, abandoned and neglected Lurchers and Greyhounds and other Sighthounds from both the UK and Ireland."
Missy, a sweet whippet lurcher in foster at LSOS
Lurcher SOS has the friendliest forum I have ever found, and I feel I have many wonderful friends there, even though I live a couple of hundred miles away in Derbyshire and have only met one or two. We are having our garage sale on the 10th September for LSOS, to raise money for two lurchers who have needed and will still need expensive treatment in order to find them a lovely home.
Polly, a lovely girl waiting for a new home.
Sighthounds make the loveliest pets, and contrary to most people's beliefs, they do not need to walk for miles, so if you have a dog-shaped hole in your life, why not give a home to a Lurcher SOS dog. Or if you are reading this from somewhere near New Mills in Derbyshire, where we live, come to our Garage Sale on the 10th September. We will have lots of homemade treats for humans and dogs, as well as the usual bric-a-brac.
Blackberry and Apple Jam, one of eight types of homemade preserves at the Garage Sale.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

The Ginger Ninjas are Here!

They may not look much like ninjas at the moment, but our three ex-battery hens were rescued from their horrid cages by Adele of the British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT) and her helpers this morning, and what an amazing job they do, in difficult and upsetting circumstances. We collected them this afternoon, and have actually got four, as I presume they had some people not turn up, and we said we'd have a couple of the ones in poorer condition. They are all in the Eglu, which isn't meant for four, but they just need to settle in a small space, as that is what they are used to, then we will move them into the coop. We had moved our Pedigree Chums, Dottie and Flo into the coop last week, and they have settled happily in it. They now free-range as much as possible.

This is the ex-bat that looks the worst, poor thing, with very few feathers....
...and this one looks the best.
The other two are somewhere in between, and over the next few days we will watch them and check for any major pecking at each other, and any health problems.
Amazingly, within ten minutes of being put in the run, two of them were lying with their wings out, sunbathing.
It is amazing to watch how soon they start to do real chicken things, although they have never had the opportunity to do them before. Another was eating grass within twenty minutes, and when we let Dottie and Flo out to free range, they were so interested in each other, especially Flo and one particular chicken.
I can't wait to see the difference in these girls in a few months time, when they have grown some feathers and started to live life. It is so rewarding to give ex-bats a second chance, they will repay your love and care with eggs and endless hours of entertainment, so if you are thinking of having chickens in the future, please consider a few Ginger Ninjas!

Friday, 19 August 2011

George's Harvest

We don't have a large veggie plot, and this year, with us being away at the wrong time, and then the weather and multiple pests attacking our plants, some of George's veggies haven't done so well, or in some cases even survived. However, today was a good day, and he has harvested Desiree and International Kidney potatoes, the last few broad beans, the first runner beans, onions, garlic and a pile of rhubarb. I adore broad beans with gammon, new potatoes and parsley sauce - gorgeous!
George's Veggies
The rhubarb is going to be turned into rhubarb and ginger jam, and most of the year's runner beans will be frozen. We're still eating last years, and I do love them. The garlic and onions will flavour most of our savoury dishes throughout the year, or at least till they're used up.

Our grandchildren usually come on a Friday, and today Lottie made a tiara - she's such a princess girl! Oliver, aged 4, was pretending to cook plastic veggies and said he was a chef, so if Lottie had a tiara, he could have a chef-arara! He was thrilled when Lottie and Grandpa made him a chef's hat to go home in.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

I is for Islands, J is for Jam

I is for Islands, because I seem to be drawn to them. I once read that we Brits love the sea because we live on an island, and I think that makes sense. I have always loved the sea and still want to live near it, but I also love hills and dales, rivers, lakes and rolling fields. When I have planned holidays, I find myself going to islands far more than mainland places, as they seem to offer the perfect holiday - a microcosm of wondrousness in a neat parcel. We find that we can drive between the coast, mountains or hills, the main town, small villages and peaceful countryside in a day, and we love the variety. Mallorca is one of our favourites. We stay up in the mountains in Soller, and each day drive to somewhere completely different and amazing.
Beautiful Cuber Lake, Mallorca
We also love the Greek Islands, and nearer to home, the Isle of Wight and Anglesey. We honeymooned on Zanzibar, the island I had longed to visit, since reading a book as a teenager that was set there.
Compton Bay, Isle of Wight
I have a list of islands I still want to visit - Sicily, Corsica, Jersey and Guernsey, more Greek islands, Madeira etc etc.

J is for Jam, because George and I love making and eating it. So far this year, we have made raspberry, apricot and redcurrant, damson and orange from Nic at Nip it in the Bud's recipe, wild greengage and yesterday, lemon and lime marmalade. We can never wait to try it, and this morning we woke our tastebuds up with the marmalade - WOW! I can't imagine buying jam now- it's just not the same, and as George and I love tangy flavours, we always put a bit less sugar than the recipe states, so shop jam is just too sweet.
Lemon & Lime Marmalade
Jams in the pipeline are rhubarb and ginger, blackberry and apple and possibly strawberry. Some of each batch is earmarked for the Polly and Abbie Garage Sale for Lurcher SOS, as well as loads of yummy homemade dog treats.
Beefy Bears 'n' Bones

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

G is for George and H is for Home

G is mostly for my lovely husband, George. We celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary a few weeks ago, having met on the cusp of the new millenium. He is my rock and my soulmate, and is always willing to help me, even in my grooming business. He created and maintains my beautiful, exactly-as-I-want-it Doggy Dazzlers website, I.T. being his lifelong profession, till now. He still designs websites, but is starting a new business, Diamond Sharp, sharpening scissors, knives, clipper blades etc.
Husband Extraordinaire!
H is for Home and I love the place we live in presently, and especially being in the garden with George. Our spare time is usually spent outdoors, gardening or walking with Ruby.
Our House
The High Peak, where we live is semi-rural and has lovely walks by the Rivers Goyt and Sett, and the Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals. We have the Peak District within a short drive, and the area just feels safe and nice to live in.
Marple - Aqueduct over River Goyt

The River Goyt near our home

Monday, 15 August 2011

E is for Emma, F is for Flowers

E is for my elder daughter, Emma, the mother of my two gorgeous grandchildren and wife of Tom. Emma is trying to get her first novel published, whilst writing her second and being a full-time mum. She, like us has just got chickens, one of which, a Faverolle is so tame, she is already jumping on knees for a cuddle - after only a few days. I'm so jealous - I only need to walk near the eglu and my two run the other way!

I see Emma and the children lots, as she lives nearby, and we have a weekly coffee, cakes and shopping day.
F is for flowers, which I try to fill my garden with, in as many colours and shapes as possible. At the moment the Monardas and Heleniums are going for broke, and I have to admit to not having the time recently to deadhead them. I normally love deadheading to an obsessive degree, but having been ill for a couple of weeks, they have all been left to their own devices. 
Echinacea purpurea & Monarda Cambridge Scarlet
Helenium Wyndley
They still look lovely when photographed in groups, but the whole bed is looking very dishevelled! I had no idea the Monardas were going to be quite so tall, and in a raised bed, they are towering above us. We'll have to do a lot of plant re-location in the autumn, as there are shorter plants at the back, including a gorgeous Gaillardia we can't see!