Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Five Eating Out to Help Out


Thanks for popping in.

My Fives are at sixes and sevens these last couple of weeks, I hope you'll forgive me!  I feel that you can't be relishing yet another blade of grass or wildflower from my walks, although personally they are a wonder for me, so I've been waiting for something else to happen that I can share with you and it's been a little while!

There's cake involved in the next few photos which is always good for me.  We've ventured out a little further recently and have tried to help out the local cafes whilst charging the car battery to keep it running.

First, the Wellington Farm Shop has had quite a lot of building work done since my last visit, offering lots of space in these social distanced times, it's barely recognisable.  The Dorset apple cake was delicious.  The shop was well stocked.  Outside needs finishing off and I was a little disappointed that the farm animals weren't there but maybe that's to do with Covid-19.

Secondly, a first trip to Bracknell for access to those shops that have items not sold locally, the list has been growing until now seemed a good time to venture over there.  The Eat Out to Help Out scheme had started so a cheaper chocolate chip muffin and coffee was a pleasant change.  Building work progresses,  most shops were still open, a couple had permanently closed.

Thirdly, it's not all cake, you know, there's tomatoes from the garden too.  Still loads more ripening.

Fourthly, a routine trip to the dentist was fine.  No waiting in the waiting room, I was led straight from the outside, wearing my mask, to the Dentist.  I did take the mask off at that point, as it would have been quite a palaver otherwise!

Finally, the Eucomis look rather alien at the moment as they almost chat to each other at the top of the steps.


Thursday, 30 July 2020

Iron Age Wanderings


Thanks for visiting.

You may remember my regular visits to South Hill Park in the past, that delightful park by the shops with its Art Centre, sadly though, it's struggling to keep going because of coronavirus, like so many other arts venues.  It needs to raise £500,000 to be saved from closure and so far they have about £60,000.  We thought we'd walk over and have a cup of tea to boost their coffers.  Our walk ended up being 22,000 steps, so if you are up for it, do come along and see what we find on the way.

Passing the clump of common toadflax we're off along the footpath near the meadow.

A large fallen tree gives a menacing silhouette.

Past the lily-covered lake, full of fish for the local angling club.

Purple heather is looking spectacular at the moment.

Scarlet rowan berries look so juicy.

We've now reached Swinley Forest part of the Crown Estate.

It can be a bit confusing finding the footpath you need but today we're heading towards Ceasar's Camp which is mentioned on the signpost.  This is a perfect area for wildlife, cyclists and walkers and it was great to see people making the most of the space.  It feels like a large Center Parcs area!

Loads of wildflowers line the paths complete with bees and butterflies bobbing about.

Ceasar's Camp itself is the remains of an Iron Age Hillfort. It covers 17.2 acres, surrounded by a mile long ditch, which was dug entirely by hand using only basic tools.  It was a defensive place which could have been used as a market place or political or religeous centre.  You can see the oakleaf shape of the hillfort on the noticeboard below.

Walking on the main path over the mound, you can imagine what life must have been like in those days, maybe it might have had a number of timber houses.  Nowadays the heather-filled forest is a picture.

As we approach the main road, we can see down into the ditch quite a long way down.

Crossing the dangerous road, another path skirts the housing estate and a little while later turning left past the houses, we reach South Hill Park.  Hooray!  How lovely it is to see you again!  There aren't any plants in the Italian Garden this year though.

There are lots of Canada and Egyptian geese but no swans.

If you were anticipating a well earned cuppa after walking so many miles, you would have been disappointed as the cafe was closed. Bother.  Luckily, just around the corner is a corner shop with sandwiches and drinks perfect for a picnic back at Ceasar's Camp.

There were loads of pesky butterflies that kept their wings firmly closed even when they landed on your bag and skirt.  I think they were Graylings.

Gatekeepers were a bit more co-operative. 

Legs are probably beginning to ache now but luckily it's all down hill.  

Artists had been out with the spray cans in the underpass.

Home again.  Phew!  What a lovely day.


Wednesday, 29 July 2020



Thanks for visiting.

Here's my new rather whacky cardigan made by using up the wool left over from my blanket.  There was quite a bit left over although I bought two extra balls of the Stylecraft Cream Aran wool to make the sleeves.  It's very cosy and will be nice and bright and cheerful around the house when it gets chilly.

I found the free pattern on the internet, as you do, but had intended to make it for my 2 year old granddaughter originally.  I thought Age 3 would be a good size to pick for her to grow into it but as I crocheted, I thought it was getting rather large and then realised it was actually my size!!  Don't laugh!!  It must have been the Aran wool that did it.😃  Anyway, it's turned out quite well although I'm probably better off making blankets from now on.


Monday, 27 July 2020

Garden Results


Thanks for popping in.

The weather has been quite mixed this weekend - quite cloudy, some sun, some rain and a little windy.  The garden doesn't mind though, it's growing gracefully in it's own let's-get-on-with-it way.

We've had a few experiments on the go this year, mainly in the tomato department.  First there are the usual home collected seeds dried last year versus fresh seed from supermarket tomatoes bought just before planting.  Then Mr CK has made his sliced bread plastic bag growbags and finally we are trying a new variety - Piccolo.

We also planted quite a few flower seeds during Lockdown which have come up trumps.  I've mentioned the cornflowers and nasturtiums before but the Livingstone daisies keep throwing out other colours in the sun and close up in the cloud.  I can't resist taking more and more photos!

Snapdragons too look beautiful. We'll have to wait till next year for the sweet william however. 

We also planted some of the sunflower seeds from the bird seed, no flowers yet.

Back to the tomatoes though.  Our normal home grown tomatoes in commercial growbags and plant pots have all grown well, reaching to the top of our living room windows, bearing lots of trusses full of ripening tomatoes.  

Those grown in the bread bag growbags have also done well as you can see in the photos below, as have the plants from the freshly harvested seed, shown in the pot with the stone in the second photo.  

All in all, if  you had enough decent compost, you could get good results using the smaller amount of compost needed in the bread bag growbags without having the expense of buying a commercial growbag. 

The jury is out on the flavour of the Piccolos until there are more ready for a taste test!

an unexpected poppy

the hydrangea flowers are huuuge

pineapple lilies looking just like pineapples!

rainy alchemilla mollis

comma butterfly

Butterflies and bees continue to visit, the latter enjoying creeping into the bread bag growbags, either for the moisture or the minerals in the soil.

Happy gardening.