The Games Children Play.

Hi All

I hadn’t realised how long it’s been since I posted something here and then a ‘friend’ enquired if I’d died? Well, no I’m still here.

The days flash past and I truly don’t know where the hours go to. Although, having said that, I do spend many, many hours in the garden at the moment.

The blackcurrants and gooseberries have come and gone and the strawberries are dwindling, but that might have something to do with little fingers plucking each and every one? Jake and Grace, (7 and 3 years) harvest the ripe fruits and eat them so fast that it’s a real struggle to make them wash them first. I know I should insist, but there is something about small children wandering through a garden wilderness, seeking and finding ripe berries and eating them immediately.

The red gooseberries didn’t last long either. They are (were) a particularly sweet variety and I have to admit to eating them by the dozen, straight from the bush. I couldn’t rescue any this year to turn into jam, because little fingers also found them, but I was luckier with the blackcurrants. I made a dozen jars of blackcurrant, apple, and ginger jam. Also, the rhubarb cropped heavily and is going like the clappers even now, so that was turned into rhubarb and ginger jam. You might be noticing a theme here? I seem to be adding ginger to everything these days.

I’m hoping that the apples, courgettes and tomatoes can get their acts together and be ready simultaneously as I’m now scouting for some interesting chutney recipes. I haven’t made any for a few years, mainly for two reasons. 1) The boiling vinegar gives me a migraine. 2) Richard eats half a jar at a time on chips and jacket potatoes and with no concern for the effort and time that has gone into producing the stuff.

So, there you go. I’m not dead – just busy with the garden. And I have to admit that I encourage Grace and Jake to ‘mess around’ out there, too. It pleases me to watch them play. To create things that only a child’s imagination might create. There are a hundred life-lessons to learn in a garden.

One of their favourite things is hunting for worms. This is something that I stand back and watch, even though cries of, ‘Grandma, come and look at this – it’s really big and this one is having babies!’ are constantly heard. I know my limitations, I’ve never been a great-picker-upper or lover of worms, but even so I insist that they find a pot from the potting shed and place a bed of soil in the bottom on which to place the worms, and then, when the harvesting is over they have to release the worms back into the damp, shady soil.

Jake’s passion is looking for treasure. This takes the form of stones. One time he will be looking for flint, another for smooth round stones. At the end of the session I find him a plastic cat pooh bag (unused by the way) and he takes them home, much to daddy’s displeasure. Daddy asks, ‘Do you really need to take those home? Haven’t we got enough of our own?’ Daddy doesn’t understand that these are not just any common or garden stone these are precious gems, discovered from underneath bushes and beneath soil. These stones could have lain with dinosaur bones. These stones had to be tracked with the compulsion and determination of Indiana Jones searching for The Holy Chalice!2014-06-02 08.38.31

Occasionally I have to answer questions like, ‘Grandma, why is that dragonfly on the back of that dragonfly?’ But we are quite grown-up about it all.

Other than the garden taking up my time, I have also started a fourth novel. So…busy, busy, busy.

I’ll be back in a day or two – this is really just me putting in a brief appearance to let certain people know that I’m alive and well – and looking in earnest for recipes that include ginger. If you have any be sure to let me know?

Take care my lovelies x

 

 

 

 

 

I Can Truthfully Relate to Barry Manilow…

You know that Barry Manilow song, I Made It Through The Rain? Well, that’s how I’m feeling right now.

The week before last was horrendous. OK, so no one died, but it was still horrendous. Two steps forwards and one step back. Nothing went right, and then, as the week came to an end I thought, right, draw a very thick line under it and look forwards to next week (last week). Then came the killer blow…Richard announced that he was on holiday the next week (last week). It was at this point that someone did almost die…me.

The thought of another week, attempting to sort out the backlog of things that were still wrong, with Richard floating around, almost polished me off. It was at this point that I had to give myself a strong talking to and convince myself that I could, and would, get through this.

First on the agenda, bright and early Monday morning, was a ride out to my brother’s house. This was not a social visit. This was so that he could figure out what I was doing wrong in my futile attempts to contact the USA tax office. Richard did, in fact, come in quite useful because he drove and all this stress had given me a headache.

My brother fiddled with my phone before shutting me in his office and telling me to stop buggering about and just get on with it. With no confidence whatsoever I dialled the number and waited for the same old drivel, “I’m sorry but we are unable to process your call.” When that message didn’t actually slam back at me and a voice informed me, “Thank you for your call…the waiting time is 3 minutes,” I almost fainted.

So, job done. I’m legal. No, I am. Thanks to my brother, who is brilliant. Not sure why I’m bulling him up? He never reads a word I write. Sometimes I wonder if anyone does, but that’s insecurity…isn’t it?

On Tuesday, I took a day off from everything. In the morning, I let Richard take me to Melton market. This is a cattle market that is run every Tuesday. It also sells rabbits, chickens, ducks, garden produce, fertilised eggs, etc. It was here that I fell in love with a little duckling. He/she was all alone in a cardboard box and when I peered in, he/she peered back, and its little peepers said, ‘Buy me. I won’t be any trouble. Look how pretty I am with this little pompom on the top of my head.’ This is the point at which you just know that I came home with the duckling? Well, you are wrong. I zipped up my heart and walked away. I bought a dress instead. Did I mention that there was a dress stall? This is the only dress I own and it was purchased purely for sitting out in the garden…because I do a lot of that, don’t I? No. Hardly ever. Too much weeding, watering, hoeing, digging, compost turning….I think you get the picture?

Richard disappeared on Wednesday. I don’t mean he vaporised. I’m not that lucky (joke).  He roared off on his bike to some air force thing and so I was left with time to myself… and the chance to sort out some of the backlog.

I have now almost caught up. One thing is outstanding. An eBook is being reformatted. I know nothing about this but a virtual friend, who has now become so much more, is sorting that out for me.

You know me now, and you know that I believe that something positive always comes from something negative and yet again I have proved myself right. Through this very trying, hair-ripping-out time, virtual friends have stepped in, and for absolutely no gain of their own, have spent endless hours creating, advising, and just plain supporting me, and I will be eternally grateful. So, to these friends I say a heartfelt thank you… and my offer of returned support does not have a sell-by date.

You know who are you and I only refrain from naming you because I know you are all so God-damn modest. Oh, and the other reason is, if I tell everyone who you are, and that you are the nicest, most wonderful guys (gals) on the planet, they will all be scurrying to your doors and you will no longer have the time to get me out of my constant pooh pile! See, I’m not as stupid as I may appear.

Richard has gone back to work today. Weirdly, I’m kinda missing him. I have no excuse now to bugger around doing nothing. Sooooo I’m going to crack on.

Take care my lovelies x

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Lastly…I can now announce with a triumphant fanfare that …..The Sleeping Field is now available in paperback! Again, produced by a dear friend and absolutely nothing to do with me.