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






11 thoughts on “The Games Children Play.

    • This is true, Elaine, and I know that if I ‘just pop up the garden’ for something,
      like closing the greenhouse doors, I’ll be up there for an hour because I’ll see other stuff that needs doing. The new book? Well, I think after the last one, The Sleeping Field, that was quite dark and tense in places the new one might be a straight forward romance…but with a few dark bits. I can’t do the mushy kind! Hope everything in your garden is producing well? x


  1. I must admit I do love harvesting the results, and especially turning the produce into something that can be enjoyed through the cold, dark winter months. I’ve been out this afternoon and stocked up with spiced vinegar ready for the chutney making! xx


  2. I enjoy watching the children in the garden; your grandkiddies are a perfect age for discovering ‘precious’ items! Mine have moved on from worms to newts … still slimy but quicker 😉 Lovely to eat your garden produce isn’t it – I remember scavenging strawberries from the garden as a child. Not the same when they’ve been washed of course! How’s the chutney coming along? 🙂 xx


    • Chutney! Yeah great. I’ve picked most of the larger courgettes and ”chutneyed” them along with a concoction of green beans, onions, apples, garlic, ginger, dates and sultanas. Had to wear a wet teatowel strapped around the nose though to keep out the migraine-inducing vinegar smell. It made 9 Kilner type jars. Now I’m waiting for the tomatoes to ripen and then I’ll make another batch. I don’t really eat it, but it’s nice to make and glance at occasionally, knowing that I still have summer in a jar – or jars. Hope that cat is behaving? x


      • Wow! You have been busy! ‘Summer in a jar’ I like that – how very apt 🙂 Hope the wet teatowel trick worked … and that you didn’t receive any unexpected visitors whilst you were wearing it. The chuffin cat never behaves … the day she does, I will be worried! Ha ha xx


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