Sunday, 16 February 2020


Hello All
Hope you in the UK are keeping safe and as dry as possible.
Another wild and windy night here with torrential rain falling on already sodden fields.  Folk down river from us have had water lapping at their back door.  Our land goes away from us and down to the river so our house is always safe.
I do wonder when we will get the veg gardens ready, every time we get some time outside it rains again and we cant walk on the soil. However, this is our way of life and not our living and I wonder how farmers are doing getting vital crops in, or indeed not having them washed away.
Mind you, I have been busy in the greenhouse starting seeds off in trays and propagators, so there are always reasons to feel hopeful here.

I had quite a few different subjects to discuss today but am going to go off piste to make a point about the possible outcomes from the sad suicide of Caroline Flack.  Too much to write here to explain, so if you don't know who she is and what has been happening please have a Google.

There are many facets to this story and who knows what might come to light over the next few days. I see that the CPS are coming in for much of the blame.  The CPS have been pursuing the case despite both Caroline and her partner saying they did not want it pursued. It is thought that this has contributed to Caroline's distress and I am sure that this is so.
 However, I have some experience of working with cases of domestic violence and know that the CPS pursuing cases against abusers has SAVED many lives. It is extremely common for victims of domestic violence to withdraw their complaints against their abusive partners. This can happen time and again, with abuse escalating and often leading to the victim being killed. My concern is that the CPS will be put under pressure not to pursue cases where victims are vulnerable to continued abuse. I understand that Caroline hit her partner  with a heavy object while he slept, which could have killed him I suppose, which is actually a serious offence as she was neither defending herself nor in fear of her own life. I suspect this poor woman has fragile mental health, which led to this offence of assault.

Away for a couple of months and here I am back again , sticking my head above the parapet, with a post that is in no way cosy nor frugal!

Back soon

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Winter stores

Hello All
 I took few pictures this summer but here is one I just had to take. This is one Turks Turban squash plant. It rambled and rambled over the peas and along the broad beans and I eventually had to stop it before it pulled the beans down.  There were twelve fruits on this plant all of which grew bigger than shown on this pic. The thing about Turks Turban is that is a winter squash and therefore a keeper.
Our potato crop wasn't good as usual this year, this is most of it, Sarpo Mira ,getting ready to dry before being put into paper sacks .

Once the potatoes are dry and the squash ripened they go into my vermin proof containers (old broody and rabbit hutches) in the barn. Here they join with the brilliant crop of onions ( Red Baron, Ailsa Craig, Centurion and Marco) shallots and apples.

Here is a picture I hope w ill make you smile. Baloo found the newly potted on catmint!!

And lastly, its that time of year again. David is back on Santa duty. He was too unwell to step up to the task last year, but this year he much better, though still on restricted duties. Here he is on "Birdswood", on the Cromford Canal at Cromford last Saturday and will be again this Saturday. He has done a stint at Chesterfield Fire Station and he then just has a private party (friends) and he can hang up his reds for another year,

All for now, two posts in one week,Whatever next  ?
Love Gill x

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Warning! Wedding Pictures

Hello All
This is a little picture heavy, but I thought some of you might like to see a picture or two of the surprise wedding of our eldest granddaughter at our family festival.
We now have HUNDREDS of pictures to choose from from those taken "officially" (until the wedding was announced he got rather funny looks as he was dressed in a suit like a photographer and everyone else was in shorts and tea shirts) to all those taken on phones by the guests. Consequently I had far too many to choose from.
I will sort of lead you through the day..
Here she is with my younger granddaughter on the far right, my goddaughter standing behind her and her  two dear friends. There was also a little bridesmaid age 2 and a bit , picture below .The bridesmaids dresses were just summer dresses that she bought from Top Shop(I think) we cut them down from long dresses which they thought were too restrictive and made a dress for the littly and bows for her two dogs, from the off-cuts

Here is their wedding cake. She and I made the cakes and my eldest daughters mother in law iced it to a design by our younger granddaughter. As you gather we are all Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fans and She and her husband have a yellow lab male and a bernese female

Here they are playing a modern version of Mr and Mrs. with questions set by the bridesmaids

As it was a nice day the youngsters made for the river once the "ceremony" was over

Several tug of wars

On to the 40 -a- side rounders

after the buffet tea (which stops open all night, being regularly replenished) It was time for the Country Dancing

As you see it is now going into the evening and by now the accordionist was rather "mellow"

So after a top up it is time for  Dancing and more drinking .The bar is in the goathouse

And then one last surprise .Ladies and Gentlemen. For one night only .. I give you "Nell and the Tena Ladies"!!!!
Oh my, how did I get talked into this?! on the right is my eldest daughter, next to her is her daughter, next to her is my youngest daughter (brides mother) and on the far left is moi

I hear you crying !ENOUGH!
I've now got that out of my system and promise to show you no more. Thank you for bearing with me.
All for now

Thursday, 21 November 2019

(nearly) Ready for Winter

Hello Hello Hello Remember me?!!
  Winter draws on (yes Sue!) and I am still processing stuff for the winter months. As usual I'm laying in for a siege and any disasters that might befall deepest Derbyshire and the world beyond.

Here is a short run down on where I am right now, produce-wise........
  The last of the potatoes, dug up a little early because with the persistent rain they were in danger of rotting in the ground, are now dried and in brown paper bags. These bags will go into the old empty rabbit hutches alongside the apples, winter squash, and onions. It's been a good year for onions and squash, a rubbish year for apples and a so-so year for potatoes These hutches are in the barn, where it is cold but not too icy and are rat proof. Each day I gloat over this booty like a miser, I'm such a sad old prepper! Almost daily either David or I will say. "If you've got a potato you've got a meal"  which, you can't really argue with (yes I know you could die of boredom before the hunger got you!)
  I have been cracking hazelnuts and putting them into jars ready for cooking or snacking. While the nuts looked a good size the kernals are really quite small, so the yield has been rather disappointing from two large feed bags of nuts. However, they are a good source of protein throughout the winter., so worth doing, a job for while watching the TV. The jars of nuts are now "under the stairs" with the jars of dried beans, jams, pickles and honey. I have chopped some up and preserved them in honey again this year. I chopped the nuts for this rather than keep them whole and they are rather good in biscuits or poured over yoghurt.

  I think I have saved enough vegetable seed for next year and should need to buy very little, which is a bonus as seeds are not cheap. I'm going to try quinoa and luffa again next year as they were a dismal failure this year. I will have to buy the seed for this.
  There is little in the garden now, just perpetual spinach, black and curly kale, red cabbage, Brussels and beetroot. I managed to get some spring cabbage plants in a couple of weeks ago, but haven't managed to get the garlic in which I normally plant on bonfire night.

The bees haven't had the best year. We have lost three of the smaller hives to wasps, of the remaining hives we only took honey from three, as the others just had enough for themselves. in total we took 110 pounds of honey. I salvaged quite a bit of wax from cappings and broken frames and have made a passable lip balm to give as presents and also some beeswax wraps with fabric from my stash.

The chickens have now given up laying, probably until new year, which means no eggs to sell, the bees are funding the chicken food at the moment from honey sales.

 As the nights draw in I can spend more time indoors and as I have nearly finished  processing I have got the sewing machine out. Last weekend I managed to finish the huge mending pile so I can start on the Christmas presents I have planned. I am including as much plastic-free and sustainable stuff as possible. This has been a mantra of mine for many years (along with climate change) and it is great not to be seen as a weirdo any longer!
Enough for now methinks.
I will be back
Thanks for hanging around
love Gillx

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

The Family Festival and a surprise wedding

Hello All
Our Festival is now over. The day was sunny and warm and nearly 300 people were collected in our field. We had decided to "go for gold" this year as David was with us for another Festival, which we weren't sure he would be around for only a few months ago.
 Our eldest Granddaughter had become engaged to a lovely young man  (H) who we all really like.
EGD was born here and she met her fiance here four years ago at the Festival when he attended with our Godson, For two years they lived here while they saved for a deposit on a house, which they are now ell settled into So this place and the Festival are important to this young couple. We looked into the possibility of them being married here, but this wasn't possible because a) we had to agree to offer the venue for other weddings and b) it would cost us £3,000 for the pleasure. So A non-starter there. EGD and H, who wanted to surprise  the guests hatched a plan to compromise and snook off to get married at the local register office on  the Friday morning before the Festival with just two friends as witnesses and surprised everyone with a blessing and wedding party on the Saturday.
For a couple of months before there was much activity, buying /making dresses and outfits for the bride and groom and their groomsmen and bridesmaids. We, as (very) close family, were in on the secret so decided we would wear our usual shorts casual clothes as that we usually wear, firstly so that no one suspected (surprisingly, I have never worn a fascinator to the festival!) and secondly so that the guests didn't feel underdressed when they found out!
What a glorious day it turned out to be !
After most people had gathered and waiting for the children's races to start. EGD's mum, my younger daughter, called everybody up the the main tent, asking them to bring their chairs. All gathered around a semi-circle of straw bales and she announced that EGD  and H were married and this was to be their wedding day!!
It will take too long to tell what happened during the day, but there were blessings and speeches and tears followed by usual Festival stuff like tug of war and thirty-a-side rounders and country dancing until the evening when my nephew and his friend sing for us and we dance until midnight.
An extra surprise half way through the evening was both my daughters, my youngest granddaughter and myself performing an ABBA tribute, complete with shiny jump suits with flares and frills. I still don't know how they talked me into it. EGD and H were SO surprised and delighted, especially as we had changed the word of "Our last Summer" to fit their experience.
I will try to load some pictures
On a much sadder note, we have lost two long time friends since I last posted, B we have known since the 60s (David was his best man) and until his illness we would see them weekly. D,  a very dear friends, I met when her daughter and mine met at a dance class when they were 5,years old 47  years ago.
Our circle is shrinking, I know it comes with age, but it still knocks you back doesn't it?
Change pace Gill you are getting maudlin..
The Gardens have been extremely productive this year, with only the peas being a disappointment. So I am in the middle of processing or selling mountains of produce, which is very satisfying.
David and I flew to Jersey last month  to visit our younger daughter who now works there. What a beautiful place it is!  We are going again at the beginning of October for a long weekend and then we wont see her until Christmas. If you think that isn't long, it is a lifetime to me who used to see her every day!
I am attempting to get exhibits ready for the Civic Society's Heritage Exhibition, which we hold every year as part of the Derwent  Valley Mills World Heritage Site Discovery Days Festival. I'm not getting on too well with it as I seem to be overwhelmed with gardening and when I finally sit down at night that is all I really want to do.. sit!.
So folks, Hope you are all well

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Back to my blog

Hello All.
I promise not to apologise for being a tardy blogger as I seem to do that every time!
I see that it is THREE MONTHS since I wrote anything and I'm afraid I haven't been reading other blogs either. I think I miss reading blogs more than writing them.
Sooo I hope you are all okay out there in blogland. We are very well here, with David getting over some of the health issues that have plagued him for the past year. He has had many more visits to the Derby Royal (and many more to come no doubt) with some positive outcomes . So On On..
Less fortunate has been our dear rescue dog Sammie who had to be helped to suffer no more by the vet six weeks ago Sammie was rescued by our youngest daughter but came to us for doggie day care and frolics with his doggie cousins at the weekends. Youngest daughter took up a new job in Jersey in January and Sammie came to live with us. Sammie was initially fostered by YD but his problems were such that he would have been a difficult dog for adoption so he stayed with her. That was 6 years ago when he was ten. Sammie is the smaller black lab on my header. The larger Lab Jed died two years ago . I guess it is time I updated that header!
More unexpected was to find Percy the parrot dead in his cage a couple of weeks ago. Percy was approximately 35 years old, we are not too sure as we didn't have him from a baby. It seems strange not to have him in my snug, ringing his bell loudly at a particularly important part of a programme, answering the phone with an Halooo and telling David I had burnt something by doing his fire alarm noise for several hours after the incident!.He had quite a sense of humour too. If a strange dog came into the room  he would say in a sexy voice " Hello. come on come come on" Whereupon the sucker of a dog would approach the cage to have his nose nipped  by Percy if he wasn't quick enough!
We are on countdown to our big family party on the 13th July. We are going for gold this year, to celebrate David still being with us and our granddaughter's (Young quilter, Weave) engagement. We have planned some surprises too. As we expect around 250 to 300 people we are having a mass tidy up to make room for extra tents and cars. I hope to find out how to do a video of the place while it is tidy, (not its normal state!) If I do I will I will put it up for a "conducted tour". There will still be corners of shame, but its a smallholding for goodness sake, where pallets and baling twine and things that "might come in useful one day" abound.
So, I have broken my duck and am back to a spot of blogging at last. Off to read some of my faves now.
Thanks for sticking around