Day 238 & tales from Fraggle Towers

Phew it’s a hotty today! The weather forecast says we’re at 24 degC today (75.2F) but the thermometer in the garden is showing 34C (93.2F) at 1pm, so of course that’s the perfect temp and time for mad dogs and Englishmen to go out in the midday sun. Or in this case just a mad Englishman (the one I’m married to at this time).

thwarting the Monster Jasmine
Day 238 ~ wrangling the lawn

He was jolly fast though, all done in 20 mins flat! It’s been good to have some much needed sunshine even though I have on occasion moaned about the heat 🙄. The McFatface is just about better so I can go to work tomorrow and not scare my clients. On Thursday night we got a glimpse of our visiting hedgehog, and finally saw his face, very cute. He/she’s been visiting most nights and we know this as we bought some hedgehog biscuits that we leave in a dish for it. And now ta da….

apeman trail camera

we bought a trail camera from Amazon. It’s what you’ve probably seen in wildlife programmes when they’re trying to catch sight of rare tigers and the like, though I am thinking we’re more likely to see the neighbourhood cats. Hopefully though we’ll get some footage of the ‘hog. It can take videos of varying lengths and quality settings, sound, stills and is quite easy to set up. We put it out all night last night and I was excited to see all the biscuits were gone this morning, so checked the camera and found I hadn’t actually switched it to the ‘on’ position. Doh! 🙄 Hopefully tonight will have a better result!

For my 60th birthday present Phil and I are off on a trip, a week in Tuscany, Italy, staying at a converted Medici palace and I’m really looking forward to it, but not for a couple of weeks yet, we like to wait til the kids are back to school and everyone else has gone back to work 🙂

I have found my 70th though, I found a link to this amazing train journey around the world in 56 days, this is a dream trip for a person with a camera! See it HERE.

I can’t remember which of my bloggypals put me on to the author Gregg Dunnet and a book called The Things You Find in Rock Pools, which was a great story about a young lad who is more or less a child prodigy, and ends up turning detective when a young girl he likes goes missing. It’s a fab read and easy but quite dark sometimes. I’ve somehow got onto his email list and got offered a free copy of his latest The Glass Tower which I’ve also read but didn’t really like overmuch. The main character is not likeable, nor are any of the supporting cast, and the story itself is too bonkers to believe in even a little bit.

Another author I’m on the email list of is Manda Scott, who couldn’t write a bad book if she tried. One of her latest emails recommended an author called N.K.Jenson and her trilogy called The Broken Earth. I can’t recommend this one highly enough. It’s set very far in the future and the world has been in turmoil for a very long time. The world-building is quite astounding, and the characters are rounded and beautifully rendered. It isn’t an easy read as there’s a lot to take in and think about, so if you are a read–a-book-a-day type of person who doesn’t need to think too much, it’s not for you, but if you like books with depth and resonance, this would move and stir you.

It’s been quite a Marvel-ous week (see what I did there? 😂 ) film wise as it’s been my birthday week and I got to choose. I have decided to do the whole of the MCU movies in order so this week have seen Iron Man (1) and The Incredible Hulk played by Edward Norton before Mark Ruffalo took on the role in the rest of the movies. I didn’t think Norton did a bad job at all, and the pathos of his character was well defined and acted, but I still prefer Ruffalo. Luckily Iron Man and The Hulk are Phil’s favourite characters (he’s not a superhero fanboy at all really) though I’m going to pay for all this with grim Russian war movies. 😂

Friday June 1st 2018

I’ve been neglecting this blog a fair bit this year.  When I started out on the Universe blog I used to intersperse Fraggle Reports on places I’d been to visit, with miscellaneous doings in ordinary life. That blog has evolved into just being about the history and photographs of places, and it seemed a good idea to have a different space for the miscellaneous, and it was so for a while, but I seem to have tailed off with it in the past few months.

It’s June 1st today and I’ve decided to resurrect the miscellaneous and give a little more love to this other place.

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Yesterday the North East weather channels were predicting dire weather for today, heavy rain, thunderstorms, damage to property and possible death in our region.  It seemed a fair bet as the nether regions of the UK had gone through the same in the past few days, it was coming to get us.  Well it’s 4pm now and not a drop has happened as yet, instead it’s been oppressively hot and doing anything physical leaves you drained within 10 minutes.  I re-checked the forecast and it’s completely changed, and now we are due to be mostly dry with clear spells, but also areas of low cloud, mist and fog. There may be the odd shower too. Weather forecasting, I know it’s not an exact science (why not though with all those satellites and algorithms??) but really I don’t know why I bother looking.

Phil took upon himself to trim the Eucalyptus tree in spite of the heat. I’ve had this tree for more years than I can remember, bought and planted in my garden in Hemel Hempstead, nearly destroyed by the neighbours devil-child, put in a pot and moved up to my first flat in South Shields, put in the back garden of Phil’s house, then transplanted into the front. Through it all it’s coped with the digging up and the digging in, change in climate, and severe pruning by Phil.

Those of you who’ve been with me through last year will remember after our visit to Eddy in Poland, I got all fired up for self sufficiency and started growing a herd of cauliflower, potatoes and broccoli. That went tits up when all the veg got eaten at the roots by horrible white maggoty bugs and I am still traumatised by the whole experience. This year I decided to grow flowers, and have spent the past couple of weekends in the garden centres. Then spent a few hours planting everything in pots and containers.

I know they still get bugs but I’ve got a spray and I’m religiously using it! At least all the herbs have survived and regrown this year, and my chives have produced flowers, which the bees are loving.

Apart from having a pretty garden I wanted lots of flowers for my macro photography, and if I don’t manage to murder them all there should be plenty to be arty farty and play textures with.

Phil had given me his old hi-fi rack for mosaicing, but instead I’ve varnished it (with added sparkly bits) and use it as a garden feature

Of course I have solar lights all over the place and it’s particularly pretty  at night when they all come on.

My good friend Beetleypete often writes of nostalgia, and I always tell him, not for me- I’m a future kind of gal, but I heard this lovely song on the radio today, and thought of Pete. But it works for anyone, even futurists 🙂


all photo’s ©️cjhyslop June 2018

click through photo’s for embiggened versions, they look better 🙂 





Thursday Thoughts.

This has been a blue-arsed fly day, I was in Asda for 8.30am and home by 9.30, done loads of housework, & changed all the flowers in the house.  I was tempted by more lilies I do so love them, but £8 for 1 bunch  that lasts 5 days is a bit of a treat, 3 bunches of carnations for £2 a pop and last for 10 days is much more cost effective.  🙂

carnation day

Had my lunch, lovely chicken and avocado sandwich in my own home made bread, so yummy.

This afternoon I transplanted the rest of my seedlings, took ages!

Cauliflower City

It’s not just caulies, theres some coriander and chives and rosemary and mint growing in there, the tiny Broccoli only child is holding fast but not really progressing.   Just out of shot is my grow bag with potato’s growing in it. Am quite impressed with how they are coming along.

Potato Bag

So far no slugs or snails or bugs, might be a bit early for them to come out yet, but I am ready to go to war when they do. 🙂

 I started sprouting garlic cloves then found out it’s a bit late or too early to plant them out for a good result as they prefer colder weather, but I wasn’t going to kill them obvs, so I’ve planted them out anyway and put them in a shady spot, at least it’s practice for when I do it at the right time of the year.  🙂


My shed is looking spiffy,

some nice artwork on the wall by my friends Kathy in USA and Clare in Ireland 🙂

I made a start on Tigger’s face this get a better idea of it if you squint at it through one half closed eye, trust me 🙂

I find I’m quite zen when mosaic~ing, photographing, doing garden things, and am ‘in the moment’ as they say.  I concentrate on the task in hand, but it never works that way with housework. I suppose I’ve been doing housework for nigh on 40 years so there’s not that much to think about it. So instead I find myself mulling over the world, the universe, the election, or Trump or the family.  Today I had all the windows open to let air blow through the house, and as I was cleaning the West Wing 🙂 the door gently blew open and for a split second I thought Skye was coming through to see what I was up to.  Of course then the other half of the second kicked in and suddenly I felt the tears burbling up, managed to stop myself though, and I got to thinking about grief.  It’s just another word for pain really.  I remember when my Mum died in the hospice, I was offered ‘grief counselling’ but refused, I didn’t want to talk about my grief, and shut it away somewhere I couldn’t get to  in my brain.  I couldn’t, wouldn’t, didn’t think about her for two years or so after.  Guilt played a big part in that, I thought I should have done more for her, been there more for her, and I didn’t want to tell a stranger that. You’re not supposed to do that apparently, you’re supposed to let it out and all that, catharsis and self forgiveness etc. etc. etc. but I didn’t.  Not long after she died, Ben moved out to house share with pals, so now looking back I was an orphan and an empty nester in a short space of time. Lonely  times. So I moved up north to be with Phil and here I still am.  I can think about my Mum now, remember her good and bad bits (no-one is perfect, not even your Mum!) and smile at the photo’s I have of her and Ben, her and me, of her life before us, when she was younger, and there isn’t any grief now.  So maybe my ‘wrong’ coping mechanism worked out OK for me. I only miss what she is missing, on her behalf, she loved Ben and I think he suffered from her passing on more than I realised.

I am not a great fan of housework, and that in part is down to Mum who was always doing housework when I was a kid, or so it seemed, drove me mad as I had to help when I had nicer things to do! Then she’d do it all again the next day, and that was never going to be me, and isn’t.  My previous husband used to say I was allergic to the hoover, the current husband would probably agree, but I do more than he thinks I do, and nowhere near what a house proud housewife would 🙂 but when I do do it, its blitzkrieg!

Lessons of the day:

Housework makes you think too much

Garlic should be planted in cold weather

Gardening ruins your nails  :/ and you can’t transplant seedlings while wearing gloves.