Monday, 27 August 2012

Notes from Bramble Cottage...



It looks like we shall miss summer completely this year! Fifteen degrees centigrade does not count as a summer temperature and it will be interesting when the rainfall statistics are finally published to see if it has been as wet as it has seemed to be. Today I have finally managed to collect most of the parts of an old aluminium greenhouse which I was first offered just before we headed off on our tour of sisters holiday in May. The frames were buried in a jungle if new tree shoots and nettles and were a struggle to unbolt into their parts for transport, my nails have not seen ingrained dirt or been so broken for an age…. I doubt that I shall build anything like the original but adapt the parts into a lean to building against the north wall in the vegetable garden. After this horrible summer it will be good to have somewhere sheltered and able to warm up with any sun which does shine, we have a short enough growing season here at Bramble Cottage as it is.



This year was always going to be poor for vegetables from the garden since I was forbidden from doing gardening at the necessary time and then we were away for the start of the growing season. I gave a bag of vegetable seeds and the garden key to a neighbour to do as he wished with the hope of some share in the harvest. While we were away the rain was horrendous and he hardly got more than a few potatoes and a small patch of broad beans into the mud, the weeds loved the rain but he did not keep them under control as promised!




Thankfully there was time to net the soft fruit when we returned from holiday, it more or less looks after itself from year to year with just a little pruning. For several years we did not net the fruit against the birds because some always find a way in but are too stupid to get out again and distress Betty who hears then from her kitchen. I have watched the birds pretend that they can’t find the open door as aI try to get them out of the cage only to find that a small group get together to lift the stone weighted netting as a team! At first the experiment worked fine with more than enough fruit for us, just a bit less for friends to pick when we have had our fill then last year the birds just ate everything…


Black currants were picked and frozen whole if not made into ice cream or eaten straight away. The red currants have mostly been stewed down for juice which will be mad into jelly to eat with dishes like venison if I can only find the jam jars which have been tidied away! The first brambles were picked a week ago and now they are ripening as fast as we can eat them.



My niece in France is always complaining that spring only lasts a couple of days and she never gets to wear the clothes she likes so much, here I have to be resigned to not getting to wear several summer tops bought this year while the woolen cardigan, a present from a knitwear designer friend has had continuous wear all summer since the house has never warmed up. Four favourite dresses hang on the picture rail for immediate action if the sun comes out for a few hours, on the bright side they are not going to be worn out any day soon.


Rain does at least give me the excuse to lounge about and read though not the fifty shades of creepy sadistic creep which seems so popular worldwide Does that make me dull or just too much of a feminist?

Here ends the report from Bramble Cottage...


Thursday, 16 August 2012

Three year experiment closed...



There is a Zen like calm in the house. 

Perhaps it is because Julie is no longer watching continuous olympics, I saw this as the final test as to the success of my transition, to have a partner hypnotized by sport on TV!

Perhaps it is because all our guests who came to Julie’s birthday party have eaten their fill, emptied our wine store and all gone home contented. They might have been more content if we had actually been able to get out into the garden which I have been working on for weeks now but it was so cold and wet they preferred to stay in the “heated!” house. With this “summer” it was originally only going to be a small party in the house but with increasingly dry and slightly warmer days recently the invited numbers increased to garden party numbers. Thankfully for us but not for those who cancelled the numbers reduced slightly because so many were going to death beds or funerals! Only one who was due at tomorrows lunch has called blaming a funeral 200 miles away as his reason. I guess that makes us look like good people to know, how many more deaths can be closely associated with us in the near future as chance evens itself out?

The Zen like peace has descended because my long advertised departure from a social media site has finally happened.

Three years ago the requests to join started to appear and I kept sending back messages saying that I liked blog land and was not interested. Too many drips wore me away so I signed up. It is just a tool and can be used in so many ways but it was a tool which I had no real interest in before signing up even at the very low price of £zero.

They have stopped reporting just how many hundreds of millions have signed up and I often wonder how many have read the terms and conditions before ticking the box and proceeding onwards to a lifetime of trying to work out how things operate and what has been slyly changed without warning including sometimes privacy settings? 

I read the terms and it took an age. Really it boils down to, anything created by “the site” is theirs and they will be angry as hell if you mess with it or try to use it elsewhere in any way BUT anything which you post like photographs or text is now also theirs to keep and do with what they like! The site was a mess with the way it worked and somebody created a “bad site fixer” app, the only one I signed up for because it made the site work much better, one guy in his spare time could fix what some think is a multi $billion site in his basement. “the site” got furious and started making threats like that scene in the Godfather where someone wakes up with his pet horse‘s head in his bed to show him what would happen if he kept calling his site “bad site fixer”!! You might have guessed by now that the site was not a joy to visit…

I can be stubborn so I persevered eventually collecting several dozen “friends”. I was fussy and generally interrogated each friend request, let few in and rejected many who failed to interact. If you were on my list you were one of a select bunch! It was not all misery, many were those I had first come across when they too were bloggers but quite a few had been seduced by the ease of quick posting on “the site” and the greater numbers of friends following them which could be built up. It was good to see how these folk were getting on with their lives. Jokes could bring on a smile but just as easily misery could be poured out putting a cloud over the day. I will miss links to music long forgotten or new work I may never have heard otherwise and the same with news from the many eyes seeking it out…

I am a very sociable person but did not feel that my social interaction on line was satisfying enough to be worthwhile. Logging on could lead to countless snippets of information of interest amongst the flood of “gifts” and app requests which if accepted would allow the app owner to rummage through your own and your friends information even if it was not necessary for the app to work. No thanks!

Sociable person finds it hard to be sociable on social media site! I stopped most interaction at the start of the year when away for an op then a long holiday. My few visits I felt uncomfortable no engaging fully so posted that I would leave soon, there was hardly any reaction so I guess posts really do not reach your friends… One person reacted, nobody told me to ***** off if I was not happy which I half expected. It was not clear how to delete an account so I went in search of the procedure which was buried so deep many may never find it, when the “permanent delete” button finally came up I was going to save the location for a few days but within seconds the desire for calmness in my life took over and I hit it.

It was my only way into another more dedicated site so I cleaned up a large chunk of online interaction in one click. People can find me if they really want, I am not hiding.

My only regret is that I should have done this a long while ago, this peace is wonderful...


Friday, 10 August 2012

Helping a friend.





I planned to write a six month on post but spent a few nights away enjoying myself instead…

Today I was able to repay my friend .Louise, six months ago on a cold winters night she was kind enough to collect me from the airport on my return from Brighton and deliver me fifty miles home. Today I was able to help her with the move into her new home.

Yesterday had been a day of deliveries few of which arrived on time! A bed had been delivered but the mattress would only be delivered to a ground floor, most bedrooms are on upper floors! Together we soon fixed that problem and now she is able to sleep in her own bed at last.


After a good look round the house with a drink in hand we did the now traditional trip to Ikea. Fun for me who has no money for such purchases and consequently does not have the fun of assembly… Refreshed in their cafe for lunch we headed onward to pick up her car and empty the contents of her temporary home into our two cars before enjoying the delights of Edinburgh ring-road at evening rush hour. 



After unloading a warehouse load of clothes there was the surprise of a deer bounding between our cars and through her front garden! It did not show up again later when we tucked into fish and chips which we ate in the rear garden in the late afternoon sun before we started on the job of turning the contents of many boxes into furniture and the basis of a new home.

It was a joy to see Louise looking joyful as the stresses of the past few weeks have lifted and she finally gets to live her life.