Saturday, 4 April 2020

The Distancing Diaries - Day 15 and 16


Friday marked the start of our third week of social distancing. It started off in the usual fashion with my Wii Fit session but after breakfast, it went downhill fast. My sewing project went tits up, the ladder wouldn't reach the bit of the wall I wanted to paint, I killed a plant I'd tried desperately to revive and I dropped my lunchtime noodles on the floor! Ah well, at least I managed to get dressed.


I'm wearing a 1970s dress by Salamander found by Curtise in a charity shop, which I'd Vixified by slashing the sleeve seams and adding a shawl that matched remarkably well, plus a Banjara waistcoat bought from Colaba Causeway in Mumbai back in 2016.


Jon had a far better day, he laid a gravel path in the greenhouse and sowed two varieties of cucumber, lettuce, courgettes, leeks and salad seeds.


In the bed, he planted parsnips, carrots, beetroot and turnips.


He set up the cloches he'd bought on-line when he'd ordered the greenhouse. 


And trained the cat. When Frank adopted us he didn't purr, couldn't climb the stairs and didn't know how to play. Now he's a master of all three.


I spent an hour or so pottering around the garden, foraging for dandelions for Jacob's lunch, tidying up my pot plants and sweeping up the mess I'd created, then sat outside reading. It wasn't particularly warm but it felt good to feel the sun on my back.


I rescued this pair of Victorian serpent head cast iron bench ends from an outbuilding when I sold the parental home, thinking they'd serve as a trellis for climbers. Two years later and I've finally got round to using them!


We had baked beans & cheese with jacket potatoes for tea and spent the evening drinking rum & watched The Nile Hilton Incident, on catch-up.

Saturday (Day 16) started with Jon bringing me tea in bed, we read until 8.30am and had egg & veggie sausage sandwiches for breakfast, eaten whilst watching a Place in Sun from Crete, wondering if our planned visit in September would ever happen.


Much excitement! The radishes on the kitchen windowsill have started to sprout.


The squirrel had us in hysterics over his acrobatics, attempting to get food from our squirrel-proof bird feeders.


In Jodhpur, we loved a householder's ingenious repurposing of plastic waste, so much so that I took a photo (when do I ever not take a photo?)


Jon used the empty cola bottle from last nights' rum to bring a bit of Jodhpur to Walsall, planting it with wild rocket seeds.


As we're not out buying stock I hadn't had enough laundry to warrant using the washing machine until today, which I was able to peg on the line as warm dry weather had been forecast. Stephen Squirrel supervised me whilst I pegging the washing out.

Wearing: 1970s Mythical beast print maxi by Shubette of London (seen in all its glory, HERE), Frye boots (bought brand new in their original box from eBay in 2017)

The postman delivered another job lot of seeds Jon had snaffled off eBay.


I sowed the sprouting chickpeas, the instructions suggested kitchen roll (something we don't use) and not wanting waste precious loo roll opted for one of my muslin washcloths instead.


Jon set to work in the greenhouse,


Planting cherry tomatoes, gherkins, onions,


Melon, beefsteak tomatoes and strawberries.


I made another pot of Punjabi sabzi (recipe HERE) using the last of our potatoes & peppers plus some frozen okra. After our sausage sandwich breakfasts, we shan't eat again till teatime. We've got salad for later so this will be tomorrow night's tea.


While Jon's been up a ladder moving the rope lights in the garden I've repurposed another lampshade, to make a home for a few of the sempervivums (aka houseleeks) which go berserk in our garden.


It's self-care Saturday for the rest of the afternoon, I've taken off my nail paint and slathered on the deep conditioning hair treatment while I catch up with my blog reading.

Source

We'll be watching the BBC's latest Scandi Noir series at 9pm tonight and, no doubt, a few glasses of rum will be consumed.


Stay positive, stay healthy and stay in touch!

61 comments:

  1. I'm more going on the number of days since I was required to work at home, which was officially Monday, March 23rd, so two full weeks at home, with the very limited goings. Supposedly, our stay in place is through Friday in our state, but no doubt since even our president administration has succumbed to the fact this isn't getting better in April and said through the 30th, our stay at home will be extended. I have a hair mask, and plenty of sheet mask, and think tonight a little self care is in order as well.

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    1. Our three week lockdown officially started two weeks ago on Monday, I have no doubt whatsoever that it'll be extended. Thank goodness your leader has finally seen some sense and extended yours. Look after yourself, Sam! xxx

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  2. Ohh those cloches look really good , will have to look those up , cant wait to see your bounty of produce later this year xxx

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    1. They're rather sweet, aren't they? Our order was delivered by a taxi driver who was delivering for Hermes as he was deperate for work. We did wonder about ordering things on line ut felt a lot better knowing that it was helping him out. xxx

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  3. I love your repurposing the cola bottle, that's pretty darn brilliant. Now I am eyeing garbage as "what can I do with this?" Definitely the year to use what we have. I scored some dill seeds as well as New Zealand spinach seeds this week. I've never grown dill from seed but I am sure it is hearty as grew in Alberta. Not sure about the spinach, I thought it was regular spinach but we will give it a shot

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    1. It's a great idea, isn't it? I'm looking at the contents of the recycling bin in a whole new light, I'm mindful that if things get worse they might suspend our rubbish collections so the less we can throw away the better!
      I'll be interested in hearing how your spinach and dill get on! xxx

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  4. I am eyeballing my 2l milk bottles. I think they will be perfect for strawberries and I have plenty of those in my garden.

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    1. You can use the cut out bits of the milk bottle to make plant labels too- just make a rectangle with a pointy end and then none of the milk bottle is wasted!

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  5. Great post! Great read! Great..Everything!
    Though not a good start to yer day, poor
    plant! Blame it on the virus! ;).

    And the greenhouse is looking good to..and
    Jon's cloches..wish l was a better gardener,
    problem is, l'm always given fruit/veg, game
    etc..so l've never needed to dig, plant, grow
    anything..Yesterday..Rob, a friend of mine,
    popped up and left me two whole pheasants,
    already cleaned and dressed, a tub of Jalapeno,
    and a BIG bunch of wild garlic..One of the
    pheasants went in the 'Road Kill' freezer,
    the other is already stuffed with herbs, garlic,
    and onions..tomorrow l will enjoy it out on the
    patio..with a bottle Chianti..Ruffino..of course! :).

    The furry ones are lovely..and..l love the name Jacob,
    for a tortoise..HeHe! And..no post is complete without
    some wildlife..I love squirrels..I won't say any more
    about that..! :). But it will soon be Barbeque time...
    AND..if things don't get any better, l'll be having them
    on me own..! :).

    I'm settled..watching four episodes of Andrew Zimmern..'Bizarre
    Foods'..It'll take me till eight o'clock..He's been to the Faroe
    Islands, at moment he's in Hawaii..l do love his programs..all
    that traveling, all that food..certainly takes me back..Love it!

    Best get on..Goodness! This post has been up and down like a
    barmaids apron..(am l allowed to say that)..HeHe! :o).
    Everyone keep safe now, stay in..AND..Stay happy...! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜ƒ
    πŸ’›πŸŒ±πŸŒΈπŸŒ±πŸ’œ πŸ’›πŸŒ±πŸŒΈπŸŒ±πŸ’œ πŸ’›πŸŒ±πŸŒΈπŸŒ±πŸ’œ πŸ’›πŸŒ±πŸŒΈπŸŒ±πŸ’œ

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    1. With friends like Rob why grow anything? He sounds like an amazing friend to have, keeping you in the style to which you've become accustomed with fine food and choice titbits!
      Now I'm craving a glass (or a bottle) of Chianti! Cheers! xxx

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  6. Your garden is looking absolutely beautiful.
    Why is it that some days everything you touch breaks? I usually find that on those days I end up with bruised shins/ stubbed toes or cut fingers too!
    Enjoy a relaxing evening with the rum...we're about to have aperol spritz as a bit of a treat to start our evening. xxx

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    1. Thanks, Sally! That's another thing I did on Friday, walk into a chair and a doorframe so I expect hideous bruises to appear in a couple of days!
      Hope you enjoyed your aperol spritz! xxx

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  7. Really impressed with Jon's green fingers, love your orange and black dress. Thanks for the questions over on my blog, no success for Amber, will do a post tomorrow and answer your questions in it - so kind of you xxx I like the Cola bottle plantings, it's a fabulous idea and am loving your more frequent posts :)

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    1. Thanks, Betty! Jon worked for the parks and recreation department at the council when he first left school and before he joined the band, not that he's grown much veg before!
      xxx

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  8. You even look glam in a hair turban Vix and I think "house leeks"are lucky and a protector.So I have a small terracota pot of them by my back door x

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    1. Thanks, Flis! I didn't know that about houseleeks, no wonder I love them. xxx

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  9. Friday's dress more than makes up for that morning's mishaps. I find that once a thing starts to go wrong, it often escalates. Seeing your gardening projects makes me feel a bit guilty. There's so many things I want to do out there (and inside) but I seem to have mislaid my energy. I'm in love with those cast iron bench ends, what a wonderful idea to use them as a trellis. The squirrel's antics made me smile. They're such funny creatures, aren't they? Your pot of Punjabi sabzi looks delicious, although I have a feeling Jos would prefer Friday's tea of baked beans & cheese with jacket potatoes :-) And speaking of houseleeks, we put some small specimens on the sloping corrugated roof of our potting shed years ago, and I'd forgotten all about them until this morning Jos told me there's now a huge one up there! Enjoy the Scandi Noir! xxx

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    1. How exciting to find your houseleeks, I love them. I want to see photos of yours!
      We did think of Jos when we tucked into our jacket potatoes, we know how he loves them.
      We were supposed to eat that sabzi over two nights but we've just eaten the whole lot in one go.
      It's taken Jon's best friend a few weeks to adjust to being furloughed, the panic, the lack of structure to his days, the money worries, now he never wants to go back to work! xxx

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  10. If you get serious about the bottle gardening, have a look at this article https://containergardening.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/bottle-tower-gardening-how-to-start-willem-van-cotthem/

    I have a tiny gardening space and was looking for ways to extend it.

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    1. Thanks for that amazing link, that's so inspiring! xxx

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  11. Greenhouse coming along great!! Love that dress and vest!!! All your food looks delish, too. Great repurposing with the plastic and I'm head over heels for that serpent bench real--- best!

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    1. Thanks, Becky! Isn't that bench end gorgeous? I almost don't want to hide that serpent with greenery. xxx

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  12. how i know such days.....
    but you look totally fab in the salamander dress with the pimped up sleeves and that sweet waistcoat. and in the beast dress too!
    you´r turning your garden into a veggie farm! love this!
    we went into the forest behind of the BWH today - it was wonderful. quiet and green and sunny.
    super sweet photos of the furry boys!
    xxxxx

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    1. I'm glad you were able to go for a wander, I bet it did you both the power of good. Feeling the spring sun on your sun is just so wonderful after months and months of winter - I know we escaped the cold for a few weeks but it feels like we've been back for years now! xxx

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  13. You have reminded of my grandfather who die 35 years ago, he would come in from the veggie patch and say 'get the salad ready Glad [Gladys my Nana] I've planted radishes they'll be ready in ten minutes'. love the dress with shawl sleeves.

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    1. Haha! Love that! I can't believe how quickly those radishes sprouted, I knew they were supposed to be fast growers but didn't expect such speed. I'm dying to eat one! xx

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  14. Yes, I've had those "this cup was sound for 100 years and I've just chipped it on my tooth..." days. My housemate cats have contributed to the ensuing chaos on several such occasions. I can tell you that arsenic green paint you've got for the kitchen will add an interesting fashion accent to tuxedo cats -- and getting it off involves even more hysterics than getting it on.

    Your grounds are postcard picture pretty, Vix. All that work on the gravel has been worthwhile!

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    1. Isn't it frustrating? If I was tempted to get undressed and take myself back off to bed.
      I can just imagine the fun when that paint does arrive - green cats and paw prints all over our black and white tiled floor! xxx

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  15. Loving your garden. I lived for 2 years in a hidden cottage and grew tons of vegetables, had plums, apples, mandarins. Now I have no garden space and I so miss it. It's not just the gardening it's everything else that goes with it too, like birds (squirrels but not in New Zealand), nature changing with the seasons. So lovely. (sigh) Still I can virtually visit your garden

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    1. Your hidden cottage sounds like a idyl! I can't imagine growing mandarins, I'm down to my last orange (from the supermarket), I'm going to have to risk it and go shopping tomorrow! I've often complained about our garden being an endless chore to maintain, now I've never been more grateful for our outside space. xxx

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  16. Not quite warm enough here for gardening. Looks like your holding up well and keeping busy

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  17. Hi Vix,
    I love seeing your greenhouse and all the seeds you're planting. Oh and the squirrel is so cute!
    The good thing about this stay at home period is that we are spending more time on simple things that bring us happiness such as gardening and self care. Take care and see you in your next blog post. X

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    1. It's lovely to have the time to do all those things we've always meant to, isn't it? Rather than telling myself I'll get round to something nowadays I'll just get it done. In a world that feels ever crazier having some control over my environment by keeping it clean and in good order stops me feeling so helpless! xxx

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  18. So nice to see someone training/conditioning a cat (you have such good boys ;-), and laundry being hung out to dry. You are getting me in the mood for summer!

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    1. We do have good boys most of the time (apart from at 4am when one of them decides they need to run up and down the bed miaowing!
      I love line-dried washing, it smells so good. xxx

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  19. Hello Vix. Love seeing your gorgeous dresses with the floaty sleeves.

    What a superstar Jon is organizing your vegetable garden/greenhouse. Looks like you have a fantastic array of vege seeds. You won't be needing to buy any veges from the store in a couple of months.

    Great re-purposing of those plastic bottles. Now, more than ever, we're all becoming more resourceful and I'm loving all the inspirational ideas on blogs and IG.

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    1. Hello, Suzy! If we only have success with half of our plantings I'll be a happy woman! I'm checking all the trays like a maniac for signs of green shoots. xxx

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  20. Fantastic bit of repurposing with the bottle, lampshade and cast iron bench end. My John as been busy the last few weeks painting up another 4 bench ends and making benches with some of the old decking (from Freecycle ages ago) and made up another 2 benches ready for selling in the future. It's great to see the seeds sprouting isn't it, I have just looked in the greenhouse and spotted more making an appearance. Jon has a good variety of seeds there.
    I suppose Stephen the squirrel likes to hang out at yours because you have a lot of trees, they are very determined creatures when they want something.
    Have a good Sunday. xx

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    1. You've got a good one with John, haven't you? I bet those benches he made will soon get snapped up when life returns to normal. The garden benches I see in garden centres are always grey, more like office furniture!
      The squiirels keep up entertianed, we're always trying to find ways of stopping them eating all the bird food but they're so crafty they always find a way. xxx

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  21. I’ve had a binge session reading your lockdown blog and applaud you both for getting on with life. What a godsend that greenhouse project is in so many ways.
    It’s a joy to see you dressed as beautifully as ever Vix.
    Keep on keeping on and making us all smile.
    Much love to you both from us two xxxx

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    1. I'm glad you've enjoyed the profusion of posts, Lynn! In times of crisis I've always gone into an overdribe aof activity, I love getting so worn out that I haven't the time or the energy to worry about things I can't change.
      I'm so glad we've got that greenhouse and to have a garden. It's a sanctuary from the craziness outside the gates. xxx

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  22. I love your gardening and so cute are these animal pictures. Great time for greenhouse projects. We have not much time, we both have to work and all around life is so much compicated that we have no pants in the garden so far. No tomato or cucumber, maybee on easter.....
    Take care and stay healthy xxx
    Tina

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    1. Hi Tina! I think we're quite early with our planting, I'm sure there'll be time for gardening at Easter - that's as long as you can find plants, they're in short supply here.
      Stay safe, both of you. xxx

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  23. LOVE that Salamandar ensemble, so Sexy and Cheerful! So many of my own Projects seem to be going tits up lately too, so I completely commiserate on that! I should be Painting this Guest Bedroom as we speak to get rid of the hideous Paint job it had when we bought the Home. Hard to STAY motivated, I miss the Security of Pre-Pandemic Times... everything now feels so much like a Disturbance in the Force!

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    1. I hate it when it starts to go tits up, I was getting more and more frustrated as the day progressed. I hope you find youe mojo before too long, be kind to yourself. xxx

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  24. Wonderful dresses and great to see Frank playing in the grass with Jon! I love Stephen's little white bob on the tip of his tail. Cats are so good at supervising, aren't they?

    Lovely dresses, Vix! And to be honest, your eager enthusiasm for cleaning was getting exhausting, so I'm kind of glad (I'm so awful) to hear you had a "tit's up" day! Makes you seem more human! ;-P

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    1. Isn't Stephen's white tail tip gorgeous? It's like he's been in the paint!
      Back in the days of being a paid employee I used to drive my colleagues mad, I never stop doing stuff! xxx

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  25. What great dresses! I love all the greenery in the first picture. Someday I want to live somewhere nice and green. It's ok here, but kinda dry most of the time. My mom lives in the mountains and it's nice and green up there. Sorry about your Friday mishaps. I keep dropping everything I touch. I was peeling an orange over the trash can and ended up dropping the whole thing down in the trash. I gave up and ended up just eating a bunch of lettuce leaves. You guys are gonna have one awesome garden! It's always nice to hang out with cats in the garden. Squirrels are fun to watch. There were a couple here last year and they kept eating the tomatos. Here's to better days ahead!!

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    1. Thanks, Cheryene! I need a goat to tackle that part of the garden, it's so wild it's ridiculous but great for photos!
      Gah! Fancy dropping an orange, fruit is even more precious now we're in lockdown!
      Squirrels are hilarious, aren't they? They'll eat anything. xxx

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  26. What fabulous recycling! The bench ends make wonderful trellises; brilliant idea and the plastic bottle thing is fab. My paternal uncle in Ireland has a wonderful system in his greenhouse using recycled plastic bottles to water all the plants in there. If I ever get back there I must take a photo.

    Loving your beautiful dresses and I'm so jealous of your yellow boots.

    I can see it now - 'Kinky Melon Hippy Nurseries of Walsall'. You'll be able to feed yourselves and the neighbourhood if all your plants come to fruition!

    That's another thing cats are so good at - supervising their humans.

    I'm going to try and find the 'Nile Hilton' thing - it looks good. We watched 'Twin' and really enjoyed it.

    Stay safe and well,
    xxxx

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    1. Goody sent me link to a blog which sounds very much like your paternal uncle's set up. I'm going to have to start riffling through the neighbours' recycling bins for plastic bottles!
      I was so excited to spot those banana yellow Frye boots on eBay, they retailed at £330 originally.
      Liking the Kinky Melon Hippy Nurseries idea, we could attach panniers to the cats and do home deliveries!
      We really enjoyed the Nile Hilton Incident, I don't think I've seen an Egyptian film before (except Carry On Cleo!) xxx

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  27. Somehow I completely missed Twin - but it'll be on catchup. I tried watching a Netflix Scandi noir, a Finnish one, but couldn't get into it. The heroine was too glossy; you could tell it had been made with an eye on the US market.

    It's great to see Frank looking so happy nowadays, and all the other animals out and about too. I'm sure the cats are grateful to Jon for digging them a nice new toilet...

    Your outfits are splendid. Keep brightening Walsall!

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    1. Have you got Freeview? Walter Presents on Channel 4 catch-up is amazing, loads of really gritty European drama - I know what you mean about those made from the American market, the women never look human!
      Frank is flourishing, he's so chunky. Jon caught Stephen weeing on the edge of the bed this morning, I've never known him use the garden, he always comes in to use his tray! xxx

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  28. Oh yes, I totally understand that feeling when everything falls apart and/or you manage to ruin everything you touch!. It makes me go bonkers.
    Anyway, I love to see you rocking your Salamander dress with those magnificent sleeves (such a fab job!) and all the gardening you've been doing!.
    Love to see your recycled pots and all the hard work in the greenhouse, for sure you're going to enjoy a lot of greenery soon!
    Love your 'mythical beast' print dress, even its name is Fabulous!, so delightful colors! and you rock in it!
    Most of our vegetables come from local orchards and it's something that makes me happy!.
    besos

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    1. Aren't days like these annoying? The crosser I got, the more Jon kept laughing at me, which didn't help my mood one bit!
      You're so lucky to have local growers, most of our fresh fruit and veg has travelled miles and miles! xxx

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  29. I'm very impressed with Jon's work on the greenhouse! What with training Frank in the finer art of being a cat, setting up the greenhouse, and re-using the cola bottles, he's definitely earning his keep. You two have been so productive during your isolation it makes me feel tired just looking at you ;). I've been home since March 24th and am doing pretty well with working from home, but when I have to go out to get groceries, etc., the other people out there who aren't social distancing stress me out.

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    1. I'm so glad that the shop down the road has all that we need, I really couldn't face one of the big supermarkets and all the idiots they seem to attract. The council has had to shut our park down for the foresseable future as far too many people disregarded the rules and spoilt it for everyone else especially those without gardens to enjoy.
      xxx

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  30. That squirrel is flipping hilarious! We watched 2 squirrels do acrobatics in our neighbour's garden with a squirrel proof food dispenser- it was doing the most spectacular stretch whilst balanced!
    Oooh, the job lot of seeds look so exciting! I've just been drying Butternut squash seeds so I might try planting a couple of those to see what happens! I can't wait to see what happens with all your plants. Looking at vegetable allotments and raised beds and gardens is one of my favourite things to do so I am excited about you sharing yours online!
    I think actually, a lot of delivery drivers are grateful for work (though the one who delivered our compost and soil from the garden centre said that the garden place just pay him a flat rate per day and he's had sooo many deliveries more than usual- he didn't seem happy!)
    MM, the Sabzi soounds delicious! CBC followed a Jamie Oliver Aubergine dhal recipe yesterday except that we didn't have any Rogan Josh paste. CBC asked me if I had ANY curry paste and I gleefully remembered a sealed tub of Green Thai Curry paste. I quickly removed the lid (with its Best before or use by date of 2014) on it so he wouldn't see how old it was and he used it instead. He used green split peas instead of yellow (as I'd got about 400g of them half price from the zerowaste shop). It was super hot but utterly delicious. He found it too spicy but I was in my element= SOOOO nice! He also made chappatis from some very old wholemeal flour!!
    I love your Vixified Curtise dress- love sleeves like that!

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    1. Squirrels keep us amused for hours, they're so bendy!
      I love butternut squash, I'll be interested how your seeds come along. Chilli sproutings have just appeared this morning - eeek!
      A delivery driver who came this week said that he'd only signed up as he was so bored at home, his wife was really cross with hm hoping to get a few jobs done at home. Naughty man!
      Mmmmm, the spicier the better! I'm never bothered by best before dates, I've even been know to sieve out weevels or scrape off mould and still eat it. I think that's why I've got a cast iron constitution! xxx

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