Saturday, 11 July 2020

The Distancing Diaries - Day 112 & 113



It was gloriously sunny when I got up at 6.30am on Friday morning (day 112), after my Wii Fit session I went online and booked another National Trust slot and bought something fabulous that had just been listed on eBay as a Buy-it-Now. After our fruit and yoghurt breakfast Jon popped out for a few supplies (there's no queues if he opts to use basket in the supermarket as opposed to a trolley but it means he's limited as to what he can carry hence the reason he's been shopping twice this week.)


When I'd seen the sunshine this morning I'd decided that I'd sort out the front of the house, outside the gates - that's the area on the left as opposed to the right, which needs serious work. By now the sky had clouded over, there were a few spots of rain and a cold breeze but I pulled on my boots &  jacket and set to work weeking and raking.


Once Jon was back and had sanitised the shopping, he planted the Dusty Millers I'd saved from the previous day's windowbox redo. Hopefully it should act as a deterent for the dogs with inconsiderate owners that have plagued the avenue since lockdown.


After lunch (noodles!) we drove over to Liz & Al's as they'd offered us some skirting board they'd discovered on their woodpile. We spent the afternoon sitting outside drinking gin and eating rock buns with our coats on one minute and off the next. If life had gone to plan we'd have all been working at the Cornbury Festival this weekend as Liz & Al had volunteered to be Kinky Melon staff - oh well, maybe next year.


Nothing new to see here, this kaftan pops on my blog with alarming regularity.


Back at home Jon made a paneer curry which we ate with a coriander nan and mango chutney. We drank rum and watched Gardener's World and Bettany Hughes' Greek Odyssey.


On Saturday (day 113) although I was awake at my normal time I stayed in bed until 7am. I loaded the washing machine as I'd done no laundry for a week (too wet to dry it outside), fed the lads and brought mugs of tea back to bed where we read until 8am.


Jon went downstairs to start breakfast while I stripped and changed the bed. I pegged the first load of washing outside and started the next then gave the houseplants, which had been soaking in the sink and bath overnight, their fortnightly feed before putting them back.


Breakfast was veggie sausage, poached eggs, sauteed mushrooms and baked beans which would keep us going until teatime.I pegged out the rest of the washing while Jon popped to the vets to pick up Stephen's repeat prescription (he's been on steriods for an on-off skin condition for years).


When we watched Gardener's World last night I'd made a note of the jobs they suggested were done in the garden this week and, as we'd been unable to do much outside this week due to the rain, I added a list of stuff we also needed to get done today - make hay while the sun shines and all that.


  • Plant the new sedums in the border
  • Empty the stone trough by the pond ready to be moved nearer to the house
  • Repot the French lavender, ivy and mosaic plant and pot up some of our latest spiderlings
  • Rescue the fennel growing in the cracks in the brickwork and pot them on.



  • Cut down the diseased clematis
  • Move the passionflower growing under the kitchen window to a pot and stake to the wall by the front door
  • Prune the fruit bushes
  • Plant the squash Liz gave us yesterday in the veg patch




  • Backfill the potato plants with compost
  • Pot up the bargain cucumber plants bought from the garden centre on Thursday
  • Cut back the delphinium
  • Vigorously prune the wild geraniums



  • Stake the crocosmia 
  • Empty two of the chimney pots and move them to the mirrored wall
  • Move the rope lights from the pond to across the lawn and reset the timwer switch
  • Mow the lawn
  • Sweep the patio
  • Water the patio plants




  • Cut a pathway between the trees at the top of the garden



  • And clear up all the mess we'd created.



Whilst we slaved away the lads took it nice and easy. We treated ourselves to a coffee in the sunshine at 4pm. No lunch, no tea break - a bit like working at a festival except we were surrounded by colourful flowers rather than colourful vintage clothes.





Tea was ciabatta with tapenade, salad and cheese. After a shower we'll spend the evening sprawled out in front of the TV accompanied by a huge glass of rum (or three!), everything on the list is ticked off so I think we've earnt it!


Huge apologies for falling behind with blog visits and replying to your comments. Normal service will be resumed shortly, I promise!

Stay safe & see you soon.

53 comments:

  1. your garden gets more beautiful by the day. I've spent the last 5 mornings...ready for it...at work! Haven't been there since March 23rd! The Boss called and talked me through the new costume inventory system, which I'll start doing Monday. That should take the rest of the decade

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    1. Thank you so much! I bet you're knackered after five days at work after such a long time at home. My hairdresser said it wasn't so much the physical work that wore her out it was chatting to people consttantly after being home alone for months that was exhausting. Stay safe! xxx

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  2. Vix, I love your garden. I know it is a lot of work but you are so lucky to have the trees and such lush vegetation. I am also a maximalist and much prefer a garden with character. Your list will be there and you can chip away at it. Just think of all you have achieved in a short space of time! Well done you two!!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Catmac! I was amazed when Jon managed to cut that path between the trees, it does look rather fairytale like now. I really need to research plants that can live under trees in semi-darkness as the area could really do with a bit of colour. xxx

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  3. Hello garderner extroidinaire! As I was scrolling I literally said wow at the weeding job out the front. What a great idea with the dusty millers, just as well you kept them. My husbands aunt was throwing out pansies and I said thank you I'll have those! I can't abide not giving plants a second chance. No wonder that kaftan is a favourite. It is stunning. I hooked out a top from my give away pile today what was I thinking. (I sound like Sheila) (yes I should comment on her blog too) We are in sync with you guys but a day behind as tomorrow I said we will have a big brekki then we don't have to stop to cook and have a day getting all those jobs done in the garden done. We tend to do it on a Sunday work hard but so satisfying. You have excelled yourself with the flower close ups tonight. Enjoy those well wearnt rums. Love Shazxx ps got my mojo back

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    1. Hello Shaz! A plant is for life (or at least as long as we can keep them alive!) Well done on the pansy rescue, I've followed Gisela's advice (Miss Magpie) and cut mine right down hoping they'll get a second wind.
      We all have to those crazy moments when we chuck stuff in the donation bag, thank goodness you swa sense and rescued the top. Do pop over and comment on Sheila's blog, I knopw she's love it if you did.
      Hope you enjoyed your big breakfast and day of manual labour. Hasn't it been glorious today? xxxx

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  4. garden is looking stunning, as is that kaftan. Sounds like you are making the best of the weekend and the weather - we've been out in the garden today too - staking out the beans and now I am putting off going out and giving everything a good water, but I really can't be bothered to move. A little bit more procrastinating and I'll get around to it...

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    1. Hi Julie! It's been such a lovely weekend, every bit of me aches now! I know what you mean about the watering, Jon and I went halves today and rewarded ourselves with a beer in the late afternoon sunshine! xxx

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  5. That's quite a list you have there. Your garden is so very beautiful and it's a credit to the both of you, I'm in constant awe at the work you put into keeping it looking so great.
    Great minds think alike and all that, I've just this minute booked a National Trust slot myself :)

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    1. I didn't expect to get it all done but there's something so rewarding about having a list and ticking everything off, isn't there?
      I'm looking forward to seeing the photos from your NT day out alreday! xxx

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  6. What a lot of work you two get done! I am so impressed. I have decided Sunday (which it is Under the World in NZ) is to be: titivate moi: clean and tidy home: food shop and prepare for week. Boring as, but makes life way easier. Am a bit confused by your weather.... it is summer?

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    1. I felt like we'd not been very productive this week what with days out and visiting friends. It felt good to whizz through those jobs and the rum tastes a lot sweeter when we've worked for it!
      It sounded like you'd got a full-on day planned, did you get it all done?
      It's supposed to be the height of summer but, being the UK, you never know what to expect weatherwise. today it's been a bikini and a book kind of a day! xxx

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  7. I’m not surprised you’re behind with your blog catch ups, looks like you’re busier than if you were working.
    You two have seriously taken gardening and it’s great to see your progress.
    Isn’t it lovely spending time with friends. Makes life feel normal for awhile.
    You’re having better than us. There’s no sitting out here sadly or garden gate displays.
    Lots of love xxx

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    1. Tell me about it! I've never slept as well!
      It's been quite a normal week with a National Trust visit, a trip to a garden centre, the hairdressers and an afternoon drinking with friends, I'm liking it!
      Sending you sunshine, it's been bikini weather here today. xxx

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  8. I'm so glad you met up with Liz and Al-friends are such a great way to reconnect with a bit of normalcy! I am hoping to make some bread tomorrow and bought some tapenade for it. I don't know if you have Trader Joe's but it was a special stop, where we had to cue for about 10 minutes, but I was in an d out with my list of favorites I only get there. After a day 1/2 of sun and water, tonight is a relaxation night, and tomorrow is a home work day.

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    1. We haven't got a Trder Joe's sadly, American friends have told me about it and I think I'd be their best customer.
      I hope you enjoyed your tapenade and homemade bread! xxx

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  9. I think lot of people are saying maybe next year...lovely flowers you have.
    Coffee is on

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    1. Thanks, Dora! Yes, "it'll be better next year" is a regular part of our vocabulary these days! xxx

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  10. That is one thing I miss is a huge garden. Still our little patch keeps us busy. I just love seeing the progress that has been made during lockdown and often wonder what would the garden be like if lockdown never happened.
    Would have many if any of the improvements that you have done been done? The mind boggles.
    I keep saying to my mum we will visit next year. Then she just sighs. My dad is more optimistic and tells her the visit will be more special, especially if we have another member to the brood. The last one, but it will be a much happy one.
    I haven’t had tapenade for years, cheese is very expensive so I only buy it as a treat, it’s more Takayuki and combni. Chicken. Cheap but delicious. Take care and keep well

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    1. Hello Allie! Any outdoor space has been an absolute godsend during lockdown. hasn't it? It's amazing how much of a difference you can make in just a few hours. I've had a massive tidy up of my pots today and I have to keep going outside and marvelling at the neatness of the patio!
      Your Dad is right, next year will be extra special after all the trials and disapointments of thes last few months. I'm intruiged about the addition to your brood though, tell me more!
      I love tapenade. I used to miss cheese when we were in India, you can buy artisan stuff there but you need a mortgage to afford it! Stay fabulous! xxx

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  11. Love that dress, never can post too many pictures of it. I did look at the link you sent me recently for similar but they were short sleeved so will keep on hunting. Ref Stephen, I had a cat for many years who had a skin condition (caused by nerves apparently) steroids were putting her heart under stres so we took her to the famous in the day Chris Day, who did homeopathy on pets he wrote a book and became well known for work on horses, my cat was his first feline patient, after consultations she got drops thereafter to put on her tongue daily sent by post and was able to come off steroids and lived to 15 very happily on homeopathy, worth considering maybe, not expensive and some insurers will cover. Also can I suggest you plant holly on your front patch - that will keep the dogs off for sure! Betty x

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    1. Thanks, Betty! I've got a twin to the dress I bought from friends recently, I can't wait to give it an outing!
      How interesting about the homeopathy treatment and your trailblazing cat! I think Stephen's issues are nerve related, he's fine for months then starts nibbling obsessively.
      Great idea with the holly, something to look for at the garden centre - although I've got that spiky bastard shrub I could move! xxx

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    2. Definitely a job for spikey bastard if you uplift him you may find you can separate the roots and make more spikey bastards too, i suspect hes a cottoneaster although cant remember seeing a pic.

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  12. you worked wonders at the patch in front of the gate!
    your garden to-do list sounds impressiv, but i bet it´s a very good feeling to tick things off. i keep an endless list myself, adding new tasks every morning and tick some off in the evening until the sheet ends - then i start a new one.....
    how lovely to meet your friends!
    must cook a curry soon - yours looks yummy - and the english breakfast too.
    xxxxx

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    1. Thanks so much! I try and keep on top of that patch but the weeds seem to sprout up overnight!
      Isn't it rewarding ticking off a to-do list? I ought to do it more often instead of flitting about doing one job and gettibng distracted by something else. xxx

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    2. you need some kind of - spikey - ground covering plants for this patch at the gate. once settled it will keep the weed under control with its shade and the dogs away with thornes :-D
      xx

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  13. If naughty dogs and their thoughtless owners can't go over, they will go around!I'd be planting things at all sides of the front patch!It must take you forever to answer all the comments so maybe just one big 'thank you' to everyone would be ok? You have nice folks visit your blog. I'm sure they wouldn't mind. Must have taken an age to cut the swathe through the path. Great job. Have a good week, both.xxx

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    1. Honestly what is it with people? I thought lockdown was supposed to bring everyone together. Don't even get me started on the inconsiderate idiots who toss their fast food wrappers over the hedge.
      I love responding to comments, it's like having friends popping round and offering them a cup of tea and get in a bit of a tizz when I fall behind!
      Enjoy your week, Annie! xxx

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  14. Jos has been doing twice-weekly food shops since about a month or so, as we found it very impractical only going once a week, often running out of fresh fruit or other essentials. Planting those saved Dusty Millers outside your front gate was an inspired idea. It looks tidy and will hopefully deter those naughty dog walkers. Catching up with Liz and Al must have been lovely, and I'll never get tired of seeing that fabulous kaftan. I'll never cease to be amazed at how large your garden is. Your list of tasks is quite impressive and I'm full of admiration of you two getting everything ticked off. The plants in your garden seem to benefit from all your hard work, though. I'm always discovering plants you haven't shown us before. In spite of having more time than ever before, I always seem to fall behind on blog reading and commenting. I'm starting to wonder how I managed when I was working full-time! xxx

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    1. Exactly! Jon says the trolley aisle is really slow and subject to huge queues, it's much easier to get a little twice a week and not spend as much time in the hateful supermarket. Our chaps are working in sync!
      It was lovely to catch up with Liz and Al, this week has felt quite normal!
      New plants seem to pop up all the time, it's so exciting. We discovered beans this morning!
      I love it when I'm up-to-date on commenting and reading blogs but it;s so easy to fall behind, isn't it? xxx

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  15. You are going to be able to look at your beautiful garden for years to come and enjoy all your work that you're putting in now, Vix. It's truly beautiful. Don't get me started on people with dogs! They use our front lawn as their bathroom (the dogs, not the people although...we do have a lot of skeevy people around!).

    Love your caftan, and how nice to have a wee booze-up with friends. Stephen looks so pleased with himself, basking there. Happy weekend, my dear friend.

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    1. Thanks so much, Sheila! I've loved spending time in the garden over these last few months, I never thought I would have taken to gardening as much as I have. You live and learn!
      "Skeevy" - I'm liking that word!
      Sending much love to you from me and the lads! xxx

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  16. I love your woodland Vix-the lads must be so happy and I imagine also home for lots of birds and wildlife x

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    1. Thanks, Flis! We've had a convention of long tailed tits this afternoon, not sure how they heard about us! xxx

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  17. I commented on this post yesterday but used my phone to comment and it's disappeared - bugger!

    Fab flowers; such lovely colours and variety. Loved the outfits.

    It's so nice to visit friends. One of the things I missed most about lockdown; not being able to pop in and see a friend...

    I'm intrigued about the ebay purchase...

    Take care
    xxx

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    1. I hate it when that happens! Thanks for trying again.
      The eBay purchase has just been despatched, yay! xxx

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  18. Perhaps you've got a new future as high paid gardeners ;)
    It really is remarkable all that the two of you have been able to accomplish.

    That photo of Stephen luxuriating in the sun should be some sort of meme! It is a wonderful photo.

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    1. Before he joined the band Jon worked as a council gardener, I'm not sure his knees could cope to do it full time any more unless it was on a Mediterranean island in the sunshine!
      Stephen is a nightmare to photograph, he never keeps still. That's his favourite position, belly out! xxx

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  19. How did you/Jon achieve that poached egg perfection? (Please don't tell me you do the drop-egg-in-swirling water trick.) That foodie porn pix is so delicious I'll even overlook the presence of beans (which I've never been able to accept on breakfast menu).
    Second question: What are those fabulous yellow pom poms on Liz's feet?

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    1. Hello Beth! We use one of those 1970s egg poaching pans (they still make them!), fill the pan with water, bring to the boil, crack the egg in the greased compartment, put the lid on and leave to simmer for as long as it takes to set. Perfect looking eggs every time!
      Jon hated baked beans when I met him, at any time of day, it's taken me years to get him used to my way of thinking!
      Aren't Liz's sandals amazing? They're a posh label, yellow leather mules with huge raffia pompoms - she found them in a clearance shop for an absurb price (lucky girl, she has tiny feet!) xxx

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  20. The dusty millers look great...
    My daughter had a problem with a man walking his dog in front of her house and not cleaning up its mess. She had purchased some collectible salt and pepper shakers and the pepper was full. Instead of discarding it, she sprinkled it along the edge of her yard. Plain ground black pepper...
    Now the dog doesn’t linger or leave the sidewalk in front of her house. Unsure how long it will work, but it’s been a couple of weeks and still seems effective.

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    1. Hello Kelly! Thanks for your comment. I love your suggestion of using black pepper as a deterent, I'm definitely going to try that! xxx

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  21. The front of your house is looking very smart. Your houseplants are well kept too. I've read through your list of jobs and mentally ticked off those I need to do. I did cut back my delphiniums this weekend and also the wild patch, which looked decidedly dead. You have so much colour in your garden, its stunning.
    Gin and rock buns sound like a decidedly decadent way to spend your afternoon theses days, any days really!
    Have a good week, fingers crossed for the weather. xxx

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    1. Thanks, Sally! One day the front of the house will be sorted out properly but it certainly looks a bit better now.
      One of our neighbours said she chopped her delphiniums down last year hoping for durther blooms but it didn't work, I hope we have better luck and we get a second showing.
      What a difference from today and yesterday, mind you a day in my bikini did me the power of good. xxx

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  22. Your very long garden list of jobs is impressive! Such energy you have!! Flowers are looking absolutely fabulous. I cut my wild geranium back and now it is growing back. Thanks to your advice - via Gardener's World (which I don't often watch, I did watch the woman last week who was very inspiring about conserving water). Best regards, Carole.

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    1. Hello Carole! I hadn't watched Gardener's World for years but I'm really enjoying it now. Wasmn't that lady with her water saving ideas inspirational? I love the tip about saving the bees with an upturned plant pot carefully positioned in the bowl. xxx

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  23. Your garden is looking so amazing and colorful, love to see all the blooming flowers!, such beautiful pictures!. And you did a great job creating a 'front garden' so it doesn't look so appealing to dog owners. (Anyway, people can be pretty inconsiderate!)
    It's so lovely that you could visit your friends and enjoy some chatting, sunshine and gin!. I totally agree with previous comments, Liz wear some fab pom-pom shoes.
    No wonder you wear this kaftan frequently, You Totally Rock It!. Gorgeous!
    besos

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    1. Thanks, Monica! It was lovely to spend time with friends, i should have got a close-up of Liz's amazing pompom mules, they're wonderful! xxx

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  24. No need to apologise for not visiting mine; I've had several weeks off the blog trail! It's really nice catching up with everyone's adventures, though. You've put in loads of work in your garden. You've got such lovely big trees!

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    1. I'm almost up-to-date, I think! I get so much pleasure from reading blogs and then get into a ricght flap when I fall behind. Good on you for taking a break! xxx

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  25. Wow! that was quite a days work, I think you earned a rum or several. Just look at the those beautiful colours and textures in your garden!
    xx

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  26. Your garden looks endless sometimes. So much greenery and spirit in it.
    I love that kaftan and the brown belt you wore with it is fabulous.

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  27. Your garden really is a thing of beauty. Just reading your to-do list made me tired ;).

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Thank you for leaving a comment. If you have a blog I'll pop over and return the favour.

Lots of love, Vix