Christmas Begins

Apparently no one I know wants to admit that the year is almost over and that Christmas is almost upon us again. But the evidence is everywhere even for one who avoids shops like the plague. And it's becoming especially apparent in our house.

DH, who is perhaps bored after having had a few weeks off work following surgery, and who has obviously had too much time to think, decided that he was going to redo our driftwood Christmas tree. He has talked about making a new and better one ever since he put our first one together back in 2015. Between seasons it has lived outside, exposed to the weather and animals, and being used to store gardening implements that I am too lazy to put away. Recently a branch broke and DH decided that there was No Way that tree was coming inside this year.

With such an ultimatum, we had no choice but to round up some willing helpers at short notice (aka The Most Adorable Granddaughters#4 and #5) and head to the beach to collect driftwood. DH's initia…

Not Sponsored

"Why would you bother?" Son#1 asked when I informed him there was a solid bar of shampoo in the bathroom if he wanted to use it.
I could have given him plenty of reasons … less wastage, less nasty chemicals, pH balanced, they last longer than a normal bottle of shampoo, no plastic containers to be gotten rid of, they work with hard water (unlike soap-based shampoo bars), no squirting cold shampoo onto your scalp first thing in the morning (am I the only person who has an aversion to this), etcetera, etcetera. But the real reason I love the shampoo bars from Ethique is that my hair has never consistently felt this soft. Even DH has commented on it - without prompting on my part. 
In the past, having engaged in a looooooooooong period of trial and error with soap-based shampoo bars (which never worked with our hard water) there was no adjustment required in learning how to use the shampoo bars: wet the hair, lather up the bar in the hands or rub gently over the scalp a few ti…

The Real Reason

I've been potting up peppermint geranium to discourage coddling moth, and planting borage and calendula and alyssum and johnny-john-ups and nasturtium to encourage beneficial insects into my orchard garden, but it seems that the real threat is not from bugs, or even slugs or birds. No, this is the real threat (at least to my strawberries) ...

After picking fifty or more strawberries of varying degrees of ripeness, The Most Adorable Granddaughters sat down to enjoy the still warm fruit. I'm not sure I enjoy it at a warmer temperature than room temp but The Most Adorable Granddaughters appeared to, even going back for seconds which were definitely on the green side.

Unfortunately, given the fact that the majority of our fruit trees are young and/or small, they won't be picking fifty apples or pears, nectarines or plumcots, or even grapes or blueberries apiece this year.

I'd been under the illusion for far too long that I plant and weed and prune and water to produce fru…

A Blank Page

I love books. Which shouldn't be that surprising since I'm a writer after all. I will re-read a favourite book over and over again. For that reason, I do not give books away (lend yes, give away permanently, no). If I've lent a book out and it fails to come back, I will remember it for years afterwards and will feel as if I've lost a friend.

I'm not an e-book fan, although I have been known to purchase an e-book or two when the book I'm wanting is out of print. And I would resort to e-books if I were to go away for any length of time where one or even two books in my suitcase would not suffice.

But there's another kind of book I really love.



Softcover. Hardcover. Spiral bound. It doesn't matter. I love them all.

(For the record I hate diaries and even though I buy one every year for work I rarely write in it and never check to see if I have an appointment etc. I think next year I'll just get myself a pretty notebook and use that…

From The Mouths of Babes

The Most Adorable Granddaughter in the World#3, aged 7-1/2 years, on viewing my garden: "Nana, you have a lot of weeds." [Seedlings, darling, seedlings. And I grew them deliberately.]

The Most Adorable Granddaughter in the World#4, aged 7 years, after I told her I wasn't going to let her wear make-up to church and that if it was up to me, she wouldn't wear make-up before she turned eighteen: "No one needs make-up." A pause, then, "Except you." [Thanks, sweetheart. I'll remember that when next I write my will.]

The Most Adorable Granddaughter in the World#5, aged just 6, after she'd checked on their elderly neighbour yesterday after our 6.2 earthquake: "The first few knocks he didn't answer, so I wasn't sure if he was out, or dead, or watching TV." [I wonder what she would have done if he had been dead?]

The Most Adorable Granddaughter#6, aged almost 4, on the weekend: "I hate being three. I want to be four and then …


Officially we are still in the midst of renovations even though our builder has taken - with our knowledge and approval - a hiatus and won't return for another three weeks or so. (By my calculations this means we'll be in a super muddle right on Christmas.) Neither room is fully complete: both are waiting on doors of one kind or another, and DH has to sand and seal and paint the existing doors to both rooms.

He has made a start and had a little helper yesterday:

Her older sisters preferred to spend time with two of their uncles:

So while DH sanded and painted, and Sons#4 and #5 played games, I was also productive. One finished square of my Sediment Scrap Blanket has been patiently waiting for far too long to have the ends woven in and so I decided to attack this task as it's not one that requires a lot of concentration. To my surprise, I finished this square and also managed to weave in all the ends on the other three unfinished squares. I'll still have more to do onc…