Sunday, 2 February 2014

the first February weekend

I am enjoying a lovely weekend, well deserved after a stressful week. My weekend already started on Friday morning, when my friend Christine and I went to the garden centre for lunch. At the off chance of sounding middle aged (which I officially am), I am admitting to be partial to a vist to the garden centre. Particularly without children.

 


I would really love to say that the garden centre we visited was quaint and perky with devoted gardeners growing their own plants and offering help to city dwellers, just like the one near my mum's home in Switzerland, but unfortunately, it is a chain with elusive staff and a cheesy home furnishings/decorations section. Who would want to display in their house a whitewashed wooden sign saying "love"? My house oozes love from all its cracks and dusty corners and I feel no desire to advertise the fact. But I digress, taste is personal and there must be a market for such items otherwise the chains wouldn't bother, would they?
 
 
Every year I get exited by the herb displays, the lovely flowering plants and shrubs, the fruit trees and the beautiful pots. Unfortunately, I am not a patient gardener. In fact, I am not a gardener at all. I would happily live in a top floor tenement flat with a couple of window boxes for greenery. But unfortunately a top floor flat leaves little space for a 10 foot trampoline and it is not great for playing football either. We live in a large late 1920's semi-detached pebble dash with a large garden to accommodate all the play equipment that four children of various ages might "need". It is great actually, despite the unpromising exterior. The garden is Richard's domain and he likes it "simple", which I think might be a synonym for "neglected" in this instance. There are no planned flower and vegetable beds but there is still an abundance of flowering plants and some edibles, too. We used to have a vegetable garden but this is now the trampoline area to free the lawn for football... and the vegetables are wherever there is a space.
 
 
Our climate is not very vegetable friendly but we have in the past grown greens, broccoli, courgettes, peas and we always have lots of rhubarb. The Scottish climate is great for soft fruit though and we have red currant bushes, blueberries and lots and lots of wild strawberries. I am hoping to add raspberry canes but we had some disease problems with those in the past.



Every year, I decide to become a gardener but usually give up after a couple of visits to the garden centre and an afternoon of digging. I don't like soil under my bitten fingernails. Nevertheless, I have over the years slowly and with limited but visible success identified hardy flowering perennials that add colour to the garden without big effort. This year I am going to sew some flowers, hoping some will grow back in the years to come. I bought seeds: snap dragons, daisies, achillea and a seed packet with a mix of annuals. I also bought ranunulus corms because I felt inspired by Leanne's give away last week.
 
 
At the garden centre, I took pictures of plants that I like to remind myself at home what they were. I might spend an hour or so consulting Dr Google before deciding to purchase new plants because in the past I have wasted lots of money on plants that don't really like to grow where I plant them. I really liked something called witch hazel but Wikipedia describes it as a shrub that grows to 4 metres, which is on the large side. I would also like a small rhododendron bush, these I know will do well because rhododendrons are everywhere here, foreign invaders but beautiful in Spring.


I did forget to buy seed compost for my new seeds but this gives me an excuse to go back to the garden centre, maybe after I have done my research.

The rest of the weekend was equally pleasant, with a selection of highlights below.

Personal successes:

  • I went to a great ladies only Birthday party on Friday night (making sure I was absolutely certain whose Birthday it was this time). I was amongst the last to leave, after "curfew" actually. I felt like a social animal, partying away is not my strength but wonderful friends have a liberating effect on me. Having more or less lived in felted slippers or trainers for six weeks, my feet were killing me after an evening on heels (my beloved Doc Martens high heels).
  • I spent every free minute knitting and have nearly finished the February socks and knitted the sleeves onto the baby cardigan I am making.
  • I also nearly finished reading my January read "The plot against America" by Philip Roth

Family news:

  • James was not only worker/pupil of the week but also star of the session at football. A successful week for a wee man who often struggles with the demands of a busy six year olds live.
  • Annie made lovely peanut butter fairy cakes (practising for book group next month apparently). She also made pancakes for Sunday breakfast and cleaned up the mess she made.
  • Sam got dressed on Saturday AND on Sunday.
  • Richard was too ill to go cycling for the third week in a row and finally went to see a doctor. Bronchitis (pneumonia not excluded). I hope he is getting better soon, although he tells me that the medication he was prescribed gives him the shakes...
  • Alistair ate his dinner on Saturday without leaving the table needing a pee, then a poo and then because he can't find the strength to lift his fork (a daily ritual).
  • We watched Mary Poppins together (Sam didn't)
  • And finally, Sam's weird question of the week was: "Mummy, what do you think the frogs were thinking when they were raining down from the sky?" which narrowly beat "Mummy, what would you do if it rained chips with salt and vinegar?" I do hope that he ponders more useful questions, too. He is probably just winding me up.

Thus refreshed, I feel ready for the new week. I think it will be a good one and hope yours will be, too. Cx

P.S. I didn't get the post I was interviewed for (there were 8 candidates) but I was interviewed, which is more than I expected after a 5 year break from research. Other opportunities are on the horizon already. Thanks for the good luck wishes!

17 comments:

  1. Firstly, visiting garden nurseries is most decidedly not middle aged ( I for one have loved them since I was a teenager, and so does my boy too actually), secondly you just need some lovely gloves to avoid the nails issue and thirdly your Sam is a complete cracker. Tell him from me if it was raining chips with salt and vinegar you would find me outside with a bucket on a recliner with my mouth wide open! mel x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny, I never thought of gloves... why on earth not? You are right, Sam is eccentric to say the least but I never get bored with him. I have this imaged lodged in my mind of you catching chips now... Cx

      Delete
  2. Ps forgot to add, good luck with the job stuff, daunting to get back on the horse after a long break but you did it! mel x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello! Found your blog while wandering around the net, and enjoyed reading about your gardening trials and tribulations. I too enjoy an occasional visit to a garden centre (although, you're right, they do seem to flog a lot of tat these days, as well as plants), but my after many attempts to be a proficiently green-fingered, I limit my activity in the garden these days to sitting on the patio with a nice glass of wine when the sun comes out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to my space Caroline and thanks for visiting. I think I might do what you do in the garden, enjoying a glass of wine when the sun comes out. A rare occurrence in Scotland.... Cx

      Delete
  4. Good for you, Christina! You've had a lot of nice things going on lately. I love garden centers too, and have been craving a walk around one. Hopefully I'll have some time for that soon. I'm glad you had a great time at the party! Sorry to hear about the job, but I know the right one is just waiting for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jennifer, I do hope to find a job I love at some point. In the meantime, I have more time for blogging, which is great! Cx

      Delete
  5. Such a nice post. Your family news made me smile; my four year old son always, always, leaves the table to go to the loo just as he's sat down to eat...every time. Drives me mad. Garden centres are fun and I love going in the Spring, thinking about what I might like to plant. Good luck with the return to work. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Gillian for the good luck wishes. I sometimes can't eat dinner with the family because I get so annoyed about Ali leaving the table a hundred times.... Cx

      Delete
  6. I love a visit to the garden centre too. One of our local ones has the naff homewares section too, but we've got a lovely garden shop in town that just sells plants and seeds and garden sundries. I much prefer it. I hope you get on okay with all of your flowers this year, I'll be interested to see how they do. Brilliant questions from your little man. I like to write down the funny things they say. And every so often we read them out and laugh. Sorry about the job, but I'm glad there are other possibilities. Very often things work out for the best in the end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I had written down the funny things the kids have said over the years.... Sam is 13 but still a little kid at heart. It is funny with my job search. I want to work and I don't want to work. So maybe it is better not to be successful until I have really made my mind up... Cx

      Delete
  7. How nice to leisurely visit the garden centre without the children, sometimes it's nice to have a good browse so you can go home and plan what you would like to try this year in your garden. Those seeds are a good start and hardy annuals are always so colourful and reliable from seed.
    My own garden is in the middle of being transformed (started last summer but the weather and life stopped progress) Once I have all the structural work completed I can start thinking about plants.
    Good luck with your job hunting :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have dreams of my garden being transformed by professionals... it is on a steep hill with terraces and not very practical. I hope yours will just like you have imagined it. Cx

      Delete
  8. I do enjoy reading your posts Christina; I forgot to say how you made me laugh by turning up the party thinking it was someone else's!
    I'm not much of a gardener either but any moments browsing and lunching with a friend is to be savoured I think.
    How lovely to find so many nice moments in your weekend, have a great week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was mortified at the first party but my life is like that.... Have a great week, too! Cx

      Delete
  9. I love going to the nursery! It's up there with yarn shops for me - now who's sounding middle-aged!?! Love reading your family news - lots of lovely stuff going on there and very best wishes/good luck for the job search. I can't imagine going for an interview after the almost 9 years I've had 'off' from paid employment so kudos to you for putting yourself back out there. Haver a lovely week! Mel x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yarn shops are my favourite type of shops! Thanks for the good luck wishes, I will need it. I never really had to search for employment, it always just happened but my luck must be running out. I am just changing career path, not properly returning to work so should not whinge if things don't work out first time. Have a lovely week, too. Cx

      Delete