Brilliant Brighton

pao had to go on a training course in Brighton last week and I was able to head down there after work on Thursday evening. It is such an amazing place, I don’t know where to begin. You walk out of the station and find rows of scooters outside!

Brighton is full of interesting looking people. It is quite bohemian place so there is lots of variety. Lots of small shops and independent businesses.

Brighton Pier is world famous

and much fun was to be had!

It was great to be by the sea at sunset 🙂

It was wonderful to see pao again after being five days apart 🙂 More on my trip tomorrow as we’ve been mega busy since we got back yesterday.

Why I won’t have trouble seeing in the dark this week

I spent a little while this morning thinning out the carrots we’ve been growing in a pot on the patio. There are loads of them – these are just the thinnings and there are more to come still.

I’ve just seen my first tomato. I grew three types this year: Marmande, Craigella and some tiny tomatoes but mixed the plants up so I will have a surprise when they come out as will all the other hapless souls I’ve pressed tomato plants on this year. pao’s grandmother also kindly grew a load of tomatoes for me so I’ve got Moneymaker, Gardener’s Delight and Romana tomatoes growing as well. I was very excited to see the Marmande were the first to fruit this morning! They look like they will be big tomatoes. I’d better start making room in the freezer and collecting containers and growing basil as I see tomato sauce in my near future!!

I harvested these radishes yesterday and I’m looking forward to trying Deb’s suggestion for them on white bread with butter and salt later on tonight.

I’m also starting to see courgettes (zucchini). I’m growing two types: round ones which I started off myself

Long ones which I got off someone at work. Thank you to Mary B for her explanation about the male and female flowers. I may well have dug them up as duffers otherwise.

I know you aren’t supposed to transplant beetroot but I wanted to make a bit more room for growth in the pot so we moved some plants to a blank spot in our raised bed. They looked like this last week and are too sad to photograph this week. I did notice some new leaves so they might perk up and surprise me with some growth or just become slug fodder.

My garden supervisor is on holiday this week so Merlin has reluctantly taken on the role. However, he likes potatoes, couch potatoes like himself.

Wandering through Wolverhampton

I had slightly longer to enjoy the delights of Wolverhampton this year as I had two days there.

I found this amazing marble entryway in the University. As the last time I’d visited I’d been in and out of the same building all day long, it was a nice surprise to find this beautiful entryway.

Just outside is St Peter’s Church which has a beautiful garden surrounding it.

There was also a lovely fountain in the garden

and very pretty roses. I could have spent a while relaxing in the garden but I was looking for a chemist – I’d woken at 4.30am with a terrible sore throat and then my tummy started to act a bit funny at 6am. I asked a load of friends to pray and thank God I was ok at 10.30 when we were giving our paper.

I was fortunate enough to be able to visit a good friend on the Wednesday night and meet her gorgeous kitty cats. Esther and I became firm friends. Esther likes to be carried around so I was a willing servant 🙂

Rachel was very timid but sweet nevertheless. We did manage a scritch when I was leaving and she purred and purred.


The conference in Wolverhampton went really really well and my co-presenter arrived ok on the day, our paper was well-received and I made it there and back again in good time despite the Tube strike. In fact, the overground train and walking route to Euston was so good that I’d do it anyway rather than taking the silly up and down Tube route I’d always taken.

Now I’m back ‘ome again as Lynne would say, I can take up with my continuing tale of my London trip.
We headed off by Tube to find another yarn shop. I was delighted when I heard that Socktopus was going to be open every Saturday so we were deciding on the Tube whether to go there or to Stash a couple of stops further on on the off-chance Nic was working there.
Socktopus won out and we nipped into a taxi to rest our weary feet a bit and soon we were standing in Lots Road a bit confused. Luckily I’d printed out Alice’s instructions from the Socktopus website and we figured that we should be in the next street and were soon sitting down drinking Orangina and chatting merrily to Alice.

It is a lovely lovely shop and we had a great time chatting. I got to see the new KnitKit but decided I didn’t like it too much because it was much bigger than I thought it would be and a bit more clunky.

The roving looked delicious but I managed to resist this time…

I did get some yarn though. Very dreamy yarn and a project bag. I couldn’t resist the sheep!

After we left the shop, we got a bus towards Victoria where we were planning to eat dinner at the brand new Giraffe that has just opened a couple of days before. The pull of the shiny shops we were passing on the Kings Road was just too strong so we got off the bus and started walking. I can’t actually say how long or far we walked but nipping in and out of great shops to browse was fun and we eventually got to Victoria, dinner and a gallon of water after all that walking!!

It was a marvellous day. Great fun! Thanks, Vicki!

A tasty trek

It wasn’t long after we left Scooterworks, we bought felt a bit peckish and figured we’d find something to eat on the way when we stumbled on an outdoor food fair.

Marvellous! We checked out all of the options munching one of these tasty cheese straws from one of the bakery stalls and trying samples offered by friendly stall holders.

It was difficult to walk away from these delicious tarts

and gingerbread men but they would have been hard to get home in less than crumbs.

After a feast of grilled halloumi and lamb kofta rolls from a Lebanese food stall, I came away with three jars of Portuguese marmalade and some truffle honey which is delicious on cheese. The porcelain honey pot is from Fortnum and Masons which we eventually got eventually 🙂

We stopped enroute in St Martin in the Fields church for a cup of tea and sit down but the cafe in the crypt was busy, warm and full up so we moved on to the National Gallery next door for a well-deserved sit down but not before we had chance to admire the amazing window in the church.

pao was very pleased with his Builder’s Tea and saffron cake I brought back for him.

I’m off to Wolverhampton to a conference early tomorrow morning so won’t be blogging for a couple of days. We’re giving a paper on Thursday morning so wish me luck as I only finished writing my bit of what we are going to say at 6pm this evening and I’m only meeting my co-presenter to go through it a mere hour before we go on. Oh, and there is a Tube strike so any sane person would keep well away from London at this time – not me though. So I’ll be back on Thursday night at some time but not sure when. Better go and pack now as I have a very early start in the morning and I didn’t really understand why I have to change trains twice before I get to London tomorrow?

Big Day Out

Vicki and I have been planning a day out in London for a while now. It would have been last month but unforeseen circumstances meant it was this weekend instead and in a way it turned out to be perfect timing.

It was pouring with rain in London when I arrived at Waterloo on an earlier train than planned and I discovered iKnit doesn’t actually open until 11 so I had a few minutes looking at chocolate bars in Greensmiths and watching these two pigeons having a bath in the puddles.

It wasn’t long til Vicki arrived and we started out with a nip into iKnit to feed my addiction buy some yarny gifts for friends and coo over the Easy Knit Sushi rolls. I did put the Sushi rolls back on the shelf as we were planning to go to another yarn shop in the afternoon but I did get a bit of fleece and some Schoppel Wolle Zauerball.

With help from the iKnit guys, we managed to find the Scooterworks cafe on Lower Marsh.

With its unassuming exterior, we would not have found it without help but inside it was amazing.

And there was a gorgeous cat called Bobcattina and she was beautiful and friendly and enjoyed playing with Vicki’s camera strap. She strolled about as if she owned the place. Bliss!

By the time we left the cafe, the rain had stopped so we took the walking route to Fortnum and Mason but more of that tomorrow as it took us several hours to walk the 20 minute route I’d found.

Prettiness on a cold Friday

We’ve had some amazing warm lovely weather all week until today. It is so cold we have actually turned the heating on. So whilst we’re waiting for our chocolate marmalade cake to finish cooking to give us something warm to eat, here are some pretties to keep my mind off the chill.

I spotted this beautiful rose earlier this week.

I can’t believe only a couple of days ago we were sitting by the duck pond shaded from the hot sun by these lovely trees.

Toffee apple pudding I made a little while ago. The golden glowiness of the pudding makes me smile.

But, for me, there is nothing as nice as a pair of happy pussy cats.

Small, furry and cute

We had a small furry friend at work last week: Joey the Hamster. He was cute and loved being cuddled 🙂 I did think for a split second that I’d like a pet hamster until I realised he would be stressed out by all the cat attention he’d get.

And let’s face it : Ophelia would be jealous.

How does my garden grow

My mostly potted garden is coming along nicely since we last looked... there has been lots growing and the sun is finally shining.

The radishes have shot up and are almost ready for picking – they are broad bean sized at the moment so I reckon a week or more and they’ll be ready to pick.

pao’s carrots and beetroot have really flourished..

The potatoes are shooting up. That reminds me that I must go and earth them up.

These are just a few of the many tomato plants I’ve planted.

This is the first year I’ve had better luck with courgettes. I’m puzzled though, the flowers keep growing then dying and nothing happens but I have new flowers again?

Not all of my plants were happy. I’d rigged up some nice stakes and strings for my cucumber plants and planted them all out but the slugs ate the lot 🙁

I love the little apple-lets on the trees 🙂

Ariel likes to supervise when I’m in the garden.