Premium service, thank you

They love being outside at night time, the cats.  They’ve dozed all day in the heat, and they come alive in the cool of the evening.  Sometimes they refuse to come in at bedtime, and stay out on patrol all night.  Uncle Herbert howls outside the kitchen when he wants to come in.  Sometimes as early as 5am.  But last night the howling started a lot earlier than that…at 12.15 am!  Yes, I had been asleep for all of 40 minutes.

IMG_1383

Uncle Herbert

I went downstairs to the kitchen and opened the door.  Herbert was sitting on the path, but instead of darting inside, he just stared at me and howled again.

Animals are very intelligent and they do their best to communicate with us.  So what was he trying to tell me?  A shape appeared at the gate.  It was Monty!  Then I understood – Herbert did not want Monty to be left outside on his own.  He would not come in without Monty!

IMG_1386

Monty

Now, there are 2 routes into our garden when the gate is shut.  Over the low wall at the back, or over the high wall via the tree platforms at the front.  But Monty was sitting outside the gate, saying ‘Meeeh!’  Despite his considerable size, he sounds like a little mouse.  After 8 years, I still find it slightly surprising.

‘Meeeeh!’  he said again.  I have learned what this means, when he sits outside the gate.  It means ‘I would like Premium service, human.  I do not wish to navigate the wheelie bin, the high wall, and the tree platforms, in order to get into the garden, on this occasion, thank you’.

So, in pyjamas and bare feet, I went down the steps, opened the gate, picked up all 8kgs of Monty, and carried him into the house, with Uncle Herbert trotting after us.

And where was Larry, when all this was going on?  He was asleep in bed with the OH, being a good boy, for once.

IMG_1403

Larry

 

An Award!

An Award!

An Award!

Jackie at Knittingwithheart has kindly nominated me for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. Thank you so much Jackie for following my blog and for thinking of me. It’s almost a year since I started this blog and not only is it great fun to be part of an online community, but it also keeps me motivated. I aim to post once a week and I like to be disciplined about that and make sure I have something new to share.

I am loving the beautiful copper sun symbol of this award, and amazingly enough we have had lots of sun here in Sheffield, UK. But this is northern UK sun. So it’s not ever so warm, not warm enough to make you uncomfortable, but pleasantly warm.  Warm enough to have the windows open and to go outside without a jacket or a cardigan. Our sun also hides behind clouds quite a lot and sends us the odd shower, so you don’t really need your sunglasses on because there’s no harsh glare, and the summer rain makes the garden grow, nice and lush.

Ha! I’m such a northern European, eh?

We have lots of trees in our garden so it’s nice and shady, perfect for maintaining my pasty-white northern European features. Sometimes I move my chair to sit in the sun, just for the sheer novelty of feeling its warmth. As for ‘getting a tan’, that’s more likely to happen whilst I’m out and about in the fields walking the dogs.

My shady garden

My shady garden

The round thing on the left is a copper sun garden ornament hanging on the climbing rose – how appropriate for this post!

The roses are just starting and their scent is wonderful.  The honeysuckle is well-established and rampant, covering the entire trellis from wall to wall, and because Spring was so late this year we have honeysuckle at the same time as the roses.

IMG_2622

Competing with the honeysuckle on the trellis and just about holding its own, is my clematis, the gloriously-named Crystal Fountain Fairy Blue.IMG_2664

When the outer petals fade and drop off, the centres stay, leaving us with little puffballs of blue dotted around the trellis.

Also competing with the honeysuckle on the trellis is the rare species known as Little Herb.

View from the kitchen window - Herbie

View from the kitchen window – Herbie

He likes to hang out on the wall with the stone lion, overseeing the garden and plucking bees off the honeysuckle.

But back to the point – the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award nominees. I am very happy to nominate these wonderful and inspirational blogs: Buzy Day, Stitch and Purl, All Kinds of Knitting, Lana Plantae, Agujas Blog, Skyscrapers and String, Measured and Slow, All She Wants to do is Knit, Montana Designs, Hollis Plample, A Tangled Yarn Knitting Adventure, Introverted Knitter, My Spare Moments, Pipknits.

Spread the sunshine, until next time!

L x

Garden Planting

Now that the weather is warmer, I thought it was high time to put some flowers in my garden. Usually I would do this around Easter, but this year Spring has come late. I went to a garden centre towards the end of April and there was almost nothing there: a few sad herbs and no bedding plants at all. So my garden has been looking quite empty.

Amazingly, this little primrose survived the big freeze and is giving me a perfect splash of colour.

IMG_2367

I bought a cat mint plant, and to give it the best chance of survival, I planted it in my hanging basket.

"Cats adore this plant"

“Cats adore this plant”

My garden is surrounded by tall trees so it doesn’t get much light. I love it because it’s cool and shady and private, but some plants struggle to flower here.  Last year there were no flowers at all on my rhododendron. But this year, wow! I have just one, single, perfect bloom.

IMG_2391

On my Sunday dog-walks I have been checking out the many local footpaths which lead from suburbia into the allotments, woods, fields, and down to the river valley at Rivelin. Last week I noticed that there was going to be a plant sale at the allotment society HQ. That was surely the place to go for stocking my garden: locally-raised plants at good prices. I went along yesterday and did really well. They had a good range including herbs, fruit and veg. I was in the market for nasturtiums: they apparently thrive on poor soil (check) and grow like weeds (check) and give plenty of colour and ground cover (check, and check). Well, there were loads of them for sale at only 50p. I also got some petunia, nicotiana, and some geraniums with this glorious variegated red leaf.

Already pretty, even before the flowers come.

Already pretty, even before the flowers come.

I bought a nice little plant with delicate white flowers called Woodruff. They said it was a perennial so I thought I would buy it and see if it manages to survive for more than one season. Well, as luck would have it, a quick check on Wiki tells me it could hardly be more perfect for my shady plot. ‘Prefers partial to full shade’, ‘ideal as ground cover in woody gardens’, ‘strongly scented’. It is also known as ‘sweet woodruff”, ‘wild baby’s breath’, or ‘master of the woods’. I have high hopes for this one!

Larry has taken over the plant box

Larry has taken over the plant box

As always, Larry and Monty were on hand to observe the planting and to give their advice.

Monty is supervising

Monty is supervising

Till next time,

L x