return of the lavender plants

When we moved into this house back in 1991 we had the most gorgeous lavender plant just outside the back door. The smell in late summer was heavenly but it was beginning to get a bit woody in the middle so i cut it all back to what i thought was fresh growth even though i was not and am not a gardener. 
Well you can probably guess that i actually ended up killing it and it never grew back. 
Lately i have been getting back into gardening again with my small herb pots, strawberry plants and geraniums so yesterday when i saw 3 lavender plants for £4 at my local boot fair i just fancied giving them a go. I got one each of three varieties.
Devonshire compact (french lavender)
Madrid Bella Pink
They are in full sun and ive been told not to over water them so, take the secateurs away from me and they may last.
Gill x

WW1 battlefields and fallen ancestors

I have been fascinated by the First World War for over 30 years now ever since i read Vera Brittain’s book ‘A Testament of Youth’ which told of her life as a V.A.D nurse in WW1 and how she tragically lost her brother, fiance and many male friends in the conflict.
Since getting involved with tracing my family history I have begun searching for any ancestors who could have been involved.  A lot of the records have been damaged and lost over time and so out of over 30 possible ancestors i have only found a small handful of records that tell me what happened to them.
Two of them: James William Reynolds and John Lilley are mentioned on the Menin Gate. My friend Penny recently visited the battlefield cemeteries and kindly took these photos for me.
John Lilley was my great grandmother’s nephew. They lived in Bishops Stortford, Herts. He was already a soldier at the outbreak of WW1 having served in Bermuda and Jamaica in 1911. He died at Ypres in 1914.
James William Reynolds was the son of my great grandfather, William James Reynolds from his first marriage to Catherine Fielder. They came from Poplar in Middlesex. He was just 27 when he died in 1916 and according to records both his brothers fell too though i have failed to find any records for them sadly.
Penny also very kindly sent me a lovely package of brochures and postcards from her trip to Belgium. Thank you dear friend.
With the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WW1 beginning in January next year it is going to be a fascinating time.
Gill x

my mini herb garden and other flowers

Following on from my last post i dragged the hubby to the local garden centre and having decided to start slowly i bought 2 packets of herb seeds.
Some basil and some garlic chives.
I also bought 3 geraniums which were going really cheap, 2 large bags of miracle gro compost and hubby bought a strawberry plant which had 3 strawberries on it. 
I put the geraniums and the strawberry plant in existing planters on the wall of hubbies shed (dont they just love shed’s men?)
And then sowed my herb seeds in small pots which i wanted to store on the patio but needed to keep away from nosy, hungry chickens.
i built a small brick wall round the pots, not cemented together mind you and hubby bent the edges of some wire to put over the top.
Hmm, dont look like much right now do they. Check back in a few weeks and there should be signs of seedlings coming through.
Finally my pineapple Lily plant comes up each year and is so special when the flowers are fully out.
I really do enjoy growing things. Its such a thrill when the first seedling pokes its head through the soil to reach out for the suns warmth and light. 
I am lucky.
Gill x

Grow your own – on a budget

Last weekend we visited my lovely sister in law who has the most amazing veggie garden which she tends every year. Runner beans, tomatoes, leeks, garlic and now this year potatoes and some ginger too and she has inspired me to make a small veggie garden of my own.

I’m going to begin with grow bags or large containers of compost mainly because our garden is rather neglected and has no large dug beds to speak of and I don’t think I want to be digging hard, compacted, dry soil this time of year.

I’ve identified some veggies that can be sown as late as July or even August. Now I just need to find a way to protect the bags from the hens and garden birds who visit us. i thought i would challenge myself to do this for as cheap as i could thus making the veggies grown a real bargain.

I had thought about some netting draped over the bag resting on tall sticks above the plants so making a tent kind of thing and then bricks around the bottom to hold it down. I wondered if I could scrounge some old net curtains from friends and family. We also have a huge roll of wire mesh bought from a friend after they gave up their chooks last year.

I’ve decided I’m going to grow peas, French beans and spinach as they are all really quick and can be picked in 6 weeks or so which is my kind of gardening. I don’t have the patience to wait months for a carrot to grow only to find its no bigger than my thumb when I finally dig it up.

I’ve been reading up online about plants and tidying the patio to make way my purchases.

Let the growing begin.

New goodies, new projects, new skills

I’ve been shopping, at Hobbycraft

I had so much fun with my treasure chest that I just had have another go, so,

I bought this

Yes I know it looks creepy. My son saw it and said why have you got a severed hand on your desk?

I am actually planning to use it to hold my necklaces to stop them from getting twisted up.

I also bought these

The only problem is – I can’t crochet!

So, I’m hoping some of you wonderful people who visit me will give me oodles of advice and encouragement to make this

There is an interactive video that goes with it and I can look at various You Tube vids but if I get stuck I hope some one knows what. Ch9, dc9 in front loops means???

Do be honest and let me know if this is an advanced pattern or else my lack of patience will cause it to be hurled out the window.

Well that’s me, I’m off to glue, crochet and scream a lot.


I have tried, honest i have to learn to crochet but its defeated me so i am knitting it instead. Just 2 plain pieces of knitting and maybe using a button for closure. I expect it will either be way too small for my ipad to fit or way too large, but we’ll see.

Can you identify this family? Part two

You may recall a post I did a few months back about a photo album I bought at a boot fair which I am hoping to reunite with its owners or descendants.

see HERE for link to post.

There is a photo of Reg Varney the actor in the album and following a suggestion from someone on Facebook I managed to contact someone in his family tree but they did not know of the people in the album so it looks as though he may not have had any connection with them personally.

So it’s back to the drawing board and i thought I would post a few different photos each week with lots of labels in the hope that someone will see them.

I have also contacted my local paper and asked them if they will run a small article for me and give it a much wider audience. As yet I have had no reply.

So here the first bunch of photos

If you recognise anyone in these photos or have any information please email me using the huge ’email me’ button in the sidebar please.

Friday’s Smiles – Week 25

My smile this week came from the little surprise package of a new little guinea pig baby i found on Saturday morning.
It was born to the other would be mum, Cookie, who i assumed was not actually pregnant as she had gone well past her giving birth time. Turns out if they are only carrying one pup they can go well past.
It seems as if we have another little girl which is amazing considering all Teddie’s babies were girls too.  She was much larger than the others for having the extra ‘cooking’ time inside Cookie (no pun intended – hee hee.)
Two of the other three babies are leaving for their new home today which is sad for me but i know their new owners will be full of smiles.
If you want to share things that have made you smile this week and lets face it, its great to do so. Then clicky HERE to go to Annie’s lovely blog.
See you next week
Gill x

Whats On Your Workdesk? Wednesday

Just a brief peek at my workdesk today as im finally doing something crafty again.
I’ve begun decopatching my treasure chest (all say aaarrgh, like a pirate)
Its looking good and its such fun to do. Not sure how the rest will go but that will be revealed next time.
And, yes i know my blogs look has changed – again! but what can i say? im a fickle woman.

Have a top week and if you fancy joining in for a desk nosey go to the wonderful Julia’s blog and all will become clear.
Gill x