Green Fingers

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I can’t make up my mind whether I like gardening or not.  I think, if I didn’t have so many other things to fill my spare time, I might quite enjoy it.  I used to watch Gardeners World avidly and my love of makeover programmes meant I couldn’t miss Ground Force. There are some Ground Force episodes I can watch again and again – they repeat them endlessly on one of the Sky channels.

Our house was brand new when we moved in so the garden was a blank canvas.  At the time I wanted to fill it with evergreen shrubs and conifers and for some reason (perhaps it was garden fashion at the time) I had an aversion to brightly coloured flowers.  The upshot of this is that it looks pretty good in the winter with lots of berries and dark green foliage, not bad in the spring when some of the bushes produce white flowers but pretty boring during the summer.

I have pots but rarely enough money to spend at the garden centre to make them really spectacular.  We tried growing from seed in the conservatory one year but I don’t have the commitment or the patience.

Our big success was the garden pond which we dug out ourselves and I am really quite proud of.  This is another by product of watching too many gardening programmes.  Charlie Dimmock has a lot to answer for!

Anyway the good weather and a week off work has meant that all the beds have been weeded and I scattered a box of mixed annuals (only £2.00 so worth a try) amongst some rocks. I can’t really call it a rockery. I wasn’t hopeful. I’ve tried this sort of thing before and never managed to grow anything but I followed the instructions and I’ve watered diligently since.

Today I think we have plants!  They could be weeds of course.  Difficult to say at this stage but I live in hope.


WWW dot

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My friends Jacquie and Mike have come back from a holiday in New York City today.  They had a great time.  I haven’t spoken to them yet but I know they had a great time because we’ve had daily reports from over the pond via Facebook.

The internet is a wonderful thing.  How great it was to live their holiday with them and  to see their photos within hours of them being taken. Digital photography – now that’s another fantastic thing.

This leads me in a roundabout way to The Big Day, because of course, If you happened to miss any of it you can see it again via the Web.

I actually wasn’t going to talk about the wedding again today but it has loomed so large that I couldn’t really avoid it.

I watched most of it and got completely sucked in.  I’m not a cynic by any stretch of the imagination so I’m easy game for anything like this.

By Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

I thought Kate’s dress was beautiful but for sheer elegance you couldn’t beat Pippa Middleton’s Maid of Honour frock.  The younger bridesmaids looked cute and you’ve got to love little Grace Van Cutsem who was obviously not having fun.  This picture is going to come back to haunt her when she’s older.

All in all it was a great day.  The sun shone, the crowds cheered and waved flags – boy did they wave flags!!  Does it make me proud to be British?  I’m not sure that proud is the right word really but I can’t think of a better one.

Certainly it can’t do the UK any harm for people around the world to see us all smiling and cheering and I can see why it would do wonders for tourism.  I certainly believe that our Royal Family brings in the visitors.

It was clear that everyone lining the route had a brilliant day and although I can’t imagine ever standing in the street and waving a Union Flag I do appreciate the emotional impact of a huge cheering crowd.

I was going to set up another page when I started these daily writings and call it The Daily Drudge but then I realised that if I referred to it as a drudge it would become just that.  My life can be a drudge sometimes but almost every day there is something to cheer me.  Smile and the world smiles with you.

It certainly smiled with us today.

The Royal Wedding

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Well the nuptials haven’t exactly passed me by but I haven’t got caught up in the hype either.

I’m not a wedding junkie but I know lots of women who just love the excuse to wear a hat and have a good cry.  When I was a kid there were girls in our village who would go to the local church with their mothers on a Saturday to spot the bride and groom. They didn’t have to know the couple.  Any wedding would do.

Anyway I was in a sort of take-it-or-leave-it mood until today, that is, when one of my friends at work admitted she is really excited. Her enthusiasm was infectious and by the time I had chatted to her for half an hour or so I was really up for it too.

A few of us started talking about our own weddings and got rather carried away with ourselves, promising to take in photos next week.

It’s astonishing that this wedding is going to be watched on TV all around the world.  I’m amazed that this little country of ours can excite such interest from all corners.  If it was the King of Sweden’s daughter or the King of Spain’s son would there be such interest?  What is it about The United Kingdom?  Mind you we do pomp and ceremony very well.

There are thousands of folk camping out in London already and although I wouldn’t do such a thing myself I can still appreciate the joy of the people who are there and understand their motivation. They want to say I was there and so many happy people can only be a good thing.

I won’t be glued to the box but I’ll be interested to see the guests arrive and I do want to see Kate’s dress.  I think it will be simple but elegant.

Oh and a work mate has a prediction.  She thinks the Queen will abdicate next year and Charles will give up the succession in favour of William.  So by the end of 2012 it will be King William V and Kate will be queen consort.


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My place of work is a high rise block on the outskirts of Leeds City Centre.  It’s a ten to fifteen minute walk to the centre itself – just too far to walk in a lunch hour and have enough time to do what you have to do whilst you’re there.

I usually do my window shopping on the way to catch the bus at about 4.30 pm.  Window shopping because I don’t have a lot of cash to splash.  Today though, I pushed the boat out and took a walk into ‘town’ at 12.30pm.

What a difference a few hours make! I hadn’t realised that Leeds packs up and goes home some time mid afternoon.  Admittedly it was a glorious sunny day but the streets were buzzing with good vibes.

There were buskers on each corner playing every sort of music you could imagine.  I have always thought that Leeds has a good smattering of decent street musicians.  They vary from day to day aswell which must be great for the shop assistants who at least get a bit of variety for their listening pleasure.  It must get pretty annoying if you have to listen to the same Joe with his acoustic guitar playing Streets of London day in day out.

Anyway today I passed a what I guess was a family group – guitars for the adults and a very rhythmic bongo played by a teenager.  There was a band with an accordion amongst the instruments, a percussion group, a man playing the trumpet and any number of guys with guitars.   This chap is famous around these parts but haven’t seen him for a while.  Perhaps he has had to find more regular income.  I have a feeling he got married a year or two ago.

I have promised myself that if I ever come into money I will approach all the buskers in the city centre and offer a tenner if he (or she of course) can play Thunder Road.

The tables outside the coffee shops and restaurants were full of shiny happy people.  Well actually I noticed a couple outside Costa Coffee who looked decidedly glum but they were the exception.  I heard French, Spanish, German, something that was Scandinavian sounding and several languages I couldn’t decipher.  Leeds is a very cosmopolitan place and all the better for it.

I was tempted to treat myself to a Starbucks frappuccino – my beverage of choice on a warm sunny day, but resisted – too many calories.

I’m not a Leeds lass myself although I’ve lived in the city for nearly twenty years.  Not having grown up here I think I see it differently to the locals … or maybe I just see it.  When you have lived somewhere through your childhood your surroundings are simply the backdrop to your life.  I spot new details in Leeds’s architecture all the time and I look at things as I’m walking along – I mean really look.

Anyway today as I strode past the magnificent Town Hall and through the little park that I am so fond of I counted myself lucky to live in such a beautiful and vibrant city.

Oh … but then I had to go back to work.  Well you can’t win ‘em all.

Percy and Prudence

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You know I’ve rather let this blog slide over the past few months.  I intended it to be a diary about writing my novel but writing about writing turned out to be something I couldn’t keep up.

My time, I thought, would be better employed writing the novel itself.  Oh dear oh dear I’m struggling with the book at the moment, but as every budding author knows, you have to keep practicing the writing.  So whilst my novel languishes in the back of my mind my blog will be my daily exercise.

My life isn’t at all exciting.  To be fair I don’t seek out thrills as a rule so whether I will have anything of interest to say is debatable.  I’ll just go with anything that takes my fancy and hope to drag you along for the ride.

Today was my first day back at work after a week off.  A week spent in glorious weather sprucing up the garden.  My husband, Mike, was on leave too.  We power washed the patio, weeded all the beds and oiled the garden furniture.

Here in the UK, despite living in a country notorious for it’s changeable weather, we are relentlessly optimistic.  We always think we are going to have a fabulous summer and at the first sign of a bit of sun we are lulled into a false sense of security assuming the great weather is going to last until September.

To this end our garden has been tidied in readiness for our annual curry day next weekend.  Of course it will probably pour down with rain and we will all be crammed into our little house stinking the place out with chicken Korma.

So Prudence and Percy the pigeons are eating us out of house and home again this evening.  We have a rickety little bird table doing it’s best to hog centre stage in our back garden.  It came flat packed and according to the box was a doddle to put together.  Not so – it has several dangerously protruding nails which we couldn’t knock in no matter hard we tried, it stands at a jaunty angle and wobbles when Prudence and Percy come in to land.

If you saw P&P you would see why – they are quite chunky birds and judging by the amount of seed they eat neither are on a diet.  I know nothing about birds so actually Prudence and Percy could be Patrick and Percy or Penelope and Prudence but as they usually arrive together I assume they are an item.

The oven timer has just pinged to tell me my chicken portions are done so off to get chicken salad for tea and slump in front of the TV until bed time.

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