The journey that was Fragments

It all started with a idea.

strawberry-wine
There are strawberries in that pic somewhere

IMG_7082

image

Today, I actually got a physical copy of Fragments and held it in my hands.

 

 

In two days time, there will be a promotion where the ebook version of Fragments will be reduced to 99pence. So if you want to see what the deal is, don’t forget to download it. Otherwise, links are on your right!

Allotmenteer Adventures Abroad

lake

Go find a body of water, the horoscope said. Go somewhere near the seaside. The universe kept on signposting adventures, a getaway, a chance to take stock.

I headed to Lake Garda.

This is the second Italian Lake I have visited, with Como being the first. The lake is pretty, the town where we stayed was lovely and it was fabulous opportunity to have a some down time.

I also turned one year older and thirty three is a the same age as a certain other someone with whom Easter is associated. I didn’t and won’t dwell on the age, the getting older. The silver bothers me, but I’ve been going grey since I was sixteen and I won’t always carry off being a brunette or raven haired. Yes, silver, and not grey.  I have so far resisted dying the barnet; not sure quite how long this non-compliance with social norms will last.  Silver hair doesn’t make me so marketable…I guess.

Anyway. This adventure!

First there was Verona.

This place piqued my interest from the Shakespearean angle. There is the balcony that (allegedly) inspired the poem behind the play ‘Romeo and Juliette’ so every where you see I heart Verona and ‘City of love’. (The cynic in me, took heart from the story about the merchant, who jumped the bandwagon with this is Juliette’s balcony, come have a look) I thought that was Paris, but anyway;  I didn’t feel the love for the love. Verona, yes; beautiful, lots of shopping and culture at ever corner.  I couldn’t help but think that that Romeo would have needed drainpipes for the balcony though. I’ll be damned if I’m shimmying up towards any balconies for a Romeo and anytime soon. The neighbourhood watch would be rather displeased to say the least!

Then there was the city of canals. Being a born and bred brummie, this was going to be interesting. Birmingham has more than Venice, we also have James Brindley. So you know, tough competition.

And this is where I felt the love. This is somewhere I would go back, and with someone special when he turns up. The Grand canal from the Realto Bridge is epic; the sheer size and the life that exists on the canal is pretty damned amazing.

As for the pigeons.

Duck.

Seriously, they are low flying. Dodge them.

 

I recall Venetian masked balls…ahem as it were.  I bought one, as you can see; it’s not sparkly or has half a bird attached to it but when in Venice. Then there was Venetian glass. Again, this is meant to  be pretty epic.  I frequented pen shops in both Verona and Venice, and felt like a kid in sweet shop. I feel as though my pen collection is not yet complete. There was window shopping of the Parker Sonnet in matte black, just to see what the deal was. But for now, that would not be entering the writing implement collection.

Venetian Glass plus pen and notebook was going to happen. I kid you not, I sampled a glass nib and I nearly keeled over. But I like my nibs and pens metallic, so I found one that I liked.  Rather than being a cartridge/converter pen, this glass stemmed pen is a proper old school dip in well sort. The notebook is covered with the seal of Venice; a lion with a book. Two motifs, that I can only my best to appreciate. No idea what I might write inside, but it will all come in time.

Was a very interesting adventure, and by the water.

Taking stock of April #gdnbloggers

As we near the mid point of April during Holy Week, we also get to Vaisakhi.  This is a harvest festival within Hinduism and within Sikhism, the start of  new year. For me, I guess this triggers  a process of reflection as to what I might experience with the coming growing season as everything starts to bloom and blossom with a new cycle. Vaisakhi and Holy week therefore both carry a sense of renewal, potential and also progress. Perhaps universe is shifting and changing as seeds are sown and nurtured and this is slightly tapping into unconscious ESP of some kind.

plotapril2017.jpg

The plot might look a bit stagnant, but there are plans. I have succumbed a little, and I am waiting for the green glass to wither away so that it might be taken up and away. There was just too much on the far side behind the grapevines to be dug out and by hand. We have had some sunshine and hopefully that will mean that grass killing stuff works. Once I have a canvas, I will be able to sow further seeds and plug them in eventually. I may even broadcast sow carrots and turnips, just to see what happens.

There are a few seedlings at home, the seed sowing mojo is still a bit sparse. Tomatoes, aubergine and chillies are being coddled on the window sill. On my list, there are squashes, runner beans and climbing french beans to be located and sown. I am mindful, that the beans and squashes-if they are quick off the mark-will grow like triffids, and will need to be looked after until the frost window closes in Birmingham at the end of May. Mum has already plugged in potatoes, and the weekly saag sowing will soon be underway. I should probably also look into sweetcorn!

affirmations.JPG

It is only in the last few weeks that I have had a chance to stop, take a few moments and fully take stock of the tornadoes that have become the busy state of being that is life. Much of this has been self inflicted and working on writing projects whilst juggling work and training. Whilst the deadlines for writing have largely been self inflicted, there have been a few other things that were so far beyond my control there wasn’t an awful lot I could do but wait for the tornadoes to to settle. Now that there is a sense of calm and settling, I wanted to share the three affirmations that are above. I have no idea who wrote them, when or for what their motivations were; they are however three very powerful slips of paper.

The first-‘you are strong…’ I picked out of a box as I was getting to the end of prepping fragments for publication and the end of term was happening. Sheer grit and resolve were taking a battering, and this slip of paper put a spring into my step. The second-‘well done, beautiful’ I found just as  Fragments hit the air and term was changing and I was finding my feet, my plot and universe again. Number three, well that is from today. That heralds a great deal of movement in so many different spheres.

As I mentioned before, I have no idea who wrote them. But these have been powerful vibrations from the universe and whatever Powers That Be.

I am hoping that the third is relevant to every aspect of being, the plot included. The plot is after all, a huge part of me and brings more colour to my life than I could possibly say. I am looking forward to the roses blooming, the glads coming up. There will probably be a sunflower sowing at some point, I have rather missed those.  Then there is the preserving; it has been such a long time since I have made any preserves, I might have to revise the methods. With the plot very firmly back as part of my world after a lot of swirliness, I am looking forwards with lots of lessons learned.  I am also looking for a rest over the next couple of weeks.

Oh, and adventures.

I shall report back forthwith.

It’s all kicking off #gdnbloggers

Hold the front page! We have blossom on the Apricot! (Yes, my nail varnish is also chipped)

moorparkapricot

For the first time since it was plugged in, the Moor Park Apricot is in blossom. I did check, and there were all of three delicate looking white blooms. Three!

Alas, I am not holding my breath. Last year, the peach tree also blossomed-it’s getting leafier as I type-only for the frost to nip at it. Therefore, I am not holding out too much hope that the Apricot will set fruit; I probably should drape it in fleece. Only I end up having a full scale heated debate with Mama F as to the why’s and wherefores. That, and it looks as though Casper and friends are floating through the plot. I will keep an eye on the Apricot and see whether additional blooms burst and then make a decision about draping the tree in fleece.

concordpear

The pear tree is also looking a bit frilly with blossom, the stella and morello cherry trees aren’t too far behind. In contrast, the apple-falstaff and braeburn-appear to be behind and are only just starting to get leafier. As with Apricot, there has been limited success with the pear. Last year, we had all of two pears; they met their end in a chutney. I am therefore, a little surprised by the arrival of blossom.  I might find myself fleecing things sooner rather than later.

In other news, Mama F has sunk this years spuds on her allotment plot; leaving me to fiddle with the raised beds and plot this year’s course of development. At the moment, I have seedlings on the window sills.

At the moment I have clara and money maker aubergines. (My thanks to Gifts You Grow for the money maker). As well as Roma and Marmande tomatoes and an assortment of Cayenne. These are precariously leggy in some cases; sown when light levels were at bit rubbish, this was always going to happen. I am hoping that moving them from one side of the house will help the plants fill out and become robust.

So what is going to happen next?

There a plans; the sort that change and with reflection.

In the long term, I would like to fix my poly tunnel and get some more raised beds. Having one half of the plot, that is open ground and not very productive doesn’t feel right. So before the end of the year, the second half the plot-the one where we have the roses and trees should have some raised beds on it. This will mean negotiating with the raspberries and strawberries that are are currently ‘up there’ someplace.

I am looking into a new cover; though I might have to borrow Mama F’s poly for this growing season. She likes aubergines, I do not; so she can play with them…and my chillies…I will  of course babysit them accordingly. I do get rather precious about my chillies.

On the seed sowing  front, I would like to sow some more tomatoes. There was an rather conservative sowing at first, so more Roma and Marmade are on the cards. I would also like to sow runner beans and climbing French beans; it is too early yet, I made that mistake last year. I might even try peas, though that is debatable.

Before long, it will be May and I will nervously eyeing the closing of the frost window.  I will be deciding on this years squashes; we have yet to sacrifice a pumpkin from last year, so there will be seed selection.

I have had a good look at the current raised beds. One third of them are cleared, with the others full of stubborn grass that will need an aggressive intervention for removal. It is simply not the sort to be pulled out by hand.  Over all, there does feel a more systematic and organised approach to doing things this year. It would be easy to be defeated, and I think for me personally I need to take a step back and take time to do things slowly but surely. It will all get done, just not at break neck speed.

Now, if you’ll excuse me; I have counselling key terms to generate-spiral notebook, ink pen-and maybe some Buffy season seven to put on in the background.

I might even re-paint my nails.

And yes, if anyone knows of allotment proof nail varnish, send it my way….seriously!