Six on Saturday – If you think I am going out in that you’ve got another thing coming


Afternoon all, it has been a challenging day on the Six on Saturday front.  In fact I am finding it tricky to comply with any of the criteria, including the most basic “six” and “Saturday” aspects. It is tipping down outside, the wind is howling and I am still indisposed in the foot department.  Am I going out to take photos? No way José! Never mind, as it is nearly Christmas  I am sure that our very own purveyor of comfort and joy, The Prop, will be lenient.

I haven’t been in the garden proper for a while, so I can’t report first hand what is happening out there.  There have been rumours and I have imaginings.  The builders traipsed back and forth through the Bed of Anarchy to repair the tiles that the scaffolders broke.  The wind has been so strong and spiky that many of my sensitive souls stored in pots in the top garden, yet to return to the warmth of the courtyard, are no doubt distressed.  All these things will have to wait until I brave the steps and investigate.  Possibly best not to know at the moment.  Let us head off down the road and see where we find ourselves.

First we have a lone lobelia flower, this photo was taken yesterday and I can say without fear of contradiction that it is probably looking even more sorry for itself now.  I am very fond of lobelia, they are tougher than they look, need little maintenance and come in some wonderful colours.  Their only downside, and this is being picky, is that they are a bit of a faff to grow from seed.

Allium aflatuense 'Purple Sensation'

Next we have a packet of Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’, who with its twin is yet to be planted.  I thought they would bring some early colour and later structure to the garden.  I was waiting until the BoA died down a little so I could push these in between the other perennials.  Things don’t always work out the way you planned it. They were very cheap, so no great financial disaster if they don’t get in the ground.  As soon as I can I will shove them in somewhere, where there is life there is hope.


Now another job not done.  I bought these primulas a few weeks ago, to brighten one of the planters in the front of the house when the resident annuals had given up the ghost.  Perhaps in the next week I might manage it.  It won’t take long and I need to keep my hand in.

Allan Jenkins

This morning OH greeted with “I’ve cut the door off your plastic greenhouse, it was flapping about all over the place.”  I will leave that with you.

The postie bought me a parcel today and inside was a book, a present from Phlomis Phlo.   Not a Christmas pressie, a pass it on gift from a thoughtful someone to another body who might have a little extra time for reading at the moment.   I have heard about this book, and am looking forward to discovering its treasures.


Shall we finish on this plucky gazania?  Bedraggled but not beaten.

We did it.   Some days it is more difficult than others, that is true, but all the more fun for it.  Pop on over to Prop’s site to find out what is going on in the rest of the world, and yes, I mean The Whole Wide World.  You never know what you might find.


On the Up


I needed a photo that said “there is light at the end of the tunnel, let’s get moving its nearly Christmas and there is sausage, mash and gravy for tea”.   One of Nancy Nightingale’s funky dunky dahlias fitted the description perfectly.

It has been a good day.   There were a few firsts after my disastrous stuntwoman interview a couple of weeks ago.  It was my first full day without the stormtrooper boot.  It was my first day with two shoes on and my first visit to the physiotherapist.  All went well.  Very well.

I don’t want to disco dance before I can walk but things are definitely on an upward trajectory.

Even better, when we got home from the hospital Father Christmas had visited.  OH didn’t mind shimmying up the scaffolding to retrieving the parcel.  I’m not that much better yet!



poppyUp until today I have felt quite ambivalent about my injury.  Injury makes it sound like I did something noble to aquire such damage, I should really call it a stupid self-inflicted accident.  Much more accurate, but not helpful on the glum monitor.  The rain has helped.  Work would have been challenging and uncomfortable, so a lucky escape in that department.  Today however it became an annoyance, a sadness.  Or was that yesterday.  When I tried to get through a door whilst inexpertly driving my crutches, or when my coat was dragging in the rain or when I had to ask for help to carry the coffees to the table whilst my friend was parking the car.  A lesson.  Learnt.

Earlier today I heard on the radio a representative from a homeless charity saying that celebrities sleeping out for one night in their designer sleeping bags was patronising to the true homeless.  I thought him harsh.

Now I realise that, god willing, in a few weeks I will be back on my feet and dancing YMCA with the best of them.  How to negotiate steps and doors and all manner of public places will be a problem of the past.  Some will not have this luxury.


crocus shoots

I take photos for two reasons and these are taken into account when I am culling them.  The first reason is I am attempting to produce pictures that I can share with you and use to illustrate a point without having to apologise for the quality.  I also take them for scientific records.  Even if a photo is blurry and uninspiring I hold on to it to show which dahlia was flowering on a certain day or, in this case, exactly when the crocuses were showing their fresh green shoots on Lord and Lady Mantle’s estate.   This means I can compare year on year.  If I wanted to.  Which as yet I have not felt the need to.  I’m a pretty pathetic scientist.


crab apple

My yearly trawl through reams of digital photos, deleting and labelling as I go, has begun early.   Not only does this attempt to impose some kind of order into my life give the illusion that I am in control, it also gives me an opportunity to share some of these snaps and the reminisces they invoke.  And I don’t have to go outside.

This picture of brace of crab apples was taken on a December meander around the gardens of Chambercombe Manor, not far from where we live.  I do love a crab apple and often recommend them when asked for advice on a small tree for the garden.  Beautiful blossom, abundant fruit, good autumn colour, wildlife friendly with few pests or diseases to ruin the party.  Near perfect.

Six on Saturday – Immobile

There have been happenings this week.  Those who have missed out on recent events can find all the juicy details in my post A Different Boot.  Ok, it’s not terribly juicy, but I was trying to entice you in.   Will this accident keep me from my Six on Saturday obligations?  I think not.  I am made of much sterner stuff.  It would take something far more catastrophic to stop me contributing to The Propagator’s  worthy meme.  Oh, and Saint Propesa of Caversham told me to pull myself together, stop whingeing and get SoSing or feel the brunt of his wrath.  So I have. There may however be some bending/deviating from the rules which I generally adhere to like gorilla glue. In the circumstances I think I should be allowed a little leeway.  If you are in the slightest bit interested in how this all works, and quite frankly who wouldn’t be, check out this caring soul’s site for details of how to join in and who else is trapped in his evil grasp involved.

First we have a view from my front window, looking out, which I expect you had gathered.  The scaffolding is still in place and yesterday we had even more put up, an extension out over next door’s roof so the builders can render the chimney in safety.  I suggested holding the renderer by the heels whilst it worked but it was vetoed.  Something about health and safety.  Wimps.  We asked to keep the cracked chimneys when they were removed during Phase 876 of the work.  The plan is to use them in an imaginative and innovative way in the garden.  Yes, we will stick some pots in the top.

Next we have a view from the rear door, the scaffolding has gone, horrah!  It is all looking rather empty, but that won’t last.  A short stride up the steps into the main micro-garden and there are at least a million pots that need to come back down to the relative warmth of this little courtyard for the winter.  Looking for volunteers…..


Now we have my beautiful jacaranda tree.  The Borrowers would definitely recognise this as a tree, however most normal sized humanoids would view it as a nondescript plantlet.  It is all relative. This is my number one specimen, Big Daddy, which is why it has been brought into the house for the winter.  Anther one, which I affectionately call “squirt”,  will have to tough it out in the big bad world.  No room at the inn.

From a tree (yes it is) that lives in the house, to a house plant that lives outside.   Not this actual plant, but another, less lush looking one.  We have a lot of aspidistras in the house.  Too many.  They belong to my OH, dragged around with him from house to house for the last forty years.   At all too regular intervals he splits them to make more and they magicaly appear in new places around the house.  We also force other people to take them.  “Sorry no biscuits, but please take an aspidistra with your cup of tea?”  They are like tribbles.  In amongst the herd are a couple of variegated specimens.  Whether  this is a sport or there more than one variety, I have no idea.  I won’t bother asking.  Up until very recently I didn’t realise this variegation was a good thing.  I may be warming.

Enforced immobility has opened  the door to other more gentle activities.  I have mentioned before my surfeit of garden related books.  It is also true that I am an avid reader.  However I rarely read horticultural books.  Sometimes but not often.  As it happens I am reading two at the moment.  An upstairs book, Alys Fowler’s Hidden Nature, and this one, my downstairs book. This  has sat in my pile for a while.  Partly because I want to give it the careful attention it deserves.  Now I have the time.  I have read several of Richard Mabey’s books and enjoyed them immensely.  Having dipped my toe (one from the good foot) in yesterday, I have no doubt that I am going to love it just as much as the others.

yellow rose

And now a warning:  I am about to get serious.  Perhaps even a little sloppy, maybe sentimental.  Number six is a get well soon bouquet from my next door neighbour.   Not only neighbour but friend, the wonderful Michelle helped me and OH in our hour of need.  I am sure she won’t mind but I going to share this perfect yellow rose with everyone who has sent me good wishes and bad jokes.  For the friends near and far, real or virtual, who took the time to comment and sympathise.  All hail the positive power of the internet.  It is also for the NHS staff at North Devon District Hospital, who did their jobs with efficiency and kindness in equal measures and smiled while they performed them.  Superheroes, every one of them.

An eventful week, but certainly not all negative.  Stay safe everyone.



A Different Boot

Wouldn’t it have been grand if it had happened whilst snatching a kitten from the path of a speeding train, or maybe free-climbing the Shard for a worthy charity, perhaps tackling some fiend who had just stolen a dear old ladies handbag and had sprinted of into the distance, or even during some extreme gardening?  But I didn’t.  I fractured my foot because I was under the impression there was only one step to go at the bottom of the stairs and there were two.  Counting was never my strong point.

Apart from the obvious, “foot heading in a direction that quite frankly is not natural” another unfortunate issue was that I was wearing what I like to call my “lounge wear”.  Others might call them (perhaps more accurately) “tatty old mismatching pyjamas”.  Yes I am quite aware that it was 2.00pm, and at this time of day only true slovens and nightworkers are still so casually dressed.  However it was a rain-stopped-play day and I had earlier, at an almost respectable time, changed out of my genuine PJ’s into my LW.   Not certain though if I had brushed my hair.

I will save you the gory and dull details, I am sure your imagination will fill any gaps.  Just in case you are struggling here are a few key words to help you along the way.   Agony, attempting to get into car without passing out,  leaning against a wall outside A&E like a one-legged sobbing stork whilst OH tried to find a wheelchair, being taken pity on by an ambulance driver who managed find a wheelchair and kindly took me to reception, waiting, triage, waiting, doctor, waiting, x-ray, waiting, prognosis, waiting, groovy boot and crutches allocation.  Out with the golden, in with the storm trooper.

If like myself you are rather a curious creature, you will be wondering who else was in the waiting room.  Luckily (yes irony) I had plenty of time to study them.   There was a teenager wearing sports shorts and a blazer with a rugby induced ankle injury (far cooler than me obviously), a young woman with a broken finger who could still text at the speed of light, a workman with a broken arm and a moody wife, a farmer who had broken his wrist last month and hadn’t noticed, and a man in combats with a badly cut chin.   My favourite fellow waitee however was a charming little girl who had stuffed toilet paper up her nose and couldn’t get it out again.  Her reasoning was very sensible I thought, she had a stinky cold and was fed up with having to wipe it all the time. Almost two minutes of arrival she began to ask of everybody and anybody “why have we got to wait so long?” and was still doing so when I was wheeled off to the equipment cupboard.  Hopefully, for the sake of all, she was soon whisked off to the nose vacuuming department.

Onto the actual damage, I have an avulsion fracture to the talus and navicular bone, possibly more problematical is that some of the tendons are also damaged.   It appears that my injuries are very similar to those of our very own Torrington Tina, although she got there 5 weeks before I did.  We have been comparing notes.   I am not sure “great minds think alike” is applicable in this case.   There will be no gardening for me until next year and then I must take it easy, “avoid uneven surfaces” might be a tricky one.

One last point, you will be very pleased to hear that I gave my business card to the doctor in the fracture clinic, seems like he needs a gardener.   He knows of course that he will have to wait for a few weeks, but I told him it would be worth it!