Sunday, 21 December 2008


I thought I should probably post something at least, even though very little is happening…

For the past couple of days I’ve been ill, it started on Thursday at work. I noticed my nose was a bit runny – although not actually needing to wipe my nose as such, suddenly at lunch time my nose dripped without any warning. Alarm bells rang and I went out on the hunt for balm tissues knowing what was coming.

Finally 4pm arrived and I was out of the office like a shot to take a bus as quickly as possible to begin pumping drugs into my system.

I had planned on going into work on Friday because I didn’t want to miss the last day before Christmas – lots of people are off next week so wanted to be able to wind down and relax. I’m in only on Monday, as decided to take Tuesday off as I didn’t fancy working pretty much on my own for two days with no one to talk to.

Friday morning arrived and I got up at my usual time to assess the situation with a view to going into work at the latest point I could and again running at 4 – lots of flexi built up so can afford to have a short working day.

It was quite obvious that wasn’t going to happen as my nose and eyes were still constantly running.

One highlight of being home was the visit from a flock of LTT’s,

So from Tuesday I have almost two weeks off over Christmas – so there is a good reason to work at a University!

Saturday we went out for our Christmas meal with most of the immediate family including uncles and their wives – not often we all get together. This Christmas meal actually turned into pretty much a normal meal as mum had booked it incorrectly, or the person on the phone had misunderstood I’m not sure. *and here I was saying to people it was odd we hadn’t been asked to book our food and put down a deposit. Now I know why!*
So it was a chance to see my grandparents before Christmas as we don’t get to see them on the day, we also got to see William as they’re spending Christmas with my brother’s wife’s parents before going up to Cumbria for a wedding on Saturday. Of course he was dressed up as Rudolph – why else would anyone have children if they couldn’t be dressed up as reindeer or Christmas puddings? :D

Today has been a relaxing day, I finally feel better other than living off Sudafed as my head hurts from the pressure. It’s been fairly mild, there was some sun but it dulled over and ended up raining. I managed to plant some bulbs early on though – tulip, snowdrops, anemone and iris.
Foxy has attacked some of my other pots too, still unsure what he’s going for. Does he want the bulbs? If so, why doesn’t he go for the smaller pots which must be far easier to get at the bulbs than the larger ceramic pots?? I don’t get it. Fairly annoyed at having to push the cyclamen back in though when he does!

Well, if I don’t see you before Christmas, I hope you all have a wonderful time spending it with those you love.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Gwirrel's Garden - Literally

Since this blog is supposed to be about my garden perhaps it’s time I actually posted something about it??

Let’s have a look at its progression from April to August – haven’t taken any photos more recently, perhaps I should?? Hmmm, not that there’s anything to see anymore since most plants have died away.

First we have April:

Onto May and things are beginning to flower

And onto July

As you can see a great deal hasn’t really changed, but it’s a start and as the plants mature I’m sure things will get better. I plan on extending some of the flower beds and such to allow for more, but these are the more long term plans.

I have a lovely book for planting natural gardens, as I want a garden for wildlife but also something that’s romantic and dreamy. So lots of soft flowing grasses, fluffy seed heads and such. Oooh it’s so exciting.

Sunday, 7 December 2008


Well, this weekend has been somewhat frosty!

Saturday I went to a Carol Service, it’s become a tradition to go. Just a shame it takes all day, as it’s down near Nottingham so must be 30 miles away. I set out of the house at 10:15 and didn’t get back until around 4pm, all that just for an hour actually in the Minster.

We stopped off at Rufford Park too, my favourite park rather than Clumber or Sherwood. I took my Holga along, so will have photos at some point :D

I *think* I heard a Goldcrest, as it wasn’t a song I recognised. Never did see the culprit though, so I can only go by the high-pitched song. There were plenty of tits too, with piles of food on seats around, as well as birds on the lake – swans, moorhens, Canada geese, mallards and other um, water birds lol.

This weekend has brought with it some surprises.

The return of Goldie – been fairly rare since October.
Our first Crow in the garden – usually stick to the trees or rooftops.
Lots of other visitors, we have a number of Robins visiting now too.
Return of Bulliefinch, haven’t seen them since September/October.
Blackbirds finally eating my berries on the Firethorn and Cotoneaster, both are only small shrubs still but have put berries out so it was nice to see them going for them.
And the newbie:

A Chaffinch! Yay. Let’s hope she brings along her friends.

But then she could’ve been visiting for weeks now without me knowing as I never get to watch the birds anyway.

It’s just a shame I’ve been so busy all weekend, as today I’ve been out shopping with my friend and then off to see his parents and to buy our Christmas trees. (they’re like second parents to me, we grew up together. Been friends since we were 4/5)

Today remained pretty frosty, certainly on my road. The sun doesn’t get the chance to melt it – living on the hill is good for the views, not so good this time of year though! Our hoses stop the sun casting onto the road, it’s going to be fun tomorrow morning if the frost is still there, I’ll have to cling to the walls/fences again like last week when it snowed.

Anyone care to guess just exactly what this Blue tit found???

It seemed to find a sunflower heart?? Why was it in the buddleja?? I’m sure you’re aware they’re rather tall shrubs, and this must be 7’ tall, and not even close to the feeding station – it’s down by the house, feeder is at the back of the garden.

Anyway, Robin has been close to the house too this weekend:

Sorry about the poor quality, it wasn’t even fully light when I took them, around 8/9am.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Odd morning.

Ok, so perhaps not the most exciting story on the Earth, but:

Walking to work this morning, I often hear birds singing/calling.

I could hear tits either side of me, and was just beginning to consider why birds still alarm call at Humans, even though it's highly unlikely we'll ever catch one(unless you have a gun)...

Suddenly I notice that the calling is very loud in my ear, this continues for a distance and I begin to think to myself:

"Shouldn't that have quietened by now since I walked past the birds?"

I look to my side and there's a flock of tits, following me through the hedges! I stop to look at a LTT, it perches and calls at me. Other tits join it, I assume Blue tits but they were silhouetted against the sun.

Then I move on and they continue to also move. Eventually the hedging ends and their calls fade into the distance.

Very strange! :D

Just wish they were in my garden instead!

Sunday, 23 November 2008


So much for snow we were promised this weekend… Yet again we didn’t get any, would’ve been right on queue with last year too, as it first snowed on the 25th – yes I’m sad enough to have photos from last year, it also happened to be the day we set out to Manchester to see Nightmare Before Christmas in 3D at the Imax. Big mistake that was!

I hate Manchester, with a passion. After going to Uni there I have very little desire to ever return – I even commuted for my final year rather than live there a) it was far cheaper to commute than rent b) it’s just as bad as London, no one has manners no one says please or thank you, no one smiles. Not somewhere I want to be c) I forgot just how much it rains.

We set off from Sheffield, sunshine and such. Got to Manchester and it was teeming it down, now anyone attempting to buy trainers these days will know how hard it is to get modern girls trainers that aren’t in the ballerina style, the same style I was wearing. By the time we made it to the Imax my feet were squelching, even with an umbrella.

I spent the entire film with my shoes and socks off, freezing cold with my coat around me because they didn’t seem to understand people don’t want to be cold in the cinema. Aircon was on far too high.

After, as my trainers were ruined (they’d turned a lovely shade of grey thanks to the dirty water) I braved the Arndale centre *shudder* and shopping area in an attempt to buy some trainers. They didn’t have the only style I wanted in my size, so I ended up paying £50 for some trainers I didn’t really like, then I had to also buy some more socks as the original pair were soaked through.

Eventually we pretty much ran back to Piccadilly train station as quickly as I could to get out of the city and on our way home.

My brother also realised what a god awful place it is, and was more desperate than me to get home. After telling me off all the time for slating the city he finally also saw it for what it is. I think the main problem is you get lots of ‘scallies’ coming in from other areas such as Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale, Liverpool, Bolton, Salford. A scallie is the scouse version of a Chav, commonly used in Manchester, but pretty much is used as a chav these days rather than just for scousers. So it’s full of ‘unsavouries’ piling in off the trains heading straight for chav central, or the Arndale centre. Sadly, in order to get to the nicer areas like the Print works, triangle centre, Urbis and the Selfridges and M&S building you have to go through the Arndale, or round the back behind a rather scary bus station.

Yes there is amazing architecture – certainly more recently with the fantastic new law courts, but seriously if you dislike London for the earlier mentioned reasons, don’t bother with Manchester.

*btw, here in Sheffield chavs were/are called townies. Before the media got hold of the word Chav. In Newcastle they’re known as Charvers.

Anyway, that was quite a rant, but similar to Pete’s tour of England (and mainly the south) I pretty much gave you all a spiffing report of Manchester! Hahaha.

Onto the reason for me even writing a post:

We had a Wren visit this morning, it was very close to the house and posed rather nicely for me! Shame the weather was dire – why couldn’t it wait an hour when it was lovely and sunny?!! Although, it was still freeeeezing.

Well, I did some Christmas shopping today! Woo hoo, got some out of the way! Still got a way to go though, and should probably take some money out of my savings to cover it - just in case! :D

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Successful week?

So, what have I managed to get done this week??

I bought some Cyclamen to go in a pot by the front door, loads of bulbs were then buried beneath – probably too many, but what the heck, I need to use them up!

I also bought a nice hanging basket for the bracket by the front door too, it has some lovely cheerful little violas in it, and as it was reduced, I again thought what the heck and went for it rather than ripping everything out of the one there already and putting new plants in. All it needed was some dead-heading and it’ll be fine, I look forward to seeing its cheery little face through the Autumn and Winter.

I tidied some of the garden, but it was wet, I now have some wellies though so will be itching to get out next weekend (unless I manage to tomorrow, unsure yet).

I bought some grit to put in the soil as I turn it to help with drainage, there was only one bag left though, so it’s not going to spread far!

I now need to work on the pots in the back, as some must be 4 years old now; they need ripping out and new plants/compost putting in. I need to divide a dicentra and a primula and I’ll also probably plant lots of bulbs beneath them too. I just need to buy some more viola/pansy/cyclamen to plant in them to give some colour.

No Waxwing sightings yet, perhaps I’ll see some on the way into work next week! Hahaha, I can dream!

Sorry, I’m running out of nice images to post for you all and since there’s very little left to photograph I’m resorting to old images…

Sunday, 9 November 2008


Sorry, I have very little to report back on...

Last week was so dark, gloomy and drizzly that I never had the opportunity to do anything.

I'm off for the next week, so have plans. Planting the rest of the bulbs is top priority for me, then I need to do some tidying, going to cut back the sweet peas so I don't end up creating a nursery for slugs/snails to hide out in.

I'm at a loss what to do, I need to turn the soil and get grit in there to help with drainage and breaking up the clay but at the same time I have perennials planted... What do I do?

And now for a photo of me as a child, no reason. Just because.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Well I never...

I recently realised I never posted photos from Scotland... It's been a long time, but here we go anyway:

First we have the star of the show, Red Squirrel:

Plenty of these too:

One of these made a surprise visit, a Wood Warbler:

Then a Grey Wagtail:

And a Treecreeper, the most I saw were 4 in the same tree.

Then we had the Woodies arrive, in the past I've only ever had a quick glimpse of them, it would seem they're used to the feeders now:

And then off to Abernethy, there are lots of feeders all over. A group in some trees when you first arrive and walk up to the reception, this I assume is to entice people to pay and enter the centre as there are often Red Squirrels(rather fat reds I might add!) and in the past the ground has been crawling with voles... However they've not gone?? This was also where I saw my crested tit around 4/5 years ago.

As you walk through the forest there are more feeders dotted around in the trees with heather on the left and a small stream. Again birds are everywhere, as are the Squirrels!

Eventually you will arrive at the Osprey hide, which is a large hide/visitor centre with shop and information, cameras and such. On the outside, yep you guessed it, even more feeders. One to the left is where the live camera is, then there's a barrier area with camouflage netting around and yet more feeders. These feeders around the back are owned by the Greenfinch, which pretty much cover them all.

A little Wren flitting around finally came out to pose:

A Robin looking very pretty:

Red Squirrel high up at a peanut feeder, this had the RSPB live camera directed towards it.

A nice woodland shot from the bedroom windows in the cottage. Last year Mr Pheasant had lots of babies, this year there doesn't appear to be any :( And of course, even Scotland gets the Wood Pigeons.

Saturday, 1 November 2008


I had a nice little visitor a few days ago, it was a bit dull... Sorry:

So far today I've had:
Blue tit
Great tit
Coal tit

No Green finch though, which is odd.

Last weekend I bought myself an Orchid and as we also got some sun I decided to get to know it a bit better:

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Birds and Gaura

Isn't this weekend the RSPB garden bird spottng weekend?

I didn't take part as I forgot, however I still got up early to watch the birds and between 8-10:20 when I went out we had:

Blue tit
Coal tit

There were periods when I wasn't at the table though, like when having a shower and getting ready to leave.

I went out to a garden centre to pick up my silk-tassle bush for the front garden, an early birthday present from my parents. It was so windy and cold outside that we didn't browse at all, I would have liked to check for other plants I wanted. Oh well. I'll be going back in a few weeks as they have all their Christmas decorations and such in, and I'd like some cyclamen to put in pots and bring a bit of colour back to the garden.

Actually, I'm very impressed with the verbena, it's been flowering now for months, as has the Gaura and both are seemingly still going strong. I will definitely get more for next year!

And now for some photos:


and something to make you feel a bit warmer... Peruvian Lily

Monday, 13 October 2008


Probably one of the most photographed flowers in Autumn/Winter thanks to their wonderful ability to keep their skeleton...