Tuesday, 7 January 2014

After the storm

So that's it, Christmas is done, packed away for another year.  And much as I love it, I am never sorry to put everything back in the box and get back to a (slightly) more minimal existence.  Some of us survived unscathed, others were not so lucky.

I do rather like this chap though, so I glued him back together.

I'm waiting for a break in the weather to tackle lots of outside jobs, as well as emptying and tidying the garage, which is going to be a huge undertaking, but it does need to be done, and as I like to say, if not now, when?  I have been seized by a little New Year energy, and I'm making the most of it.

The patio is looking in a sorry state.  It's not just the bare winter stems, it's things like this.

And this.  Neither of these photos were staged.  It's looked like this for days.  Sigh.

Those boys of mine aren't allowed on the grass when it's muddy, so they kick the ball around the patio instead.  I do mutter, "Mind the pots" every now and again, but nonetheless there are many casualties.  I really don't know what to do.  I don't want to stop them playing, they do love it, but equally I don't want a bare patio.  And I really don't want to stare at smashed up wreckage.  I'm wondering if I should take up the paving stones and put the plants into the ground.  Or maybe put a barrier between pots and boys, something like railway sleepers.  We shall see.  Probably I'll just re-pot things and carry on as before, until I run out of pots.  Particularly given the price of railway sleepers these days.  I'm sure they used to practically give them away...

We went to Wells on Saturday, and passed lots of waterlogged countryside.

Believe it or not, the picture below is a field.  Even though there's a confused seagull at the edge of the water.

Apologies for the bad photos, they were taken at sunset from a moving car.

I just missed the actual sunset in the mirror, it would have been a nice shot.  Instead I got this.

If I had a pound for every photo I've missed...

It's actually stopped raining here today, although I know that some areas are still really suffering.  The view from the top of the house was lovely, after all of the recent gloom.

At this time of year you can just see the Tudor castle, and if the chimney on the left wasn't there, you could see the church as well.  You can just make out the gold weather vanes at the top.

And in the distance, the mighty Severn.

It looks innocuous from up here, but don't be fooled.  Upstream it has burst it's banks, and places like Tewkesbury are once again flooded.  A difficult start to the New Year for so many.

I took the children for a last trip to the library at the end of the holidays.  And I found a couple of gardening books for myself while I was there, including a book about seed saving, which is something I'd really like to do.  I find it quite confusing as to what can be saved and will grow true, and what will not.  Hopefully this book will enlighten me.

I looked through my seed box to see what see of my own I had.

The answer was, not much.  Three packets, and one of those was from a greengrocer squash.  Hopefully next year I'll be able to save more though, now that I have the manual.

The seed saving book really does look very useful, everything is explained right from the basics onwards.

It was a pleasure to find a book with so much information in it.

The other book I found was a week by week account of allotment life, with lists of jobs to be done each month.  I'll have a browse through it over the next few weeks, and hopefully be (a little) organised come spring.  Although I'm not counting on it.

My most pressing jobs at the moment are inside though.  I'm on a de-cluttering drive, and this time I'm determined to make a dent in all of the old toys and things that aren't used much any more.  I do love the energy in January.  I'm not one for making loads of resolutions, but I do like a list or two, and I do love to get rid of things and shake up the chi a bit.  Wishing you lots of good energy for this brand new month.


  1. I hope that you can get out and rescue your plants soon! Have you thought about plastic pots? I know they are not so pretty, but perhaps a little more robust against the football? It is horrid seeing these fields turned into lakes isn't it. I saw a couple of swans swimming in a field near us that had turned into a lake. They must have been confused - and it must have been deep if swans were swimming on it! Hope that you are dry and safe and enjoying the declutter! xx

  2. I'm like you - on a roll with clearing out and getting rid of stuff especially as there is not a lot one can do in the garden whilst it is so wet though I did give the brid table a clean and put up a new coconut shell between downpours today! That seed saving book looks worth a read - must look out for that one. Maybe you could rig up a shallow picket fence in front of the pots?

  3. Can you have some sort of decorative barrier that can be moved when it's not needed. Or alternatively fine them for each broken pot :)

  4. Poor Santa.... and your pots too! It can be hard to get the balance right in a family garden, everyone seems to want something different from the same area. Are there any nice looking plastic pots you could use? - at least they might 'bounce' when they get knocked over.

  5. There is something about January that makes us want to clear out. I think we are all at it! I'm glad you are not one of the unlucky ones who have flooding at the moment. So many photos of devastation!

  6. Plastic pots, perhaps ? Cheaper and more football-proof, and you can always go back to proper terracotta when the boys are all growed up ;o) Happy decluttering !

  7. I am considering also rubber pots (the ones made from recycled tires)... So probably will survive balls... I am looking to find also zinc bucket and basin to plant my veggies in the coming Spring. I started decluterring some years ago, but I think I do it very gently, so I am not sure if I can really see the difference... I have more space though... I wish you a wonderful Year 2014.

  8. Poor Santa. He does look sad. I'm glad he could be glued!

  9. You can see a Tudor castle from your window. That is just incredible. I'm sorry about the pots and I totally understand. Sometimes I just stand there at a loss for words, completely befuddled as to how they managed to break something. Items I've carted across the country without a speck of damage, for goodness sake. Oh, children. I like the idea of a seed swap. I wish things grew better here because I'd like to try that myself sometime.

  10. Much as I love (and I mean REALLY love) the festive period, It does feel good to get those Christmas decorations packed away again, doesn't it?
    Today has felt like the first in quite some time when we haven't been battered by rain and/or wind.might be able to venture out in the garden some time before Easter...

  11. My patio is looking like yours too! I smiled at Father Christmas glad you managed to join him back together! Glad you haven't to much flooding close to you.
    Sarah x

  12. We haven't put up the Christmas decorations yet. It's just so sad to me to take down the tree and see how bare everything looks. Or I'm just being lazy since it's also a lot of work:) Good thing you glued that adorable figurine back together for next year. I love your energy to get things done! I need some of that here to clear out all our holiday clutter:) p,s, great finds at the library--that seed book is lovely!

  13. I have been on a de-cluttering drive myself. I have been cleaning and puttering about like a mad woman. As for boys, there was so much destruction at my house it was almost crazy. And funny, no one every knew what happened!
    Hugs to you,

  14. I have a pot like that on the front step. It wasn't caused by a football. I slipped over and smashed it with my ample behind.....
    I'm glad you glued your decoration back together. He looks like a cool chap. I'm all for clearing the decks (ahem) in January. Tomorrow I am cleaning the kitchen.
    Have a lovely week, CJ.
    Leanne xx

  15. Boys, football and garden don't mix do they!
    Let's hope that this is the last of the really wet weather.
    That seed saving book looks good. On-line I generally refer to The Seed Site, there's a link on my blog, which I've always found very helpful. Flighty xx

  16. I'm sorry about your pots, hope you find a solution to save them. I'm waiting for everywhere to dry up here as well so that I can get on with different tasks outside. It is frustrating. The seed saving book looks very interesting - I think I'll visit the library too and see if I can get hold of it.

  17. Hi CJ and Happy New Year! The weather has been atrocious hasn't it and I know Gloucestershire has faired pretty badly with the Severn breaking it's banks. I hope you're all safe. Railway sleepers sound like a good idea - boys and their footballs...it's never ending.

    Nina x

  18. I've been there with the broken pots, I resorted to plastic in the end, not quite so pretty but at least they last. I'm not very good at saving my own seed, it's something I should make more of an effort to do, perhaps this will be the year.

  19. I love the illustrations on the seed saving book - so retro looking! The mirror picture is still pretty. Isn't that the joy of digital cameras - I take 10 shots to get one good one! Maybe there is a reason blogs weren't around in the days of film! On the organizing and purging path myself - feels great! Just wrote about it yesterday.

  20. I had to glue a fairy..................

  21. Everyone in my family tells me it's the frost that cracks the pots. Maybe not ...
    I had a couple of plastic pots that looked like terracotta from a distance - certainly looked better than smashed terracotta.

  22. I thought of you when I saw all these flooding areas in UK. I'm glad everything is ok ...or almost. Gardening is such a great activity which brings satisfaction . Happy New Year!

  23. I enjoy your writing so much, CJ. I am sorry to hear about the pots, though. They make some plastic and foam ones here that look a lot like terracotta. Maybe that would be a good option for you. There's been lots of talk of this European super storm in surf news. Some surfers have been pretty happy about it. I can't believe the amount of rainfall though!

  24. Oh dear those broken pots! I had casualties in my garden for many years and it's only the last two years that my peony and my japonica have been allowed to get to the flowering stage. (My youngest son and his friends liked to play with 'swords' in the garden!)
    Your views are beautiful, so sad for the people who have been flooded. It does make me cross though that there's too much building with no thought of drainage. Oooo don't get me started on that subject! ;)
    Jess xx

  25. What a great way to put it! Shake it up! I like the energy of January as well...time to freshen things up! And it is so nice that your boys like to play....pots will come and go...soo reminds me of my house friend!!! And I was so excited to see the book you got from the library. That is an area that I need to learn more about too!!! I will have to look for something similar here in the states. I hope you all dry out soon and that those that are being impacted by the rain come through ok. Best wishes in this new month...I don't do resolutions either. I just try to learn more! A lovely weekend to you friend! Nic xoxo

  26. I'm just like you, gripped by an urge to de-clutter and sort. Emptying the garage is on the list for the weekend, and I ruthlessly went through the kids' toys (with their help) last weekend, filling bag after bag for the charity shop. It felt good. It's nice to see you planning for spring with your seeds and books. Lots of confused bulbs and primulas are coming up in my garden. I fear they are in for a shock, the temperatures are sure to drop soon! x

  27. I adore your Santa! Is he a relative of Wallace and Gromit? I think the likeness may be in the eyes and nose… So pleased he's been put together again for next year! Someone recently asked me as a garden designer how he could childproof his small urban back garden as he had 2 young sons; I told him to wait 10 years and let the kids enjoy themselves! (You could always group your pots together and put a fireguard around them!). Love the look of that seed saving book - lucky you, I think it's quite new! - and I've been meaning to read Dirty Nails for ages! Enjoy your reading!

  28. The clearing up/de-clutter bug has completely passed me by... With regards to the broken pots, I would probably just grit my teeth and wait for the grass to dry out before sorting them out. I have a couple of really sturdy red pots from B&Q, they seem to be assault proof and I remember they came in a range of colours. Or you could glue the broken ones together roughly and wrap them with pretty colourful garden twine. That should give them extra football proofing. Boys! Cx