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Thursday 24 June 2021

The Horticultural Enhancer

 I am a very happy woman this evening.

Annie-the-home-enhancer and Jack have both been here today and my house and garden both look great.  Annie has cleaned right through and the house feels great.

Jack said he'd be here by 8.30am so of course the doorbell sounded just after 7am.  I'll forgive him.  

He came bearing gifts including these lovely roses from his garden. 

He worked his usual magic and my garden is coming along nicely.  

He has even allowed me to keep these poppies even though he loathes them himself.

He now has a new title.  He is no longer just a gardener.  He is now a Horticultural Enhancer


Tuesday 22 June 2021


467 days ago my life changed when I decided that my best plan would be to keep out of the way of this dreadful virus.  Soon afterwards the law made that policy compulsory for everyone.  I sat down with a large drink and decided that I would just have to make the best of it and I am pleased with how I have coped.  In the beginning it was simple.  No contact with anyone.  It wasn't easy but it was simple.

And we all longed for things to change again so we could see our families and friends, laugh with them, cry with them and just be with them.  To help we kept contact through technology or pen and paper.  We found things to do, we caught up on all sorts of projects which had been neglected, we sorted our homes and waited for the viral storm to pass.  

And while it hasn't exactly passed, we are now freer to do much more than we could a year ago.  We can meet friends in parks and gardens.  Clubs and groups are beginning to meet up in person.  And we are mixing far more.  

But life is feeling more complicated and, for some, it is feeling overwhelming.  The other people with whom we longed to mix are now feeling so demanding.  Things which eighteen months ago would have been so simple now feel so big.  Maybe this is an older person thing: we especially were urged to stay at home and given support to help us do so.

For myself, I am enjoying going out a little but I am saying no to quite a lot of suggestions for socialising, especially in groups.  I am refusing to put too many things on my to-do list.  I am safeguarding time on my own and trying to be gentle on myself.  In this last week I've been shopping, to church, for a family picnic, for a meet with a friend in a local beauty spot (we each took a flask of coffee), to visit family, to arrange a funeral and to arrange a re-affirmation of marriage vows.  But I've said no to other invitations and (for the most part) not felt guilty about it.

Please cut a bit of slack for people who need to take this re-entry fairly slowly.  

Saturday 19 June 2021

Early to bed and early to rise . . .

 . . . can be pretty boring!

I'm an extreme lark.  I usually wake sometime around 4am and when I wake I really am totally awake.  In the summer I make myself stay in bed until at least 5am but in the summer I get up any time after 4am.  In some ways it's great.  I get loads done before most people are even conscious, but sometimes it feels as though I have to wait a very long time for the rest of the world to have its essential first cup of coffee.

This morning I was up at 4.05am, a time which many people think shouldn't exist.  I sorted my finances, did a few surveys, entered 189 competitions, answered my e mails and then thought about other things to do.  

I decided to go to Brigg.  In fact I was in Brigg by 7.30am.  A quick look around the fruit stall on the market and a visit to the hole-in-the-wall and I was ready for anything but the shops weren't open.  Hmm.  So I decided to go for a (trundle truck) ride along the tow path.

Even in the town centre bushes and wild flowers have been allowed to grow but the cut grass shows them to perfection. 

In the quiet morning I could see the beauty around me.  I felt this native elderflower was as gorgeous as any foreign rhododendron.

The wild roses are at their peak at the moment and this bush flowered generously.  

I thought this gentleman had a very good idea taking advantage of the picnic table as he enjoyed a flask of coffee,  

And I was still able to join the queue waiting for Lidl to open and eight.

And have a very nice snooze after my lunch.

Friday 18 June 2021


Gunby Hall

This morning I read a post by Sue at My Quiet Life in Suffolk which I thought was brilliant.  She wrote about tennis (not interested in that, I'm afraid) but then she gave a list of local places she hopes to visit in the near future.  Sue describes herself as proud of being Suffolk born and bred and she knows her county really well.  It will be interesting to see her reports of the places she visits and maybe if I plan a holiday in Suffolk, to re-read her many posts about local places of interest.
Clumber Park

Well, I'm proud of being a Yellow Belly, - in other words I'm proud of being Lincolnshire born and bred.  I know my county pretty well and earlier this year I made a list of local places of interest which I hope to visit before too long.  

Gunby Hall

Clumber Park

 Elsham Hall Gardens

Thornton Abbey

Normanby Hall

Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve

Whisby Nature Reserve


Baumber Walled Garden.

All these have areas which can be visited on my trundle truck but some have areas which will be inaccessible to me.  Some of these I have been to before, some will be new to me.  I wonder if I can visit them all before the end of the year?

Thursday 17 June 2021

Somewhere for a picnic lunch

 Meet-ups with friends have been difficult until recently but I'd long been promising Katy that we could meet for lunch.  I'm still not happy going into cafes and restaurants so we decided on a picnic during her lunch break and we decided on the churchyard.  I don't think I've ever picnicked in a churchyard before but I shall certainly do so again. 

There are memorial benches along the pathway so Katy sat on one of these while I sat in my trundle truck.  

There are pretty flowers which have been allowed to grow wild

The trees are all very mature and they create lovely views,

All this and a lovely picnic and conversation with a friend.  Bliss!

Monday 14 June 2021

The Kindness of Neighbours

 I realise I may be a cockeyed optimist but I am finding good things which have come as a result of this pandemic.   For me one of the best things has been increased opportunities to talk to my neighbours.  Our little close, was always friendly, but neighbourliness has increased many-fold this last year.

A couple of nights ago I was out watering my back garden when I heard the neighbour behind me doing the same thing so I asked if he could use a few spring onions.  He assured me that he could always use a few spring onions and asked if I could use three kitchen chairs.  It seemed like a very good swap from my point of view!  I accepted and he brought them around for me and they are now in my back garden.  At the moment they are around my cast iron table but I have heard a whisper that a new wooden table may be on the way.  (Yet more kindness!  You'll hear more about that in due course.  )  

I wanted some new wooden chairs to go with the table but can't really afford exactly what I want so these will be in use for at least a couple of years.  How's that for the kindness of neighbours?!

Friday 11 June 2021

So far

 I have to confess I am struggling!  On 27th May I committed myself to writing twenty posts by the end of June.  Since then I have written ten so I am just about on track.  It's important to me to do this as I think it may be the best way of reviving my blogging mojo but that mojo seems distinctly moribund.  Today is St Barnabas Day and he is the great encourager so I shall take heart from him!  

So, what has been happening here at Frugal Follies?  I haven't yet got a date for surgery and, truth to tell, I am quite happy to wait.  The pain isn't bad at the moment and I am very aware that there are many who are suffering more than me.  I am continuing to lose weight and have shed just three pounds since 28th May.  I'm not walking much though.  

Jack has been twice and my garden is looking good.  It's a very small garden but I love it.  Jack built me a little patio and I delight in having meals or just coffees out there.  Jack has now toddled off to the family caravan on the coast but his daughter won't let him idle his time away: his job this weekend is to wash the exterior of the van.  Just to encourage him, here are pictures of the veg plot on 30th May and another today, less than two weeks later.  

I have one small worry: he has threatened to bring me a present back from the seaside.  He is also worried: I've got a present for him and he doesn't know what it is.  

But that's my eleventh post written!

Wednesday 9 June 2021

Old friends

 There's an extra person in my bedroom these days and she's called Alexa.  Each morning she says, "Good Morning!" and gives me a special fact for the day.  This morning she told me that it's Donald Duck's birthday.  He's 87, in case you wondered.  

I've never been a Donald Duck fan but there were other special people who lived in my childhood books.  I loved Milly Molly Mandy, (or Millicent Margaret Amanda if you're feeling formal) who did nice ordinary things.  I remember especially that she liked to take a hard boiled egg if she was going on a picnic.  She had a dog, Toby, and a cat, Topsy.   The stories were safe, maybe even dull by today's standards, but I loved them.

Like so many others my childhood was enriched by Alison Uttley and her Little Grey Rabbit stories.  I don't think I knew about Beatrix Potter but Little Grey Rabbit and her washday quietened many a bedtime.  

My all-time favourite though was Winnie the Pooh with the wonderful E H Shepard illustrations.  And when I say "all-time" I really mean it.  I have "Winnie The Pooh" and "The House at Pooh Corner" as audiobooks, both read by the wonderful Alan Bennet with the help of Alexa.  I doubt if I will ever be grown-up enough to leave Pooh Bear behind.  

Tuesday 8 June 2021


 I woke up this morning to a sound which I have never heard in the eleven years I have lived in this house.  It was a cuckoo!  Their numbers are in decline so that was very special.  Are they the only birds which are better known for their song than their appearance?  It was good to wake with a smile on my face!

It is a beautiful morning so I decided to go to Brigg to do my shopping.  In Lidl a schoolgirl, aged maybe 13, was ahead of me in the queue at the till.  She gave me a shy smile and "Good morning" and she helped me put my stuff on the conveyor belt.  I don't really need help but I wanted to encourage this bright young lady who wanted to make her bit of the world a better place by offering help when she could.  She renewed my smile.

Then I went along the tow path to get to the market place and I met a gorgeous golden cockerpoo.  I love spaniels of any description but this one really won my heart when, to his owners intense embarrassment, he tried to climb on the platform of my trundle truck.  A lot of dogs do this if they have other human friends who use mobility scooters but I love it!  This dog not only made me smile, he made me laugh!  

A happy morning - and I was home by 10am!

Sunday 6 June 2021


I didn't save many plants which were already in this garden when I moved in.  The previous occupants had been a young family for whom the football posts had been more important than the flowers.  But near the back door there was a clematis and I'm happy to say that it is still there.
In my garden today

The garden when I was a child had lots of clematis, especially after 7th September 1965.  That was the date of my parents' Silver Wedding Anniversary and many of their friends gave clematis plants "for Clem and his mate".

Enjoying the garden over 65 years ago.
My Father was indeed Clem, so the pun (which had occurred to quite a lot of their friends at the same time) was appropriate.  Daddy erected trellises all over the garden and each year there was an abundance of colour.  

The first bloom the year is now full open.  Each day I am reminded of my lovely Father who played with me so often in the garden.  Thanks, Daddy.

Thursday 3 June 2021

The whirlwind. .

Jack said he'd be with me between 8.30 and 9am so he was here by 7.10, as I expected.  So we settled down with a cuppa and checked my list.  My lists have a degree of notoriety as far as Jack is concerned.  This one had ten items on it so maybe the notoriety is justified.  I couldn't possibly comment.  

The first thing was to mend the sitting room blind.  One of the frustrations of disability is that there are so many tiny jobs that I can't do because I can't use a step ladder so the first job was definitely a quickie.  The second one was too - the sitting room door was sticking and it isn't any more.  The loft light isn't working so two jobs couldn't be done.  The list was down to six.

The balance pulley wasn't working for one of my hanging baskets but that was dealt with quickly.  Next I wanted a kitchen cupboard wiped out: I'd emptied it but again I can't climb steps to see what I'm doing when I wipe down.  The list was halved!

Then there were scabious to be planted and also leeks so they were soon in the ground.  The beans need support so he unpacked and assembled a couple of obelisks which were near a tap which needs fixing.  Job done.  The tomatoes were tied in,

By that time it was about 9am, the time he was due to arrive.  So we had a cuppa so he could start his day properly a hundred and ten minutes after he had arrived.

Some time I'll tell you what he did with the rest of the day.  


 TWMTIJ?  That was May, this is June!

As I've already said, one of my hopes for June is to get blogging again and to write twenty posts on one or other of my two blogs.  This will, no doubt, result in some very strange posts as I scrabble around in my mind for ideas for posts!  

My big hope for May was to get out more!  I wasn't too bothered where I went but I wanted to start leaving the house more before I became so set in my "pandemic ways" that getting out became too scary to try.  I went shopping, to visit friends' gardens, to church, to Clumber Park, and anywhere else I could think of and I shot past my target of twenty days outside my own house and garden.  None of this would have been important most years: after all I need to shop, visit etc. but shifting my personal boundaries is important in 2021.

I call these things "hopes" rather than "goals" as this seems gentler on myself. Calling them hopes keeps me hopeful rather than feeling that I am a failure when I don't score goals.  

I've got a few other ideas of things to do in June and all will (eventually) be revealed

And now I need to get a wiggle on.  Jack is coming today.  At the moment I have a few Brownie points as I wrote a very polite post about him but if I want to hang on to them I need to get moving.  

It will mean, however, that I won't need to scrabble in my brain for the subject of my next post!

Wednesday 2 June 2021

Adjusting 10 Knit and Natter

 I've been amazed at how well many older people have adapted to using technology in the last year.  Obviously that's been the people who already had the technology in their homes and have learnt to do more with it.   I know that some older people have felt excluded because they can't use in-home video technology, but so many people have pushed themselves to learn more.  They've learnt to zoom with their tech savvy grandchildren and great grandchildren, they've mastered on-line grocery shopping, and they've even ventured into on-line banking.

The group which amazes me the most is our knit and natter.  I'm definitely (at 69) one of the younger members of the group!  Once a fortnight we have an hour-long zoom chatting whilst indulging in that that very old-style hobby - knitting.  

The group I belong always has some sort of charity project on hand, like knitting hats for sailors or twiddle muffs for dementia patients but it's OK just to bringany project along to occupy one's fingers while everyone natters.  At the moment we are knitting a Christmas tree.  We've seen them and we want to have a go!  (Ang at Tracing Rainbows was involved in one a few years ago.) 
Tree knitted by United Church, Ferndown in 2017

We're going to be part of a Christmas tree festival which has nursey rhymes as its theme and we've chosen "Round and round the garden like a teddy bear".  After we have exhibited our tree the squares will be made into blankets, the teddies will be sent to a children's charity and the garden flowers will be sewn onto twiddle muffs.