Day 097 – The fruits of our labour

Day 97 – Jun 22nd

A few weeks ago I was given a strawberry plant by a friend at work, took it home and planted it in the garden just in time for flowers to start appearing on it. When the flowers appear it’s not long before they fall off and strawberries begin to appear in their place. Recently we’ve had some strawberries appear, and this week, with all the rain and warm weather we’ve had, the strawberries have begun to ripen, and Olivia loves to eat them straight from the plant, which is lovely to watch. The thought of being even remotely connected to the land for such simple things is a nice feeling. To watch your children pick fruit and eat it, and get excited about it too, rather than pick up sweets is brilliant! I can’t wait until the blackberries are out later in the year, its always fun going out for walks and spotting these!

The weather has cooled down a lot now, and by the look of the forecast, we’ve seen the end of our little heatwave. Its a bit of a shame, it was nice having so much sunshine, even if it meant that sleep was only possible with a fan in the bedroom, and a cold shower before bed. The garden has done so well in the sunshine, although it has meant some committed watering of all the plants. The seeds I planted back in February have all started to bloom now, and the garden is beginning to look very colourful. Its nice for Olivia to see the end result of the seeds she helped me to plant, although I am not entirely sure she remembers doing it!

Todays photo is one freshly picked strawberry from the garden, hopefully the first of many if the squirrels don’t find them!

Day 090 – Is it Friday yet?

Day 90 – Jun 15th

A fairly standard day at work, after cycling and hitting the gym yesterday, it was good to be back on the motorbike today. The weather has been pleasant and warm this week, and it makes the commute on a motorbike even more enjoyable. I still need to get around to arranging the lessons and test for my full motorbike license at some point, as it means being able to throw away the L plates, and buy a bike with a much bigger engine. I also want to go shopping for some more sunshine friendly motorbike clothing, as it can get a bit warm on the back of a bike when you’re covered in heavy, dark, padded jacket and trousers when you’re stuck in traffic and not moving much. 

The weekend is set to see the mercury rise quite a bit, it’ll be shorts, vest and flip flops weather at this rate. One thing I need to keep on top of is watering the plants and flowers that I have growing in the garden, most of which I have grown from seeds. Some of which I still can’t remember the names of. Todays photo is one such flower, it’s produced a beautiful orange colour, although for the life of me I can’t think what it’s called. I managed to use my macro lens to get a nice closeup shot and fill the frame with the petals. I can see that this years 365 project is going to be regularly filled with petals and the girls. Maybe time to start thinking of a few new ideas. What is everyone else pointing their cameras at, at the moment?

Day 083 – Election day, have your say!

Day 83 – Jun 8th

Thursday the 8th of June is election day, where the country gets to vote in a new leader. Unlike previous elections the difference between the two main parties has never been more obvious, and so turnout is expected to be much higher this time around. Clare had been busy all day, and so waited for me to get home so we could all head out as a family to the polling station, our local library.

There is something about going out to place your vote that makes you feel extra grown up and responsible, certainly not a decision that should be taken lightly. I still wouldn’t call myself the most politically astute person I know, so I do try and make sure I’ve done some research before I put my X in the box. This year I was already fairly clear on who I was voting for, and feeling a little confident with my choice, I even put a little bet on!

My only other duty of the evening was tending to my greenhouse, and making sure my tomatoes and chillies were adequately watered. We are starting to see the plants flower now, and have even found a couple of small tomatoes beginning to grow. The first time I grew tomatoes I had a really good crop and made soup and a pasta sauce from it, since then I haven’t had so much luck, so keeping my fingers crossed for a better crop this year.

Day 65 – Summer arrives and we find we’re allergic to it

Day 65 – May 21st

Sunday really started to feel like summer was finally here, temperatures on the rise and the ground drying out from all the rain we’ve had. Likewise, the pollen count starts to rise and almost as if to punish us for enjoying the sunshine, it brings with it misery for hayfever sufferers like myself. Each year is different, and thankfully this year hasn’t been too bad so far, I am sure there is worse to come!

We’ve had a childrens party on the calendar for quite a while for today, from one well prepared parent at Olivia’s nursery. It seems that the popular choice for children around this age is to have it at a soft play centre of some description, and thankfully this one wasn’t far away from us. It was one we were unfamiliar with, and one we may well consider using again, as it was especially suitable for smaller kids. Half the problem with a lot of soft play centres is that they are geared up for older kids who are bigger and a bit sturdier, not only are some of the areas difficult for smaller kids to climb up, but the bigger kids tend to be much more reckless… and the parents rarely watch what they’re doing! The real bonus at todays party was that the entire place was hired out to just the one party, so it was closed off to the public. We still didn’t know a lot of the parents in there, but it was a little more reassuring that everyone was somehow connected and all the kids were a little safer. Soft play centres can be a little chaotic at the best of times, and you always have to watch your children like a hawk, being able to relax a little is a welcome relief.

Back at home the sun was out and it was time to get a little gardening done, pulling up a few weeds and tidying things up a little, with some help from Olivia. I happened to notice how the clematis that my sister had bought me for my birthday a couple of years ago had flowered again, and how pretty it looked. It was worthy of a photo for today. I’m still waiting for the rest of the flowers in the garden to blossom. Growing them from seed is a lovely way to do things, but they always seem to take a little longer.

Day 040 – A life without dreams is like a garden without flowers

Day 40 – Apr 26th

Welcome back! Its nice to see people returning. It has me wondering, what is it that people come back for? Are you here for the daily photo, or are you feeling compelled to read my ramblings?
Well, Wednesday means hump day, the next weekend is now closer than the previous one, and Monday morning is almost a distant memory. We’re a step closer to a long weekend, but what to do with a bank holiday? The weather forecast isn’t looking great, but we should probably try and make a few plans anyway. It would be nice to get out somewhere that I could take some nice photos, somewhere a little scenic with the girls.

Todays photo was taken in the afternoon sun, outside the house, in fact just in my neigbours front garden. Bluebells seem to have spread like wildfire down our road in the last week or so, and even into our back garden. Such a pretty sight! I am really hoping we can go on a bluebell walk at some point, as we missed out last year.

On a totally unrelated issue, one thing happened to me today that caused me to stop and give some consideration. As I was browsing through facebook, which I often do several times a day, I was looking through my friends list, with the intention of having a bit if a clearout. Nothing significant, just a bit of spring cleaning, people I’d had little or no interactions with, when I came across someone on my friends list who had died in recent weeks. I was now faced with what is a fairly new moral dilemma, a sign of the times you could say, of trying to figure out what the correct etiquette is in this new, modern situation. The person in question happened to be a work colleague that had only added me as a friend a few weeks before he passed away, and although he seemed to be a pleasant chap, I can’t say I really knew him at all, or had even had a single conversation with him. I couldn’t even really say that we were actual friends, I only really accepted his friend request out of politeness, as he seemed fairly harmless and we’d seen each other around the place for long enough to know who each other was.

It was, of course, very sad when he passed away, it was very unexpected and the news came out of the blue, as a complete shock to everyone, and clearly a lot of the staff knew him a lot better than I did, he seemed to be quite a popular person. Of course, this doesn’t detract from the fact that we still barely knew each other. Instead of just ignoring this point and leaving it, the direct result of being connected via facebook was that I now kept getting daily posts from his bereaved family appearing on my page, expressing their sorrow. Yes, of course it was all very sad, but these are still posts from people I don’t know about someone (with all respect to him) that I barely knew at all.

Yet I still felt a pang of guilt when I hit the ‘unfriend’ button, but why? I had no reason to remain connected, it will serve no purpose, even though I still have other people on my friends list that have passed away, people I knew much better, but I don’t have the heart to unfriend them yet, even though it has been a few years. So what is the right thing to do in this situation? What would you do?

Day 032 – Turn off the tv and get outside

Day 32 – Apr 18th

Just as the brexit dust has settled, people have started getting used to the idea a little more, and the very vocal online community of angry remainers have started to calmdown… the government tosses another political hand grenade over the fence, and called a general election for this summer.

Aside from the usual news reports and party political broadcasts, this can mean only one other thing… Facebook is about to become a political soapbox for a bunch of new found experts on the matter. It’s going to be pretty much unbearable for at least two months, and most likely even a month after its supposedly over! Everyone will be sharing their opinions, telling everyone else which way to vote and making them feel bad if they don’t. I would even consider coming off Facebook for a while, but I know thats not really going to happen, and why should I?! It’s my Facebook too, and its serves a purpose for what I need it for. There is an alternative of course, put the phone down (does no-one use a laptop any more?) and just go outside, which is exactly what I did today.

I’d already spent a portion of the afternoon walking round Lickey Hills, and as soon as we collected Olivia from nursery we were straight out in the back garden. Not having the tv on makes me happy, its good to be outside. I made sure Chloe came out too, I was fairly sure that even though she is still putting everything in her mouth, the grass at least would be safe from being chomped on!

015 – Life is beautiful, stop and smell the flowers

Day 15 – Apr 1st

A morning rain shower led the way for a beautiful Saturday and the sun soon appeared after the rain had stopped. It was off to nursery first thing, without Olivia, for the parents morning to speak to the staff about how she is getting on. It came as no surprise that they all thought she was doing really well, and were very happy with her progress. A nice start to the weekend, its fair to say!

After spending the afternoon at my mothers so she could see the girls for a few hours, it was time to get ready for another night out, drinks with some old school friends in the city centre. Always a good evening catching up with these guys, a bite to eat, a few beers and never enough time. Rather than an expensive taxi fair home, they get the last train, which means the evening comes to an end at a sensible time, especially after my embarrassing moment falling asleep in the pub the night before! In my defence, it was a late night on Friday and thanks to the joys of parenting my body doesn’t seem to want to function after 12:30am these days! I was always a night owl, and old habits die hard, yet pouring a drink and putting a film on often results in my nodding off and pouring the drink over myself lately!