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Another lovely day, but this time without much wind, just a gentle zephyr and warm sunshine, so I've finished all the jobs I urgently needed to do in the yard, except for clearing out a trough and planting my clematisI'm disappointed to see that what I thought was a heavenly blue clematis is in fact, more of a delicate mauve.  It's still very lovely, but I'm a bit disappointed.  I can't imagine how it can have happened.  I wonder whether the plastic corrugated sheeting over the plants at the garden centre may have been coloured rather than clear and so made it look much more blue.  I think I will get a blue morning glory to go with it.  Actually, I've just remembered that Lidl are due to have clematis in sometime soon at a much cheaper price than the garden centre.  I shall have to look at the handouts and see what date that will be.

I took a chance and planted out the four runner bean plants I bought the other day.  I've put them into an improvised trough made from a green plastic crate with holes cut into the base for drainage,  I've put in the bamboo poles and I've put them where they'll get plenty of sun, but where they'll be shielded from wind, and maybe even frost, by the shed.

Charles planted catnip in a small rectangular container, which was the litter tray when we only had one cat.  All we have to do is keep the little brats off it until the seeds germinate.  Yeah!  Right!

The four patio roses have been planted out in individual tubs or pots;  they all have lots of buds so I should have roses in the yard soon.  I've grubbed up some violets to send to A, because they've tried to take over almost every pot in the yard.  I don't want to get rid of them entirely, but A has a large garden and I'm sure she'll find somewhere to put them where they won't be too much of a nuisance;  I have warned her that they're invasive.

I put one of the roses into an old bread crock we no longer use.  I got John to drill a couple of holes in it, and it took him a lot of trouble.  It makes a really nice plant pot!

I've repotted the dianthus I bought on impulse and that too has loads of buds, but so far no flowers.  The picture on the label is of a beautiful bloom which is a sort of cross between scarlet and purple.  I don't know whether it's scented;  I hope so, I adore the scent of carnations, but in my experience it's usually the white ones which are heavily scented.

I've decided against getting the hostas which are on offer this week;  I'm already running out of space, I have to buy bedding plants yet for the hanging baskets and I'm not confident that I could protect the hostas from the slugs'n'snails.  On the other hand, maybe I could put them in the front garden if I can ever get round to sorting it out.  I shall definitely go next week to look at the acers which are going to be half price.  I want a dwarf one, but if I find one I can't resist, I shall have to buy another tub for that too, which will be expensive.  But then I shall have to find a place for it, which won't be so easy.  I was quite glad when they sent us a blue wheelie bin for recycling, but two wheelie bins take up a lot of room in my tiny yard and there's also the compost bin, lurking like a headless Dalek!  I don't think there's ever going to be room for a raised bed which I had rather set my heart on for lettuces and so forth.  I did think I would have a spare tub this year because we cut down the bay tree in the yard which I'd had for years, bringing it from Hampshire but which was badly affected by scale.  Amazingly, it's grown new shoots and leaves, which so far show no sign of scale, so I haven't had the heart to turf it out, even though I bought a new one last Autumn which stands outside the front door.

I'm also hoping to squeeze in a small fruit tree, but will probably wait till next year to do that, as I want one of those which has different kinds of fruit on it and I imagine they'll be rather expensive.

Next year I'm going to make an effort to get new garden furniture which won't, I hope, take up so much room as the huge table and benches which was fine in our large garden in Four Marks, but which is Far Too Big for our tiny yard.

As soon as I'd finished my chores out there, a freezing cold wind blew up, but I didn't care by then, even though I'd planned to sit out there and read for half an hour.  How lucky was that?

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I've had another lovely afternoon in the yard, sprucing up the pots and putting in the new herbs I bought last Monday. 

Today Charles came out to help me, of his own volition.  He cleaned out several pots and planted the new herbs in them
;  he's also gradually helping me tidy up the untidy corners.  He found that a couple of shortish rectangular pots would fit on the windowsill, so he's planted the coriander and some of the new potted-on seedlings in them and put them on the window-sill.  He cleared off the top shelf of the green plastic staging and put the larger potted-out seedlings on there in the hope that it will be too far for the snails and slugs to climb. It's really great to have his help because he can lift the larger pots for me and put them on the table where I can weed them, cut back dead growth and so forth;  previously I was ringing John up on the internal phone to get him to come down and lift the pots, but he, poor old man, has nearly as much trouble as I do lifting them, whereas Charles can easily do it one-handed.

I'm not keen on coriander myself, but I thought I could sprinkle it over home-made curry for a bit of authenticity for John and Charles.

I did everything that I meant to do, except for the one last thing.  I bought some cat-grass seed on Monday and I was going to sow some of it, but unfortunately it started raining quite hard, so we had to gather up everything, put it away in the shed and come indoors.  Of course, the sun's out again now, but I can't go out there again because everything is wet, particularly the seat I have to sit on to do these things;  I just hope I have a window of opportunity tomorrow, although the forecast is not promising.  Although it's very sunny at the moment, there's a freezing cold wind now which wasn't around when I was in the yard.

That's reminded me!  I think Alison promised me some cat-nip plants some months ago.  I must ring her and ask if that's the case or whether it was someone else I can't now call to mind.  I did look for seeds for catnip but didn't find any.  I should speak to her anyway because not only has Godson Christopher just had a baby, or rather his partner has, but it seems that Holly is expecting again.  How exciting it all is!

I was quite cross with myself, because I bought Sweet Woodruff instead of Sweet Cicely;  I wasn't sure at the time, and I thought it wouldn't hurt to have it if it was the wrong thing, but the label just says you can add it to tea or wine and it will make it smell/taste of new hay and Wiki says it's toxic in large doses.  I'm not quite sure that either of those things is something I'd find desirable.  Sweet Cicely on the other hand, is great for things like stewed fruit, when it helps cut down on sugar or sucralose.

On Tuesday I shall go to the garden centre, armed with my coupon to buy BOGOF patio roses, because mine unaccountably died off last year.  Since they're BOGOF, I might get four instead of two.  I also need more pink gravel.  I might even treat myself to something eye-catching and superb if anything catches my eye.

Last night Charles went to bed early because he was exhausted.  Not that it did him much good because he woke up after three hours and then couldn't get back to sleep.  Since he wasn't around and John hardly ever watches films nowadays because his attention span has shortened, I went to bed early myself and watched Flawless, with Robert de Niro and Phillip S Hoffman who were both brilliant, well, in my opinion, anyway.  This morning I asked Charles why he'd never suggested that we see it and he said he'd never seen it himself.

I see that The Straight Story has been on Film4 today.  It's an absolutely brilliant, simple, heartwarming film about a old chap who has no money and no car, but who needs to travel a long way to see his sick brother, so drives his sit-on lawn-mower all the way and meets all sorts of people along the way.  I loved it so much that I bought my own copy.  Judging by what normally happens, it will be repeated ad nauseam on the other channels over the next couple of weeks, so I thoroughly recommend you to watch it, whoever you may be.

I've been rather taken by the TV adverts for the new Star Trek film.  I thought it would be too silly to be repeated, but it looks rather good, and at least Uhuru will presumably not have to sit sideways on to her desk so that everyone can see her legs!

Oh well, I suppose I'd better go down and start dinner.  Chicken with lemon and coconut tonight.  We had some delicious home-made burgers last night which seemed even more delicious than usual, but that may just be because we haven't had them for ages.  As it was, I had to send the menfolk out to buy some GF buns for Charles.


May. 2nd, 2009 12:32 pm
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Yesterday our first 2 DVDs arrived from Lovefilm.  I only ordered them 2 days ago, so I was quite impressed.

Last night we watched Stardust which we had somehow managed to miss when it was first released on DVD, but which Charles and I were both anxious to see as we loved the book.  I was amazed at the stellar cast and thought De Niro was priceless.  We both thoroughly enjoyed it and will probably watch it again before sending it back.  I think I shall have to reread the book, too.  In fact I think I'll reread all the Gaiman's I have.  Charles said that he would like to see a film of Neverwhere and I agree.

Thank you Carol for the free introduction package;  I'm sure we're going to love it.

Today it's sunny but still cold; nevertheless, I must go into the yard and do some more planting, because the weather for tomorrow looks a bit uncertain.  And it will probably pour all day on Monday, as is traditional!

This week the garden centre is having BOGOF patio roses, so I must go there on Tuesday to make sure I get mine!  I can't face it over the weekend, as it gets so crowded.

Home-made burgers tonight;  I shall be able to use my own fresh herbs this time.  Hurrah!

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Well after being down in the dumps over the recent cold and horrid weather, I was really pleased to see a lovely warm sunny Bank Holiday (Some mistake, surely?)

My pleasure soon turned to grumpiness when I discovered that I couldn't stay out in the yard because I couldn't stop coughing for even a minute and eventually I had to retreat to my room.  I was still coughing badly, and even though I've now shut the window, the coughing continues.  This is particularly annoying when I've had a couple of reasonable nights' sleep and have started feeling better.

Needless to say neither John nor Charles has offered to make a start on the work for me!

I'm wondering if the allergic rhinitis has just segued straight into full blown hay fever and how that can possibly be so when there are so few trees even with leaves, let alone pollen.  I'm not normally allergic to the sort of blossom you get on plum or cherry trees, although there are two right outside my window, so it's possible, I suppose................

We have a good forecast for tomorrow so I shall go to Boots and stock up on hayfever remedies before trying again.  I'll have to make an appointment with my LLD, as well, but I doubt whether she'll have a free appointment any time this week.

If I really can't get out into the yard or the front garden tomorrow, I shall have a major strop!!

Where can I get a gas mask?

Doctor Who spoiler under the cut-

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Yesterday John finally went to see the physiotherapist.  When he saw the doctor she made a big fuss about it and said that if it were possible she'd have him go there the same day, but now, several weeks later, the physiotherapist didn't seem to be very interested.  He had a 9.30 appointment about ten minutes walk away and he was back here at 10.00, feeling a bit cross and not very cherished.

Apparently she gave him exercises to do, but no physical treatment at all.  I can't understand it.  I thought a slipped disc was much more serious than sciatica, but I had far more attention for my sciatica and continued to be seen weekly until it was completely better.  Of course, it's possible that his deafness may have had something to do with it, I suppose.  Sigh!  He may have been told he needs a hearing aid, but AIUI it's taking 18 months or more to provide people with them on the NHS, and we certainly can't afford the £800 that our friend paid for the privately acquired aids he has been using for the last several years.

It was another nice day yesterday so I spent a little time clearing up the yard.  I uprooted the few poor sticks remaining from my runner beans, with about half a dozen leaves the bloody slugs hadn't eaten, and threw away a lot of dead stuff.  I've decided to replant the beans tub with a nice shrub, maybe a tree mallow, if I can grow it in the large tub.  They used to grow like weeds in Four Marks and didn't seem to be very deep-rooted, so maybe one would be OK.  I'd like one because they bloom for weeks and weeks.  I'm also thinking about putting a dark purple buddleia into the tub the old sage bush is in.  I bought two new ones this year and I'm going to throw the old one out when I've harvested all the usable leaves, maybe tomorrow if it's not raining.

So much has died or gone off that I've decided to just concentrate on tidying the yard really well and emptying all the pots which have nothing useful in them, ready for an early start next year.

I wish I knew what was wrong with my bay tree.  A week ago it was flourishing but yesterday all the new growth was curled up and drooping.  Charles gave it a good watering, but I don't think that was the problem.  I got rid of the scale weeks ago and it was doing really well..............  Maybe I'll get another one of those, to be on the safe side.  I don't like to be without a bay tree.

Today has been absolutely horrible, very overcast and raining most of the time.  The heavens decided to open when I came out of the dentists' surgery and I got very wet just crossing the road to Lucy.

We went to pick up the chair I bought from Community Furniture, but they were already closed at 3.30 pm, so I'll have to go back tomorrow.  Tomorrow is Old Farts' Day at B&Q, so I plan to go and get a large storage box for my art equipment and then I shall be able to clear up that corner of the spare room.  I shall look at floor paint, too.  John can sort the books and ring Barter Books to make an appointment to take them in;  we'll  just have to take great care not to get any more with any credit we get, but save it for getting Christmas presents for each other.   Charles can start disassembling the old wardrobe which is too awful to offer Community Furniture and which was here when we bought the house.  It's really too large and difficult to get down the stairs whole.  We found a stash of Charles' old Dungeon & Dragon stuff, which I thought he'd want to throw out, since he hasn't been interested in it since his early teens, but he grabbed them and took them off to his room.

I'm still feeling a lot better and more cheerful, in spite of the horrible weather and the fact that my AF isn't responding to treatment as fast as I'd like. 

Charles kindly pointed out to me that it's only 4 months to Christmas!  That means I've had this worsening of my AF for almost nine months now.  I had hoped it was a temporary blip, but I might have to reconcile myself to being less able than I have been.  Never mind.  I comfort myself that I've outlived my father by  17 years and my mother by 10.  Other members of the family have lasted a lot longer, so I don't plan on going anywhere soon.

I feel so upset at hearing Dawn French's premonition that she's destined for an early death, because I felt exactly the same when Pa died when I was 22 and I'd really like to tell her that  I made a lot of mistakes in my life from believing that.  Not saving for a pension being just one, but, of course, that wouldn't bother her, since I'm sure she has more than enough money to last should she live to be 100.
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Today was the first day of the new Diltiazem dosage, although I did actually take the smaller pill when I got home yesterday afternoon.

I've felt fine all day till just a little while ago, when I started getting breathless coming up the stairs. Yesterday when I took the extra pill later, I noticed that I wasn't getting breathless coming upstairs in the evening. My Lovely Lady Doctor told me to take it all at once in the morning unless it made me feel woozy, in which case I should take the smaller dose later in the day. I think I shall have to experiment. I will take both pills in the morning for a week and keep a diary about how it affects me and then I shall take the smaller dose about 5-ish for a week and again keep notes about how it affects me........ If I remember!

Having said all that, this evening's breathlessness was nowhere near as debilitating as it has been recently.

It was a nice afternoon, after rain in the morning, so after John and Charles had cleared all the rubbish out of the yard and taken it to the tip, Charles and I spent some time pottering in the yard. We broached our 2-year-old compost bin and I was so thrilled to see that the magic has worked and we have lovely friable compost. There are a few things which haven't composted completely; most we can't recognise, but, strangely, the avocado pear skins are completely untouched apart from having become black and slimy. I wonder why that should be?

Considering how long it's taken to produce that compost, it's a bit disappointing to think that I've already used about a quarter of it on three large pots. One is to grow my mint plant much bigger. The original pot it was in just didn't let it grow profusely enough, so I've put it in a huge pot which I hope will encourage it to get really big. The other two smaller ones were for planting out my new sage bushes, one purple and one green/gold.  I had to do a fair bit of deadheading as well.  The verbena has only half the number of flowers now that it started with.

The beans are growing really fast, but I see that the slugs have been at one plant and done their best to destroy it. I've moved the tub further away from the wall, because I think they must climb the wall and make a bridge of their bodies to the succulent leaves. Charles put grit round each plant as well. We put grit on the pots of mint and sage, too. It does make them look very nice.

Where the rubbish had been moved, we found an absolutely enormous yellow slug........ugh! and a tiny grey one.  I salted them and just managed to stop Charles disposing of them in the compost bin.  I don't want their eggs in my compost, thank you very much.  I also found a couple of massive snails, which went over the back wall, and John managed to tread on a very large one. Eeek!

Yesterday, when the window cleaner came, we found some keys by the back gate, which appeared to be for a Daihatsu; Adrian-next-door drives one, so I assumed they were his and I left a message on his voice-mail about them. He hadn't phoned back, so when John told me he was at home I went round and they were indeed his keys. He was very glad to get them back, because not only was there his spare car key on the ring, but his only key to the luggage box which lives on the car roof.

Poor Caramel his lovely tortoiseshell cat has had to be put down. She was only 10, but she developed a cancer on her chin which was inoperable and which made life too difficult for her.

Still, he did have some good news as well. He and Sandra have got engaged, the sweet old-fashioned things, and are planning to marry next year. I was so afraid that when this happened he would move away, but apparently she's coming to live next-door. Hurrah!  I must make them a really nice engagement card.  I'm sooo thrilled!

This morning the hat I bought from the eBay shop on Tuesday arrived by post.  It came in a huge box which weighed hardly anything at all, and the postman asked if it was a balloon!

It's not quite as dark a pink as I hoped, but it's still a very pretty shade, what I would call shell-pink, it fits me and it suits me, so I'm delighted with it.  I just wish everything else would come now!

Oh Good Grief!  I see it's Friday again tomorrow, so I shall have to go shopping again if I don't want to go at the week-end.  I get so fed up with shopping.

Maybe I shall go to the garden centre again on Saturday as a reward for the other boring shopping.  The only shopping I like is shopping for books, for CDs and DVDs and shopping in garden centres, which are the only places I ever do any of that browsing "window" shopping.
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I went out into the yard a short while ago, to take the bin out.  It's pouring with rain, and the entire yard is full of slugs and snails.  They were also all over the wall.  I salted as many as possible, till I ran out of salt, but it looks as though we're being overrun.  I've never seen so many in one place before.

Yuck!  And ick!  I hates the things, I does.

At least I managed to find and order a dress I quite liked which isn't made of polyester and isn't black.  It's actually khaki, which doesn't exactly fill me with joy, but I also ordered a rather snazzy melodramatic kind of cardigan/wrap in the same colour.  I've ordered a pair of pale green suede shoes, so now I need a green hat.

We're off to Stoke on Trent tomorrow for a  CT Board strategy day.  It looks as though it may well rain all the way there, which isn't going to be much fun.
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Oh bother!

No sooner had I got the runner beans planted and the bamboo poles in than it started to rain. It seems to be set in for the afternoon now. It's all my fault for getting John to have the car washed!

I shall have to get some new bamboo poles for the beans and any other climbing plants I get. I only seem to have three long ones left. Goodness knows what's happened to those I had last year.

I've also lost both my trowels. I had two, one old one and one squeaky new one with non-stick blade. Surely I can't have thrown them out with the rubbish? I had them just the other day.

I shall have to spend some time on the front garden at the weekend, weather permitting. I expect I shall be too exhausted to do anything on Friday after a long day's meeting and the journey home except to take the cats to the vet for their boosters and MOTs as already arranged.

I sent for the La Redoute catalogue, because the clothes looked so gorgeous and very much the sort of thing I like and many of them in natural fabrics, but the eejits have sent me the normal catalogue instead of the Plus-size one, and now I have to wait 14 days for the correct catalogue to be delivered. I was hoping I might be able to buy a dress for the wedding from them. The website is all very well, but a catalogue shows more detail and gives one a better idea of how the fabric will hang. Bother!

The weather forecast is for rain all day tomorrow. That will be fun for a longish journey!
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Yesterday we went to the garden centre, and I was so pleased to see that they hadn't sold out of any of the things I wanted. I even managed to get six well grown runner beans, although it didn't say what variety they are.

I got loads of lobelia and petunias, which were the things I was afraid would be sold out, I got 2 new sage plants, one purple and one green and a few other odds and ends. The rest can wait till next week. I also bought a slug-deterrent spray, and in the evening after I'd watered all the new plants (sitting on top of the garden table), I applied a spray all round the edge of the table. I hope it works. I'd hate the hootering slugs to get at the plants before they've even been planted.

I couldn't plant the stuff when I got home, because I had to immediately get ready to go to Poetry School. Sadly it was the last seminar, although we hope we will be able to do it again in the Autumn. Unfortunately this course has not profited Linda in any way, because although six people signed up, two never came, so she said that she's not made any money on it at all. She loves doing it, but practically, she has to make a living. It seems that the other one which has been running in Newcastle is coming to an end because Sean has too many other commitments and feels it's affecting his work, so I hope we shall be able to mop up a few of the people who have been going to that one. I'd be sooo sad if it came to an end. It's been just what I needed. I'd got to the stage when I needed feedback on my work, and that's exactly what I've had from her. She's very tactful with it, too, but still manages to get her point across. I feel as though I've learned such a lot from her.

It appears that Gillian will be coming back to teach the other class this year, too, so I shall have to try to find the money for both of them. £350 is not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but it's a lot for me to find, especially as I shall have to find it all at about the same time.

Anyway, by the time I got back from the seminar I was, as usual, completely exhausted, so I couldn't plant the stuff after we'd eaten, which was why I watered them and sprayed the slug repellent. Wouldn't you know that it would rain later in the evening?

I'm hoping that the rain which appears imminent will hold off for this afternoon, when I plan to get the plants into their pots. I can't do it earlier because John won't be available to take the rubbish away till then and I can't get at all the things I need to at the moment. If I can't do it today, I won't be able to do it till Friday because tomorrow we're going to Stoke on Trent, where I have an all day meeting on Thursday. John is taking me because I still haven't got my heart medicine sorted out, and in any case the mileage allowance is generous enough to make it OK for him to miss a couple of days' work, even though the it works out much cheaper than a first class rail ticket. Anyway, we're all going out for a meal tomorrow night, although I don't know what delights Stoke on Trent has to offer, an Indian or Chinese restaurant, I imagine.

John has a couple of museums pencilled in to visit while I'm at my meeting; he quite likes this arrangement, he might even keep on doing it when I'm feeling better.

If I can't plant the stuff till Friday, it will be much more prone to dry out and I shall have to rely on Charles remembering to water them. Sigh!

I had a letter from the hospital yesterday. Well, actually it was the copy of a letter Doctor Adams has sent to my GP recommending prescription alterations. I've made an appointment to see her next Wednesday, so maybe something will start getting better at last.

Now I have to make a list of what to take tomorrow and I need to read all the papers I've been sent before ironing a blouse for the meeting.  I don't normally iron, but I thought I'd lost this blouse, which I found all scrunched up at the bottom of a laundry basket. and it's nice and cool to wear on hot sticky days.
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I'm sitting here feeling rather cross. It's a nice warm day and I'm having to spend most of it indoors because I have hay-fever. I spent all day wondering why I couldn't see anything properly and why my eyes were watering and I've just realised what the problem is. I can't take any medication for it, because I take so much other stuff that pharmacists always tell me I should just put up with the hay-fever, rather than mix medications.

I'm also cross because so much in my back yard has died. It's strange that until a couple of months ago it was all thriving, but now, not only have I lost my two lovely miniature roses which were so prolific last year, but I've also lost a clematis and various other baby shrubs. I can only imagine that they've suffered from insufficient water, unless they've died from overexposure to greenfly. I discovered that Adrian's jasmine which was heavily overhanging our side of the wall, and which didn't die away last winter, is awash with greenfly. We do like the jasmine and it smells lovely when in bloom, although it makes me sneeze, but I've hacked it right back, or rather I got John to do so because I couldn't reach it very easily. There was also another buddleia all tangled up in it, so I shall have to get Charles to stand on the steps and cut that back too.  It will probably be as well to do that in any case, as the birds tend to sit there where Bramble and Phoebe can sneak up on them along the top of the wall.  Bramble has already killed a blue tit, horrible savage animal!

Strangely, a couple of pots I've weeded and prepared for planting with flowers were quite damp; I can't understand how some of them are damp and others very dry. Maybe the jasmine has overshadowed the pots to the extent that they've not been getting enough water?

Whatever the answer, I have to stop it happening again, because it's on the opposite wall to the back door where I like to have things planted that look and smell nice. I must remember to get those purple petunias, which seem to be the only ones which have that heavenly smell.

I think I shall go to the garden centre tomorrow and see what they have left.  John won't have the van tomorrow as it has to go in for a repair, so he won't be able to get rid of the rubbish in the yard till Tuesday.  The rubbish is seriously impeding my progress now.

I've decided that I will definitely have to get a new thyme.  The old one is looking really woody and ratty now.  I suppose it's my own fault;  I can never bear to cut anything back as severely as I should.

Bramble and I had lots of fun playing in the yard with a piece of gardening twine. He's just sooo funny and sooo athletic and always ready to be diverted. 

Oh dear.  I have to go down and start the dinner soon.  I wish I hadn't promised to do roast lamb, as this hay-fever is making me feel rather unlike eating it, let alone cooking it.  Charles cooked us a magnificent goulash last night and afterwards we watched Superman Returns which we enjoyed as a nice frothy piece of hokum.  As usual the special effects were wonderful. 

I think I'd better try washing the pollen out of  my eyes with cold water before I start doing anything else.

I really must remember to telephone the cardiologist's secretary tomorrow.  John and Charles want us to make arrangements for a holiday, and I don't want to do anything until I know what's going to be done.  There's not much point in having a holiday if you can't walk anywhere or do anything.  Sulk!

I also must telephone the vet.  Both cats are due for booster shots and annual MOTs;  if I get them in before the end of the month, I shall get 10% off.  Yesterday Charles and I went to the pet-shop and got another carrier so that I can take them both at once.  I've left it open on the kitchen floor so that Bramble keeps going in and sitting in it.  Phoebe won't, of course.

Oh well, time to put the lamb in the oven!


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