Friday, 7 May 2021


A few days ago I had BBC Breakfast on in the background waiting for the local news when I heard a statement that the most successful band in British History was on. It is called 'Little Mix'. I, for one, had never heard of the band. Okay so they obviously make the sort of music that I don't listen to now but if they were the most successful band ever I'd have expected to have heard some mention of them at some stage.

I was brought up in Liverpool in The Sixties so I was, of course, very aware of groups such as The Beatles,  The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, The Hollies,  Herman's Hermits, The Searchers, Credence Clearwater Revival, Gerry and The Pacemakers, Led Zeppelin, Simon and Garfunkle, Pink Floyd, Manfred Mann, The Monkees, The Mamas and the Papas, The Moody Blues, Procol Harem, The Everly Brothers, The Shadows, Deep Purple and doubtless many more. 

I suppose we all tend to remember the groups of our youth more than those of later years (although perhaps I'm wrong in that supposition). However since the Sixties and Seventies I've only been aware of a relatively small number of groups that have made the Really Big Time.

Monday, 3 May 2021

Thoughts on Release From Lockdown

I am amazed at how out of touch I feel when I have been away from Blogland for nearly a month. During lockdown Blogland was a place of normality for me. After all Blogland has seen me through a great deal in the last 15 years whilst I've been writing and reading blogs. Blog friends and acquaintances have come and gone (and stayed) but it's been there as a comfort blanket during my New Zealand life as well as life here on Lewis. It's seen me in France, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and Italy as well as Australia and touring New Zealand when I lived there. 

Blogland has been part of normality during lockdown too.

When we were in full lockdown for six months last year I rarely went out except for walks. I met people a lot on video chats and the good old telephone. Like everyone else social life and things like meeting to play bowls all stopped.

However, unlike most of my friends, despite me being a social animal I did not miss socialising. I enjoyed having no commitments. I enjoyed waking up and looking at the weather and deciding it was a perfect day for the garden or a walk or writing letters or working in the workshop/garage out of the rain. 

I could well understand the angst of people living in a multi-storey flat cooped up with other family members with no space and probably having to work from home or home-school. I would have hated that.

Now that things are returning to 'normal' and my diary is full and I have to be aware of the day and the time I am realising just how much I actually enjoyed lockdown. I didn't just endure it. I truly enjoyed it.

Now, though, I will get on with enjoying life again and now that I'm home from hospital and getting back into my Island routine I shall, hopefully, also catch up with all my Blogland pals and find out what you've been up to.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

It Takes So Much Longer Now

Somewhere about 40 years ago I went to the doc for something and he noticed a 'blemish' on my forehead which he regarded with suspicion. He gave my bonce a thorough going over and warned me that the type of skin I had would be very susceptible to UV damage and that I should ALWAYS wear a hat outside even if I was just bringing peat from the stack into the house.  He then sliced a little bit out of my upper forehead and sent it off for analysis. It came back clear. I have worn a hat ever since.

However living in New Zealand and spending much of my life in the sun on the croquet greens has taken its toll, despite me slathering myself with sunblock every day as soon as I had showered and topping it up at lunchtime too. 

A few years ago I got a Squamous carcinoma on my neck. I was referred to a dermatologist and our ENT surgeon removed it. Since then I've had several BCCs off my nose caught when she did my 6 monthly check-ups.

I was in seeing the doc about something last year over 6 months ago. He decided to have a thorough look at my head again. He spotted another BCC. He referred me to the dermatologist. We no longer have one on the Island so I saw a very thorough dermatology nurse who confirmed that it was, indeed, a BCC which needed removing. I was supposed to see the ENT Consultant next week but, Sod's Law, you get one appointment and another two come along the day either side of it. They happen to be in Ayr and are for the overdue-because-of-Covid replacement of my uretic stent so take precedence over a BCC any day.

There was something to be said for the days when the doc looked at you and just wheeked a nasty off/out.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

More Pot Pourri

Many of my daffodils had been in the garden for decades and were past their best and I wanted new ones in some areas too. I went to a large Lincolnshire  supplier and ordered a couple of small sacks of tulips and one of assorted daffodils and narcissi too. It hadn't occurred to me that there might me some 'fancy' ones included because I've never had anything but the 'ordinary' single trumpet daffodil. So the one on the right was a surprise. I have discovered that they have a very big disadvantage in our windy climate - they are top heavy, blow over and break. The fact that I'm not keen on their looks either isn't really important in the circumstances.

I've discovered that the polycarb can easily get into the high 30ºCs during the day and into single figures at night so I decided that to give some of my germinating seeds the best chance I'd try and keep them in a warm but not extreme environment until I've sussed things out. I've not grown much from seed for many years. So this germinator is living on my electrically underfloor heated bathroom for the time being. The rest are scattered around in experimental places. 

The results have been astounding and since I took that picture the seedlings have germinated.
My latest completion - 1000 piece jigsaw. One of the more enjoyable - not too hard and not too easy.

Whilst I was clearing the raised beds which I used to use for vegetables I found all these beauties. They had grown from an unsuccessful trial using a black sack which I had emptied onto the area last year. I obviously left some potatoes in it. They are beauties.