Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year and Spring is coming.

Once again it has so far been a very mild winter, damp yes, but no snow and only a few frosts. The buds on the willows are swelling and we have the first primroses out. Several of our roses have continued to bloom throughout.
 Our hens have kept up good production throughout the winter, far too many eggs for us to keep up with, and you can only eat a certain amount of ice-cream. The quail are also in full production,  this week we will set their first eggs in the incubator. The carrots have all stood well in the garden and the ones from the keyhole garden have also done well, the first one was accidentally pulled today while collecting chick weed for the quail, we should have plenty until the new ones are planted. Today I noticed that the buds on the peach tree are greening up as this is planted in a container in the sun-room we will hopefully have better luck with the first one we tried.
Christmas itself was very quiet, it seemed strange without our big dog Shannon, and without Jason so we decided that we would get another dog. We have never had a Labrador but everything that we knew about them from friends that have them and information on the internet decided us that this would be a good dog for us to have.
Just arrived.
 I made a couple of  'phone calls, the first person that I contacted I suspect was operating a puppy farm as he asked which puppies I was interested in, naming three types of dog, the guy was also not going to give me any information as to where he lived either, suggesting that we met in a car park some forty miles from here and he would bring the pups with him for us to choose. We decided against meeting with him.
 The second 'phone call was more successful with clear directions of  where they were and we had a choice of four pups. The following day we got our new pup, it was so hard to chose between them, they were all bouncing bundles of energy, two male and two females, in the end it came down to the easiest one to catch. We didn't have a preference as to whether we were having a male or female except that I had no male names in mind but I did have names ready for a girl, it was lucky that the one we caught was a female and her name is Tess, a suitable name for a Labrador I think. She was quite happy to come with us without a backward glance to her mum or siblings and travelled well, four hours without a murmur.
 Once home she was given a close inspection by our cats and approved of, she was also accepted by Robbie, our very elderly Jack Russell who is the original 'grumpy old man '. She is now part and parcel of the animal kingdom that we share our lives with.

We had put on hold our Christmas celebrations until the 29th as we were having friends to stay for a couple of days. Lauren is a helper that had come to us several years ago when we lived in Spain and we have stayed in contact with her,  she had also come  for a holiday  while we were still in Spain. It was lovely to see her again and her delightful partner, Jason who we had heard a lot about but had not met before, they certainly made it a special Christmas for us.
 We celebrated with an entirely home grown dinner, duck , chicken, carrots and sprouts,and of course roast potatoes, followed by Christmas pudding and especially for Lauren, a sherry trifle which should carry a government heath warning!

 For the last two years they have both been teaching English, firstly in Italy and then in Hong Cong. Their next destination is Spain for a year so hopefully they will be able to visit us again before they return to the far east. The world is certainly their oyster, and they really lives their lives and their dreams.
Sherry trifle, especially for Lauren.

 It will soon be planting time again and our seeds are ordered, including the potatoes which apparently will be in short supply due to the very wet weather that the UK had last year. The beds are ready for planting and then the whole cycle will begin again. I am hoping that we might have a few less slugs this year though, they were a pain last year.


  1. Ah ha! You got the pictures to work then! Lovely pics of pup and loving Lauren smiling at that enormous trifle!

  2. The trifle was immense!!!! Thank you again, amazing food, great company and a lovely Christmas!!! Same again next year please, hehehe. Miss you both already, will email when we have internet in the flat. Should be Monday (fingers crossed) xxx