Sunday, June 08, 2008

Felting in Irish Sally Gardens

Yesterday I joined the lovely Rebecca from Irish Sally Gardens to learn a bit more about felting. It was a really interesting session and I got to ask all those silly questions I'd been storing up for while. I can only get so much out of a book or from reading websites and then I really just need to have someone to show me what to do and answer all those questions that just aren't covered in books, no matter how well written they are!

I arrived down to the smallholding in the lovely Leitrim just after 10 in the morning. It was a gorgeous sunny day with enough breeze to keep it a really pleasant temperature. Having met the family and heard about the rabbits from Rebecca's young daughter we sat down for a cup of tea and then set about felting. While we were doing so we had a good chance to chat about anything and everything - it was really great to meet someone I've 'blog known' for a couple of years. I'll post photos of my finished feltwork soon. I still haven't decided if I'll make it into something or just keep it as a decorative square.

After we had finished felting I got a tour of the whole place including holding a baby rabbit, seeing the chickens (and the rooster, who bravely fought off a fox recently), goats, polytunnel, raised beds, composting toilet (a work of art - Becky's hubby Dan being very talented at carpentry), oak wood and newly planted coppice, plus the lake. Such a beautiful place and so much work has obviously been put into it. We had a very tasty lunch of stirfried pork (from their pigs) and mangetout and sugar snaps from the polytunnel. How great is it that one person can start cooking while the other heads out to the tunnel to pick the rest of what's needed for the meal. I was mightily impressed with the elderflower cordial as well.

All in all a fantastic day and not only did I get to enjoy the wonderful peace and quiet, have good company, learn lots about felting and have a delicious meal, I came away with a sewing machine as well after mentioning that I share one with my sister (who will want it back when she's home from Oz and me moving to Germany might have made that a bit awkward).

Thanks again Rebecca!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Düsseldorf here I come

Well, it's nearly official - just waiting for my contract to arrive so I can sign it but I'm happy enough with the package I'm being offered and we've settled on 1 August as my start date so I have a few more weeks to get organised than I thought I would. It's very exciting and there's so much to do. Must start making lists now!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Stupid doctors

Was at the hospital today for a follow-up appointment about my foot, which still has no feeling in the toes and the same thing now starting in my right foot. After a battery of blood tests (no, Mr Consultant, just because I'm overweight does not mean I have diabetes) and extensive nerve conduction tests (complete with a massive bruise from where they stuck a needle in my leg muscle to do an extra test) there's apparently nothing wrong with me and no point in doing any further test. Come back in six months or if you develop any other symptoms. I knew I was going to be told that nothing had shown up in the tests that I'd had as I'd phoned in to get the blood tests results and the doctor doing the nerve tests told me straightaway but you still have to go to the consultant to get the results officially. I was however expecting another set of tests, you know, now we've ruled out x, y and z so we're going to test for w. But no. Just live with it. All very frustrating. I'm not in pain, which is of course good, but it's extremely unsettling to have almost no feeling in any of my toes and it's definitely not normal! Grrrr. I think I'll wait till I get to Germany to get a second opinion.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Spent a lovely day yesterday pottering around the garden, in and out of the shade inside as well making and taking lots of phone calls. Great way to spend a bank holiday. I harvested compost from the plastic cone shaped composter I got from the council when I first moved into this house (over two years ago). Mostly I just kept putting more and more stuff into it and never turned it or anything, occasionally adding some organic liquid accelerator stuff (to use when most of what you're composting is grass) and some shredded newspaper. Then last year in autumn I chopped back a pile of branches from the fuchsia and dumped them in on top of all that as I had no time to cut them up small. So yesterday I tipped it over, harvested what was at the bottom (mostly well composted but quite dry and very little sign of worms but loads of earwigs). I got almost a full wheelbarrow full which I was pleased with.

Most of that went onto the bed in the front garden, where I also chopped back the last of the tulips and the comfrey. There are a couple of garlic plants growing away there and I did plant a few potatoes into it as well recently. Once I have seedlings sturdy enough to plant out I'm going to plant some out there are well.

I put the dead branches around the foot of the fuchsia, couldn't be bothered chopping them at the moment and they'll do there out of sight for another while. And I managed to tip the composter back into place without making too much of a mess of the last few weeks grass cuttings, which had been thrown in on top of those branches.

I kept some of the best compost from that lot to mix with bought compost and soil to pot on the seedlings I have. I planted everything a bit haphazardly at the beginning so ended up with tiny pots with loads of salad seedlings in them. Hopefully some of them will survive having been pricked out and re-potted in bigger pots. Ditto for the tomatoes. I'm not too worried about the five courgette and two squash seedlings as they were much bigger and sturdier. The leeks were very fragile though so am really not sure about them.

But the big news is that I found out this weekend that I am being offered a job in Dusseldorf (for the same company I work for now, had the interview a week and a bit ago) so it makes it that bit more difficult to be bothered if things don't survive. I may not actually move until the end of July though so I have some time to get a harvest if things go well. Of the two better established tomato plants I have I realised one had a blackfly infestation on Sunday but have sprayed it with this stuff my brother gave me (something organic) - hopefully that'll work. And then despite my really not wanting to I finished off the day by clearing up the kitchen and then, after soaking my feet, I washed all the floors and had a lovely hot shower before heading to bed. I knew I'd appreciate having done that when I got up this morning and it was definitely nice to have a clean floor rather than one with dirt and grass all over it!