Monday, 6 August 2018

Sunflowers and the Beach

I planted these three months ago. I love them! They are so happy and so big! I had a few dicey moments when it was windy and rainy the other weekend, but bamboo stakes came to the rescue, and they survived. 

 The colours are like food for the eyes. The bees love them. 

The buds have a beautiful structure that reminds me of a Russian church dome. 

We decided to go to Dungeness on Saturday. We left early, had breakfast at a service station, spent time on the beach, had lunch in the cafe and left shortly afterwards,  so we were home in the later afternoon. It was lovely! It is still so hot, and it was great to be on the beach with the breeze.

 I love the view of the roofs over the shingle bank. 

The tide was far out, and the photos I took were with the zoom lens. They have come out quite blurry, with the effect of Impressionist paintings.
 Moth man in the distance. 

 The nuclear power station. I like the red chimneys against the green building.

 Pylons with personality. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Saving a Bee and the Magic of the Moment

Yesterday I was in the nursery in the morning. In amongst all the seeming chaos of new children who are like babies compared to the older ones, an assembly practice in the hall and lots of ball related arguments, I noticed one of the boys trying to squash a bee that was resting on some blue fabric. I had seen it there earlier and it had been there quite a while. I rushed over to stop him from killing it, and explained that it was just having a rest and that he should just watch it to see what it did. We watched for a little while, then I remembered the sugar water thing-where you can revive a poorly bee by giving it a little. In the meanwhile, another child had become interested, and he went inside to ask an adult to get me some of the sugar water. I put a little on my finger and the bee had a drink. It then crawled onto my finger. A girl had also become interested in the bee. The two boys went off to play with balls, and the girl follwed me into the garden. We put the bee on a Jasmine flower. It fell off though, so I gave it some more of the water. The girl was so interested and concerned for the bee. After a little while I put it down near some flowers. It sat for a moment, then flew off! We were both so excited! It is these little moments that I love about teaching. They can happen in any age group and any setting, and, although they can contribute to the never ending assessment of children, they are more important than that. They are the moments that are remembered as a shared experience which emotionally affects all involved as human beings. They can't be planned for, though they can be helped by good provision. I was telling the nursery teacher what happened this morning, and she asked whether I got any pictures. No! If I had left the situation to get an iPad or ask another adult for one, the moment would be gone. The pictures are in my mind though and, hopefully in the minds of the children involved.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Wild Garden

These pictures don't show the wildness very well but it is there. Everything is growing at an amazing rate so I am just lettting it happen at the moment!
Verbena Bonariensis. I love the structure of this plant, and as it is so tall it has the blue background of the sky each day and looks beautiful. It has square prickly stems which are quite raspy on your skin. Some has self-seeded in the concrete where I took the decking up. I should probably pull it up but I am leaving it for now.
This is about a week ago. The sunflowers in the pots could really do with being in the ground as they wilt each day if I don't water them in time. The ones in the ground are quite tall now and there is not any more room to plant the others. I gave some to next door and have four stragglers left in small pots. I can't wait until they start to flower but hope they get really tall first.

 The daisies that grow in the corner of the steps are one of my  favourite plants. They flower for ages and look pretty there. The poor Christmas tree is still awaiting a bigger pot.
I grew the lavender from seed years ago and it reliably comes back each year. This year it has done particularly well and is filled with bees most of the time.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Random Catch Up Two

More catching up...
Cat seen on the way to a cat sitting visit. 
 Peter Rabbit's head. He is complete now, but I have no pictures yet.
 Yellow Flags in the pond, surrounded by pink geraniums. A bit wild but I love it. The bees and birds do too!
 This poor clematis has been in a pot for years. Each year it produces one perfect flower. I really need to move it this year.
 Beautiful green tiles on the way down the stairs from another cat visit. 
 Hanuman on the beach, as part of an ever growing sculpture. 
I found the pink ball like this, but didn't leave it there as it was just such a lovely faded colour.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Random Catch Up 1

A selection of photos from the last two months, part one. Random, just what I like from my camera roll, with only the briefest of explanations.
My Dad's birthday weekend-we had lunch in Lenham where he lives, then visited the summer art fair in the amazing barn in the village. Magpies on the lawn.
 Chickens by the pond. 
 The pond.
This place is idyllic country village personified. 
The house next to the barn. 
The welcoming creature outside the antique shop. 
One of my cat clients lives near here and this is the road behind the fancy new flats, where it is (still) free to park. It is occupied by travellers. It is next to an aggregates depot on the river and is not at all fancy, compared to the flats it is next to. As I walked back along it to my car, two skinny little traveller dogs rushed out to greet me. I like the contrast between this road and the next.
 One side of the garden in late April. The beautiful irises are surrounded by emerging fennel, buttercups and emerging salvia, self seeded last year, and a great gap filler.
 Cassie and Lily on patrol early one morning. We have had night time visits from a boy cat recently, and there have been a couple of times where horrible howling has had to be employed to get rid of him. Here they are investigating his movements. They are on the removed decking area which is made of cracked concrete. I decided to remove the decking as it was rotten, was getting on well with my new crow bar, working into the dusk, when suddenly, I wasn't getting on well, and found myself in casualty for four hours with a cut face, where the crow bar had rebounded from my slippery muddy gloved hands and bashed me. 
This is the window at the front of our flat, covered in plastic to protect it, and surrounded by new render. I don't think I have mentioned our flat issues on here ever, but we have had some. The simple version is-leaking guttering and roof led to leaking front door and hallway ceiling, and fixing the guttering did no good. The upstairs flat was in the process of being sold, and the owners at the time were unwilling to do repairs, waiting instead for their sale. In the meanwhile, we had about six months of leaking ceiling every time it rained, a hole in the ceiling, mushrooms growing from the plaster and outside the house on the wall, and a massive damp patch on the side wall. On top of this was an endless stream of legal stuff that Andy dealt with, and a massive amount of stress. Finally though, it was sold, and luckily to a property developer. At first he put it straight back on the market and we were despairing, but it turned out that that is just his policy, and, after that he got a great team of builders in and now it is all sorted! The work on the upstairs flat revealed terrible plumbing, which was partially to blame for the leaks. The roof is sorted, the guttering done, and the house is all re-rendered and painted. It looks so lovely at the front. Inside here still needs jobs, but at least the water isn't getting in anymore!
 Self-seeded pot. 

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Bits and Pieces

The view from the flat of this week's cat. It was a very misty morning yesterday and not cold. The  cat I am looking after this week is my most tricky client. He is very nervous and his nerves can turn to aggression quite quickly. I have looked after him twice so far and this is the third time, and I feel I am getting somewhere. I have worked out what he doesn't like, and what the danger signals are with him, and know how to react so as to soothe him and calm him down. He doesn't like to be touched with hands, and will strike out if I go to stroke him. He may try to get me when I touch his food and water, and also doesn't like it when I get ready to leave. He shows his stress with a certain tone of miaow, a wide eyed and small pupiled stare, and walking quickly towards me. It is usually enough now if I just stand still and talk to him in a firm but soothing voice. During this lot of visits, I have only had two incidents of him either biting or clawing so feel very pleased with our progress! He likes to sniff my hair, will put his paw on my head and will stretch up my legs all without claws. He also, I have discovered, likes to play over and around my feet if I sit on the floor, and does not use his claws on me at all. I bought a long feather toy for these visits as he loves to play and is quite frustrated by the birds he can see but can't chase! Today I took a broom and dustpan and brush to his flat to have a sweep up of his litter. He did not like those! He prowled round the outside of the room over and over again, gradually getting closer to the broom until he was close enough to sniff it. The same with the dustpan. I had to wait for him to calm down, then enticed him out of the room and shut the door while I cleaned, as I couldn't possibly have done it with him in there! Once I had finished I let him back in and, after checking that the broom and dustpan were no longer there, he played quite happily! Needless to say I love him!
 Yesterday we decided to take a quick trip to Sheppey. We went to our usual stop of Leysdown. The beach looked promising, as the tide was right out, but when we got out of the car, there was this terrible smell! It was like the normal sea smell but really stinky. So bad that you could taste it. We decided that we would not go for a walk there after all and left very quickly! We then went to Minster where it didn't smell at all, and had breakfast there instead.

Today, as well as feeding my cat, I tidied the desk. It had got very dusty and cluttered. We had to buy a new lamp, which spurred me on to do the job. Where B&Q is, and Sainsbury's used to be, there is a new IKEA being built. It will make the traffic around here even worse. Yesterday, I had to feed the cat, then go to get Andy from Sainsbury's. The football had just kicked out, and there was something wrong with the Blackwall tunnel. This combination added up to traffic nightmare, and, despite my best attempts to use the back streets and avoid the congestion, it still took me about an hour to do a ten minute journey!

 I made room on my mini bookshelf for these pretty books which I am afraid to say I buy specifically for the covers!
The orange buckets in B&Q are not all the same orange I noticed. This may only be interesting to me.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

More Snow

I love snow. Despite it causing me lots of inconvenience this week. it just makes me happy walking around in it. I had to feed cats yesterday, and thought I would leave about 3 as more snow was predicted and I wanted to drive. It started to snow about 2 so I thought I had better leave now, but it was coming down so quickly, and my car was so icy-I had trouble scraping any of it off the windscreen, so I changed my mind and got the bus. My phone died so I have no photos of the lovely walk from Greenwich to Deptford for the second cat house. When I got home, I walked to Sainsbury's for Cornish Pasties, and took loads of photos then to make up for earlier! 
 My school-which has been closed for the last two days. 
 Snowy tracks.

 I love this sign.
This is a road near me which I used to use as a walking or bike shortcut. You could never drive through it as it is a private road. The snow was great up here, not touched at all.

 Face on the wall. 

 Now it is fenced off so you can't even walk through. I don't know when that happened!
 A tiny snowman. This is not good snowman snow, so they did well to even get that much together.
 The allotments near my house. 
A lonely chair.