Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Holiday

Well, did we have fun getting to Leeds on Saturday! The wind blew and blew and blew. Uncle John rocked and swayed and joggled. At one point we were heading up the M1, overtaking some sort of supermarket lorry #(Tesco, perhaps?) and a gust of wind blew right at us. The Tesco lorry, if such it was, managed to keep going. Uncle John was practically stopped dead in his tracks! Plus, it kept trying to snow. It really was all a little disconcerting! I was very glad to arrive at Clarissa and Mike’s place – where the wind had dropped a bit and the sun had come out.

We made a start dismantling their greenhouse. They’ve bought a new, mighty wooden one so this one was surplus to their requirements. Always happy to find a redundant greenhouse house room! We were making good progress removing the glass from the frame. It was pleasantly warm in the sunshine. The threatening clouds were quite reasonably behaved. We had removed nearly all the glass when Clarissa called us in for a lunch of home made soup, cheese and salad. Very nice. Just the ticket for greenhouse removing. Then we had to go back out into the cold freezy afternoon to continue.

Actually, it wasn’t too bad. I think it took us about another hour to get the thing dismantled and into the van. The snow more or less held off; just the odd flurry. Then we went back inside for home made hot cross buns and a restorative cup of tea. Excellent!

It was much calmer going home. The wind had dropped considerably. It was snowing quite hard in various places that we could see – but off the motorway. It was all quite calm where we were. Mercifully!

We had been intending to put the greenhouse on the allotment. I am considering the possibility of buying conservatory sized citrus trees and planting them in the greenhouse, just to see what happens. The Builder opined that in that case there was no need for it to go on the allotment. It would fit down the back of the kitchen garden where the remains of last year’s bonfire is. That is very true. It would do. I think we’ll probably put it there, then I can monitor the lemon, orange and perhaps lime trees over the winter. We wandered down the back of the garden when we got home to measure the space to see if the greenhouse would fit. It will. And as we walked back into the house – this happened:

We woke up, bright and early, on Easter Sunday morning to find the whole garden covered in snow. It was really beautiful. The sky was blue. The sun was shining, when it eventually got up. It was lovely. The birds were a bit bewildered – their seed feeders had vanished! Marlo went outside and sat by the side of the pond, just watching. And then the sun shone even more brightly and the snow melted and it was all pretty much as it had been. And then I stopped caring much about the weather. I had an Easter feast to prepare. I made the party pies and sausage rolls to the accompaniment of the Sunday Service on Radio 4. I made the sweet potato ravioli and accompanying chicken and vegetable broth watching the Easter Service on BBC1. I listened to the Pope’s Easter message while prepping the veg and the lamb for later. Then I made the self saucing chocolate puddings and the ice cream – couldn’t really listen to anything Eastery while doing that. Gavin had said that the ice cream maker was very noisy. ~I wouldn’t call it *very* noisy, but it would certainly have interfered with contemplative Easter meditation.

Bea and Steve arrived at about 1 and we passed the afternoon and evening eating and drinking and generally having a good time. We had a course about every 1.5 hours which spread it out nicely. Then I went to bed!

Everyone was up nice and early on Monday. We had breakfast and then went for a walk around the wetlands trail. They’ve mooooved the highland cows. For most of the winter they’ve been on our side of the railway and we’ve sometimes been able to see them from the kitchen window, up in the grass by the railway bridge. They’re back on the other side of the railway now. When we went past they were right up by the fence, scratching themselves vigorously on a sturdy tree. Highland cows are very cute. And VERY big!

Then Bea and Steve went home, to ready themselves for an afternoon at the football. I hung the washing out for the weather was sunny and windy, if a bit cold. Then The Builder and I went out towards Barlborough, near Renishaw. Someone had put a leaflet in the letterbox, advertising the opening of a new Dobbie’s garden centre and shopping complex. It includes a food hall and I had used many of the vegetables I had acquired on Friday. So we went off to investigate. I’m not sure we’ll bother going again. There is rather a nice kitchen shop, but the food hall isn’t anything very special and the garden centre was very, very big but not very, very interesting. They were selling pots of mint and pots of runner beans, ready for planting. In March. In the snow. It’s one way to make a profit, I suppose, but seems a bit sneaky to me to sell unsuspecting people cold tender plants at this time of year. People were buying them by the trolley load. I can’t imagine most of them surviving.

We asked Jenny to bring us back avoiding the motorway. It was really quite interesting. Bits of South Yorkshire and Derbyshire that are unfamiliar to us. And as we drove, we could see snow showers, flurries and storms all around us. We stopped off, as we passed by the Sidings on our way to Chatsworth, and brought the washing in!

We had thought we might have lunch at the Chatsworth farm shop restaurant. Alas, the queue was about 2 hours long. So no lunch there then. We went to Ashford in the Water instead. And got the last table! I had forgotten that it was a public holiday and that the Peak District would be full of tourists. There are very few tourists about over the winter and you quickly forget about them! It was a lovely lunch, mind. The Ashford Arms, should you be looking for somewhere nice to eat. Then we came home over the moor tops to Holymoorside. Very beautiful views. The Builder had been thinking he might go digging on the allotment, but it really was too windy and much too cold. He sat inside and drafted the porch he’s thinking of putting up over the back door.

It dawned beautifully sunny this morning. I’ve put more washing out. The Builder has actually wandered up to the allotment – though he reports that the soil is very wet and digging is not being very successful. I think he’s sorting out the greenhouses instead. One of the allotment neighbours has a small powered plough. I think The Builder is thinking of asking him to plough the bottom of the allotment and then he (The Builder) will dig that over. However, it’s only 9 days (!!!!!!) till we go away for three weeks, so the digging may need to wait until we come back. In the meantime, I am sat at home waiting for yet another delivery person. It’s very tedious. I do wish the commercial delivery firms would deliver at sensible times. It’s a terrible waste of a day off to spend it at home waiting for someone to deliver something at an indeterminate time – but which must be between 9 and 5, Monday to Friday (except for yesterday, which was a holiday). The Builder will have to come and take over at lunchtime though. I am taking Marlo to visit the nice vet nurse to have his claws clipped. My back looks as though someone has taken to it with a series of razors!

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