27 December 2009

Someone Is Getting Excited - and its not the dog!

Hello everyone, I hope you all had as good a Christmas as me and Tommy. We both had lots of presents although as you will see from the short video one of us wasn't particular who they belonged too and wasn't backward at expressing which one he wanted to open next. By tapping a present with his nose means that is the one he wants to open next.

24 December 2009

The Snowman.

Fallon and her friend Ty made a snowman this afternoon so I decided to go and take a picture of it to show on here and while I was out with the camera I took a few other pics as well so I will put them on whilst I'm at it.

As you will see the these first two are of the snowman which I thought they did a really good job on.

This picture is just a snap of the tree we have in the garden. Its actually a Chrustmas tree with a twist as its a Eucalyptus tree rather than one of the standard varieties of Christmas tree.
This is an outside view of our cottage, the lights you see at the window is the curtain of light that I showed you the other week.
Next up we have Tommy faithfully guarding the Turkey - or something. By the way, there is a reason for the ball on a rope being fastened to the cupboard door, I will try and remember to show you what that reason is one day.

11 December 2009

Christmas Things.

Hello everyone, tonigh we are going to take a little break from the garden and have a look what Vicki has been busy doing in the house in way of decorating for Christmas. Please don't all go picking on me because of the quality of the pictures as they are a bonus so for that we must be grateful for what we have. In actual fact I was playing around with the camera on my Sony Clie PDA so as its not really a dedicated camera as such the pics are not of the same quality as a camera would be but I think they're ok and I'm sure Vicki will be showing you proper ones in time when she gets through all the work at the flower shop. Its a busy time of year for them. Anyway I hope you enjoy.

This next one is of particular interest to the dogs. They are little metal buckets on a string each bucket having a number 1 to 25 - its a doggy advent calendar. It can be any sort of an advent calendar really but we have it for the dogs, all the buckets have a doggy treat in them for each of the dogs.
This is new for this year, its a curtain of light.
ChrisJ I think perhaps there is no place like home also I doubt if there is any place that has everything that we wish for. I would like to live somewhere warmer, mainly to make more use of my time but I know where ever I moved it wouldnt't be home.

The Weaver of Grass The pond is empty because of the children. The trouble is that when it was first drained, for some reason the dogs ripped holes in the liner so we had to take it up and now its not just a matetr of refilling it once the children are old enough, its going to cost a lot to get it back in order. It was very nice when it was filled with water and the little waterfall was working.

26 November 2009


Tonight I am going to show you some more pictures from our visit to Spain, this time we will take a look at Girona. Unfortunately we only got to see a bit of the place but here are some pictures from the bits we did see.

The bridge over the river to the old part of town. We headed straight for the cathedral.

We did go inside and found it fasinating but as with most of these sort of places you aren't allowed to take photo's inside so sorry about that.
Next we took a walk along the Roman Wall in the beautiful warm sunshine. In the picture below you can see part of the wall that we walked along in the bottom right corner. The picture was taken from one of the many towers in the wall.
Also amongst the Roman remains were buildings and courtyards one of which you can see in the picture below.
The short time we were allowed to spend in Girona passed very quickly and it wasn't long before we had to make our way back through the narrow streets to the coach park.
As before I will include this link [Click Here] for those who want to read more and see a few more pictures.

I happened to see the item below earlier today and found it both interesting and staggering.


The Taxpayers' Alliance has reported that local councils in the UK collected a total of £328m in parking fines for the financial year 2008-2009. The good news for drivers is that the amount is actually a 16 percent reduction compared to the £379m collected the previous year. Of all the UK local councils, 99 percent responded to requests for information.
Shockingly though, of the ten councils who collected the most fines per head of its daytime population, six are permitted to use parking fines in whatever way they wish - bolstering the theory that fines are just another revenue raiser. The worst offender is Kensington and Chelsea council in London, which collected a staggering £85 per person. The average per person across the UK is £6.14, which is bad enough, but that puts Chelsea's figure in sharp perspective.
In Scotland, Edinburgh council is the worst offender, charging £12 per person on average, in Wales it's Denbighshire with £5.62, and Northern Ireland's average is £3.50 - its fines are dished out by a single body.
Chief Executive of the Drivers' Alliance, Peter Roberts, said: "Parking enforcement has become a massive money making industry and we are seeing unscrupulous and target driven enforcement of parking laws where the penalties far outweigh the offence. This report shows that some local authorities are treating drivers unfairly and cashing in on parking fines."

19 November 2009


Tonight I am going to show you the pictures I took while we were visiting Barcelona last week. Just for this one day we had a proper guide who took us all over the city and a very informative man, he told us far more than I could take in during one sitting. As in the last post please use this link [Click Here] if you want to know more.

Here are the entrances to La Sagrada Família church.

I forget when work on this was started but its still in progress, they build as money allows which all comes from donations so I reckon it might never be finished.

One of many weird and wonderful structures that made up the Barcelona skyline.

One of the back streets of Le Ramblas


The rest of the pictures are what I took while visiting the cathedral.

Sara That is so true what you say about the bridges looking different when you're actually on them. I remember also that it was quite a surprise on seeing it for the first time, it would have no more of a surprise had it been a flying saucer sitting by the roadside as it seems so out of place in its surroundings.

17 November 2009

Millau Viaduct.

Hello everyone, how are you? As you will see we returned from our tour safe and sound. It was quite tiring at times as travelling often is, although having spent many long hours on tractors I think I was able to cope more than many. Anyway it’s all part of the experience and it wouldn’t have been much of a coach tour if we didn’t spend time on the coach would it. We had a very nice time and enjoyed nice spring like weather throughout our time in Spain as you will see from the pictures I intend to show you.

Before we reached Spain though I got to see something that I’ve been wanting to see ever since I watched it being opened on TV and that something is the Millau Viaduct.
Below are the pictures I took from the coach as we travelled along. I won’t write all the details as I would only be re-writing what is written on many different websites so I will include this link
Millau Viaduct so if you want to know more just click on it to be whisked away to be informed.

I’m sure you will agree that it is a wonderful piece of engineering and well worth a trip over it if you ever get the chance. I’m not sure but I think it’s possible to stop close by and get a better view but we didn’t as I think the drivers wanted to press on with our journey which was pretty long that particular day.

8 November 2009

Off On Tour.

Hello everyone, this is just a quick post to let you all know that I won't be posting anything for a while as me and Vicki are going on a coach trip to Spain and won't be back until late on the 16th. Below is a link to the tour that we're taking if anyone wants to take a look.


Best wishes,

22 October 2009

Festival of the Plough (Balance Plough).

Here is another look at something from the Festival of the Plough. This plough is called a balance plough and is used in conjunction with two stream engines, one at each end of the field, the plough being winched back and forth between the two. You will see one at the far end winching the plough towards it, the other engine was behind me paying out the cable and waiting to pull the plough back after its run down the field. I know what you mean Matron, I think it will be a while yet before we go back to this way of farming, even having worked on farms or been around them all my life I still find it awesome how much work the modern farm machinery can do. I did see the balance plough on the TV and it was interesting, especially having only just seen one in the flesh so to speak. You’re right about the weather too Fireweed, the great British summer was a wash out but the autumn has been as dry as a bone, hardly a drop of rain for six weeks.

20 October 2009

Festival Of The Plough.

One Sunday during my break we visited a local showed called The Festival Of The Plough. My parents were staying the weekend so it was nice for us all to go out for the day, especially as it was really nice and sunny. As you will see from some of the pictures the show is a mixture of things, mostly from the past. Apart from agricultural equipment there are all manner of other old machinery such as cars, trucks and motor cycles. There are a couple of marquee selling crafts, one hosting a chicken show, another with models (the non human kind), there was even ferret and terrier racing, not in the same location I might add. Anyway take a look at the pics below.

Here and old guy is dancing his heart out.

It was a great day out for dogs, there being almost as many dogs as people!

Here we see a thrashing machine at work being powered by a stream engine.

There were donkey rides too.

My dad, mum and Vicki (In the big hat).

One of the big stream engines.
And a little stream engine being put to good use, can anyone spot what that good use might be? There is a clue in the picture.

15 August 2009

New Series - Castle Howard.

[Click] on the name above for a link to their website.
So that I can post the readings on the same day as the blog post they are of the previous 24 hours up to 6 pm today.
Temp Low: 18C
Temp High: 28C
Rainfall: 0mm
Cont. Days Without Rain: 3
Dry Days This Month: 9
Wind Level For The Day 47
Pressure: 991.3
Weather: Mostly overcast.

2009 Highs & Lows
Min for the year: -5 C (4th February)
Max for the year: 35 C (1st July)
Most rain in 24 hours: 39mm (5th June)


Subject -See to the sheep
Categories -Misc
Start -Sat 15/08/2009 07:30
End -Sat 15/08/2009 08:30
Duration -1 hour
Message -Helped the farmer go through them and treat for maggots.

Subject -See to the greenhouses
Categories -Glasshouses
Start -Sat 15/08/2009 08:30
End -Sat 15/08/2009 08:45
Duration -15 minutes
Message -Opened the vents.

1) As you will see at the top I have come to the end of my Haddon Hall Pictures so now I will do a series on Castle Howard in Yorkshire. A few people have got confused thinking that Haddon Hall etc. Is the big house where I am the gardener at so I will just explain that my ‘Picture For Today’ used to be just random pictures that I had taken over the years so instead of dodging around from one place to another all the time I decided to do a whole series of pictures from one place at a time, for instance I am now going to do a series on Castle Howard. The pictures were taken on the 15th August ’09, I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed taking them for you.
Fireweedmeadow The Apricots are grown in the conservatory so are protected from the worst of the elements although by all accounts they can be grown outdoors, especially if you have a warm wall to grow them against, you would have to protect the early blossom against any frost though. When I get the peach tree it will go against a warm wall outdoors as they are a touch hardier I believe. I’m glad you find my blog good to navigate. I do it this way then if you just prefer to read what I’ve been doing, maybe as a reference to what you could be doing in your own garden, or if you leave a comment and want to find what me answer is it’s easy to find without having to wade through a load of words that don’t really interest you or don’t have time for. As for how many gardens I work with there is just me and my Tommy who tends to be a bit of a part timer and also as you will see from the notes above I don’t garden at Haddon Hall but at a different big house. I can’t say where or give details as its privately owned so I am limited to pictures of my work rather than showing off the gardens or property.
Matron No I didn't get to eat any of them yet as the family are here so I feel obliged to leave things for them until I think they're going to waste - the fruit or veg that is - not the family!

12 August 2009

Shady Dog.

Can anyone spot the ghost?

So that I can post the readings on the same day as the blog post they are of the previous 24 hours up to 6 pm today.
Temp Low: 16C
Temp High: 26C
Rainfall: 1mm
Cont. Days Without Rain: 0
Dry Days This Month: 6
Wind Level For The Day 27
Pressure: 1000.1
Weather: Warm and sunny after a wet start, quite a stiff breeze blowing most of the day..

2009 Highs & Lows
Min for the year: -5 C (4th February)
Max for the year: 35 C (1st July)
Most rain in 24 hours: 39mm (5th June)


See to the sheep
Wed 12/08/2009 08:00
Wed 12/08/2009 08:20
20 minutes

See to the greenhouses
Wed 12/08/2009 08:20
Wed 12/08/2009 10:00
100 minutes
1) Water round.
2) Took of some dead flowers.

Garden Centre
Wed 12/08/2009 10:00
Wed 12/08/2009 10:30
30 minutes Went for some weed killer.

Break for tea
Wed 12/08/2009 10:30
Wed 12/08/2009 10:50
20 minutes

Strim round
Public Gardens
Wed 12/08/2009 10:50
Wed 12/08/2009 11:50
1 hour

Mow the grass
Public Gardens
Wed 12/08/2009 11:50
Wed 12/08/2009 12:45
55 minutes

Stake the chrysanths
By the seat.
Public Gardens
Wed 12/08/2009 12:30
Wed 12/08/2009 12:45
15 minutes

Break for lunch
Wed 12/08/2009 12:45
Wed 12/08/2009 13:30
45 minutes

South Front
Main Garden
Wed 12/08/2009 13:30
Wed 12/08/2009 14:00
30 minutes
Sprayed the weeds in the south front gravel.

All Hard Surfaces
Walled Garden
Wed 12/08/2009 14:00
Wed 12/08/2009 14:30
30 minutes
Spraying weeds.

North Front
Public Gardens
Wed 12/08/2009 14:30
Wed 12/08/2009 15:00
30 minutes
There were some brambles growing in the rock garden that I cleared out last winter so I sprayed them with brushwood killer as I couldn’t get the roots out from where they are growing.

Tidy up
veg garden
Walled Garden
Wed 12/08/2009 15:00
Wed 12/08/2009 17:00
2 hours
Pulled out any old stuff past it’s sell by date and did some weeding. Also planted a few lettuce.

Tommy staying cool whilst guarding the cabbages.

Clean and put away the tools
Potting Shed
Wed 12/08/2009 17:00
Wed 12/08/2009 17:15
15 minutes

See to the bins
Hall & Pumpend
Wed 12/08/2009 17:15
Wed 12/08/2009 17:30
15 minutes
Put out six black bins.



Sara, I’ll go with the poor bit but as I’m sure you know if you have a dog you’re never lonely. My dogs are my best friends and if that makes me a sad case so be it. The thing about buses and coaches is an interesting one. I tend to think of a coach as a posh bus. For instance when you go on a local journey you go by bus, as a rule they are just basic work horses. When you go on a longer trip you go by coach which has more luxury. The one we’re going to Spain on is a Silver Service coach which is a notch above the average coach. It has less seats so more leg room, The seats are recliners and there is a lounge at the rear where you can get refreshments etc.

Merle It is very busy in the garden at the moment, with just seven working days until the open night I am pushing all the time to achieve the best possible result even so things are slipping off the end of the calendar, hopefully I can drag them back on next week.

Jeanette, I will be over in September! Are you near to Bathhurst cos I could pop on over and see the race, that would be truly mega. I might disappear over to Merle’s place too cos I really fancy some of her home cooking. It sounds so good I’m sure I can smell it all the way over here!

27 July 2009

The Hooke ‘n Crooke™

Last week I got a comment from an helpful guy call Scott at Holdredge Enterprises, LLC. It was about a couple of hoes they have on sale there. Of course Tom and I can’t recommend them because before Tom can give them his T-Rusty seal of approval we have to work with the product for a while so that we are sure that what we tell you about it is right and proper as we wouldn’t want you to go wasting your money. However I have looked closely at these tools and read what it says about them on the website and I have to say that I would be interested in trying one as the design looks good to me from what I can see of it and it’s not dissimilar to my favourite hoe. Anyway as I did a series on hoes I thought I would pass this on to you so here is a link to their site so you can check it out for yourselves. This is a company from the USA and I don't know if they ship abroad or not.


Below are a couple of pictures of the hoes they offer, one is a hand hoe and the other a long handle hoe.

18 July 2009

A Fruity Tip.

This is a little tip that I’m going to show you that makes life easier for me when picking fruit, Raspberries in particular. It doesn’t work so well with fruit that you pick while bending over, taller Black Currant bushes are another thing I’ve used it on with great success.
What I have in my hand is an ex-army ammo pouch.

This one clips on to my belt (which is covered by the shirt) that I wear all the time to hold up my trousers.

You could find something along the same lines to do the same job at a hiking store or similar. I like this one because I don’t need a separate belt also its pretty stiff canvas which as you can see doesn’t crush anything you put in there.

Then when you have it full all you need to do is take it off and tip the contents in to something larger and then set too and refill the pouch – hopefully many times over because I think most of us like our fresh soft fruits.

I’ve used this method for many years and find it handy not having to use one hand to hold a tray or whatever, it leaves both hands free for picking the fruit.

17 July 2009

Fish & Chip Night.

As you can see my cup overflows with summer rain.

So I spent all day titivating the conservatory plants.

Vicki has just called to say she is on her way home with dinner which on a Friday is take-away fish and chips so I must not linger any longer, however tempting your company may be its nought compared to fish and chips.
Take care and have a great weekend,