Monthly Archives: February 2013

Looking Forward to Spring in my Container Garden

I have not written lately because I have been distracted by a minor health problem which “came out of the blue”.This resulted in a few visits to my local hospital, this was interesting because it followed my pieces”My N.H.S.” and My N.H.S. cont’d”,  I did not have to wait long for an appointment (two weeks) and I was treated  wonderfully well, so different to what would have happened in my mother’s day, once one reached 70 years old, treatment was minimal.  Enough of this “health” talk, everything is now fine so I can concentrate on other really important things, well important to me anyway.!!!!

We are heading towards Spring, this is the first Spring in my present ground floor flat with its yard, (now my container garden), which consists of all sorts of  troughs,  pots and tubs which I fill with plants. The crocus are in bloom, the daffodils are nearly out and all I can think about is  when can I start planting my  other seeds.  I am always guilty of sowing them too early, ending up with leggy plants that have spent far too long on my window cill waiting for the weather to warm up.  I have to own up to having 6 capsicum seedlings from saved seeds, also another 6 Heritage Sweet Pea seedlings (these are highly scented) on my window cill at the moment.  There is no room for any more because the rest of the space is taken up by my “stolen fuchsia” which has thrived over the winter. You can read the history of this lovely plant on my “blog” “Moral Dilemma” published in November. This year I am going to be able to use the small greenhouse that my daughter gave me for Christmas, it will be great but I must not use it too soon. I am always impatient to start planting, particularly my salad crop and ‘basil’, some plants for myself and some for my daughter who uses a lot in her cooking,  I have about 6 different  varieties, some for permanent residence in the green house and others that will live among my flower  and vegetable collection in my garden   I enjoy growing  and eating my own tomatoes especially  “Sungold” the sweetest cherry tomato ever. I  always sow the seeds too early so I must hold myself back and not end up with the usual weak plants that I have to repot up to the first branch

In the meantime I will enjoy my other interest in the garden.  I have two “bird feeding” stations, I do not have any exotic visitors but just lots of house sparrows,coal tits, blue tits, a very friendly robin, great tits and the timid but colourful long tailed tits.  There are also blackbirds which  feed on the bits that fall from the feeders, also some greedy doves.  I have to watch out for two predatory cats who would love to catch the birds, so I keep a water pistol ready to frighten them away.

I wish all you gardeners great success in the coming months!!!!!.

Book Group discusses “Radical Gardening” by George McKay

Last night I went to a friend’s house for our Book Group meeting. It did not start well for me, I got lost on the way, walking from home it should have taken eight minutes, not last night, I thought I knew the way but after taking one wrong turn I took another and yet another, eventually finding the house after forty minutes of panic!!!!  It was worth getting there as we had a great new member and we all had an excellent discussion.                                                                                                                      Only three of us had finished the book , the others had just “dipped” in and out of it.  I had struggled through it (I rarely give up on a Book Group choice) but this one certainly tested me. I love “gardens” and gardening, I did not expect a book about domestic gardens but rather one about wonderful gardens around the world.   I was disappointed, it was not about  any of the sort of gardens that I imagined but more about the use of “land”, “green spaces”and the counter culture of “open spaces” in the U.K. and the U.S.A. particularly in New York. There were several interesting chapters e.g. “Peace Gardens” and the history of “organic gardening”.  I  did not go to university  but I felt that this book was one long lecture, he just gave his opinion  ‘take it or leave it’.  The book had very interesting photographs which made the  book worth wading through.

I think that I  found  “Radical Gardening” a more difficult read than the other members, giving it a score of 3 for the text and 7 for the pictures, the others scored from 3.5 to a 7 from an absent member by text. I believe that George McKay has written some good books about “music’ and ‘music festivals’. so I must not be put off by this one.

After a lot of chatting, we chose the next book to read , it is “The Lacuna” by Barbara Kingsolva.  I hope that it is as good as her “Poisonwood Bible” which I thoroughly enjoyed.

My N.H.S. continued.

Having read my last post this morning ,I realize that I have not given enough credit to my local N.H.S. teaching hospital . Until retirement, I had always been a farmer working outdoors in all weathers including sunshine. In my early days we did not know the harm that strong sunshine could do.  As a result of this I have been a regular patient of the Dermatology Department, having had more than 30 minor operations to remove “Rodent Ulcers” caused by sunlight. This is a wonderfully efficient department, appointments are always on time and the staff are kind and caring.

Five or six weeks ago I was having a little “moan” to my doctor about “old age” telling her that I could no longer hear all the dialogue in my favourite T.V. ‘crime thrillers”, some I could hear every word while others were very indistinct.  After a quick visit to the Ear, Nose and Throat department I have now been fitted with a small hearing aid and I can now follow all the clues in my gory dramas with no cost to me!!!

I know that there are many problems in the N.H.S. but I also know that most  of us are very well looked after, it seems to me that it is fashionable to knock everything, even those things  that work well. I can only speak as I find,  I have nothing but good to say about my N.H.S. in this corner of the U.K.

Two weeks later

I have now had two more visits to my local hospital where I have been extremely well treated, appointments held on time, more importantly to me is that all procedures explained in straightforward “laymans”terms.  As one gets older unfortunately our bodies start to wear out, but both our G.P.s and the N.H.S. do their best to keep us going with a good quality of life for as long as possible.   I came away from all my appointments feeling good and optimistic having had the best of advice on how to carry on living ‘life” to the full,to the best of my “aged” ability.

My N.H.S. The National Health Service of Great Britain

There has been so much criticism of our National Health Service lately that I feel that I must stand up to say how wonderfully well  this service has treated me, particularly at my local surgery and hospital. I am now quite an old lady, during my life I have had many non life threatening  problems and have always been treated quickly and with respect

I arrived in this city from the country eleven years ago, I  had to get registered with a medical practice as I was on medication for various long standing complaints for which  I had to get prescriptions.  I was in “lodgings” at the time so asked my landlady to recommend a medical practice, she told me that her practice was very good and that her particular doctor was excellent.  I then asked the owner of the second hand bookshop where I was doing voluntary work, (he had no connection with my landlady) and he gave me the same practice and  recommendation, so that was good enough for me.  I was very lucky that they had room for me on the list of the highly recommended lady doctor.  The practice building is actually two houses converted into a functional health centre……no frills. it is in an ordinary residential street in which many of the houses have been converted into student flats.

I have now been with this practice for eleven years I  have only had appointments with this one doctor. Whenever I  telephone for an appointment, as  I am always willing to go early in the morning, I have always been fitted in within a few days,  the receptionists are kind, helpful, caring and understanding.  They treat us patients as individuals, not just as numbers on a list.

I am now going to try and describe my doctor,I don’t think that the recommendations were high enough!!!!During the very many times that I have had appointments, I have never ever seen her look at her watch and have never felt rushed   She is meticulous in her care, sending off blood tests to verify diagnosis and willing to discuss any problem.  I live quite a long walk from the surgery, the weather lately has been very cold and wet, so she suggested that rather than walking up to see her to get my blood test results I should telephone the surgery at 11.30  when she would explain the results over the phone.  I did as instructed, the receptionist told me that she was still busy with patients but that she would ring me back.  She did ring back at 7.30 in the evening, apologising for nor ringing earlier as she had just finished her paper work, she had been there  working all day.  When ever I have needed a hospital appointment I have never had to wait very long, as a result of that last blood test last week I needed another one, a letter came today to say that I have the appointment in  10 days time.  I am so grateful to the N.H.S. and my wonderful doctor and wish that everyone could receive the same standard of care as I get.