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The pair of us have had a domesticated sort of day here at Bigland Towers. To be honest, with the way the weather’s been, there’s been little point to doing much else. Torrential rain overnight led to a miserable start to the day, but thankfully, that gradually improved. Dawn had a morning appointment elsewhere which left me free to chalk up some household chores – albeit not always successfully. I’ve been trying to change the cartridge in one of our bath taps. The first one was easy but the second one is stuck fast. You can’t apply too much brute force as the fittings made of soft brass so it’s easy to strip the nut. Even a ring spanner, oodles of WD40 and tirade of swear words won’t shift it. I’ve one trick left up my sleeve. After that I’m calling in an air-strike…

Once the rain finally subsided I moved outdoors to tidy up the gardens (front and back) having not been around to look after them since January. I really enjoy gardening. It’s such a therapeutic pastime and the joy of producing life through planting is hard to beat. This year I’ve decided to do some major replanting as many of the shrubs have outgrown their locations or simply spread too far. I rescued some yellow Iris from a canal a few years ago. They’d been dumped in dredged mud, so I brought a few home. They’ve loved our garden and spread like wildfire. The same with a variegated Hosta. I really like Hostas – but so do slugs – which is always a problem. I’ve split the original plant several times but now it needs doing again whilst being confined to a few pots, some which I can give away. Sod paying garden centre prices!

Our herb garden’s being revised too. Previously we had stuff all over the place (front and back). Now I’ve cleared a bed opposite the kitchen window where the panoply of edible plants will be congregated. That said, I sowed some French Parsley in the terrace above the back of the house last year and that’s going great guns already as it obviously likes the location. Sadly, not everything survived the winter so I’ll have to buy a new Rosemary plant. Our previous specimen loved it out at the back. So much so we had to severely chop it back to let the neighbours get past. Eventually it had to be chopped down as it just got too big. The new one I planted in a pot in the front did well initially, but this winter was its nemesis. Sadly, our Variegated Thyme didn’t survive either. Having fresh herbs you can pop out and crop as you need them is wonderful. Plus, if you love cooking as we do – it also saves you loads of money.

Gardening duties done I joined Dee for a trip into Halifax for a spot of shopping. Retail therapy isn’t a thing for either of us, but when needs must. At least Halifax still has a decent range of outlets, including an M&S and a ‘Body Shop’ plus the obligatory supermarkets. Our trip was prolonged because we couldn’t get Dawn’s favourite tipple for love nor money. Being teetotal, Dee’s developed a taste for the alcohol-free Guinness as dark beers were always her favourite (personally, I’m a pale ale fan) and apparently, the AF Guinness tastes just the same as the real stuff, but it’s hard to come by. Only one of our local supermarkets normally stocks it but they’d run out days ago. We ended up diverting to Sowerby Bridge where Tesco’s had finally had a delivery – so now Dee’s well happy!

Now we’re kicking back at home. I’m writing this whilst Dawn’s cooking one of her fantastic Chicken Madras curries. So, it’s time to relax and watch a film together with a drink and some brilliant home-cooked food. That leaves me to find a picture of the day – so I’ve chosen this. The garden’s too messy to post right now and I can’t find the picture I’m thinking of, so this will have to do. It’s a bit more exotic than anything I can grow here in Yorkshire. This is Duranta Erectica, otherwise known as Golden Dewdrops, shot at Gardens by the Bay. Singapore.

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