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A Tax rose is but a rose by any other name - Page 64 - Carers UK Forum

A Tax rose is but a rose by any other name

Socialise and chat about other areas of your life
687 posts
Sajehar once your plant is in flower, take some leaves and said flower to a decent garden centre/nursery where they will have someone who will be able to identify it definitely for you (just in case it'snot what we think and you end up poisoning SM by mistake :shock: ).

I do know that Feverfew tastes bitter and I'm sure I remember one of Mum's neighbours (a German lady) who said that for headaches it was best to eat the fresh leaves - personally think I'll stick to paracetamol !!!!
If it's feverfew the leaves should have a strong scent. Have they?
Hi Greta

It smells really nice, sort of lemony, but a very earthy faint lemon aroma. It doesn’t smell much during the day unless you crush the leaves. But in the evening it’s quite strong and pungent smelling. A bit like honeysuckle always smells stronger in the evening too.
It tasted very like an earthy, very stongly flavoured dill, but more bitter and none of the creaminess. I certainly wouldn’t eat it in a salad, assuming it was safe to do so.

So, you’re not a fan of rocket; I love it and can’t get enough of the stuff. My fave salad mix bag from Aldi is baby spinach leaves, water cress and rocket. I like it so much (especially that peppery explosion from the rocket) that I’ll even grab a handful as a snack to munch on… YUM!
But each to their own. I personally cannot stand either ginger or cinnamon. Both taste of carbolic soap to me… I kid you not!
Actually, I tell a lie. Ginger tastes like carbolic soap, cinnamon is more like Fairy Liquid. Not, I hasten to add, that I’ve ever tasted either carbolic or Fairy Liquid, but I can imagine that’s what they taste like whenever I’ve inadvertently consumed ginger or cinnamon.

Working in a charity shop is fascinating, and a lot more involved than I thought. I usually spend the first two hours in the stock room, sorting stuff and, my fave job, steaming the clothes. I love watching all the creases just melt away with the merest brush of the steamer… very therapeutic; I want one (a steamer thing, that is.)

Samples of conversations with manager in stock room throughout my 2 months there so far.

Me: What’s a Bony Bitter?

Manager: I don’t know. Let me look at it…. It’s Body Butter! Are you dyslexic?

Me: Only a little bit. It’s the weird font they’ve used. That definitely looks like bony bitter to me. Doesn’t it to you?

Manager: No.

Manager: So what made you choose to volunteer at our charity?

Me: Do you want the truth, or the socially acceptable reply?

Manager: The truth.

Me: I was coming out of Weatherspoon’s after my treat cappuccino’s and you were the first charity shop I came across asking for volunteers. After I signed up for my tester 2 hours, I then noticed that all the other charity shops had notices in their windows asking for volunteers too. Had I know that, I would’ve signed up for the local kiddies hospice one instead. But I’d committed myself so stuck with your one.

Manager: So our proximity to Weatherspoon’s is the reason you signed up? Had we been The Salvation Army or Age UK you would’ve signed up with them?

Me: Yes. And I liked the hand-written notice too. Made me think, “Ahh… The poor buggers can’t even afford a printed notice. They obviously need volunteers; I’ll give ‘em a go.”

Manager: So if we’d had a well-designed, printed colour poster instead you wouldn’t have enquired about volunteering?

Me: No chance. That would’ve said to me that this charity has more money than it knows what to do with. And I bet the CEO is on insane money, like the Cancer Research one. How can a CEO of a charity possibly justify being paid nearly a quarter of a million Squid?

Manager: But large national charities have to pay large salaries to attract the best.

Me: That’s pure propaganda bullshit. For a start, if some CEO won’t get out of bed for less than 20 grand a month, they have no right heading a so-called charity in the first place. You’re not telling me there isn’t some younger, meaner and keener go-getter prepared to do just as good a job for a quarter of the cost waiting in the wings if only to get their foot in the door…. It’s an old boy’s network stich up!

Manager: I can assure you that our charity’s CEO isn’t on £250,000 a year salary.

Me: They’d better not be on silly money or else I’m walking out. You’d have thought experienced but retired CEO’s would be queuing up to work for nothing, just like they expect hordes of people like me to do. You’d think they’d do it to stop being bored and if only for the kudos. Noways am I giving up my time so’s some greedy fat cat carpet bagger can collar a fortune in wages. I’ll give you a month’s notice though as I like you.

Manager: Well… ermm….. Thank you. You do have very passionate opinions.

Me: To right I do. And I bet you’re on just above the National Minimum wage despite having your fingers worked to the bone by those back seat ‘Head Office’ bods.

He didn’t reply, but I could tell by the expression on his face I’d hit the nail on the head.

Manager: As you know we’re a charity operating on behalf of the disabled. Do you have any disabilities?

Me: Not unless being a recovering alcoholic classes as a disability. Does it?

Manager: I don’t know… I shall have to check with head office. I can’t today as it’s a Sunday. I’ll check later on in the week.

This he duly did. It classes as a condition apparently, not a specific disability, which figures.

You’d think that after working for Tesco’s for the best part of three years I’d be a wiz on the till. I’m not; it flummoxes me every week. I was actually a Stock Replenishment Operative (that’s a shelf stacker to you and me) according to my Tesco’s employment contract, but we were often called off the floor to man the tills when busy, if only for 5-10 minutes or so.
But I only get to work the till for a max of an hour once a week, so I always forget how to operate the pesky, touch screen thing come the following week. Gift aid items do my head in :pinch:

Anyway, despite the pain in the arse till, I really enjoy working there. It’s a doddle after coping/looking after dad and my ill bro, plus sorting my flat/dad’s garden out. So, once I’ve done an internet check on their CEO’s pay, I hope he/she is paid a reasonable but not excessive amount or I really will volunteer elsewhere. I’ll let their head office know why too, in no uncertain terms! Politely, of course.

Weather was pretty grim today after yesterday’s glorious sunshine. I got a lot done in the garden on Saturday; it’s all coming together nicely now.
But the grey clouds and drizzle didn’t dampen our spirits for my well bro’s birthday bash. The food was great, and a good time was had by all.
WB really appreciated the pressie I got him on mine and dad’s behalf. Dad paid for it (and the meal for seven) I put in the effort getting it. And, boy, was it some effort.

I couldn’t work out what to get him; men are so difficult to get pressies for. However, 55 isn’t normally a landmark b’day, but it is for my bro. On this birthday his armed forces pension near doubles. And so it should, considering he signed up for 22 years for the job security when 17 and, in that time was packed off to two wars ending up with pretty bad PTSD.

Anyway, because of his increased pension, I got it into my head it was a golden year for him, so I’d get him a bottle of vodka with gold bits in it.
I tried to buy it at 3 Tesco’s, 2 Co-ops, 2 Sainsbury’s and 1 Bargain Booze plus 3 independent offies in Liverpool on Friday. All said the same thing: It’s a Christmas seasonal drink and they had none in stock.

Bummer! I’d set my heart on getting that gold flakes vodka for him. Yesterday I tried 2 more Bargain Boozes, Morrison’s, Aldi and a Sainsbury’s in dad’s and SM’s townlets. Same story.
My last chance was the Co-op. As luck would have it the assistant was 90% certain there was a crate out back. But he’d just finished work and was in a hurry. He told me to come back at 8pm as he was doing overtime from 7, and that would give him time to hunt it out.
The darling did just that, so I got my gold vodka pressie after all.

I bought a ‘Happy Birthday’ helium balloon, with red ribbon to represent LFC with a pebble weighted gold box to hold it down. The balloon was supposed to be holographic, but it wasn’t. Should’ve asked for my £3.49 back for not complying with the Trades Description Act, but I didn’t want to be petty, plus it’s the only place for miles around you can get helium balloons, holographic or not.
I also bought a really expensive looking, but cheap, gold bag/box thing to put the vodie in and a card. On the gold bag/box label I wrote, ‘A golden present for a golden boy.’

All a bit childish and twee, but I put the balloon and pressie in the hallway early on Sunday morning so’s he would see it when he came downstairs and, to my surprise, he was really chuffed by the trouble I’d gone to. Considering he’s a bit dismissive about ‘displays’ and ‘fuss’ that really surprised me.

What also surprised me is that the vodka I’d bought him wasn’t normal vodie with gold bits floating in it like I thought. But was in fact a liqueur flavoured with the dreaded cinnamon :sick:
Just as well my bro likes cinnamon. He thought the stuff was delicious. I obviously didn’t have any. As we say in AA, “One drink is one too many, a 1000 is not enough.” Too true.
Mind you, if I were still drinking booze, I’d have STILL drunk it even if it had been flavoured with dog pooh let alone that god awful cinnamon… coz that’s what alkies do :S

My WB’s pressie set up, NOT taken in the hallway (obviously.)
baby bro's b'day.jpg
Chow for now X

P.S. Can’t wait for SM to turn up Monday afternoon. He’s got a pressie for my WB too, but won’t tell me what it is. It’s something highly practical is all I know. Can’t wait to see what it is… and SM of course.
He doesn’t want me to make any herby concoctions for him either. Still, if he wants to be poisoned by Big Pharma instead of by me attempting to be a come-lately medicine woman, that’s his choice.
Careful ,people who volunteer in charity shops become obsessed with plastic carrier bags ,can't get enough of them.
David C

You’re right about the plassie bags, but mainly regarding the smaller, usually local, charities that run shops. My two local ones can’t get enough of them.
But the big, national charities can afford to buy in bulk their own ones and charge for them; anything from 5p to 20p. My one charges 10p. I have to ask each customer, “Would you like a plastic bag with your purchase? We have to charge now; government legislation and all that. They cost 10p each but are large heavy-duty ones.”

Anyway, looks like I’m going to resign (with a months’ notice if required) for two reasons.
a) I did an internet search and found out that the CEO earns £140,000 PA. That’s not quite on a par with Cancer Research but still, in my book, silly money for a charity to be paying out. Charities should operate differently from bog standard businesses, because they are different. If they want to go all capitalist, then they’re not doing so on my back (amongst many 100 of 1000’s others.)
A girl’s gotta do wot a girl’s gotta do. So resign it is! Plus sending an e-mail to their head office explaining why.

b) ANOTHER anyway…. Anyway, almost 24 hours to the minute AFTER I’d regretfully decided to resign, I bumped into the manager of the hedgehog sanctuary outside our local Co-op. I’d been meaning to contact her for ages, but didn’t quite have the guts. However, they’re happy to have me back again. They too have a charity shop now, so all that work I’ve done at the national charity shop will come in handy. I shall consider it practice for the local charity where, if I’m honest, my heart is. Strange the way things work out, isn’t it?

Yet ANOTHER anyway…. Anyway, I was planning to go to Liverpool today and work on my flat over the weekend while SM is at his parents. But drains put paid to that plan.
Yesterday our main drain in the back garden began to flood. It stank the place out. But apart from that it also stopped me working in the garden as WB and me attempted to tackle it with dad’s old drain worms, to no avail.
At 4.30pm WB went to the local hire shop to bring in the heavy artillery: much bigger drain worms with all sorts of fancy attachments.
Whereas we’d had no problem feeding into the drain dad’s skinnier worms, we couldn’t feed in the fatter ones.
So, whilst my bro using a washing up bowl scooped out the drain water into a bucket, I ferried the buckets to the soak-a-ways till we more or less drained the drain.
20 bucket trips it took me till we hit the bottom. I was chucking the stinky water so fast at the main soak-a-way I created a mini tsunami and flooded my feet and trouser bottoms with raw sewerage water.
At that point SM entered the picture. In all the excitement of clearing drains (I really must get a life!) I’d forgotten we were supposed to be going out for a meal with one of his mates and his partner…. OPPS!

SM: I’ve always known you’ve never had any objection to getting your hands dirty; but your feet and legs too! What shall I tell X & Y?

Me: Tell them the truth. Tell them I couldn’t come coz I’m clearing drains.

SM: Well that certainly beats having a headache as an excuse reason. I’ll pick you up later if you like, and bring you back a doggy bag from the restaurant. Does that meet with my Lady of the Drains approval?

It did, and the Peking duck and stuff he saved for me was delicious.It was practically dark when the great big GURGGLE, GURGLE, GURGLE, BURRRP happened… YAY SISTER & BRO :D
The drain’s fat burg (or whatever was blocking it) finally gave way under our sustained assault.
I was so covered in sewer water, I had to strip off all my clothes and plonk my work clothes in a bucket full of bleach & water to soak before putting them on a 90 degree wash (ruined my manky trainers; the soles parted) and me through a thorougher shower.

WB with drain worms and dad ‘supervising.’ Dad’s skinny worms are the white poles on the grass.The red washing up bowl in the foreground is the one used to fill that bucket with sewerage. I HATE that bowl with a passion; especially my nostrils.
blocked drains b & d.jpg
Because I couldn’t work in the garden yesterday – I’m in a bit of a race against time as I’ve got various sprouting bulbs still to plant – I decided to leave off working on my flat till Tuesday…. AGAIN!
Also I have to make hay whilst the sun shines, both metaphorically and literally as my bro could get a job any day now. So no more relying on WB to help me out with dad to the same extent as now.

Still, no rush on the flat, and the garden’s coming on great guns now. I even started on the front garden today. I’ve thrashed one out of control ancient honeysuckle into shape. Tomorrow I have my beady eyes on its partner, amongst other things.

The front garden patio I started to tackle today, prior to doing any work. By the time I’ve finished it will be unrecognisable; hopefully in a good way.
front garden april 2018.jpg
Chow for now X

P.S. I also successfully mounted my nursing Natterjack toads today. That’s not as pervy as it sounds :shock: In fact, its not pervy at all, I'm glad to say.
This post is gonna be a biggie, with about 10 photos. I bet about half of them end up as those pesky attachments.

I actually wrote the bulk of this post yesterday as it was a case of rain, rain and more rain; specifically heavy drizzle. But SM turned up earlier than expected, so no posting then.

Today was glorious; perfect gardening weather apart from a couple of titchy thunder storms. Unfortunately, dad’s a bit of a sun worshipper and kept getting under my feet. He knows less about gardening than I do (he thought the tulips were lilies) but thinks he’s Percy Thrower. I’m learning to smile sweetly at his advice and them promptly ignoring it.
Still, at least I could keep a discrete eye on him without having to dive indoors to check on him every half hour or so.

Gardening is a most odd, and quietly addictive, activity. It sounds like I’ve been battering it for at least a month or more, 12 hours a day (it’s sometimes felt/feels that way.)
But apart from a few days, here and there, when I had the whole day to myself, I’ve actually done the bulk of my re-landscaping/actual gardening/gardening projects in dribs and dabs.
But it’s amazing how an hour here, 20 minutes there, and an awful lot of 10/15 minute stints, squeezed in between caring for dad, etc, adds up… A staggering lot in fact.

I’m beginning to see the point behind that fable about hares and tortoises. There’s a lot to be said for little but often consistency V manic bursts few and far between.
Needless to say, SM is a bit of consistent tortoise and I’m a bit of a manic hare. So, in recognition of both qualities, I’m going to bung one of those sayings at the bottom of my posts; to wit:

‘Moderation in all things, including moderation itself.’

Assuming I can work out how to do that, that is.

But back to the garden. I’m not a seedist but….

The trouble with seedlings is that they all look the same; a weedy, wobbly, whitish stalk with two dinky green leaves on the top.

Last night a crony of dad’s gave me a whole tray full of hollyhock seedlings. Apart from the fact I wouldn’t know what a hollyhock was if it jumped up and bit me (must look them up on the internet), they look exactly like the seedling things coming up that I’ve sown willy-nilly.
Except I don’t know if these willy-nilly seedlings are my willy-nilly seedlings or willy-nilly weed seedlings that were already there just waiting to sprout because THEY ALL LOOK THE BLOODY SAME :S
They all look like my half dead hollyhocks, as follows.
weedy seedlings 1.jpg
These hollyhock things look EXACTLY like what I hope against hope are my sprouting freebie bee seeds, and other ones I’ve sown too. But maybe they’re actually weeds and my seeds are being strangled by them at birth. There’s no way of telling????
How on earth do real gardeners keep track of it all? Tis a mystery.

Also, just what am I supposed to do with those feeble freebie hollyhocks? Wait till they’re bigger and stronger before plonking in the ground proper? Put them in now?
I think they might be a duff lot. They’ve spent just one night on the kitchen window sill and loads of them are half dead and wilted already. I don’t think they’re ready for the open outdoors yet. But I’ve taken them outside for a bit of fresh air and watering via the constant drizzle regardless. Those runts will just have to take their chances!

Although I spread my freebie bee seeds in a specific place (in my bird sanctuary & pond/bird bath area) I really couldn’t be arsed working out where to put 13 other packets of various, probably dead, seeds. So I ripped them open, poured them all out into an old Cornish Ice-cream container, shook them all up together, and scattered them wherever there was bare soil. Whatever comes up, whenever, wherever, comes up…. End of. They can take their chances too!
As for the Petrohagia (pink Starlets) and Campanula (Cashmeriana) I did sow those separately on the rockery. I was supposed to propagate these in plastic bags or something. Sod that for a game of monkeys!
According to the blurb on the seed packet the latter are ‘ A charming plant from Afghanistan that will grace any hanging basket, container or rockery.’
If they can survive in the wilds of the Hindu Kush, methinks they’ll manage Merseyside without the need for plastic bag propagation. They can do or die, like the rest of them.
At least they now stand a chance of growing, unlike being stuck at the back of a kitchen drawer.

In my considered opinion (Spell Checker said onion or opium but got there in the end), making things for the garden is much easier than growing things in it.
I’m really pleased with my portable honeysuckle trellises, complete with two mounted sentinels (my nursing Natterjack toads) plus 24 most colourful butterflies…. Very tasteful!

Even SM likes them ;) ..... I think???? I’m always suspicious when people say things like, “very interesting,” or, “Delightful.”
Well, if he doesn’t, that’s his look out. It’s my living quarters the look-out toads are protecting, not his.

Me: What do you reckon on my nursing sentinel toads? They’re called Edith and Agnes; the more greeny one is Edith.

SM: They’re delightful; certainly an interesting change from garden centre trellises. Why Edith and Agnes?.... Such old fashioned names.

Me: That’s because they’re Druid toads.

SM: I think you’ll find those are Anglo-Saxon names.

Me: You sure?

SM: Edith is definitely Old English; not too sure about Agnes. It sounds Old English though.

Me: Good! That makes them Anglo-Saxon druids then.

SM: Do Anglo-Saxon toads, sentinel or otherwise, figure in Druidic mythology?

Me: No idea. But they do now… at least in this back garden they do.

It’s all my dad’s fault. I’ve been trying to get rid of the black wooden trellises in buckets that had previously supported mum’s nasturtiums, for about 3-4 years now.
They blew over during a huge storm early 2014, being rolled/blown around the back garden scattering soil & nasturtiums left, right and centre.
Ever since then those blasted trellises have been laying around the garden, tripping me up and generally getting on my nerves.
Whenever I’ve suggested taking them to the tip, dad’s always pulled his OCD mania for hording on me, repeating his mantra, “But they might come in handy one day.”
Whenever I’ve tried sneaking them out to the tip behind his back, he’s always spotted, and stopped, me…. “But they might come in handy one day.”
I swear to god the man must be psychic over those blasted trellises.
So, working on the premise that if the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain, I decided to re-cycle the pesky things instead of dumping them.

Here are my bête noires prior to my re-cycling; complete with yet MORE broken butterflies. I reckon dad must have stored them in every part of the garden at different times trying to hide them from my “Let’s bin ‘em” eyes.
back garden honey s trell 1.jpg
The bottoms were so rotted after standing in buckets of soil for about twenty years that I had to trim them down to 55” from a max of just over 72”. I did this in about 10 seconds flat using a nifty, if seriously heavy-duty, bench mounted circular saw in dad’s workshop. I remembered to drill holes in the buckets so’s the soil didn’t become water-logged as Susique told me to do for my Blue Moon roses’ pots.
That green drinking straw is exactly the same diameter as my drainage drill holes. I’d bought them for mum to use about 4 years ago, but she hated using them. They were finally to come in handy.
back garden honey s trell 2.jpg
I secured the bottoms to the side of the buckets with 4” screws angled up & down alternately; a much fiddlier job than it sounds!
The screws are so long as I was going to pour cement into the bottom of the buckets to weight them down properly, and wanted the screws to act as ‘anchors.’ It would now take a hurricane to blow the blasted things over now!
The pieces of broken plant pot were wedged between the buckets’ sides/bottom and wooden stilts in an attempt to level off the stilts top platforms.
The drinking straws are there to retain my drainage holes in the concrete. I’d just need to pull them out when the cement was set and voila! Instant drainage holes; no need for drilling. That was the theory, anyway.
back garden honey s trell 3.jpg
My drinking straw plan worked like a dream, and the straws pulled out dead easy too. My carefully positioned broken plant pot pieces didn’t work out so well. I assumed that the outside hard standing I’d put my trellised buckets on was already level; it wasn’t… Opps! Should’ve checked.
So I decided to level the tops using wood filler. At least the floor of my room was level. I had to do this in several layers, and got impatient waiting for the wood filler to dry. Answer: use a fan heater. Who cares about a few cracks, which will be covered up by the final layer of wood filler anyway.
back garden honey s trell 4.jpg
Cropped photo of Edith and Agnes, the nursing concrete Natterjacks, after being coloured, highlighted and waxed. All nursing mums are entitled to a little pampering, including toads.
The cobra that looks as though the toads are talking too/about it is part of another project.
One of the aims of my many on-going ‘projects’ is to use up as much old stuff kicking around dad’s workshop as possible. For instance, I’ve often had to remove a skin thicker than the remaining paint in the many cans of paint I’ve found/used in dad’s workshop. Not only am I saving money, I’m also creating space. I take great pleasure in dumping a used up, often 10-20 year old, can of paint into the tip-run bin.
The toads were originally a very pale buff ivory colour having been cast solid via a 3:1 mix of silver sand and white Portland cement with a squirt of Fairy Liquid acting as a wetting agent.
How do I know? Because it was my mould-making/casting business in London that produced them from a mould we made from a 18th Century wood carving of said toad. We must have knocked out about 200 of these toads for some dealer on the Kings Road. God knows what he did with them?
At least they didn’t end up as glass table supports in some Las Vegas casino like poor old Anubis did.
back garden honey s trell 5.jpg
In order to mount my toads on top of the newly re-cycled trellises, I needed to drill 10mm holes in the bottom of the toads for the bolts, which I fixed in place with No-Nails. The toads are to the right of the circular saw (the one used to chop the trellis bottoms in one fell swoop) upside down in plant pots whilst the No-Nails sets, securing the bolts in place.
I unearthed, quite literally, the heavily rusted carriage light from the back wall rockery. I’m going to turn it into a posh bird feeder…. Eventually.
back garden honey s trell 6.jpg
My ancient Dulex Weather Sheild black painted trellises revealed, in all their multi-coloured solar butterfly be-decked glory. I think my sentinel toads look most noble indeed.
The honeysuckles (appropriate for nursing toads… do toads suckle?) planted in the buckets are coming on great guns. I had to start twisty tying them today.
Note the new wheel on the wheel barrow. it couldn’t be repaired like a push bike’s one. B & Q wanted £18.99 for such a wheel. Screwfix (always sounds pornographic to me) weren’t much better at £17.99. Got it from Aldi in the end for £7.99… Bit of a difference! Good old Aldi to the rescue.
back garden honey s trell 7.jpg
back garden honey s trell 8.jpg
I think that’s enough for now.

Chow for now X

P.S. No idea why the photo of the bucket, plant pot bits and straws is upside-down in Preview :-??? It's not that way in My Pictures. Might edit it later but can't be arsed now.
P.P.S. If you left click on the photo it becomes the right way round... go figure :huh:
It’s official…. I’m a witchy woman!

Early this morning after SM had dropped me off at dad’s I noticed that my feverfew has grown massively. I first asked about this plant on 12th April stating it was 8” at its highest points. Just two weeks later and it had near doubled in height at its highest points (in the middle.)
I decided I’d rather have it low and bushy rather than tall and straggly so I decided to cut the tallest tops off. It seemed a shame to waste them so I then decided to tie them together in bunches to dry out… Just like witchy wimmen do!

It’s a heck of a lot more difficult, fiddly and down right annoying to do than it looks. I ended up garrotting a couple of bunches with my button thread rather than delicately tying them together before I gave up on that.
I settled on using zinc oxide tape (for blisters and things) instead; much, much easier. I then hung them on a wire coat hanger using safety pins through the tape, and hung them in the airing cupboard to dry out. About half an hour later:

Dad: SAJEHAR!!!!..... What the hell are these droopy weeds doing in my airing cupboard?

Me: They’re not weeds. They’re either a medicinal herb or a poison. I’m drying them out then I’m going to pound them in a mortar & pestle.

Dad: You don’t even have a mortar & pestle. Get rid of the damn things… they’ll attract flies.

Me: No they won’t… I’ll blast them in your Nutri-Bullet instead.

Dad: Oh no you won’t. You said they’re poisonous.

Me: There’s only a small chance they might be some form of hemlock…

Dad: Well that’s not a chance you’re taking with me and my Nutri-Bullet and that’s that!

Me: God, you make such a fuss about nothing…. I’ll dry them out in my room instead.

It’s not easy being a witchy woman, but I’m not easily deterred. I put a screw in a shelf about two feet above my radiator and hung them there instead. Actually worked out better than the airing cupboard as the updraft from the radiator, on a very low setting, is drying them out nicely.
Made my room smell really nice too for about a couple of hours. Not at all sure if that’s a good thing or not. Maybe I’m driving out their essential oils, or whatever it is herbs and things possess that I’m supposed to be preserving instead. Oh well, they beat Airwick hands down.
I’m definitely going to take Susiq’s advice and get them fully/100 percent identified when they flower, IF they flower.
witchy coathanger.jpg

Another thing dad’s made a load of fuss about is my small pond (from an old stainless steel bathroom basin I found in the bottom of mum’s black garden chest) in my birds & bees sanctuary area. He’s been pestering me to get rid of it as it will attract mosquitos when the water goes stagnant.

He has a point but, as stated earlier, I don’t give up easily when I’ve set my heart on something. Later on in the morning today, I took dad to visit one of his friends who’s dying. I decided to leave them to it and went to check out the charity shops.
I was rummaging around in one, minding my own business, when my eyes alighted on the ideal solution to the stagnant pond problem: A solar powered pond pump.
It must have been brand new as it was still in its original, sellotaped packaging. I paid my £3 and waved it at dad and his mate with triumphant glee when I returned.

They both insisted I unwrapped it to gawk at this wonder of modern science. They both burst out laughing. The box was about the size of a large shoe box; the pump itself was not much bigger than a matchbox :shock:

Dad: HA! I can’t see that doing much, can you, X?

X: No chance…

Me: It just has to gently aerate the water in an old sink, not aerate Sefton Park Lake for god’s sake!

X: I doubt that would aerate a tea cup let alone a sink.

As can be seen, I had the last laugh. As soon as we got home, I decided to do a test run on it in a glass fruit bowl. It worked immediately, despite raining and the sky being heavily overcast. It will DEFINITELY be sufficient for my mini-pond. Even dad was impressed.

The first photo is taken using just the aeration attachment which, because the pump was quite close to the surface, made the water squirt up in a lump which looks a bit like a very mini-me version of the huge water snake alien thing in the film The Abyss.
water pump test run.jpg
Abyss water thing.jpg
See what I mean?

I then decided to try out the fountain extension bits and three heads. They’re all much of a muchness but the third one dad and me tested was our fave. I can’t wait to see it working in proper full sunlight.
water pump test run fountain.jpg
Dad then decided he wants me to make some kind of water feature in the front garden using another solar powered pump. Talk about an about face!
I had no idea where you’d buy one – mine was an accidental buy; I didn’t even know they existed – so we looked them up on the internet together. He was like a five year old. It was good to see him so enthusiastic as he’s normally a bit down after seeing dying friends (not surprisingly.)
B & Q’s cheapest one is £30 and isn’t even as high spec as my low spec charity shop one… Size isn’t everything after all.
They can be bought cheaper on Amazon, etc, but we don’t have such accounts. I’ve told dad if he gets a pump, I’ll do a Charlie Dimmock and devise some suitable water feature for him. I think the chances of me coming across another one in a charity shop are pretty remote, so get spending, dad!

SM is in Wales till late Sunday, and I’m off to my flat tomorrow morning as SM’s birthday is coming up. I won’t get my flat 100 percent finished as I couldn’t make it over there earlier this week as originally planned (AGAIN!)
But the hallway is already finished, as is the bathroom. I can easily finish the bedroom this weekend, and make the kitchen and living room respectable too. That’s close enough for Government work, as they say in the armed forces.

Dad was horrified when I told him of my plan to treat SM to sarnies in Subway. He’s going to slip me a wodge of cash so I can “Take the poor bugger to somewhere decent, not a bloody buttie bar. He’s a grown man not some long haired hippy” to quote dad.

I’ve got my eyes on a Japanese restaurant; SM likes fish as well as sarnies. It’s a toss up between one with ‘theatrical table chefs’ or ‘picking and choosing from a conveyor belt in a contemporary and fun setting.’
I think SM would prefer the table chefs, so I think I’ll go for that one. At the prices they charge I might as well get a caberet thrown in for good measure.

Got a busy weekend ahead of me, so I’ll love you and leave you… for the time being.

Chow for now X

I've tried four times to reverse the reversed photo in my last post. No luck at all. I've no idea what's going on there. Unless I reversed the original photo when I transferred it to my laptop, and the forum re-reversed it, if you see what I mean? But that doesn't explain why when you left click on the photo it pops up reversed to the right way round. My head's beginning to hurt trying to work this out :blink: Time for some sleep eye and sod reversed reverses of reversals... ARGHH!
Hi ,with the pump you could have a couple of goldfish in your basin /water feature ..
Glad you are having fun Saj, but that plant is definitely cow parsley. Feverfew don't grow that fast at this time of year. Did you wait to look at the flowerheads or did you cut them off? Flowerhead with lots of little bits like on upturned umbrella = cow parsley. Flowerheads like daisies might = feverfew
Cow parsley https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=988
Feverfew https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/17986/Tan ... um/Details

Please, please don't risk poisoning yourself or anyone else, we need you here
Hi MrsAverage

Hadn’t thought that I might be chopping of my ‘Cowfewhem’ or ‘Fever parsley Lock’ flowers by cutting off their tops.
Whatever they are, my bunches of them are drying out nicely. As soon as I can crumble them with my fingers I’m going to put my plant ‘crumble’ in a storage jar and label it Danger: Maybe Feverfew, Cow Parsley or Hemlock until I get it a 100% identified.
I’ve got loads of storage jars that I’ve been collecting for ages. They’re actually old Dow Egbert’s glass coffee jars I buy from H & B. If you soak the labels off, they look and act just like normal storage jars.

So far there’s no sign whatsoever of any flowers, daisy/umbrella-like or otherwise, on my ‘Hem Parsley Fever.’ Not so on another plant I posted photos of on CUK 30th May last year. It had no flowers then to assist identification but, for some reason, it has this year.
So I posted some photos of it on the gardening forum I recently joined. This morning I got two replies and found out It’s Red Valerian; otherwise known as Jupiter’s Beard, Kiss-Me-Quick, Pretty Betsy, German Lilac or Fox’s brush.
I got dead excited as last night after I’d returned from Liverpool I watched Midsomer Murders with dad and it was all about people and dogs being doped with Valerian. More witchy wimmen plants in my garden :woohoo:
Alas, after an internet search, I discovered that Red Valerian is not the same as wild Valerian and has no known medicinal uses… bugger! No concocting of sleeping potions for me, unfortunately. SM and dad will have to stick with Nytol.

My photo of unidentified plant and its bud flower.
weed maybe side view flower.jpg
Photo from wild flower website of Red Valerian

Hi DavidC

Given that my sink pond is only 15” in diameter and 6.5” high (cubic capacity just under 19 litres) I think minnows might be more appropriate than goldfish. I can net me some from a local actual pond/small lake. I might just do that except what would they eat? I don’t want to be responsible for starved to death minnows, so I might give that a miss.
I’ve got me a frog though, albeit a plastic one from a charity shop in the 10p bin.

My aerator/fountain pump was too powerful for my pondlet. The spay, in sunlight, was over 2ft high, and so wide it actually started emptying my pondlet, and waterlogging the surrounding plant life. My poor seedlings were being drowned!
So I took off some off the extenders, hiked the pump up on some old tiles, and hey presto: Mini-mini fountain that didn’t turn the sanctuary area into a swamp.
Initially I thought the fountain might scare the birds but they love it. I saw a dunnock splashing about in the pondlet this afternoon. A bit like me running through the fountains in Williamson Square.
water fountain liverpool.jpg
water fountain liverpool.jpg (14.87 KiB) Viewed 1877 times
That’s not me, by the way. I got the image of the net. But I’ve done just that many times, if only when it’s hot.

Photo of birds & bees sanctuary. It’s sandwiched between the large chimney pot and the two trees. All my freebie bee seeds were sown in this area.
back garden bird sanctuary 1.jpg
The pondlet is behind the hydrangea on the right hand side, which also has a fat ball bird feeder hanging from it. The other tree on the side back wall has a niger seed holder for the finches, and my old squirrel proof one too with bog standard bird seed in it.
Note my completed retaining wall built from concrete blocks lying around the garden. I stained them green to blend in with a mix of Dulux gloss and white spirits. I hope I haven't turned the pansies into the plant equivalent of glue sniffers.
I’m in the middle of making a really posh bird feeder from an old carriage lamp. It’s going to have a Japanese temple theme to it, but an abandoned one. A bit like those Mayan temples, only Japanese.

Close up of pondlet, after adjusting fountain to have a dead dinky spay. It doesn’t show too well here, but loads of seedlings have sprouted. Here’s hoping they're the bee seeds and not weeds!
back garden bird sanctuary 2.jpg
According to the blurb on the seed packet I’m, “one of thousands of 38 Degree-ers planting wildflower seeds to make new habitats for bees. Together we’ll be planting flowers that could fill three cities.”
I’ll believe it when I see it. If I have the same luck with these wildflower seeds that I did with H & B’s ones last year, I’ll be lucky to fill a lone titty bra cup with wild flowers let alone a city!

My wonderful baby bro volunteered to come over to my flat yesterday to help me get it ready. We left after dropping dad off at one of his cronies to watch some Liverpool FC match (they drew) and what a difference an extra pair of hands make.
I fully expected to be working on my flat all day today, but me and WB got it all done by about 5pmish last night… YIPPY!

I was actually working in the front garden by 6.30am this morning. My WB reckons I’ve got gardenitis.
Earlier this week I bought a huge garden arch from Aldi for £19.99. I put it up this afternoon on my own as I was too impatient to wait for my WB to give me a hand. It looks ace.

Work on front garden prior to installing the arch.
front garden side 1.jpg
Note the naturally formed arch of twisted branches. That was my inspiration for buying the Aldi arch. Can you guess what happened next? Yup!!! I accidentally cut the thing off when pruning the tree it grew from :pinch: :pinch: :pinch:
I was so, so careful too. When I realised what I done I wanted to burst into tears, fall to my knees wailing in anguish and beating my chest. The only thing stopping me were the workmen next door replacing our neighbour’s roof. But I was doing all that in my mind’s eye.

I was determined to rescue my natural arch so plonked it in a bucket of water with Miracle Grow, 3 multi-vitamin broken open capsules and some of dad’s iron ferrate tables. This 'cutting' is nearly 9ft long :shock:
front garden side 3.jpg
Three days later and it still hasn’t wilted. My rescue plan might just work. I’ll smother the cut end in rooting power and plonk it in the ground. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t I’ll just have to rip it out. Should be easy enough if it withers with no roots.

Work almost complete prior to installing the arch. Note the old wire chip pan I use to sift the soil (I kid you not) I’d dug over to root out the invading red Valerian and other things from the lawn and boarder.
front garden side arche 2.jpg
The arch installed. I’ll be growing winter flowering clematis up it. The Jingle Bells one sounds good.
front garden side arche complete.jpg
That table base thing in front of it was rescued by dad forcing me to retrieve from a skip that he spotted on our way to one of his hospital appointments. It’s not going to be used now (I was going to put planks on it to support loads of potted plants or my herb window boxes) as I’m going to plant lily trees either side of the hydrangea. These lily trees look amazing and grow 6ft tall with flowers the size of dinner plates. We ordered 5 of them today, but they won’t flower till next year… bummer :(

As much as I re-use/bin garden clutter he replaces it! A crony of his has given dad an old gas fired barbecue now cluttering up the space that I de-cluttered by removing the cement mixer. I can’t win :dry:
The bloody thing will probably blow us up the first time it’s used; the barbecue that is, not the cement mixer.

Absolutely no gardening tomorrow as I’m having a lie in, then after I’ve been to me AA meeting, I’m off to Liverpool to await SM before escorting him to his birthday treat restaurant suitably tarted up. Me tarted up that is, not the resie.

Chow for now X
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