Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Pilgrimage to the mother bush

I had an email today from my friend Tracy, who is on her year long travels around the world and she has reached the very centre in Nepal where my coffee plants mother resides. I am hopeful for an updated photo at some point, though of course would love to go back and see her for myself, but just hearing she was fine and blooming made my day, even though the news is that there is much building going on around the centre and I might not recognise the place if I don't get back there soon.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Fully apped

We had a remarkably social Saturday, which was entirely unexpected. Beloved spent much of the afternoon talking to Walking Woman who has taken on the challenge of The Great Wall of China. Having any excuse to spend a whole afternoon showing his photos and talking walking gear is like a dream come true for my man. But then our friends from Edinburgh, Andy and Shirley, turned up for a cup of tea and didn't leave until the back of 10.

We had a really lovely time in spite of the hastily cobbled together meal but the fact that we got free iPhone lessons thrown in was a real bonus. Andy is one of life's techno genius's (genii?) and knows pretty much everything there is to know about anything where it remotely looks like it has a computer part.

I'm now fully apped up...my iPhone can speak French and Spanish, yes I did say speak, and I can check for new houses, check for trains and toss a bit of paper into a waste paper basket, and a whole lot more all at the touch of the screen.

However, my coup de grace came when I showed Andy how to do a shortcut to a full stop when texting. I came across this incredibly useful little manoevre when I overtapped on the space bar by mistake the other day. The thing is that I actually taught Andy something. And that's a first!

Saturday, 24 April 2010


Not this Friday past but the one before my beloved lost his house keys. He managed this when he was out walking the dog and thought they must've dropped out when he was fishing in his pocket for the dog lead. He retraced his steps but couldn't find them. He was away then from Saturday until late Sunday and so I spent every dog walk looking in the undergrowth, but no luck. We asked in the village shop to see if someone had handed them in, but to no avail and so come Monday he had to go and purchase new locks for the back and front doors.

I was given my new set on Wednesday and all was fine.

Today he went into the shop to buy our Saturday paper and someone had very kindly handed the keys in yesterday.

What I want to know is how on earth that could be? Two of us spent every walk looking for them and then it takes some stranger to just happen upon them almost a whole week after they were lost?

I suppose it's rather like when you drop toast and it always manages to fall with the butter side down, if he hadn't changed the locks the keys would never have turned up, and because he did they miraculously appeared and thereby irritated the hell out of us.

Sunday, 18 April 2010


Because of the large volume of recent growth and the fact that the stems are still so spindly, the most verdant of the coffee plants had developed a decided lean. Sticks were purchased and now all the plants are fully supported.

The bigger ones are really beginning to look like they should and I feel it's all been worth the bother. There is something truly special about growing something from seed and watching it flourish, and considering how long it has taken for them to do so, it's feeling especially rewarding right now.

I'm also pleased to report that the bonsai cherry tree is doing well and might be allowed back into the fold in a week or so, once I'm sure there's no new infestation.

There's just one thing that is bothering me a bit... and that's the growlamp. When we have visitors, and we've had several over the past few days, they all say 'what's this then? growing marijuana?' and then I go into my spiel about the coffee plants. However, and a couple of people have pointed this out to me, the growlamp gives off a very certain kind of light. You can see it from the road and if you didn't know any better you would wonder what it was I was growing.

I'm hoping I don't get a dawn raid... how embarrassing would that be? Maybe more for the cops than me though, to be fair, as raiding someone for growing coffee could be beg more questions than answers.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Intruders in the midst

My beloved was given a superb bonsai cherry tree by his daughter and grandson for his birthday a month ago. I noticed the other day that there seemed to be a swarm of small flies around it and when I looked closely I noticed that there were loads of eggs. Immediately a cry went out to go off to the nearest garden centre and purchase something that would get rid. The bonsai was duly sprayed. However, it didn't seem to work as there were still loads of eggs on the leaves.

It now awaits repotting in new compost once the roots have been sprayed, but I can't afford my almost 4 years worth of hard graft to coax the coffee plants into growing to be demolished by intruders, and so the bonsai has been banished to sit in the isolation ward that is the kitchen window ledge and suffer on its own. If it continues to be infected then I shall have to concoct some kind of plastic tent so that it can keep it's diseases to itself until it is back to full recovery.

Only once I am really sure that it no longer poses a threat will it be allowed back to the sanctity of the main house where it can communicate with it's neighbours to its hearts content.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Just for Lizzie

My friend Lizzie left me a message... she wanted to see the Toast N Egg as she couldn't think what it looked like. I'm always happy to oblige and so here it is.

It's actually a wonderful machine and I've found that if I'm on my own and can't be bothered to cook (something that seems to happen increasingly these days) it's so easy to have a poached egg on toast. And all I need to do to clean it is wipe the bottom with a spot of white vinegar.

Go on Lizzie... you know you want one!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Ahoy Sailor!

Well as you can see from the photos, we went to the party dressed ready for action. My beloved was one of about only 6 pirates as many had come as sailors... but I was the only Chinese sailor I'm pleased to report. My favourite outfit by far was the lady who came as a mermaid. She was resplendent in a slinky blue/green concoction and had to wiggle her way round the room as the bottom was very tight. My admiration knew no bounds for her as she had to spend the whole night standing as sitting was impossible. We left before she had to lie down.

A fun night was had by all, and I was pleased I'd booked a massage this morning which certainly helped on the recovery front. The fact that the sun has shone all day and we even managed time out in the garden doing tidying while others zoomed past our front door on their way to the sea (according to my neighbour) has also helped. The opportunity to top up some much needed vitamin D saw us strip down to our shorts and tees (you'll be pleased there are no photos of that I can tell you!) and we spent a lovely Sunday in post party recovery with a bit of gentle pruning and planting.

My outfit is put away now, I'm hoping it won't be another 20 years before I get the opportunity to wear it again.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

China etc

My beloved got home safe and sound on Monday night armed with photos of virtually his every footstep on the Great Wall of China.

We spent a happy time talking about our respective week apart and catching up on the important things in life such watching the missed episodes of Masterchef and wondering who was going to win the title this year. Which for the uninitiated came to it's conclusion last night and I'm pleased to say I had predicted the winner from the beginning so felt pretty smug. This made up for the sad loss of an online game of scrabble with my friend 'She who shall not be named' and it looks like I might well lose our current game if I don't get some better letters, so can't afford to stay smug for long.

It's great to have my man home and slip back into our usual lifestyle, which will be slightly disrupted this weekend as we head to the great metropolis that is Edinburgh for extreme partying with our friend who is about to turn 60. It's a nautical theme and I'm busy getting my outfit together, which is my Chinese captain's outfit and is the genuine article from Mao's time. From John's pics this is not the China of now, but should give me something to talk about amongst the plethora of pirates that seem to be going and I do like to be a bit different. I did have a moment of panic as I couldn't find the cap, but luckily it turned up when I was in cleaning mode the other day... so tax avoidance does have it's payoffs!

Monday, 5 April 2010


I'm now waiting for my beloved to come home.

Consequently the 'great tidy' has been upon me and I've spent the whole day so far cleaning, washing, watering plants, polishing leaves, and generally getting to grips with things.

Good things do come of this though, as I've mended the vacuum cleaner with the aid of the Dyson online help system. I would've done it faster if I'd typed in the right model and only just in time realised my error as I was about to take off the front bar with a coin. I couldn't find the place the coin was supposed to go into and was about to start with the 'other' method (using force), when it dawned on me that perhaps I hadn't got the right one. That'll teach me to go by the pics and not look at the numbers! Still all good now and the floor is looking a treat.

I've even made the pizza topping for tonight courtesy of The Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Vegetarian Cookbook, with only minor variations as I didn't have any pine nuts or fresh thyme, but it tastes great anyway.

So, is this the way to spend a dreary Easter Monday? A bit sad? Well maybe... but anything's better than getting to grips with my end of year tax paperwork, and just in case you want further evidence of just how far I'll go to avoid the dreaded end of year accounts, I'm now off to watch a recording of Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Saturday, 3 April 2010


I really did win a cup at bowls and I post a photo taken with my iPhone to show the evidence not only of my winnings, but also that I can do more than switch my phone on and off.

Having been out to the Carpet Bowls Club dinner last night - and I'm sure you're all now thinking swanky upmarket Central Belt, but it was fish and chips down the pub in the company of 12 of the Borders finest - I was awarded the silverware which has already been inscribed with my name, and a £10 voucher to be spent in any High Street store. Not bad for someone who can't even remember playing.

It was quite an eventful evening. First of all the lock on the ladies loo didn't work very well and I was caught in all my glory, luckily by the slightly drunk partner of the Club chief which was a trifle embarrassing, but I have to say not nearly as embarrassing as asking for a glass of water. It was an absolute conversation stopper! There then followed frantic whispering "Water? I've no heard that before, that's a first" and quite a lot of frowning. I even ordered a second one, which seemed to cause even more consternation. I'm sure I'm now the talk of the village and a marked woman. The joys of Border living I suspect.

I also post a pic of the strongest and the weakest of the coffee plants. I'm encouraged by the fact that the leaves are so green and healthy looking and there is new growth sprouting from the tops and the bottoms. A powercut the other day due to the snow seems to have sent the automatic light switch haywire and now I fear another expenditure coming on. Something to spend my voucher on maybe?