Tomato mad 🍅

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Friday 1st to Sunday 10th October

Back in April I planted some tomato seeds.

I kept them in my dining room, regularly watered them and was so pleased when they started to grow, I had loads of tiny little seedlings. Eventually I planted them out a few at a time. Many didn’t make it ☹️ but thankfully 3 survived. And they just kept on growing! as I lovingly watered them and spoke to them all through the Summer.

I was very patient – and eventually they started to give me such lovely tomatoes. But some of them just wouldn’t seem to ripen ☹️

A friend told me to put some in a paper bag with an already ripe tomato and leave in a drawer for a few days – it worked!

Then along came the warm September and October sunshine which seemed to give them a real boost, I now have loads of tomatoes and their now ripening nicely outside on the vine – in October!

I’m so proud of my perfect tomatoes 😀

A leak 💦

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Saturday 25th to Thursday 30th September

Birdland Park & Gardens.

Have you ever seen a headless penguin before?!

Have you ever heard flamingoes make any noise before?!

And talking of flamingoes …

Look at this giant flamingo sculpture, which is due to be completed at Tampa International Airport in America in the Spring of 2022, based on an actual underwater picture of a foraging flamingo 🦩

And on a bit of a smaller scale, here’s just two of my favourite sculptures which were to be found at Blenheim Autumn Festival.

This is Robyn’s Facebook status in 2016 …

and exactly 5 years later we have the same problem, just in a different house!

How weird is that 🤯

My brother made me get up onto the flat roof 😱 to help him while he was replacing the tiles on the main roof, it was cold and windy up there. At least I had an opportunity to get an aerial look at all of my lovely tomatoes! 🤪

Organ Donation Week

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Saturday 11th to Friday 24th September

Bridewell Gardens – Bridewell is a mental health recovery service. They provide social and therapeutic horticulture in a working garden to adults living in Oxfordshire. Their goal is to help people into jobs or voluntary roles out in the wider community.

Here’s a couple of pics from Bridewell Gardens’ latest Open Day.

The Hot Border – the curved wall behind the hot border is thought to be shaped this way to give sunlight all through the day, a perfect spot for plants which need the sun.

This bed is replanted several times through the year to give a seasonal display of colour, and provides many hours of work sowing seeds, preparing plants to plant out and of course weeding.

The bees seemed to love the flowers in the Hot Border 🐝🐝

And from a visit to Daylesford Harvest Festival –

Sheep shearing, fascinating isn’t it?

A professional shearer can shear up to 200 sheep a day. And yes sheep can get cold after they have been sheared! as they are left with only about 3mm of their fur 😱 That must be a real shock to them!

Warm and sunny weather again, which led to great excitement! Finally one of my tomatoes were starting to turn red 😀

To mark Organ Donation Week (which began on 20th September) St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall was bathed in purple light to help raise awareness.

Love this 😍

Here I am (a bit windswept!) paddling my feet in front of St. Michael’s Mount when on holiday in August this year.

If you haven’t already, please discuss your organ donation decision with your families – “Leave them Certain”. It makes it so much easier if the situation ever arises, for everyone to make the right choices during an already difficult time.

🌻🌻🌻

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Monday 30th August to Friday 10th September

A cloudy August turned into a sunny September.

Had a lovely walk on one hot and sunny afternoon all across the fields around Great Tew.

Then there was a much needed ice cream sat on the bank opposite these cottages.

I just had to take a pic. My dad was a thatcher, and both of my brothers too at various times. I think it’s highly likely that my dad did some thatching work on at least one of these cottages in the past, as he worked a lot in all the local villages round about.

Here he is 😍

Feeding time 🦅

Thanks to the birds we have our very own wild ‘sunflower field’ this year, seeded entirely by the birds being very messy eaters and flicking their seeds everywhere!

Just look how many baby sunflower heads are on this plant 😱 I think it’s going to look very pretty when they all come out.

Festival time 🎶

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Friday 27th to Sunday 29th August

😱 WE WENT TO A FESTIVAL!

It was such a treat 👍

It’s been two years since we last went to one, thanks to Covid 👎

The first Big Feastival was on 1st July 2011, so they were celebrating their 10th birthday this year.

The oldest annual pop music festival in the world is Pinkpop Festival in the Netherlands. This started in 1970, so is just over 50 years old.

Only another 40 or so years to go Big Feastival!

I’ll be 👵 but I’ll still try and come along!

Summer days

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Sunday 15th to Thursday 26th August

A day at Emma’s wedding and finding a two headed zebra at a wildlife park!

Watching paddle boarders on the river and an unexpected visit to Caffeine & Machine.

How some of my days in August have been spent.

Oh, and ‘twinning’ with Leah in Stratford 😛

Standing with Giants

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Monday 19th July to Friday 6th August

Monday 19th July – Freedom Day – ending over a year of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in England.

What people are actually allowed to do and what people really should still be doing are now two very different things 😏

Here’s just one of the things on the list of ‘What people should do’.

Avoid crowded places if vulnerable – the clinically vulnerable are advised that they may only want to visit supermarkets “at quieter times of the day”.

Hmmm 🤷‍♀️ not sure what I’m supposed to do then as I work in a supermarket with constant different people visiting my checkout!

A trip to Brum! First in a long while. And just to have my bloods taken as my local doctors’ surgery hasn’t been sending any of my results to the QE apparently 👎

The summer Olympic Games finally started on 23rd July (it was postponed last year thanks to Covid).

LOVE these photos from ‘Miniature Calendar’ for Tokyo 2020.

I received my certificate to congratulate me on five years of volunteering 😀

I took myself to see the recent Standing with Giants installation in South Park, Oxford.

“Standing with Giants remembers those who have given so much, with many paying the ultimate price – for the freedom and benefit of others. The NHS staff, without doubt, have gone way beyond expectation in their dedication and determination to fight on our behalf during the Covid crisis. They have saved so many lives whilst sadly losing some of their own in the process. This Summer’s installation is our way of acknowledging this and encouraging others to do the same.”

Life-size cutouts of 300 NHS workers were unveiled. Original photographs of NHS staff, including doctors, nurses, paramedics and porters, were used and “adjusted and manipulated” to reflect different characteristics.

It was quite a sight. Emotional. Once again, Thank You NHS 👍

Say yes to organ donation

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Wednesday 7th to Sunday 18th July

I’m not going to talk about the Euros’ final as we lost. Very grumpy about that ☹️ Even the message I made for them from my spaghetti on toast brunch didnt help 👎

There was some hot and sunny weather to enjoy instead though, lots of gardening and lovely summer’s evening walks.

Definitely the right kind of weather to enjoy a dip in this ‘Sky Pool‘. Would you be brave enough?!

Take a look 👀 – ‘Sky Pool’

Go Robyn, sending Joe Wicks a private message on Instagram and actually getting an answer from him! She had asked him to give me a shoutout to cheer me up, and I got a little video message from him 😱😍

“NHS Blood and Transplant released the figures to mark the publication of the annual Transplant Activity Report.

The report reveals a steady increase in support for organ donation around the country, with 69% of families giving their consent when asked about organ donation.

The annual report shows deceased organ donation fell last year due to the pandemic where Covid-19 had a wide-reaching impact across the whole NHS and every aspect of UK society. (Living donor transplants fell by 58% during the pandemic).

Despite this, 1,180 people in the UK donated their organs after they died, saving or improving the lives of 3,391 transplant recipients and giving hope to the thousands of patients still waiting. (It is estimated that the number of people waiting for a transplant in the UK is now around 7,000).

John Forsythe, Medical Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation, at NHS Blood and Transplant says:

This past year has been completely unprecedented in the history of the NHS, as well as in our wider society. So the fact that we managed to maintain three quarters of our normal donation and transplantation activity across the UK is absolutely phenomenal.

There’s no escaping the fact that organ donation and transplantation will take some time to recover completely, as will the rest of the NHS. But each one of us in the wider clinical team of donation and transplantation across the UK, are immensely proud of the work to keep organ donation and transplants happening in the most challenging circumstances.

But our commitment is nothing compared with donors and their families – the gift of life has been donated in the midst of a tragedy made even more difficult by Covid restrictions.”

I myself would like to say THANK YOU to all donors and their families, you are all amazing 🤩

I went to the seaside! 😀

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Thursday 1st to Tuesday 6th July

A Monday spent in Weston-super-Mare. What a nice surprise, I went to the seaside! 😀

It was a bit of an overcast day but I enjoyed it, I even got to paddle my feet in the sea.

‘Weston-super-Mud’ is located on the Bristol Channel and the River Severn Estuary.

“The Bristol Channel has a large tidal range. The beach is sandy but low tide reveals areas of thick mud which are very dangerous to walk on.”

“The estuary’s funnel shape, its tidal range and the underlying geology of rock, gravel and sand produce strong tidal streams and high turbidity, giving the water a notable brown colouration. Turbidity, put simply, means the water is cloudy due to a high number of mud particles in the water.”

The seagulls certainly didn’t hang about when someone left the remains of their fish and chips 😱

The Grand Pier is well worth a visit.

The pier first opened in 1904. It has been destroyed by fire twice! in 1930 and 2008. It then re-opened after the latest fire in 2010. You will now find a cafe/restaurant, live music performances, a land train, a very big arcade with so many different machines to play on, there’s a Museum of Memories, soft play … lots to do 👍

And you can still get a donkey ride on the beach! It is thought that this tradition started in 1886. Even The Beatles have rode the donkeys, when they visited in 1963!

While we were walking along the beach I managed to get this video of the donkeys enjoying their play time at the end of another busy day giving childrens’ rides 🐎