Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Europe, Gardening and The Shed

It's been a busy few weeks with lots of work travel to Holland, Germany and Holland again during their World Cup win over Australia. The cheering as each goal was scored was something powerful!
The times in between have been filled with gardening, nourishing our first plants as if they are new borns and taking personal pride in each days additional growth. We're experimenting this year with brussel sprouts, sweet corn, beet root, potatoes in bags, leeks, mangetout, lettuces, herbs, spinach, garlic and french beans. We've been in the middle of a heat wave with very little rain for the past two weeks and lovely burning hot days which make the garden a great escape from the office.
Our first harvest has been the garlic, planted at mid winter last year and pulled today, just after mid summer. It's drying in the sunshine as I type and my plan is to weave the long fronds into one of those pleated things you see women sitting making by the side of the roads in summer in France so we can have our own garlic string in the kitchen.

And most excitingly, we took delivery of a new shed....
This is something we have been talking about and planning for, for over 4 years as part of our "where will we put everything if I move in" dilemma. So now, finally, we have gone a long way to solving that problem and giving us more space in the house. It's also the last of the really big jobs we wanted to tackle this year. The chimneys have also been repaired and had little pots put on them to stop birds nesting where they shouldn't and been swept for the first time in some years. So were optimistic we won't smoke ourselves out when we're relying on the log burner this winter :)

With the help of some friends, some kind weather, lots of drills, beer and a bit of swearing the job was done.
On the creative side, it's mostly been about playing with nail art. I've really taken to this after being shown the techniques by a friend who invited some of the girlie crew over one Saturday for lunch and varnish. Life is too short for boring nails and if you don't like it, you just scrub it off. Easier than tattoos I presume. I don't have any but I think changing them is far more troublesome.
My preference is for subtle rather than bold colours although it was fun to play with the samples above. I like the dotty flowers you can make (a cocktail stick dipped in varnish does the trick). Put on a base coat and dip dip dot in the colours you have lying around. Fun and cheap!

Dancing with Diggers in Deutschland

Strange sights in Germany where I'm working this week. On my way back to my hotel this evening I saw a large crowd gathered and heard loud opera music playing. There was an earth mover with a bucket on the end of its arm and a man dangling from it. As I watched, the arm lifted, taking the man with it, spinning round above the crowd in time to the music. The man started weaving in and out of the bucket, again in time to the music. Man and machine were dancing together.
Once I was able to suspend disbelief and soak up the music and atmosphere this was surprisingly moving! In those moments there was an emotional relationship between the digger and the dancer who caressed the metal and slid around the mechanism in a loving way.
All of this was done with no safety harness but there were two ambulances standing by! Then something distracted my involvement in the dance and all I saw was a man and a digger again but as the performance drew to a close I joined the crowd and clapped and cheered the strangeness and audacity of the piece. The driver of the digger emerged from the cabin and both he and the dancer took several bows and were even presented with red roses.
In other German news...I have never woken up in a hotel bed thinking "what a lovely duvet." It's not something I've ever got giddy about. A duvet is a functional thing and that's that. Oh how little I knew back then before I discovered the world of Really, Really Splendid Duvets! Something else I've never done in a hotel room is remove the cover from a duvet to see if there's a label to tell me the brand of the duvet contained. Until now.
See the pretty label? A quick search on Das Internet taught me that this is a very special Bavarian made duvet and they cost more than I thought you could spend on a duvet. What's so special about them? Well, they are feather light and drape over you gently and feel amazingly soft. They keep you warm but not too warm and cool but not cold. This my friends is the Goldilocks of duvets and I have duvet lust.
Will I buy one? Hmmm, difficult to justify the expense. Will I turn criminal and steal mine from the hotel? If only I had any space in my suitcase! But it's full so I shall just return home with my duvet lust.