I woke at six this morning. The sun felt hot through the window, the birds were shouting like crazies and so I thought I'd join in the fun. I tip-toed out leaving Iain to snore quietly to himself and made my way to the woods with my camera. Setting the camera to 'auto everything' I clicked and snapped happily like a fly-catchers bill. Here are just a couple from my bounteous batch. READ MORE ON HINTERLANDS
I came back from my walk and proceeded to delete all my Instagram accounts! She's gone mad! I hear you cry. Well, maybe, but I just can't keep up with all the online shenanigans! I have so many accounts on various platforms, it has got out of control, and I don't have the headroom to cope with it all! Now that I've abandoned the Insta ship, I can concentrate more on my own sites. It is very sad, I had made several lovely connections on the platform, but it was starting to take too much of a toll on my time. I'd ignored this blog and my photography website for a long time. From now on they are going to be my main places of self expression. I still advertise my products on Pinterest and run a couple of Tumblr blogs... I have a lot of online activities to keep me busy. If you are interested you can find all my links updated at petrabrown.co.uk, if on the other hand you are not interested, I really don't blame you... it's all too complicated- so many sites and platforms! Just make sure you subscribe to this blog by pressing the RSS feed thingy and all will be well. I intend to put all my creative online inputs here.
And so I'll finish this post with a Scooby-Doo, just because I can...
He's the first of my ‘Six Fan-Art Challenge’ set. As a kid I was ever hopeful that one episode the spooks would turn out to be real, but they always turned out to be some shady dude in a disguise. So I have made some real spooks for Scooby-Doo, Petra style.
I’ve been so busy I’ve only been able to get two done- Dr Who and Scooby Doo. Hopefully, once I’ve finished the project that I’m working on at the moment I can get the other four characters done. Apologies to the folks on Instagram who gave me a great list of characters to choose from... and sorry for upping and offing!
Since moving to our new house I've been attempting to grow edibles. Things to add to my salads, sandwiches and smoothies.
Now, I realise this blog post shows my immense ignorance at proper vegetable gardening. I own gardening books, I have read and watched Charles Dowding, and my little mind has balked at the work a veg gardener has to do- making compost, building raised beds, getting the soil right for each type of veg, cycling crops and all that jazz... that's not me, not at the moment, I have to build slowly. Now, I just wanna sow and go! You can smirk at ma work, but just know that I know... I'm no Charlie Dimmock. I've not really got the hang of it, and certainly couldn't survive on my meagre plantings.
Last August I planted kale and strawberries:
The kale was great, I picked off and nibbled leaves for seven months. I let them flower for a while, the flower buds where lovely to eat! Now they've been chopped them down and replanted. They seem to be shooting again. Perhaps I'll be lucky and get another harvest.
I seem to remember eating one sad strawberry from the strawberry plant last year, but since then they have grown incredibly. One small clump has developed into seven large clumps. I added some wood ash to the soil when I replanted them this month-May, and there are several fruits forming!
This April without any ceremony, I gaily scattered a few seeds in a small bed. It's May and I have already been nibbling baby salad leaves: spinach (Trumpet F1) and 'Tuscan salad lettuce mix'. Sharing the leafy bed are a handful of half-visible swelling radish balls! (French Breakfast 3)
Last week, I went crazy and scattered the rest of the packs all over another, larger bed, just randomly, without any care or love. When I related this to my sister she laughed and told me she'd found a plastic box full of various packets of seeds that my mum had left lying around and she'd done the exact same thing, and if mum's spirit was watching wouldn't she be exasperated with us both! :oD
Our mum, Patricia, was a lady who did things by the book. And she had a book for everything... several books for each thing. Never knowingly not reading or doing things by the book! She absolutely loved gardening, but was not a veg gardener. The extent of her edible gardening was tomatoes and cucumbers, in the greenhouse, in grow-bags. She was more into herbs and ornamentals. But if she had grown fruit and veg it would definitely be done properly.
This May I've added one sad tomato plant, one apple tree, chives, parsley, basil, coriander and red onions to my list of edible plantings. I have plans for more... maybe potatoes, carrots, rhubarb, currants...
Slowly, little by little I'll get to grips with growing my own. I get such a happy feeling, trotting out to the garden to collect a handful of goodies for my plate. I'm in love with the idea of food for free, fresh and clean. I've been making super green juices with nettle shoots, dandelion leaves and kale from the garden. Last summer we harvested apples from two ancient cooking apple trees that must have been planted when the house was first built. Also bowls of plums from the many wild plum trees, and of course, hundreds of wild blackberries from the extensive bramble patches.
I'm not sure if we'll be able to stay here until next summer, with a little luck we will, and perhaps then my garden will be full of all sorts of yummy fruit and veg.
It's been awhile since I updated this blog... a lot has changed. For several years I was helping to care for my mum. She had dementia. It was a tough time for her and for all the family, especially towards the end. We had a great care team thanks to the British care system. I really appreciated the help and support all those ladies gave us. I lived with my parents at that time and so was on hand to help her through the day and night. Luckily I have the most wonderful sister who lived very close and she would sit with both our parents several times a week so that Iain and I could escape. There was lots of love and support and we all of us managed quite well. The last few days I found terribly difficult, but thanks to Iain, my sister and my dad... I coped. They coped. We got through it. My mum got through it. I'd never seen death before. It messes with your head.
It took a long time to get my real mum back, those old memories... but with the passing of time, she has returned and those last few years have receded.
After mum died Iain and I rented a house, a few miles away, whilst my sister and her husband sold their house and moved in with dad. For the first time, I have my own house, after living with my parents my whole life: fifty four years! They were good parents, friends really, so it was easy most of the time. It's been almost a year and life in our new home has been getting better and better. I feel myself relaxing into the place. My head is back in order at last after that shocking time. Iain and I are both so happy in our own little house... something we've always dreamed about of over the fifteen years we've been together.
As a long-distance desk driver I have started to worry about my health. I sit hunched over my graphics tablet day in, day out. I try to get time out in the hills when I get a good dose of leg twiddling and airy lungs, but most days I'm working. My work schedule varies, and I am up and down looking after my elderly mum, but in the main, from waking 'til bedtime my tail end is firmly planted upon my chair.
So I worry and I read up about how my health will be affected...sooooo:
Sitting all day at my computer will apparently, slow my metabolism, which affects my body's ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat. I have learned that I am more likely to die earlier from any cause if I sit for long stretches at a time. And it really makes no difference if I exercise every day or not... still sitting for long periods has a really bad effect on my health. I increase my risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, all way markers on the road to dementia . And then there's the deep vein thrombosis, that can be serious if clots break free and lodge in my lung! That's not all! Staying seated puts huge stress on my back muscles, neck, and spine, especially if I slouch...which I do! Sitting all day will make me prone to varicose veins, (this just gets better and better). I'm more likely to get osteoporosis. I'm more likely to develope colon, endometrial, lung cancer or breast cancer. This doesn't change if I'm super-active. What matters is how much I sit. So I need to stop sitting all day, but I still need to work... what should I do?
I splashed out on a desk-riser and anti-fatigue mat to stand on. I think the health risks merit the expenditure.
I've had the set up for a week now and I'm really happy with it.
The desk-riser has a gas sprung mechanism so it takes no effort to lift my work station up and drop it down again. The only downside is that the sitting height is higher with the desk-riser, so I've had to build up my seat a little to compensate. But that's no bother.
I'm completely in love with the anti-fatigue mat. It's such a pleasure to kick off my shoes and sink my feet into the squidgy comfort. It reduces the pressure on your feet, knees, and lower back. So if you stand a lot at work... I heartily recommend this too.
So now I sit, stand, sit, stand... I'm up and down all day long! I even dance and work sometimes... you've gotta get up to get down! (embarrassing, eh?)
So, lovely people, whoever you are, take care of your health... get up off that chair, walk about every few minutes, do a dance, have a stretch, get the cleaning done, stand and stare at a tree. Don't squash your bot... shake it!
A warm hello to whoever is reading this. Welcome to Petra's blog. I'm an illustrator and writer of children's books and keen amateur photographer. I enjoy living in North Wales with my wonderful partner and fellow adventurer, Iain.
This blog is a place where I share my creativity and thoughts.
If you enjoy my various online creative sharing then please consider showing support by buying me a coffee.
You can also show support by buying Petra art- originals, prints, cards... all kinds of merchandise. Check out my shop :o)
Wandering Around Wales in Search of Celtic Magic -
Check out my photography blog where
I try to capture the Wales that I love in my photography... haunted Wales- the land of the Mabinogion, the druid and the the bard;
the lonely hills marked with abandoned quarries, mines and mills; ruined homes, cold hearths, empty barns and rusted relics.