Showing posts from November, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Seasonal Weather at Last


The Kindness of Strangers

Dee told a story recently on her blog about meeting a stranger from Persia, which has stayed with me ever since. It's good to be reminded that simple acts of kindness are much more powerful on a personal level than anything the news can throw at us. Thanks Dee.

It sparked a memory of something that happened to me many years ago, so here's my story...

Graduation during a recession means even the best laid plans can go off track. So in the early 1980's I found myself back at home with my parents instead of forging the glittering career I'd anticipated by being the first in my family to study at university.

The work ethic is strong in our family, so I took whatever temporary jobs I could find to tide things over until my dozens of permanent job applications bore fruit. I never doubted that would happen, and finally it did, even though the result isn't quite the path I originally thought I'd take.

One of my temporary jobs was as a census officer, taking round and co…

How Advertising Works in Chippenham #38

Set up a Business Improvement District (BID) to promote your townInstall wi-fi in the centre of town and promotional flags at key entry pointsCreate a John Lewis-style video to promote local businesses for Christmas 2015Wait for a blogger to spot she can't embed the good news into her blogEt voila!
I wanted to make this a good news story, I really did. There's much to applaud in an organisation dedicated to show the good things Chippenham has to offer. However, I can only give you a screen grab plus a link to our local paper's article about Chippenham's Christmas advert, rather than sharing it directly with you. NB it's worth a scroll down the article then a click on the video to have a look at the town at its best.

There isn't quite enough time at the end to see all the local businesses involved (unless you freeze the frame), so here they are:

Amelia Classics (bridal wear)Butlers ButchersChippenham Museum and Heritage Centre (say hello to our friend Chris who v…

Things in Unusual Places #18: Salad

Trying to outwit the spammers led to some amusing happenings in the past, but I didn't expect it to involve salad.

After puzzling over word verification, sums over at Karen's, proving I'm not a robot etc etc., the latest innovation I found over at Happy Mouffetard's was possibly the trickiest yet. How many images with salad do you see in the picture above?

I labelled this image 'Good Grief Google' at the time. Since then, I've seen its presence isn't confined to Google, but seems to be the latest CAPTCHA development on offer to anyone needing a spam prevention or similar service.

My inner imp still giggles at the notion this might be a development in context-driven provision. For example, craft blogs could get pictures of knitting to sort out from other fabrics.

Update 18/11/2015: I've since found out this CAPTCHA is a compulsory step for preventing spammers if you're allowing Anonymous comments. Note that mobile users are having particular trou…

GBBD: Alstroemeria

I've grown Alstroemeria aka Peruvian lily for the first time, inspired by a bunch Victoria gave me around this time last year. They lasted for weeks in the vase and helped to brighten the dull days of autumn.

In the spring I planted a bag of mixed tubers on my allotment to edge part of the big Woodblocx bed NAH installed for me last year. I'm pleased my mixed bag morphed into solely deep red flowers which are gracing my kitchen windowsill. Just four stems more than adequately fills a large vase.

They came into flower in late June and by pulling the flowering stems when needed, they've continued to flower well into November. They're such good-value plants. Sarah Raven experimented with hers and managed to extend their flowering even more, though I don't know if that exhausted her tubers in the process.

I've grown mine separately as for once I'm growing flowers for cutting. However, they'd also look quite at home in my mixed borders, so my bulb order thi…

Plant Profiles: Hellebores

Do you have plants that wax and wane in your affections? That's how I've been with hellebores. They're one of the first plants I ever bought; some Christmas roseswhose crisp white blooms brought winter cheer to my first garden.

They were fine for a while, but then they came down with the dreaded 'black spot', the bane of most hellebore growers. I briefly considered replacing them with some of the larger hellebores, but I was put off by their downward facing blooms and tendency to self-seed everywhere.

Then a few years ago, I was smitten by H. x ericksmithii 'Winter Moonbeam' at an RHS London show. These have more upright blooms, - so much better for viewing them - with fantastic marbled foliage for year-round interest. They're also fabulous in pots.

Since then I've not looked back. H. 'Anna's Red' has joined my potted plants, placed on the patio to maximise winter viewing and cheer. I've even learned to embrace the qualities of the …

Separated at Birth? Piccadilly's Green Walls

Back in the summer on a trip to London, I at last found some time to gawp at the Athenaeum Hotel's green wall. Designed and executed by that master of vertical gardens Patrick Blanc, it's a fantastic showstopper on Piccadilly.

Imagine my surprise to find another green wall just a few doors down the road, using plastic greenery this time. You can decide which one's which in the above photo.

It looked like the artificial one was being used to screen the building work being carried out on the former In and Out club aka Cambridge House. This was a private members club for officers and gentlemen of the armed forces which relocated to nearby St James's Square in 1999. The building lay empty for many years, which is surprising for a Grade I listed building in such a prime location.

Earlier sources said the building is set to be the nation's most expensive home once renovation work is complete, though judging by the the latest reports it's unclear whether the site will…

A Million Words

A blog I look after reached 100,000 Page Views recently, which was deemed worthy of a celebratory snippet in their company magazine. That blog has about 800 posts, each with an average of 200 words. After some light googling, I worked out that amounts to the equivalent of a couple of fiction novels, or around one weekday edition of the New York Times.

That got me pondering.

Veg Plotting turns 8 today and I've published 2011 posts including this one. I'm twice as wordy here as I am on there, and if I take a few extras like Pages and captions into account, then we're looking at around one million words written so far. Phew.

However, according to this blog post, I'm at the start of becoming a writer. I've enjoyed the ride so far and I hope you've enjoyed the read too.

As my Irish ex-colleagues are fond of saying, "Thanks a million" for reading and all your comments so far. I couldn't have done it without you!

Update: By a spooky coincidence Sally publi…

Fall, leaves, fall