Wednesday, 20 April 2011

A cottage in the middle of nowhere (well, the Trough of Bowland actually)

OK, it's time to own up.  I didn't go on the permaculture course on Saturday.  My reasons? I never really felt that comfortable with the course, the venue and the people, plus I felt I could have learnt what I'd learnt from the course so far from reading a book.  But really, it was too much doing two Saturday courses in a month, and when it came to the crunch, I felt I was learning more from the dressmaking course, and I find the dressmaking course lots more fun.  Plus the permaculture course was a long way to drive.  I'd rather do a permaculture course closer to home with people I know.  I feel bad for copping out, but I got lots done in the greenhouse instead.  Especially with summer coming up, I was stupid to think I could devote two Saturdays a month to courses.  I'd rather be outside enjoying the sun with Chris.  Excuses maybe, but deep down, if something doesn't feel right, then maybe it isn't.  But it makes me wonder, because I often think I don't like people based on initial impressions, but after a while when you get to know people you realise they're OK after all. So maybe I should have stuck with it a bit longer.  But I didn't want to.  I copped out of college early as well, because I felt it was taking them a month to explain something that I could have understood from reading a book in an hour.  Chris thinks that's a bit of an arrogant approach, but it's true.  At college they spell things out slowly for the slow learners and the quick learners get frustrated. 

I don't know if I'll have much flair for dressmaking, but it's about being neat and working with numbers, which are things I'm OK at.  I remember one of the first things I got praised for at primary school was being good at cutting out with scissors, and dressmaking involves a lot of cutting out.  It's not that I don't believe in permaculture anymore, because I really, really do, I just don't have enough spare time at the moment to dedicate one Saturday a month to it (which makes it sound unimportant, but that's not what I mean, I can still learn about it from reading books in the evening).  Perhaps I'm just swayed by the thought of making lots of clothes for myself.

I've learnt how to do a fishtail braid/plait from watching a video on YouTube.  It's really easy to do and has inspired me to be a bit more creative with my hair.  It looks really cool too, better than a normal plait anyway.  I tried to buy some new hair accessories in town but the choice was rubbish.

We've got some new handmade wooden shelves in the shop, they look really cool.  A local bodger made them for us.  We've also got a music licence too, so we can play music in the shop now.  On Friday we listened to some Russian gypsy folk music.  There's also lots of new wholefood stock which is coming from a co-op in Manchester called Unicorn.  I bought some ace smelling Unicorn cinnamon, which tastes amazing, and I made some cinnamon swirl muffins which were delicious.

The weather has been gorgeous again all weekend, and it's not rained for a while.

We visited Brookside garden centre on Saturday morning and Chris bought a new red leaved plant for his pond, it was expensive for a small plant (£5.99).  I got some alpine plants for my Mum's rockery and also some small trailing hanging basket plug plants, which I repotted and placed in the greenhouse.  I also bought a parsley plant for our potted herb garden.

After Brookside we nipped to Aldi for some more compost.  They've only got multi purpose compost in stock now, which is rubbish compared to the organic compost I got there a few weeks back.  There are lots of twigs, white bits and even bits of bin bag in the multi-purpose compost.  It'll be fine for flowers but not for edible crops.  Next year I need to buy about 10 bags of organic compost, which seems a lot but we use it in the greenhouse, garden and allotment.

Chris dropped off the compost in the greenhouse at home, then I planted some sweetcorn into peat pots.  I also planted some cucumber Emilie F1, as not all the Cucino seeds have germinated.  The melon and cucumber seedlings have been slow off the mark and appear quite fragile.  These need to go in early next year.

Chris went to the allotment and planted all the chillies into the border soil, and sowed two rows of carrots in the border soil as well.

My sister came up to visit with her husband and two children from Friday til Monday.  They stayed in a luxury cottage in the Forest of Bowland, which is a designated 'area of outstanding natural beauty'.  My mum and I drove to Whalley Abbey to meet up with them on Sunday.  We had a walk around the Abbey and the girls did an Easter egg hunt.  Then we had lunch outside on a picnic bench (cheese and onion toastie for me washed down with some elderflower presse, yum diddly um).

The my mum drove us into the Trough of Bowland following my sister's car.  The cottage was in the middle of nowhere, nestled at the bottom of a big hill, and lots of (brave) people were paragliding off the hill.

We had a cup of tea and a slice of my sister's homemade marble cake, before going for a walk near the cottage.  I was glad I took my wellies as I got a chance to play in the stream with the girls.  One of my nieces showed me her new bike riding skills and we played a few games, before sitting down for tea together.

I booked Monday off work to catch up in the greenhouse.  I repotted all the tomatoes into larger pots.  I did three of each variety, 2 for the allotment and 1 for home.  I'll probably have too many, but it's better than not having enough.  We should have an amazing selection of tomato varieties.   I gave what was left to Chris's boss for his greenhouse. I also repotted the chillies, peppers and aubergines that Chris had sown.  The names on the labels had rubbed off so I wasn't sure which was which (I did warn him that the writing on his labels would rub off).

I also sowed some morning glories and black eyed susans.  I'd lined up lots of other flower seeds to sow but I didn't get round to it.  I'll get them done next weekend.

I got this little gardening man in a kinder egg many, many years ago.  I gave him to my Dad and he kept him in the greenhouse.  He's still there now, he's a little faded, but still very cute.

I had to resow some seeds in the cold frame outside - some seedlings had been decimated by slugs, especially the lettuce, spearmint, coriander, cauliflowers and sunflowers.  Chris has about 30 baby sunflowers in pots, grown from seeds saved from the sunflowers we grew last year.

Yesterday I met with my boss for a supervision session, and we inevitably discussed me getting upset at the presentation the other week.  Surprisingly my boss was really good about it.  She suggested I put things into context.  She said people aren't good at everything and I'm good at some things other people aren't good at.  She said there's no need for me to feel I should be good at presenting to groups if that's not what I want to do.  I just need to decide whether I want to do it or not, which I thought was a very refreshing change to the usual 'you've got to overcome your shyness' tact.  I thought my boss was very understanding in a genuine way.  She explained she doesn't like writing things down, whereas I do, so everyone is different, and everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.

I had a wander down the allotment last night after work, it was really sunny and I'd been stuck in an office all day so it was nice to get outside in the sun.  I thinned the radish, beetroot and spring onion, which so far (fingers crossed) the slugs haven't spotted.  I sowed some mixed leaves in the same bed.  I hoed all the onions and garlic too.  It's been very dry so the soil is starting to form a pan.  Chris's friend gave him a tub full of tadpoles so he fetched these down and put them in the new pond.  He's hoping to get some frogs in there.  It's nice to nip down the allotment for an hour before tea.  It felt much nicer than being in an office.

Maybe I could set up an online support group for introverts?  I think people would be reluctant to join, after all, the last thing an introvert needs is other people!  But I'm sure some introverts would agree, sometimes it's reassuring to know you're not on your own dealing with these feelings.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm just shy, with some introvert qualities.  But no one wants to admit they're shy though, do they?  There's nothing good about being shy, at least being an introvert doesn't sounds as bad as 'I'm shy'.  I'm definitely not a shy extrovert though (if there is such a thing).  So by default if I'm not an extrovert I must be an introvert!  Some people hate being on their own, whereas I see it as an opportunity to do my own thing.

Do you know what?  I'm not mentioning shyness and introversion anymore.  Not for a while anyway.  Like I said last week, I'm sick of thinking about it.  There's bigger fish to fry.  Like career options.

I look at the older people in my office and think 'I don't want to still be here when I'm their age'. If only I could think of a career path that fitted in with me. I guess everyone struggles with that one.

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