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On Monday 12th September I noticed a bit of water bubbling up in the strawberry bed. As there had been a lot of work going on in the gully at the side of our property I rang South Staffs Water to investigate. They arrived on Tuesday by which time the water was spreading in the garden. He listened in at the inspection cover at the top of the drive, promptly said, it’s your water supply, not our problem and promised to arrange for plumbing contractors to ring with a quote.

I was worried, the insurance cover I used to have through SS Water had been cancelled. I rang my buildings and contents insurers, making sure to let them know that three weeks ago SS Water had turned off the supply in the street to replace old pipe work. They said they would send out their own contractors to inspect. Late on Thursday two chaps came out decided that the leak was under my kitchen sink, turned the water supply off and left. Up to this point at no time was there any indication that there was a leak under the sink. They refused to investigate further as the electric plug to the washer was in the kitchen cabinet.

We then spent six days without water and late on Tuesday two lovely electricians came and disconnected the electricity supply under the sink. We still had no water.

We were told that the next stage was that on the following Tuesday someone would arrive to dismantle the kitchen units to enable access. That meant another full week with no water. I rang the insurers and said NO! After lots of distressing phone calls they finally agreed to employ a different drainage contractor for a second opinion.

This morning, Thursday, the second opinion was that the first contractors had broken the stop cock connection under the sink whilst trying to turn off the water supply. Therefore we now did have a leak under the sink but not along the mains pipe, at the stop cock. This was fixed with no fuss and the original leak is now being investigated. We still have no water as yet. Watch this space.

 

 

 

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My beautiful son, Adam, passed away on Saturday 20th February 2016. We were together when he took his first breath on the third of March 1974 and we were together when he took his last. I was privileged to be able to care for him until the end. He loved life and fought to hold on to it despite the awful suffering. I know he wasn’t ready and would have put up with anything for one more look at his beloved children. I am trying to get back to what’s left of my life as he would and often did tell me to.

Pear and Lemon Jam

This was my first attempt at Pear Jam. Its a cobbled together version of the recipe I do for all my jams. I used two pound of pears which had been peeled, cored and cut up into chunks; I large lemon;  one pound of preserving sugar and some water. I put the pears into a pan with a little water and the juice and zest of the lemon. I cooked the pears until they were soft. Then I added the preserving sugar and brought to the boil until the mixture reached setting point. I am now waiting for the verdict from the family.

I think that next time I may add a little powdered ginger when cooking the pears.

 

Conference Pears

I have completed harvesting the pears from the garden this morning. This tree had no fruit at all last year but this season has been great with lovely blossom in the spring and loads of fruit.

I understand that these pears keep well but I shall be having a look at how I can use them in cooking as there are so many.

Damson Merryweather

The Minarette Damson tree that I bought from Ken Muir has done us proud this year. It was beautiful in the Spring when it was smothered with blossom and I have picked five pounds of fruit this week. We love Damsons and quite a few have been eaten already. I have made four jars of jam today.

Cherries

We have two cherry trees in the back garden. One cost over twenty pounds from Frank Muir and is called Sweetheart. The other cost three ninety nine from Lidl and is a variety calles Stella. They have both blossomed beautifully this year and because we had next to no frost have fruited well too.  The Stella fruit seemed ready in early July and because it was attracting a lot of interest from the local Blackbirds I took off the fruit when it looked ripe. The fruit was very tasty but I now find that harvesting should have been late July. The Sweetheart tree fruit has looked red and ripe for a while but on doing a bit of investigating on the internet I see that the fruit ripens late August and is very dark. I have already taken some fruit off but the taste didnt seem right. Now I know why. I hope that I shall remember this next year but who knows.

RIP – Ken Muir has died this month aged 85. Our condolences to his friends and family.

Plum Jam

This morning I made three jars of jam from some of the fruit collected from my Victoria Plum Tree bought from Lidl. They are really tasty straight from the tree but lovely made into jam so that we can have the taste right through the winter too.

I usually cook large stoned fruit quite well in a little water and lemon juice then when the stones are floating on the top I put the whole lot through a seive and combine it with a little preserving sugar. There is pectin in the stones so no need to add more. Stir the fruit pulp and the sugar until the sugar is melted in then turn on the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Keep stirring until the setting point is reached, not long with plums, and then pour into your jars using a funnel.

 

Orpington Bantams

I have decided to sell my chickens so that I can be available to spend more time with Adam. My son Sean and his partner Deb are taking the eglu and four of the smaller chickens to live in their garden. I have advertised the three Orpington Bantams for sale and will be advertising the others soon.

Motor Neurone Disease

Did you know that this week is MND National Awareness week. Well my family has certainly been made aware as my youngest son, Adam, has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

http://www.mndassociation.org/news_and_events/our_news/mnd_awareness_week_1.html

He and the whole family have gone through a state of shock and grief that has hit us all like a jugernaut. After the first round of gp, consultant, hospital, specialists and awful tests we are now trying to come to terms with the diagnosis and what it will mean. On 31st May we had a family visit from a lovely MND Nurse, Heidi, but since then we have had no contact from any of the care team and remain in a state of limbo.

Adam is bravely continuing to carry on as normal and has made a special effort to take his six year old daughter on days out, seaside holidays and this weekend he, his girlfriend and his daughter are travelling to Cyprus for a week in the sun to make some special memories .

If my weblog has been a bit sparse on the gardening front recently it is because we have all been totally preoccupied with this current situation and my positive and optimistic view on life has taken a bit of a battering.

Windy Sunday Morning

We had a good couple of hours at the plot today. All the tomatoes are now in place in the lean to. The courgette plants are in their bed. Rob earthed up the potatoes which had put on a lot of growth following the torrential rain yesterday. We also topped up the potato bags.

We came home with a cabbage, some spring onions and a bunch of raddish.

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