Thursday, 3 April 2014

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Buckingham Palace

So this week I was invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace which was nice.  Very nice indeed.

We were invited through the palace and in to the gardens at the back of the palace.  Here is the back of Buckingham Palace as seen from the gardens.

We were then offered tea or chocolate coffee (gorge!) and lots of lovely canapes and cakes before being allowed to wander the gardens freely with the other guests - which was hilarious because the other guests included...

Cilla Black (amazing!)

Rolf Harris (seen here with Marawa The Amazing)

Esther Rantzen

(I felt weird asking for pictures with the celebs so I just got out my camera phone from a distance)...

And.....Debbie McGee (?) (not sure where Paul Daniels was...)

You might not recognise these celebrities but I assure you they are all icons of British stage and screen (even Rolf who is Australian).

So we wandered the gardens which one man described as 'camp' - evidenced here by this giant faux grecian urn..

And this bonkers pergola thing...

There is however a lovely lake in the middle of the palace gardens...

Not sure about strange Vulture Sculpture...

Or the plastic Herons...

But other than that there were some nice rose gardens and Marawa got to meet a beefeater...

After we perused the gardens The Princess Royal showed up to say cooey.

Anne is actually my new favourite Princess.  When she was 24 she was almost kidnapped, and despite the kidnapper having just shot her chauffeur, a policeman and a journalist - when the kidnapper came for Anne she responded 'not bloody likely' and dived out the limo to escape.

Here she is looking fabulous at the garden party (she was wearing a rather nice fascinator too, which you can't see)

I would have liked to have gone as Princess Diana but I'm not sure it would've been appropriate...

Fabulous.  I can't wait to return.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Buckingham Palace...I mean Hackney Council

Now we all have unwelcome visitors in our garden from time to time - slugs, snails, caterpillars - for example.  Worse than these invertebrates however - I have men from Hackney Council!!!!.

I was very excited this morning as I'd been invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace and I doubt you get a garden more glamorous than the palace garden.  Unfortunately my day was slightly ruined by men climbing over my fence.

I had already blogged about the council sending two men over who clambered over my fence unannounced and trampled my plants here....

Then the same thing happened a second time and I called the council complaints line to complain.  Not the best idea as the woman who operates the complaints desk doesn't seem to appreciate you complaining and is likely to take your complaint as a personal attack on her and continue the conversation with a sarcastic tone in her voice.  The complaints desk it would appear is only there to redirect you to somewhere else anyway or to tell you it's better to complain in writing or via email.  I chose the email option...

That was a mistake though - unsurprisingly my email was returned unsent (I have a feeling that their inbox is full but that is mere speculation).

So then just this morning as I'm getting ready to go to Buckingham Palace - this appears over my fence...

followed by this...

Which basically scared the S*£T out of me

and then he leaves, the same way he came...(don't watch all of this, it goes on and on and on.  Tres boring.

Just so you know - they are discussing how many weights they can lift at the gym, not how fabulous my garden is looking.

Lord, it feels like I'm on an episode of that cowboy builders programme....

Now the frustrating thing here is, they only need to knock on my door, or give me a little warning and I can unlock my back gate.  But clearly there's far too much organisation involved for Hackney Council - trespass and property damage is a much easier option.

So I complained again this morning - cue woman with attitude problem as I dare to phone the complaints line with a complaint.  Do not be irate, emotional or angry whilst complaining to Hackney Council.  In fact don't bother complaining - just move boroughs...or cities...or better yet countries (my friends had such bad dealings with Hackney Council they moved here... )

Now my complaint is apparently in 'stage one' now, which is exciting (and I have no idea what 'stage one' is - I think it means nothing much will be done).  Anyway - my complaint was passed to my 'neighbourhood office' (I'm putting lots of apostrophes everywhere because I know not what any of these things mean)

My neighbourhood office did call me however, and this is basically how the conversation went...

Neighbourhood office 'Hello, is this....[me]?"

Me: Yes

N.O : well the problem is - we do not have the address of the property you are complaining about

Me: Ok, you want my address then?

N.O No, we have your address, we want the address of the property you are complaining about

Me: um? I'm not following you.

N.O it just says here that you want to make a complaint about 2 men climbing in to a property

Me: I do yes, I want to complain about two men climbing in to MY property (um...obviously? no? perhaps not?).

N.O oh ok.  We will investigate.

Hang up.

Wow, investigate, that sounds thrilling.  I can't wait to find out what you discover.

To be continued.  Probably for a very long time.

I'll tell you all about Buckingham Palace soon - which will be a much more cheery blog post.  Princess Anne looked wonderful.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Front Gardens

I love it when people cram hundreds of plants in to the tiniest spaces.  Necessary for city-living often but I also love it when people lumbered with a north facing garden, take full advantage of the sun by filling their front garden with piles of plants.  Take this house in Herne Hill, South London for example -

Front Garden of House in Herne Hill

Plants are much better replacements for net curtains and to stop those nosey neighbours prying eyes - blind them with a buddleia (or buddleja as it is supposed to be spelled according to wikepedia).

Here's another example of plenty of planting

Plenty of planting

contrast this with their next door neighbours who are clearly having a hard time keeping up with the Jones's -

The next-door neighbours house.

That's almost like a 'before and after' but it's not - they are neighbours.  So see why it is important to keep the front of your house in check?.  First impressions matter! - there is no way you would see me dead at the next door neighbours house.  Unless ofcourse they happen to be some sort of transvestite killer (that is to say a person who kills transvestites - not a transvestite who kills people), and who knows? I mean if you were a cop hunting down a killer you'd go in to the neighbours house first wouldn't you? I mean you just assume that whoever lives at the house whose front garden is filled with flowers is a nice old lady or a nice someone - not a killer at all.  I bet house number 2 has a patio too, we all know what happens under patios don't we...

Brookside - Patio

Thursday, 30 June 2011


I have a mini obsession with artichokes.  I absolutely adore them.

You have to peel back many layers to get to the heart of the artichoke but when you do it is an absolute delight.  I think this is a metaphor for me.  Not really, I have no heart, but I like to pretend I do just to give people something to do when they meet me.

Anyway, I always walk past a house on the way to a park by me and I'm always jealous of their majestic artichoke plant...

I'm jealous of their garden generally, but mostly jealous of their artichoke plant.  I've circled the artichokes in red as it's a bit tricky to make out where they are on the photo.

Artichoke plant I'm jealous of

Close up of artichoke plant

As you may notice, the artichoke is very similar to a thistle - and this is because they are both of the same genus Cynara.  Which may explain my obsession with them as I am in-fact Scottish and the thistle is a symbol of Scotland.

This year I thought I'd attempt to grow some artichoke plants from seed - and I have to say they're doing pretty well...

Artichoke plant seeds

Baby artichoke plant

The man who makes my coffee in the morning has a tattoo of an artichoke on his arm.  I don't normally like tattoos but obviously I love this one.

Artichoke tattoo

Once he made me this coffee below, which is wholly inappropriate but witty nonetheless.

Inappropriate coffee

Now I've had a look in to Artichokes on the net, and it would appear lots of people love artichokes.  Especially Castroville which is in Monterey county, California in the US.  Most of America's Artichokes are grown here and every year they have an artichoke festival!!!

At the artichoke festival, 2 people are given the titles of artichoke king and queen, and in 1948 the artichoke queen was....MARILYN MONROE!

Marilyn Monroe enjoying artichoke


Now there's lots of ways I love to eat an artichoke - this is one of my favourite ways here when I had it with mackerel and rhubarb.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Shady Lady

As I have a West facing garden I mostly get afternoon and evening sun.  Because there is a wall on the south-side of my garden I have an are that is pretty much in shade all day.  I had attempted grow Lavender but as you can see here - it didn't really work .

I've now planted some plants that don't mind a bit of shade such as the Camellia -


This is a nice plant for shade as it actually flowers like a real flower (see below) and for some reason I always believed that plants for shade could only be things such as ferns...which I've also planted.

Camelia Flower


Oops sorry wrong Fern... (what is she doing though...??)


I also happened to have planted a Nasturtium seed which seems to be doing pretty well in the same area - I love Nasturtiums, they go mad and self seed everywhere - plus you can eat the flowers in salad and the leaves look like frogs would sit on them


Ages ago in the same area I also planted some Blackthorn plants because I wanted to make some Sloe Gin (see here).  These are doing pretty well though are still a bit young to have fruited.

Blackthorn plant

Also, my Geranium seems to be doing OK in it's hanging basket above, though I think that gets a little more light than down below...


I even don't mind the weeds in the shady area, I like to think of it as woodland.


I think it's all looking ok, and once the Camellia's flower and the Blackthorn grows some more it should look peachy :)

Shady Lady 

Saturday, 18 June 2011


I just wanted to have a quick little bitch about Jasmine.  I absolutely LOVE the smell of Jasmine and purrrrchased some a few years ago to go under my bedroom window so that when I opened it the fragrance would envelop my room.  Now in the first year it flowered and smelled delightful, but since then it has done little except take over my garden and choke my climbing rose.

Jasmine taking over the garden

Choked rose bush

This is now a total weed, I think it's hideous.  I realise this may be because the plant is called 'common' Jasmine.  You should never put anything common in your garden unless they're geraniums and even then you should have a more unique variety.

Now to anyone wanting the sweet smell of Jasmine I would suggest you don't buy this common variety and instead go for this one (warning - latin name for plant coming up)...trachelospermum 

The trachelospermum jasminoides is more of a bush like plant and has lovely pale green shiny leaves. It's easier to manage and as far as I've seen so far - flowers prolifically year after year.

Trachelospermum Jasminoides


We do not want to live like common people and do whatever common people do - like buy common Jasmine.

Common People