This is my attempt at writing a shorter blog post, in an effort to get one more in before the end of February rushes up to meet us.
I have been a bit distracted this month by the arrival of these two. Aren't they adorable. But don't worry. I haven't quite lost the plot. They are not here to stay; I am just fostering them for a month until they are old enough to live independently as someone's pet.
Earlier this month, a litter of nine pups were abandoned on the step of our vet's clinic. They were
only three and a half weeks old, with their eyes barely open, and they needed to be bottle fed, which was much too time-consuming for a vet who is already stretched to her limit. So she asked people to foster them for a month, so Toby (brown one) and Suzie(black) came home with us.
They have been no trouble at all. Right from the start they slept through the night, curled up on a heated wheat-bag for warmth, and glad of one another's company I'm sure. I borrowed a big cage for them to live in to keep them safe from our other animals, but our big dogs are almost scared of them. Miki hides behind Chris' chair when they are awake, and the cats are only just beginning to go in the room where they are.
They have come on really well. They eat solid food now, though usually in such a frenzy that half of it end up on the floor!
Toby barked for the first time this week. A proper "wuff, wuff" instead of his usual squeak. I think he was almost as surprised as we were.
I love this picture of Suzie. They are not, of course, house trained yet, so at meal times I have cordoned off a small area where they can walk around and explore, without wandering onto the carpet. The floor is all stone, so rather cold, and Suzie didn't like it, so when she found my bag of knitting under the table, she sat on it and dared me to make her move!
I have been busy in the kitchen again, making more marmalade and also some piccalilli and hot chili and ginger jam. We don't use a lot of the pickles ourselves, but I made piccalilli for the first time at Christmas, and my customers keep asking me when I am going to make some more, and I can always sell as much of the hot one as I care to make.
Two week ago we had our first trip to a Spanish cinema to see the new film of Les Misérables. It was a funny little place set right on a corner on a roundabout! We bought our ticket at a tiny hole-in-the-wall on the front of the building and made our way into an empty room.
There were seven of us, so we chose our seats and eventually a dozen or so more people came in just as the film started. All the songs were in English which was good, but the little speech that there was in it, was dubbed into Spanish. I had bought a CD of the film track so I was familiar with the story and we really enjoyed it. I love the music. We are singing the finale song as part of our summer concert with our choir this season.
We have also done some work in the garden. There is little ground for actual planting in, but we had a row of three trees each in a pot, ranged along the fence between our front garden and next door. Two of these had died. Their pots were too small, and they dried out very fast. So we went to the garden centre and bought three more, and we have moved them to across the front of our garage, as they used to get swamped each summer by our neighbour's incarvillea. It is very beautiful, but a very vigorous grower, and she is not around to cut it back very often. We managed to save the bottle-brush tree that was there when we moved in, by cutting it back quite a lot, and watering it regularly. Now it is flanked by a kumquat bush on one side, and a tall thin tree with pretty pink foliage on the other. We also bought what I know as a 'potato tree' which has deep blue flowers on it. (I must remember to look up it's proper name). We decided this looked better on the corner of the house by the front steps. They are all coping well so far, despite the very cold wind this week, and our first proper rain since the floods in September.
Our beautiful pink jasmine is in bloom again. It's heady scent fills the garden and the house and can be detected from way down the road. I have never known a plant have quite so many flowers on as this. We cut it almost down to the ground two years ago, but it is back covering all the front wall again.
The sunny side has been in flower all week, and now the shadier side is opening up. Everyone who passes, comments on it, and we have given one or two people cuttings. I don't know how successful they have been though.
Well. I didn't manage a very short post did I, but at least it is a bit shorter than usual!
P.S. I now know that this is "Solanum erianthum", also known as salvadora or potato tree. Apparently it is a member of the deadly nightshade family. It's pretty anyway!