Welcome! So glad you’ve found me here on my new website and I hope you’ll enjoy this week’s missive. Fingers crossed all is well in your world and you’ve seen a bit of sunshine? Hard to believe we’re through July already – a month that’s been far more grey and wet than most of us would have liked! And that’s what I’ve always loved about being lucky enough to holiday abroad – the promise of sunshine for at least a week!
But of course when I was working, like everyone else I’d have to book my leave at least a month in advance. Being retired has made things much easier in that respect, and so, with an unexpected weekend free we decided to book a last minute break to Crete. I knew it was going to be hot but not as hot as some of Europe, and having left a cold, wet and windy Luton airport in the early hours it was an absolute joy to step out of the plane into bright blue skies and Cretan sunshine. Colin and I had visited Crete in 2019 and always wanted to return to explore more of it, and it didn’t disappoint. We hired a car for a couple of days and drove through the incredibly mountainous centre of the island which afforded us fabulous views and a lovely mix of barren volcanic rock and lush green vines and olive trees. We reached Plakjas around midday when the temperature was over 40 degrees, with a hot sirocco wind blowing across the bay from Africa. Luckily we found a bar in the shade that had cold beer and air conditioning and we sheltered there before heading back through Agia Pelagia to Rethmyno and then our hotel. The rest of the week was a little cooler with a gentle breeze blowing and we swam, sunbathed, ate huge amounts of greek food and felt incredibly blessed to have escaped the rain at home.
Of course all that rain meant we got back to a fabulously green lawn in desperate need of mowing, but also a wasps nest in desperate need of destruction! I discovered it in the under eaves cupboard of the spare bedroom we’re currently sleeping in, literally days before we went on holiday and had no time to arrange anything. We’ve had wasps for the last four years but never inside the house, so we taped the door over, and Tony our neighbourhood pest controller came today to come and rescue us! He told us that what we can see is just a protector and empty inside, as we have a closed board roof. All the activity is within the slated area so he’s had to treat both sides. Although the nests themselves are unbelievably beautiful and extraordinarily well made as you can see, the wasps leave one hell of a mess on the surface underneath and because the house renovations are still ongoing, I was storing my summer clothes in the cupboard. Luckily most things were in plastic space bags so they weren’t damaged, but all the swimming costumes were filthy and needed washing. Now Tony’s done his work hopefully the problem will be resolved – until possibly next year!
I guess it’s all part and parcel of living in a fairly rural area which we love, but wasps aren’t our only visitors! We have Bert and Ethel, two ducks who nest in our garden and poop on the patio, and this year we are hosting a family of five rabbits! They’ve made their home underneath my vegetable trug, and they’ve decimated at least half a dozen plants that I’d been nurturing in my pots. This year it’s been the roses, the pansies, wallflowers and my one and only lupin! It had three fabulous blooms on it when I bought it, but after just one night the rabbits had eaten at least half of the foliage and broken the stems. I rescued it, and managed to balance it on an upturned tree stump where it made a valiant effort and grew more leaves and two more flower spikes. Encouraged by this I shifted my pots around and put the now hardy lupin back on the ground. It was fine for a week but then this happened! ☹ So… I’ve been told to try scattering chilli flakes onto the soil and the leaves of the plants as it irritates the rabbit’s nose but that hasn’t seemed to work. I bought the Vitax ‘natural’ rabbit repellant and tried the Grazers Rabbit Pigeon and Deer pollinator plant and people friendly repellant but they were completely ineffective. The trouble is I love the rabbits and apart from this annoying habit of theirs I enjoy seeing them bobbing about in the garden, but is there anything you could suggest I use to stop their nibbling? Or are there any plants apart from petunias they aren’t interested in?
I love gardening, and now I’m retired, if I’m mowing the lawn or weeding, that’s when I tend to listen to my audiobooks. I’ve actually got two credits with Audible at the moment which is unheard of as I used to be waiting for them to pop up each month so I could choose a new book to listen to! I’m coming to the end of Marian Keyes’ No.1 Sunday Times Bestseller Grown Ups which she has read herself, and which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I’m a sucker for an Irish accent and the story of Jessie, Johnny Casey, his two brothers and their families is very cleverly crafted and makes some pretty serious issues completely relatable. I like the fact I’m not sure how it’s going to end either! I also enjoyed Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, and completely understand why it has been a best seller in England and the USA. However, I was somewhat surprised to see it shortlisted for the Comedy Women in Print prize. Granted the protagonist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman, and her life is anything but average – but laugh out loud funny? I’m not so sure about that. Definitely brave, positive, and I found the 1960’s TV studio plot really interesting, so I’d say well worth a read, but do let me know what you thought of it – we could compare notes? 😊
With no more night shifts, I’m watching a great deal more evening TV, and have just finished watching the Sky Atlantic super series Succession. Not the kind of thing Colin and I would normally choose but it’s been terrific. Based around the lives of meglomaniac Logan Roy (played by Brian Cox) and his three children, it follows the incredibly complicated and convoluted journey they all take trying to decide WHO will take over the running of the multi-billion pound empire that Logan controls. British actor Matthew Macfadyen also stars as son-in-law Tom Wambsgan and his character is fascinating. I remember him from the early days of Spooks where he met his wife of 20 years Keeley Hawes. What a talented couple they make! Any recommendations for future viewing would be lovely – you can leave them in the comments box below and I’ll get back to you.
So, I think that’s it for this time, but thanks so much for keeping in touch here; on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and until next time, take care.