Three Things Thursday: 25 May 2017

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog [or Twitter account or Facebook page or diary or life in general] with the happy*

Emily of Nerd in the Brain originally created Three Things Thursday, but it’s now being hosted by Natalie of There She Goes. Anyway, here are my three things this week…

First, gifts from my dad. It’s now more than three years since my dad died, but he continues to help us out. The latest example being when a piece of coving fell down in our living room. No problem, said my mum, I have some that your dad bought – come and pick it up. So, we had a lovely day on Sunday, visiting my mum, collecting some of dad’s coving and also being given his ‘cove mitre’ (a template for creating the corners). The coving is now up and awaiting a lick of paint… it even inspired Mr Snail to write a blog post. I think abut my dad every day, so he will never truly be gone, but it’s really lovely when there are tangible parts of his life that come along to give us a helping hand.

Thank you, dad

Second, having the vote. Historically, only a very small proportion of the population were allowed to vote, but first common men and then women won the right to vote and now in the UK almost every adult can vote (although there are a few exceptions including the queen). For some years I’ve had a postal vote, and mine arrived the other day (we’re having a general election in case you didn’t know). This means that I have already voted. Every time I put my cross on the ballot paper, I am glad that, despite all the issues we have in the UK, and despite the fact that I’m not keen on many of our politicians, at least we do have the opportunity to have a say in who runs our country.

A postal vote

Third, giving and receiving plants. One of my 17 for 2017 targets is to give away 10 plants to good homes. On Saturday we went to drop off some home-grown lemongrass plants to a friend who runs a fabulous B&B (check it out here if you are planning a trip to west Wales). In return she gave me two sweet potato slips (rooted cuttings). I’m really looking forward to trying to grow these and it’s lovely to know that some of my spare plants are in a new home.

Sweet potato slips, ready for planting

So, those are three things making me smile and that I am grateful for this week. What is making you happy?

D is for…

… my 500th post!

Someone make a cake – we need to celebrate. Actually I should make a cake as all four chickens are in lay and so there are plenty of eggs.

I thought I would mark it with a list. So, D is for:

Dogs… lots of my posts mention them. They are my constant companions, encouraging me to go out for a walk and testing out all my knitted and crochet items.

Darning… oh how I hate it, but still it’s a good way to make things last so I do it anyway.

Digging… especially keen on unearthing all those lovely potatoes from the garden.

Dani… and a host of other bloggers who inspire me.

Denmark Farm… where we conserve biodiversity and support community projects.

Dangler… and all the other ‘friendship’ projects that I have been part of in the blogosphere

Dad… I lost my dad nearly a year ago. Not a day goes by when I don’t think about him… and I’m still using the cork board he made for me all those years ago (it often appears in posts)

Dark evenings… spent with hook or needles to create lovely woolly things.

Dairy… even though I’m lactose intolerant, I’m busy making cheese.

Dyson… thanks to secondhand spares from ebay, it’s been mended twice in the past three years.

Diploma… my Diploma in Applied Permaculture design was the inspiration for ‘The Masterpiece‘… my amazing friendship blanket.

Dehydrating.. and my many other experiments in food preserving.

Drinking tea and coffee

… well, I could go on, but you get the idea. So, here’s to another 500 posts… thank you all for dropping by.


Just in case you are wondering what I’m wittering on about, D is the Roman numeral representing 500



Forget Tasmania, where is the snail of happiness?

I’m pleased to announce that Tasmania, at least the one that I was talking about in my last post, has been found. It is safe and well in my sister’s living room! Yes, the jig-map of my childhood is still being enjoyed by members of my family… we are all squirrels!

However, you may have been wondering where the snail of happiness has been for more than a week now. You have, perhaps, spotted one of my little minions here, and I got a mention here, but as for me there has been silence. I know, I didn’t warn you, but I thought that I was going to have time to blog and it turned out that I didn’t.

Last weekend we had a garden party to celebrate my dad’s life. The sun shone (mostly), we had lovely pictures of dad around the place to encourage people to share their memories of him and there was lots of tea and cake. In fact the only sort of cake he really liked was fruit cake, but we made up for that with a lovely spread including scones, lemon drizzle cake, Victoria sponge, coffee and walnut cake, sticky toffee cake and fallen chocolate truffle cake to name a few. What do you think?

Our cake table

Our cake table

And then I went to spend a few days at Chestnuts Farm… a rather interesting set up comprising a number of separate parcels of rented land with sheep, goats, poultry, a horse, a pony, vegetables and a hay field. I got a real picture of the challenges faced by tenant farmers who have no security because their tenancies are only for, perhaps, three years. How do you make plans for the land you work, when you don’t know whether you will still be on it in five years time? Without longer tenancies, there is little incentive for such farmers to invest in permanent buildings, expensive fencing and planting trees, or anything else that they may not be able to get a proper return on. Since small-scale producers play a valuable part in food-growing in the UK, it seems important to give them security if they do not own their own land.

Would you brave that beak to steal my identity?

A young Perdy

During my visit, I particularly enjoyed seeing the poultry; my favourites being the bantams. However, in my absence, one of our girls, Perdy, went into a very rapid decline and died before my return. She stopped laying about six months ago, but appeared quite healthy up until the final couple of days. Now we have to decide whether we want any replacements… if there was somebody local with bantams I would be sorely tempted!

The other loss this week was the mealworm farm… the colony was, I thought, safe and sound in the greenhouse. However, a bird found its way in and has consumed not only the adult beetles that were thriving, but much of the oats and bran that they were feeding on. I’m annoyed that I hadn’t kept their container covered, but I really never expected the wild birds to venture into the greenhouse. I think the culprit was a juvenile robin. I have ordered a fresh supply of mealworms and will start again, bearing in mind the need to ensure better protection!

Thanks, dad

Earlier this year my dad died. He wasn’t an acquisitive man, so he didn’t leave possessions to inherit, but I do have some objects around the house that came from him and one in particular has been getting plenty of use recently.

When I was about 14 I became very keen on patchwork and I wanted a board on which to pin out my designs. In those days blocking boards were unheard of and I guess that most people just made do. My dad, being happy to make a variety of things for us (I have very fond memories of our sledge, which he made from old timber and which had metal curtain-track runners and his homemade table tennis table) agreed to make me a cork board for my crafty endeavours. At the time he’d just laid a cork floor in our kitchen and he had a few tiles left over. Those along with a piece of hardboard and some tile adhesive allowed him to create a board for me.

My patchwork board

My patchwork board

As you can see, he was using up scraps of tiles, so it’s a bit of a patchwork itself. Plus, to begin with it was a bit smelly because of the adhesive, but that has faded with the years. When I’m blocking crochet or knitting, I have to cover it with a tea-towel because otherwise it stains my work slightly. However, in combination with some map pins, it is still doing a great job… I’m sure my dad would be pleased.

In use for blocking some bunting

In use for blocking some bunting


When I’m asked where my interest in sustainability and the environment comes from, I can say without hesitation that it originated from my parents, especially my dad. Even as children in the 1970s, we were expected to minimise waste. From collecting newspapers for the scouts, to taking lemonade bottles back for the deposit; from composting to going to the bottle bank; recycling was part of our lives. There was never any question about these activities, they were just something we did.

Indeed, my dad did more than this, and those of you in the UK can thank him for the introduction of the first Bottle Banks provided by local authorities. He worked for Leeds City Council, running their cleansing and refuse collection services and was able to put in place facilities to increase recycling of glass, paper and plastic bottles by everyone. His dedication to this aspect of environmental care has stayed with us throughout our lives… perhaps meaning that my family has been responsible for sending much less waste to landfill over our lives than most.

My dad also encouraged us to garden and always maintained that the chap who lived down the road, who was a candidate for the Green Party, would have been better occupied digging up his garden and growing vegetables rather running political campaigns! I was not an enthusiastic gardener as a child, but I certainly got to learn all about sowing seeds, growing vegetables and making compost – something that has stood me in good stead as an adult.

I can, therefore, thank my dad for laying the foundations of my concern for the environment and for inspiring this blog – thanks dad, I’m really going to miss you.

David Martin
30December 1932 – 27 February 2014

February sunset

February sunset

%d bloggers like this: