Search This Blog

Popular Posts

Tuesday, 12 April 2016


I've just spent many gruelling hours trying to clear a bed in the garden of crocosmia (montbretia) corms. They've burrowed a long way from their original site. It's back breaking work, but it has to be done. The bed will look so much better this summer when the lilies, iris and other plants in there are not being strangled. There will be space to add more interesting plants too , replacing the long leaved short flowering thugs ( I really don't like crocosmia).

I was therefore surprised last night, listening to the Archers , to hear Jill offerring Bert some crocosmia for his newly replanted garden- and Bert was pleased to get them! I'm assuming that as his garden was flooded, he's looking for something to fill spaces fast. He's an old hand and that he must know they need a firm hand in future years.Personally, I woouldn't wish them on anybody. Still, it makes a change to hear a normal Ambridge type (ie dull) conversation in the midst of all the drama.

In case you don't know what crocosmia, (aka montbretia) look like- here's a pic. It's true, they can look good for a time, and their leaves are useful in flower arrangements, but unless you've got lots of space and are prepared to hunt them down when they stray, I'd give them a wide berth.

PS I'll forgive Jill anything if Anna Tregorran can help Helen.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

From the Lakes to Leicester Square.

Here's a change from my usual blog topics.

Our son, Nick Dixon has been making a career in stand up comedy for the last few years. Last weekend he was supporting Tom Stade at Leicester Square Theatre. Was he terrified? Not at all.

We don't know how he does it but we're very proud of him. Here's a review of Tom Stade's show from today's The Times.  

You can only access this online if you are a Times subscriber, so in case you're not, I've cut and pasted it for you.

His agents are Comedy Store Management  and he'll be supporting Tom Stade at Leicester Square again this weekend, and the weekend after he's on the Best In Stand Up show at The Comedy Store, London. 

Tom Stade at the Leicester Square Theatre, WC2
Clive Davis
April 5 2016, 5:00pm,
The Times

If you read a transcript of Tom Stade’s monologues, you might easily conclude that his material is a little ho-hum. Doesn’t every other stand-up make jokes about Marks & Spencer and daytime television schedules?

What gives his performance an extra charge is the manic energy. A Canadian who has long made his home in this country, he swaggers and staggers around the stage like a dude who has spent too much time propping up the bar in some godforsaken town in deepest Nevada.

The f-word flies in all directions, yet he can be a sentimental, almost self-pitying soul too. You can never quite be sure whether he is squaring up for a fist-fight or going to pull out a photo of his mother.

At the centre of his latest show, You’re Welcome!, is an account of a less than earth-shattering stand-up gig at Glastonbury. Expecting to find the spirit of peace and love wafting over the West Country meadows, Stade was duly confronted with the realities of the festival industry. Surprise, surprise, most of the people had come to hear rock dinosaurs rather than a comic they may have glimpsed on Live at the Apollo.

It didn’t really matter that he soon wandered off in other directions. While there was nothing out of the ordinary about his thoughts on jay-walking or immigration, that dissolute sandpaper voice carried you along.

The bouts of audience interaction were a shrewd mix of bluster and bonhomie. And there was a hugely engaging support act from the soft-spoken Nick Dixon, providing everyman glimpses of London life from the vantage point of a cheerless bedsit and a seat on the Tube. Naturally, the capital was not seen at its best. A refugee from the Lake District, Dixon cheerfully and effortlessly rubbed our noses in the grime.
Box office: 020 7734 2222, to April 9, then touring.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Spring in the Lakes - a great time to visit

Easter came early this year, leaving us with an eight week break before the May school holiday week. April and May are wonderful months in which to visit the Lakes.

As the daffodils fade and the bluebells come out, the days get longer and a day's walk can go on into the evening. The rhododendrons and azaleas burst into flower . In my garden the early azaleas have a few flowers, and soon there will be a riot of colour. Here are some pictures taken around the White Moss area in past years.

Pretty pink
Clashing colours looking lovely
Bright and beautiful
Here's a real oldie in our White Moss garden.

If you love gardens as much as I do, April and May are probably the best time to visit the Lakes. For lots more information, take a look at Cumbria Tourism's Guide to the Gardens of the Lakes.

My personal favourites are Rydal Hall Gardens , just 1/2 mile away from White Moss House and our Grasmere holiday cottage Brockstone Grasmere cottage ,  and the wonderful Holehird Gardens at Windermere  run by the Lakeland Horticultural Society. Both these gardens are free to enter ( donations very welcome).

I'm amazed that after the floods and the very, very wet winter experienced by many , the gardens are bouncing back so well.

Cumbria is open! Now is a great time to visit. The Lakes are ready to welcome you. We're looking good.

Finishing off with one more rhododendron, taken on the start of the coffin route from Grasmere to Rydal, just a few yards from Brockstone Grasmere cottage.

Looking amazing in May, Heugh Folds garden