Books, Herons, Celandine and Tomatoes

Apr 13, 2023 | 0 comments


I’ve been reading some cracking books lately. It’s my turn to host the u3a book group and my choice was:

The Reading List

The back cover says

When Mukesh Patel pops to the local library, forgoing his routine of grocery shopping and David Attenborough documentaries, he has no idea his life’s about to change. He meets Aleisha, a reluctant librarian and the keeper of a curious reading list – just a scrappy piece of paper with the names of 9 stories. It doesn’t seem anything special. Yet something tells her to keep it close . . . Story by story, Mukesh and Aleisha work their way through the list – their worries slipping away with every encounter, with every world discovers in their unlikely book club of two.

The reading list is a hand written list that pops up in various places. It’s headed ‘Just in case you need it’ and consists of 8 books

  • Just in case you need it
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Rebecca
  • The Kite Runner
  • Life of Pi
  • pride and Predjudice
  • Little Women
  • Beloved
  • A Suitable Boy

The books are talked about in The Reading List and it made it so much more interesting that I have read all of them except Beloved. I think I’ve even got that one tucked away somewhere! I loved this book. The characters are so real, I felt I knew them. I wanted to reach out and lend a helping hand when they struggled, and cuddle them and cheer them on when they did well.

Many reviewers say that it is a love letter to books and the power of connection, and I would completely agree with that. If you love books, I think you’ll like this one.


The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober

I’m a great fan of popular science books and read lots about nutrition, diet, health and so forth. I don’t drink alcohol at all as it gives me a migraine, but this book appealed to me as I wanted to know about what it was like to give it up.

Going sober will make you happier, healthier, wealthier, slimmer and sexier. Despite all of these upsides, it’s easier said than done. This inspirational, aspirational and highly relatable narrative champions the benefits of sobriety

The back cover says – Ever sworn off alcohol for a month and found yourself drinking by the 7th? Think there’s ‘no point’ in just ne drink? Welcome! There are millions of us: 64% of Brits want to drink less.

Much more. than a tale from the netherworld of addicted drinking, this is about the escape. the happy-ever-after. Ans why a sober life can be more intoxicating than you ever imagined.

The book is written like a series of magazine articles which I haven’t come across before and rather liked. Catherine Gray is an engaging writer, chronicling her struggles to break free from an increasing dependance on alcohol, at times, searingly honest.

The Power

The Power – an interesting concept where all over the world, women and girls discover they can emit electrical charge from their hands. What does that mean for the gender power balance, how do men react, what’s the end game? An interesting and thoughtful read, not how I would have approached it at all, and all the more thought provoking for that.

I wanted to read the book before watching what is now a series on Prime as important plot points are bound to have been changed, and I find I get a lot more out of a book than I do from a film or tv series. Looking forward to watching the series now!

All over the world women are discovering they have the power.
With a flick of the fingers they can inflict terrible pain – even death.
Suddenly, every man on the planet finds they’ve lost control.

The Day of the Girls has arrived – but where will it end?

Herons and the pond

a garden pond

the garden pond with a much reduced water level

A couple of days ago, we went outside and found that the pond had half the usual amount of water in it, with the plants being much higher than they are used to. We think that a blasted heron has been in there and not only eaten the few fish we had, but poked the pond liner with its giant beak whilst doing so and made a hole – or more. Local news groups have mentioned a heron, and I’ve seen one flying about a few times.

What an absolute pain, I’m quite sad to have lost the fish, I loved to watch them doing their fishy thing. We’d even had a couple of babies! Goodness knows how we are going to repair it, assuming it is even repairable. I don’t think we’ll get any more fish, we’ll have a wildlife pond and get some frog spawn and hope for dragon flies, none of which can be had if you have fish as the fish eat them all.

In the garden

pressure washed garden paths
a patch of blue muscari in bloom
apple blossom buds

The garden paths looking all fresh after being pressure washed – except for the bit I missed, I’ll have to get the washer out and do that bit.

A patch of blue muscari in bloom

Fritillaria Meleagris – I’ve found a good place for them as they increase each year, and I think the bloom sizes are getting bigger as well.

Fat apple blossom buds getting ready to burst into bloom.

Celandine in the garden

Celandine in the garden, in bloom

Celandine in the garden, in bloom

In the glorious sunny weather we have been having, I’ve been working in the garden. One of the new beds has a pretty yellow flower that is, unfortunately, celandine.

The RHS says that it comes up about now, flowers, then dies back by the end of April. It also says that trying to weed it out might end up propagating it – eek! I’ve got to try tho, or I won’t have anything else in that bed and it’s already spreading to other places in the garden. I can see this is going to be an ongoing battle over several years!

The bees like it apparently, but I haven’t seen any out there.

New Season Tomatoes

tomato seedlings

tomato seedlings

I’ve been growing tomato seedlings in heated trays on the windowsill – three varieties this year, an early cropping cherry one, a tiger striped one with wonderful flavour, and Brandywine, an enormous beefsteak variety.

The Brandywine have done really well and have been potted on. The cherry ones turned their toes up as the heated tray dried them out and I wasn’t quick enough watering them, so I’ve had to sow more of those.

The runner beans are sown every year, in the greenhouse, on my Mum’s birthday, so they went in recently. A gardening friend said that runner bean plants are actually perennial, meaning that they come up again the following year. I did not know that, so this year, I’ll cut them down in late September, as usual, but not pull the roots out and see what happens. Nothing will be lost, as I’ll sow some fresh ones next Spring, and if the old ones don’t grow, I’ll know before the fresh ones are due to be planted out.

The Rhubarb

early season rhubarb, still quite small

early season rhubarb, still quite small

The rhubarb is in a place where it’s tough for crops to grow. It’s next to next doors fence, which has trees growing on her side, so very shaded and hence the rhubarb is always a bit behind any grown in a sunnier spot. I have however moved the compost bin next door to the rhubarb, which they’ll love!

You can see some bits of tree that Mike has been trimming!


Well I’m off to uproot some of that celandine while the sun is out. A friend from choir has asked if she can have some, so I’ll be taking some there on Sunday.






Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thrifty Lesley has an associated Facebook Group. Do come over and say hello if you haven’t already joined. I’d love to see you!

I’m a perpetual dieter, and to help with that endeavour, there is now also a Thrifty Lesley dieting group, a lovely, growing community.