Down here, in the Southern hemisphere, it’s fall or, as we call it, autumn. So I would like to share the changing colours that I can see from my deck today.
I hope all of you in the Northern Hemisphere are enjoying your spring. My garden seems to have lost track of the seasons – I have a jonquil blooming! (In amongst the weeds – I plan to tackle them today.)
No, unfortunately I didn’t get to spend the day in my garden, but when I get home at night, I like to wander around the garden and pick whatever produce is ripe. I did the picking before I took the photos tonight, which probably wasn’t the brightest idea, but we’re having an autumn vegetable pasta for dinner….
We don’t use pesticides or insecticides….purely organic.
Just 2 of our 16 pumpkins.
Lettuce in amongst pumpkin vines.
I had already picked the ripe tomatoes
We have so many lemons for the gin….and limes but I forgot to take photos of them and it’s too dark now.
I got 9 avocado from my tree last year. This year, there must be 90!
I know you can’t eat them, but these roses are beautiful and beautifully scented.
And while the dahlia isn’t scented, it is spectacular.
And this is the delicious result…fresh basil and parsley from the garden, capsicum and cherry tomatoes. The spinach was frozen down from last winter. I bought the mushrooms, and red onion. And added feta and parmesan, and fresh ground pepper. The pasta is gluten free.
Wednesday I had to go to an appointment in the next town north. It didn’t take as long as I expected, so I went out for coffee and cake afterwards and took a stroll past their bookstore. They only had half a dozen books on the sale table outside, but I scored The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor and Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan. 2 books I have been wanting to read, for $20. I think I must be the last person in the world who hasn’t read these!
THE CHALK MAN:
In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.
In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.
That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.
ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL: Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart. Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes. Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience?
Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy. Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?
Have you scored any bargains recently?
I went out and picked all the ripe produce before it started to rain today. It always tastes so much better fresh out of the garden!
For some reason, today I have been thinking about the music I used to listen to as a teenager, and one song in particular came to mind – Lazy Sunday Afternoon, from the Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake album by the Small Faces.
The album cover was round – a tobacco tin. It was beautiful and I had it for many years before it got lost in one of my many moves. This particular track featuring today is probably the result of wishful thinking. It definitely wasn’t the most played track or album of my teenage years, that accolade would have gone to the Led Zeppelin II album.
I had, and still have, very eclectic music tastes.
Currently I am reading Her Secret Son by Hannah Mary McKinnon. I only started this last night and I am almost finished (okay, my Kindle ran out of charge otherwise I would still be reading) and wow! What a page turner!
I am also reading Living Ayurveda. I started Ayurveda yoga earlier this year and really love it, so when I saw this book I knew I had to have it.
I am also reading it’s always the husband by Michelle Campbell
And listening to Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
I am back to work this week. Because I am still struggling with health issues, I am planning a light week commitmentwise, so am only going to commit to one other book, Her Sister’s Child by Alison James.
She rolls over and reaches for her instinctively: her baby. Her hand hits air and flaps redundantly. She stumbles out of bed and switches on the light. But this only confirms it. The baby is gone. Someone has taken her.
Sixteen years ago, Lizzie Armitage woke to find her newborn baby gone. Just days later, Lizzie was dead.
Her sister Paula swore she would do everything she could to find the child. If she hadn’t promised to keep Lizzie’s pregnancy secret, maybe the baby wouldn’t have disappeared. And maybe Lizzie would still be alive. But, in nearly a decade, Paula’s never found any trace. Until now…
When Paula bumps into an old friend from the past, she realises she wasn’t the only one who knew about her sister’s child. Someone knows what happened that day. Someone knows where Lizzie’s baby went.
But can Paula find out the truth before another family is ripped apart?
Only three ARCs this week – Susan, your 👑 is on the courier, winging its way back to you. 🤣😂👑 I am sure that you have far more new ARCs than me this week! I am sure to have many more next week after I check out Susan’s, Carla’s and Carol’s posts today.
Call Me Elizabeth Lark by Melissa Colasanti
The Boatman’s Wife by Noelle Harrison
And, Ghosts by Dolly Alderton which has been sitting on my wishlist for ages. Thanks for the recommendation Ceecee.
And to finish off I would like to share a few bright spots of colour from my garden with you.
Yates Garden Guide was first published in 1895 specifically for New Zealand gardeners and has been our gardening bible ever since. Throughout the more than 100 years this has been in publication, the entries have been continuously updated and revised making it as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.
It begins with a potted history of gardening in New Zealand, from the time of the Maori, who voyaged from East Polynesia bringing with them Kumara, taro,yam,gourd and the pacific cabbage tree. The first Pakeha (Europeans) to arrive in New Zealand gardened because they had to. It was a case of survival. Their basic ‘shacks’ were surrounded by bush, there were no shops and were often miles from the nearest neighbour. Although they had little time or resources for ornamental gardening, plants from their home countries would have brought a little comfort in familiarity. In the mid 1800s,creative gardening was fast gaining popularity and, at around the same time, it became fashionable for women to garden. The lawn also became popular in the mid 1800s, with borders of neatly spaced flowering shrubs and perennials. By the turn of the century, a more informal garden was replacing the formal geometric layout of the Victorian era, and reflected a newfound subtlety and prosperity. There were breakthroughs in plant breeding including the first hybrid tea roses and ramblers.
Through the 1920s, 30s,and 40s, gardens became simpler due to the influences of the war and economic depression. The advent of state housing meant smaller suburban sections, and a demand for more compact plants. As prosperity returned in the 50s and 60s, outdoor living spaces began to make an appearance with courtyards, pool and barbecue areas.
In the 70s, the ‘native’ or natural garden began to gain a strong following, symbolizing our new environmental awareness which continued to be popular into the 80s.
The 90s saw a return of the more formal garden, including the decorative vegetable potager garden. Now, in the 21st century, New Zealand’s gardens reflect many influences – cottage, English, subtropical, Mediterranean, and native among them.
This latest edition includes an invaluable month by month gardening calendar, handy hints from New Zealand gardeners, in-depth information on a wide variety of plants, ornamental, fruiting and vegetable, plus a guide to gardening in special conditions.
My Nana (we were never allowed to call her Grandma. Apparently her own grandmother, whom they had called Grandma, had been a bit of an old battleaxe) gave me my first ever copy of this book almost fifty years ago. I, in turn, gave my children a copy, and will do the same for my grandchildren should I still be alive.
This is an invaluable resource. I consult mine monthly to plan my planting and harvesting schedule. In particular, the guide to gardening in clay soil has been particularly useful. Never has my garden looked so good, and never has my vegetable garden been so bountiful. And while this may not be relevant to those of you living outside New Zealand, I am sure that there is something similar relevant to your country.