Skin #Cancer Alerts

I like to spend time gardening. I prefer to work where it is shady. I wait for the sun to move. Perhaps this is earlier or later, usually early. Just in case I have to go in a sunny spot, I cover up wearing a hat, loose t-shirt and gardening gloves. Every day I wear sunblock on my face.

BUT-twice I have discovered a small , slightly itchy pink patch on my skin. Once on my jaw and another time on my shoulder. The patch has been slow to enlarge. Don’t be deceived. They can grow deep. My skin doctor is skillful and after a biopsy he removes the growth. The analysis shows it’s malignant, not benign. The removal is pain-free and leaves no scar.

Never be complacent.

Basal cell carcinoma removed

Basal cell carcinoma removed

Basal cell carcinoma-just a plaster two days after removal.

Two days after surgery, just a plaster.

The sun picture is not mine.



#Sea Fever

If you live on an island, the sea may never be far away. No matter, give yourself a break and find the sea. Feel the soothing breeze or a battering  gale. Hear the rhythmical lap or destructive  crashing waves. Smell the sharp salt or the fusty ripe seaweed. Hear the screeching seagulls or the grunting cormorants. Feel the warm rays or the wet mist. Walk unsteadily on the smooth pebbles or be enveloped by endless fine sand.

Sea Fever
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
Sea You beach bar

Sea You beach bar

Tips For Sun #Damage

Living in a sunny country means cars don’t rust, there are no frosty windows to scrape clean before driving, plants don’t die from cold temperatures and outside temperatures are never bitter.

However, the sun can be an enemy. All kinds of materials can be damaged including our own skin. Now we all know how to prevent skin problems.

Precautions for the home and garden include using tinted windows, drawing curtains during the day in bedrooms to keep furniture from bleaching and lining curtains with special sun resistant lining. To prevent fraying of sofas which catch the sun, place a throw over the top of them. Hang picture prints away from sunlight or they turn blue. If possible, keep rugs away from windows before they fade. Stowaway sun lounger mattresses until needed as the sunshine will shred them. Choose light coloured garden furnishings like patio umbrellas to hide bleaching. Dry washing in shade.

If it’s too late and the damage is done, make use of some items. Keep old pillowcases and patch damaged curtain lining with them. Torn sun mattresses make good dog bed bases. Dye faded clothes and curtains a darker shade in the washing machine.

If all else fails, just move somewhere cooler!

Food From Your #Pomegranates and #Figs

Our fruit trees produce abundantly but last year the fig and pomegranates had no fruit. Once full croppers, the trees had been neglected or trimmed incorrectly. I studied pruning advice online and now, after correct treatment, these trees are neat, stark silhouettes. They should re-crop as nourishment will reach the correct parts of the trees.


Pruned fig trees nearly done

There are no crossing boughs or branches growing upward. The low boughs are half their original length. Once in leaf again, light will reach the middle of the trees. Their lower height will make it easier to pick the fruit and we might reach it before the birds or fruit bats! Of course, the fruit can be bought too.


A pruned pomegranate tree awaits completion

The trees had become ornamental rather than practical. Now the fig trees are back to their purpose of providing fruit for our home-made fig jam, fig ice cream, baked fig with rosemary and honey, a starter of fig with parma ham or chopped fig with breakfast muesli. Once the skin splits, we know our own pomegranates are ready to eat. They make our juice or we sprinkle the seeds over breakfast porridge/muesli/ natural yogurt or salads and we add them to middle eastern tagines.


Don’t #Scream, Enjoy Nature

Incy wincy spider climbing up the spout,

Down came the rain and washed the spider out.

Up came the sun and dried up all the rain,

Incy wincy spider climbs the spout again.

Children love being tickled as they hear this rhyme. They might not like the real thing.

On our terrace, it lay quietly. Some of its legs were hidden under its body. A closer look revealed beautiful markings. I placed a thin cloth over it and removed it to the garden before our dogs or humans disturbed it.

The European garden spider, diadem or cross orb weaver spider has detailed markings. Daily, it spins an orb-like web to catch its prey. It’s found in gardens, hedgerows and exterior buildings with lighting where flying insects are attracted.


Cross orb spider


Two #Rugs Are Better Than One

We great danes, Stellar and Venus, like being snuggly. When the garden is black, we have our own crates with blankets and towelly thingys for sleep. When it’s shiny, we have our own soft round beds to see the garden. If it’s pant, pant, pant, we lie on the stone

There’s only ONE rug.

60bbbbbbb Venus on the crumpled rug

Venus crumples the old rug and lies on it.

I’m top dog. I want the rug so I step on it. Venus doesn’t go.

60c Stellar growls

Stellar tries growling to get rid of Venus.

I’m top dog. Now I try licking her.

60cccc Stellar tries licking

Venus likes it when Stellar licks or bites her cheek.

Venus is still here. I’m top dog. I’ll try playing.

60cccccc Stellar playing but showing whose boss

Stellar is playing but showing Venus she’s the boss.

Venus goes to the garden door.

60ccccccc Ah, Venus has gone.

Stellar is curious.

60d Get off Stellar.

Venus tells Stellar to move.

Venus wanders off again.

60dd The rug's  mine

Er, I’m top dog so Venus obeys me.



Uses for Your Tree #Seeds

We great danes, Stellar and Venus, like to snuffle. We want to chew seed thingys. Someone sweeps them away. We see the round black seed thingys from the tall straight tree with prickly leaves. They had labra something dogs when she planted it. That was before us. Sort of grass comes from the round seeds. She pulls it up.


The black palm seeds have fallen from their cases.

The big, wide trees drop lots of seeds now. They blow about in the wind. Once they dropped on the table  below. She was pushing a brush along. She left some to stick on the picture.

Seeds, Ficus

The green Ficus seeds are unripe, the reddish-brown  ones are ripe and the light  brown ones are old.

Ah, my favourite, the big round seed thingys from the smelly trees with furry leaves. They drop and they are shut like a small ball. Then they go woody and open up. Out fall the seeds. I want to chew the empty box.

Fir cones, Cyprus

Abundant fir cones on Cypress trees

Me-Frequently, I find self-sown palm seeds near the palm tree. If I potted up the seedlings I could have a nursery of palm trees in various stages of growth. They make an attractive present in a pot.

The Ficus seeds make good ground cover, replacing terracotta clay balls. However, some do sprout. They are soft and so easily threaded to make fun jewellery.

Empty pine seed boxes make pretty indoor arrangements. Place them in an unused fireplace or spray them silver or any colour you require, depending on the season or celebration.