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A voice from the West Midlands of the UK  RSS feed

 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 202
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
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I am a single (divorced) mother with two kids aged 8 and 15, living a very ordinary suburban existence with a small back garden and a recently acquired 8x16m allotment to play on! I love my back garden much more now I do not look at it wishing I could grow veggies in it. I am more inclined at the moment to see what can be made of this life than dream of running off to a wilderness paradise. Neither am I actively looking for a permanent soulmate. But sometimes I hanker after making connections, discovering other people, being interested in each other. I'll give you an example - a couple of years ago I was camping with my kids and a woman on her own with a tiny tent turned up at the site. So I went over and invited her to come and have a hot chocolate. Which she did, and we had a random chat about all sorts of things, then she went off back to her tent and carried on with her trek the next day. Life is enriched by such encounters.

"All letters answered" as the old personals ads used to say! Male or female. Tell me about the things in your life which fire you up. For me, it is suddenly realising I am in the middle of a 12-strong band leading on a bunch of Morris dancers in full flight... or getting down to the beautiful friable soil that my predecessors on the allotment have left me under a few car loads of rubbish... or standing looking at the excavated remains of about the last surviving WW1 terrain model, and knowing that men stood where I was nearly a hundred years ago and stared at the landscape where they were going to die... or running into the sea naked with 406 other people!
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 202
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
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And I am still here and still have room in my life for correspondence with like minded souls near or far, and maybe meeting up if they are nearer!
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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I'm amazed you've had no replies, Hester!

I was born in the west midlands, not that I remember anything about it as we moved to Wales when I was knee high to a grasshopper, and my other half is from Solihull - not the posh place it is now, from one of the baconbox estates that were torn down to build the posh bits. We found each other in Wales and then escaped even further, to Portugal.
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 202
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
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Oh I did have a reply last year, and I have a lovely correspondent in Arkansas, but it's a bit far to pop round for a biscuit and a natter on the plot!
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 202
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
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In addition, I do have practical qualifications as a person. I have experience of working with various animals including horses, sheep, goats, poultry, llamas. I can grow things. I can kind-of lay a hedge (my now ten-year-old calls it "hedge slaying"). I have a fairly secure job in the environmental sector. I'm fairly knowledgeable on native plants and what you can and can't eat. I do not have a caffeine dependency. I'm a good cook.

This morning, I did guerilla gardening!
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 202
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
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Oh, and the last person to date me described me as "terrifyingly practical"!
 
Charli Wilson
Posts: 302
Location: Derbyshire, UK
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I'm East Midlands these days, but I used to live in Dudley (admittedly, some years ago!). *waves*

I get the 'terrifyingly practical'- I have friends whom, every time they visit I seem to be mixing cement or lime-plastering or something. They're always somewhat overwhelmed by it all!
 
Galadriel Freden
Posts: 361
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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Hi Hester,

Depending on where you are in the West Midlands, we might be sorta near-ish. Maybe. I'm American and when I tell British people my parents live near Las Vegas (which is their nearest major city), they are very surprised when I divulge it's a two hour drive. But to me, it's only a two hour drive! So near to me might not be near to you
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 202
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
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Charli Wilson wrote:I'm East Midlands these days, but I used to live in Dudley (admittedly, some years ago!). *waves*

I get the 'terrifyingly practical'- I have friends whom, every time they visit I seem to be mixing cement or lime-plastering or something. They're always somewhat overwhelmed by it all!


Well, I do draw the line at some jobs, usually ones which will be really embarassing if I have to call someone in after it's gone wrong. But I think the comment was aimed as much at my emotional attitude!
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 202
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
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Galadriel Freden wrote:Hi Hester,

Depending on where you are in the West Midlands, we might be sorta near-ish. Maybe. I'm American and when I tell British people my parents live near Las Vegas (which is their nearest major city), they are very surprised when I divulge it's a two hour drive. But to me, it's only a two hour drive! So near to me might not be near to you


I think Derbyshire gets in between! But still, it's closer than Arkansas! What's going on up in Yorkshire these strange quasi-autumnal days?
 
Galadriel Freden
Posts: 361
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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Hester Winterbourne wrote:

I think Derbyshire gets in between! But still, it's closer than Arkansas! What's going on up in Yorkshire these strange quasi-autumnal days?


I've got a gardener's tan and am barely keeping up with my runner beans! Today my small son and I foraged some wild mint, plantain, red clover, and alder; and we also found some wild raspberries and blackberries. How's your allotment?
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 202
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
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Galadriel Freden wrote:

I've got a gardener's tan and am barely keeping up with my runner beans! Today my small son and I foraged some wild mint, plantain, red clover, and alder; and we also found some wild raspberries and blackberries. How's your allotment?


My allotment is lovely. It has a good framework of inviting paths now and lots of variety. I do sow a lot of stuff that just never appears, but on the other hand the fruit started to produce so I made some jam and there have been strawberries. I made elderflower champagne, and there is the chance of mushrooms as I put some spawn around in the spring.

What do you use the alder for?
 
Galadriel Freden
Posts: 361
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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Hester Winterbourne wrote:
What do you use the alder for?


Well I've never actually used it, but am trying it for the first time, as an anti-inflammatory and for wound healing, on recommendation. I will probably make a simple salve of it, using lard. I usually use plantain, but I thought I'd try alder out, as it's very abundant locally. I had to walk around for an hour before I collected enough plantain leaves, but I could pick enough alder leaves and twigs from just one tree.

I made elderflower wine one year and it was amazing! So nice. We're avoiding sugar here at our house (diabetic husband), so I haven't made it or jam for a while, sadly. What jam have you made? Even if I wanted to, my fruit bushes/trees haven't produced enough to make actual jam. Well, I probably could have made one small jar with blackcurrants, if I could have beaten my little boy to them. Though we went to a strawberry farm and picked ourselves about 8 kilos of strawberries to put in the freezer, last month.

 
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