Skip to content

2021 roundup

It’s been a while, so I thought I’d do a round-up of 2021, starting from where I left off, moaning about the cold, cold April… well things did pick up after that!


Here’s the view from the terrace of Eastbourne’s Hydro Hotel. Or is it somewhere in Italy??

View from the Hydro hotel

Meanwhile, our fish Bill & Ben thrived, despite us never actually feeding them! They seem to get all they need from the pond. And look at the toad on the left of the picture seems happy too…

Bill & Ben in the pond

Our lawn suffered a fair bit of damage at the end of 2020, so we brought in a lawn specialist to start treating it. Although at this point we were starting to wonder how long it would take…

damaged lawn

One culinary highlight of 2021 was my discovery of aubergines, or more specifically the deliciousness of roasted aubergines in a caponata. Caponata became a regular dish through the summer.

roasted aubergines


Hanging baskets, the first courgette and strawberry crops, and suppers on the patio at last…

hanging basket

first crops


We visited Nick’s mum in Gloucestershire and enjoyed a trip out to Croome. This is taken from the orangery, a fabulous building with nesting swallows in the eaves:

Croome orangery

We took advantage of London being quieter that usual and had some lovely days out. We even picnicked in Green Park within a stone’s throw of Buckingham Palace and it was so quiet you could hear the birds singing. Further into the park we were surprised by a herd of elephants:

Green Park elephant installation


We were so excited to hold our annual garden this year having missed out in 2020. I went a bit mad and ordered a big bell tent for the top garden, which looked lovely but we had such hot weather nobody could bear to go inside it until the evening, when we kicked back and drunk a bit too much with the neighbours!

garden Party bell tent

garden party food

I even made my own bunting, including a little hint at a big birthday that several of my old friends and I were having this year…


summer bunting

The garden was blooming, and although it wasn’t a bumper year for courgettes we did OK. It was fun growing three different varieties!


Although we had some water lily flowers this year, someone/something started eating/shredding them. The most likely culprits were squirrels. Here’s one flower I managed to catch before it went ๐Ÿ™

water lily flower


Praise be! The Lewes Singers were able to return to Westminster Abbey to sing this year, except it was only two evensongs rather than a whole weekend. And we were only allowed to bring sixteen singers, and we had to socially distance in the pews. A bit of a shame, and the congregation wasn’t allowed in the Quire, which also meant there was less atmosphere. But we got to sing at least.

Lewes Singers at Westminster Abbey

Lewes Singers at Westminster Abbey

We made a few days of it and stayed at our favourite hotel, the Taj, not far from Victoria. One day we visited the newly-reopened Museum of the Home in East London. It’s a bit off the tourist track and has strong roots in the local community, which probably adds to its charm as a place mostly visited by Londoners:


On another morning we were on the trail of London city churches and happened to come across the Academy of Ancient Music conducted by Richard Egarr rehearsing in the church of St Giles Cripplegate within the Barbican. We sat and listened – a free concert!

AAM rehearsal barbicanBack home, Nick made one of his famous pavlovas for a family gathering, and we started to harvest french beans (and even some sweetpeas, which I’ve never really managed before)…



Some poet friends and I managed a get-together at a Brighton pub, first in what felt like ages…


and towards the end of the month Nick and I were in Weymouth for a weekend of singing/playing…



We’d had a self-catered week in Norfolk booked since last year, and to our great luck and delight it turned out to be one of the warmest and sunniest weeks of the summer.

Holkham beach
Holkham beach
Morston near Blakeney
Morston near Blakeney
Blakeney Harbour
Blakeney Harbour
Morston Quay
Morston Quay
Holt to Sheringham steam railway
Holt to Sheringham steam railway

Norfolk has many marvellous historic churches and we sought a few out to visit. We were often on our own inside. Amazing how most people don’t seem to have any interest in this fascinating aspect of our past, and the mind-blowing skill involved in building and furnishing these buildings. Here’s just one example of the twenty six fifteenth century misericords (a kind of hinged standing-seat) in Salle church:


And this carving, above the doorway of Blickling Church:

Blickling Church

Back home again and the tomato plants were going ballistic! I planted them all outside this year, half in the ground and half in pots…


A lot of chutney got made! And just when I thought the courgettes were finished, look what I found hiding away under some leaves…

huge courgette

This is an unusually large example of a courgette Tromboncino (little trumpet – not so little in this case)…and yes, it tasted very nice!


This month we started going on weekly walks in the Sussex countryside while it was still fairly mild and the real cold and mud hadn’t yet taken hold! There are always surprises round every corner, such as beautiful old barns…


And towards the end of the month as it was my birthday we went off to Bristol for a few days, travelling by train. Nick was at university there many years ago, so the first thing we did when we arrived was a stroll around the city centre taking in some of his old haunts. I was impressed by the interior of Clifton Cathedral, the Roman Catholic cathedral, architecturally quite different from its Anglican counterpart…


We peeked inside some of the University buildings, as well as churches large and small. Here’s a lovely memorial that caught my eye on the floor in Bristol Cathedral:


Also eye-catching, but not in a good way, was this historic city centre chapel that seemed to have been sacrificed at the altar of Covid officiousness. This photo hardly does justice to the hundreds of blue stickers, home-made signage and warning signs taped across every monument and piece of furniture in what should have been a beautiful place to visit. Dear oh dear.

Covid extreme officiousness

But here was a lovely sight, back in Eastbourne. We are so lucky to have the sea on our doorstep.

rainbow-over-eastbourne pier

And we still had the odd dragonfly in the garden:


November – December

Nick’s choirs all held their nerve and as a result all their hard work paid off – there were no concerts cancelled, and by and large audiences turned out to hear them. Result! Here’s a relieved Nick after the East Sussex Community Choir‘s ‘Christmas Cracker’ concert, with the other performers:


Eastbourne’s hotels got their lights out; I think this was the winner:


And that’s it – my whistle-stop tour of the year. I’ll try to post more regularly in 2022!




Subscribe to this blog

We donโ€™t spam! You'll only get an email when there's a new post to read. You can unsub at any time.

Published inMusicFood & DrinkConcertsGardenGarden plantsGrowing vegHistoryLondonWalks

One Comment

Leave a Reply

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