Blue sky Saturday

Good morning, good morning, happy Saturday to you!  I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but we have the most beautiful blue sky up above and it’s promising to be a lovely day.

A blue summer sky framed by trees and white clouds

There’s a meditation that I do sometimes which begins “On this glorious day that I have been gifted …'” and then you go on to say what you are thankful for, and I certainly did that this morning.

Well, we’re half way through the year now.  Midsummer day and the summer solstice has been and gone and I noticed last night when I went to pick up not so small daughter from an evening out in Liverpool with her boyfriend that it seemed to be going dark just a few minutes earlier.  How can that be already?!  Still, it’s most definitely still summer when I’ve been out walking with the dog and I do like sitting outside on those evenings when it’s warm and going dark, the bats swooping and skimming to catch the insects, and we’ve still got weeks of that to come, I hope!

A view from a canal bridge across the water. The blue sky, clouds and trees framing the canal are reflected in the water

Thank you for all your comments on my last two posts.  I’ve loved reading them but haven’t replied to them all yet (I do go back and do that, I don’t know if you ever see them 🙂 ) .  There were requests for an elderflower cordial recipe and also questions about what the “burdock” part of “dandelion and burdock” is so I’m hoping this will help out!

The elderflower cordial recipe is from a book that I have that’s still in print so there’s copyright on that particular recipe and I can’t share it, but when I looked around online, most of the ones that came up were pretty much the same so I think you could use any of those.  This elderflower cordial recipe is the closest I’ve found to mine; if you add limes in as well then you’ll have it 🙂

Dandelion and burdock is what children growing up in the UK know as “pop” and is called “soda” elsewhere in the world.  As a child, there were all kinds of weird and wonderful flavours (I’m not sure it’s much different now, I just don’t tend to drink pop any more) – my favourites were dandelion and burdock, American cream soda (neon green, probably had no connection to the US in any way) and cherryade.  Many people will remember the “pop man” or the Corona man (Corona was a brand of pop) who used to drive around estates a bit like a milkman did with his bottles of milk, delivering pop to houses.  I loved it if we ever got any because if you took the glass bottle back to a shop, you’d get a refund on the bottle and I was allowed to spend that on sweeties (we probably don’t want to get into the two Fruit Salad chews for a penny conversation! 🙂 )

Back to the dandelion and burdock – they’re both plants; dandelions grow freely in the hedgerows and gardens and dock plants tend to grow where there are nettles, but after Googling, I found out they’re a different plant to the edible burdock that goes in drinks.  I found another recipe for dandelion and burdock cordial that you could mix with lemonade or fizzy water to make your own … I must say, I am rather tempted!


I went to RHS Bridgewater with my friend again this week.  I realised earlier in the year that I wasn’t using my membership and those membership cards become an expensive piece of plastic when they sit in the drawer and aren’t used, so I decided I would try to get there at least once every month and my friend was keen to come with me.  It means that we get to walk round the gardens, chat and eat our picnic on a bench every month and because the RHS membership allows a free guest with every member, my card is now proving to be very good value!  I’ve known my friend since we met at antenatal classes with our bumps (not so small daughter was in mine) and we both had our daughters on the same day (it’s very convenient if you can organise this with friends as it’s easier to remember birthdays 🙂 ).  She doesn’t live that far away but unless we make a proper arrangement to see each other, the weeks just slide by and we only communicate by text.  My other good friends live much further away so I’m used to doing that with them, but we’re all so busy that you forget sometimes that you need to do it with local friends too, or at least, I do.

The gardens have filled out so much in the few weeks since we last went (my own garden has done the same but has a rather more overgrown look!) and it’s lovely to see how the stars of the borders are changing every time.  Last time, it was bearded iris and alliums that caught my eye.  This time, the alliums are still looking very striking but the flowers have gone and now there are tall seed heads to see instead.

A long garden border of allium seed heads. The sky is grey as it's raining. A close up of an allium flower head as it is turning to seed. There are still the remains of purple flowers with green seed heads showing underneath.

Eventually, these will go brown and those little green triangular seed capsules that you can see will open up to show the seeds inside.

The Chinese streamside garden is starting to look as if it’s always been there.  There’s still space to be filled by plants but it takes time with some of them, and it will be worth the wait.

A view across a stream flowing through large rocks and surrounded by oriental shrubs and trees

Do you remember last time I went to RHS Bridgewater, I showed you a photo of Primula vialii, a lovely purple and red spike of a flower?

Tall purple flowers with red tips grow next to a stream

This is what it looks like now, a month later …

Tall purple and red flower spikes next to a stream

They’re so tall!  So beautiful, I really am tempted to give them another go in my garden although it does look as if they’re happiest near water and my garden doesn’t have anything like that.

In the kitchen garden, I couldn’t resist snapping these neat rows of lettuce …

A small vegetable border filled with lettuce plants in alternate stripes of red and green varieties

and the rows of sweet peas behind him.  If it looks little dull in the photo, that’s because it was absolutely throwing it down with rain and we dripped around under cover of a large umbrella, taking it in turns to hold it whilst we were each taking photos.

Purple and white sweet peas growing up cane supports in a formal garden border.

This little Calendula (marigold) flower looks lovely with the raindrops …

A bright orange marigold flower surrounded by green leaves

I’ve got Calendula in the greenhouse in my garden this year.  They’re usually all around the garden but these are the only ones I’ve seen this year – I think the rest of it has got so overgrown that there’s no space or light for smaller plants at the moment and I really do need to be a bit more ruthless with my secateurs on the bigger shrubs.

Three bright orange marigold flowers surrounded by green leaves. The flowers range in size from large to small

I also wondered about creating something like this which I spotted in one of the Bridgewater borders – I think it’s probably one of those things that looks like it would be easy enough to make but would probably end up taking a few more hours than you expected and look nothing like as good as this one, so maybe I’ll keep on wondering for a bit longer 🙂

A pyramid-shaped wooden sculpture made from fallen branches in a garden border surrounded by yellow flowers

Elsewhere in my garden, I must show you these because I can’t believe that we’ve got to June and there are blueberries still on the bush.  Usually, the blackbirds have had the lot by now so they must be getting well-fed elsewhere!

Blueberries on a stalk on a blueberry bush

The blackcurrants and redcurrants are also doing well.  I’ve noticed that the birds tend to leave these alone so there’s more chance of a crop for us to eat.

Blackcurrants on a stalk on a blackcurrant bush Redcurrants on a stalk on a red currant bush

Finally for today, there’s good news on the knitting front.  I’ve FINALLY finished the socks and they are ready to go on my feet.  Hooray!  I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have them finished after they’ve been on my needles for so long – and I seriously thought I was never going to finish them at all when I had to re-do the heel flap three times and then re-knit the toes on the second sock as I hadn’t made the foot long enough.  The yarn is very stretchy so if you decide to try it out, don’t pull the foot when you try it on to check for the toe decreases or the fabric will stretch further than it should do.

A pair of purple variegate socks on wooden sock blockers inscribed with the Winwick Mum logo are lying on a brown tiled floor next to a succulent plant

The colour is fabulous, isn’t it?  It’s called “Purple Reign” and is just my shade of purple 💜  It’s been quite a long time since I wrote a no-nylon sock yarn review but I’ll wear these socks for six months or so to give them a good run and then write a review.

I need a new Emergency Sock now so I’ve decided to get on with this pair that I started in one of the Winwick Mum colours, Autumn Leaves.  I remember casting these on to take with me to a Harry Styles concert that I went to with not so small daughter – and looking back through the blog, that was a year ago too!  Honestly, you’d think I’d done nothing at all over the year with all of these abandoned socks that need finishing but I can promise you that I have been very busy 🙂

A partly knitted sock in shades of brown, green, yellow and red lies next to the ball of yarn and a succulent plant on a white shiny table. The roof joists are reflected on the table surface.

I am at a standstill with my husband’s Yarn Badger stripe socks, though.  I was getting on with it really well until I realised that there are only three stripes’ worth of yarn left and I need about seven … usually, if someone is intending to make a second pair of socks out of ball of yarn, I recommend that they weigh the yarn that’s left in a ball and compare it to the weight of the first pair so that they can be sure that they’re going to have enough.  Did I do that?  No, I didn’t.

A partly knitted sock in rainbow shades lies next to the ball of yarn and a succulent plant on a white shiny table. The roof joists are reflected on the table surface

I need to find the second ball of yarn leftovers from the pair I made before and weigh that to see what’s going on, and then I need to decide what to do.  It may be that these will become a pair of socks for me instead as I don’t want to have contrast toes that come halfway up the foot – it’s not the end of the world and I did get to practice my Fish Lips Kiss heel.  Nothing is ever wasted!

I’m hoping I’ll be able to update you next week but that does depend on where I’ve put the second ball and whether I can find it.  I’d like to blame my current disorganised mess on spending all my spare time out in the garden, but honesty compels me to tell you that it was like that before and I chose to ignore it and go out into the garden.  There’s always time to tidy up when it rains 🙂

Actually, that does make my house sound like some kind of bomb site and it’s not at all – I just know that I put this particular yarn somewhere safe when I was moving from my tiny office space to share a bigger room with my husband and I threw most of my stuff into boxes which are still not unpacked.  I’ll get round to it.

The garden is looking good, though 🙂



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49 Responses

  1. Maxine Togneri says:

    You certainly have been busy. Isn’t it so easy to let the weeks just slip by without a catch up. Enjoy the sunshine whilst it’s still here

  2. Jacqueline says:

    I am dealing with the same problem with the pair I have on my needles. Guess I’ll do a large contrast toe😜

  3. Christine Knowler says:

    I have a membership card for the RHS too and have hardly used it this year. I didn’t even go to see the tulips this year. Maybe it’s a trip for next week to see the summer borders. The chinese garden at RHS Bridgewater has grown since we saw it last August whilst visiting my daughter and son in law. I know what you mean about cutting back shrubs. I always let them get to big then my husband cuts them back too much. But the smaller plants do need some air space too!

    • winwickmum says:

      The tulips were lovely this year and the alliums look fabulous too – it’s definitely the time of year to visit if you can. I’ve had to make a conscious effort to plan the time to go but I’m glad that I have 🙂 xx

  4. Carol Maxwell says:

    Just glistened through winter solstice frosts down here, thank goodness my vegetable garden is composted and mulched with the brassica seedlings thriving in their straw beds. Love your posts, I always collect at least one snippet of VVI ( Very Valuable Information). Thank you

  5. Helen says:

    Our neighbour was the Corona man although cream soda was clear like lemonade for mevb

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh that’s funny! I wonder if it was different colours depending on the manufacturer? It must have been handy living next door to the pop man sometimes! 🙂 xx

  6. Steph says:

    Hi, I do enjoy reading your blog. . I had to take my toe out of my sock twice because when I check them I had dropped a stitch on both of them. The weather is lovely and so are the gardens. Happy knitting till next week. xxx

  7. Pat says:

    Loved reading your post and all the lovely photos. Here in Minnesota, most of us call it “pop,” but all the rest of the U.S. calls it “soda.” But we also say “rubber binders” and everyone else says “rubber bands.”

    • winwickmum says:

      I love that you call it “pop” as well – it just goes to show what a generalised view of the US we get on TV shows! 🙂 xx

    • Jessica says:

      That’s so funny, I was going to comment that my grandparents began calling it pop when they moved from Maine to Minnesota! They also started calling sneakers “tennies”.

      Also, your flowers are gorgeous! my daughter is beginning to list her top three things she is grateful for each day- I hope it is a habit that continues!

      • winwickmum says:

        I love that we use the same words all around the world – even if sometimes they are used for different things! 🙂 I hope your daughter continues with her gratitude list too, although it’s an easy thing to drop in and out of so it’s always OK to start again if she needs to 🙂 xx

  8. Michele K says:

    Your memories of Corona “pop” and fruit salad sweets have really taken me back!! I can’t agree with you on the American soda sorry-(didn’t like that one!) but loved the others! I remember a limited edition flavour – Tropicade! Bright turquoise! Fruit salad sweets too! Amazing that our generation still have (in the most part) their own teeth!! 😂

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh yes, I remember Tropicade too! I don’t like to think what was in some of these drinks with the neon colours that they were – not very healthy, I’m sure! 🙂 xx

  9. Mo says:

    love your stories… don’t stop 😀

  10. Gillian Edwards says:

    I do love reading your blogs and looking at all your beautiful photographs. Got a question, don’t know if you can help me. I have a Feedly Account where all the blogs I read ‘go to’. However, your blog stopped showing on Feedly. Tried to reconnect it and it just says it doesn’t recognise it. It is not really a problem as I read your blog from your email notification. Just wondered if you had come across that before.
    Enjoy the rest of the summer and thankyou for all your lovely blogs X

    • winwickmum says:

      Hi! I’ve been to investigate and I’m not quite sure why Feedly has stopped showing my blog although I think there may be an issue with the RSS link. I’ll see what I can do, and thanks for letting me know! xx EDIT: OK, I think I had turned something off that should have been turned on so if you use the link you should be able to pick up the posts now. I’ve set up a Feedly account and it’s still out of date but it might be that it takes time to come through as I can see the posts if I use a different RSS reader xx

    • Gillian Edwards says:

      Thankyou so much. I have 8 feeds come through to my Feedly. I do receive an email when you post a blog. I will monitor now Christine and let you know if it is sorted. Must relax now, watch The Ashes highlights and do some more of hubby’s socks. Bliss.

  11. Sue-Ann says:

    I’ve never knitted socks but have some yarn to start. It is quite daunting to hear that an expert sock knitter has all the troubles you describe!
    Here in Australia I’ve always called “pop” soft drink.

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh, don’t let my purple sock put you off – the yarn was new to me and quite different to knit with so it didn’t follow the “usual” rules and I was probably a bit lazy about checking it properly 🙂 If you follow my Sockalong tutorials, you’ll be able to knit a pair of socks without too many problems, I promise! 🙂 xx

  12. Janet Vickers says:

    We occasionally got a crate of pop too when the pop man came around. We had Tizer as well as Corona. Nice memories. Thankyou for your post.

  13. Bridget Jarvis says:

    The weeks just slip by, just enjoying this beautiful weather, been enjoying the garden and just come back from The Wirral from a short break. Had a fabulous day at Port Sunlight. A village built by Lord lever Hume of his works at the Sunlight soap Factory. Knitting is ticking along with yes you guessed another pair of socks. Have a fab summer Christine and Thank you x

    • winwickmum says:

      I love Port Sunlight Village! Did you get to go to the art gallery too? I’ve not been for quite some time so I may have to see if I can get over there again during the summer holidays 🙂 xx

  14. Susan Rayner says:

    So nice that you are getting to RHS Bridgewater more often – the photos are lovely and how lovely that you and your friend had your babies on the same day.
    We go to RHS Wisley a lot and like to check up on how things are progressing in our favourite parts of the garden.
    We had Tizer as huge treat once in a Blue Moon when we were children – from a stall at Hampton Court when my grandparents came to visit and we would take the boat up the River Thames from Kingston (still do that trip sometimes but in reverse now as we live closer to Hampton Court). I only remember Ginger Beer as another “pop” when we were children.
    32C here today – so I am doing nothing now (4:15pm) – we have been getting up at 6:30am to do some gardening – prior to having fences replaced – too hot any other time of day.
    Hope it cools down soon.
    Love to all.

    • winwickmum says:

      It’s funny how we can make time for things when we think we’re too busy to change from our routine, isn’t it? I’ve realised it’s really good for me to get out and spend time in someone else’s garden – I’ve got over the “aargh, mine looks nothing like this!” now and I’m finding myself looking around to see what ideas I can bring back to mine instead. You’re not the only to say that you drank pop as a treat; I’d forgotten that it wasn’t something that was an everyday drink for everybody. Your boat trip sounds amazing! 🙂 xx

  15. Joy Wilson says:

    I love the Autumn Leaves yarn. I think I’ll have to buy a ball of that!

  16. Jill Walton says:

    In the state of Ohio (U.S.) we call it “pop” also! My Bostonian friend calls it “soda”

    • winwickmum says:

      I was really surprised to know that it’s called “pop” in parts of the US too – and it’s a reminder that what we (outside of the US) see on US tv shows isn’t necessary how it is everywhere in the States too! 🙂 xx

  17. Caz Abbinett says:

    Happy memories of Corona man and fruit salads 🥰 (and Black Jacks). I’m surprised I still have my own teeth but they are full of fillings 😢
    Thank you for the reminder about weighing for the second sock….I’m just about to start with some leftover yarn so I’ll do it properly (for once) and not be lazy…it’s not as if it takes more than a minute to pop it on the scales 🙄
    Beautiful photos from the gardens 🥰🥰🥰

    • winwickmum says:

      I think it does us all good to have a sock every now and again that takes us off autopilot and makes us think about what we’re doing – keeps the grey matter ticking over! And yes, I’m surprised I have any teeth left too! 🙂 xx

  18. Jane from Dorset says:

    There I was wondering what had happened to you and then ten black g posts from you in one day!!!
    They date from 5th May.

    • winwickmum says:

      Ah, do you find my blog through something like Feedly or Bloglovin? There was a problem with the RSS feed but hopefully that’s sorted now! 🙂 xx

  19. Jane from Dorset says:

    Yes, I use Feedly.
    Catch up on all my blog ‘friends’ with my morning cup of tea.

    • winwickmum says:

      That’s a great idea! I’ve just checked and it’s all coming through on mine again now too so I’ve obviously tweaked the right thing to fix it 🙂 xx

  20. Jenny says:

    Being at the bottom of the world 🤔 New Zealand, I love that we are past our shortest day and the days are slowly lengthening heading towards Summer. It’s great seeing your Summer photos.

  21. Mary Aldred says:

    I cancelled my RHS membership this year as I hadn’t used it for 4 years. I don’t drive any more and all the RHS gardens are so difficult to get to. On the plus side this funded an annual pass to Trentham Gardens which is just up the road!

  22. Debbie Johnson says:

    We do “thankfuls” before dinner with my 7 year old granddaughters family when they visit. We love it! She always wants to go first and often has many things she is thankful for. To the point her dad sometimes requests she limit herself to two thankfuls. She shakes her head no and keeps going! Who needs a warm dinner anyway? Lol!!

  23. Karen says:

    In the US, Corona is a brand of beer. What does “white rabbits” mean? Two countries separated by a common language!! Haha!

    • winwickmum says:

      I know!! Yes, we have Corona beer here too, but in the 1970s and 80s in the UK, it was a brand of fizzy drinks. We say “white rabbits” on the first of the month to bring luck for the rest of the month 🙂 xx

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