Went out yesterday evening and picked a big bowlful of blackberries, the first of this season. I've put them in the freezer 'cos I going to make wine with some and jam perhaps, as well as blackberry pie...there are plenty down our little road. Himself prefers cheap commercial jam to homemade so I won't make much...just enough for me...!

Cleaned the range out today...a hateful horrible job which wouldn't be so awful if I did it on a regular basis, but I don't. Leave it until it's groaning under the weight of ash and soot and wouldn't boil a kettle even if it was there all day...then I decide to tackle it. The range instructions state it ought to be done weekly...must be a good six or seven months since I did ours so you can get an idea of why it took so long and the filfty mess I got myself into...but...all is not lost...there is a sort of vaccumn machine especially made for hoovering out ranges and Himself has agreed to get one! Oh such joy...no more donning rubber gloves and ferreting about with flue brushes for moi...

Because the chimney is so vast...you could easily stuff several small boys up there without a bother...it doesn't need sweeping very often at all, though oddly enough I don't mind shoving the brushes up and waiting to see when the first one pokes its head out of the chimney top...in fact I quite enjoy it, but there's never enough gunk to justify getting the rods and brushes out.

So after all that exertion it was time for an hour of sewing...I'm making Wendy...new neighbour Wendy and Jason...a couple of patchwork cushion covers as a new home gift. It's a simple enough pattern...and has the advantage that I can use left-over bits of jellyroll and what used to be the sitting room curtains. I've cut one up already so they can't possibly go back up now and that means I shall simply have to have new ones...and a proper curtain pole. If it was up to me I wouldn't bother to have curtains at all...in the bathroom of course and probably in the bedroom 'cos I like the window wide open all year round and curtains save sleeping in a draught. But I'd not bother with the sitting-room...feels awful claustrophobic to me. But Himself likes to 'shut the night out' so if he wants curtains he can dip his reluctant hand into the bank account...

And I've taken all the old stoneware gin bottles off the mantelpiece and filled a couple of holes which had appeared in the plaster...the cottage is falling down round our ears you know...ready to tackle painting that wall tomorrow. I'm ok providing I have a big tub of ready mixed filler at hand...slap some of that in or on and cover with paint and no-one would know the difference. I like that filler...it covers and conceals a positive multitude of cracks and gaping holes.

That's about it for today...Shepherds pie for supper, but I loathe the smell of lamb so it's more cottage pie than Shepherd and it's the only supper with meat that I ever eat...just waiting for the new Brussel sprouts to come on sale and it would be yummy...have to make do with cabbage tonight though...