I do like this time of year. It’s just a few weeks to Spring. Winter still has frosts and grey misery to throw at you, but its time is limited.

The garden has switched from soggy grass to life. The snowdrops and aconites have mostly gone. But the daffs and hyacinths are in full bloom. Plus so many other plants have promising buds showing. From the apple trees (now pruned) to the my tree peony.

In no particular order here are some photos of our messy garden!

Blue hyacinth against grass.
white and yellow daffodils in front of a polytunnel
Daffodils and snowdrops

First lot of summer cabbages.

I planted twelve savoy and twelve red cabbages back in March. These were plug plants as I’m too lazy to grow from seed.

I kept them under mesh and did some weeding (although not a lot).

Well it’s time to cook them.

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trouble is by the time I’ve taken all those half eaten outer leaves the heads are quite small! Hopefully also tasty!

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Here’s it cooking. Smothered Cabbage. A New Orleans staple that I’ve never tried before.

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Sanding down an old oak table

When we were given a lovely dinner table and chairs, our old round oak table was moved to the veranda for almost alfresco dining. Even though it’s protected from direct rain it has deteriorated over the years and so it was time for a refresh.

So I sanded down and oiled.


I used a belt sander, starting with 40 grit, then 80, 120 and 240. A belt sander is not ideal for furniture but it’s all I have.

For the legs I just used a 1/3 sheet sander and went from 80 to 120 then 240.

the legs of a table freshly sanded

The top was finished with five coats of Tung oil, starting with 10% oil to 90% white spirit and finishing with pure Tung oil.

Tung oil is the main ingredient of many other oil products. It’s from the Tung nut and is food safe (unless mixed with solvents) and is ideal for finishing work surfaces in kitchens. The main disadvantage is that is takes a looong time to dry (the 5th coat of pure oil took four days to become touch dry and probably much longer to fully cure!). In fact it does not dry and instead cures. It needs oxygen to do so and will fully polymerize unlike other furniture oils, so is pretty much waterproof. One of its other advantages is that the end result is matt and if you need to repair a scratch or damage, then you can just wire wool a section and re-treat. The end result is generally a seamless repair. Which is pretty much impossible with other oils or varnishes without a lot of sanding work! I use tung oil mixed with solvents, to aid the initial soaking in of the oil.

a freshly sanded oak table partly oiled.

a freshly oiled oak table

The legs just had two coats.

The final result.

An oak table that has been sanded and oiled on a dust sheet over terracotta tiles.

Here’s to lots of drinks and food over the summer (wait where’s the sun?).

Repurposing a door, again and again…

I love this door to our downstairs toilet.

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The door was originally at the bottom of the starirs. It was originally painted and was the downstairs door to the lounge (now gone as we changed two small dark rooms into one airy room). I removed the door and sent it to be “dipped and stripped”, then added it as a new door on the downstairs toilet. I did intend to wax the door, but I’ve not done so and so the door has acquired a patina of use.


The door has been repurposed many times. There are four other holes that have been used for various locks. Whether that was new locks, or the door was used for different doorways. When we used this in the downstairs toilet, we put the lock on the other side of the door as it swings out and so we added yet another hole! Perhaps that’s why they the previous owners had painted the door to hide those holes? I removed the filler that was in each of the old holes. I have considered covering it with a panel. But I think overall I prefer to see the holes as they show the history of the door.

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