Columns

Snorkelling with snappers

We arrived in Auckland, although not the capital of New Zealand it really seemed hard to comprehend that this is the country’s largest city. The weather was mixed and a totally different climate to Sydney our previous stop. On a day of bad weather, we went to the museum and on the better days climbed

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Sydney, Australia

Although travelling Thailand had ended, our next stop was Sydney, Australia for a few days. Due to our lack of time we were true tourists and saw the monumental sights. On the first day any fear of height was cured when climbed the harbour bridge. This was a great experience learning about the history and

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Getting started with vegetables

Recently a reader asked me about growing vegetables as they hadn’t a clue. So here for her and anyone else who might be interested are some very general tips to get started. Ambitious vegetable gardens are seldom achievable in a small garden especially if you are planning on swathes of potatoes and brassicas that are

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The joy of shrubs

March can be a treacherous month weather wise for outdoor planting and propagating as the chances of frost are still high and the ground is usually too cold (below 7 centigrade) to promote germination. But we gardeners are patient by nature so this is a good time to continue our thoughts on the planning front

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Arriving in Thailand

Arriving in Bangkok with severe jet lag all we wanted to do was get to our accommodation. That was easier said and done, I’ve never seen roads so busy and with such lack of rules. Cars and mopeds everywhere! Bangkok is renowned for some of its temples and to avoid the roads we took a

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Always a work in progress

One of the unsung joys of a garden is that it is never complete and this time of the year presents a perfect opportunity to plan ahead for the coming season. It provides an opportunity introduce elements in tune with our changing lifestyles and play around with new ideas. I cannot recall a single year

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Ready for the off …

Whether you’re planning a trip for a weekend or a week, there’s always plenty of things you must consider and make sure you remember. Whether it the most important things like your passport and travel insurance or even just remembering your sunglasses. So, imagine planning and packing for a trip that will last eight months,

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Colourful winter gardens

You could be deceived into thinking the winter is the drab time in the garden but if you are lucky enough to have evergreens or plants with coloured bark or stems along with some winter flowers then you are in for a visual treat. Evergreens too make a wonderful backbone to your garden with an enormous range

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Not quite organic!

I often get asked if I garden organically. To me organic gardening is all about being as environmentally friendly as possible using naturally occurring materials rather than chemical weed killers and pesticides. This of course means using alternative means and techniques. Many of my gardening friends take the organic route extremely seriously but for me,

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Review: The Birdwatcher by William Shaw

I’m going to kick off this monthly book review with what has become (so far!) my crime novel of the year – The Birdwatcher by William Shaw. They say: Police Sergeant William South has a reason for not wanting to be on the murder investigation. He is a murderer himself. But the victim was his

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