Random Ramblings

Random Ramblings: Personal observations on a wide variety of subjects. Photographs of creatures and things that are taken on seeing the unusual as well as everyday things.

Early prune for prolific bloom

Country gardeners try to prune their roses on the last week of January. This usually ensures many more buds and flowers forming on the roses later in the year. The old saying is:

    • January prune for July bloom.

Bush roses are best pruned right back to within a few inches of the ground. The small buds should be appearing on the stems and to help the bush to form pretty and symmetrical shapes it is best to look for an outward facing bud then snip slightly above about half the width of a fingernail, cutting away all of last year’s growth. Check for any dead wood or branches and cut away those as well. Dead wood often allows disease to climb into the plant and leads to a weakened root system. Once the job has been completed then sprinkle some dry fertiliser around the plant either pellet or powder.

All roses appear to form into healthier plants if they are pruned back harshly and this prevents them from creating too many flimsy and weak branches which either never produce blooms or produce withering buds. Watch carefully for branches that come from below the soil line. If these produce leaves that are different to the rest of the plant then cut these right back as they are known as suckers and originate from the original wild root stock. If these are allowed to develop then the whole plant is in danger to becoming weak and eventually could revert back to its wild root stock origins.



Prune harshly, snip just above an outward facing leaf bud.

Happy Chinese New Year to you all - 恭禧發財 Gong Hey Fat Choy

It’s the year of the  Dragon …. 福壽雙全 “May your happiness and longevity be complete.”

Year of the Dragon 2012

23rd January 2012

Coeliac Disease–pronounced ‘see-lee-ack’

Coeliac disease can occur at any time in life, from when a child is weaned, during adolescence, in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties. In fact, it can occur at any point during a person’s life time. It often runs in families and so if one person is diagnosed with the condition it makes sense for all members of the family to have a simple blood test to make sure that they are clear of the disease.

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body turns against itself and begins to attack itself. This occurs when a person eats the proteins found in common grains. The proteins are often referred to as gluten and they are found in wheat, barley and rye. Often as oats are from the same family source as wheat, barley and rye there are many coeliacs who find themselves also highly sensitive to oats. Some coeliacs, however, are able to eat ‘gluten free’ oats whilst others have to rule oats completely out of their diet.

Any part of the body whether it is an organ, bone, muscle, nerve, digestive system, etc can be affected when a person eats gluten and they have become a coeliac. The body doesn’t recognise gluten as food and it produces antigens which bombard the small intestine flattening the tiny hairs that line it. Over time these become withered. These little hairs are called villi, they wave about so that items of food slowly pass over them allowing the nutrients and goodness to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Once these small hairs or villi become damaged, the whole of the body becomes malnourished and vulnerable to disease and pain.

There is no actual cure for coeliac disease but it is essential for anyone that develops it to abstain from eating any food that contains gluten for the rest of their life. Over time, the body will repair the villi in the small intestine so that it can once more absorb all of the nutrients provided in the diet.

If a person carries on eating gluten (even in small amounts) and they have coeliac disease then they will probably go on to develop very serious secondary diseases such as osteoporosis.

Symptoms that may occur to highlight the onset of coeliac disease

It is always wise for those who have recurrent irritable bowel like symptoms (IBS) to be screened with a blood test for coeliac disease.

Listed below are an array of common symptoms experienced by people with coeliac disease. A person may have no noticeable symptoms or possibly one or more of this list of symptoms:

Tiredness, poor sleep patterns, headaches, heartburn, indigestion, acidic stomach, reflux, constipation and/or diarrhoea, bloating, stomach pains, stomach cramps, ulcers and/or mouth ulcers, mouth blisters, blood blisters in the mouth, bruises on the skin, bruises in the mouth, marks on teeth similar to fluoridation markings, memory stalls, sinusitis, sciatica, neuralgia, swollen ankles, occasionally swollen legs, skin rashes, dry patches, dry eyes, itchy eyes, dry mouth, weight gain or weight loss, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, nerve pains and aches, muscle and joint pain, depression, numbness or tingling in hands and/or feet, difficulty conceiving, deficiency in any vitamin or mineral especially vitamin B12 and iron, melancholy, thyroid problems, tinnitus.

If you suspect that there may be a possibility that you or a member of your family could be suffering with coeliac disease then see a practitioner/doctor and ask for a blood test.

For more information and help with coeliac disease please visit the Coeliac Organisation Website


Get diagnosed  >>  eliminate all gluten from the diet (this will include even items such as modified starch, sugar syrups, beer and wines brewed from grains or containing grains) >> make every meal nutritious and try and eat whole foods such as meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, dairy including: milk, cheese, yoghurt, cream, butter; fruit, nuts, honey, millet, quinoa, whole brown rice, basmati rice, long grain rice, short grain rice, tapioca, sago, chestnuts, coconut, teff,  sorghum, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils, chickpeas, buckwheat which is from the rhubarb family and not a grain, corn/maize – look for natural foodstuffs (you need to mend your body). Baking powder/soda needs to be labelled ‘gluten free’ as does mustard powder. To improve health you will need to read every packet, bottle and can, because even a minute amount of gluten introduced into the diet will cause health issues that often last for several days or weeks after it has been consumed.

Note: Vegetable roots, nuts, seeds and grains are often ground into flours offering a wide variety of flavours and nutrients that can be added in home cooking when making bread, cakes, puddings and pies – take every opportunity to introduce the widest range of food items into the diet. The aim of a good diet is to give your body the chance of optimum health so only put nutritious and natural foods into your mouth and give your digestive system a fair chance to mend itself and a reasonable chance to remain healthy.

Issues with gluten

There are many who believe that gluten itself may cause some people to experience all kinds of health problems as it often appears difficult to fully digest. At this point in time, however, there are no official guidelines to advise excluding gluten from the diet unless diagnosed with coeliac disease.

Diagram showing digestive system

Diagram of the digestive system which includes the oesophagus or gullet, the stomach, the first part of the small intestine or duodenum followed by the remainder of the small intestine (which can vary in length from approximately 4.5 metres to 9.5 metres) and the large intestine(approximately 1.5 metres in length).

January jumble

What a month! It is a helter-skelter, a waltzer, a ride of changes. There have been highs of double figures followed by crisp-crunch frosts and now it is warm once more.

Robins sing eerily through the night alongside distant long hoots of owls. Some nights the sky dances giddily with clouds like ladies from a Jane Austen novel floating over a dance floor. Other nights are black and bejewelled with millions of diamonds randomly scattered over a jet sky. Some days a light breeze licks at last year’s geraniums and plucks at the feathers of birds that parade along the branches of the apple trees. Whilst others are creeping with damp blankets of thick dew that cover everything. Mornings may be brittle and grey or full of bright sunshine and we toss and turn waiting to see what is on offer.

Anonymous publishing

When we live in a country that encourages freedom of speech and it is second nature to say what we think, it is difficult to remember that in most places in the world it is hazardous to say the most innocent thing. Everything that is either written or spoken has to be carefully examined, diluted and often kept for another time which will most probably never come.

There is a programme called ‘Click’ that this week, told of an interesting website that allegedly allows anonymous publishing – so that anyone with access to the Internet, from anywhere in the world, can make a webpage and have true freedom of speech.

The website to join for true freedom of speech is http://pen.io/ … find out more here http://about.pen.io/

Why not join and create a little piece of history expressing your thoughts to the world. Smile

See more here and also how to spread the word of your existing webpage by using the social payment system and more about pen.io here.

I appear to be growing greenfly!

I decided to venture out into the garden today because surely I had imagined the attack of the aphids for they don’t creep and crawl about in England in Winter and in early January, do they? Apparently, they do either that or I have a completely new plant that is growing greenfly!! If this keeps up I will need to find a mountain of ladybirds and ants to reclaim the roses back.

Greenfly in January 2012

Red rose in January 2012 - 09.01.2012

Close-up of greenfly in January 2012

Winter wings to Spring

January is filling nature with confusion this year. It has begun with a mild spell which has left the geraniums in full bloom – imagine geraniums in full bloom in mid-Winter in England! Some of the rose bushes still have flowers and buds which are writhing in greenfly. At the same time, there is still no evidence of some of the deep planted perennials but others have promising shoots bright and tender green. Song birds are singing all night long although the night is pitch as clouds hide away the stars and moon. The apple trees have produced buds of soft green fur whilst still tossing away the remainder of last years leaves. The fish in the pond have taken up Latin American dancing as they wind their bodies together in a slow salsa whereas normally they tread water silent and still towards the water’s bottom. There is a permanent excitement in the air as doves call by day and owls by night and just as light cracks its way through the early morning the entire crow family descend pulling at everything that resembles any sort of food.