Tuesday, 9 June 2015


Well TODAY, in The Potting Shed Garden, there were Territorial Tantrums'n'Tiaras flying all over the place my friends......

A pair of Jackdaws left their 'Billy No Mates' fledgling 'for safe-keeping' with Auntie Wellie in the corner of The Potting Shed Garden, without telling me?

.....which wouldn't have been a problem, had Sooty'n'Sweep not decided to do the same with their two very, very fat blackbird fledglings as well:
One of them in a hanging basket, and the other, on top of 9 Rootrainers of White Lady Runner Beans, for some reason.....

So basically, it all 'kicked off' between the adult Jackdaws that were trying to feed 'Billy', where 'Sooty'n'Sweep' thought they were trying to steal THEIR babies, who I've named Minstrel and Malteser.

Today was just 'an ordinary Tuesday' for Wellie, but for all of THEM, a very frightening day? and I totally 'get that', AND it totally reminded me of the day I introduced my father to a wonderfully funny Christmas Vinyl Record that I've been forever in love with, about Irish Guvnet and his 'Thank You Letters' to his relative for THE ENTIRE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS Turtle Doves, Lords A Leaping, Partridges in Pear Trees, Maids A Milking, Geese a laying... etc. that she kept sending to him and his wife.......and his mother-in-law's ever-increasing alcohol and drug addiction that followed with the bedlam that her Christmas gifts 'trashed their lives with'.x

I kid you not.  It was a bit like that in The Potting Shed Garden today, without the drugs or alcohol.

The Potting Shed Monmouth, as a business, is looking good my friends, and we're looking forward to showing you photographs of everything that's happening very soon now.

Live Life, Love Life and Hug Life Around The World My Friends.
Be Lovely to each other, and I'll see you here next time.x

It's been a funny week Children:......

With such lovely Tripadvisor ratings, we had a 'TERRIBLE' Rating the other day, that happened because our customer truly believed that a ONE-STAR-RATING was 'Brilliant'.
Not realising that her 'One-Star' actually meant a 'TERRIBLE' Rating?
So the year that I've worked so hard to build our profile up on Tripadvisor has been potentially 'sullied'.

All of that said, it worries me none, because it was a truly positive comment about us, and her genuine faux pas will be recognised and understood by those that read all of the lovely Tripadvisor comments left for us to read every week.

Sunday, 31 May 2015


......TO YOU!x

Because each and every one of you, our lovely customers that have left such beautiful  comments about us on Tripadvisor, have elevated us to ............
No. 5 out of 44 establishments in Monmouth this very week, and Wellie is absolutely 'over the moon and back', jumping up and down like a proper looney with genuine pride.

Truly, I cannot thank you all enough for your personal support for our little business, and I'm glad that Paul and I are doing something that you love to put us on that special pedestal.

With the lull of the late Winter and Spring having sprung now, the trees all leafy green, with a few Plant Deliveries under my Potting Shed belt to 'kick-start' the growing season, it's COMPLETELY odd that the Summer Plant Sales, and for other local retailers too, just is NOT happening.

There's a completely bonkers bloke in Church Street, and he knows he is, (Hi Phil!x) with his EPIC Fruit'n'Veg Shop (just up from THE best Butchers in Monmouth, in my humble opinion: Le Gourmet - Best Homemade Faggots, 'In The World', and we put them on our Menu during the colder months of the year, to warm the cockles of your heart....)  and he said a rather strange, but perfectly true 'thing' to me last Sunday:

"Shelley: the younger generation want to buy stuff that comes back year after year nowadays"?
And I think he's right.

Things ARE a changing?  Going out to eat/drink is a perfectly acceptable reason to spend money, and that money is COMPLETELY 'gone' then, BUT you had a brilliant time.

VERSUS spending that same amount of money on seasonal prettiness to make your patio/garden look good for the ENTIRE Summer...... doesn't seem to be on the same radar of personal enjoyment?

And it don't matter none to me, because I just make scrumptious plant displays, which enhance The Potting Shed Garden, which helps entice customers in, and creates a more verdant environment for them to spend money eating and drinking, and that money is COMPLETELY 'gone' then, BUT you had a brilliant time.....

Did you see what Wellie did there Children?  = Win/Win Scenario.
Clever Wellie........x

Before I finally climb those stone spiral stairs to Wellie Towers tonight, I must just mention my Potting Shed Birds, because they are becoming SUCH a Potting Shed Attraction in their own special space now?

The Fledglings.  My darling little Fledglings are all over The Potting Shed Garden, and the tweeting and twittering is becoming quite beautifully  DEAFENING now as they learn to 'dust-bath', feed and water themselves.

Sooty & Sweep (my blackbirds) are actively feeding their young with the moist sultanas from the 'yesterday Fruit Scones'.
They're a bit 'pissed off' with The Plain Scones for some reason?!

Rockin' Robin (my robin - doh!) is getting cheekier, and more tame by the day.

And my darling little House Sparrow Babies are tame enough now to take crumbs from my lunchtime sandwich just inches from my WellieBoot-Feet whilst I'm sat in my Rocking Chair in the sunshine.

I must have THE most enviable job in the world, and THE most beautiful office on the planet.
And I thank every Angel that's holding my hand right now.

Thank you so much for reading my blog.
Stay Safe, Keep Warm, and Hug Each Other Lots,
Your Wellie Friend
The Potting Shed Monmouth

Thursday, 28 May 2015


......... and ACTUALLY, I've 'SO very stolen that' from one of my customers under the tree in The Potting Shed Garden the other day?
Truly, he's been one of our very favourite customers right from the start of our Potting Shed adventures.
And I know he won't mind.......x

I only mention 'Being There', because he TOTALLY 'hit a chord with me' the very minute he said it.

I've watched that film many, many times, and it always 'moves me'.

It was a truly Epic film, starring, Peter Sellers, and if you've never watched it - you should. and as I was busying myself back and forth with my wheelbarrow t'other day.... from The Potting Shed to Shire Hall, from Shire Hall to The Potting Shed, going about planting tubs, so simply just 'being', and in doing that, totally wrapped up in my own little world, with beautiful and happy thoughts, but those thoughts going 'so much further' than was apparent to anyone else around me, and EVERYONE in Agincourt Square passing by were just LOVING what I was doing for the community, and for the local people, and chatting with me, and asking my advice.

BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show this morning, and that lovely Tibby Happy Monk.  What's NOT to like about spending a small window in your day just 'thinking happy' just looking at the people around you, wishing all of them every good wish in your heart, and just enjoying every leaf, every flower, and embracing what's so very loverly in and around your daily window.

Being part of a TRUE community, rather than a virtual one, chatting to people that you bump into on a daily basis in a town where you could so easily be lonely, a stranger or a tourist, I think, is a bit special.

So, Just 'Be There' where you're needed and wanted, if you can.

Until next time,

Monday, 25 May 2015

WOO HOO!.....

... and I'm saying that, so hugely proudly, because I had a VERY exciting Bank Holiday Saturday Children.

Not only was it THE best day that The Potting Shed Monmouth has had since its inception just over a year ago in terms of 'trading', but a rather lovely lady walked into The Potting Shed Garden with a camera, asked if 'all of this was ME'? and then took both of my hands in hers', looked into my eyes, and told me in no uncertain terms, that one of our customers has nominated us to be included in a new Food Guide for Wales.

And seriously, I would like that person, really, truly, please, to make themselves known to me, whoever you are, so that I can thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I think I must of 'died and gone to heaven' momentarily, because she told me that my 'reaction' was 'just brilliant', and as she left to photograph another local, and very well-deserved nomination to give me time to 'compose ourselves', I could be heard down The Barton going 'WOO HOO!', 'WOO HOO!', 'WOO HOO!'.,,,and 'punching the air' like I absolutely meant it....
What a LOVELY thing to happen to The Potting Shed after only a year of trading.....x

Thankfully, when she returned, the kitchen was in full-swing, and Paul's brilliance totally shone for A Foodie Photographic Shoot to be epically proud of, and in all honesty, the very REASON we're on that map, is because of him.

Today, I Are MOSTLY............'Going For Gold'?

GOLD, on a number of....But it's NOT Chelsea, Children! ...
I'm looking through the MONMOUTH Shire Hall & Tourist Information 'WINDOW'? and make it ANY shape of window that fits your world today.

I had a phonecall today, enquiring about the planting up of their 'Seasonal Display Tubs', and when that was 'likely to happen'?
Truly, I am soooo looking forward to doing it this year.

Last year, I offered to rectify the 'alleged' poorly-planted displays outside of Shire Hall that had come under such HUGE criticism on their doorstep, from Tourists, General Public, and Local Residents alike, because (allegedly), the feedback was: "It looked like a 4-year old CHILD had done it"?

Unfortunately, the Powers That Be Who Planted Them, started planting at 'the bottom end of town' by The Public Toilets, continued on up through the town, until they got to Shire Hall/Tourist Information Centre, that encompasses every historical BEING of Monmouth, and then just 'ran out of plants'.....

If that were Me, I'd be tempted to START at the top of town with the very important Tourist Information Centre, and 'run out' by the time I got to The Public Toilets?

AND....for some strange reason, the tourist coaches are encouraged to 'drop Tourists into Monmouth' by The Public Toilets at the bottom end of town.

Many of them, elderly or infirm, with insufficient time or stamina to reach the top end of town, where some of the most gorgeous small businesses are, run out of energy, are desperate for a cup of tea, with insufficient time to enjoy it before having to return to their coach at the bottom end of town by the public toilets......

So perhaps I could send out a very heartfelt and public plea, asking every upstanding Coach Driver travelling to Monmouth, to drop your lovely passengers IN FRONT OF SHIRE HALL, at the top end of town, let them explore to their hearts' content, and tell them 'to meet you down the bottom end of town' when they're ready to join the coach once again?

AND I must just say out loud, that I sooooo LOVED the Coach Driver the other week that a customer told us about that said to them:
"Go down that alleyway there - you must go to The Potting Shed, because it's a cracking little place, and you won't be disappointed?".

And Coach Drivers Visiting Monmouth, please take note:
The Potting Shed WILL feed and water you every time you come to Monmouth with new customers for us, but only with prior notice, as you will appreciate!

I have some rather exciting news for you in my next blog update, and from 'then on in' we're going to have some lovely photos for you all to look at.

Bless you all for your patience with me across your continents.
And thank you for reading my blog once again,

Sunday, 17 May 2015


Fledglings, in a manner of speaking, and on a number of levels...........
These two specially-made cakes happen to be gluten-free, but 'Fledgling' refers to the fact that Wellie started off with one recipe, found another one, amalgamated the two, tweaked them both a bit more, and ended up with her Potting Shed version.
  And please don't 'stress me out', or verbally punch my lights out because I've not yet gone Dairy-Free or Vegan, because, one step at a time Children, and I am NOT in the habit of trying to please all of the people all of the time.
In fact, I have a sign just for that very purpose, that reminds people in no uncertain terms, that:
Today is NOT your day, and TOMORROW isn't looking good either?
...........and just in case THAT doesn't 'hit the spot', I've also got a sign that says:
Rest assured though, in all seriousness, that Paul and I both take every aspect of our business, and people's dietary requirements COMPLETELY seriously at The Potting Shed.  Because there's nothing worse than 'going out to eat', and finding that, actually, 'you CAN'T eat', because your Host/Hostess don't care about you?
A goodly number of our customers are Gluten-Intolerant, and just LOVING the Gluten-Free Recipes we're experimenting with/adapting to taste gorgeous, and wanting me to email the recipes to them.  Any diet can be catered for within a phonecall, particularly a day or two ahead of your visit (01600 772299).
BUT!.......In this day of 'self-publishing', what I'm more likely to do, is to put together my own Potting Shed Cookery Book for Sale, and I know I will be disappointing a tremendous amount of you until then, but I promise you, it will be worth the wait my friends.x
And so to The Potting Shed Garden...............with the possibility of the odd 'day-old-scone' or 'redundant piece of cake' at stake, I'm actively encouraging my friends out there to search amongst my plants for various bugs (The Birds, Not My Customers?!) which IS happening, and is horticulturally FAB for me, AND them.x
This little Great Tit Fledgling just appeared at my feet as I was talking to one of our lovely customers this morning, chirruping away, (the bird, not the customer?), having clearly 'lost it's mummy', or 'been kicked out of home', and was quite happy for the extensive 'photo shoot' that ensued.
Eventually, the little darling found its' wings sufficient to find cover in a leafy Elderflower bush
just outside of the garden, which I was much happier with, given that it was safer there from larger, more predatory nasties (like Magpies or Gulls).
At least twice a day I 'call my birds into the garden' with a personal call that they all know me by now after a year of 'looking and sounding like an idiot', and it's just so rewarding to experience that deafening TWITTERING 'n' TWEETING, in the 'true sense of the word' that just brings a song to your ear, a twinkle to your eye, and a smile to your heart.
Every single day that I wake, I open my eyes, and know that I have the beauty and bounty of The Potting Shed Garden and Tea Room as 'My Beautiful Office' Today.
Bless you for Listening.
Have a lovely week across The World Where You Are My Friends.
Your Friend, Wellie.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Pas de Mouse at The Funny Farm now thankfully.......

....and just why the heck I'm speeking Franglaise all of a sudden, is a mystery ?

Oh No - I know!  Monmouth Town had a twinning with a French Town, and I only just found this out this year, being 'Newcomers' to Monmouth as THE POTTING SHED MONMOUTH a New Business, and Paul ADORES France, having lived and cooked en france professnially ....
and I went into the brilliant Party/Fancy Dress Shop in Munmuth, down from the Music Shop on the corner, to buy a Welsh Flag, and a French Flag, to wave from our Potting Shed A-Board between Church Street and Agincourt Square to show our support.

Unfortunately, I was 'late to the party' because the entire Monmouth Retail Outlets already KNEW that every year there was a French/Welsh 'Twinning', and, wanting to keep 'The Flags' to themselves, I only managed to secure two flags of completely different magnitudes, the last two left for sale , but secured them to our A-Board that day, in the spirit of the theme, and by the following morning, they'd been stolen.

Getting back to my Franglaise, we have had a 'Super-Mouse' living with us in the dining-hall and sitting-room at The Funny Farm for just as long as my beautiful, beautiful demised BC Gardening Cat has been asleep, and I feel rather 'liberated' (see Wellie jump up'n'down with joy) to NOT have it (the mouse) living with us anymore.

If you're a Cleudo Game Player my friends: don't bother wasting time trying to work out 'WHO DUNNIT AT THE FUNNY FARM'?,  because I can TELL you that it WAS Paul, WITH The Raisin, ON The Mouse Trap, IN The Sitting Room.

Woo Hoo!  Wellie's got her Sense of Humour Back Children?!x

The Potting Shed is looking absolutely BEAUTIFUL my friends now with all of my plants, and I promise to show you photos very soon, and bring you more news.

You may be interested to know that we are now No.8 out of 40-something in Monmouth on Tripadvisor with the fabulous comments that our customers are leaving there for us.

And whilst most of our lovely customers do 'get us' in our quirkiness and beautiful surroundings, we are hugely open to adverse comments and customers that do NOT appreciate the extra mile we go, or the beautiful surroundings that we provide....

What I adore about Monmouth Town is the wonderful camaraderie of 'us lot' at the top of the town when you get into Church Street above Agincourt Square.  And the daily 'banter', like we're Market Traders toggevver.
It's a bit like watching NOTTING HILL, without Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, but with Phil Munday Fruit'n'Veg, Duncan Le Gourmet Butcher...... a street-full of completely bonkers locals.
And then Wellie.x

Take Care My Friends for now,
and thank you, thank you for reading my blog once again..x

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb..............

.......... and in 'Typical English' my friends, that means 'Complete Rubbash'......like you're talking a lot of Nonsense.'

BUT:....This week,  and every week, I experiment? with a Rhubarb and Custard Traybake, and now I'm experimenting to make that recipe completely Gluten Free.
And my own Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam to put into my kitchen files for the future is
 just being beautifully jammed now.x

You know something?  I've got ENDLESS cookery books....
But I'm beginning to look at ALL of them 'in a different light', now that we have far more 'Intolerants' coming to us for breakfasts, lunches and Teas, to see where exactly I can 'tweek' those recipes for a better 'intolerant end' quite fascinates me.

On another TOTALLY DIFFERENT  LEVEL:...........I'm thrilled now to see now that other local garden centres have 'cottoned onto my logic' of offering customers access to Gardening Reference Books, and seeming to be 'taking notice' of what The Potting Shed Monmouth THINKS about Customers, that sometimes they like to have help?
I myself started out knowing 'Diddly-Shit' about Gardening when I was about 25 years old, and seriously, I get just LOVELY people coming to talk to me now about their gardens and what they want to do, seriously appreciating that personal advice, which costs absolutely nothing, and having spent a serious amount of time STUDYING Horticulture myself, working with it, and learning about it over the last 25 years, I think the customers appreciate their questions being answered on a truthful level.

Take Care My Friends.x

Tuesday, 21 April 2015


I was in the enviable position today to talk with one of THE loveliest of guys that I know locally, and last Summer, he asked if The Potting Shed would 'entertain' a group of Sausage Dog Walkers, who like to collectively walk their Sausage Dogs, and then spend Quality Time togevver having Cream Teas afterwards just 'SOMEWHERE LOVELY'?
Last year, they were SUCH a joy, and to see so many lovely, happy dogs together with their 'Well Behaved Owners', was really, truly, a joy to both Paul and I.

And THIS year, their numbers have rather 'swelled', he says, with many, many MORE Sausage Dogs? and he told me why, but I'm not here to talk about that aspect, just that I assured him that his Party are more than welcome at The Potting Shed, and YES....... The Dogs ARE going to bark rather a lot..... but that's NOT going to be a problem for us, because we'll just wear dead-funky 'Ear Defenders' or something?!x
80 Sausage Dogs in The Potting Shed Garden?
Completely Bonkers, but in all honesty Jonathan, TOTALLY 'doo-able' my darling, and 'bring it on'.x

I'm in the process of advertising on a website called 'Rover Recommends', so that peeps with Dogs can easily find establishments like us, knowing that they can bring their Puppy Dog, Relax, Enjoy, and know that they're truly welcome to be with us.

And I have some FABlious photos of some of our visitors to show you now, because I've been taking some lovely inpromtu photos on my phone.


Thursday, 9 April 2015

Happy Birthday To Me, Happy Birthday To Me......

Happy Birthday Dear Wellie......  Happy Birthday To Me!

NO!......  I'm not like The Queen, with Official, and Unofficial Birthdays.  But!:

My Best Friend, M, called me at The Potting Shed yesterday, to wish me a very happy First Potting Shed Monmouth Anniversary, and it IS quite unbelievable that I set my new business up a whole year ago on the 8th of April, but I just did - okay?!x
(Thanks M.x)

SO:   HAPPY BIRTHDAY POTTING SHED MONMOUTH, and my sincere thanks to all of you who love us so much, and have supported us so beautifully over the last twelve months.x

AND Trousers, for FINALLY believing in me these days, where my own family have not.
And without the unfailing support of Gordie, Gordie, Gordie (our very tame builder), the place would still be a 3-year old wreck....

Despite my complete 'numptiness' in the Social Media department, more to my own surprise, I've managed to get The Potting Shed Monmouth recognised and accoladed 'quite nicely thank you' on Tripadvisor to quite a high rating for such a small new business, and still obviously working hard on that front to better our professional profile to the best of my ability.

BUT Children:
This Easter Weekend though, sadly, we had a group of new customers in from Oxfordshire, who clearly just didn't 'GET us'?.... and posted up on Tripadvisor, in no uncertain terms, potentially 'sullying' those hard-earned efforts of mine.

I'm not going to discuss what they had to say about 'US personally' on my blog, because you can read their words on Tripadvisor first hand, and for me to comment here, I feel, would be totally unprofessional.

Maybe because they sat INSIDE our Tearoom, DIDN'T witness that we had 30 or so customers OUTSIDE in our Garden, those tables of which, we were filling and vacating, over and over and over again in the time that they were just sat enjoying their food inside?, totally, and blissfully unaware of the 'frantically paddling duck feet under the calm pond around them that was pleasing so many new customers in the beautiful sunshine maybe?

You're welcome to read their comments, and other 'Lovely Ones' on Tripadvisor for yourselves, and please know, from me, that they were perfectly justified to comment as they did, because that WAS their exact first impression, 'of the moment' and recollection of The Potting Shed 'experience', which is what Tripadvisor is 'all about'.
Thankfully, they were collectively complimentary about our food, and we hope they'll come back one day 'in a better frame of mind.

And of course, whilst Owners of ANY business on Tripadvisor can reply online to those Customer Comments, sometimes, it's wiser NOT to, and in this particular instance, I have chosen not to.

On a much lighter note, no-one but me gets much more 'cited than this, with the prospect of my first Dutch Lorry Load of plants arriving from Holland this coming Monday evening.
(See Kiddy in A Sweet Shop?), and whilst I have requested certain plants to fulfil customer orders, I just LOVE to climb up the steps on those articulated-articulated lorries, not knowing what might be on board, and just choose whatever plants 'take my fancy' this week?

But there's a certain 'sensible' to it too, because I have to try and judge what plants Wellie likes, and what my customers might want to buy, because if I get it wrong, I'm left 'holding the horticultural baby' for the rest of the season, watering and feeding it.

The Horticultural Season has definitely 'kicked off' now though, because my customers are not only looking, but buying plants again, and asking for genuine advice on specific plants, and their gardens in general.  And I just love being 'back in the zone', up to my elbows in compost, pricking out and potting on, seeing all my seeds germinating in The Funny Farm Kitchen (on top of the Rayburn!) - much to the annual annoyance of Trousers.....!

Until next time my friends, take care.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Easter Funnies

A Very Merry Easter to Wellie's World of The Potting Shed Monmouth, and Down On The Funny Farm.x.
And Thank You all for being here.

Welcome to my (sometimes) Weekly Sunday Night Blog Updates, when I'm NOT suffering from 'Writers' Block, or Just Baking till the cows come home....?
Because let's face it, Wellie DOES NEVER even stop to let the green grass grow under her feet, or just 'put her feet up' for a 'well-deserved rest'.

I absolutely LOVE Life these days.
And sometimes, I think it's because my customers 'open up to me', telling me their lovely stories, that I can truly identify with them?

My apologies for those late arrivals, because 'writers' block' sounds rather grand and pompous, but totally isn't, and just annoys the hell out of me when it happens, because I'd rather 'bring to the table' something worthy of reading and entertaining you, rather than 'boring the ruddy pants off you' when I've got nothing to say?.
No, honestly, 'You're Welcome?!'.x

Having recently had my beloved Black Cat put to sleep, I'm delighted to say..... a la recent BC pussycat grave.... that her bucket of daffs are in full bloom now...  She's loving it, and so am I.x

And I HAVE to hold my hands up.....and totally admit to having completely lost it, and had 'A Cat Moment' of tears in my Potting Shed Tearoom this Saturday when my Best Friends, Ian & M popped in for Breakfast.
I've ALWAYS been an 'Emotional Bunny' the whole of my life, much to the total annoyance and total embarrassment of my estranged mother.

But just A Hug from Ian, COMPLETELY 'set me off'?
..... and today, with The Lovely Anna.....I very nearly 'had a cat moment too'.x

Customers, customers, customers..........  I truly thought that I'd met 'The Best', until Good Friday, when I bumped into one of them in Monmouth High Street.  And he's Completely Sane Bonkers, so we get on 'Like A House On Fire'....?

Why do folk just adore us?, but they do, and are willing to sit so closely beside us to make us the huge success that they genuinely want us to be.
Truly, I'm speechless with the support and true following that we're getting from these lovely, lovely people.

I've always set out for The Potting Shed to be Doggie-Friendly, and quite by accident, discovered this website called 'Rover Recommends'.  And have been having HUGE fun in the last day or two compiling photos to submit for our 'premium upgraded listing' on the site, which is going to cost me the additional princely sum of £25 for the pleasure.
But in fact, the person that I am, that pleasure is all mine.

And I would happily pay double, because the sheer number of customers now arriving WITH their dogs, even BEFORE we've advertised on Rover Recommends, is testament to what I'm actually saying:  Why should Dogs, and their 'well-behaved owners' NOT be allowed to enjoy the restaurants and gardens, and have to sit outside on a pavement?
I think we're allowed up to 11 photos in total.
'Milly' Cocker Spaniel today was 'a bit spesh' with her Photo Shoot, but you'll have to wait'n'see what that is......x
Just HOW cute is a teacup 11 week old Puppy?....

And too, whilst I used to smoke many moons ago, have chosen to have The Potting Shed Garden as a totally Smoke-Free-Zone, so that you can enjoy your time with us in the garden, with your Cream Tea, with Your Children, or your Puppy-Dog completely fresh as a daisy.

Honestly, we soooo care about The Potting Shed Business, it hurts.x

Monday, 30 March 2015

Welcome To The Potting Shed Monmouth

A year ago, No.1 The Barton, looked like this:  Empty, Neglected, Smashed In, Completely Broken, and Totally Unloved.  Personally, I could WELL 'relate to that'.

Because as well as being on my fourth or fifth course of Lumbar Injections in half of those years, I was wondering just how I was going to continue gardening professionally, when in reality, I could barely walk.......

And in all honesty, not being convinced that the Wife of my Osteopath would actually welcome me LIVING full time with them in their Treatment Room, I was beginning to think I needed to come up with a 'Plan B':

So, huge credit, where credit is due, No.1 The Barton looks like this now, ONLY because of Trousers, and our extremely tame builder, Gordie, Gordie, Gordie, who one of these fine days, we may find a way of thanking him with far more than a Mug of Tea and a Chocolate Biskwit.

Heart on my sleeve, I don't think my Dad would recognise me as his daughter these days if he were alive.  But I do know just how very proud he was of me, and seriously would be of me today for 'inventing this business out of  nothing but the belief in my own ability and his own belief in me all those years ago', which I've always held close to my heart.

And once upon a time, he invented his own business too, from nothing, working endless hours through the night at his desk, and in his home-built Recording Studio.......
Which leads me beautifully......... where I used to record 'Two Ronnies' Jokes' on Cassette with him to send to my Uncle Mark to make him laugh...?

My Dad's favourite joke at the time of recording was:

"The Pound had a good day today.
It got up early, went to the park, had a nice lunch......" and for the LIFE of me, I can't remember the ending.....?!
Two Ronnies Jokes were so.........'Family?' and just absolutely Barker-Bonkers.  I loved them.
We had SOO many 'Sound Recording Studio 'TAKES' on that little beauty', because Wellie just kept 'corpsing'.
TAKE 2......TAKE 3......TAKE 4..... 5........6.......7...!x

And then there was 'The Snail Joke'...., which never quite 'went away'?

And being quite honest with you, I'm not sure I could ever have told him 'The Noddy Joke', without the two of us having shared a sherbet or two too many?

THIS week at The Potting Shed Children.....(reminds me of The Fast Show: "Today I Are Mostly.....") we've been blessed with some truly lovely new customers, staying in'n'around the area, or day-tripping to Munmuth, and some even, travelling 'specially to The Potting Shed Monmouth on recommendation from friends and family.
Which Was Nice....!

A couple of really lovely ladies came for lunch, having found us on Tripadvisor, and genuinely loved us.

Another lovely couple from Portsmouth were staying in Symonds Yat, a hugely lovely tourist attraction, (not them - the place?).....really enjoyed their lunch, and their visit to The Potting Shed, and promised to Tripadvise to promote our lovely business.

And it was a bit inclement outside with their dog to eat, so were truly grateful, a lovely couple from Newnham-on-Severn to have lunch inside our rustic tearoom.  Not only did they enjoy their Smoked Haddock Chowder, but sincerely raved about it, being 'foodies themselves', which is generosity in itself in the praise department.
And too, one of the loveliest compliments anyone has given me since my Potting Shed Adventure began a year ago:  "....and you are so caring towards your customers - it really shows..."

On which note, I'll leave you to enjoy your Easter Holidays.x

Incidentally, I mentioned to some Potting Shed Customers today about my blog, and that I've now got 34,000 'Odd' Blog Readers..... (do you feel odd?!!).....and they rather SENSIBLY pointed out that it would be VERY unfair of you all to turn up for Afternoon Tea at The Potting Shed WITHOUT phoning ahead to book in advance?!
So just DON'T - Okay?!x

Bless you all for being here.
And Hello Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine!x
My Love for now,

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Hello..... And Thank You.x

Whether you're new, old, young, elderly, tired, wide awake, don't get out much/should get out more.....you're all really welcome here at The Funny Farm Blog, and I'd just like to take a moment to thank you all for reading my Blog....

....In The United States, The United Kingdom, Portugal, Germany, Ireland, France, Brazil, Finland, Indonesia and Lebanon this week.

Bless You All for being here.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Fireworks, Rainbows & Lollipops.....

.....Allegedly, life is too short to go without them?

I suppose it's because they're "Oooh!"...."Aaaah!" and....."Mmmm!".
And I only mention this, because my friend M text it to me the other day.

To be honest, FIREWORKS have never really 'blown my frock up', being more of a 'Sparkler In The Dark' kinda girl. I can't get over how much they cost, (Fireworks, not Sparklers), how brief their enjoyment, and the anti-climactic disappointment I feel when the sky returns to dark, like they'd never been there in the first place.... It might just be that 'I'm A Miserable Git', that we only afforded Sparklers when I was little, or that I prefer a good old-fashioned Mother Nature Sunset, with a chilled glass of.

Whereas, give me RAINBOWS any day of the week, and watch Wellie chase them, in search of that elusive pot of gold. Give me a DOUBLE RAINBOW, and I'm doubly happy, chasing it to the ends of this earth and beyond for the dreams in my heart.

LOLLIPOPS, on the other hand, are like 'A Hug on A Stick'. And depending on the level of Hug you're after, you can have 'A Boring Hug', 'A Funny Hug', 'A Sherbet Hug', 'A Frozen Hug' on a hot sunny day, or just have 'A Moment Hug' and bite its' ruddy ears off if you're that cross Children?!x

So that's where Wellie stands on the Fireworks, Rainbows & Lollipops front, in case you were wondering.

And M left me a little GoodyBag on the front door knob, with a card saying "I'm Missing my friend", a beautifully perfumed potted candle, and a ceramic heart, saying: "Remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you feel, and smarter than you think."

Which, no doubt is true, given that I've been a whole week without my beloved Black Cat now today, this Mothering Sunday.

And one of our lovely Potting Shed Monmouth Customers, bought us a Lavender to plant for BC.
Thank you Susan.x

We decided BC would like to lay down for her Big Sleep in front of The Funny Farm kitchen window, where I can chat away with her, like I've always done every morning and evening.

And I'll be 'Colouring Her Happy' under Mother Nature's Duvet with some beautiful Sarah Raven Mixed Cut Flower Seeds, kind of 'throw'n'grow' stylie - picking regularly throughout the summer to take to The Potting Shed for filling the kiddy-wellie-vases on the tea tables.

I've planted my Special Garden Fairy beside her, to keep her company for now.

I miss you Babe, and love you always.x

Around the world, those of you who are reading my blog once again, Bless You, Thank You, and See You Here Next Week.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Asleep Forever in My Broken Heart.....but Never More Loved

I'm devastated to have to report to you all that BC, my beloved black cat, my very special and precious little girl had to be put to sleep today.

Her failing kidneys and latest episode of Cat Flu, were far more than she could handle, and as much love and care as I gave her, when she'd 'had enough' and stopped eating, so rapidly deteriorating, she gave me her permission to end her beautiful life.

It's never an easy call to make, but Marlow Vets came here to The Funny Farm, and she died in my loving arms at lunchtime, just where she would have wanted to be.

As I sit here writing this painful blog update, looking at her next to me, wrapped up snug in my garden fleece, I'm wondering where she'd like her Big Sleep to begin underneath 'Mother Nature's Duvet'....
Perhaps I'll ask Trousers what his thoughts are.x

It's been an incredibly difficult day for me today, but a very positive one too. My friend Medina sent me THE most beautiful text, saying that I could not have been a more wonderful mum to BC, and this is why she chose me all those years ago. In all honesty, I do feel honoured that BC chose Trousers and I like she did, and so very grateful to her for showing me just how deep a love can go into your heart, like hers' did, leaving me with a lasting warm glow within my soul, and a sparkly twinkle in my eyes.

Tomorrow I shall return to work at The Potting Shed with a renewed spring in my step, an extra twinkle in my eyes, and over a decade of fond memories to keep me smiling forever. Bless you BC.....
Mummy Loves You For Ever and Ever.x

Sunday, 1 March 2015


You know what?  It's been a really tough January/February to come out this side of it into March, but honestly, hang out The Flappy Bunting, the sun is making more regular appearances to kick-start Mother Nature into wearing that lovely Spring Green Frock of hers', and it won't be long now till we're in full swing!

I'm quite surprised that Trousers and I have managed to stay such good friends, having to look at each other for quite so many hours in a day for the past two months!..... Thankfully, the silences have been broken, and the atmospheric 'cutting knife' put back in The Potting Shed drawer, with the slow but steady arrival of happy and friendly customers on a daily basis since the New Year dawned.

That's what I love about this Potting Shed Business - My Customers.
They've been so supportive, and hugely complimentary about the business, spreading the word about us, leaving lovely comments on Tripadvisor about us, and bringing more and more friends and family members to see us when they visit, that they're almost Family themselves to us now.
And with us opening our doors 7 Days A Week again from this Tuesday 3rd March, we'll be pleasing many more of them, more of the time....x

Until then, we enjoyed a day off today with a drive out to Whitlenge Garden Centre in Hartlebury for a bit of a new-season friendly motivational 'hug' from our Friendlies; Fran and Keith, who started their own business there in a similar vane to us, many moons ago.

Their hugely popular Garden Centre & Creative Landscaping Business, with exhibits at Chelsea Flower Show, have won Fran & Keith many an Award.
Whitlenge has a lovely Tearoom/Cafe, where Wellie had a toasted teacake this morning, and Trousers, rather unsurprisingly, had a Big Boys' Cooked Breakfast Boys'n'Girls?

There are crafts and gifts, and it's very Child-Friendly, with designated Play Areas, an extensive range of beautiful garden plants, and a really fabulous private garden for you to follow a seasonal trail through, full of inspiration, and lots of fun for the whole family.  And they can even cater for functions/children's parties too.

When we were last there, we bought some rustic wooden balcony panels for The Potting Shed Garden, and our 'Tame Builder': Gordie, wanted a few more of them to play with in a couple of weeks' time?
In fact, Children, scroll back to my Blog entry dated 11th December, 2011, and see what a lovely Tool Box Gordie has!

With March marching on, and the possibility of our Alcohol License being granted in the next week or so, that potential for new business opportunities opens The Potting Shed Door even wider....with longer Sunday Trading Hours for our Customers to enjoy Cream Teas, or a fruity glass of Pimms in the garden, a glass of wine with lunch, and even 'pre-theatre Suppers', if we want to, having both The Savoy and The Blake Theatres on our doorstep......so keep your fingers crossed for us, why don't you.

And if you haven't yet......do become a Follower of my Blog here, or find us on Facebook and Tripadvisor, and things, where you can Goggle at some photos.
To be honest Kids, I've not stumbled unceremoniously into the land of Twitter yet... (too much compost under my fingernails maybe?) but one of these fine days when I have time on my hands, have made the acquaintance of a three year old child who's been on Twitter since they were born, I'll get them to teach me, eh?!x

Until next time, take care my friends.

Friday, 20 February 2015

33,000 Odd Funny Farm Followers

And Counting?
What's THAT all about?... and just WHERE did you thousands of people come from when I wasn't looking?x

I'm not remotely suggesting that you're all 'odd'(!) -  just that there's many MORE than 33,000 of you now -  and quite honestly, whilst I DO think you all need to 'get out more'(!) - I could be 'knocked over with a feather', because I had no idea, until this evening, that so many of you have liked reading my Blog since I last Blogged.

Have you missed me Children?

To be honest, a lot of water has flowed under my bridge since I last wrote -  so I do feel rather blessed to be back with you once again.
And to be back writing my Blog now is the icing on my cake - quite literally.

BC Cat has been a constant supportive ball of fluff on legs............  on my lap, on my mind, on my case, and recently, on my HUGE Vet Bill?  She's prolly about 15 now, and we almost lost her just before Christmas, which was 'THIS' close to breaking Wellie's heart.

She had Cat Flu (picked up from the Funny Farm Cats maybe?) and her kidneys are clearly beginning to fail her.,.  So I took her rather pronto to Marlow Vets in Chepstow, and was overwhelmed by their professionalism and kindness at such short notice, even offering Tea'n'Tissues (for me, not the cat?!)

The next 3 days on a drip, (her, not me?) and antibiotics, kidney tablets, and quite frankly, whatever they could do to keep her stable and alive, and with the utmost TLC.
They also think she has a tumour... but bless her paws, she's rallied really well for now.

Then there's Trousers.  Remember him?
......... Or, as I like to call him these days: 'He Who Mustn't Be Obeyed'...

Last November, he put himself on a No-Carbs diet, has lost about 3 stone, and I'm INCREDIBLY proud of him.
Howevver..... He IS actually now THE grumpiest man living on Planet Earth, and I should know, I work with him every day!

He used to get up every single morning at the 'crack of sparrow *art' to travel hundreds of miles up'n'down the country to work for a rather large company, painting'n'decorating.  Now, he slopes into Monmouth, a 20 minute drive from where The Funny Farm is, at about 7.30am, puts a match to the log-burning stove, chops a couple of logs, onions and things, and for the rest of the day then, creates rather gorgeous meals for Joe Public to take photos of and post up on Facebook.

And ACTUALLY, now then, seriously, what does WELLIE and her Flobalob Flowerpot People do these days you wonder?

Well, here's The Jackanory:
There was a small independent ready-made garden centre for sale locally, but it was way too expensive for what it was, and the location was less than brilliant.  So, thinking outside the box......... I identified a far better location to open, and create my very OWN town centre garden centre that I didn't need to procure £75,000 for.  And with it, invented a Garden Tearoom to supplement the non-gardening 'leaner' months of the year to go with it.

My ideas, which let's face it, if you know and love Wellie, have ALWAYS been this side of bonkers, were to take a step back from the ever-increasing chain of high-street Coffee Houses, creating 'Vintage' in the Tearoom, with pretty crockery, silver cutlery, shabby-chic, and amalgamate it with my love of food, Grow Your Own and place it in my customer's laps.

Paul (previously a very successful Chef before his Decorating Career), left his job in the latter months of last summer to come work with me, in order to further this innovative new business.

The people of Monmouth, surrounding towns and villages, and even much further afield these days, seem to love us for just who we are, and what we offer, beautifully expressed from the lovely comments left about us on Facebook and Tripadvisor.

The popularity of THE POTTING SHED MONMOUTH has evolved such that the garden space has become less garden centre, and more CafĂ© for Cooked Breakfasts, Lunches, Teas, Coffees, Cream Teas and Cakes....and totally 'customer-led', we are in the process of applying for a Liquor License.

So that's my news!
Have a goggle at us on Facebook and Tripadvisor.
Until next time, thanks for being here.