I lived on my own for 5 years. I found out a lot of things about myself during that time, and one of the things I found out was that I had green fingers! Not in the garden but in my flat. I lived in a maisonette so there was only 2 floors and I was on the top and at end ideal for me as I love my music!!!! Where I lived they were just for pensioners so all my neighbours very old and it was just me who went to work, each morning. There were three windows in each flat one for the bedroom, the other for the living room and the final one was for the kitchen. The bathroom didn't have a window, just a fan when you put the light on. I did try to save money when I first moved in, to try and have a bath in the dark but it was pitch dark! So I didn't bother. So your block of flats was either facing the main road or the back looking at other houses. Mine faced the main road and the sun! I never opened my windows for I didn't want to let insects in. so it felt like a green house in the Summer. I did make a pact with all spiders and said to them, “If you don't come into my flat, when I see your friends outside, I will let them live” during the five years I did see a few. When I first moved in I saw a big one and as I didn't yet have a land line I went across the road to the phone box phone one of my Brothers but no one was in at Mum's down the road, so with tears, and feeling alone I came back to my flat to find the spider had moved!!! So I kept looking at the spot where I'd seen it last, but I didn't see that one again, it was an awful time.
I'd bought a bread bin when I first moved in, for that's what you do when you move into your own home, but all my bread kept going bad! So Mum said I should keep the bread in the freezer and take it out a slice at a time when I needed it.
For six months after I moved in I didn't have a cooker there was just a gap in the kitchen where the last one was. I had a microwave and Mum's dinners, that was it. Then one day Chris at my place of worship said her Mum had a cooker that I could have for free all I had to do was collect it! I told her I would arrange for collection. I'd never met Chris' Mum nor had had I been to her house before. My Cousin said he would take me over, we got the address and we would go the following evening. That night I had a dream, I dreamt about my new cooker, it was dark brown all over with very light brown at the cookers four rings, there was also a teddy that had fallen down between the side of the wall and the cooker. I didn't know you could get dark brown cookers for all the cookers we had ever had was white. So we arrived at the house and went to get the cooker, I couldn't believe my eyes, the cooker was exactly the same colours that I had seen in my dream the night before! Dark brown with very light brown at the ring, and I told Chris' Mum so, there was no teddy though, so I don't know why he was in the dream.
A man came to connect it and I loved my cooker. I didn't use it very often for I was used to using my microwave. I used it SO rarely that I would dust it when I did house work. And because I didn't use it so much it didn't mind putting it on for a tiny pizza that I would buy as a basic cheese and add mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and sweetcorn on to make it more filling for my main meal! This little pizza that was about 6” wide I would use as a base for the rest of my meal. I did that from time to time.
I really loved chicken & mushroom pie and chips, but it would be often too much for me so I'd leave what I hadn't eaten the night before in the microwave and simply reheat it for my Breakfast the following morning! YUM! Then it would taste even better.
Another thing I used my oven for was for baking! I had my scales which I had chosen for one of my Birthday gifts from my best friend, the ones where you have the weights and you put the right weigh on and the food item on the opposite side and when its level you know you have the right amount. Mine was in pounds and ounces, that's what I grew up with. About once a week I would look in my cook book and bake something. One day I decided to make a Dundee Cake. I don't know what a Dundee Cake should taste like but I followed the recipes to the letter. Then one of my friends came to visit me, I told her that I made this cake and I wanted her honest opinion, what she thought of it, she said, “My Nan was a Judge for Dundee Cakes, so I know exactly how they should taste” Opps I thought, I wished I hadn't said that! She tasted it and said, “It was very good indeed!!!” I told her “Not to be kind, but to be honest” she replied, “It is VERY good, and her Nan would have said the same.” Two days later I took it to my place of worship and said to the lads in the kitchen, “Cut this up small, so lots can have it at the end, when they come to you for tea and coffee, but do NOT tell them who made the cake!” They said, “OK,” at the end I went back for my plate, and they said, “Everyone, returned to the hatch at the kitchen to ask, 'Who made the lovely cake?' But they were sworn to secrecy” As I was too shy and didn't want the extra attention, for I couldn't cope with that and the praise.
My Mum gave me a plant when I first moved into my empty flat, I had what was in my box room with me and a large wall unit, and she gave me the family sofa as she was getting a new one. I don't know what the plant was called, but when Mum gave it to me it was about 6” across and just green leaves on it and about 25” circumference. It was the first thing that I had that was mine and living and a PLANT. Mum was truly green fingered for she had her lovely green house for the wonderful tomatoes and rows of cabbages, carrots, potatoes, lettuce, in our nice garden. But I wasn't involved in any of that, yes we kids had to water them and sometimes we would be with her when she carefully removed them from the garden for cooking that evening. So here I am with my first plant, and I wanted to love it and look after it, so I watered it every day and bought liquid food for it. Then I got a Christmas cactus from my Auntie , who lives far away she said it would bloom in December pink flowers. The next plant I got was when I was with a friend on a day out, she told me it had two names, The Prayer Plant or The Ten Commandments. I asked her why it was called this and she said at night it closed its leaves together like hands praying and in the day it opened up. I didn't know where to put it at first so I put it by the window and it had closed up very tight!!!! it clearly wasn't happy there to I put it at the back of the living room and it was happy there and open and closed gently, I fed all my plants every day and gave them a bit of water. I also bought at an open day, an African violet and in the five years that I lived there it was the only plant to die! It didn't even last long only about two weeks. In the Summer, even if it was my day off, I jump out of bed and open my huge curtains pulling it wide open so my 'plant pets' could enjoy the sun and its warmth! They were so important to me, they depended on me to open the curtains. As they would get bigger I buy compost and pots to put them in, I hadn't done this before I lived on my own but I'd watched Mum do it many times.
One day something marvellous happened, my Christmas cactus blossomed! It was just one pink flower but it was amazing, I got my camera and took a picture of it and sent it to my Auntie. After a very short time it fell off. You couldn't even see where it had been on the plant. Amazing! As it went back to just a green plant. I loved all my plants, all three of them, and over the five years they grew and grew and more and more flowers started to appear on the cactus.
My last day in my flat I walked down the road on the very hot Summers day with a very very large plant held proudly in my hands. It was the one Mum had given me years ago when I'd first moved in. Now it was about 60” in circumference and about 26” across and covered in lovely pink blossoms, the plant moved gently up and down as I walked, I had many lovely comments as I went very slowly down the street, to Mum's house. And I returned the plant to her, for I was getting married the next day and only wanted to keep the Christmas cactus, that my Auntie had given me, the Prayer Plant, I gave to another friend.
For me, it was an achievement to have those three lovely plants in my home, when I moved into my new Husband's home, after a few years my cactus, blooms regularly every Christmas and every Easter, I am told its not suppose to do that, but one or the other but mine does both. My Husband has put it in two places in the house and it is happy where it is. But, it doesn't blossom in our bedroom only by the front door. My other Auntie she told me that when it is very hot in the Summer it can be put outside for a week or two, but I would never try it for they don't like to be moved, they don't bloom for ages after you move them.
My old friend, I noticed her Christmas cactus in her home and she said it belonged to her Father, and that it has never bloomed!
Remember to water your plants, feed and love them, and put them into a bigger pot, if the one they in now is too small.