Staying the course

Love in Thoughts
Love in Thoughts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My thoughts are fixed, my mind is set, I walk along the path with you.
My eyes are open, yet I cannot see, I feel your presence
Standing there right next to me.
I call your name, no answer comes, well nothing I can hear
I wait impatiently for you to whisper something sweet into my ear.
Why Lord do you not speak? Why Lord do you not say to me you care?
What can I do when all my thoughts are fixed on you?
I should know better, yes I know I should
For you don’t answer me in ways I thought you would.
But you are always there……….

Shirley Anne 23 Feb 2017

Sometimes I get the feeling or rather forget my Lord is with me throughout the days. When everything seems to be going wrong, when nothing seems to be going right, I forget Lord that you are standing by my side throughout it all. You see my weaknesses, my strengths, my heart’s wishes and the way I deal with them. You notice everything and so I have to be careful in my ways that I don’t offend you. Many times I fail Lord, you know it. You know all my faults and indiscretions yet still you love me and are ready to forgive. What a wonderful God you are. You love me so much that you gave your only begotten Son who paid the penalty for all my sins, my wrongdoing, the penalty I should be paying. You set me free and all you want is for me to love you back. I try my best Lord but know I fall short. By your mercy, grace and love I am saved. Thank you Lord. I stay the course because of our mutual love. My heart is fixed upon you……

Shirley Anne



Enough already!

I had been working again in the rear garden yesterday removing more bluebells but had run out of dry weather as well as running out of daylight and had to stop for the day. Most of what I was doing in the two hours between three and five o’clock was centred at the far end of the long flowerbed toward the ‘Mound’ and especially behind the trees. I had piled up everything I had dug out ready to put it in a bucket to dump it all. However the rain by then was heavy so I left everything and went indoors. long-flowerbed-4According to the weather forecast a storm was heading in our direction to arrive on Thursday but that high winds and rain would precede it on Wednesday afternoon for my location. I lowered the flag we have in the front garden yesterday because the forecast of very high winds reaching perhaps 60 mph would rip it apart. Union FlagI decided therefore to get up early and get out in the garden while there was time. Almost everywhere I had removed bluebells a few weeks ago I now found had more growing there! ‘Enough already’ I thought to myself as I got stuck in to the seemingly endless task ahead of me. My only consolation is in knowing I have removed many thousands of them, possibly and most probably around eight thousand by this point in time. So that will be eight thousand less plants producing seeds and making matters impossible. As it stands today, Wednesday as I write this, I still have the tail-end of the corner plot to finish though that should only take a couple of hours. Unfortunately, again according to the weather forecast, we can expect rain for many of the days ahead. The break, if I get one, will allow any other bluebells to grow and show themselves and I will be waiting with my little hand fork to escort them away! The two months I have spent thus far digging out montbretia and bluebells off and on is beginning to rip me apart too! Hopefully the major part of the project will be over soon but as I have mentioned in previous posts, it will be on-going maintenance for many months yet.

Update: Later in the afternoon I returned to the corner plot and finished filtering the soil as it hadn’t rained. That rain came later in the evening. So here is a picture taken from inside the greenhouse….corner-plot-8

The plant in the pot is another shrub. It was an offshoot of a large bright green shrub further along the flowerbed far to the left. You can see it in the top picture dead centre. I had been working beneath that shrub earlier in the day removing more bluebells. The offshoot became detached in the process. It has of course its own root system. I put it into a pot until I decide to plant it later and after ensuring there are no more bluebells or montbretia plants in that place.

Shirley Anne

Dodging the rain

I had been very tired when i went to bed on Monday night (see yesterday’s post) and was so ready for sleep. Thankfully I got it, eight hours of it with only one break half-way through to go you know where! Eight hours for me is unheard of as I never usually get more than five or five and a half but I must have needed it. With no electrical work scheduled I had Tuesday all to myself so immediately after breakfast I put on my overalls and went into the garden to push on with the bluebell and montbretia removal in the corner plot (see previous posts). I have been sidetracked so many times that reaching the end of the flowerbed has been much delayed. The forecast for the day was rain late in the morning but turning dry again a couple of hours later. I made the most of it and got a lot done before the rain appeared at noon. However, before I could get to the corner plot I had seen more bluebells growing in the long flowerbed and also the one in front of the greenhouses! I had only removed some from those two places a day or so previously. Finally I was able to get to the corner plot.corner-plot-7 Surprisingly the area, though covered with montbretia for the most part with a few deep-rooted bluebells here and there, was fairly easy to filter because the montbretia bulbs were mostly near to the surface. The picture show the area as it was before I resumed there on Tuesday because I hadn’t the time to take a picture on the day but most of the area behind the marking stones has now been filtered. It will only take one more day to finish that corner near to the greenhouse. It is just a matter of when at the moment. I stopped work at noon but only because it had started to rain. It was three o’clock before I could return outside. Now you might think I would have continued where I left off but earlier, when looking out of the wet room window I saw what I thought was a bluebell growing near to the laurel bushes in the ‘Plot’ alongside the patio. plot-35I had worked redesigning the Plot last summer if you may recall but hadn’t seen any bluebells. So before I did anything else I went to check and sure enough there were two bluebells growing there. Naturally I fetched the tools and dug them out. As I was returning to the corner plot I passed by the flowerbed on the other side of the patio just to check there too. Yes, more bluebells to remove there and also one or two in the ‘Mound’! That wasn’t all, in the end of the long flowerbed I had cleared of bluebells a few weeks ago I found so many growing there I had to redo it! long-flowerbed-10I found myself even going behind the trees toward the left in the picture below which stand next to the area in the picture above and digging out many more there too. long-flowerbed-4It isn’t so much that I am finding so many but because so many are deeply seated it is hard work digging them out. By five o’clock it had begun to rain again and I had to abandon the work. Whilst behind the trees I noted where more bluebells were growing beneath and around them which will be easier to dig out from the path side but that would have to be on another day. It is heartbreaking to discover more bluebells growing where I thought I had eradicated them. I have dug out so many though I won’t be giving up any time soon…………..

Shirley Anne

Coiled spring

Awake is the New Sleep (2005)
Awake is the New Sleep (2005) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a crazy day I had on Monday! I went to bed around ten o’clock on Sunday night but didn’t actually begin to sleep until twelve-fifteen. How do I know that? I had made a point of checking the time on my phone, which I use as an alarm too, closed my eyes and didn’t wake up until exactly four hours later. That was it! I couldn’t return to sleep no matter how hard I tried so I gave in and got out of bed. I was sat eating breakfast at five-thirty and fully wide awake. What was I going to do for the next three hours before driving off to my first job of the day? I watched television, went on-line, played guitar (quietly) but was soon bored doing those things. Still, I had to wait, I had no choice. It was eight-twenty as I left the house and I arrived at the job just before nine as arranged. The work involved repairs to a couple of cabinet lights and their wiring. Whoever had installed them had hidden the wiring behind a panel as expected but they had also hidden the transformer and connection box behind the panel too. The problem was that the panel couldn’t be removed without causing a great deal of damage! Crazy or what? I wondered what had been going through the person’s mind when they did the work. Did they think the parts would never go faulty? I ended up rewiring the lights and hiding the wiring in small trunking inside the cabinets that were the bedroom’s built-in furniture. Unfortunately one of the lights needed replacing but none were available close-by. I had to drive back to my own town to fetch one then return and fit it. My coiled-up spring was beginning to unwind and I had another job to do before I could even think about driving homeward. When the work was done it was approaching one-thirty and I was feeling rather hungry having not eaten for eight hours. I drove homeward and paid a visit to my local pub to have a meal there but it was way after two-thirty before it was on the table before me. Nine hours are a long time between meals when one is working. My eyes began to close as I sat at home later writing this. It was only four-thirty in the afternoon and I wondered if I would make it to evening without falling asleep beforehand! As I get older I am finding it difficult to cope with hardly any sleep, not because I need more sleep but because I end up with all those extra hours awake with nothing much to do in them.

Shirley Anne

Bucket full

Dig Dug: Digging Strike
Dig Dug: Digging Strike (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a great feeling to be at that stage in life whereby you can pretty much do as you please as far as what you do in a day. At weekends I don’t do any electrical work unless in an emergency so if I don’t wish to do anything at all over the weekend then I don’t. On Sunday I was in no hurry to get up but I arose as soon as I awoke. After a shower and getting dressed I sauntered downstairs just before ten o’clock and had a bowl of fruit with a little muesli and milk. I had been thinking about going for a walk or maybe dining out at the pub to wile away the afternoon but by two o’clock I wasn’t feeling particularly well kind of like the way you feel when you have a bad cold. I decided to remain at home and have a late lunch instead, after all I had made a vegetable and chicken stew the previous day so there was no need to do any cooking. To kill a bit of time before lunch I made another ‘slab’ of rock cake because the other had been so nice but had all been eaten. After lunch I was feeling much better. The day before I had experienced problems getting my mobile phone connection. No matter where I was in the house or the gardens the message read ‘No network available’. As I was home it didn’t bother me too much because callers could contact me over the house phone if it was urgent. I wanted to contact a new friend just to say hello and couldn’t reach her even by text. I tried again on Sunday afternoon and suddenly everything was back to normal but I had a lot of catching up to do answering messages that had been left, mostly from people wanting electrical work done. I was able to contact my friend too and learned she was in the south of the country tending to her mother. Anyway before my phone connection had been restored I had been out in the front garden checking for a signal and noticed more bluebells growing in the right-hand flowerbed again. I had to dig them out, I couldn’t leave them for another day, they had to go! It was only a few days earlier I had been digging out bluebells in the same bed. They are a pain in the proverbial to put it mildly. As I was fetching the kneeling stool which I had stored in the greenhouse I noticed another bluebell in the flowerbed  by the greenhouses which I dug out once I had finished in the front garden. Thinking I had found them all I began to put the equipment away but lo and behold there were more, then more in the next bed. Finally I decided to dig out the couple I had seen in the flowerbed next to the patio whilst I was at it but didn’t get that far. On the way there I saw more in the ‘Mound’ which I started to remove. As I dug them out more appeared with each dig with the trowel or fork and before I knew it I had a bucket full of them! At last I got to the flowerbed next to the patio and dug out a couple there. I have never seen so many bluebell bulbs and plants in such relatively small areas, even rabbits don’t ‘breed’ so profusely! I did say there would be more and more and more and more………..yawn!

Shirley Anne

Surveying the land

English: did you know that squirrels like beer...
Did you know that squirrels like beer? I did not know that. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Usually a term used to describe (in the dictionary – as a noun) ‘an act or instance of surveying or of taking a comprehensive view of something’. I am applying it in reference to my amble around my garden: amble: a verb – ‘to go at a slow, easy pace; stroll; saunter’, something I do quite often in the gardens throughout the year. I’ve grown to love and appreciate my gardens in the last few years whilst reflecting upon all the work I have done to get them to where they are now. My little surveys reveal the things I need to do to keep on top of things. Currently my thoughts are centred around spotting bluebells which have escaped my notice especially in the areas in which I have been working to remove them but also in other places they might appear. It was late on Saturday morning when I took a stroll along the path by the greenhouses and the first thing I noticed was a bluebell growing in the patch in front of the small greenhouse. I fetched the small garden fork and dug it out. Then I saw another and some more in the same general area. I have been expecting more to show as the weather gets warmer and I’ve not been disappointed! Having dug about thirty and removed them I thought that would be the end of it but no, there were some growing in the small plot nearby too. I removed them. I checked over the whole flowerbeds by the greenhouses to make sure I had removed all that had shown themselves. I spent a little time digging out a few more bluebells in the unfinished part of the corner plot where I have been working recently. I went indoors to prepare a meal. It was around three o’clock when I decided to take another amble around the garden and my keen eyes spotted a couple of bluebells in the flowerbed by the patio. I didn’t take any immediate action but noted where they were for the next time I would be working in the garden. I hadn’t much intention to work in the garden on the day because I wanted a rest from it and the weather forecast had been for rain anyway, though it didn’t rain until much later in the day. I spent a little time filling the seed dispenser for the birds as E seems to have forgotten to do it. On Friday morning I saw the strangest thing when looking out of the window into the rear garden. I saw ‘our’ little grey squirrel running along the top of the garden wall holding a slice of bread in its mouth! I never knew squirrels liked bread (and beer apparently) but I guess they will eat anything if hungry. We had been putting out nuts for them but hadn’t seen much of the squirrels lately due to the cold weather. Anyway the squirrel was being pursued by a jay who wanted a piece of the action but the squirrel was having none of it and kept out of the bird’s way. Funny what you see in the garden if you take the time to look.

Shirley Anne  

Deeper sleep

English: Splendid Hand Car Wash
Splendid Hand Car Wash (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had been very tired going to bed on Thursday evening and excepting for a couple of toilet visits slept pretty much right through the night. After a recent restless night it was good to be able to sleep through but it was so deep I didn’t wake until almost ten o’clock! As I was getting dressed someone called me asking for a quote to have some rewiring done in their home. I explained that I no longer did such work as I am semi-retired and have a self-imposed limit on what I will accept. I carried on with dressing and arrived downstairs at ten-thirty. I hadn’t dressed for work as I had no intentions of doing any work for the day, in fact I had missed breakfast and had decided to dine out at the pub instead. It had been a couple of weeks since I last washed the van and it was looking very dirty. However, I didn’t want to start the day washing my van especially in my better clothes so I had it in mind to drive to the local car wash and have it done there. I don’t often use the car wash as I usually do it myself but at only £6 for a hand wash it wasn’t expensive. I drove the half-mile there and waited in the queue. I didn’t have to wait long and soon was driving out the exit in a super cleaned and spruced-up van. It was sparkling, just like new! I drove off to the pub but it was still only eleven-thirty so I parked-up and sat reading my magazine. I was so engrossed I didn’t notice the parking lot filling up with diners as the doors had opened at noon. I went inside, sat down at a table and waited for the bar to empty. I placed my order and took my drinks to the table and waited for my meal. Despite the large queue that had formed at the bar ahead of me my meal arrived shortly after. Maybe as a local and regular customer I had been given a little preference? Would be nice to think so. The pub has become so popular it get customers from afar visiting which makes it more difficult for the locals sometimes. I decided against a prolonged stay on this occasion as I planned another visit over the weekend and would probably spend a few hours there.

Shirley Anne

Diverted and stuck

By the end of yesterday the sore throat I had disappeared, in fact it was late afternoon I last remembered having it. What would I be doing on Thursday? I had a couple of electrical requests but turned them down because one was too far away to be worth the effort and the other was simply too much work for me. I sat around until ten o’clock, mostly to allow my breakfast to digest and to play the guitar for a while too then it was on with my overalls and boots for a spell in the rear garden. I didn’t want to carry on where I had left off filtering out the bluebells in the corner of the garden, at least not to begin with. During the time I had been working on the ‘Plot’ project last summer and also in the front garden flowerbeds I had removed several bulbs. They weren’t bluebells, I think they were daffodils or tulips, probably both and I had left them in a plant pot in one of the garages. I wanted to plant them in two places, in the small plot between the small greenhouse and the garage and also in the ‘Mound’. Here are the two locations…..little-plot-5


I planted a few around the exposed areas in the small plot (first picture) and then went over to the Mound (second picture) to see where I could plant some of the bulbs there. The picture shows the area I had been working in a couple of weeks ago when digging out bluebells in front of the tall tree in the foreground. I had removed something like thirty to fifty bluebell bulbs from the small area as I recall. The first thing I noticed was a bluebell growing in front of the small shrub in front centre. I dug it out but it wasn’t alone, there were several more beneath the soil level both to the left and behind the shrub. I even had to remove the large stone behind the shrub for many more bluebells were growing there too. I ended up digging out more of them in a triangle marked by the two angles in the stone edging and the shrub with the brightly coloured leaves just right of the centre in the picture. Most of the bulbs were located at least 300 mm down and beneath tree roots! Then I noticed more growing in the area around the angle in the stone edging, to the right of that position and behind it too. I filled a bucket with just bluebells. It was approaching two o’clock and I had spent almost four hours on my knees again, three of them in that one location and still I hadn’t planted any bulbs as I had intended. I found myself cursing the bluebells as I kept on finding more after thinking there were no more to find. Oh yes, there are sure to be more of them, I just have to wait for them to show.

Shirley Anne

No apparent reason

Honey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had another restless night on Tuesday through to Wednesday broken into three sessions by visits to the little girl’s room as they say. My sleep was very shallow and as is often the case my thoughts were all over the place. I seem to be good at thinking things through when I ought to be sleeping instead. I hastily point out that for the majority of times I do sleep well. I was wondering therefore why it was that I’d had a restless night having worked hard during the day. Very odd but I guess I had more on my mind than I thought I had. There seemed no other reason for my experience. I went to bed in good health but found I had a bit of a sore throat in the morning. Could it be the onset of a cold or even worse, the ‘flu? Having said in a recent post that I generally enjoy good health it proves that these conditions can affect anyone at any time. The sore throat wasn’t severe and didn’t get any worse during the day. In any case I was taking honey to sooth it. I often use honey as a sweetener in coffee which I drink a lot of during the day so I suppose that extra honey helped. My only electrical work for the day was to replace a faulty room thermostat in a house across town so I was back at home around ten o’clock. I wanted to get into the garden though only to dig out the bluebells I had seen the day before, those which had revealed themselves in ground I had already worked weeks before and had obviously missed. There will be more. The morning was fairly damp so I put off doing that until the weather improved as I didn’t wish to aggravate my sore throat or encourage the onset of something worse. I decided to do a little baking so I made a rock cake. I use the singular because I baked the cake in slab form rather than individual cakes. It is an easier method and allows cutting a slice to suit your desire. The rock cake recipe is very similar to that of scones but I think they taste nicer than scones because they are cakes and sweeter. Neither scones nor cakes last long in our household as both E and I love them. She almost never bakes at home these days but she sure eats whatever I bake. Well I was just about to have lunch when I received a call to check a couple of suspected faulty lighting switches in a house two miles away. I put lunch on hold and went to do the work. I was back home a half-hour later. E was eating her lunch and I joined her. As I was parking the van in the garage I noticed there were another two bluebells in one of the front flowerbeds! I had removed quite a number of them only recently. After lunch I put on my gardening clothes and dug them out before returning to the rear garden and digging out more, the ones whose positions I had marked the day before. There were four positions with a number of bluebells in them but the fourth and last position had much more, around thirty of them. How I missed them first time around I cannot say. As I have said, it will be an ongoing task checking for bluebells for yet a while.

Shirley Anne

Six hours minus lunch

Tuesday was one of those days that was neither too cold nor too warm. Neither was it sunny for long but the wind was low and it was dry, just right for working in or rather working outside which was where you would find me. I had no electrical work so it was an ideal opportunity to carry on with what has turned out to be a long project, digging out the bluebells and montbretia. I was at last working in the corner plot and got this far….corner-plot-7

Compare to previous recent posts. You will notice that the small-leaved holly tree has been removed where it stood between the tree with the two trunks and the large sycamore trunk at the top of the picture. The holly is of a variety which tends to grow all over the place unless constantly pruned-back. I dug it out as I said I might. It was just as well for there were bluebells growing beneath it and behind it and they would have been difficult to get at with the tree in the way. The area in the picture at the top right and beyond the brick markers is mostly covered with montbretia. Fortunately most are growing near the surface and come out with a rake though I am using the fork to dig deep just to make sure. I use the kneeling stool and then dig out the loosened soil with a hand fork. That is why it is taking so long. I have to filter out the soil a small section at a time. You will notice a small shrub at the left-hand side of the picture. We had that growing in a large pot with the view of planting it out in the garden later. Before I planted it I dug deep in and around the spot to ensure no further bluebells were still lingering about. It was just as well I did for there were still a few in there which I had missed. long-flowerbed-15

I will have to leave populating the flowerbed too densely if at all for a while so that I can dig out any others I have missed. Speaking of which, I finally stopped work for the day at four o’clock and put the gardening tools away but when I took the photographs a little later I noticed four places in the bed to the left of the area in the bottom picture where more bluebells are beginning to show. Grrrrrr….! Using some plastic sticks I marked their positions so I would be able to see them for digging out later.

Shirley Anne