Tag Archives: Gardening

I didn’t but…

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In yesterday’s post I mentioned in passing that I would be doing some work on Monday, today, well one week ago really as I am at this point eight posts ahead. The thing is I didn’t do any of the suggested work but something else instead and that later in the day. I had gone to bed very early on Sunday evening, that is early for me and after a quick shower I was in bed at nine-twenty. I fell asleep almost immediately so I suppose I had been very tired though I don’t know why, I had been relaxing throughout the day. I did awaken a couple of times but only for a toilet visit and the second of those times I didn’t return to sleep. It was five o’clock. That gave me a golden opportunity to go for an early walk. The morning was balmy, warm, high humidity and almost no wind. I guess the temperature was about 14 or 15 deg C. At six o’clock as I left the house it was approaching twilight time, my favourite times of the day when it is betwixt night and day and can only be experienced fully in the temperate regions of the planet. In tropical regions there is hardly any time between night and day or darkness and light. Anyway I walked about five miles before returning home for breakfast. E was still in bed. After breakfast I had it in mind to start the work I had mentioned but simply couldn’t be bothered so I rested a while. Having eaten breakfast early I was beginning to feel a little hungry earlier than usual but delayed eating until after one o’clock. I suddenly thought of something I wanted to do in the garden but I needed to purchase a plant. There was a space I had pencilled-in for planting another fan palm.

If you remember I had recently split two that had been growing in the same pot and had put them in the garden, one in the front garden and one in the rear garden. At that time I had wished I had purchased another so after lunch I drove to Dobbies and purchased one for £17.99. That was after my member discount of £2. I placed it in the rear garden as planned. It is just above and to the right in the top picture and centre in the second picture. I knew I would have to do the electrical work on Tuesday instead.

Shirley Anne

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Cardies on

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I am not sure why cardigans are so named, perhaps a connection to Cardiganshire, Wales in the UK?

Cardiganshire

Cardiganshire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyhow I got to wearing one such garment on Tuesday afternoon as the day became decidedly cool in the wind at around 15 or 16 deg C. Monday had been quite warm at around 20 deg C but it appeared we were going to have a couple of days with lower temperatures. It is as though we are at the end of September rather than the end of August. Knowing the UK weather it could change again to warmer conditions in a few day’s time. I had been out for an early morning walk when it was even cooler at 13 deg and felt cooler still because of the wind blowing from the north west. I didn’t mind that as I was suitably attired. The humidity had dropped down a few pegs too so I didn’t end up sticky and uncomfortable by the time I had returned home. When I did return home I brought with me a few apples I had picked from a tree growing wild near the footpath on public land, a tree I had not seen bearing fruit in the past. That was probably due to my not passing by the tree before when it was bearing fruit. E and I spent a little time in the rear garden and we planted the other Fan Palm in the long flowerbed.

We are still waiting for the shrub behind it and to the right to finally shed its leaves (it is deciduous) so we can plant the Olearia shrub in it’s place. Meanwhile it stands lonely in a pot..

The removed plant will be planted elsewhere at the same time. It is getting cool enough for me to be getting on with some of the outdoor projects now so watch this space. After lunch I mowed the lawn for the first time since I spread the lawn weed killer. There may not be many more times I need to cut the lawn this year but it isn’t a problem to cut it, taking only twenty minutes.

Shirley Anne

Strawbs and stuff

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I was feeling just a little tired after my early morning walk on Thursday but after a bit of breakfast and a short rest I was eager to do some gardening. My first task was to separate the two Fan Palm plants we had purchased the day before. They were growing in the same pot though we were able to purchase them for the price of one. It can be difficult separating plants if they have been growing in the same pot for any length of time and these two were no exception. It was like separating spaghetti without damaging it. Their roots had intermingled but with a little patience I managed to untangle them without damage and without losing too much of the medium in which they were growing. Adding new growing compost and extra feed I replanted one in the pot and gave it a thorough watering. I took the other into the front garden and planted it there giving it the same treatment as its twin.

The other I placed alongside the Olearia ready for planting out later, probably well into next month for a special reason. Here they are and will stay in the meantime….soaking up the sun in a warmer part of the garden..

I have to wait in order to plant them out because one of them will be going in the space already occupied by a deciduous bush which will be planted elsewhere. I need to wait until it dies-back for the colder months and in this plant’s case it will be sometime in September. It is already showing signs of doing that….

It is the plant just right of centre against the wall. It produces bright yellow flowers in Spring but the leaves as you can see are now wilting. Last year when I planted it there the same thing happened and I thought it was simply wanting water but I had been watering it every day as it was still establishing itself. I hope to place the Olearia there as it grows quite tall and in the space to the left and forward I hope to plant the Fan Palm, The wall is south-facing in case you were wondering. After doing that work I planted the Azalea in front of the Phoenix Canariensis in the west flowerbed and set into the soil a couple of stepping-stones to the left of it. You can just see the first one at bottom left. The second is out-of-sight top left. The Phoenix will grow much taller eventually. 

Following that I planted out the new Dahlia near to the bird bath. The deciduous bush will be planted against the wall in the space directly behind the Dahlia which is at the front in this picture…

I should have stopped there for lunch but as I had a late breakfast I worked on and applied the lawn weed killer using a watering can. That took some time but it got done and then it was time for lunch. It was much later when I gave the whole garden a watering and I took these photos as well as this one through the greenhouse glass….

This plant has produced many strawberries this season.and as you can see there are more ripening up in the sunshine.

Click on images to magnify.

Shirley Anne

20 August 2017

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It was one of those days that didn’t know it was still Summer, only a little sunshine but also almost no wind or rain. The rain would fall later in the evening. I had overslept and didn’t get downstairs until eleven o’clock, however it was Sunday and I had nothing special to do except perhaps go for an early morning walk. Well that didn’t happen. Although I arose at nine and was ready to come downstairs for a belated breakfast at ten I decided instead to clean out the gutter and brush off some moss which gathers on the sloping roof beneath my bedroom windows..(upper-left in picture)

I have a long piece of wood adapted at the end to reach into the gutter from the windows to get at the moss which falls into it. The gutter is over a metre out and at least a half-metre below my window s so it isn’t easy to reach. In the past I used the 7 metre high tower to reach the gutter and the roof but even then it is at a stretch. The gutter is around 7 metres from the ground! The day was sunny at that time and E and I sat out on the patio before lunchtime for a while. We decided to put the new washing line pole into the tube I had set in concrete the day before and sealed it at the joint using silicone rubber.

When we get a new line we will use the new pole and abandon the old one (behind the holly on the left above). The afternoon went dull and overcast but remained fairly warm so E and I did a little pruning and tidying up before returning indoors for the day. In the meantime I took these pictures….

In the next month or so things will look entirely different as Autumn comes knocking. I will then be able to do some outdoor work, filling in the edges of the edging stones around the Mound and flowerbed. Why then? There will be no ants trying to bite me whilst I am doing it!

Shirley Anne

Before I forget

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Tired and Emotional

Tired and Emotional (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I arose very early on Tuesday morning and was soon up and about though still remaining a little tired. I have had these feelings for quite some time, tired, listless, drained and not wanting to do anything but sit or lie down. I don’t give in to such thoughts of course, I keep active instead. One of the reasons I awoke was to do something about that tree stump in the front garden which stubbornly refuses any attempt to remove it. After breakfast I donned my overalls and gave it another go but was soon defeated, the saw made only a small amount of progress so I put it away. Attempt number two was a better idea. I took my cordless drill and a wood bit to the stump and drilled several deep holes in it. Next I poured into the holes some herbicide until they were full. Now all I have to do is wait and see if that gets results. Hopefully it will otherwise I will have to think of something else, a chainsaw perhaps? Anyway I returned indoors to chat with E who had just come downstairs for her breakfast. She’d asked what I had been doing so early in the morning and then we chatted about other things. I mentioned a dream I had dreamt but at first I couldn’t remember it’s content. Immediately upon waking I kept the dream in my thoughts in the hope I could write it down later as I usually do. In the dream I was visiting a building site, the house someone was building. On my arrival there I saw a tower of scaffolding standing about seven or eight metres high and I started to climb it in order to reach the person whose house it would become when finished. I thought it was extremely odd that this person, a guy, a colleague from my past was involved with such a project as that sort of work was foreign to him, he just wasn’t capable. His wife was with him and it seemed that she had more knowledge of what to do than he had. Just then the scaffolding fell away from the house, though it no longer appeared to be a house but an open-sided factory of some sort. I fell to the ground surrounded by the scaffold and severely injured. Somehow I managed to dig myself out and was furious with my ex-colleague. I somehow pushed the scaffolding back to its original position and upright as I argued with him. I have no idea where the strength to do that had come from! I then found myself carrying out some work before I woke up rather abruptly. Now what I am about to write you may find as strange as I did, I had blood on my night-clothes. It was fresh blood and was easily washed off (I washed the whole garment later) in the hand basin. I checked my body for evidence of any wounds and could not find anything! What can I say?

Shirley Anne

Hooray a quiet day!

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What a nice and quiet day Monday was, well almost. Early rise then breakfast, a little later I was placing one foot in front of the other as I walked to the north of town along the seafront. It started bright and sunny but soon after I began the walk it turned cloudy and somewhat cool, which I didn’t mind. The wind had changed and was now blowing from the north-west, hence the coolness. It was way too early for lunch by the time I got back home so I sat out on the patio with E with a coffee for the sunshine had returned. Because it was around noon the shadow of the house had now covered most of the patio but E was able to sit in the sunny part. An hour later and the patio was in full sunshine again and would be for the next three and a half hours if it didn’t turn cloudy again. It didn’t turn cloudy during the remainder of the day. We returned indoors for lunch by which time it was hot and humid outside. Now I could have done some work, which I was wanting to do but because of the weather conditions I decided against that idea. I spent the afternoon in the garden either on the patio or pottering about around the garden itself removing weeds and debris, nothing strenuous of course. Around five o’clock I got the hose and watered the plants before finally going back indoors to do some domestic chores. E had gone out, taking her mom they spent a couple of hours in town doing some business and window-shopping. When I was outside I had left my phone indoors. I sometimes do that so I am not disturbed but I check to see if anyone has called. Our next-door neighbour had called me three times on the mobile and twice on the house phone. E had just returned and before she came inside I told her about the calls thinking a parcel had been left with our neighbour which sometime happens. When E came back she told me our neighbour was having problems with her electric shower! Although it was now approaching meal time I told E I was going next door to see if I could help with the shower and she then told me that I should take note that our neighbour’s gates were stiff to open. Sure enough the gates were sticking together at the bottom. All had been quiet until our neighbour put a spanner in the works, lol. I knocked on the door and was invited inside. I went upstairs along with her son and checked the operation of the shower. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it just as it was when I checked it a few weeks earlier. The problem was they didn’t know how to use the controls to get the best from the shower. I explained how the shower works and the link between water flow and pressure to the heat of the water. The heat settings only switch on the elements either high or low. Water control does the rest. Finally the penny dropped and they could now see what they were doing wrong. I asked if they had an adjustable spanner (wrench) and the son fetched one. I took them both to the gates and showed them what the problem was with them sticking. I had the adjustments made in twenty seconds and all was fine. Maybe next time (though there shouldn’t be a next time after my adjustment) they could do it themselves, or rather the son could. It would be a first.

Shirley Anne

Now and then

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Wednesday had been a really hot day, well insofar as it normally gets around here it was hot. Although the average temperature only hovered around 21 deg C there was no wind. Out on the patio it was a sun-trap and probably hotter. Doing anything much was out of the question soon after midday. In the morning I had spent an hour or so in the front garden chopping down an unruly and overgrown tree. I am not sure it could be called a tree as such but it grew from a central base from which several ‘trunks’ and smaller shoots rose into the air to a height of  four metres. Here it is to the left of the tall holly tree ( picture taken  earlier in the year ).Many drooping purple-coloured flowering heads hung down among the leaves. It had begun to mingle in the branches of the large holly tree too. I say ‘chopped’ it down but in fact I had to use a saw, the axe simply bounced off the stems if used. E and I spent an hour cutting down the branches in order to place them in the wheelie bins. We neither of us worked during the afternoon but spent it, most of it, on the patio. The root ‘ball’ would have to be dealt with another day. On Thursday morning therefore I donned my overalls, boots and gloves to get stuck into digging it out. The day was beginning to get hot so I had little time in which to do it. However, I first had to saw off the remains of the trunks and offshoots in order to get at it. Another go with the axe proved useless though had access been better it might have worked. It would take a lot of time and effort to shift the roots which undoubtedly were mingling with the roots of the other plants and trees there. I had to give up on the whole idea. I remember the problems we’d had removing two other trees of the same variety when we started work on constructing the Mound in the rear garden a few years ago. They took a long time to dig out even though we had open access. It was only recently that I had cut up the remains of those root balls which after those three or four years had finally begun to dry out. Here they are on the ground which I have since worked on and call the Plot (bottom picture)

Even then it was hard work cutting them. At the moment of writing this I am not sure what we’ll do about removing the one in the front garden border. I have to check out and research some possible solutions, perhaps pouring herbicides into holes drilled into it to kill it off. I do remember I used salt around the roots on those other two plants which did stop them from growing new shoots but of course salt would kill off the other nearby plants too in this instance. Soon after I had stopped work I sat in the rear garden in the shade for a short time before an old customer called me asking if I would solve a couple of electrical problems for her. The work was local, easy and paid well. How could I refuse?

Shirley Anne

Still……..

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Norman tees off at Royal Birkdale

Norman tees off at Royal Birkdale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Work is still ongoing at the house two doors away, though that work is now concentrated on developing the grounds rather than the house itself which is completed both inside and out. The ground works seem to be taking far longer than I would have expected but of course it isn’t my house. E and I were talking about the progress of the work which has been slow from the start and how much longer will it be before our new neighbours can move in. They had been expecting to move in two months ago! We think the slow progress has been due to a lack of control over the work that has been done. A project such as this requires a site foreman to chase the various trades persons to speed things up and to maintain proper control of schedules as would be the case in any construction development. We are not sure proper control has been maintained in this case. Still the noise from the house continues each day as it has done for over seven months. More noise from both our next-door neighbours over the last couple of days as one is having the garage roof replaced/repaired whilst the other has a guy cutting down some very out of control Leylandii trees in her rear garden.which should really have been cut down years ago long before they got so tall and wide. For years the husband would prune them back as much as he could but he needed to use an extension ladder to do it and even then it was extremely difficult. Since he died, it will be four years come November, she has had other Leylandii trees chopped down and removed in both the front and rear gardens. A few months ago I myself chopped down an out-of-control tree in her front garden to help her out. It was a job her son should have done as he is fit enough and twenty-five years younger! One snag there, he just isn’t capable but that is because he was never encouraged or prevailed upon to do his bit at home. So life is going on all around us. It will be great when all the work is done and we can have our street back for a while. Speaking of streets, the local authority have placed notices on almost all of the street lamp posts to indicate a temporary parking restriction in order to prevent them becoming congested during the British Open golf championship being held here once again at the Royal Birkdale golf course a week or so away. The ‘Common’, which is common ground adjacent to the club and used by many to exercise their dogs will be turned into a car park during the event. A fee is levied of course, any excuse to squeeze money out of people as I see it. Still….

Shirley Anne

Too hot

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English: Sheep in the shade. On the road from ...

Sheep in the shade. On the road from High Forest Farm to Clough Head. It was an extremely hot and humid day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is the same every year, I (we) moan about the dreary dull wet days of winter and when it gets hot and sunny I do the same, never satisfied. When it is cool (and dry if I’m outdoors) I can get on with the various jobs that need doing and special jobs I call my projects but once it gets too warm and humid I don’t feel much like doing anything. So it was on Saturday. I had slept in a little longer than usual but that was due to my not getting off to sleep sooner. I hadn’t done much on Friday so wasn’t as tired as I might have been. There wasn’t any reason for me to get up early anyway. By the time I arrived downstairs it was already bright, sunny and warm. I had a little something to eat and went out on to the patio to enjoy the sunshine. I had it in mind to do a little gardening but wasn’t in a hurry to start. In fact it wasn’t until mid-afternoon before I did anything. E went to her monthly meeting at one o’clock and I wanted to eat lunch before doing any work but it was too early to eat. I went back to the patio and lay down for an hour then had lunch. The work I wanted to do in the front garden was to pluck out weeds, plant a small holly bush in the mound, one that had been growing in a pot but needed putting in the ground and then to water the garden too. It was very hot in the front garden as there is no shade from the sun at all in the afternoon. Once I had finished there it was into the rear garden to water the plants there and again there was little or no shade there either! It’s all too much like hard work in the summer when all I want to do is relax. It isn’t that I don’t want to work but the heat and humidity make it so uncomfortable, for me anyway. E arrived back home around four-thirty and we both spent an hour on the patio, she to lie down, me to just sit this time and chat. She would be off again very early in the morning to spend the day at the NEC (National Exhibition Centre) in Birmingham to a food festival being held there. It is an annual event she and a couple of others attend. I would have to either go somewhere or sit it out at home trying to relax in the heat. Either way it would be uncomfortable for me. Roll on the cooler weather!

Shirley Anne

Montbretia at thirty paces

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Another warm and humid day on Thursday yet I had determined to arise early and do some more work in the garden before it got too warm and sticky. Alas it didn’t work out that way as by the time I had finished breakfast it was already uncomfortable to work in. The repairs to the brickwork I had done on the raised bed the day before was now solid. The job I had in mind this time was to mix some, well quite a bit, of concrete made with granite dust (granno). I wanted to place it along the joints between the paving slabs and the border stones I had placed around the Mound and the west wall flowerbed. When I did the stone border along the long flowerbed a couple of months ago I formed a substantial joint along the whole length in order to prevent gaps appearing either caused by the weather or more likely the activity of ants! Ants have been very active lately along the west wall flowerbed border and also along the front edge of the Mound where they face the lawn and a couple of gaps have appeared along with the tell-tale sign of excavated soil. I’ll say one thing for ants, they certainly work hard. However I had to shelve the idea of doing the work until it gets a little cooler. I was sitting at the computer late morning when I received a call for my services. Someone not far away wanted me to replace a ceiling light. I was happy to do it and off I went. I was back home twenty-five minutes later. I waited a short time before having lunch after which I sat out on the patio for a while. I noticed the ‘bib tap’ (faucet similar to that shown in picture)  was leaking water from the handle yet it was valved-shut.

English: Metal engraved tap (valve) in Fužine ...

Metal engraved tap (valve) in Fužine castles yard, Ljubljana, Slovenia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The garden hose is usually kept connected to this tap in the rear garden whereas we keep the hose for use in the front garden in one of the garages and connect it to the tap there when we want to use it. The packing seal, usually called the stuffing box, was worn so I used some PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) tape to wrap around the stem which effectively cured the leak. Now I was keen to do something else but there was little else to do so I sat it out again on the patio before watering the garden plants. I thought I would sit a while longer outside to relax and enjoy the view but I spotted a montbretia sticking out of the soil on the far side of the garden, about thirty metres away! When you have been digging out montbretia and bluebells for weeks on end (see earlier posts) you get to spot them as soon as they appear. Actually I don’t know how five minutes earlier I hadn’t seen it when watering the plants.

Shirley Anne

Uncomfortable

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Medieval dentist removing tooth

Medieval dentist removing tooth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know I shouldn’t complain about the weather for there is nothing I can do about it. These past few days have been very warm and humid, so much so it has left me feeling very uncomfortable and drained of energy. It has more to do with the humidity rather than the temperature and that applies to everyone. We can only cool down (in the air) if our perspiration is allowed to evaporate but the higher the humidity the less that can happen. I try to do as little as possible when conditions are humid but it isn’t easy. On Thursday morning I had a dental appointment across town and even at ten o’clock in the morning it was beginning to feel uncomfortable. How grateful I was that the surgery is fully air-conditioned. Whilst I was waiting to see the dentist I received a phone call from my neighbour informing me that I should return home because the house alarm had been sounding. I wondered why E hadn’t contacted me but as we haven’t been on speaking terms she asked a neighbour! All that however is a different story which I will not go into at this time. I explained that it was impossible for me to return immediately and left it at that. The alarm would automatically cease sounding after twenty minutes anyway and when I did arrive back home some forty minutes later it had indeed cut off.

English: A house alarm

A house alarm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It transpired that the main panel battery was faulty but I called the alarm company and asked if they could attend and replace it and also do a complete service at the same time. We hadn’t an existing maintenance agreement so I arranged that with the engineer when he called. For an annual fee (presently £108) they will check out the system each year and carry out any necessary repairs. I had asked their office not to send an engineer before three o’clock as I was eating out. They came at one-fifteen! Fortunately I had been to the pub before then but my visit there was cut short. It was just as well as it turned out. It is unusual for people to arrive earlier than the appointed time I have to say but I suppose they had time on their hands. My dental appointment by the way was for a routine check-up and clean but I have been referred to a local clinic in regard to a gum infection at the dentist’s request. He just wanted a second opinion. By mid-afternoon all had calmed down, dentist, pub, alarm sorted but I had to water the gardens once again. It is easy enough for me to go and stand in the shower if I get too uncomfortable but the poor plants must be wondering when it will be that it rains again! I wish it would too.

Shirley Anne

Different work in progress

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Today, Tuesday (22 nd) as I write this post, I have been busy at home all day long. I actually received a call an hour ago asking if I would do a small electrical job! Now there’s a thing but I am waiting for his return call at this minute to let me know for sure. So this morning my first job was to cut and fit four lengths of semi-circular molding to cover the joints on the pillar/stand I have made and then paint them with primer. An hour later I gave the whole unit another coat of gloss paint and left it to dry, which will take it at least 24 hours. Gloss paint takes time to dry and even then it will be a few more days before it becomes rock-hard. It will probably be the weekend before I attempt to use it. Following that work I removed the top hinge on the door to the small lounge in order to set it further into the frame by chiselling out a little wood beneath it. This has the effect of lifting the leading bottom edge slightly so that it clears the floor covering, the carpet. The new carpet pile was restricting the door moving over it. That work took me almost to lunch time and after lunch I decided to water the gardens because of the dry weather. As I went into the rear garden however I saw that the lawn was looking a little unkempt due to the daisies and other plants growing in it. I think it needs treating to eradicate weeds but at the moment it isn’t too bad. Anyway I had to mow it. Rain threatened, that is I could just about feel tiny drops of rain falling on my bare skin now and then but it didn’t materialise and I got on with the mowing. Once that was done I could water the garden. When I say water the garden I usually mean the border plants and those in planters or on the patio. I only water the grass rarely at this time of year though in the warmer months I try to give it a watering regularly. That took some time as once again I had to stop to dig out Montbretia shoots. I moved into the front garden and to give the plants there a good soaking too but first I spent some time removing a few weeds from the flowerbeds. I got stung by the rose-bush as I reached between the stems to get at a weed. I wasn’t wearing gloves and I had forgotten the fact that rose bushed have thorns, large thorns! The flowers are beautiful though in this picture only one has at yet fully opened..

I wish it were possible for you to smell the scent, it is a heavy and powerful aroma which can be sensed far away from the plant. Other plants in the front garden are in blossom too, like the small rhododendron in the Mound. The Mound has been left to grow a little wild though some wild flowers such as dandelions and thorny weeds I remove.

The flowerbeds I worked on last year have been growing back well but a few plants, supposedly perennials, haven’t grown back for some reason. See bare patches at the front.

Shirley Anne

One addition……

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….and one subtraction was the name of the game on Monday (24th). Again I was eager to resume work after Sunday resting. I actually got the opportunity to lie down on the patio, out of the wind but in the warmth of the sun. It wasn’t that windy but sitting in it too long would be uncomfortable unless the sun was shining. I did sit in it for a time then decided to get out one of the mats and lay on that for a time. So it was now Monday morning and I was up and ready to go well before nine o’clock. I wanted to complete the application of the first coat of gloss paint on that wood work which remained with only an undercoat. That meant all the skirting boards and the fire surround or mantlepiece. I had already completed the door, door and window frames on Saturday. The skirting took less than an hour but the fire surround took around two hours and if you look at the picture you can see why….

…it is quite intricate in detail. So now I had all the gloss paint done but I have to give it all a second coat and do a little filling-in with caulk in a few places beforehand too. The second coat should be quicker to do. What I like about the gloss paint I am using is that it appears to have a slight grey-green tint when applying it but it turns pure white as it dries and that makes it very easy to apply over the first coat as far as seeing where you have done as you paint. Looking at the picture again you will notice that the fire has gone. Before I began work at nine I had already visited the local fireplace installer to organise an engineer to call to give me some advice regarding the existing fire and the hearth itself. Just before I had finished the painting their engineer called to the house and we discussed the alternatives available to me. The problem is that the existing hearth and back granite (reconstituted) is of the wrong colour now that I have or will have changed the decor and I want it to be a shade of grey instead. The fire itself is now 28 years old and I decided to replace it after our discussion so with that in mind I asked the guy to disconnect it and take it away. I said I would call into their office after lunch to arrange and pay for the work to be done which is to tile over the back and hearth and install a new fire. I went to the pub for lunch (this is becoming a regular habit) and then drove to the office, chose a fire and tile colour, paid the fee (£800) which includes labour costs, and returned home. I was informed that the work might be undertaken at the end of the following week. Perfect. I didn’t stop at home long as I had to go out and purchase the tube of caulk which I had forgotten to buy earlier and at the same time visit the garden centre. One of the shrubs in the long flowerbed hadn’t taken root and had died and I wanted to put something else in its place. The shrub was merely an off-shoot of a plant already growing in the bed (the one on the extreme left in the picture) which I had removed when digging out bluebells a couple of months ago. I gave it the chance to grow further along the bed but it didn’t work. Anyway I bought another Prunus Novita (Cherry Laurel) to plant in the space…..

It is the tall dark plant against the wall dead-centre in the picture. The other one I purchased a couple of weeks ago I planted in the west wall flowerbed which has had more plants put in it since.

So one addition (the plant) and one subtraction (the fire).

Shirley Anne

Spreading it about

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With an empty day ahead on Wednesday I decided to get into the garden again and do some work there. It was a dull and breezy morning and wasn’t that warm either but I guess it is still only early Spring. That didn’t matter for I would soon warm up doing the work. My first task was to rake off some of the soil from the ‘corner plot‘, filter it out and take it over to the patio in order to top-up the soil levels in the raised flowerbeds there. This is a picture of the corner plot taken from inside the large greenhouse after it had been raked. The strange clumps beneath the tree on the right are ferns beginning to open up. I love ferns and wished they were evergreen but sadly they are not.

Here is an old picture of the patio showing the three flowerbeds on it taken last year when the artificial turf was being laid upon it and before the Plot at bottom left had been redesigned.

Not only did I rake off the soil for that job but I also spread soil from the corner plot along the length of the long flowerbed to which it is connected……

…….and dug out a few bluebells along the way! One day perhaps there will be no more bluebells. I live in hope. After giving the greenhouse a sweep and putting everything away it was approaching lunchtime. I had thought about dining out again so I changed my clothes with that in mind but first I had to drive to the electrical store to order in another ‘part night’ photo cell. It wasn’t my usual electrical supplier but another who had supplied me with the same item last year when I was installing a lamp-post in the rear garden. We have an identical photo cell controller which switches on the internal porch light at the front of the house. That had become faulty a day or two earlier. When it becomes available I will be informed. I propose to remove the existing unit and wire its replacement to a position at the rear of the house rather than where it is at the front. It should really have been placed there originally as the rear wall faces approximately north. Anyway that job will be done sometime in the days ahead. Having placed the order I drove to my local pub but the parking lot was so full I decided to go somewhere else instead. The place I visited was a couple of miles away and was almost empty. E and I have been there a few times in the past and the food is always excellent. I was able to relax there for an hour or so before driving back to town, stopping off at a fuel station on the way back home. The sun had begun to shine and I made myself a coffee and sat on the patio for a time but it went dull again so I returned indoors. Whilst spreading out the soil along the flowerbed I had dug out a couple of bluebells as I said………but I had missed one! It was to have a seventeen-hour reprieve…………then I would return with fork in hand to remove it.

Shirley Anne

 

Less and less

Standard
This view from the Symbolic Mountain in the ga...

This view from the Symbolic Mountain in the gardens in Cowra, Australia shows many of the typical elements of a Japanese garden. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have reached that stage in life where I am getting less and less bothered if I get electrical work or not. Whilst the work is still available I am now tending to take it but only if I feel like doing so. I have of course to earn enough to cover my expenses if I am to continue. So I have to reach a minimum amount on average each week before I can begin to earn a profit. It is a fine balance because I only take on board the smaller jobs which obviously pay less. Having said that it only takes one job to cover my expenses, anything else is profit. So if I get two jobs I am earning enough to make it worthwhile but usually I do more than two or three jobs each week on average.

Revenues and expenses

Revenues and expenses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have to say, at this point in time anyway, that I cannot see when it will be that I retire from my electrical work completely, all I do know is that I am taking on board less and less as time goes by. So what does a person do when all interest is lost? If I retired right now I would only have to find another interest to keep me occupied. However, that interest would have to be something which kept me physically active and not just keep me sitting at a desk, at a computer for instance. I have never liked the idea of not being physically active in my working life or even in my home life. I have to be active because that’s who I am. Less and less for me in one respect means more and more in another. I am fortunate in that we have gardens at home as there is always work to be done in them. Over the last couple of years I have been more involved working in the gardens than ever before. Because I am doing less electrical work as time passes by this allows me more time to work in the gardens if I wish. Soon though all work in the gardens will be solely maintenance work as the main construction projects have all been completed. Maintenance is something I am very used to and the work is guaranteed never to end!

Shirley Anne