A nice day for pottering

I could make any day a nice day in which to potter about but usually I have something bigger to do or something more important. That’s not to say that pottering about is less important for I believe pottering about is beneficial to our well-being. We can wander about aimlessly without being under pressure and find so many little things to do which ought to be done but get left behind in the great scheme of things we call our lives. It is in the execution of these small tasks that we often find the greatest pleasure. Monday was the beginning of yet another week though for me that has begun more and more to be of less significance as each day is taken the same. I often forget which day it is I have to say. I have been taking a break from heavy work, from projects, from anything inside the house lately and have concentrated mainly on working (and pottering) in the gardens. If you’d have asked me five years ago what I like about gardening I would have told you I hate gardening. How times and attitudes have changed for me, now I enjoy the work no matter what that work might be. I treat gardening as a never-ending project and work at it in the same way as with any other project I undertake though those projects obviously do end. At the beginning of this week I have nothing set in mind to do so I suppose I will be pottering about a lot. This morning (4 th) I emptied out one of the two industrial bags which are filled with the sand I removed during the construction of the pit in the cellar a couple of months ago. 

It occupied the area where you can now see a dark wet space right of centre in the picture above. It was the same sized bag as the white one top centre  which is still full of sand. That one will most probably remain there for some time because it is out-of-the-way where it is.. The emptied sand was put into smaller plastic bags and is now stored in the garage to the right out of the picture. The area in the picture is that which is first seen when exiting the cellar into the rear garden. During the Autumn leaves accumulate  mostly on the right in the picture so I have been endeavouring to keep it as tidy as possible to make sweeping the leaves up easier to do as well as making it less of an eyesore. I took the following pictures on the day of things around the garden.The apples beginning to grow,

Under the apples trees,

Under the little oak tree,

Behind the apple trees the potatoes and rhubarb (of which some has already ended up in a rhubarb crumble),

and finally some of the baby beetroot plants we put into this raised bed and elsewhere

The beetroot are those without the flowers in case you were wondering!

Shirley Anne

 

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Good as new

My energy levels soon picked up after a great night’s sleep. I had been for an unaccustomed long walk on Saturday so I had been feeling a wee bit tired afterward. It’s not that I don’t do long walks but I hadn’t been so far in one go for quite some time. That is the key, the walk was done in more or less one go with a brief stop for toilet breaks and a chat with a lady walking her dog. So on Sunday morning I was as good as new and ready to go again though I didn’t go anywhere. Sunday was once more a lovely sunny day and very warm. Saturday had been a much cooler and overcast day which made the walk easier and comfortable. I don’t like exercising when the weather is too warm and that’s why if I go for walks during the warmer months they are usually done early in the day. It was due to the fine weather that I had to water the gardens again on Sunday and according to the forecast it looked like I would be doing the same for some time to come. The month of May as it happened had been the warmest on record since recording began. It was for the best part dry and sunny too. If ‘flaming’ June lives up to its reputation bright sunny days lie ahead (I write this on 3 rd). I did a little pruning of the trees close to the path in the rear garden and swept up the fallen leaves again. Every day there have been leaves lying on the path and part of the lawn and it’s not even Autumn! Something I will just have to put up with I guess. I spent some time relaxing on the patio during the afternoon. My youngest son had spent the night at the house as he does sometimes but he didn’t stay long once he had arisen and taken a shower. He was off to town, that is a public park on the town fringes to have lunch. Every year there is a food festival held in the park and the eating is free. He never misses an opportunity! I might have gone along too but for the crowds that attend these functions, I don’t like crowds. E didn’t fancy the idea either and she would have had difficulty in getting about anyway. There are several events and function held in Southport each month every year but I have never taken much interest in any of them though many people do. I prefer the quieter life.

Shirley Anne

Wait ’till Tuesday

Bank holiday
Bank holiday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is late Friday afternoon and this weekend here in the UK it is the Spring Bank Holiday which means no work, generally speaking, until Tuesday. I have not long returned home from a short walk to the chemist to collect some tablets I was prescribed for a fungal infection in my toenails. I should have collected them earlier but other things got in the way and I simply forgot. I was up early and spent some time on the treadmill and cross-trainer before having my breakfast. I had to wait for E to get up and come downstairs before deciding to take a shower just in case she needed assistance. There would be no work today for at eleven-thirty she had an appointment at the local hospital and I had to take her there. She is presently unable to drive herself because of her condition and the medication she is taking. The appointment took about a half-hour after which we would normally have driven back home but we made a detour and paid our neighbour who was admitted to hospital a few days earlier a brief visit, (see earlier post). Although she has lost an awful lot of weight she is looking much better though she always was slim anyway. She is however very poorly and knows herself she is living on borrowed time but she remains jovial and positive. Hopefully she will be able to return home by this coming Tuesday (8th). We spent over an hour with her before finally leaving for home. It was way after two o’clock when we had lunch and then I had to go out again for my prescription. Now as I write it is almost four o’clock and that is why I say there will be no work for me until Tuesday. I have just received a mail indicating the face mask I had ordered in order to protect me from the floor paint fumes is on its way so I could do some work tomorrow but I won’t. I propose to take full advantage of the three-day break which as it happens is forecast to be hot and sunny.

Shirley Anne

Walks with ‘M’

 

 

It had been at least a week since I last went for a walk and it was all due to my having too much to do in the house, specifically the cellar storage room. As I write this on Tuesday afternoon on the first day of May the room only requires that the floor be painted but as yet we haven’t received the paint. This morning I was able to go for a walk and that was mainly because E had told me that today I was to take a break and rest from my labours. Had I not listened I guess I would have started work in filling in the holes in the floor of the gym/boiler room in readiness for that floor to be painted also. My plan was to prepare the sand and grit mixture today and on Wednesday use some of it mixed with the cement and begin filling in the holes. I am glad I didn’t do anything and went for a walk instead. My walk took me three and a half miles south of town along the coastal road.

English: Dunes at Formby Point
Dunes at Formby Point (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Formby Beach
Formby Beach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Sand Dunes and Beach, Freshfield. San...
Sand Dunes and Beach, Freshfield. Sand dunes and the beach at Freshfield. Blackpool tower and the Big One rollercoaster could clearly be seen from the top of this high sand dune on this day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Ainsdale Sands The wide expanse of sa...
Ainsdale Sands The wide expanse of sand on Ainsdale beach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was one of those mornings with bright sunshine and clouds but with a stiff breeze too. It wasn’t that warm but got warmer as I began my journey back home and the clouds disappeared too, though they returned after lunch. The afternoon was much cooler as the clouds rolled back and filled the sky but it didn’t matter, I was back indoors. My return journey took me through the dunes where it was much warmer being as it was sheltered from the wind but there were many insects flying about making a nuisance of themselves. I had skipped breakfast but had taken a banana and some sultanas to nibble at along the way, and of course a bottle of water. The beach was almost deserted but there were a few people doing the same as myself, walking through the dunes. If you like sandy beaches you would like Ainsdale, Freshfield and Formby for there is plenty of sand along that part of the coast. Birkdale, where I now live, has more grass and mud to overcome before the sand can be reached. I used to live in Freshfield and often went running along the beach there. Still it is only an hour and a half walk or so away from where I now live. Who is ‘M’? What is the name of my blog?

Shirley Anne

 

A scorcher

Alright it wasn’t so hot to be unbearable but it certainly had been hot considering it was barely half-way through April! It was Wednesday the 18th and the local temperature had gradually risen during the morning to reach around 22 deg C in the afternoon. Added to that it was sunny throughout the day, a really pleasant day that wouldn’t have been out-of-place in the summer months let alone April. Nice as it all was however I didn’t get to rest outside on the patio until after lunch. I had spent three hours in the garden before deciding to return indoors. I had arisen a little late and spent some time using the gym equipment before breakfast and following that I resumed work in the cellar room. My efforts at rendering the wall were what you might call not that professional but after all I am not a builder. It meant I had some filling in to do but chose to use plaster rather than cement as it is easier to use and easier to get a smooth surface, not that a smooth surface was all that necessary. It would look better when painted over if I used plaster. Once I had done that I sealed the wall using a diluted PVA mixture. The next task in the room would be filling in the holes in the floor, painting the walls and ceiling (again) and painting the shelving. At this stage I am undecided as to whether to re-position the room light and replace it in the process though it is only a storage room. I had time before lunch to mow the lawn

The picture was taken later in the afternoon along with the next two….

The rhubarb is doing very well in its new home. If my readers will remember I moved it from where it was to the raised bed above. As yet there are no signs of the potatoes in the bare ground in front of it.

Shirley Anne

 

All very well but……

…..it can be boring! What? Public holidays. Over Easter the weather can be warm and sunny but can also be wet, cold and windy. Where I live it was a mixture of all and at times wasn’t pleasant at all. Many folk take a trip somewhere but unless it is to a warmer country it hardly seems worth it unless the weather isn’t a consideration.

English: Easter holidays On a cold North Sea b...
Easter holidays On a cold North Sea beach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does one do if the weather is poor? Well there are all sorts of things of course and for some being outdoors is great no matter what the weather is like. For those who wish to remain indoors there are still things they can partake in but it all depends on the individual. My Easter Day was spent indoors and as it was Sunday I did no work for Sundays I rest. However it is hard for me to spend all day doing nothing so I get bored. There aren’t many recreational activities which interest me these days except playing my guitar or watching documentaries on tv but even those things can’t satisfy all the time. Social events are fine but for me they would be boring if all I did was socialise every day. So I rested uneasy for most of the day with only the thought of being able to continue with my projects on Monday! Had the day been warm and sunny however everything would have been different, I would have been out in the garden and on the patio most of the time. I could have gone walking but I had done that only two days before and I wanted to rest anyway. I often wonder what other people get up to when the weather is poor and they remain indoors. To be honest I don’t really want to know!

Shirley Anne

Nice but…

Sundays are nice but for me they can be boring as I don’t do much in the way of work. It isn’t just the work which keeps me occupied and happy, as long as I am doing something I am happy. Putting it another way I am not the kind of person who can sit relaxing for long periods unless I am exhausted. So Sundays are nice if I am not totally unoccupied. On Sunday, that is 25 th of the month, it was a brilliantly sunny day and I made a couple of attempts to sit outside in the sunshine but the wind was blowing and it was cold sitting outside unless I was sheltered from it. Unfortunately there was little shelter to be had because of the wind direction. I was outside inspecting my work of the previous day the cementing around the grid, to see how it had set. All was fine but as rain was forecast for Monday and especially Tuesday I wanted to apply some water-repellent sealant on the cement. Unfortunately that wasn’t possible as the cement hadn’t dried out completely. E was pressing me for the use of the washing machine but had agreed not to use it until Monday to allow the cement to dry out more thoroughly. I took the opportunity to spend a few minutes replacing the drain pipes and lengthening two of them then I placed a plastic sheet temporarily behind them so that the cement would be shielded from water splashes when they were in use or when it rained.It is a pretty much sheltered spot anyway and doesn’t always get wet when it rains. It looks as if  the grid had been the source of the ingress of water into the cellar room cupboard for on the day it appeared to be slowly drying out. It would take days for it to be completely dry though. One place it was really warm was in the greenhouse. I had been in there watering the flowers we have growing in tubs. It would have been an ideal spot for sitting in the sunshine had I been tempted to fetch a chair!

Shirley Anne

And the plans which……

Best Laid Plans
Best Laid Plans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…didn’t happen! I was writing about making plans in yesterday’s post but on Friday, that is today as I write, I overslept. Over sleeping isn’t really true for had I not needed the sleep I wouldn’t have taken it. In real terms it meant I awakened at nine-thirty instead of eight o’clock which would be more my usual time. So it wasn’t the sleeping-in that prevented my doing some more work in the cellar but more the other things which got in the way. Prayer time, a shower, getting dressed, applying make-up, putting the soiled towels into the washing machine which had piled-up during the week and chatting with E all before I grabbed a quick breakfast, those were the things which prevented any work being done before noon. Following that I decided to venture out into the rear garden to sweep up the enormous piles of fallen ivy and some holly leaves that had been nicely stored in a couple of places by the high wind. It was another miserably cold day though it was showing signs of getting warmer for the snow had been slowly melting. According to the forecast it would be far warmer by the following Monday.  It was now almost twelve o’clock and time to return indoors to thaw out! I had been to the garage to collect the brush and bucket with which to sweep the leaves but returned later to empty out some things from my van and sort them out for storage. Now it was time to hang the washing after which I fitted a coat hook behind one of the doors upstairs. I was about to prepare lunch when E asked if I could help search for something in the cellar so off we went to do that. I had lost count of the number of trips to the cellar I had made in the previous couple of hours which is often quite normal in this house! At last it was time for lunch, it was one forty-five. By the time I had finished lunch I was in no mood for starting work, which would have been painting the room in the cellar. What can I say? There’s always tomorrow.

 

Shirley Anne

 

And on to Sunday

Six Ways to Sunday
Six Ways to Sunday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was such a lovely sunny day that greeted me as I awoke from my slumber. I didn’t really want to exchange the warmth beneath the duvet but I knew I had to get up some time. It was nine o’clock and I forced myself into action. I didn’t dress for the day but put on my sports clothes for I was going to spend a little time on the treadmill. Before I went downstairs however I stripped off the bed linen and replaced it with fresh sheets. I collected some clothes which needed washing too and I took the two large bundles with me as I left the bedroom. Going directly into the laundry room in the cellar I put the first load into the washing machine and returned upstairs to put on my running shoes and socks. I returned downstairs with my water bottle and started my exercise. I had to open the cellar door leading into the garden to allow some much-needed ventilation as the room still smelled of paint and sealant! I left the door open whilst exercising. Although it was sunny outside it was also bitterly cold. For the next few days and for a couple of previous days we were to experience a cold snap with winds blowing from the east. We were getting our weather delivered fresh from Siberia for a change. All I can say about that is I am glad I live on the west coast and not the east! It would be bad enough here but far worse on the other side of the country. My main concern was for the plants in the garden, the semi-tropical ones such as the Phoenix Canariensis and the Fan Palms. They are supposed to be able to withstand temperatures down to -8 C but I sure wouldn’t like to put them to the test. With expected temperatures down to -2 C on this side of the country it would probably be alright. The plants are somewhat sheltered by native varieties in any case. Those temperatures incidentally are the ones through the night, daytime temperatures are expected to be a few degrees higher. Hopefully after a few days the winds would be coming from the west. I finished my exercise and as I normally do if it isn’t raining, I cool off outdoors in the garden. That is when I saw some more bluebells which needed digging out so I did the job whilst I was out there in my shorts and skimpy top! Gosh it was cold out of the sunshine but soon enough I was inside again and hanging up the first bundle of washing. I then placed the second bundle into the machine before finally going upstairs for something to eat…..at belated breakfast! I did venture out again later but this time I was well-wrapped up!

Shirley Anne

Last working day of the year

As long as it didn’t rain on Saturday (23) I intended to spend some more time in the garden again. It would be the last day in the year for doing any work for me but alas it didn’t happen. I had gotten up early and went for a long walk down the coastal road to Ainsdale. I chose that route as it was still dark at the time I went, 7.30. I wanted to take the route through the sand dunes but that could have proved very difficult in the dark. However, by the time I decided to return home it was light so I walked back through the dunes. When on the beach the sky was clear toward the south but northward it was dark and heavy. To the south I could see the mountains of North Wales, easily seen when the skies are clear. The oil rig westward out to sea was still fully lit against the dark sky. This time the tide had receded before I arrived but it had left an enormous amount of seaweed behind! I walked northward again along the beach to the point in the dunes where I would turn into them and off the beach. I was back home before 10.00 and had breakfast whilst E was busy doing something associated with her crafting hobby. As I mentioned I wanted to do a little gardening but events got in the way during the rest of the morning. After lunch I just didn’t feel like doing anything. It has been quite a busy twelve months with all the projects that I have been involved with both inside and outside the house. It helped not having to do electrical work for others, at least for the last nine months anyway. My time became my own and I could concentrate on my little domestic projects, and there were many! Just the way I like it, better for my health and well-being to have things to do to wile away the time. When I look back on the year I am amazed just how much was done, all of them written about in my posts, and there was still plenty of time to relax too. Saturday afternoon being one of them. There was always Sunday for a potter around the garden!

Shirley Anne