1st Hole, Royal Birkdale 1st Hole, Royal Birkdale from the stand at The Open on practice day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What a difference a day makes. How different a day was Wednesday to those preceding it! Dull and overcast yet still warm and humid with little or no wind but actually I liked it. I could sit outside and not be afraid of getting burned to a crisp if I had forgotten the sunscreen lotion. Thunder and lightning with plenty of rain had been predicted yet there was no hint of any of that until late in the afternoon. As I write this the rain has not yet arrived and neither has the thunder and lightning but that could change in an instant. I didn’t go for my morning walk though not for any particular reason. I spent the whole day at home with E instead. After lunch we sat outside but E returned indoors after a half-hour because at that time she felt the rain was about to fall. I remained outside just sitting in contemplation and admiring my surroundings. I often spend time alone doing that, even when it isn’t so warm. I just like being outdoors. The danger in doing that is that I almost always end up doing something in the garden or my thoughts meander to thinking about possible projects I could begin, not that I mind the prospect. I need to occupy my spare time doing something constructive and what better way than to immerse myself in some small project or another? Wednesday was a day for relaxing, something I tend not to do as often as perhaps I should. Maybe I am just not the relaxing type as some evidently are though when I absolutely need to rest I am the first to admit it and take it. The golf tournament at Royal Birkdale is in its second day as I write this but unless I am out walking I wouldn’t know it. I live pretty close to it too! There have been however more helicopters and small aircraft flying about than is usual around here, one small aircraft has been circling the course (and our house) several times prior to my writing this. So despite the goings on in the neighbourhood it is pretty much a quiet place most of the time.
Sunny Sunday sunshine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was wondering if E would eventually make it downstairs before ten o’clock as she was now on crutches for a few days to allow her foot to heal and that made it difficult to get about. Anyway she did manage and was soon eating breakfast though I had to take it to the table for her. An hour later I went out for a late morning walk. It was sunny and warm with a slight breeze as I walked along the seafront. Surprisingly there were not many people about, at least at that place and time. I walked back toward the town centre but only because I needed the bathroom! The town centre was busy as usual, just like any other day of the week. I remember a time when Sundays were held as sacred, a day for resting, a sabbath. It was unheard of for anyone to work on a Sunday except if it was necessary as in the case of police, fire and hospital staff for instance. How times have changed and that because of a non-believing secular society. Anyway a short walk of four miles saw me back home. I found E had taken up residence on the patio to sit in the sun with her feet up. I made a couple of drinks and joined her though I sat in the shade. Eventually it was lunchtime, well one-thirty, and rather than have her struggle back indoors I prepared lunch and we sat outside to eat it. Unfortunately she did have to go indoors to the bathroom after a while whilst I collected a mattress for her to lie upon when she returned. It was pleasant to sit outside and we stayed there for a couple of hours when we had visitors call. It was our eldest son and granddaughter and they stayed for an hour or so until it was time for her bed. As she is only five and a half that means six-thirty. We returned indoors for an evening meal. Monday promised to be even better but I would be doing some work for a change instead of just sitting around on the patio.
Metropolis relaxing after a show… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am like a coiled-up spring which quickly unwinds at the slightest opportunity when I ought to be able to relax more often. My problem is that I get bored too easily I suppose. Relaxing for me isn’t always about finding time to sit down and do nothing, it is more likened to taking walks or doing something I don’t usually do. Now taking walks is something I have done much more of this year though they were always a part of my routine anyway. The weather has had its ups and downs over the last few weeks, too hot, a little cool, wet and windy, take your pick. It’s something we in the UK are used to, a case of having to be I guess but growing up in this country makes it that much easier to live with. On Sunday the weather forecast was for it to be warm and sunny but for much of the morning it was anything but that. It was cool and windy. However, things picked up and by eleven o’clock the sun came out and slowly the clouds blew away. I took a walk down toward the beach and when I reached the coastal road it was empty of traffic. It had been cordoned off because of a running event taking place. It is one of a few annual sporting and other events held locally hereabouts. I had forgotten it was taking place. It didn’t prevent me taking my chosen route and by that time it was almost over in any case. Further along the route in a local park was another event and this one looked better supported than the running. It was the annual beer festival! Obviously more people were interested in drinking beer than going for a run. I returned home through the back streets and those nearest the park were filled with vehicles, no doubt many belonging to the park visitors! I recognised one or two of them as belonging to people I know. Finally I was back home where I joined E who was relaxing on the patio. After lunch we both returned to the patio and stayed there for quite some time. I actually remained seated for more than thirty minutes! Now that is unusual for me. The needs of the garden overtook me though and I ended up doing a small amount of weeding before getting out the hose and watering the plants.
The last couple of days proved to be a complete change from the warm even hot days preceding and in fact have been quite cool. The cooling effect was due mainly to the high winds though the temperature had dropped dramatically too. Not ideal for relaxing in the garden or even working in the garden. I had been feeling drained with a lack of enthusiasm for any activity. I didn’t even take a walk because of the wind and the rain too, yes we finally got the rain we were hoping for. Anyway it was mainly the wind which kept me indoors. That was Friday and Saturday and it looked as if Sunday was going to follow suit. The day started dull and windy though any rain that fell was very slight indeed, so much so it was barely there. The forecast was promising as far as it promised to be sunny later in the day. It was only about 14 deg C throughout the morning with a little wind so I went out for a walk wearing a lightweight jacket, this one which I had purchased a couple of weeks ago
It looks like a raincoat but it isn’t designed for wet weather, it is more just a coat for use in the cool evenings of the warmer months of the year. It is very lightweight and comfortable to wear and it keeps the wind at bay if it isn’t too windy. I walked into the town centre and on the way saw an electrician acquaintance of mine working in an empty shop. Naturally I stopped for a chat with him before moving on. There is an open space named Princess Diana Gardens which is in front of the local civic buildings and theatre/arts centre and there was an army brass band playing there. Many folk were sitting on the benches listening and I found a seat and stayed listening too.
Believe it or not the band were standing in the circular area above the fountains you see in the picture. Of course the fountains were not switched on! Unfortunately I had missed much of the music but was still able to hear the last twenty minutes of the performance. The weekend had been dedicated to the armed forces with celebrations in Liverpool as well as Southport. Once the music was over I continued with my walk, returning home after two hours. After one o’clock the day brightened up but it wasn’t until three-thirty that E and I managed to squeeze in some relaxation on the patio in the now bright sunshine. It was still a little breezy though and the temperature hadn’t risen much.
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!
Morning Sunshine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Amazing start to the month of May has seen us, that is where I live (Southport UK), enjoying almost entirely wall-to-wall sunshine. As I write this on Monday 8th we have had yet another sunny day with the rest of the week possibly remaining that way. Should I have spoken too soon? Time will tell but I am enjoying it while it lasts. It isn’t that I mind dull and wet days but sunshine is good. However that has meant I have had to water the gardens manually with the hose pipes but I’m not complaining. Things were to happen this week, a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday morning for a quick check-up and to arrange for a repeat prescription of hormones, the curtains to be fitted on Wednesday, the carpet to be laid on Friday and the furniture to be delivered on Saturday. That meant I had to do my shopping on Monday. I had ordered a floor (standing) lamp which I had been informed might arrive on Thursday. I wanted to purchase some casual flat-heeled shoes for general use in summer and I couldn’t be sure I would get the time to buy them at the time in the day I preferred to go shopping, the morning. Before setting off to the shops I did a spot of painting with primer on the cabinet drawers where I couldn’t paint them the previous time. I took the mile or so walk into town and shopped around for the shoes eventually buying all three pairs in the same shop. Yes I bought three pairs and all for £26. One shop wanted £40 for one pair of similar quality! Having purchased the shoes I went to Nero’s for a coffee before walking back home. It was warm in the sunshine at 9 o’clock in the morning but quite cool in the shade of the trees along the route I had taken. Thankfully it was mostly in the sunshine I walked. Returning home I over-painted the drawers together with the other side of the shelf with gloss paint and that was all that was left to do as far as the painting went. The rest of the day was spent on the patio and later watering the two gardens. I had no electrical work for a few days and had cancelled my advertisement for the week so I could have the time to myself and finish off the lounge project.
……the end. As far as the room (my small lounge) being decorated it is the end but I have been busy painting the little cabinet, its shelf and drawers and I gave what I hope will be the last coat of paint to the coffee table top. I may paint the detail in black though as I write this I am in two minds. It is now Sunday (7th), another gloriously warm and sunny day and being a Sunday I have rested from my usual labours. In the morning I went for a walk, passing my local pub on the way. A painter and decorator friend was there working! He was busy painting parts of the outside of the building. I called him a heathen (joking with him) asking why he was working on a Sunday to which he replied he hadn’t any other spare time. Well of course he had, we all have, it is just a question of priorities isn’t it? Once upon a time it was unheard of to work on a Sunday unless you were a doctor, nurse, policeman, fireman but now anything goes. Each to their own I say but the way I see it there will be a price to pay. I bade him farewell and carried on with my walk. Later, on my return home I passed by the pub again and he was still there. I stopped for a couple of minutes to chat then went home. It was now noon. I made a coffee and sat out on the patio before getting out the lawn mower to mow the lawn. I had intended to mow the lawn anyway whilst the weather remained dry. Back indoors an hour later I had lunch then once again went out into the garden. E had been hiding away inside the house all morning never venturing outside in the sunshine. Strange person she is. Eventually I couldn’t sit outside any longer without doing something and that was to clean the patio artificial turf. The prevailing winds in these parts is from the west but for over a week now it has come from the east. Accordingly it had blown the debris from the large lime tree which sits in a neighbour’s garden to the east all across our garden. I say debris but it appears to be husks or it is the remains of what appears to be the flowers that grow preceding the appearance of the leaves. I am not sure but just know that had the wind been blowing from the west our garden would have been much tidier! I cleaned the patio deck and the glass-topped table which has stood there since last summer. It was caked in dust. I got out one of the ‘mattresses’ and placed it on the reclined chair and forced myself to lie on it. I just lay there for ages. At last I took the rest I kept promising myself I would, it was really comfortable and I didn’t want to get off it. E did come out and sit on the patio later after she had hung out her washing. After a couple of hours of being lazy I got up and gave the garden plants a drink of water, especially those which are not yet fully established. Some of the shrubs are beginning to burst into flower and I am still plucking out the odd Montbretia and Bluebell as I find them. It remained sunny into the evening. A really nice day.
I suppose, well know for a fact, that nurtured gardens and man-made places never remain that way once the nurturing stops. Anyone who is a gardener will know that maintenance is necessary to keep things in order. My Sunday was spent just pottering about and doing nothing special, certainly no work. My house projects take a break on Sundays as I try my best to relax from my usual routine. I do find it difficult to do absolutely nothing at all but anything I do on my days off is very minimal, mowing the lawn and removing a weed or two is about as much as I will do. I did spend a ;little time in the rear garden and in the greenhouse tidying up and looking after the plants. In the garden itself I placed a bucket load of natural stones around the base of the fan palm as I did with the yucca close-by recently. The stones were filtered from the three buckets or containers that I had filled with all the rubble I had been digging out when removing bluebells. There seemed to as many rocks and stones as bluebell bulbs in some places. Anyway I filtered out the natural stones from the rest a few weeks ago but never got around to using them. Apart from picking out a weed or two as well I did no more. During the day I spent a little time in the small lounge, not to work but to sit and play guitar. I had borrowed a chair from the kitchen on which to sit when taking a break from work so it was handy for sitting on to play. I was near the window and so couldn’t avoid seeing the garden itself.
Obviously not all the garden can be seen in the picture but the section shown is that which I could see from where I was sitting. The picture is a poor reflection of the naked-eye view but if it is magnified it will show the detail. (click on image). On closer inspection it can be seen as a miniature wilderness which is the way it was intended to be. The flowerbeds in the front garden are cultivated and the bushes at the rear were planted. There are four other plants in the front part which I planted a year or two ago, everything else at ground level is wild, that is they are wild flowers and weeds. Those ‘weeds’ I don’t want to be there. like dandelions for instance, I remove when they show but the rest I allow to grow. One particular plant is known locally as Southport Weed though obviously not its real name and neither does it just grow in Southport but yes it is a weed or wild flower. It blankets the ground like a huge web and has tiny pink or purple flowers which are now in bloom and last throughout the summer. The bees love it and so do I. There is a problem with it though, it can spread all over the place if not controlled. It makes its home on brick walls and anywhere else it can get a hold but as long as it is plucked free it isn’t a real problem. There are other weeds amongst it which also have nice little flowers too and I leave them all to grow. It is the only part of both gardens I have deliberately allowed wild flowers to be a feature. Together with the rocks it really does look natural, something different from the cultivated parts of the garden.
In yesterday’s post I wrote about rooms never always being perfectly shaped, walls never always perfectly aligned with adjacent walls and the problems they cause when hanging wall paper. Far be it from me that I should place any blame on the construction problems I face when doing such work and how it affects the result. No, I always work around such problems and compensate so that I end up with a good job done. I suppose even professional decorators are presented with similar problems and have to work around them. It proves that we don’t live in a perfect world after all. Back to my decorating and I faced another minor problem on Saturday as I returned to do a little more work in the lounge. On Friday evening my next-door neighbour asked if I could cut-back a large shrub she has in her front garden, I had cut a much larger one for her a few months ago and didn’t mind doing it for her but I thought to myself why doesn’t her son do the work as he lives with her! According to her he just isn’t capable, more likely he is too lazy. He is a police sergeant and works some odd hours but never all day long. When his father was alive I never saw him lend a hand when his dad was working around the house. I told my neighbour that I would do the work the following morning as I was far too tired to make the attempt when she called. It meant I would have to put off my own work for an hour or so but I didn’t mind. I had plans to do far more than I actually did on the day however because I was still tired. On Friday I had gotten this far..
but on Saturday I only managed to get this more done even though my neighbour phoned whilst I was eating breakfast and apologised for asking me to do the work. She told me not to do the work because she had now asked her son to do it.
I was relieved for that meant I could concentrate on the wall paper. I managed however to only hang three drops. The first one partly above the door and including the lighting switches and motion detector (house alarm) on the right hand side proved very awkward and difficult and in all took me an hour to do. I had of course disconnected the power supply to the switches and removed the switch plate until the paper was in place and reconnecting it then. I managed to hang it all in one piece. Very difficult considering its shape and the fact that it was in a corner where the two walls are a little out of alignment in one place. I had to leave the sensor in place and work around it. Amazingly all went well but the second drop was difficult to match-up because the walls were slightly askew. Again I managed to do it and I thought I might be able to get as far as the fireplace but I had to stop after the next drop. I was making too many silly mistakes, I was tired and I didn’t want everything to start going pear shaped. It didn’t matter as I had plenty of time left to complete the decoration before other work would commence by others, the installation of a new fire and tiling of the hearth and the installation of the new curtains. I decided I needed the rest so I planned and take a break and leave the work until Monday.
I had all sorts of things I wanted to do on Saturday (22nd) but my day started little later than I had planned, nevertheless I was downstairs before nine and had eaten breakfast by then too. The plan was to do more work in the lounge but it was such a lovely sunny day I decided not to spend too long working. I began by finishing applying a coat of gloss paint to the remainder of the picture rail, the door frame and the door. I decided not to paint the skirting boards or the fire surround (mantlepiece) for doing that would keep me working all morning and possibly into the afternoon. I wasn’t prepared to do that. Even so I spent almost two hours doing what I did then stopped to do a little work in the garden. Usually when I say garden it is invariably the rear garden as I spend less time working in the front garden which needs less maintenance. Monday was going to be collection day for the ‘green’ waste so I had to empty out the large bag which held the remaining bluebells and other plants which couldn’t be collected the previous time. There were other waste items to dispose of too, some large shrub root balls and leaves. I couldn’t place all the root balls in the bins as there wouldn’t be enough space for them this time around. They will go next time. I needed to leave enough space in one of the bins to accommodate the grass cuttings I was about to produce, yes, it was time to cut the lawn once more. So I mowed the lawn and pulled the now filled bins into the front garden ready to put out in the street on Sunday evening. Time for lunch but for a change I went to the pub. It isn’t often I eat at the pub on a Saturday as I am usually too busy working. After a change of clothes I walked to the pub in the lovely sunshine. I had expected the place to be full but it wasn’t so I didn’t have to wait long to be served. As usual the girls greeted me by name (they do that for most of the regular customers) and made me feel welcome. I seem to get special treatment from one or two of them who like to chat with me. Anyway it was a pleasant hour or two and I walked back home. I hung the washing on the lines in the cellar having forgotten I had placed it in the machine earlier. I could have hung it outside but I often don’t do that. Left to dry in the cellar means I can casually take it down when it suits and don’t have to worry about the weather. I made a coffee and sat out in the sun on the patio but after a while I’d had enough of that. I remembered that I needed to clear out the gutter on the rear of the garage roof overlooking the Plot and at the same time adjust the set time on the small floodlight nearby as it wasn’t remaining on long enough when triggered. Having collected the ladder and tools I did those two small jobs then I decided to get the hose out and water the garden as we hadn’t had much rain for a while. Then I noticed a bluebell growing behind one of the small plants in the Mound. Out came the tools and kneeling stool and I began to dig it out. I really had to dig deep and in the process dug out quite a few bulbs. Did I mention that I consider bluebells to be a weed, yes, nice weeds but still weeds? Time to go indoors for another coffee and watch the FA cup semi-final game (soccer). Do I ever rest?
Woman baking coookies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I remember reporting that last Sunday (9th) turned out wet and windy in the afternoon. This past Sunday (16th) started off the same way. It promised to improve as the day wore on and indeed by one o’clock it had begun to get better. Although I needed a break from work I was reluctant to take it but take it I did. For me it is trying to find something to do on my days off for I am like a coiled spring wanting to unwind, not to relax but to do something. Sunday was a day to change the bed linen and it was the first I did before going downstairs. After breakfast the linen was ready to hang on the line to dry after I had placed it in the washing machine earlier. Time for a walk to relieve the boredom and get some exercise in the process. The day wasn’t that nice for walking outside, cool bordering on cold because of the wind and wet with spasmodic rain. I would rather it rained continuously than spasmodically, I had to keep folding the umbrella only to open it again a few minutes later. My friend the wind (in his dreams) wanted to turn my brolly inside out and succeeded once! No, not really a nice day at all. It was now lunchtime and I had successfully gotten through half the day but the afternoon threatened more boredom unless I could find something to occupy me. Time for some baking I thought, yes that would keep me out of mischief for an hour or two and baking is something I like doing anyway. E had bought some more flour as if she knew I would be needing it. Either that or she had her thoughts on the end results! She doesn’t do much baking these days and spends most of her time with her new-found hobby, manufacturing specialised greetings cards. There is an endless flow of materials coming into the house and over the past twelve months many items of machinery and gadgets too. At least she keeps occupied just like me……but not so on Sundays.
It was Saturday, the first of two warm and sunny days we were promised in the forecast and the first of two days to relax in. I woke up early and was soon having a shower and getting dressed to go downstairs for breakfast. I finished breakfast before nine o’clock and sat at my computer for half and hour as well as collating some information for my tax-return. A little bit at a time is the method I adopt when preparing my tax-return, it is easier that way for me because I don’t like sitting down for long periods as I probably would do if I did it all at once. In any case it only takes a few hours to get it prepared. I made myself a cup of coffee and went outside to sit on the bench in front of the patio…this one…
It faces east so gets full sunshine for a few hours each day. I could have sat on the patio but the artificial turf was wet with dew, as was the lawn too. Both dry pretty quickly once the sun gets high in the sky. Once I’d finished the coffee I became restless and couldn’t remain seated for long after. I took a stroll around the Mound (over on the right in the picture above). A single shoot caught my eye, it was another bluebell. Thinking it was near to the surface I tried to pull it out but no, it went deeper. Off I went for the kneeling stool and hand fork and I began to dig it out. Did I say single shoot? Never true most of the time with bluebells, there were several of them. I must have covered every cubic centimetre of the Mound by now but still they appear. Anyway that took a half-hour and I looked for something else to do. During my gardening renovations I have removed lots of small stones and some not so small, some natural stone and some man-made, bricks and the like. I had three large containers filled with them. This picture taken a few weeks earlier shows two of them nearly full.
I decided I would empty them out and separate the natural stone from the rubble. Some of the natural stone I placed around the base of the yucca plant shown in this picture at centre against the wall. It is immediately to the left of the buttress in case you can’t see it.
Now it was lunch time so I returned indoors. After lunch I returned to the patio and laid down on the now dry turf for an hour. I couldn’t stay there any longer but arose and went for a long walk in the sunshine. On my return home I spoke with my next door neighbour’s son for a time. They have a collie dog, a well-behaved animal that seldom barks, not like the two small dogs in a house nearby that sometimes bark incessantly for ages before someone finally stops them as happened when I went for a lie down on the patio earlier. My other next door neighbour also has a dog, a young setter that also seldom barks, or so I thought. I went into the house and made myself another coffee and sat out again on the patio. The setter started barking and did so for at least twenty minutes. I gave up and went indoors, actually to watch The Grand National annual steeplechase (horse race) on television. I have watched that race every year for as long as I can remember, well over sixty years. I returned outdoors to water the garden plants before finally going back inside for my evening meal. Peaceful, quiet and relaxing day? Well for most of the time.
After promising myself I would spend the weekend relaxing I found myself doing something. Yesterday, that is Saturday as I write, I did my relaxing in the morning and in the afternoon planted out the ten latest additions to our shrub collection. The afternoon had turned out bright and sunny and that was the way Sunday started of sorts. It was a mixture of sun and fast-moving clouds during the early part of the morning but later it was just sunshine all the way. I did relax in the morning until an hour before lunch when I decided to top-up the larger of the three raised beds on the patio with the soil I had temporarily stored in the long plant pots. I wanted to ensure there were no bluebells in that soil so had put it in the pots for a couple of weeks. It wasn’t enough so I had to add more. Soon after lunch I mowed the lawn for the second time this year. I had to wait until the afternoon to allow the wet grass to dry. It had been raining during the morning the day before and was now covered in dew. It hadn’t dried completely by the time I mowed the grass but enough to allow it to be cut using the petrol mower. The second cut had actually been easier than the first one had. That was the sum total of my work for the day and I sat out on the patio for much of the afternoon thereafter. I could have stayed out there until around six o’clock or later but returned indoors in order to bake some scones. Two of my neighbours lay outside soaking up the sun until very late it was that nice. That was it, my relaxing Sunday. I didn’t even go for a weekend stroll as I often do. Electrical work beckoned on Monday morning.
The Sabbath Rest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
….It was Sunday and my day of rest. Aha but I had that single bluebell to dig out of The Mound which I had spotted the previous day as I sat and relaxed for a time after the hard day’s work I had done. I had been removing bluebells earlier in the day and had thought I’d got them all, the ones that had shown themselves of course! I wanted Sunday free from work but I knew that if I didn’t get that bluebell it would have been nagging at me thinking about it. So the first thing I did after breakfast was to put on my overalls and go to The Mound to dig it out. I most probably wouldn’t have bothered with overalls but I had to climb to the centre of The Mound to get at it. I began to dig but in the process of digging out that bluebell I saw others close by. The five minutes turned into thirty before I had finished. That would be it until others sprouted up in the days or weeks ahead. I also dug out many small stones and a 2 Lira Italian coin dated 1924 with the head of Vittorio Emanuele 111 on it. I have no idea how that got there but I will say that as well as that coin I have dug out the remains of a watch, a single clip-on earring and a couple of small Victorian or Edwardian glass bottles together with strips of lead which I think had been used for holding the slate tiles on a small out-building, one of probably three which stood in the garden years ago. At last Sunday was free and I could relax in the sunshine. It was a slightly less warm day than the day before but still warm enough to sit in. Later in the afternoon the wind, light as it was, began to make its presence known so that I had to find shelter from it whilst still enjoying the sun. That I did on the patio. I was even able to lie down on the artificial grass which was dry and free from crawling insects such as ants. Before we had the grass laid last year ants were always a problem but they don’t like the artificial grass so keep away. Yes, the ants had become active because of the warm weather and whilst I was digging out the soil to lay the stone edging the day before they were all over the place. This year I have made plans to reduce their number as I have purchased some traps which are filled with ‘Nippon’. They will be tempted to eat it and take it to their nests where it will poison them and hopefully the queen ant too. We have a few ant nests dotted about the garden but the ones which are the most undesirable are those nearest to the patio beneath the paving. The scheduled work I had for Monday morning had been cancelled so if no other work came in I would be free to begin setting the stone edging by filling in the gaps with a fine concrete mix. I prefer to use a mix of three parts sand, two parts grit (granite chippings) and one part cement which is stronger than just using mortar. Mortar has a habit of breaking away eventually in this sort of application because it is constantly getting wet in the rain, The concrete mix is far better all round. Well that was the plan, let’s see if it happened.