On Wednesday I didn’t plan on working in the garden because I wanted a rest from it. At the same time I had no electrical job offers for the day either. The whole day would be spent doing well practically nothing. However, around three o’clock I couldn’t resist putting on a coat and taking the garden fork and some smaller tools and going over to where I had left-off a few days ago in digging out some bulbs. I decided to spend at least an hour seeing what progress I could make in removing what remains in the corner section of the long flowerbed. I got as far as this…..
Only a small area really from the angle in the stone edging up to the bright stone marker a metre to the right and roughly as far back as the tree with the two trunks. The other tree to its right is a small-leaved holly of some type which is in need of some radical pruning or complete removal. I might just remove it and replace it with something else. To the right of where I had reached the ground is mainly populated with montbretia plants though there are some bluebells in there too. I will be glad when I finally reach the end…just behind the wheelie bin!
The soil in the area is riddled with tree roots which have made removing the bluebell bulbs more difficult. I am hoping though that the montbretia bulbs will not be so deep beneath the surface but I will have to wait and see. Once I have finished digging everything out I will still have to be vigilant throughout the year to dig out any I have missed. Take my advice, if you don’t want plants that take over your garden don’t plant montbretia and especially don’t plant bluebells!
I knew it. I said so and so it was. More leaves to sweep up. Monday would be the last day in the year for the collection of green waste so I wanted to be sure I swept up as many of the fallen leaves as I could. Over the last few weeks that is what I have been doing, filling the two bins for emptying every fortnight. There was only one tree left with any leaves left on it by Saturday morning, a sycamore on a neighbour’s land but only a few remained. The rest had fallen and many on our side of the intervening wall. I had slept in yet again and didn’t get downstairs until almost eleven o’clock. I had a snack which served both as breakfast and lunch and after checking my mailbox I donned some warm clothing and went into the rear garden with brush and shovel in hand. Everywhere was covered in a thick frost including the new mat of fallen leaves. I began to sweep them up and place them in the wheelie bin but many of them were actually stuck to the pathway because of the frost. I had to use the shovel to loosen them. I found it easy to use the shovel to remove many of them that had fallen on the grass too. I went all around the garden and the bin was by now almost filled to the brim. Time to take it into the front garden and continue there though there were far fewer leaves to sweep up in the front garden. Both wheelie bins were now filled to the brim and ready to be put into the street late on Sunday evening. There may well be a few more leaves to sweep up in the weeks ahead but they will be very few. Much as I love Autumn having to sweep up the leaves can be very tedious. It was after two o’clock before I was able to return indoors and soon after it became foggy and damp outside. I relaxed with a cup of coffee in the warmth of my lounge. E however had just gone out for the afternoon to go shopping with her mom.
After an early rise and following breakfast on Wednesday morning I noticed that the leaves that had completely covered the lawn were now piled-up in two or three places. The wind had changed direction and was now coming from the west as opposed to the east as it had been over the last few days. When the wind blows from the west or north-west any leaves lying about tend to end up in one of a few isolated spots around the garden for instance on the path behind the larger greenhouse, on the path behind the ‘Mound’ or in the area outside the cellar door which leads out into the garden. When I opened that door I was confronted by a large bed of leaves about a half metre in height! Having them all in neat piles makes it easier to sweep them up but even so it takes time for there are so many of them! I love Autumn.I had nothing else to do so I set about sweeping up the leaves. I filled two wheelie bins which doesn’t seem a lot but I had to keep compressing them to get them in. There will be more leaves to sweep up over the next couple of weeks as the trees have plenty more to drop yet. Just as I was finishing that work my phone rang and it was a customer in whose house I had installed two new light fittings six days earlier. It seems he didn’t like those fittings which had cost him £170 to buy, and he wanted me to remove them and fit two LED long fittings instead. The two new fittings cost him £98. He wanted to return the first set but the store wouldn’t accept them as he had disposed of the packaging! I drove the eight miles to his house whilst he went to purchase the new fittings. I got there ten minutes before he returned but his wife was home and she let me in. Soon I had the two new fittings installed, much to their satisfaction and after they had paid my fee I drove back home just in time to cook lunch. Wednesday was a gloriously sunny day and I was able to sit out on the patio for a couple of hours relaxing. I went indoors some time after three and my phone rang again, it was from the electrical supplier who had sourced the part-night photo cell I had difficulty in obtaining these last couple of weeks. If my readers will remember I wanted the photo cell to control the lamp post I installed a few weeks ago in my rear garden. Presently the light stays on throughout the night but this new photo cell switches the supply off for a few hours during the night for economic reasons. I drove to the supplier to collect it and when there I purchased a couple of extra items too. As I write this on Wednesday evening I plan to install the photo cell on Thursday and will post a picture once it is done.
I was totally out of the game on Saturday, wanting to do something but not having the inclination I remained seated most of the day. That is very unusual for me because I get so bored doing that. My guitar was given more attention than it usually gets and I find playing about on it very enjoyable but I can’t spend all day playing a guitar. So the day in one respect was a little wasted but then again it gave me the chance to relax. I have been so busy lately so a little rest from things does no harm. I would be getting a double dose of that as I do very little on Sundays too. I had work scheduled for Monday and the prospect of the delivery of the lamp-post I had purchased gave me something to do when it arrived. I could have spent dome time in the garden on Saturday but my heart just wasn’t in it. The lawn could have done with a cut and perhaps should have been because the green wastewheelie bins were due to be emptied on Monday. As I write this late on Saturday afternoon I may find myself cutting it tomorrow but if I don’t and decide to do it later the cuttings can be put in the compost bin instead. We have two green waste bins and during the warmer months they get emptied fortnightly. We discovered that only having one became a problem due to the amount of natural waste we collect from our gardens. It is the same for our other recyclable waste bins for paper, plastic and metal cans, we need two of them. This is because of the huge amount we seem to collect over the two-week period between collections. The land-fill or non-recyclable waste we now produce therefore has dropped dramatically as a result and that one bin though scheduled to be emptied every two weeks too we only put out once every month and even then it is seldom half-full. Funny how things work out for as I am writing this I am now finding the urge to get out and do something…
……………but I am not going to……..I am taking the rest that people are always telling me I should!
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I decided to do no work……..that is electrical work! I wanted to concentrate on getting things done at home on my projects. I say projects for there are now two I am working on, both in the garden. The first as you all know is my redesigning of the Plot and the other is making a start on the lamp-post project. The weather forecast promised three or four days of warm and dry days so I had to make the most of them whilst I could. I had done a couple of electrical jobs on Monday which left me rather exhausted but after a solid night’s sleep I was ready to work on Tuesday. It was a little uncomfortable on the day for it was humid but I persevered and started by preparing the footings for the final step on the Plot and then laying concrete. It would be set by Wednesday morning and would allow me to lay the paving slab on it. Here are the two pictures
Once I had that done I went across the garden to a spot in the long flowerbed which faces the rear of the house. I had planted two shrubs there a few weeks ago but the area to their left was overgrown with Montbretia plants which I intended to remove when I had the time and before their leaves died back. As long as the soil is loosened they are easy to pull out. I wanted to fill the area with the soil I had dug out in preparing the base where the lamp-post will stand. I managed to clear the area of the Montbretia but there were two wheelbarrow loads to dispose of in the wheelie bin! There are more Montbretia plants further along the bed which I will remove later. You may notice the variegated holly tree being supported by a long length of bamboo.The tree had been surrounded by other trees and was being choked by them. As I didn’t want these other trees because they spread themselves by putting up more shoots I removed them some months ago. I wrote about it in a post at that time. The holly is slowly being trained to grow more upright and is already beginning to fill out.
So I dug out the area where the lamp-post will stand and filled it with hard-core before topping it with concrete.
I was ready for lunch by this time and as I wasn’t going to do any more work on my projects for the day I put everything away. After lunch at 2 o’clock I spent a little time resting on the patio but decided the lawn needed mowing again. So I did it as it only takes about twenty minutes with the petrol mower. Just as I had finished I received a request for my electrical services. I accepted the work and scheduled it for Friday. It would be about three to four hours work and would probably be the only work I would be doing that day.
I went to a job on Thursday morning . On my return home a couple of hours later I half-expected E to have been busy in the kitchen continuing with the painting of the woodwork she had begun to do the previous afternoon but alas no she wasn’t. She was busy on her computer ‘catching up on a few things’ by her account. What she really meant was that she was entering some more competitions for she spends an awful amount of time doing that. I think she spends far too much time on her computer doing that but that is only my opinion. Anyway during the afternoon she would be out shopping with her mom doing the weekly shop and wouldn’t have the time to do any painting. That meant I could get on with my part in the deal, painting the walls but no I was feeling a little tired and didn’t much want to start painting after my lunch. I was gazing out of the kitchen window at the now almost bare deciduous trees and all the leaves they had shed upon the lawn and elsewhere. Every year it is the same, the leaves seem to gather at specific places around the garden and form great heaps. The usual places are immediately outside of the cellar door which leads out into the garden, in and around the three grids (though they do have a little protection) at the back of the house, at the bottom of the stone stairway that leads from the kitchen down into the garden, in the space immediately outside of the rear door of the garage E uses, in two places on the lawn, around the path we created when we dug out the old mound, on the path to the large greenhouse and even behind it and of course trapped in the borders which are about the only places we don’t have to bother much about clearing them away. I looked and thought to myself, ‘You’ve got to shift them as next Monday will be the last collection of green waste for this year and the next one will be at the beginning of March’. The weather also promised to be wet and windy so I had to seize the opportunity and forget all about painting in the kitchen. So that is what I did and I filled the two wheelie bins in the process which doesn’t sound much. However I had to compress the leaves to get them all in, well as much as was practically possible. Even so there might be more to go in them before Monday morning. Now I could have used the lawn sweeper as we have one just like the one in the picture but the leaves on the lawn had generously heaped themselves in two places and though there were a few scattered about it simply wasn’t worth getting it out. I left the more compacted bin in the rear garden as there might be more to shovel up and the other bin I took back to the front garden where another large heap of leaves still lay on the path against the wall. I was hoping the wind might blow some of them away before Monday. I thought that in a day or two the leaves would have settled more inside the bins to allow just a little more to be put in them. I have resorted to standing inside the bins in the past in order to compress the contents and I might have to do so this time. I feel sorry for the guy next door whose entire lawn is covered in a couple of inches of leaves and his lawn is almost twice the size of ours. Unfortunately his garden is east of ours, the prevailing winds are from the west and his garden is surrounded by trees on all sides except for his house. Most of the leaves that fall in our garden come from large trees which are not in our garden though some smaller ones are. By the time I had cleared away as much of the leaves as I could I was feeling even more tired!
I went to bed early on Thursday evening, something I have been doing a lot lately. I was a little tired anyway, partly because of the gardening I had done in the morning, partly because I went out for a walk in the heat of the day and partly because after all I am getting on in years! I was feeling the effects of that work when I arose, my muscles still ached a bit. I had a purpose in retiring early as Friday is one of our waste collection days and I also wanted to water the garden before the day got too warm. I don’t like to leave the wheelie bin and small plastic bin out all night for a couple of reasons, one is that others have placed their unsorted waste in our bin during the night, another is if it is the plastic and cardboard waste bin it is so light in weight even when full it can be blown about in the wind. This Friday it was that bin to be emptied though there was little or no wind at all. The green waste is taken on Mondays. So after placing out the bins I began watering the garden and then I noticed that the light fitting on the patio wall facing the lawn was broken. The lens cover was lying on the floor and the fixing screw holes had separated from the lens. It couldn’t be repaired. We had trouble with this particular light unit a few months ago when we discovered water had leaked inside. At the time I made a temporary repair and I suppose I must have overtightened the lens fixing screws which subsequently fractured the lens because of the heat of the sun. You can see the light just to the right of the bench in the picture. This was the bench I had been sitting on the day before when I decided to get up and trim the lawn edging. This picture was taken not long after we had the coloured flagstones laid a couple of years ago. After Thursday’s work it looks the same now. When I had finished watering the garden I went indoors and had my breakfast. It was still only six-fifteen! My electrical supplier opens up for business at seven-thirty and I went there just after that time and bought a replacement light and some other items for my van stock. On returning home at eight o’clock I immediately set about changing the light and had it done by nine. One thing I noticed was the new lens cover didn’t seat properly when I fitted it and I had to use some sealant to effect a watertight seal. I suppose I could have taken the unit back but it had been drilled and fitted to the wall and had been sealed with silicon. I suppose we can expect things like this occasionally with mass-produced equipment costing very little to buy. There are six of these lights in our garden and this one was the only one with a problem. I might go mad and change them all for a different type one day but for the time being they will remain.
After a quiet weekend at home I was expecting to receive requests for my electrical services on Monday but no-one had called. That meant I would be at home on Monday looking for something to do. Our local council issued a new waste collection rota a few weeks ago and Monday was set to be the fortnightly day on which green waste was collected. We have two wheelie bins for this service. Normally only one is given per household but another can be requested for those who may have more green waste than most. We don’t usually have to put out two for emptying except at the height of summer or in autumn when there is a lot of leaves to sweep up so at this time of year it is unusual to have to put out two bins. Nevertheless we had two of them filled with garden waste so they needed to be out in the street to be emptied. I do that first thing in the morning but I had forgotten to do it this time. However, I did remember at around ten o’clock and as the crew hadn’t yet turned up to empty the bins I still had time to put them out. One of them was already in the front garden and the other was out in the rear garden. Both were full. I had to take the bin through the garage in which I park my van for it has a ramp and is the easiest way anyway. I grabbed the remote control for the automatic door and the key for the rear door of the garage but having got inside the garage with the bin I found the automatic door wouldn’t open. I tried the spare control but it made no difference. I returned into the boiler room which is the normal access to the house from the rear garden and I saw that the RCD unit in the panel supplying the external power outlets and lights on the side of the garden behind the garage had tripped. As the garage circuits are fed from this same panel too it meant there was no power in the garage to supply the automatic door. Of course it needed investigating immediately at the very least to enable me to drive the van should I need to. I grabbed my tools from the van and removed the cover on the panel and separated the garage supply from that supplying the outside power units and was able to temporarily reinstate power to the garage. I could now open the door and take out the bins. Fortunately the crew had still not arrived to empty them. I returned to the rear garden and began to remove the covers to the power outlet boxes and found water had managed to get inside one of them. This is what had caused the RCD to trip and remove power to the garage in the process. It was very cold in the garden and by this time I had donned my coat for the half-hour or so it took me to replace a faulty socket and do some remedial work to the boxes. Isn’t it funny that you only feel how cold you are when you return indoors? Going to sit on your backside? Oh no you’re not…….Oh and did the bins get emptied? Well actually no. Most of the residents in the street, like myself, forgot the first day for collection of green waste is scheduled for 2nd March!
I had been to a house on Monday to do a small electrical job and whilst there discovered one of the RCD (residual current device or ‘trip switch‘) was faulty. I was asked to change it which I did on Tuesday morning but on arrival I was also asked to replace a faulty power socket, which I did. Another lady had asked me on Monday evening if I would look into the possibility of installing a floodlight at the rear of her house so when I’d finished the first job I went along to chat with her. I have worked in her house many times in the past, the last time being on my birthday (21 Nov) last year. After much explaining she agreed to have me do the work on Friday next week. We sat and chatted for a while before I set off home. I spent some time doing various things then E and I drove off somewhere for lunch, actually fifteen miles to one of our regular haunts. Sometimes E and I will have three courses but not often. On this occasion we chose to have three courses and whilst we were waiting for the main course a family of six came and sat at a table close-by. We assumed mother, father and four children. The father was a very large guy but that was due to his obesity. His wife was of a more normal build as were the children. The eldest was a lad of around 15 years of age who seemed to us far from delighted at being there whilst his younger brothers and sister just sat down ready for something to eat. The waitress was collecting the various menus and presented each of their party with copies. We couldn’t hear the conversation between them and the waitress had we even been listening but soon after she had given them the menus they all rose from their chairs and left the building! Shortly afterwards the waitress was attending to our table and we asked out of curiosity why they had all left so abruptly. You have to remember that E and I like chatting to the staff and they to us so it was natural for us to ask. She told us that they had seen the large picture of food items on an advertising board outside the restaurant and they thought the restaurant was run in the same way as a fast-food establishment such as Mc Donald’s where one could point to a picture to order the food! She followed on to tell us that none of them could read the menu! I couldn’t believe my ears. She was telling us that they were all illiterate. I told E that I found it hard to believe that not one of them could read. Is it possible to live in a modern society if one cannot read?
When we arrived back home our next-door neighbour had a fire going and she was burning the cuttings that had been left on the ground from trimming her giant-sized Leylandii trees which had been cut by her gardener. Her whole house and our patio were engulfed in white smoke and she kept topping up the fire seemingly oblivious to it all. I have to mention here that lighting fires is a two, three or four times a week occupation of hers. E and I have the occasional fire going maybe once or twice a YEAR! We usually put our garden waste in the wheelie bins provided unless it is too large in which case we light a fire. Now the prevailing winds around these parts come from the west, that is from our neighbours direction so whenever we light a fire any smoke produced tends to blow in our direction rather than hers. That same wind though blows her smoke in our direction every time so it can be a nuisance when she is burning greenery. We have mentioned this to her a couple of times recently but it seems to be falling on deaf ears. We get on fine with our neighbour and it is not our desire to fall out with her. Anyway E and I were upstairs looking out of the opened windows facing our neighbours garden and I shouted down to her, ‘I thought you’d given up smoking’. (She was a heavy smoker but has been diagnosed as having emphysema so presumably she has quit). She was startled and looked up to us sheepishly then I added, ‘Why don’t you put the waste in the green bin‘? She told me it was full so I suggested she put it in one of the two bins we have as she has done many a time with our consent. We told her she can use the bin whenever she needs to. Sometimes both our two bins are full however so we tell her to leave hers in a bag until they have been emptied and then dispose of it. I don’t know what makes some people tick sometimes.
Again on Wednesday I had no work scheduled and had an extra lie in bed missing out on a proper breakfast. The weather forecast was promising so I decided to do some work at home. When we had the roller door fitted a couple of weeks ago it still left a large gap over the door to be filled with timber. In Thursday’s post I mentioned the fact that E and I went shopping on Monday for the materials needed to do that same job. It took a few hours to do but we finally succeeded and now all that is needed is to paint it. We had opted to use wood as opposed to plastic although at some point in the future plastic could be used to cover the wood if we wanted to do that. So far all we have done is to treat the wood with a preserver/wood worm repellent and we will paint it some time in the near future. E was keen to prune back some overgrown trees that are growing in the border on the approach to the garage where we had been working so after that work was complete we set about the trees with a saw then cut the branches smaller to fit in the garden wastewheelie bins. I have to admit to being rather tired after the day’s work but then I had to go indoors to prepare a roast dinner! A much more enjoyable task and set aside a plate for our youngest son who occasionally asks if we can prepare a meal for him, usually because he has had a busy day and has little time left for himself. We obviously don’t mind doing that for him. The days go slowly when there is nothing to do but they can be rewarding when there is. I get complete satisfaction when I have achieved something and done something with my time rather than mulling about doing nothing. I like to rest too, it isn’t all about work but I do find that all rest and no work is just as bad as the other way round! Nothing to do? Yeah, sure but for me that doesn’t work.
The year has been slow in starting for me on the whole. Last year as with previous years I have found plenty of things to do, most of it work related either at home or in my capacity as an electrician but not all of it work related. I usually have goals that I wish to complete and set my mind on those things. Once I have an idea in mind that I know I can do or have done for me if it is too much or outside of my capabilities, then I get on with it. The main problem I have is that I tend to procrastinate regarding setting the starting point, that is the day I’ll begin the work. This year is no exception! Two of my projects have been started but after long periods of dragging my heels thinking about them! I do have excuses, especially if I have electrical work scheduled but sometimes I simply don’t want to start. On Tuesday E and I started work on our proposed wet room by disconnecting and removing the existing furniture and fittings and as I didn’t have work scheduled for Wednesday I should have continued with that but instead I decided to chop up the tree branches and twigs that we had felled the week before. We couldn’t put off that job any longer but it will still take a few days to complete. Here is a picture taken when about a third of the branches had already been removed and disposed of.
It doesn’t seem a lot but when we have to chop it up to fit into our wheelie bins it takes a considerable time. Burning them is out of the question as they are not dry so we have no choice but to cut them by hand. We do possess one of those machines which chips up the branches. If you remember (those who have been regular readers last year) it was used quite a lot last year when we had an even larger tree chopping exercise. However it won’t tackle the thinner twigs and branches or the long and sinewy ivy as they simply clog the machinery. Clicking on the picture will enlarge it and perhaps you will then appreciate the task we have. I spend about three and a half hours cutting and chopping it on Wednesday and still only half of what was left is done, for we had already disposed of a third of it last week. My upper arms were left aching for quite some time afterwards. I seem to have more than one job on the go at any one time at home but I find that better than just doing them one at a time. For one, it relieves the boredom and gives me a break from some of the larger projects which can become a burden. To be honest I like the variety. There is plenty for me to be doing this year but there will also be plenty of days for leisure too, same old routines or not!