dEAr diary ~ just pottering along

After my marathon on Friday  I seem to have been on a go slow over the weekend – not intentionally, but I think I just feel so much in limbo at the moment that I cannot focus on either the house or myself.

As it was raining today work on the gravel patch at my daughter’s house was not going to happen so I stayed home and sorted the washing then began on the ironing mountain.

After about 2 hours I eventually saw the bottom of the basket and by this time the rain had stopped and the sheets and pillowcases I had washed were blowing on the line and almost dry – just nice for ironing as there is minimum creasing.

After a bit of putting away and tidying I sorted out the four vases of birthday flowers that had really past their sell by date and were in a rather sorry state.  I rescued what I could (as I always like to make them last as long as I can) and as usual it is the chrysanthemums that seem to last the longest.  I transferred anything that still had any signs of life into a smaller vase.

I  am no flower arranger as you can see but I  decided they looked so much better in this jug that was a present for my birthday.

A while ago at the beginning of the year I began a notebook where each month I paste in or note down bits and pieces of information and inspiration that I want to keep for a while as well as writing out my month’s intentions.

The monthly list of intentions (for the benefit of new readers) was just a combined list of must do’s and want to do’s for the coming month.  At the end of each month I would review my progress.

Anyone interested can go back to my previous blog and read them if you click the links below.

February and March Intentions and review

The list kept me focused but came to an abrupt halt after the March one mainly because we went on our trip to Italy during April and May.  Life just got so busy on our return to England together with the blog problems I had and handing in my notice at work I found I did not have the time to plan my month instead I resorted to dealing with whatever presented itself as most urgent day by day.

Not a good way to live.

Today I picked up the notebook again to add a few clippings and articles from old magazines that consisted of products I am interested in looking at, a few gardening notes and one or two book reviews as well as some summer ideas.

With all this hot weather I have thought of nothing else but shade – I am perhaps not alone in this and so I when I came across the article on gazebos in a magazine I tore the page out to keep. They range in price from the pop up at Tesco only £20 to a large sail gazebos from Wyevale Garden centres at £299 (but it is a semi permanent structure that is weather and rust resistant).

I also stuck in this clipping of a beautiful vibrant rose from David Austen that caught my eye called Lady of Shalott, a lovely summery apricot.

At this point I am not sure what my intentions are for August once I leave work. Tomorrow is my penultimate day –  surprisingly I don’t feel anything at the moment, not happy, not sad – more tired and I am not even thinking about what reception I might be in for!

We have spent the evening with the friends who moved house recently – they are now at the other end of our village about 1 mile away and at last we found some time to stroll down to see them and deliver the card.

On Wednesday it is Little L’s 4th birthday and we are visiting the fairy and pixie place near Pateley Bridge whose name escapes me – so that should be fun.

So that was my day I hope you all had a good one.

Back soon x

 

 

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rEAdy, stEAdy…dash then crash

Today has been one of those days when you feel you are on overload and I spent the day dashing around trying to fulfil obligations.

The day began quite well – I woke early at 6am – it felt a little too early, I could have slept more but decided, as it is cooler at the beginning of the day, I would get up and just have a bit of a potter around the house putting oddments away.  I had little piles here and there throughout the house and an ironing pile that must be reaching a metre high – but although it is annoying me today was definitely not a day for ironing.

Most of my birthday flowers are still hanging on despite this heat – I have changed the water several times and removed any dead ones.  I love having so many about the house.  My daughter had also surprised me and put a tiny vase with a sprig of flowering lemon balm and thyme by my bedside yesterday.

Once the house looked a bit straighter I had a few errands to do in town.   I would not normally have chosen to go to town on a Friday, a very hot Friday too – the roads here are busy and congested – but I had to get cards, flowers and fairy wings (don’t ask!).

I also had to do a favour for my friend and neighbour who has just come out of hospital after a hip operation and after lunch I had planned a visit to see her.

Once in town I headed for Claire’s Accessories to look for fairy wings for my granddaughter’s birthday next week – they had an offer on of buy two items and get one free.  Even so they are not very cheap for what they are but will be just what is required for Little L’s 4th birthday next week when we go on our Fairy and Pixie adventure (can’t wait!)

I popped into Clinton’s and the Card Factory to look for cards.  I needed quite a few for different occasions – a 70th birthday, a moving house, a wedding card as my new neighbours are getting married, and a wedding anniversary, (actually I should have bought two of these – one for my own anniversary next week – but I forgot my own!).

Passing Waterstones I had a quick look at their cards and came out with a book (I know I shouldn’t have but after the week I’ve had I really felt a treat was a good idea to cheer me up).  Then it was across to Sainsbury’s – a quick check for fairy wings in case they had some cheaper ones (but nothing doing), picked up a bunch of flowers and the paracetamol for my neighbour, a couple of loaves of bread and a number 4 sparkler for Little L’s cake.

On my journey home the heat and heavy traffic was almost impossible to deal with and I am so thankful for the air conditioning in my new car.  I had to take a bit of a detour and stop by a friend’s house to deliver a birthday card for her partner – I was actually thankful they were not at home and I was able to put it through the letterbox and get back home sooner.

It was 2.30 pm when I eventually arrived home to find the telephone ringing – it was the heating engineer asking if we had decided on a date for them to come to change a part in our boiler (we hadn’t – but finally agreed on 17th as we have to work around having my mum and granddaughter and go to Scotland in August).

So it was a very quick lunch and then straight round to my neighbours – not forgetting to grab the bunch of flowers and paracetamol to take with me.  At least I always get a welcoming cup of tea there – this time made for me by her hubby who is acting nurse at the moment whilst she and her new hip are recovering.

After a bit of a chat I came home wrote all the cards, delivered the wedding card for my immediate neighbour and then at last sat down for 5 minutes and fell asleep for over an hour hoping that everyone had been given the right card for the right occasion!

 

 

dEAr diary ~ oh dear …what can the matter be?

Before I forget this time thank you for all the birthday wishes and your lovely comments about my recent explorations in Derbyshire.  It has been a battle keeping all the flowers I received for my birthday looking fresh in the vase with this heat.

But outside in the garden my sweet peas are starting to flower one by one.

Sweet Peas

Only two days to go now at work (next Monday and Tuesday) and I suddenly find I have quite a lot of work to get through as well as packing up my belongings.  I am in high demand from so many different departments in the office who want to know how to do something.  I seem to have acquired quite a skill bank over the 19 years and now everyone is panicking because when I go some of the knowledge will go with me.

The pressure became so great I had to leave work at lunchtime yesterday as I was having palpitations.  I have been having them for the last week and often this is because my Thyroxine is out of balance again.  A very pressured meeting during the morning made them far worse to the point I felt I couldn’t breath properly.

I won’t go into detail here but I am now finding it hard to know what to think about the new person.  As you know during her first few days our HR lady had received two formal complaints about her from colleagues – if you remember I thought at the time this was a bit premature and I did all I could to make her welcome and just put it all down to the newness and change.

But since then there have been further ‘events’ two in my absence at the end of last week and the one yesterday involving me.

The issues last week with the new person was yet another complaint from a junior member of staff whom she had been extremely demanding and rude to and then again when called in to explain this episode to our HR lady she walked out of the meeting with her.

I cannot accept rudeness, bullying etc in any form by a senior member of staff on a junior.  In my books you should treat everyone with the same politeness as you would want to be treated no matter what your status.

In further conversations with the new lady she told me she was used to working in London and down South and there you just click your fingers (which she does often) and you expect a job done.  Is this right?  I have not worked in the South since college days – is there such a big difference now as she claims or is this an excuse?

We must seem like the parochial cousins to her  – slow-witted and a bit behind the times as she is very critical of the way we work and the speed.  She is even more preoccupied about money and targets than the directors!

I have always thought of myself as a very fair person and giving people the benefit of the doubt but I must say I am finding it really hard to understand the new lady and her approach.  I am starting to question my first impressions and wondering if I could actually work with her after all if I had been staying.

The reason for this is there is an IT issue at the moment on our accounts program – looking into it I believe it has been there for four years so not life threatening but before I leave she is almost bullying me to do something that I know will not fix the problem and could make matters worse.  I deal with the maintenance of the software for the Legal Aid part but I keep telling her that our Software provider should be given the chance to look into it first and establish the extent of the problem and reason but she hasn’t the patience for that as you have to log a call and wait in a queue – and waiting she doesn’t do.

I know I shouldn’t really care or be bothered and just do what she asks but I do care as the implications of adding things onto the software without knowing what you are doing could be huge.

So I am feeling tired now and looking forward to the final day so that I can make plans for the future.  I have many thoughts swirling around in my  mind that I need to get onto paper.  I know I want to establish a regular exercise plan as soon as possible and introduce  a few healthier meals but I also want to get my house in order – a good spring clean and a lot of decluttering.

Whilst I was ironing on Monday I watched the minimalist Japanese writer of ‘Goodbye Things’ on You Tube and noted one or two ideas he had that I found quite perceptive.  I am not sure I want to go to only 300 items but I do need to reduce our stuff.

I often sell / give away/ repurpose stuff but it just builds up again.  Reading around the blogs it seems that we are all doing this endless decluttering task many times over.  Thank goodness for charity shops and car boot sales. I never remember my gran decluttering ever except the day they moved into a granny flat.  She never seemed to have things that she couldn’t find a home for and this maybe because they didn’t really have multiples of anything not even on her grocery shelf (and yes it was just a shelf!).

I do remember my mum ‘doing out’ her cupboards before a major holiday like Easter and Christmas but this was just straightening rather than decluttering.

I am beginning to think decluttering is only like a sticking plaster – a temporary solution and that I need to get back to the cause of my accumulation of stuff.

More thoughts another day. x

 

mEAndering ~ on a summer’s day

Stoney Middleton Well Dressing and Fete

After picking mum up from my sister’s caravan in Bradwell on Saturday morning we drove over to Stoney Middleton a few miles away for our first event.  Not surprisingly most people just pass by this village along the main road but if you take the time to turn off and drop down into the rather cramped village centre (called the Nook locally) there are all sorts of wonderful nooks and crannies to explore.

Colourful bunting was strung between houses and trees and there were plenty of stalls to buy plants and crotchet blankets, books and bric a brac, but first of all we headed for St Martin’s Church which has a very central place in the village.

St Martin's Church Stoney Middleton

I have been to this church on two previous occasions in the past but it is always worth another visit.  It is quite unique in that it has a nave of octagonal shape.  It was built in 1415  by Joan Eyre of Padley to commemorate the safe return of her husband Robert from the Battle of Agincourt.  The tower is original but in 1757 the nave was destroyed by fire and rebuilt 2 years later in its present octagonal form.

St Martin's Church Stoney Middleton

The pews are positioned around the central and magnificent tiled floor which is directly below the eight sky lights above in the domed roof.  It is very light and bright and the arrangement has a very cosy and intimate feel almost resembling a Quaker Meeting House and I imagine perfect for small weddings .  As you can see below the placement of the stone pillars not only blocks the view of the person seated behind it but also cuts one of the pews into two unequal sections that leaves a  singular seat near the aisle which I thought rather cute.

St Martin's Church Stoney MiddletonSt Martin's Church Stoney Middleton

The village has a wealth of tiny higgledy piggledy cottages with beautiful gardens in full bloom.

Many have delightful little features like the carved number on the gate of this one.

There is water everywhere in Stoney Middleton – running alongside the road and under bridges like a mini canal or wending its way down little purpose-built gulleys at the edge of the lane – the children just love it, splashing about and jumping in – the duck races taking place later – there are no railings so you do have to mind your step.  I hung onto mum for dear life so that she did not end up in the stream.

Stoney Middleton

This year’s main well dressing depicted the little known Boot and Shoe Operative’s strike of 1818 which lasted 2 years and by the end of it they set up their own factory.

Stoney Middleton Well dressing

The Children had chosen equality as the theme for their well.Stoney Middleton Children's Well

Although there was no information for this one we think it may be a picture of a suffragette to mark the 100 years when the Representation of the People Act was passed in 1918 to allow women over 30 the vote.

Just along from this well dressing is the recently restored building known locally as the  ‘Roman Baths’ and now open to view inside.  The spring water is said to have healing properties and thought to have been first used in Roman times with the surrounding structure built around it much later. The two parts of the building represent the ladies on the left and the mens on the right.Roman BathsRoman Baths

The bath is 3m by 4m and about 1.5 metres deep and accessed by the stone steps to one side.  The warm spring water bubbles up from the grate set into the marble floor and presumably you would immerse yourself in the water and keep warm with the aid of the fire in the corner.  Roman Baths

The water then drains into a similar bath set lower than the ladies side and divided by a full height wall – so the ladies would have the benefit of the cleaner water!

Chelmorton Summer Festival

After lunch we drove down to Chelmorton which is about 4 miles south of Buxton and is a long linear village – the highest in Derbyshire, some 1,209 ft above sea level, with the church, St John the Baptist, in prominent position at the very top of the hill with the Church Inn pub opposite (you need it after the climb).

This is where we began our visit as we wanted to see the exhibition of Christening gowns inside the church and it is far easier for mum to walk downhill.  We were not disappointed – we saw examples of some of the most delicately stitched gowns and capes across the decades up to present day.  My mum loves having a good ‘memory walk’ so this more than suited her.

Both my girls and my granddaughter were christened in our family heirloom  (see post on my previous blog click here to view).

Christening Gowns

On leaving the church we headed downhill admiring the Scarecrows as we went and almost falling over one laid prone on the grass verge.Scarecrow

Scarecrow

The tap was one of those ingenious devices where the water was actually running from the tap which appears to be floating in mid-air (though logic tells you it can’t be) and the foam was beginning to fall outside of the bath tub.  I was quite tempted to jump into the foam in the same way you are when you see a puddle or a mound of crisp fallen autumn leaves!

Scarecrow

Humpty Dumpty

Mum chose to have a picture taken besides Humpty Dumpty (mum is on the right!).

The village is known by locals as Chelly – it was built on the banks of the stream known as Illy Willy Water and below is the Chelly Pound where any stray livestock from the fields were placed until collected. The Pound now has an additional modern-day sign which reads ‘No Fly Tipping’ which says a lot about today’s standards!

Chelmorton Pound

The village is also home to the famous stone built telephone box which has now become a mini library…

…and had been decorated for the Festival by the Yarn bombers in the village – obviously prolific knitters.

Knitting bombing

I particularly liked the pretty garden flowers and the Bee in the tree.

Knitted flowers Knitted Bee

Of course one of the most important signs – the Tea Tent – for a most welcome cuppa, a sit down and a biscuit.

Tea tent

Before we left I had to take this snap – it is of Restoration House perhaps in need of a bit of urgent restoration itself!Restoration House

We let mum off the long walk back up the hill to collect the car and waited for DH to pick us up.

We had a lovely day and then on the Sunday it was another drive up to Yarm to take my mum home, we had lunch in Thirsk but skipped the nearby Open Garden as it was far too hot for mum and me to be without shade.

I had my birthday day off from work today and I will have only four working days to do from tomorrow – the end is coming ever closer.

dEAr diary ~ teamwork…many hands make light work

Yesterday certainly lifted my spirits.  Thank you to everyone for the good wishes.  It was such a busy day and a pleasure to see my friends and family.

Today it was back to work – no not the office – my daughter’s garden.  DH spent his time this week putting the first stabilising coat of paint onto the hallway and staircase walls.  We are using the Polyfilla paint that prevents cracking – we have used it before with great results.

But today, for a change from sanding and painting, DH gave me a hand with the preparation of the gravel patch in the garden.  His job was to put the edging boards in place which involved hammering wooden pegs into the ground and screwing sawn planks of wood to them, whilst I raked over the ground.  The weather was slightly cooler thank goodness.

With both of us focused on this area we managed to get a lot more done and our SIL arrived home at lunchtime to help – he was going to dig out a row of old raspberries but then it started to rain and so we had to down tools and pack away.

After lunch it was still raining so we decided to come home and I went up the road to visit my friend and neighbour to wish her well with her operation on Monday.  After a quick natter and a cup of tea it was time to pop down to town to Sainsbury’s for a few groceries and fresh veg ready for my mum coming tomorrow.  She loves Cauliflower Cheese so I bought some ready prepared broccoli and cauliflower and a tub of cheese sauce – normally I would make my own but I know if we have been out for the day we will need something quick to make.  We will have new potatoes with it, button mushrooms and grilled cherry tomatoes.

I desperately needed to buy a retirement card and a small gift for a friend – it was her last day at work today (she is/was a teacher) and has taken early retirement to be at home with her husband.  Both are much younger than me, still in their 50’s but have enough put by now to be able to stop working.  There was only one suitable card so I added a bit of my own decoration with some stamps and ink to personalise it.  I should really have bought a card long before this so it wasn’t such a last-minute dash.  Hopefully, when I finish work I can get myself more organised.

We pick mum up tomorrow morning in Derbyshire and will treat her to lunch somewhere – there are always plenty of tea shops out there.  Afterwards we might visit the well dressing at Stoney Middleton and I am hoping that the church there (St Martins) will be open.  Built in the early 15th century it is quite a special little place with an octagonal shaped nave and last time I went it had been beautifully decorated with flowers.  It is a few years since I have been to this particular village but I remember it as having some rather nice little nooks and crannies to photograph.

It may be a day or two before I get to write a post about our adventures over the weekend – it is always a busy time when mum comes to stay  – at 92 she still has more energy than me!

Have a lovely weekend, back soon x

plEAsurable ~ a wonderful day

Happy Birthday

What a lovely day today – the sun was streaming through the window when I woke and DH greeted me with a card and after breakfast he produced a tiny chocolate cake (from Morrisons) with 2 pink plastic ballerinas and a candle on top (from the cake decorating container in the cupboard) and then sang happy birthday!

After the last few intense days I felt much more relaxed today and who wouldn’t with all the attention I have been given.

During the morning I opened all the gifts given to me by friends and colleagues at work and then my eldest daughter arrived with more flowers, a book token (much appreciated) a very posh box of biscuits (chocolate and hazelnut) and a card.

My house now looks and smells like a florists – these sunflowers are a real treat – a bit difficult to arrange in the vase – but you can’t help but smile at them.

The postman arrived later with more cards – isn’t it exciting these days to have a handwritten envelope drop through the letterbox with a real stamp on it rather than the typed cellophane windows style that are stamped with Mailsort!

Whilst it was still partly shaded I tidied up in the back garden removing dead leaves from the lawn, deadheading the flowers in the pots and sweeping the patio. Some of the flowers are starting to fill out again now after they were severely caught by the sun whilst we were in Scotland and dried out.

After a sandwich lunch with my daughter I had visits from my Russian sister-in-law and one of my best friends.

This is just one of the lovely gifts I received – it is a hard bound colouring book called The Flower Year, which has beautiful illustrations month by month.  I can’t wait to get started.

I just had chance to make a quick tea for us –  a mixed warm salad with new potatoes, green beans, button mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes and those tiny party Quorn cocktail sausages before more visitors arrived.

My brother called round and another best friend and together we had a catch up and devoured the chocolate cake.

I have such wonderful friends and family – I am certainly a happy bunny tonight. x

 

dEAr diary ~ collEAgues…who’d have ’em

A bit of a mad day today.  I arrived in work quite early this morning and was met by a desk covered in flowers and presents from colleagues for my birthday tomorrow ( I won’t be at work tomorrow as I don’t work on Thursdays).

I was quite touched and know that I will miss them all when I go.  The flowers are all at home now and in water and I will open the cards and presents tomorrow.

But then…we had a slight upset at work – I cannot go into detail here – but I did wonder if I was at work or playschool!   I suppose it can be hard to accept changes and some of my colleagues in the team I supervise had already decided they are not going to like the new person and have already found something to complain about.

It is all a bit childish really and a little premature I think.  After only three days I found the team’s attitudes a bit difficult to understand but I expect sometimes it just takes time to accept a new personality with new ways and new thoughts.  I actually like my replacement quite a lot and I can see past that initial compulsion new people always seem to have to need to make an impression.  I know I would have enjoyed working with her had I been staying.  She is disappointed I am going and worried how she will get along with a team who are finding fault with her already!  I didn’t leave work until after 7pm tonight as she was so upset by the incident.  I feel bad for her.

I finally got home, had tea and the minute I had finished we had a visit from my friend (who is also a vicar) with another card and gift for tomorrow.  We had a little chat and caught up with the news.  We have many mutual friends who are presently retiring or downsizing or just moving within the area and spent some time catching up with the progress of each of them.  We also established that we are not moving for the foreseeable future and neither is he!

At nine o’clock we had time to relax but it has been a full on day with mixed emotions.  The same colleagues who had showered me with gifts and best wishes had been so different with the new lady.  Puzzling!

I am glad I will be off work now until Tuesday (I am allowed to have Monday off in lieu of my birthday day).  I am hoping everything will have settled down a bit by then and that I will still have a replacement.

Thank you to all the comments from my blogging friends who are offering me such good advice and keeping me sane at the moment – I am so grateful and taking it all on board.

Welcome to new follower Dar (from An Exacting Life) one of my favourite blogs – if you want to read about a book review – this is the site!

Take care  x

dEAr diary ~ just pondering on life

Sometimes you have days where you feel ‘off’ for no particular reason that you can put your finger on – today was one of them.

Perhaps it is the hot weather – this sticky and uncomfortable state making me feel constantly headachy and lethargic or maybe it is being in this place of temporary suspension waiting for the ending of one chapter but not able to begin the next.

My replacement started at work yesterday and there is a lot to show her so it is quite exhausting – but she is very nice and had I been staying on I am sure we would have got along just fine.

I am also aware that coming up soon on the calendar are a few ‘memorable’ dates – each one of them evidence that life speeds ahead whether or not you are enjoying it, doing what you want to do or otherwise.

  • July 19th – my 64th birthday – yikes really?

  • July 30th – my eldest daughters 2nd wedding anniversary – already?
  • July 31st – our 42nd wedding anniversary and the day I leave my job

  • August 1st – Little L (my granddaughter’s) 4th birthday – growing up fast now.

  • August 16th – this would have been my mum and dad’s 70th wedding anniversary if dad had still been alive but we will still mark the occasion with my mum in some way.

A lot of celebrations, maybe commiseration, a lot of memories, a lot of years and it does leave you wondering where did all that time go – have we become what we wanted or hoped to be?

As I am about to venture into this unknown territory soon of being job less (through choice) am I going to cope but more worrying am I going to fulfil all those things I once dreamed of doing.  If I have things still left to do then I need to get on with them quickly as I have more life behind me now than in front.

I have been so busy recently that I have not given much thought to what I will do,  less so to the financial implications of living on one state pension and our savings until I can claim my own in 2 years’ time.

Already our time is being booked out to helping:- decorating for our elder daughter, child minding our granddaughter for our younger daughter during the summer holidays and also granny minding for my mum whilst my sister is away.  We have also booked the man to come to sort out the rendering of the upper part of our house.

Looks like it will be September then before we can draw breath!  This doesn’t sound like a ‘retirement’ to me.

 

homestEAd ~ the grass is always greener

Yesterday was quite a long day over at daughter’s house.  I was too tired even to write a post.  I didn’t even feel that satisfaction of a job well done either as progress was slow to non-existent.  DH was similar, he is doing the hallway – preparation stage, so not a lot to see other than filled in cracks and holes.

Isn’t it always the way that one day you seem to make a lot of progress and then the next hardly any.  This was definitely a hardly any.

I am challenged at the moment by both the hot weather and a bit of dithering on my part over the patch of garden I am ‘transforming’ at present.

Before I cleared this part it had been home to the many raspberry plants but had also acquired rosebay willow-herb and the large-leaved Persicania (Knotweed).  The raspberry plants have since been relocated to the back of the garden and we will make a proper frame to support them soon.

I thought I had a plan – my idea was to put gravel down on this bit of garden on the other side of the path to create a little seating area with a few plants mainly in pots and an obelisk towards the back corner and incorporating the plants already in situ.

My problem here was twofold – next doors fence which is stepped due to the gradient has a little gap at each bottom right hand corner and the gravel on the other side of the fence keeps spilling through.  So an edging board is required to prevent this – and that will need help in the shape of a bit of muscle to hammer the supporting pegs and boards in place.

The second problem is the two existing plants to the left of the photo beyond the pole – a large patch of Johnson’s blue geranium (flowering over) and the yellow flower I pictured in my last post (still blooming).  I was going to work around these and put some stone edging around them to make a border but after playing around in a variety of ways nothing seemed to work well and in the end I decided to keep the design clean and simple – remove the plants and gravel the whole area otherwise the whole thing was in danger of becoming bitty.

To be able to make a start today I will have to wait until the afternoon when there will be some shade over the plot.  There is quite a bit of earth to remove to get to a level low enough for the path edging to contain the gravel once it is laid.  There lies another problem – what to do with all the spare soil – probably a raised bed in the vegetable patch by the shed.

The aim of this garden transformation is to make the garden look more appealing and low maintenance.  Most of their neighbourhood are young,  first time buyers, both working so they seem to prefer all lawn or all gravel or a mixture of both but nothing that needs very much maintenance.

We are spending a minimum amount for maximum reward and keeping most of the mature shrubs that give the garden some shape and interest. The turf from B&Q for the extension to the existing lawn (well grass) cost about £50 but well worth it.  It covers the patch that had two really old straggly shrubs well past their best and removing them has opened up this space considerably and added some visual length to the garden.

The new grass has grown remarkably well despite this hot weather and was the greenest kid on the block by far (apart from the astro turf next door!).

There was great excitement yesterday for the first cutting and we all stood round afterwards admiring.  The join and difference in colour is not as noticeable now it is cut (I should have taken an after photo so you will have to take my word for it!) and with some extra care and attention and a bit more grass feed and weed the older part should start to thicken out and green up to match.

The large silver Senecio (or Brachyglottis as it has been renamed – I hate that name so I always revert to its former) in the middle of the picture has almost finished flowering and will be due a bit of a trim to contain it in the space.

So before I go round to sort my daughter’s garden I have a little bit to do in my own then back to work again tomorrow  – only 7 days to go now to the big day.

Thank you to everyone for your great suggestions for when I leave work – I am storing up the information and when I get some time for myself to think about my next moves I will be sharing them with you.

Oh and welcome to my new followers – I can never quite believe anyone would want to sign up for my daily ramblings!

But for now while the sun shines I need to make …a seating area!

Back soon x

 

homestEAd ~ rEAdy…stEAdy…decorate

After sorting out a few things at home yesterday it was time to go back to my daughter’s house across town to continue helping them get their house in order.

When I say in order I am not referring to a bit of tidying or cleaning – no, by order I mean the complete works – decorating, finishing off half completed jobs and revamping not to mention the outside of the house, painting the front door and window sills, laying turf and putting down gravel.  Then there is the shed (needs a coat of paint) and the garage (ditto).

So welcome to Where the journey takes me 2 – Painters, Decorators, Odd Jobbers and Landscape Gardeners Limited.

My daughter has a small house but in the eight years they have lived there they have only finished the two bedrooms and put in a new bathroom.  We offered to help them sort the rest of the house out ready to put on the market at some future date and to make it a nicer environment for them to live in until then.

About 3 years ago they removed the dividing wall between the tiny kitchen and the dining room to make one large space and all the cabinets, worktops and the laminate floor were put in place.  It just needed decorating and the dishwasher installing which DH and SIL were responsible for doing and was finished just before our holiday.

At last they have a fully functioning kitchen and dining room and it is looking much more like a usable space.  In the dining area they have a dining suite that belonged to my mum and dad, it was one of the first pieces of furniture that they saved up to buy when they got married.

The suite is an original vintage 1950’s  – The sideboard design was first shown at the Festival of Britain, 1951 and there is one permanently displayed at the V&A.  It is mahogany with Bombay rosewood veneered doors that feature a striking double helix pattern cut to reveal white birch beneath.  It was designed by David Booth, made by Gordon Russell of Broadway and sold in Heal’s of London – although I believe my mum and dad bought it from Robert Brothers department store in Sheffield.  We have lovingly cleaned and polished it and this little family treasure looks really quite nice in its new home.

My role in this makeover (when not polishing furniture and making cups of tea) is as the landscape gardener – before our holiday I removed many old woody shrubs that had grown far too large for the space and extended the lawn – not the best time to lay turf with the hot weather but it has survived and is looking green and ready for cutting.

They have quite a few Hydrangeas which adds a nice bit of colour to the garden along with these lovely yellow flowers.  The name escapes me, I have never grown them but they do have a really long flowering time.

Tomorrow if the weather holds I will be preparing another area of the garden to lay gravel and make a seating area.  The ground is so hard now I am having to break it up with the pick.

It has been a lot of hard work, some days we have been there until 8 o’clock at night and we were glad of the break when we went on holiday.  It took a lot of ‘getting back into it’ today first day back on the job – I estimate it will take us another three weeks to complete everything if we are lucky.

I hope everyone is enjoying the rain and a rest from all the watering.

Back soon x