Tag Archives: garden

Breakfast, Bench and Bug Boxes

The day started badly, as I had passed a disturbed night and felt tired, stiff and fragile. As the first light of a non-too-rosy dawn crept through the curtains, I groaned and turned over.

This was how I slept in, set off late and was unable to accomplish my first task of the day. We had barely laid out the parts for a new garden bench when the Monday group arrived, two hours earlier than we were expecting. As I’m not allowed to be a volunteer (due to the conflict of interest thing) we had to leave.

As a consolation prize Julia bought me breakfast at Harvester, which was excellent. Fruit, yoghurt, Full English, toast, marmalade, a quick crumpet (because it was there) and refillable tea. All for 75% of the cost of two Olympic breakfasts at Little Chef. I passed on cereal.

After that we returned home to find the internet was down. BT claim we hadn’t paid the bill. They seem to do this about once a year – cutting us off for non-payment without actually sending us a bill or a reminder.

By the time it came back on we were already back at the gardens tacking a pallet bench together ready for tomorrow.

Then it was shopping, chip shop and try to get a blog post done before midnight…

Done, with 12 minutes to go. I will add photos later.

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Bug boxes made from frames out of the school skip and filled with the hollow stems of scabious

Had a good morning in the garden this morning helping Julia out. The group put up a shade shelter yesterday using the existing posts and a bit of camo netting. They will now be able to eat their lunch without the fear of sunburn or aerial reconnaissance.

A few final touches were required, and that’s where I came in. It’s good to feel useful, even if it was my height rather than my design skills that were needed – as you can see from the photos, it’s a bit of a stretch for one of us.

Julia did some painting and other bits while I took photos and swept the tearoom floor. That’s my place in this marriage.

One of the ongoing jobs is to make the entrance to the garden a bit more colourful and inviting. There was a decrepit barbecue in one of the sheds, with lots of rust and a selection of holes in the bottom. With a bit of vision (think “drainage” holes) and some surplus paint it is now a bright and cheerful herb planter.

The morning was, apart from the company, a bit dull. This was an impression that was further reinforced when I drove past Trent Bridge at 12.15 – they had the lights on for the Test Match. I’d hate to think of the bill for that lot.

Paint and Pallets

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The bench, now painted

The group painted the bench yesterday.  It’s undercoated in white emulsion and then over-painted in blue wood. It’s a finish based on the available paint rather than any grasp of decorative technique, but it seems to have worked well.

They also had afternoon tea in the conservatory. It’s not actually a conservatory, it’s just one end of a polytunnel where they have a desk to work round. However, we were looking for a word to describe it, and what do you call a room where you can see through the walls? Garden room, Orangery or Conservatory?

As you can see from the photos, we lack oranges and can’t actually see the garden through the plastic so it became the conservatory. We will have to see if the name sticks.

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A not entirely accurate sign

I’m sorry about the lack of people in the pictures, as happy, smiling faces always make a great picture, Unfortunately that’s the way it is in the 21st century.

However, I’ve seen the other photos and can assure you there were plenty of smiles and paint splashes.

Fifty minutes

This morning I dropped Julia at work and, fifty minutes later, was back at home.

In the garden I listened to the faulty strimmer and revealed a basic difference between the sexes, before taking some more flower photos.

Julia has many talents. She could probably, if her ambition lay in that direction, do a better job of running the country than Theresa May. I, on the other hand, have to plan in advance just to get my socks on. However, when called upon to diagnose the problem with the strimmer in the Mencap garden, I was able to spot the problem straight away.

I’m not an expert on strimmers but I could spot that the high-pitched grinding sound was a bad sign.

To be fair, Julia, who is completely deaf to the sound of mechanical agony, doesn’t need to know this as she has me for all that technical stuff.

I, in turn, use a mower shop for repairs as my efforts usually end up with a puzzled look and a tin of leftover bits.

Most of the rest of the journey home involved traffic and queues. One hold up was caused by an ambulance parked across the road as the crew treated a man lying on the road. I took some photos as we waited because  I had the camera handy.

I could see his feet moving so I didn’t feel too intrusive. Anyway, there were a lot of people hanging round so I wasn’t the only voyeur. As I drove past, I noted he was wearing a helmet and a bicycle was propped up against a tree. That is the price of reducing traffic and pollution.

I’m happy to report that he seemed quite lively, and hope he wasn’t badly hurt.

There is a question, though, about the ethics of taking pictures of accidents. There’s a long tradition of postcards showing various disasters including train crashes, mining disasters and fires, but does that make it right?

Is the picture journalism, local history or just intrusive?

It took me back 40 years to a Sunday lunchtime (the accident, not the photography) when the driver of a red Austin Maxi overtook me on my Vespa 200 (yes, I had a scooter at one time) and pulled over before passing me properly. Result – me in gutter with the knee injury that still bothers me today.

Accident on Woodborough Road , Nottingham

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It’s amazing what you can pack into less than an hour.

 

TGIF

First job of the day was to wake up. I did not achieve total success in carrying out this task. My mistake had been uttering those immortal words “I’ll just have another few minutes.” I set my new phone to give me 15 more minutes and, 25 minutes after it went off, was found cuddling it affectionately to my bosom.

Julia soon put a stop to that.

We visited the Mencap garden next and I had a look at the progress made during the week. Julia is aiming to build some interest amongst group members and to tidy up a bit. It’s never going to be immaculate, and that isn’t the intention, but she is aiming to make the garden more productive and define the wildlife areas more clearly. We know from bitter experience that visitors are all to keen to complain about weeds, and that this always causes problems.

Then, after coffee and cake (the remains of our stash from Mrs Botham) it was time to go home. It also seemed a good time to take Julia’s new Facebook profile photo.  She always looks happier after cake.

I realise that cake for breakfast is probably frowned on by Big NHS Brother but what harm can a bit of cake do? The sultanas alone must be worth one of my five a day, and if they really want us to go to ten a day I’m going to struggle without cake.

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Great job, cake, wonderful husband – you just have to smile

From home, it was off to the anticoagulant clinic again. I won’t bore you will the details, but after struggling to get my blood to respond to anticoagulants they are now struggling to stop it responding. I let them flap for a bit, but as stress is a killer I decided not to worry about it.

Final job of the morning is checking out a few blogs and writing my first post of the day. That is now done, and after loading a few pictures I will be doing my first job of the afternoon, which is eating lunch. The other plans are collect prescription, shop for evening meal, visit duck pond, eat ice cream and watch Pointless.

In the evening I shall coerce Number One son into washing up, collect Number Two son from the station, cook tea, dispense unwanted fatherly advice on a variety of subjects, and complain that nobody speaks clearly these days. They will counter this final assertion by pointing to hearing aid adverts on the TV, though I may well be asleep before any come on.

 

 

New Phone, Fingers and Flowers

 

Last night Julia went on line and arranged an upgrade for me with our airtime provider. Though you do have to pay for it somewhere along the line, it seems like a free phone and is not too bad.

The problem was that they set the ball rolling by sending me a code in a text. It’s tricky receiving a text on a touch screen phone when the screen is in pieces and stabs you in the fingers when you try to use it. Even when you try to use it carefully.

The new one is bigger than the old one, which seems to be the trend. It is also more complicated. I haven’t finished setting it up yet, but I have managed to fit the screen protector and insert it into the protective case.  Yes, definitely a case of locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.

(Did you know screen protectors come with their own screen protector protectors? I didn’t.)

I have also activated the fingerprint security system. Time will tell if this was a good decision.

Call me a pessimist if you will, but all I can think of at the moment is various ways I could lose my finger, and how I would unlock my phone if that happened.

The photos are from the Mencap garden this morning. There was no group in, and Julia needed someone to hold the other end of the tape measure.

Bug boxes in bottles

As song lyrics go, you can see why Rodgers and Hammerstein stuck with ‘Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens’.  However, if you are looking for a project to help wildlife in the garden bug boxed in bottles is probably a better way to go.

Cardboard, straw, dried grass, old garden canes, plant stems and paper drinking straws from the craft cupboard all came in useful for stuffing the bottles, which are simply pop bottles with the bottoms cut off. If you leave the top on that’s OK; if you don’t, then the bugs have a back door or a drain.

We sourced some of our bits by breaking up the bug hotel in the allotment (it’s due for a re-build) so these even came provided with sitting tenants, with spiders, centipedes, wood lice, miscellaneous skittery things and a snail all putting in an appearance.

We were building them with a pack of Rainbows who are using as part of a badge qualification. Some of them were pleased at the prospect of ready-made tenants, others were not quite so keen.

If they lodge them in sheds and hedges for the winter we should be able to make a contribution to nature, even if it’s a small one.

They are out running round in the rain at the moment. You have to admire the fortitude of the a leaders…