Busy, busy, busy

Well, busy for me anyway.

Been doing some work in the garden – tidying up dead daffodil leaves, clearing a weedy messy old bit of earth and planted it up with two lamiums (deadnettles) and a Japanese painted fern, and thinking a lot about colours for decorating the lounge (walls, carpet …)

The decorator is calling round tomorrow to talk about colours which is helpful, because although I do have an idea of the colours I’d like, confirmation from somebody who does it for a living is always good.

Finished watching Friends. Love that series. Ten years! it’s so good. Started on Schitts Creek, which is just so damn funny. Also rewatched Colin From Accounts (BBC iPlayer), which is funny and bitter-sweet. For drama, we’re rewatching War and Peace. I read the book (and hated the style – why use one, or no, adjectives, when three will do? every damn time?) but the adaptation is lovely. Some very good people in there.

Also started watching Call My Agent (Dix Pour Cent is the French title) which is enjoyable but I don’t actually like very many of the characters.

So tomorrow I start packing up stuff I don’t want to go into storage for the decorating – glassware and stuff we need to keep in the house – and that’s quite exciting.

The first lot of photos show: a hydrangea I thought had died, some sempervivums doing very well, a bud on my eight year old rose bush (one of the 20 just coming out), the wisteria, some alchemilla mollis (Lady’s Mantle) and a heuchera – the colour combination is lovely, but much more by luck than judgement!

So the next lot of photos shows hubby’s engineering designs intended to keep the squirrels and bigger birds, like magpies and starlings, away from the bird seed; the new solar powered cat repeller (it makes clicking sounds that cats/foxes don’t like) and the two wooden nest boxes, which are both occupied, and very busy. It’s just so sweet to watch the little birds pop their heads out and then back in again, out and in again before daring to brave the tree/feeder. In the very last picture you can see the engineering design that didn’t keep out the blasted squirrel – they’re so persistent and clever!


I am an avid reader. One of my favourite things (apart from chocolate, obviously) is having a whole load of books to read. I read on my Kindle now as it’s easier on my hands than a heavy tome.

Just re-read all the Harry Potter books. Love these. It feels like being with old friends, and it’s sad when I’m finished. Then I re-read Lord of the Rings. A marathon task, but I do love it.

There are some similarities between the two stories. Both have “Dark Lords” whose name must not be mentioned. The Ringwraiths in LotR are very like the Dementors in HP. Both authors write about the natural world as “good” and industry/mechanical things as “not so good”. And in both, friendship and trust are the most important thing.


Small wins

Well. The heating system is all finished, and working a treat. Ditto the solar panels. I’ve booked the decorator, I’ve touched up the paintwork where the new radiators didn’t match the spaces left by the old radiators, and am in the process of organising a guy to do the other odd jobs.

I’m less tired than I was, and feeling more positive.

Today we took a load of rubbish to the tip (recycling centre) which is always a good feeling. The guys there are very helpful and friendly. Then weeded the front garden and tidied up the horrid old leaves from the daffodils and the bluebells. Looks so much better.

We are also doing “No Mow May”. The grass is already quite long. The neighbourhood cats really like it, though, nice and soft on their paws. Our lovely gardener is fine with long grass, as is his little dog Winston, who is such a character. Winston and I really like each other. It’s so sweet, the gardener turns up in his big van with all his equipment, his assistant, and this small dog who wags his whole body with delight, and runs about just for sheer joy.

The mowed grass you can see is next door’s. The daisies are a delight, and the bluebells are just to show off a bit.

New TV system. Well, sort of. I’ve disconnected the Humax PVR and bought a Buffalo 1TB external hard drive. Then I attached the new box to the TV, formatted it, and found out how to record on to it. We stream a lot of stuff now, there’s BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime and Netflix, but if we stream stuff from ITV, or Channel 4 or 5, that means we have to sit through adverts. We hate adverts. So I wanted to be able to record the commercial channels so that we can whizz past them.

It also means that we just have one “source” now – the TV. Humax don’t support Netflix, so we were having to switch from Humax to TV, which was a pain because the sound didn’t always work through the hi-fi. It does now.

There is no longer any juddering either – it was infrequent and fleeting but so damned annoying. Clearly the Humax was interfering somehow. Anyway it works better without. And I’ve managed to set programmes up to record – just need to see if you can set it up to record a series. Hmm.

The genealogy is inching along. Hubby has started on his family tree too, and solved a mystery that has long been bugging him. I think he expected to just log on, put in the information he had, and that it would all magically become clear. Frustrated doesn’t begin to cover it, but he has calmed down now, stopped threatening to cancel the whole thing, and is delighted that the mystery is solved. Further research required, though, as although we understand some stuff, there is more to be found. There is always more to be found, I guess, as I am discovering with my Scottish forebears. Who, frustratingly, seem to be called William more often than not. Not Catholics, clearly . . . .!

Granny and Grandad on their golden (50th) wedding anniversary (May 1979), photo taken by the local newspaper. The globe is to show how much they had travelled. Grandad went to the US in 1929 because of the depression, and when he had found work Granny went over too. She almost died of sea-sickness because the voyage was just so dreadful. Grandad ran a speak-easy for a while. He also was a butler while Granny looked after the children. They were just lovely.

Done! now onwards

Well, it took a whole month, but the heating now works. And the trunking now covers the pipes. What a relief. Phew.

Next up is some small handyman jobs round the house – I’m going to have a little go at touching up the paintwork myself and see how that goes before we book anyone.

Meanwhile the garden is just a joy. The rockery is doing so much better than I had hoped. And I’ve cleaned up several smelly old pots with diluted white vinegar and replanted them. Very pleased.

There are several pots I’ve replanted but for some reason known only to the Great Computer Geek in the Sky, I can’t upload the photos. Ho hum. Anyway, you can see the rockery!

Next up is the decorating. Just one room, but a big room, and lots to do in it. New carpet, curtains and upholstery after the painting is done. I need to sort out a date for the decorator, then get Pickfords in to move a load of stuff into storage. Can’t think beyond that at the moment – bite size chunks are better for me.

We have roundly ignored the stupid pretentious – and expensive! dressing up sh*t-show that took place on Saturday. For heaven’s sake. To quote Oscar Wilde, we can barely contain our indifference. We have a comedian called Harry Enfield who plays him, and the trouble is now that when I see a photo I can’t tell if it’s the comedian or not. Meanwhile Channel 4 is showing a documentary on what they call “The Problem Prince”. I’ll say! it’s Andrew, for those of you who don’t know. Very interesting. Hey ho.