Friday, 29 July 2011

Room with a view.





I used to photograph things, now I just seem to photograph the view from my bedroom!




These are the views from yesterday morning and just a few minutes ago.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Just working in the garden.


In the past my donor body was subjected to a roller coaster ride of manic activity and deep lows of despondency. I quite liked the manic phases and could sometimes get a lot done in a short time before the lows returned. 
Life is now quite flat but flat at a good level. If I want to do something I have to push myself and it has taken a while to get used to this. I have been pushing myself on the garden projects for weeks now with only a few breaks and with the evenings being the best time for much work especially the cement work I have been taking care of the long summer light we get in Scotland, today finished at 10.30 pm yet again.
The usual trusty concrete mixer decided to just stop and was out of action for about a week until my net searches found some helpful guy who phoned to help diagnose the fault treating me in a kindly way as the obviously less smart than a man way guys have when they have to deal with a woman. I mark this up as a success as was his diagnosis and the instructions on how to strip down the machine to be ready for the new part were perfect. Having it grind away on a Sunday seemed less than neighbourly so I have spent the day removing a largish spreading tree without crushing the plants growing within four metres. With pains taking care all the small side branches were removed then I borrowed a chainsaw to cut through the thick spreading branches to near the point of breaking then eased them down pulling on ropes onto the one nearby path. Julie looks on in wonder not able to understand how I can do this when friends pay out a fortune and have devastated gardens to contend with afterwards! 
Two of the largest twisted boughs I had long ago stated would make perfect rustic handrails for the front steps up to the house. It was  assumed that I was just dreaming out loud so Julie got a surprise to find me stripping bark off one limb which I had lashed into place to try out my idea. A magical sculpture and handrail in one! It will take a fair bit of work to bring it to perfection, the other one looks as promising for the other side. Feeling slightly smug.


The vegetable garden has been neglected much of the time since we returned from out trip, the garden help goes in with her mum who is starting to enjoy growing things, shame that they will not touch any weeds which are not close to what they want to eat! Thankfully I was not able to persuade them of the joys of artichokes so we got the whole crop, this was the last picking.
So life goes on but with a little added back ache. Thankfully my new bumps have not shrunk with the new weight losses...


Monday, 11 July 2011

Un-ladylike work.


Scottish summer!
After two poor wet summers I thought the chances of a dry one would be reasonable. Last year the garden table never even came out of storage for the summer but it has this year. Yesterday we were out drinking coffee after our breakfast thinking that it was almost hot enough to bring out the summer hats we bought in Germany just before the cold and rain started. We were talking about the plans I had for the garden work after I had oiled the table top. The moment the last drop of oil went on it started to rain hard from a near black sky!
Much of the time I have been working on the driveway until it goes dark just after ten then sleep like the dead! I must be burning a few extra calories and have lost nearly seven pounds since we came back from our trip. I am doing a lot of unlady like labouring and have unearthed the concrete mixer from it’s seven year coma, I don’t remember the bags of sand being this heavy though they do seem to get lighter as the weeks go by. The driveway is worse than I thought with some of the hardcore hanging over voids which have been washed away. It was perhaps a mistake to put the car away in the garage while I set to work with the collected sand and cement and piles of reclaimed gravel, shame that I ran out of material before enough was repaired to be able to escape again! A friendly neighbour was in his rags and had just finished emptying his trailer as I arrived seeking help last Sunday. We made a trip to the DIY depot and loaded up on more sand and cement then I helped him fix up a pergola in his garden in payment as a nice break from the graft in my own. I still dream of one day sitting long summer days, warm in the shade reading or listening to the radio. A girl can dream!
Today was hopeless with overnight rain then just as it became dry enough the sky went black again. Just to be infuriating it stayed mostly dry but threatening enough to not want to start anything useful! Then there would be short bursts of rain to call an end to all hope. If the toilet flush mechanism had not broken to take my mind off things it would have been frustrating. Modern plastic fittings are rubbish, this unit is only six years old and works much worse than the cistern downstairs which is 117 years old!
That is quite new from the 1896 modernisation! The roof is 170 years old and even though I paid out good money about fifteen years ago to have the slates stripped off and the roof re-felted and slated a monsoon rain found it’s way into the bedroom mid week at six am when the wrong kind of drip drip woke me as the drops fell just inches from my hifi. A MAN came to assess the situation in the afternoon and agreed with my diagnosis and we will just have to find the money for a repair to a stupidly designed valley. I asked if my emergency repair using some left over kitchen vinyl and lead pipe (never throw anything away!) was any good, he muttered something about it being better than he could have come up with!
We have a garden party organised for the middle of August, am I anxious yet? No, but if there is not more dry weather soon I might be…
I went to look at the fruit bushes, time for some black currants, none left, the birds have nearly cleared all this years black and red currants and the gooseberries too. This is the first time they have not left more than we need. Next year the fruit cage will be re-netted and they will have to go and torment someone else. I don’t begrudge them a good feed but being that greedy is just not on.
No pictures, just too busy and or tired to take any...