starting the shed

I’ve spent the last couple of days hacking away the ivy invading from the scrubland behind, and propping up the decaying fence with angle irons. I’m sure that I told the shed errectors to leave a “generous foot to fifteen inches” between fence and the back of the shed – but it only seems to be about 10″ !

Full protective gear of boilersuit, eye protection, disposable gloves required for working with CreoCote in such a confined space – but the sides and back of the shed are now done. Much needed, as I couldn’t face doing it last year.

narrow gap at back of shed

then and now

Six years ago today, I completed on the purchase of this house. blog post here

It all looks very different now! Solar panels on the roof, pond, fruit trees, shed, raised veg beds … and flowers. Lots of flowers! But still attractive enough to wildlife to have frogspawn, damselflies, and the odd slowworm. I’m still very happy here – it has everything I need, and the garden is a constant joy.

six years ago:

view this morning from roughly the same place – it couldn’t be exact, as the shed is now there!

view looking from the house end of the garden:

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minor project

My grandmother’s clock hadn’t worked for twenty-odd years before she died, though it had been to the menders a couple of times. I’ve had it for well over 20 years, and it’s never worked. Enough is enough! Today I carefully removed the mechanism (which I might find someone to look at at some point), and put in a battery quartz replacement.

‘Tis a pity the replacement hands are gold, which doesn’t show up well … I suppose I could spray them black at some stage. But on the whole I’m pleased to have it as a functioning item!

"repaired" clock

A large backlog of stuff was delivered today – including the e-cigs I ordered a week ago, and the ones I ordered yesterday (both from the same place)! I know Royal Mail does its best on letters, but I think parcels are taking a back seat – or perhaps just being overwhelmed by more people shopping on line.

So, progress made with the back bog. Fixings for the door are secure, though the non-hinge leaf will need to be planed down. Hooks for towel, hooks for floor mop and pegbag, toilet roll holder all now in – and I’ve fixed the cabin latch for the back door.

A walk this afternoon, varying the route a bit. I walked out along Astwood Road, deciding not to go through the cemetery – which was just as well, as the furthest (pedestrian) gate was padlocked. On to Bilford Road, and joined the canal at Bilford top lock, down to the bridge, up the hill, and home via the Co-Op. Sadly, camera playing up (now fixed), so no photo of magnificent Horse Chestnut candles near the Bilford locks.

summary of walk

longer walk

A very warm day today – I even managed to wash the duvet! Yes: the actual duvet, rather than the cover.

For the first time this year, I managed to walk over two miles! Down Merriman’s Hill, along the towpath as far as Bilford Top Lock, along to the recycling centre, cross the canal, and back up the hill. I feel pretty good about that.

map of route

phone

I was caught out in the first phone-in session with the pre-diabetic mob (aka “Diabetes Prevention Session) – my downstairs cordless handset ran out of battery half-way through the 90-minute session and I had to run upstairs to grab the bedroom handset in a hurry.

So yesterday I put a new set of rechargeable batteries in the downstairs handset. It may be the first since I bought the system ten years ago! It did this morning’s session of just over an hour, and battery charge as still showing two blobs – result!

But I was a bit surprised that an NHS-sponsored programme was still pushing the much-discredited nonsense of needing to drink 2 litres of water a day, and that tea/coffee/fruit juice didn’t really count.

handset and batteries

sunshine

Despite being chilly last night – down to about 1C – today has been glorious sunshine. A little bit of wandering in the garden, admiring the onset of spring, and for the first time this year I managed to hang washing out to dry, instead of using the tumble dryer.

washing on line

coffee table flowers

It’s that time of year when the forsythia and most of the daffodils have finished, and other flowers have yet to start. So things for the coffee table are rather scarce. Last week, I cracked and ordered a bunch of tulips with the Ocado delivery, but these have now finished.

Fortunately, the rosemary is just starting to come into flower. OK, the flowers are fairly insignificant, but the scent of the cut branches is of course glorious!

rosemary branches

aaargh!

While I was away at my Mum’s, there has clearly been an unsettled atmosphere among the resident and visiting felines. Someone – not sure who, but my suspicion is next-door-cat Enzo – sprayed the carpet, in the corner of the room I normally sit in.

The usual application of diluted vinegar as soon as I got home on Monday evening reduced the stench from utterly unbearable to merely mildly distressing. However, as today I had to shift the furniture round anyway (to get out the duplicator to do Green Party leaflets), I decided the time had come to deal with it properly. Carpet cleaner dug out of upstairs cupboard, and loaded with strong shampoo mix with a couple of drops of rosemary oil. Vigorous cleaning of affected area took place.

I’m now sitting surrounded by displaced furniture, and dis-assembled carper cleaner (as I can’t put it away until it’s dried inside). It is, of course, raining heavily outside, and despite having turned the central heating up the carpet is clearly going to take an age to dry …

room in disarray

Far too warm!

The front room has been unusually warm for the last couple of days. Having taken the thermostat in there to check, it was over 80F (27C).  An investigation of the radiator showed that the head of the TRV had pinged off! On closer examination, the bits of the head supposed to grip the valve body had got embrittled, and clearly shattered.

shattered grip on TRV head

Not a good start, really. However, I discovered replacement valve heads at Toolstation for £9.99 – frustratingly just under the £10 minimum order for free delivery. I bulked it out with a couple of steel straps, to hold back the clematis over the porch at my Mum’s house.

To my astonishment, I had a phone call from the pre-diabetes people early afternoon! They’ve offered me an initial appointment next Tuesday – a really rapid response, considering their website warns of potential delays of up to four weeks! I had already decided to start keeping a food-and-activity log again, like the one I kept for several months last spring – precipitated by the scales hitting 74kg yesterday morning! I’d really like to keep around 70, though somehow 71 seems to be more realistic.