Monday, 15 July 2019

A sunny afternoon in which I learn a couple of things

The first is that the GPS locator on my phone is alarmingly accurate:

The second is that those interesting little black triangles in the far distance are not fins:

If I knew the first thing about the sea, which I don't, I would have realised immediately they are channel markers.

No dolphins, but some amusing sunbathing starlings and a couple of pretty little Black-headed Gulls.

And a campervan which made Bill feel very under-dressed.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Overcoming inertia

M. and I have worked very hard over the years to create the home we want, and generally we've been successful.  In a strange way maybe too successful.  Because it is so comfortable here, the views are wonderful and I have all my "toys" to hand - whether they be for sewing, gardening, reading or whatever.  So when I am feeling incredibly "bluuueeerrgh" and none of the things I used to go out and enjoy are anything I want to do right now, it is actually terribly easy to stay put.  In a lovely comment recently, 'Florida Farm Girl' summed this up perfectly when she said "it's that inertia thing".  She is so very right.

I absolutely had to force myself, but yesterday I drove over to 'Dolphin Harbour' for a couple of hours.  Didn't see any Tursiops and the first time I tried to go for a short walk I got half soaked, and on the second attempt I was nearly blown off my feet, but at least I got out of the house even if I did spend most of my time sitting in the van with a big mug of tea and binoculars 🙃

A nice Herring Gull was up for a portrait session though:

And I got to wonder at the amount of braincells (or sheer bloody-mindedness?) it takes to stand on the end of a breakwater, in gusty winds, on an incoming tide?

Today was more deliberate 'inertia-busting'.  Finally got the sewing machine switched on and modified one of those packing cubes which are absolutely useless for clothes.  But it's now got potential for camera accessories.

Finally made a start on one of the boxes of scraps, small strips have become 'slab' and 2½" strips just cannot help themselves - they will end up becoming a long, long strip and eventually some sort of 'Random' pieced top.  It's slow going and going to take a very long time until I get all these boxes of scraps cleared out.

Monday, 8 July 2019

That went much better than expected . . .

The clematis over the canopy is no more.  We cut off all the cable ties holding the netting onto the frame, then Management fixed a strap to the back corner and he rolled as I pulled.

There was a small whoopsy when the strap came adrift and I flew backwards onto the green trolley (ouch) but no significant damage occurred.  It didn't take long to cut the net away from the plant, and take it in sections down to the compost bin, where the blackbirds think Christmas has come early.

No point being sad about cutting down such a big plant, although I am.
I suspect removing the steel is going to take a lot more work 😏

In other news, on Friday whilst Management kept an eye on the boiler service, changing out parts which haven't worn well, and whatever else was being brought up to a better standard, I managed to get hold of our builder and a carpenter so "Plan B" for more mucking around under the floor has officially commenced ☺️.    In the afternoon I wasn't in the mood to do anything "nice" but I didn't want to sit around doing nothing, so I cleaned and polished nearly all of the house.  Bonkers, exhausting, but satisfying.

With all my usual "weekend jobs" done a day early any sensible person would have gone off somewhere in the campervan.  But I struggle to break through the inertia, and I really couldn't be ****ed;  there is still a tear or two on an almost daily basis but I know eventually this will pass and I'll be back on my travels.

Thursday, 4 July 2019


Spelunking - a delightfully silly word which sounds much dafter than the English version of potholing.

Potholing - a word which, whenever I hear it, has me asking (usually loudly) BUT WHY?   Why the hell would you want to . . . It's not that I am disinterested in geology, but claustrophobia and going underground into confined spaces just don't mix.  I can no longer get on an aeroplane, and forget using a lift (that's what stairs are for).  So it came as a monumental surprise to both Management and ME when this morning I found myself suggesting I got appropriately dressed and braved the confined and cobweb encrusted voids under our house.

We have found a new plumber/heating engineer who seems unfazed by many of Bag End's idiosyncrasies and one task he agrees would be worthwhile is to rummage about under the house where access is possible, and put new insulation on as many pipes as we can reach.  This is a thoroughly horrible job which other trades have agreed to do, but never actually completed.  Having spent nearly an hour under the floor this morning I cannot really say I blame them.  Some of the spaces are a metre tall, but the main access is about 12" and requires a belly-crawl.

A bit of a survey was needed, and one that we were in charge of, not someone else emerging covered in cobwebs and dirt saying "yeah, 50 metres ought to do it".

So off I went, and took as many photos as I could (which don't even begin to show how dusty and messy and generally horrible it is) but of course once back in the real world and cleaned up it was apparent I might need to do it again; oh the joys of an old house 🤬.  And there are big sections where access is frightful and getting materials in would be a nightmare, so I've suggested a Plan B.  Plan B will cost five times as much and take eight times longer but I think might be worth it.

Remember that big bit of wall under the bedroom window - behind it is a big void.  I'm thinking large hole in the wall with a lintel, door and a padlock . . .   just need to find a co-operative builder.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Time for some changes

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" . . . but if something really is not working, then do something about it.

Something which really is not working is the big canopy we built above the bedroom window ten years ago.  The idea was simple - provide some shade when sitting in an exposed south-facing location and provide support for Clematis montana.  Trouble is, it provides absolutely no shade at any time of day we want to sit out there, and very little at other times, so mega-failure on aim number one.

Aim number two - well, yes, we provided a great playground for the clematis which looks stunning for about two weeks each May.

Apart from that, at least three times a year clearing up the mess this plant makes has me in tears of angry and exhausted frustration - when the flowers fall off, when the seed heads blow everywhere in massive quantities, and when the leaves fall in autumn.

And let's not think about how much fun it is to climb up onto the roof and cut the plant out of gutters and off the solar panels . . .

It was a hard decision to make, but as is often the way, once the decision was made we knew it was the right one.  It will be monumentally traumatic for the plant, but I am going to try to dig out the root and put it elsewhere.  But first there's a lot of cutting back to do.  I started on the honeysuckle which has never grown particularly well - it was meant to bring a gentle scent into the bedroom during the evening, it hasn't :-(   I'm going to train it over the trellis at the back of the adjacent bed and see if that works any better.

A good start but work inside the house has suddenly rushed up and taken over, so it will be a few days before we cut down anything else.

The tank and base will be relocated to the vegetable beds.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Not something you see every day

We popped into town to sort out a few errands and mistimed how long we were going to be out, I needed to eat so we had to grab some lunch from a supermarket.   Wanting to eat somewhere other than Morrison's car park, Management said "when you were away I was early for xxxxx appointment and I found a decent parking spot near the harbour where I killed some time".  So I followed his directions and we settled on a windswept patch of land with nothing between us and salty water.

And we had a walk, and we said sweary words because the only camera I had with us was my iPhone.  At first glance we were pleased to have seen a seal, then spotting the fin we figured it was a Harbour Porpoise, which would have been lovely, only it wasn't:

How often do you see THREE Bottlenose Dolphins?     (sorry, shouting in bold 😀 )

Absolute "O.M.G." moment . . . they swam near the breakwater once, the rest of the pictures I took were a little black fin far out in the distance, but it is nice to have proof of what we witnessed.

EDIT:  Blog Comments.
More than a few people seem to be having trouble commenting on various blogs, including Bag End.  I've turned off Comment Moderation here but the problem persists.  The only fix which might work is to completely clear all cookies and cache for both Google and Blogger, and then sign back in.  

Friday, 28 June 2019

A little trip to Yorkshire

For at least two years Kate and I have been trying to get together, but life (and death), dogs, work, weather, health and goodness knows what else always derails our provisional plans.  So why should our tentative arrangements to meet in late June be any different?  It would have been so easy to call off a quick trip in Bill, she would have understood that I feel so crap right now . . .

But I went, even though I didn't feel like it.  And the planets aligned.  The weather was fabulous, the campsite was a delight and my stroll with Kate and Miss Moss was one of the nicest five miles I have walked in a long while.  We took our shoes off and splashed through a stream "just because we could" even though there was a clapper bridge just a few feet away, we chatted and laughed, we probably got too much sun, and her dear silly dog was fabulous company.

Perfect lunch stop provided by Nature.  Photobombing provided by Moss:

It was rather special; I could very easily fall in love with North Yorkshire, nah, scrub that, I think I already have.

The only noise at the farm-based campsite was birdsong, and the occasional whiny from a beautiful ebony mare with her three-month old foal.

Back home for what is threatening to be the hottest weekend of the year for the south of England, but it will be much cooler here whilst I think about the housework  :-)