Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The wettest month

October has surpassed itself, and all the preceding months.  With a total rainfall of 194mm, or more than 7½ inches in real money this has been a difficult month.  The ground is saturated, parts of the garden turn to muddy bog if you dare put a boot near them.

Allegedly, the long-term winter forecast is for a dry and cold period, more like 2009 and 2010 than last year.  We'll see . . .

Can't make an omelette without breaking eggs

Despite getting outline quotes for plumbing and plastering at the beginning of the year we have managed to make very little progress with the refurbishment of our entrance/mud room.  Most of the delay was caused by the length of time it took to find a new door; however it was fitted in June so I can't use that an excuse any longer. (Strewth, is it really that long ago?  I was convinced we had it done at the end of August!) The next bit of delay was that we had decided to do the clearing and preparation prior to tradesmen turning up.  As Management has neither the time nor inclination and I don't seem to have the time, we weren't making much progress!

Enter LP who is just keen to work, and (within reason) doesn't mind what he does!  Torrential rain meant he couldn't do anything in the garden and we had retained the skip in order to have somewhere for all the wallpaper and plaster mess.

I knew that when one section of wallpaper came off most of the plaster would go with it ... I hadn't reckoned on some atrocious blockwork underneath.  This bit of wall is obviously part of an extension and adds to the continuing confusion about the various alternations which Bag End has endured over the years.  Wayne is due on Friday to have a good look at it all, I've already told him the 'correct' response is "don't worry, this is not load-bearing and it will be fine when re-plastered".

Plumber's partner is about to have their first baby and (thankfully) unavailable for a week or two so it looks like I have time to find the loo and basin we want before rebuilding starts.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Autumn bounty

First, take your next-door churchyard

Second, a willing helper with a larger trailer!

A couple of hours later the recently muck-heap-mulched side bed has a wonderful thick covering of beech leaves which can rot down in situ.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

Home safely, a little tired and a lot hoarse after a wonderful weekend away with QuiltSue and Mrs Flummery.  Sadly, the final corner of our quartet couldn't be with us - we missed you,  Ali.  Being reduced to three meant there were numerous references to Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick ... unless you've read Terry Pratchett it won't make sense, but it was bloody funny at the time! 

There was talking, laughing, more laughing, a small amount of finishing-bindings-on-table runners and more talking & laughing.  (Management is indebted to Flummery for fixing one of his favourite jumpers, mending is not a noted Hobbit skill!)   A big bonus for me was that I took four table runners to finish and only brought one home - the other three were adopted by Nanny and Magrat!

There were silly, but lovely, presents:

There was much admiration and envy of Sue's latest quilt top:

There was food - much food, thank you Sue! 

But mostly there was the very specialness of being with trusted friends, folk with whom you could talk about big things, little things or (mostly) about absolutely nothing at all.  Although I was only away from Friday morning until Sunday afternoon I returned to Bag End feeling totally chilled out and remarkably energised.  It felt as if I'd been away for far longer - wonderful :}

Soundtrack to the weekend?  

♬  Laptops and smartphones and whiskers on kittens,
Smelly chorizo and fingerless mittens.
Toffee and Kindles all tied up with string, 
these are a few of my favourite things  

Don't ask - you had to be there!  I'm so glad I was, and can't wait for our next get-together which, hopefully will be in February.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Moving a muck heap

I lied, hauling all the stumps out wasn't The End.  It took a fraction of the time we expected to clear that front bed and LP was obviously in the mood to work all day and not ready to be stood down.

As we'd been working on the side bed during the week, in LP world it made sense to carry on ... so he set to emptying the entire muck heap, which was beautifully rotted and ready to be spread.

Management and I hurriedly put bark chip down to fill in the path because the wheelbarrow was making numerous trips back and forth.  Later on we'll dig this out properly and put black membrane underneath as we've done elsewhere.

Exhausted by the end but what an achievement!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Not quite how we'd planned to spend Saturday

OK, I'm writing this weeks after the event so we're going to be a little briefer than usual.

After three long days with LP this week and a full-on week ahead I'd assumed the weekend would be quiet and relaxed;  what a silly idea. After waiting the best part of 12 months for Geoff to come back and grub out the old escallonia hedge, I could hardly say "no" when we got a phone call on Thursday morning.  The delay during the summer was because we were all (optimistically) waiting for the ground to dry up so he could use the digger to excavate the rest of the bark path.  Seeing as LP is making a fine job of that task by doing a section at a time the only remaining delay was getting the large digger off a job where it's been tied up for far longer than expected.

Management and LP worked like Trojans moving all the rubbish into a very large skip.  I made tea.  The end.

"Mr Clutter" won't like this :}

Monday, 15 October 2012

Side bed

It often seems that the more monumental the change, the greater the progress, the less there is to actually write when I come to post about it.  And so it is with the creation (finally) of a long 'side bed'.

Prior to some basic digging over, we've cut down all the surplus elder and goodness knows what else is growing feral along the fence line.  thankfully LP has a much more powerful shredder than me so all this rubbish will get recycled.

Friday, 12 October 2012


Thursday night - 47mm of rain, 1¾ inches.  Is it ever going to stop?
I regularly give thanks that we live on a hill and the river is 50 feet below us.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Good morning

There's not been much in the way of gorgeous sunrises this summer, far too much rain and cloud.

Today, however, was back to the beauty that I've become used to enjoying since we moved here.  No Photo Shop, no adjusting the colour, this is how it really was ☺.  I know some folk wax lyrical about sunsets, but I've always preferred dawn.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Underwater Growbags

Another entry written weeks after the event, so more pictures and less words:

A promising start to the day (7.15am)

Above and beyond the call of duty - helping remove soil which has built up through years of neglect and the manhole cover being buried under soil

Bulk purchase of hessian sandbags from eBay.

LP's trailer + another ton of wonderful top soil + the loan of a handy support to make filling the bags easier = fabulous progress!

(we'll ignore the flare and just be grateful the sun was shining!)

Over 200 sandbags and two tons of topsoil (and an awful lot of plants to get out of pots).

A lovely self-sown distraction which has suddenly appeared in front of the willow fedge.

Monday, 8 October 2012


Looks damn good in these pictures, looks even better in real life!