Monday, 25 February 2008


Monday, 25 February 2008
Last year passed in a bit of a blur for us as a large chunk of it was taken up with the whole process of moving house which took from early May till late August and by the time we'd caught our breath it was time to start planning Christmas!

This meant that we missed seeing a lot of our friends as more often than not it was impossible to co-ordinate our limited free time. We are determined to make up for that this year and so the weekend just gone we had friends to stay and the one before we stayed with friends.

The first weekend when we were away was fantastic fun - it was three couples plus Lia and two baby bumps as both of the other couples are expecting their first babies in July. A great time was had by all, especially Lia who was spoiled by everyone.

This weekend we had my best friend, her husband and their two children to stay with us and yesterday we were joined by another family of four which meant I catered for 11 (the most I've ever cooked for before was 6). Again a lovely time was had by all and the kids aged from 10 months to 8 years and they all managed to play together with no upsets.

It was a bit of a mad weekend - our house is large but two families living in it means it's heading towards mayhem - and I'm thoroughly exhausted today but I'd forgotten just how wonderful it is to be surrounded by friends whose love and affection inspires and warms.

We had a long discussion about our garden (it is the current topic of choice given the amount of work it requires) as I'd arranged for a professional to come round and give us a quote for some work. Anyway S, the husband, said he'd be more than happy to help and they could come and stay two or three times specifically so he and DH could go out in the garden.

The next thing I know DH and S are out there for three hours chopping down trees, cutting away all the brambles, pulling down old fencing and suddenly we can now see the whole length of the garden! We also have a huge amount of fuel for a second bonfire next weekend. E, my best mate, was also out there with a bin bag picking up the rubbish that has accumulated (we live next to a school and coke cans and crisp packets are regularly thrown over the fence) and all I was doing was making lunch and checking on their baby.

Thanks to their work we're now a bit further on and I was able to have a much saner conversation with the gardener. His recommendation is to kill off the current 'lawn' (read moss, weeds, shoots, tree stumps, brambles and bare earth), rotivate it all and then re-turf. It's basically what we figured we needed to do given the state of it all and at least once it's done we'll have a good, flat, lawn that Lia can run around on.

We'll be leaving two large chunks lawn free though, one patch around 4 metres by 12 metres where I want a veggie bed and a small greenhouse and the end patch - 9 metres by 13 metres - where we'll build up a wildlife pond and garden, a tranquil area if you like. Both of those projects will take more time (because they'll require more money LOL) but if we can clear everything and get it set up then we can look at the next stages next year.

We'll have plenty of other things to keep us busy - garage and fences need painting, the five small beds around the patio need clearing and planting and we're also planning on putting some fruit trees in so once the inital clearance has been done we can maybe put those in if we can afford to.

All the planting around the patio is going to be as aromatic as possible. There'll be a small herb bed and I'm hoping to get some jasmine to train along the fence on one side. I love lavender so there'll be a couple of lavender bushes in the beds at the end of the patio. I'm not sure what else I'll be including - there's not a lot of space and I'm not looking at bedding plants or anything that requires a lot of attention. My idea is that the garden isn't high maintenance, energy will be spent on the veggies mainly, with mowing and a bit of clearing and tidying the only other regular tasks. I have a lot of hobbies and not enough spare time!

In other news my parents have moved house. They have downsized from a four bedroom house to a two bedroom ground floor flat. It's strange because for 31 years my mother lived in the same place (12 years in one house and then 19 in a house next door) so the only homes I remember have always been 'Up Iffin' (the name of the lane the houses are on). My sister still lives in one of the two houses so I will still go up there but if she ever decides to move I'll only ever see the houses if I go to take a peek because they're up a driveway set back from the road.

Still, given my parents are in their mid 70s the new flat is a good idea, it's on a bus route and they can walk to town which is a big improvement from being a mile up a tiny country lane. It's also an odd feeling because they're a stone's throw from where my favourite Auntie lived while I was growing up. She died a few years ago and I've not spent much time in that part of town since so when I visited my parents last week I was wandering around reliving childhood memories.


Sheila said...

Sounds like a good, and very productive, weekend. Look forward to seeing more pics of your garden as you tackle it.


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