More help in the garden – hooray!

Next week, our new gardener will be starting.  His name is Paul and he visited us a couple of days ago to discuss the possibility of his working with us.  He has agreed and I’m mightily relieved as we can’t keep up with it.  Perhaps if we worked all day everyday we could get it under control, but there are lots of other things that we want to do, so the help will be much appreciated.

Paul suggested that we do it in small steps rather than trying to tackle everything at once.  He’s completely right and it’s the overwhelming whole that puts me off when I walk around our once-lovely garden.  So next week he’s going to start on the bed beside the back patio.

The pictures above are of that bed.  They are the “befores” and I’ll post some “afters” in a week or so.  The bed hassome interesting plants, but they’ve been overwhelmed by plants that didn’t ought to be there.  I don’t call them weeds because they would be just fine in other parts of the garden, but they’ve seeded themselves about and they’re taking over and smothering the more ornamental things that we have in that bed.

This weekend, we’re working on our first set of instructions for Paul.  I’m writing him an email because, unfortunately, I work at Scrappies on the day he’ll be working here.  My letter will be my next post.

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Office Cleanup

boosted-coloursEvery now and then, the mess in my office gets overwhelming.  I can’t find anything, I throw things about and stuff piles up so I can hardly get into the room.  I reached that point this morning, so had a bit of a tidy.

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Classic FM is having an all-day Mozart fest so I’ve got the music playing and I’m working away. There are still lots of piles about.  That’s the way I work.  If it’s filed, I’ve forgotten it, so it has to be piled so I’ll find it again later!

While tidying I started putting away the wreckage of this terms art-work.  Pastels are back in pots, brushes have been washed and paintings put into my box of work.  I took pictures of the ones I like best and then played with them on the computer – boosting colours, adding contrast, straightening and cropping, etc.  The photos look a lot better than the originals, so I’ve included them in this post.

contrastmoonNow it’s time to start going through my “Arts Festival Pending” e-mail folder to get some jobs done before tomorrow’s committee meeting.

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December 1st, 2016

volcano2This picture is a bit warmer than my garden right now!

Short days and long nights have crept up on us again, along with some quite awful weather for a while.  Our stream kept rising – as high as it’s been for several years.  With strong winds and pouring rain I didn’t feel like going outside to do anything.

 

But now we’ve had high pressure for a few days.  It’s very cold, with the frost lingering in this hollow from day to day and getting thicker and thicker each night.  The pond is frozen over, but the stream is down and the sun is shining brightly.

I went out to pick up some windfall apples.  There was a carpet of them because it’s been a bumper year and because I couldn’t be bothered to go out and collect them as they fell.  Now I have two large plastic shopping bags full.  All I have to do is remove the slugs and cut them up for storage in the freezer. I reckon it will take all night, so I hope there’s something on the telly to watch while I do it!

kingfisherBut you know, laziness does have its rewards!  The garden is full of birds – from the little wren I had to chase out of the garage this afternoon, to the brilliant kingfisher who perches alongside the stream and then shoots off with a flash of irridescent neon blue.  (This is the best I could do before she flew off). The blackbirds, squirrels and badgers have been feasting on the apples and the birds have stripped our rowan trees of all their berries.

So here we are in December again.  21 days to the Solstice.  I can’t wait!

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First Post in our new web home

Finally, after many months of procrastination I’ve managed to settle to the computer and start a new post.

2015-11-05-16-31-56It has been a strange year marked with strong highs and lows.  Last November we were enjoying the wildlife and hot weather of Panama, this November we’re luxuriating in a long and beautiful autumn here in England. In between times we’ve cruised the canals, attended a sumptuous wedding in the south of France, caught up with old college friends at a reunion marking 50 years since graduation and worked hard on our various voluntary activities in and around Church Stretton.

steveThe lowest point of the year occurred when our 96 year old neighbour Steve passed away. He had become something of a surrogate father to me, listening to my chatter, giving advice, lending me books and feeding me tea and cake on Sundays!  The house next door is empty and quiet and I miss him a lot.

Most of my friends are aware that I suffer from depression.  The pills help to keep it at bay, but I do, frequently, find it difficult to get on with the normal tasks of life. Communicating with friends and family, keeping up my blogs, gardening, housework and sometimes even bathing become a chore which I can’t face.  I’m sorry if I’ve ignored you, forgotten your birthday/anniversary/significant life event, or in any way insulted you.

heatherandgorseThe trouble is that when you come out of the depression sufficiently to tackle some jobs, you have so many that you can’t decide what to do and you sink right back down.  Here’s a good example:

Every year your cards and letters arrive in time for Christmas.  I lay them aside, promising myself that I’ll read them once the holidays are over and I have more time.  I now have about 5 years worth.  It’s probably too late now to read them.  I’ve missed your news about births, deaths, marriages, successes in sport, educational achievements, sickness, holidays, and all the wonderful things that you do.

2014-03-04 16.27.48And then there’s the guilt.  When you’re 70 years old, you shouldn’t still be blaming things on your mother, but she really did pile it on and I’ve never been able to shake it off. I oughta do this and I shoulda done that … the chant reverberates around my head whenever I’m awake.

So, I’m not sending out any cards this year – again! Instead I’m going to go off and do something creative. I hope you’ll forgive me and stay in touch in some way.

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