E7 Gardening: Ups and Downs

It’s a bit quiet on the house front at the moment as we’re between jobs, and are just planning which next room to take apart. It’s funny, you have weeks where the dust annoys you, but when it stops, you’re like…hmm, we should be making dust again! When shall we next make a new building site?

In the meantime I’ve been trying to turn my attention to the garden. As you might know, I’m not the most green fingered, but I am trying. Since my epic B&Q trip a few weeks back, the weather has been unpredictable to say the least. We had one week of intense heat, and then nothing but rain, and then a dramatic plummeting of temperatures.

Some of my plants have faired okay, (despite the influx of snails)…but not my thyme. It’s been looking sorry for itself for a week or so, and just when I was considering bringing it inside, it seems to have completely given up the ghost. The other pots are doing okay, but the poor thyme. See exhibit A:

pots progress
Sad looking bottom left pot

I’m not sure what happened? I think perhaps the drop in temperature was too much for it? In other better news my Rosemary is thriving (far right pot). That is obviously one hardy herb that I can get behind.

A surprisingly nice thing in a different part of the garden, and which has pretty much nothing to do with me, as it was already in the garden when we arrived, is that this green plant (of which I don’t know the name…) has developed very nice pink heads. It had sort of creamy green heads in the summer, and now they are bright amongst the autumnal colours. But, for how long?

Pretty in pink & the makings of a rockery.
Pretty in pink & the makings of a rockery.

My lawn, over the last month or so, has become friend to many, many weeds. So, yesterday I took out the Weedol and started spraying viciously. I’m pleased to say my revenge is working. This was starting to look sad (or happy) when I came home today:

Take that
Take that

A few more sprays and then…*evil laugh*

So, there are some ups, despite the death of the thyme.

There is one very big down unfortunately.  Our garden is directly below an overhanging walnut tree. A very tall, very large walnut tree which we can’t reach ourselves to trim. Here’s exhibit B:

My enemy
My current enemy

You know, it looks nice enough, it doesn’t completely block out the sun, and eventually we will get ‘a man in’ to cut the overhanging branches. But for now, you go out into the garden and hear a sound. You can’t quite place it. Is it someone doing some work in their house? Is it a child nibbling on some particularly noisy nuts? You hear a rustle in the tree above and then suddenly, a bunch of walnuts, or should I say walnut shells come tumbling into your garden. Like this:

The aftermath
The aftermath

You look up to see a squirrel peering down to see what has happened to his spoils. You have a stare out until one of you gets bored (normally me) and normal service resumes.

Repeat about a hundred times until your garden beds end up looking like this:

Walnut graveyard
Walnut graveyard

It’s a becoming one of those things that is bothering me. This week I’ve also started to see the same squirrels BURYING THEIR NUTS IN MY LAWN. I mean, come on. I know they’re preparing for winter, and I feel for them, but I’d also like not to have my lawn dug and re-dug over and over again.

In order to mow my lawn, I need to spend about half an hour first raking up all the walnuts. And only to turn your head and see a new load of shells appear.

*Sigh* I’m fighting a losing battle. Save stringing a large net across the garden to catch the debris I am out of ideas.

When is walnut season over?

Advertisements

Lounging

As you know, the building site continues. But as we have to live in it for a while, we have decided to try to make it as nice as possible. (As nice as it can be with holes in your walls and random patches of paint everywhere).

So, I have been unpacking more and more and rearranging rooms to make them as liveable as can be. The lounge is looking more lounge-like. This is what we had for a while.

Living room (sans much furniture)
Lounge, before (and without much furniture)

The one comfy chair situation was not one that could last long when there are two of you living there. Try watching a three hour film on a deck chair and you will know what I mean.

This room doesn’t need much work really but the work isn’t going to happen for while. The plan is we need to re-plaster (it’s crumbling), then paint (we picked the colour ‘Orangery‘ already) and then hope to be able to restore the original dark wood floorboards that should be under this bamboo flooring. They look okay from the cellar, but who knows what we will find when they come up. Oh, and we also need to replace the skirting boards too. And this is a room I said didn’t need much work.

But, as there isn’t anything structural, it isn’t a priority yet. So, we need to make nice for now.

First step was thankfully being offered a sofa on loan, which has been gratefully received and much lounging has already occurred. We then moved an old shelving unit from upstairs (which we aimed to throw out, but now I’m pleased we never got round to it) and today I have filled it with just some of our books (we have way too many). And with some pictures unwrapped and balancing precariously on shelves and fireplaces, it’s just starting to look just a bit cosy:

lounge sept 13-1

That will do for a while.  We have a few weeks without workmen coming up, so I did an epic clean today so we can enjoy the dust-free weeks.

The dust-free weeks until we get our kitchen ripped out and redone, and then all the dust in the world will be upon us again.

But, for now, I have my feet up on the (borrowed) sofa and I’m not thinking about anything else but lounging.

Complicated bathrooms and building sites

It’s a happy day in E7. Today our slightly odd en-suite was mostly ripped out. I say slightly odd as the loo in the en-suite was a Saniflo toilet. This is one of those loos that doesn’t need to be plumbed in, and has a macerator underneath it. It’s a solution for spaces where you can’t make your bathroom waste pipe reach the soil stack, without making major alterations to your house. However, as we found when we moved in, our one was very loud (not ideal in the middle of the night) and quite smelly. We are lucky to have a main bathroom downstairs so we haven’t been using it since we moved in, so when we had a plumber coming to do a few other bits we decide to get rid of it!

The ensuite before
The ensuite before

And it's gone!
And it’s gone!

We’ve been consulting with builder and plumber friends and they think we should be able to plumb in a toilet, its just going to be a bit tricky as we need to run pipes underneath another room. Or raise the floor a little.

Luckily, this is how the other room looks at the moment:

Not too much problem disturbing this room
Not too much problem disturbing this room

This did have a fitted wardrobe at the end until today and a lot of leftover pipes from an old boiler, so our plumber has been working out which ones he can remove or take elsewhere. The plan, in the near future, is to try to run our waste pipe under this floor (our spare room) and out the back. At least the floor already had to come up when we rewired, so the disturbance has already been started, and we don’t need to use this room for a while (sorry would-be overnight guests!).

The current en-suite is long and thin, and we are hoping to split the room into two, and use one end for a wardrobe, and the other end for the bathroom, moving the toilet as close to the back of the house as we can (which should mean it ends up just behind the wall in the picture above where all the pipes are). We have some complicated decisions to come about where to put doors, whether to change windows, and exactly how much hanging space we need in our wardrobe area – but that is the fun part to come!

For now, we no longer have an old Saniflo in our bedroom (essentially, as the en-suite never had a door) and while our house is becoming more like a building site as the days go on, it all still feels like progress.

In the meantime I will be dreaming of the massive luxury of having space to hang clothes and being able to go for a quiet wee in the middle of the night without waking the neighbours.