31 May 2008

May Update

As the last day of May 2008 emerges from the Cornish mist, I thought that I would review odds and ends that have happened.

Before I start, I would like to carry out a survey of anyone who is reading this so, click on Comment and just say hello, or make a comment, and I will then know that I am not just talking to two people - thanks.

Today, for the first time, I saw two Goldfinches on the feeder at the same time. Also this month, for the first time since we moved here, I have seen the odd Starling; I would have expected more of them. A couple of days ago I saw some sort of hawk, maybe Sparrowhawk, being mobbed by three crows. The only other bird of prey seen was a lone Buzzard. We could do with something, anyone got a Harris Hawk?, a shotgun?, or are related to the Dingles in Emmerdale? (or Peggy Armstrong in Heartbeat) to deal with:

These very cute animals are breeding like, well rabbits and are everywhere. I shall have to erect more protective fencing to deter them from reaching the garden.

This one was about 6" long!!

Most of the flowers in the garden are on shrubs but I did like this photograph of the Arum Lily that is just outside the conservatory:

In parts of the garden I encourage wild flowers, particularly Foxgloves; the ones shown below I found in the top field and was so taken with that I transplanted some onto the Turf Wall. Now, who is the expert who can tell me what they are?

Finally, as it has been a tremendous time for May Blossom, I have included the following photo of part of the bank adjacent to our lower field. The yellow bush is Broom but is past its best and the Rhododendrons are not fully formed yet.

And so to June, I wonder what it will bring?

25 May 2008

The Turf Wall

I have rambled on about this project so I thought that I would show my readers (if there are any), just how far I have got.

Remember this?

Just started - 01 Apr 2008
And now:

25 May 2008

To get to the end, I think that this is a 2 to 3 year project!! Assistance willingly accepted!

Ride-on Mower

Last week was a disaster for my elderly Hayter 13/30. I had been using it mostly for towing my little trailer full of turf and soil etc., but had decided to cut part of the top field. All went well but it suddenly clogged up and when I had removed all the grass I started up again only to find that every time I selected the drive for the cutters, the engine stopped. After some preliminary investigation, I decided that, without a workshop and a means of taking the cutting assembly apart, I was going to get nowhere.

A decision had to be made:
1. Get it repaired.
2. Buy a second hand one or new one and sell the old one on Ebay.
3. Put the broken one in as part exchange.

After seemingly hours on the internet, I was no nearer to a solution so on Monday, I took myself off to my local mower stockist to investigate the possibilities. Options to repair were discussed and to be very fair with them, they would have collected it and told me the cost before proceeding. One of the problems is that the grass does not stop growing at this time of the year. In the end, I decided to put it in part exchange for a new one. The exchange value was more than I expected and the exchange would take place within about 6 days so that suited me. Having consulted Maria we decided to proceed and set the wheels in motion.

Saturday saw the arrival of the new machine, so I had another toy to play with, and I did.

Brandy - A little concerned!

Whilst the patio was being laid, I cut all the paths in the top field, then the whole of the lower one. At the end of the day I used the towing facility to move yet more turf and earth to the wall and promptly ran out of fuel on the entrance road!!


It has been our plan for some time to have a patio outside the conservatory, well, yesterday that plan came to fruition. The delivery of the slabs etc. caused some concern as I persuaded the lorry driver to come into the field so that the delivery was as close as possible to where it was needed. The lorry got into the field OK but getting out again proved more difficult and, when he finally extracted himself from the entrance track, I spent an hour or so repairing the track and sweeping mud from the road!!

I had done some of the preparation by removing the turf so Dan and Ashley (who I persisted in calling Adrian!!) turned up about 09:45 and left at about 17:00 with the following results:



Whilst he was there, I asked Dan if he could finish off the job by tidying up the end of the wall that butts up to the patio. We then thought that it would be a good idea to have a gate into the field as well so, hopefully, later this week he is coming back with a gate. After that, all we shall need is some decent weather, the barbecue dusted down, the patio furniture oiled and we shall be ready to go.

13 May 2008

13 May

There are some dates in a person's life that stand out as being memorable. In my case, six dates come to mind. They are: 18 March 1941 - my date of birth. 14 November 1964 - I got married. 23 January 1967, 13 June 1968 and 24 November 1969 - Andrew, Annette and Nick's arrival dates in this world. That is five, so what is the sixth you my ask?

13 May 1958 was the day I signed on in the Royal Air Force. I was one of about 155 callow youths who joined the 89th Entry, Royal Air Force Apprentices at RAF Halton. For those with a mathematical background, you will note that that is 50 years ago today.

Some of those boys are still in touch and some of them will have met up today at the National Memorial Arboretum to remember that momentous day (for some of us) 50 years ago. Regrettably, I was not able to attend but I have been thinking of friends made all those years ago and hoping that they have had a good reunion. I shall be at the next Annual Reunion at Tunbridge Wells in October.

Instead of celebrating, I have spent the day, amongst other things, in climbing up and down a ladder, cleaning the guttering. This is a soul destroying task slightly worse than cleaning windows, which I hate. I then had to fix the exhaust on the Ride-on mower before cutting the 0.81 acre field alongside the house. The Strimmer came next and I would like to think that I am getting better with it but the results leave a lot to be desired. In the meantime, Maria has been hard at work with a myriad of different things including washing, ironing and loads of weeding. We finally packed up at about 7pm, had some tea and settled down for the evening. For me that means catching up with the Blog, sorting the e-mails and tidying up some Family History.

10 May 2008

A Day in the Life of a "Retired" Aircraft Electrician

I thought that the story of yesterday should be the subject of this post. It started badly because, since I returned from holiday, I have been suffering from a bad cold (not man-flu) and my night's sleep was interrupted, resulting in about two hours sleep.
I gave up and got up at about 07.00, made myself a cup of tea and then checked my e-mails before doing about an hour's work transcribing Maidstone Marriages from 1761/2. This is an ongoing task for the Kent Family History Society.
At 08.00 I made more tea and took a cup to Maria. I then had a shave and shower followed by a leisurely breakfast.
The first job of the day was to fix one of the Black-out blinds in our bedroom. It would not stay closed and I had been told how to fix it by the company. The fix turned out to be good so tools and stepladder were brought down to the kitchen. Maria promptly asked me whether or not I had fixed the extractor fan in the en-suite; it was making a funny noise! Back up two flights of stairs complete with tools and stepladder. Having removed the fan, I located the problem, removed some damaged tube, reconnected everything satisfactorily and returned everything to its home.
Now what, thought I? For some time, Maria has been complaining about the state of the path to the front door, saying that it was slippery so I thought that it was time to improve its appearance.


Armed with Pressure Washer, wellies and the oldest pair of jeans that I own I started the process.

During - Note the state of the Wellies and Jeans

About three and a half hours later, I put everything away and the path looked a lot cleaner, which is more than can be said for me! Everything off, I had my second shower of the day. The path now needed to dry so that I could fill all the gaps with sand so we had a very late lunch, quick siesta, watched "Deal or No Deal" with a cup of tea and then started the process of filling in the gaps. That took about an hour, but made the path look rather grey so we are now awaiting some gentle rain to tidy the whole thing.


I followed that with lifting some more turf and building my wall a little higher before calling it a day and settling down for a quiet evening, including a chicken salad sandwich. I did do a little more Marriage transcribing in between watching a little television and we finally went to bed at about 23.00. I read a couple of chapters of 'Oliver Twist' before having a good night's sleep - hooray!

07 May 2008

Post Holiday Update

We have had glorious weather since we returned and therefore all the grass has been cut, including the two fields, some weeding has been done and further construction of my "turf wall" has taken place.
Today, Maria was washing some bedding and was complaining that the sheets did not fit very well on the rotary clothes drier. I decided to, temporarily, supply one of the longest lines in Cornwall, stretching all the way across our field. It now seems as though it will become a permanent feature although positioned slightly differently. If anyone is interested, it was just over 34 of my golfer's paces long. Anyone got a longer one?

05 May 2008

Holiday Time

We have just arrived back from our annual two weeks in the sun of Tenerife so I thought that a brief resume of the holiday was appropriate.
Our outbound flight was from Bristol at 06.30 so we left home just after midnight arriving at about 03.00. The rules have changed again so we could not offload the cases outside the airport. Off we went to our parking zone, catching the bus back with all the luggage. In trying to get into the airport, Maria tripped over the kerb and damaged an elbow. Whilst I waited for the check-in to open she went off to try and get a plaster but found herself being attended to by two First Aiders - ah the benefits of Health and Safety!
The flight took off on time and we duly arrived in Tenerife and on to Beverly Hills Heights. Unfortunately, although we arrived at about noon, we could not gain access to the apartment until about 16.30. Nice apartment and we thoroughly enjoyed it; good view over Los Cristianos and only about 15 yards from the pool. We had never stayed here before but we would certainly not mind going back.
For the most part the weather stayed sunny and warm and, because I managed to damage a knee, we spent a lot of relaxation time around the pool; another novelty for us as we usually prefer the beach.

Beverly Hills Heights Pool.

We met some very nice people, especially Beryl and Ian and eventually had a couple of meals out with them. They managed to get us to imbibe too much one night, resulting in a very interesting walk back up the hill to bed!

Beryl, Ian, Maria & Me on our last night.

The journey home was fairly uneventful, apart from an hour's delay and having to pay 27 Euros in excess baggage!! We arrived home at about 21.15 to find the house just as we had left it (apart from slightly longer grass), thanks to Annette and Clive, who also had a cup of tea ready.
So, back to normality. Well I have developed a cold and sore throat already but I am hoping that it is not going to last too long. I have sorted through all the snail mail and the 350 e-mails. Today is going to be devoted to the garden as the weather looks set fair.