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There will now be a short intermission

June 21, 2015

The work on the hallway took longer than expected (no surprise there then!) – mainly because the state of the existing paintwork was so bad the decorator (Patrick) decided to use a heat gun and scrape back to almost bare wood on the architraves. As soon as the carpet was removed we could see how bad the skirting boards were and glad we decided to replace them; removing the old ones was no picnic, they were held on by a mixture of rusty screws and 4” floor brads.

The removal of the carpet also revealed how bad the original carpet fitting was, it had been patched with small pieces, cut poorly around the door frames and was also in a sorry state. We bit the bullet and decided on a new hall carpet and that will be fitted on the following Friday when all the paint has dried and has hardened off. This modern British paint is weird stuff; it smells horribly for days and takes about four days to go hard enough to touch – which means we have all the doors open and many windows open where normally we would not. However the alternatives suffer from going off too quickly so maintaining a wet edge is difficult on larger pieces (like doors) and the whites go yellow quickly. The contrast between the new paint and the inside of the airing cupboard I painted last year is striking.

Anyway, all the woodwork was refinished, primed and filled and the smelly gloss applied, plus a couple of coats on the new ceiling and all is looking good. This took a tad longer than planned but Patrick came back on Monday to finish off, next up is the carpet. We seem to have been very busy this past couple of weeks but nothing critical, just a couple of doctor visits, shopping and sorting stuff out – a never-ending task.

Outside, we have bought a few tomato and cucumber plants plus some herbs & spices. The cuttings we took from the curly willow tree in Layham have all taken it seems and have been potted on. This curly willow was originally planted by my mother back in the sixties in their garden in Wickham Bishops, June took some cuttings when we moved to Layham in 1983; planted one in our garden and gave another to the neighbours. They grew into very large trees indeed and we always wanted to grow another one. Cuttings didn’t survive a trip to the USA nor did they take in France but a fresh batch taken in November last year did. They were started in a plastic bottle and at one point looked very dead but I spotted some new roots so we put them into some compost in a medium pot. This week they (four in all) were moved to individual pots and we’ll leave them to plant out next spring when the garden design is further developed.

 

Layham2

 

 

 

Every time I look at the garden I am overwhelmed by the disorganised profusion of plants growing any where they choose and with no thought to the overall appearance. This is going to take careful planning, ruthless pruning and clearing and a ton of hard work. We should get the basics done this year and next spring should see the results start to materialise. An added complication is the extension we are adding later in the year, it means the loss of one flower bed and necessitates moving a vey old bush which may not survive the efforts.

However, needs must as they say so the great upheaval has begun. Any plant that looks as if we might want to keep it will be potted until we see what it really grows into. Our first efforts at this were a limited success; some nice looking small plants have turned into fully-fledged Triffids and have taken over the place. Others are just not right, very pretty bushes growing against the brick wall but they are not evergreen so only practical for about half the year. Contrarily, we have evergreen bushes growing in the middle of flower beds and these will need moving. We also keep finding bulbs and are hopeless at identifying what they might be. This gardening lark is a real learning curve.

The weather has been remarkably un-spring and un- summer like, quite cool, windy and all thoughts of cooking and eating outside have been abandoned for now. This is a double problem, the shed is still full of BBQ’s and garden furniture and I’m having to decide on indoor cooked meals and my repertoire is still limited (but improving) so variety is lacking. In the interests of being healthier, we have cut out most processed foods and added in some fruit and salads but slow grilling ribs and smoking pork etc, has to wait.

On a brighter note the garage has slowly emptied of some of the clutter and I can now turn my thoughts to improving tool storage making them more accessible. It has been a frustrating search for simple melamine coated chipboard panels to make cupboards to my own sizes. No problem should I wish to buy flat-pack wardrobes or kitchen cabinets (at vast expense) but trying to find simple panels ready drilled for shelf mounting pins is impossible. I did find a couple of cheap (IKEA) kitchen wall cupboards so they will be my starting point and enable me to put a few tools in readily accessible places. Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that when I have finished this project I won’t need the tools again? Ah well, they’ll “kuminandy” one day I expect.

This week sees June’s birthday and our wedding anniversary (don’t ask!) and we both need a break. We have booked a couple of nights in a hotel about an hour away which features a Michelin starred 7 course set menu for dinner and includes full English breakfast. It is also close to a couple of wildlife reserves and a steam railway – all made up  🙂

 

Cheers

 

David & June

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2015 21:42

    I see you are still having a lovely time redecorating ! It must seem that that has been your life for the past 4 years. No matter where you live, it never ends, does it? Happy Birthday to June and Happy Anniversary to you both. Jo x

    • June 22, 2015 10:48

      Thanks Jo, the words “house” and “finish” are strangers 😉

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