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Still waiting …….

March 25, 2016

We are determined to have our garden sorted before summer starts so we can simply relax and enjoy it with minimal maintenance but the weather has stayed persistently cold and wet. We have had a couple of breaks and took the opportunity to replant the snowdrops and other bulbs growing in the back lawn. I suspect these have been there a while as getting them out of the new turf was a challenge. They were very deep, over 8” some of them and the only way to get them without damage was to cut the piece of turf out and then extract each bulb and its plant downwards. The bulbs were moved to more suitable locations and the turf replaced. Other than that we haven’t done much outside other than feed the birds. I have acquired a solar powered battery for the bird-cam and have been leaving it out recording for hours at a time. Apart from the odd glimpse of a blue-tit and a chaffinch all I get is starlings. More defences are indicated but the little b****rs seem to defeat them all.

Right about now I decided I wanted a decent lawn not just a patch of grass so as to form a nice backdrop to the plantings. So I have bought a “proper” lawn mower with grass box and a rear roller to give the striped effect. It arrived in double quick time and was easy to assemble however it turned out that the assembly instructions were for the wrong engine model and the quantity of oil specified was wrong. It said I needed .55 litres which I duly added to the engine only to discover it all leaking out. Further research revealed it should have only .4 litre and getting the excess out was a real pain with much spillage; the clean up took ages. But then it started up just fine and I ran a high cut over the lawns to try it out; easily manoeuvrable and instantly gave me my stripe effect. The grass catcher turned out to be big enough so I only needed to empty it after cutting both lawns. A good buy!

Next up in our garden plan is to disguise the back wall more so I plan on getting some variegated ivy and maybe a small tree or two. The tree will help with the birds as well. Research on the RHS website’s plant finder narrowed the field and allowed selection based on aspect, hardiness and soil type. I had purchased a soil testing kit and pressed it into action – it appears we have neutral soil with a pH of about 7.0 so that isn’t an issue. The order has now been placed for four ivy plants “Gloire de Marengo”; a Magnolia evergreen “Exmouth” and a holly tree “Golden King”. We should get them within a week.

My efforts to lose weight are not having a great deal of success so far; the food diary allows me to keep the daily totals of calories within set limits but despite having dropped my daily average from over 1900 to less than 1500 no tangible results have been observed. More drastic measures appear to be indicated and, lacking the required knowledge, I have booked an appointment with the local Health Advisor. Internet searching for medical knowledge is ill-advised – you’ll be amazed at what you might be suffering from and just how bad it can be! I did seek a consultation with a specialist on another matter and my worst fears were confirmed – the hernia is back and needs surgery. The waiting list for this is 11 months (from GP referral) so I can expect to get an appointment come November 2016! This isn’t that bad for me – at least I’ll be recovering in the winter when there’s not much else going on.

At the suggestion of my local garage we decided to seek a second opinion on the car engine warning light problem and took it to the Hyundai dealers in Norwich. They too were baffled but did suggest that changing the spark plugs may help – they learned that lesson from another similar vehicle where a local garage had done the job for a customer but cheated by only replacing the front three plugs and leaving the back ones which are a pain to get to. Anyway, it was booked in to have that done and the cam belt changed as a precaution as half the engine was apart. All to no avail, it seemed to work for about 20 minutes and then light came back on and investigation revealed the same error codes as originally. There’s not much left to renew so its going back to the dealers for another diagnostic and hopefully having cured most, if not all, the usual suspects they will find something.

A few days ago I tried to make a phone call using the Bluetooth connection to my sat nav but nothing happened, the other person could not hear me. Research indicated that none of the voice commands were working and the cause appeared to be the relevant files were not updated when the map was. A number of emails and phone calls to Garmin revealed that they have changed the way this works. Not only that but they have crippled the legacy versions so they no longer work. This includes the old version of the map updating software, the old version that I had worked fine on my (ancient) operating system but now when I try to use it, it updates itself (despite the option being disabled) and then promptly shuts down as it is unsupported! You can imagine the nature of my next call to Garmin! Anyway, at great expense of time & money I have successfully updated all the software and maps on my sat nav – the voice still doesn’t work. Strong words have been sent to Garmin along with all the diagnostic logs etc. An amazing time-suck and all caused by know-it-alls who cannot understand how to retain working legacy applications – unsupported is OK as long as they work. Rant over!

Easter weekend has arrived, Good Friday was sunny but cold but the rest of the weekend looks horrible, typical English Bank Holiday! We’ll enjoy ourselves just the same; we hope you all do too.

Cheers

 

David & June

 

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