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Sunday
Sep132015

Garden diary - Pictures at last!

I've spent rather a lot of this weekend in the garden, ignoring pretty much everything else I was supposed to be doing. Whoops. I've made some small bits of progress though, so I guess that excuses me. 

Big blue beach hut

This is the view across the garden. I've not used Clarkie's fancy camera with the wide angle lens for this shot, so I've not got as much in as normal. Ah well. I know having a bright blue shed isn't to everyone's taste. But I figured it wasn't going to disappear anyway, and I like blue. It reminds me a bit of a beach hut, and while I'm not mad keen on the beach I'm really pleased with it. The shed is almost finished now - there's one more piece of fascia to add. I am pleased that we've properly finished the back now though. I can squeeze down between the shed and the back fence, and have had to to finish bits, but it's a bit tight and awkward. I can't squeeze down behind the left hand edge of the shed though. Hope the paint lasts well... 

There is an old friend sitting in the side window of the potting shed.

Guardian of the shed

Mickey suffered a bit in Brighton. I'm not sure he was made for the rigours of the English weather. Hopefully this will suit him though!

I have finally finished painting the fence on the right side of the garden (I'm defining everything as the view from the conservatory).

Right bed

The two plants in pots there are now planted. There are white, red and black currant bushes in there, nearest the house. I'm planning on underplanting them with strawberries. Clearly I still have a way to go, and the plants definitely still have a way to grow. 

The big chunk of my weekend, and the bit that still has the most work needed, was the left hand bed. 

Left bed

This is the bit we didn't get the landscapers to do. That wooden frame on the right is the first of three paths into this large planting space. I'm intending this to be more herbaceous, more flowery than the other two sides. It gets the most sun. I want the paths so that I don't need to tread on the beds to keep things in shape. Eventually they will be lined with something weed-suppressing and bark or gravel or something, but first we have to build the frames. I haven't finished painting that fence either.

Still plenty to do. Many plants to find. But lots of progress so far, so all good! 

Thursday
Sep102015

Back on the run

Those who have been paying attention will have noticed that I'm mentioning running again. I kind of stopped running for a while. Mostly while I pretty much stopped blogging, I guess, and mostly for the same reasons: finishing up the thesis whilst moving and starting a new job sucked a lot of spare energy and brain power. But I'm back! 

I kind of caved in in mid-July, and signed up for the Blenheim half. At the time it was about 8 weeks away. I know, that's shorter than your average training plan, but I'm a cocky sod and decided that it was long enough for me to build up to just getting round. It's not like I've been doing nothing, after all. I've been cycling almost every working day, running intermittantly (only a couple of miles at a time, once every few weeks, but it's better than nothing), doing a bit of a weights routine 3-4 days a week, and I started taekwondo, which is one or two hours a week (depending on whether I can do both classes in a week). 

My basic plan has been to run. A lot, a little, whatever I can. I started from almost a running streak principle. Do whatever I can every day, slow, fast, single mile, 3 miles, whatever. Then I've started adding long runs at the weekend, and the number of runs per week seems to have settled at around 4. Again, I started out planning to just progress those slowly from 4 miles on up, but Clarkie has been kind enough to let me run with her on her long runs - I know it irritates her having me bouncing alongside, but the slightly slower pace has allowed me to run longer, sooner. We did 10 miles on Saturday, and it felt pretty good. There are still 3 weekends before the race weekend, so this is actually better prepared now than I've been for at least a couple of other halves. 

I'm impressed how easy it's been to pick back up. I guess that's down to having done a fair few miles and a healthy dose of muscle memory. And actually, I'm really enjoying it! I think, after all this time and all of these miles, I genuinely do actually love running. Who knew?!

(Still not got round to those garden pics. Sorry!)

Monday
Sep072015

Still no pics

We had a very full weekend. Since leaving work on Friday I've napped, kicked, partied, slept, run, gone to Eastbourne, been out for dinner, slept, drunk coffee, watched construction of a minion birthday cake, seen dragon boats racing, delivered a birthday present, chatted, come home, helped hang a shed door and completed painting some window frames. 

The one thing we didn't do (because it was dark by the time the shed door and window frame painting was complete) was take up to date photos. 

I think I need longer weekends.

Thursday
Sep032015

Garden diary - All change

I know, I've left the garden hanging for a while. When we last saw it, it looked like this:

May 2015

Well. It's been through a few changes since then. For starters, we attempted to rotavate the entire thing. Ourselves. We hired a 45kg rotavator, and spent three days trying to work with that beast. 

Bit unsure

It beat me up a couple of times - we had some issues with the starter motor and I got a lovely whip-cord bruise across and arm, and then it backed me against a fence and took a chunk out of my hand. Clarkie fared a tiny bit better, but it just didn't really seem to want to get to grips with our soil. Three tiring, frustrating days later, and Clarkie had reached the point where hiring someone else to do the rest of the hard landscaping seemed like a really good idea. 

So that was £99 well spent!

We did that, and the contractors we found spent 6 working days (including a pretty ineffectual effort with their rotavator) sorting out our garden. They put in all the paving I had planned, plus a shed base, and our lawn, and... well... They left it like this:

Summer lunch

That's after we'd had a week away and a friend had been watering the lawn. Thanks friend! It's now growing at a rate of knots. Clarkie has an on-going album of the garden development over on Flickr, for those that want to see more. 

They have kindly put their leftover topsoil onto the beds on two sides of the garden. Our topsoil was a bit grim, so that's very helpful. That all happened at the end of July. Since then, we've mostly built a shed - which is no mean feat for two people who are 160cm or shorter - and put some plants in. I don't seem to have a photo of the most recent changes though, so I'll have to post another update soon. We still have a lot to do on the left side of the garden, but getting that lot done has made an enormous difference. Getting the help in wasn't cheap, but it was worth every penny in terms of blood, sweat and tears. 

Wednesday
Sep022015

Just keep trying

Some days when I run I feel strong, powerful, sleek and elegant. 

Today was not one of those days. 

We'll try again tomorrow.