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Digging it

Just a bit of a warning, there are a few photos in this one!

The back garden when we moved in was extremely exciting.

back garden August 2006

It was full of what is known as potential. Oh yes. So all we have to do is a little bit of work to unlock that! I've been plotting what I want to grow and where, looking at the shady areas, seeing which bits get damp... And coming up with some bed shapes and things. Today we nearly got them all dug.

back garden November 2006

A little more exciting, no? No? Hmmm... Well, it'll get there. We've moved the compost bin from top left to top right, in an effort to concentrate all the shed and compost nastiness into one big blob. I'll put something in front of it too - thinking dogwood at the moment, with lovely red stems. They will go in the one bed we've still got to dig. The big, old, tired-looking shrub thing was finally defeated by GG today, and we've got rid of most of the flagstones. (They will be reused in a different way.)

My parents came to visit yesterday and we had a little trip to the garden centre as part of my birthday present (birthday next Tuesday), so we do have a few plants in there. For later reference as much as anything, they are a skimmia rubella (bottom left corner), one very little green euonymus next to it, a choisya sundance in the top left where the compost used to be, and a pyracantha coccinea 'Red Column' against the back fence. There's also a variagated euonymus that I've grown in a pot since buying it last Christmas with Grandad's Christmas money!

In sweeping up all the leaves into one corner, I was trying to encourage some wildlife. I was thinking aybe a hedgehog, because we do have lots of slugs and snails, and it'd be really handy. But I seem to have created the perfect cat bed...

cat corner

You can just see the tips of the black cat's ears here... right in the middle. The white thing sloping over is an internal door that we've removed, making the perfect roof for the cat bed!

And to round off a lovely day, this was the view from the study window tonight.


Not bad for bonfire night...


Ouch and ouch!

An eventful (and beautifully sunny) morning.

I'm working in Brighton today, rather than Burgess Hill. Nice, because I got to leave an hour later than normal. Nasty because I'm not in my normal office, so I don't know anyone or where anything is! Still, have a desk, have had a wander at lunchtime and seen the sea, so it's not all bad.

I was, however, hit by a car on my way in. I cycled, had just turned up Edward Street and started climbing a hill (so was going quite slowly), went past the end of a road with a car turning out of it. He'd stopped, was checking the road, and pulled out into me. It was nice and sunny, I was wearing a big purple sweater, quite visible especially since I was right between his headlights when he hit me. Fortunately because he was just starting up and I was going slowly, I anticipated and leant into the car so he just pushed me upright across the road. I didn't fall off. He also pulled over and checked I was ok, and 3 separate pedestrians stopped, checked I was ok and offered to witness for me. One has written it all down and given me his phone number just in case. I'm fine, was a little shaken and have since stiffened up a little bit down my left side. Nothing too noticeable, and should wear off by tomorrow from the way it feels. But that's the first time I've ever been hit. At least I got to shout at the driver a bit to vent my feelings.

Fortunately I was really close to work at that point, so I walked up the road (after checking the bike for damage of course!).

Also, the gas man came back to try to sort out which of our three gas appliances have caused the leak. There was a sliding scale of potential outcomes from this:

  1. It was the boiler causing the leak. Potential refit costs around £2000. No heating until fixed.
  2. It was the hob causing the leak. Potential refit costs around £250. May mean use of camping stove for a while.
  3. It wasn't the appliances at all, it was the iron pipes set in concrete in the floor of the house that had corroded and were leaking. Potential refit costs that I don't even want to think about and too hideous for words inconvenience-wise.

Paticularly pleasing, it has proven to be option 2. Hooray! We can turn the heating back on! Oh happy, warmer day! Of course, it's taken £100 to nail it down to the hob... Still, financially and hassle-wise, by far and away the best result.

Now, all I have to do is get home without incident. Please?


Being a grown up

Being a grown up means not curling up into a small ball with fingers in ears going "la la lalala" when you are told that you have a gas leak and the gas supply will have to be turned off until you have an engineer come and find the leak and fix it. Which means no heating. As the temperature plummets for the first time this autumn. And having just got new double-glazing we really don't have the money to replace the boiler, which is what we suspect may need to happen.

Being a grown up means not taking a baseball bat to the car just because its exhaust has chosen just the same moment to fall apart and need replacing. Fortunately that isn't going to be quite as expensive as a new boiler. It's just the fantastic timing that hurts.

Being a grown up means that even though the shed roof leaks like a sieve and you really don't have the cash to get it fixed properly and you'd really much rather spend what money you do have on more wool or some spring bulbs or cds or something, you bite the bullet and try and get the thing fixed. Because bikes shouldn't really live in the kitchen. Even if it is easy and convenient.

Being a grown up is not really much fun, is it?


What doesn't kill us

Cycling to uni yesterday felt easier. That big hill didn't beat me this time. In fact, I didn't even hit bottom gear.

This could mean 2 things:

1. I'm getting stronger. Soon these hills will be easy.

2. My bag was lighter than normal and the wind was behind me.

I'm thinking it's probably more of number 2 than number 1, although that might come into it a little too!

Today I wimped. It was windy, looked like rain, and I have to bring my laptop home tonight. Still, I made it into work for 8.40 (good trains), and I've brought chocolate refrigerator cake for my project team. I need to test how close to Waitrose Tiffin it is before I try to bribe my way to a good appraisal in March! 

2 Canadian hats!

I finished the second hat.

Not a great shot for colour, but it shows the hat! Very simple, cast on 112 st, do 1x1 rib, striping every 4 rows. Run out of the gold stuff, carry on with the green. I like the decreasing I did at the top:

Paired decreases on alternate rows, initially 4 lots around the row, then upped to 8 lots. Gives it the nice star look.

Oh, and I had a great model...

That's probably the best shot for colour, but I think the hat is a bit big for the bear!