Blog Archive

Saturday, 12 August 2017

What I found in the Slug Pubs.

Well...slugs, naturally! Lots of them and so disgusting did they look, that I couldn't bear to photograph them. I did wonder whether the birds would appreciate Slugs Marinated in Bitter, and might look later at the slab where I laid out their bloated corpses to see if there were any takers (not to mention watching out for inebriated birds attempting to take off across the field).

So, I topped up the Slug Pubs and then helped Kevin to move the mini Stonehenge from its location under the twin conifers that will be coming down in short order and put them on top of the landscaping fabric to help hold it down.  We also moved the potting table and various pots and buckets across to that side of the garden to give us a clear run at our soon-to-be raised bed area.

We are waiting for the spares kit to arrive so that Kevin can service the Mantis rotavator, and we've decided on a white picket fence with an arch to divide the plot - something like this, although the pickets are likely to have rounded heads and be a bit taller (I'd love these pointed ones, though, if we could find them):

Image result for picket fence and arbour

The pond will be just the other side of the fence, which gives us the opportunity to put in some taller planting - at the moment, there is nothing other than Creeping Jenny (masses of the stuff) and some saxifrages with the odd perennial geranium trying its best. The pond marginals are pretty much non-existent otherwise and the edge of the pond is mostly hidden by wild strawberry plants. Once the conifers are removed, we'll be able to move the pretty flowering cherry that Kevin bought me years ago as an anniversary present - it is beginning to resent being in the (very large) pot now and will do better once it can stretch its roots out.

However, the weather forecast for next week is not promising (rain, much like the last couple of years) so we'll turn our attention to the master bedroom, which really does need redecorating. We have the paint, just need to get cracking!

Friday, 11 August 2017

A Little More Progress...and our three-year anniversary!

We've now cleared the area where the shed will (eventually) be relocated, and yesterday we went over to Homeleigh Garden Centre to get the weed suppressing fabric.

I love Homeleigh - not only is it a pleasant drive there, but they have a beautiful selection of plants and I'd been lusting after a hydrangea to put in a particular spot by the clematis-covered archway. So after we'd located what we actually came to buy, I trotted off to the plant centre - and I swear that I was just looking, honest!

What I found was this beauty - Hydrangea Macrophylla 'Kardinal' - which, along with one of Kevin's favourite lupins, found its way into our trolley.

When we got home, Kevin set to work to build stretchers for the fabric, while I planted my two new beauties and filled old yogurt pots with Very Cheap Beer - I've lost lupins in the past to slugs (and they seem to grow 'em big down here in Devon!) - so I wasn't taking any chances. I also put sharp gravel and stones, gleaned from the area where the raised beds will go, around the base of the lupin and hydrangea. I'll add some more lupins when the piggy bank is a bit more flush.

Kevin completed laying the fabric and then we moved some of the rocks that we found as we cleared the other side of the garden and placed them on top.

I checked the slug pub this morning; despite the rain last night, which may have diluted the beer a bit, there are several victims in the yogurt pots - ah well, at least they died happy. 😂

As for us, on Monday we will be celebrating three years of living here in Devon - and the weather seems set to be the same as it was on the day that we moved in - RAIN! Still, if this year is anything like the previous ones, September should be a lovely month, and at least we never have to water the lawn!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

And the results are out...

Actually, they were out on 19th July but I've been a bit tied up - ridding the cottage of a moth invasion, for one thing and digging the garden for another but...

I have received the results of my final module and my overall Degree Classification and I will be graduating at the Riviera International Centre, Torquay on October 13th with a First Class Honours degree in English Literature. My gown has been ordered and Kevin's guest ticket booked and paid for and I shopped my wardrobe and found a dress that I can finally fit into (black stretch velvet - suitably sub fusc) - yay!

It has taken me a while to get my head around the fact that I have a 1st, and also that I have finished my degree and I'm feeling slightly bereft...I would give a great deal to be starting my MA with The Open University in October but I simply can't afford it - even the OU's own loan scheme would cost me over £400 a month and I'm too old (by one year 😢 ) to qualify for a Post Graduate loan. I have the book list saved to my Amazon Wish List - maybe I could just read them anyway. Mind you, if I get the tutoring work that I'm hoping for, I'll be reading a lot of A Level texts, which will keep me busy!

The moth invasion has been a total pain - they have munched the carpet under the sofa and even had a go at my poor teddy bears, so Kevin and I scoured the internet for a product that would kill moths, eggs and larvae, without killing us or the cats. The stuff that we bought seems to work but you seriously don't want to breathe it in! When we treat our bedroom, it'll have to be done early in the morning and we'll need to leave the windows wide open to air the room - we aren't too happy about using it under the bed and are still looking for a 'kinder' product to use.

As for the garden, we have planned out the first of the raised beds, priced up the dividing fence (we're going for a picket fence which should look really pretty), the beds and the soil to fill them and today I dug out countless Spanish Bluebell bulbs from the bed where we will be installing the shed (when we move it - which is not quite yet). The weather has been pretty wet - a day without rain has been the exception rather than the norm this month, but at least it means that the weeds come up fairly easily! Tomorrow we'll trot over to Highhampton to look at (and get a firm quote for) the picket fence and maybe get hold of some weed control fabric so all my hard work today won't be for nothing 😄

Sunday, 25 June 2017

The end of an era...

Well, the end of me being a 'mature student' anyway. My final assignment (3000 words on ideals of masculinity from Shakespeare to Austen) went in at the end of May and I've been recovering ever since 😂!
The results are meant to be out by mid-July but every year so far, they've been out just before my birthday, so I'm thinking 6th/7th July. Am I doing a countdown? You betcha!

I can't quite believe that I'm finished - that there won't be a box from the Open University in September with a new set of module books, that I won't have any more tutorials (live or online) to attend, no more Tutor Marked Assignments to agonise over, no more heart-stopping moments when the email flashes up to tell me that my marked assignment is ready for collection. Oh, to win the Lottery and be able to afford to do a Masters in English Literature. Or Children's Literature.

Still, I have my Graduation Ceremony to look forward to - we have squirreled away the money
for months and now have enough for my gown hire, Kevin's ticket, the official photos and a nice celebration dinner.

Now I need to get some work - there must be someone out there who would LOVE to pay me for tutoring their GCSE or A Level offspring!

In the meantime, I have a whole garden to reclaim from weeds/Spanish Bluebells (so many Spanish Bluebells) and a vegetable plot to plan out. I have a conservatory full of fabric and wool to turn into something lovely (quite what I have not yet decided) and there are books - oh so many books - that I have put to one side because there were set texts that had to be read instead.

Then there is my involvement with our Village Hall which I have been unable to fully commit to until now, not to mention helping to plan the Christmas Concert and maybe doing some singing with a friend at local Care Homes.

Oh, and the five bar gates need refinishing, the guttering needs painting, the kitchen/dining room, bathroom, main bedroom and the stairs and landing all need redecorating.

Somehow I don't think I'll be bored 😄