Monthly Archives: July 2016

Fixing things

Wince was very pleased with the new trimmer.  We’d left it in its box so that he could have the excitement of unpacking it and he was soon off, cutting grass that had outgrown the mower.  It’s far better than a strimmer that you have to carry, if there’s an appreciable area to cut as it’s so easy to use.

He asked what we were going to do about the sinkhole and I had to say that my friend Jamie hadn’t got around to calling in, after ten days or so, and I’d have to phone and remind him.  I had said there was no immediate hurry, so he’d probably not quite gathered there was a sizeable hole outside the house.  I went out for lunch and, when I came back, Wince and LT were looking pleased with themselves.  It turned out that the hole didn’t extend as far under the drive as we’d feared, Wince had been putting aside enough rubble to fill it, they’d done so (LT nobly said that Wince had done most of the work) and they’d tamped it down and covered it with gravel, and now there’s no trace of a problem.

Today was the last day of term and, though I’ll carry on as a member of the academy trust for the time being, this will be for a limited period until I’m replaced and I don’t see that I’ll have more than two or three more meetings to go to.  Twenty-eight years as a school governor, eighteen at each school, it’s been a career in a sense.  It has certainly taken over my life and all my thoughts on a number of occasions.  And overall, I’ve done a good job.  I’ve always acted with integrity, I’m sure of that.  I’m not sorry to relinquish the responsibilities but I’ll miss being part of it.

Yet I look forward, not back.  And I keep blundering on.  It works out, mostly.

Z feels edgy

I’ve been let down by a few people recently, which has been disappointing.  None of you, obvs.  I don’t want to go into details, I’m only disappointed rather than angry and I trust I’ll be able to put things right tactfully in time.

Roses – in another thread entirely, but they will be linked – had a bird fall down her chimney and die.  Because there’s a sort of baffle plate, it’s not easy to get the poor thing out – I’ve done it before and it was unpleasant.  But I know what to do, so I armed myself with a face mask, latex gloves and a bin bag; and it wasn’t as bad as expected because the bird was not as big as we thought it would be.  It was a young rook, or maybe a crow, rather than a fat pigeon.  Anyway, the point is and the link to the first paragraph will come, that I noted that there’s a lot of soot and the chimney needs sweeping.  I have brushes of course, so I said I’ll sweep her chimney when I sweep ours.  There was a certain amount of surprise that I don’t get A Man In but, do you know, I’m fed up with depending on other people and I’ve decided, in the past few years, that I don’t want to do it again.

To clarify, I love and rely on LT and he’s totally dependable and I trust him.  But if someone else lets me down, I just get on and do it myself.

For various reasons, I feel a bit stroppy this evening.  I’ll get over it.  Just sayin’

Just going to sit next to LT and feel soothed by his calm.  And his general loveliness.  I’ll try to be, anyway.

Z and LT go shopping

Last year, I bought a second-hand “wheeled trimmer,” which is effectively a cross between a lawnmower and a strimmer and was brilliant.  You push it along and it cuts through long grass or brambles or whatever – sadly, it was very old and eventually the part that holds the cutting cord fell apart.  My friend Mike welded it for me but, after a few more weeks, it fell apart again.  So I returned it to the chap I bought it from and asked him if he could get it repaired.  I’ve heard nothing back and I’ve lost patience.  Large parts of the garden have gone out of control and I’ve just bit the bullet and bought a new one.  Wince will be thrilled when he arrives on Thursday to find it here.  It’ll be delivered tomorrow and all I have to do is buy petrol. I daresay that eventually I’ll get my old one returned and I’ll sell that on again.  They are marvellous machines and I didn’t know they even existed.

The local Cyder Club is having a get-together with hog roast on Saturday and we’ve been invited to a 40th wedding anniversary party on Sunday.  LT and I seem to be thoroughly partied up at present, which is all to the good.  We are both the sociable type and are enjoying introducing each other to our friends.

Z relaxes with LT

We took today off.  It was hot and sunny and we just relaxed.  There’s rather a large pile of crockery to go in the dishwasher, as well as tablecloths and napkins that must be washed.  And ironed.

This evening, we picked broad beans, three sorts of peppers (the cayenne was HOT), swiss chard, courgette and lots of raspberries – oh, and coriander.  So dinner was mostly home grown.  This gives me considerable satisfaction and LT feels just the same about it.  Which is splendid.

Tomorrow, we are going to buy more garden machinery.

Lovely bloggy guests

Thank you for coming and being so absolutely lovely.  As Blue Witch says a blog without comments is just a website, so a blog party is nothing without warmly friendly guests.  The food and everything else is not what matters, the company is.

Today, I woke ludicrously early, as I have been doing for the past few weeks, so got up when it was clear I wasn’t sleeping again any time soon, and had finished the washing up and clearing away by 7.30.  Zoe and Mike, with Scout the border collie, had stayed overnight and I had to leave for church before they were downstairs, but got back in time for coffee.  Zoe has a tortoise, so had been to visit Edweena and the Tots and we went out again and actually managed to find all three of them and feed them rose petals.

Eloise cat hasn’t forgiven us for bringing a dog into the house for the second time in a week.  Scout is impeccably behaved and lives with a cat already, but Eloise doesn’t take chances and didn’t come into the house.  I went to fetch her from Roses this morning, but she didn’t stay long.  It’s dusk now, but she hasn’t been in for any food all day.  She’s a home loving cat, she won’t be out all evening I’m sure.

Thank you again, dear friends.  It was so good to see you, to meet Mike and Suzie, to welcome Zoe here for the first time, for Lisa to come to her first blog party, I think, and to the others for coming again and being such great company, and for being so warmly welcoming to me and LT as a couple.  Those of you who couldn’t make it this time – well, if you’d like another party next year, we’ll be happy to host it.

Looking around the garden

It is starting to look good.  Give me another year and it will be lovely.  Indeed, a couple of months and it’ll be pretty darned attractive.  At the least, it’s starting to look tidy, though that’s not necessarily a recommendation in my book.  When something is *too* tidy, I wonder what its owners do with their time.

The gravel is nearly all spread, though there are a couple of piles waiting to be raked into their final places.  One of those is a sinkhole.  It was a bit startling because the gravel truck driver nearly lost his lorry into it and no one had any idea that the drive, in that place, was unstable.  It’s where the parking area by the house was widened four or five years ago, when we had the drive re-tarred and gritted, and also took the opportunity to turn a narrowish turning circle into a wide one.  There’s between 450 and 500 square metres outside the house and outbuildings, to our surprise, when LT and I measured it and that doesn’t count the drive itself.  It doesn’t look that big.  Anyway, it’s all clear, except for a single pile of sand that is there for a purpose, and the sinkhole itself – which is where an electric cable was put, I’m perfectly sure.  I’m the only person who knows, I suppose.  We think we know the best way of dealing with it, but I’m hoping my friend Jamie will come and advise, because he has more sense than anyone I know and, if there are any potential problems, he will spot them so that we don’t land ourselves in the soup.

In just over a week, I’ll have lived here 30 years, which is longer than I could live anywhere in the future as well as have done in the past.  I’m so glad that LT likes living here.  I’d willingly move, and we may yet, but regaining a sense of stability is very comforting to me.

Anyway.  There we go.  It’s the blog party tomorrow and we’ve found again that LT and I are a great team.  The cooking is done and most of the food preparation.  The party, having at one time looked like being the biggest ever, is now the smallest, but there are still many of the regulars and four newcomers.  I’m so pleased that long-standing blog friends are willing to come all this way to – well, to be friendly.  It’s lovely.  Many of my very dear friends have been met through the internet.  Including Tim, of course, who is in a category of his own.


I’m possibly the best payer in town.  I called in at the gravel pit to say we didn’t need the fourth delivery and said I might as well pay at once.  So he added up the invoices and I gave him a cheque.   Then I went home to check I’d got enough in my current account to cover it…

Very hot sunshine and torrential rain alternated today.  Fortunately, LT and I did our stint of gravel shovelling first thing this morning.  Still more to do, Roses and family don’t quite dare bring their cars in yet.  Two more goes will get it done, though, I should think.  At least it looks as if someone cares about the place now.

The outside cats weren’t about yesterday – Zain, the tabby, came to be fed in the morning but none of them in the evening.  Mother cat hasn’t been about for the last couple of weeks.  The four kittens (they’re grown out of kittenhood now but it’s a convenient description) are all very close and affectionate with each other, but mother doesn’t like them much.  She cuffs Zain and also Betty, the only female.  Sometimes she goes off for a few weeks and I wonder if she’s found a family – she would have loved to be an indoor cat here, at least on her terms, but Eloise cat wouldn’t stand for it.  I’m fond of her and miss her when she’s away, but if she were to find a family to feed her and care for her, it would be lovely.  Anyway, today they were all there, and hungry.  Zain and Freddie come to be stroked and Betty can be stroked if she’s not watching, but Barney is still too wary.  They do all trust me but they’re essentially feral.  I have picked Zain up, if necessary (and Mother cat, who is fine) and he doesn’t protest but gets down as soon as he can.  None of them has ever shown teeth or claws to me, at any rate.

Tomorrow, we’re going to have Rupert Spaniel for the day.  Eloise will not be pleased, I’m sure.

30 tonnes and what do you get? Another hole opened and deeper in debt…

LT wondered why I’d set an alarm for 7 o’clock when the gravel wasn’t due until 8.  Well, I’ve found that out the hard way, previously.  Indeed, the very nice delivery man turned up at 7.40.  Roses was still in her onesie and I didn’t have shoes on.

Thirty tonnes of gravel later, we were hard at work spreading it, though VNDM had dropped it as judiciously as possible, spreading as he went.  Except, there had been a problem.  Turned out there was a bit of a hole under a crust of hardcore, and he damn nearly went into it.  He managed to save the lorry and back out, but I now have a socking great sinkhole in my drive.  No one had any way of knowing it was there.  We’ve got a plan for filling it, but I want to ask friend Jamie first, as he’s the smartest man I know, in practical terms, and if there’s a flaw in our plan, he’ll spot it and have a way round it.  I’ve spoken to his wife and left a message.

Some more gravel spreading is to come tomorrow.  Three loads has turned out to be enough for the time being which, at £350-plus per load, is a decent saving.  But I’d steeled myself for the full Monty.  If a job’s worth doing…

Z anticipitates

Back in Norfolk again – Clapham Bleeding Junction around here, darlings.  Though it’s fun, always better to be too busy than to be bored.

Tomorrow morning, up to 40 tonnes of gravel is being delivered.  Eek.  It may be that three lorryloads is enough and I hope it is, it’s tooth-hurtingly expensive.  Still, needs to be done.  We had some about five years ago and it doesn’t go that far, in truth.  But LT and I measured the square meterage and allowed for a couple of inches – being bilingual – but that might be too much depth.

I’d met one couple, of LT’s friends, but not the other although she is a Facebook friend.  A lovely evening as far as I was concerned, I hope it was for them too!  I woke early this morning, about 5.30 (too hot to sleep, my personal thermostat went awry four years ago and seems doomed not to recover) and I got up eventually, then LT did too and we cleaned and tidied and were on the road at about half past nine.  A lot to do this week, quite apart from gravel spreading.  But I look forward to it.  I love getting ready for a party.

Z is enthusiastic

I am still trying to find out who’s definitely coming to the blog party, without a lot of success.  I’m having to make assumptions – though I’m fairly sure some people don’t know how to get here.  I’d really not wanted to have to search back through comments and write to everyone individually, but it seems that may be on the cards.  Thanks to those who have replied, of course.  But if you need my address and directions how to get here and not end up down a cart track, do get in touch.

LT and I are at his place (both houses are our place, of course, but this is for clarity) for a few days and friends of his are coming for dinner tomorrow night.  I’ve taken on the starter and pudding, he’s cooking the main course.  We work very well together, or separately but in the same kitchen, which is gratifying.  We also have much the same taste in food, which is more or less that we like food.  Cooking, eating, shopping for, talking about, enthusing.

You know that thing where you’re asked to describe yourself in three words? I know of one occasion when a prospective headteacher was asked that and one of the chosen words was “lazy.” Er, no.  Didn’t get the job. Anyway, lazy as I might be (and I’ve finally come to the conclusion that maybe I’m not as lazy as I’ve always thought, just efficient in order to do what I like when the job is done), the first word I’d use for me is enthusiastic.  In or out, I’m rarely lacklustre.