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new gardens - sorry, bit long - lotsa pics


front garden:






I’ve no idea what any of these plants are! the hedge is of some soft-to-the-touch conifer, not the standard leylandii, thank goodness. And that shrub in the middle does take up rather a lot of space, and gives little variety – of course, at other times of the year it could be a riot of colour.

round to the side gate …



This shed’s keys were on the bunch the housing agent gave me, so must be “theirs”, but the previous tenant left another shed – gosh, instant two-shed household!!
note external water tap, handy for both gardens.

View of first shed; I’ve no idea what those plant growing up it are



Lots of plants in pots on the concrete apron between the sheds: there’s also some open soil where that plant is climbing up the other shed.

The sheds are at right angles, with space between; thought, if I could get this one in line with the first, I could cover the space between to have an outdoor dry area.

Peeked behind both sheds; seems to be weed haven behind both, so will need to clear those, maybe gravel over to prevent them coming back. Noticed that next door has guttering on their shed, which is a very good idea – if I can get these sheds aligned and the space between covered, I can get all-round guttering which will only need one water butt, not one each.

inside above shed: I didn’t find the key to the other one until later when I was getting tired, so did’nt check what surprises that might hold.


back garden (at last!)
from back door:




back garden from other end:






Not too sure about that dryer in the middle of the garden! (unless I can disguise it somehow – s leave it open, put a waterproof cover on it and that’s my shaded patio!!). But it might have to go: I have trouble working above shoulder-height – not sure how tall that pole is, but doubt I’d be able to reach up to take the cover off without a stepladder … and even pegging clothes out might be more than I can manage. Still, I’ve got three airers that have done me so far (though drying blankets is a prob)

some features:


Spotted the bird feeder station hidden in the undergrowth – the housing agent told me that they’d get someone in to tidy the gardens, not sure if that’s been done yet!

Assuming that that’s where the feeder’s always been, this shrub at least is in need of a trim! I checked the plastic seed feeder – no signs of squirreling, so it might be safe to put all my feeders out here!




No idea what these plants are, any more than I have about the others. Just hope they survive a winter with minimal care until I can get them ID’d

Some of the taller plants at the back seem to be coming over the fence, from the open ground that’s the other side, but I won’t be able to tell what’s what until I get my side of the fence clearned up a bit. well, a lot!

ps went back and numbered the pics, so at least it’ll be easier to find a specific plant that people mention!

pps – forgot to say that I measured the back garden very roughly by stride – took the longest strides I could, it’s about 9 deep by 8 wide (though couldn’t go fence to fence svtodd cos of the shurbs). Then measured my stride, about 41 inches. So theb garden’s about thirty foot square

More blog posts by franl155

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The red flower at the end is a hardy Fuchsia. The little white flowers look like a Russian Vine. Forth at the end has a Laurel and I think you have a Cotoneaster at your front door.

12 Oct, 2013


thanks, Linda. I did semi-suspect that they might be Fuschias, but didn't want to say that in case I was wrong.

Russian vine - not sure if htat's good news or not, given the alternative title of "mile a minute plant"! I tend to avoid plants that have "vigrous" in their descriptions - okay, they grow fast, cover a fence or whatever, but then again, they grow fast, and need so much cutting back. I suppose they'd be okay in a pot, confined, but that's not fair on them; like making a person wear shoes that are too small.

I had Cotoneaster on my "maybe" list, so that should be good news in the right season!

12 Oct, 2013


Congratulations Fran, 2 gardens! and 2 sheds, excellent, gardens arent too bad, mostly hardy shrubs that need cutting back, a couple of nice benches to sit on and a few free pots, Only downside i can see (for you) is the back garden looks like its sloping down and the lawn looks bumpy and uneven, i think you will need some help next spring to sort it out but all in all you have 2 nice gardens there, exciting isnt it :)

12 Oct, 2013


thanks, Daisy - exciting and then some! even the front "lawn" is bumpy - but there won't be much grass left if I can plant as much as I hope to.

One of the seats is a bit gragile; the all-wood one sagged noticeabley when i sat on it, so maybe that's past its "best before" date - besides, this is for ME mostly, so I don't need long benches, sincgle seats will do (lol viisitors can have a folding chair!)

Just beyond the back fence is a stretch of open ground, then the river - so slope probably built-in by nature. glad it slopes away from the house! I didn't notice any slope, but then, the ground was quite uneven, lumpy and clumpy.

given my back and visual probs, I'm going to need some raised beds, but taht will take time to work out where best to place them - got plenty of troughs and tubs for now; they can be moved about until i find the best place for them.

i'm going to ask the neighbours about the gardener they use, and see if s/he'll add me to the list for now - at least to name the plants and to tidy them - lol and any hard work that may come later! going to need them to take care of hte hedge, at least - doubt I could lift a pair of shears and no chance i'd get a straight line, even with a level string as a guide

Of course, this may be before the housing association get the gardens tidied, which they said they'd do - don't look any differentto when I first viewed it a fortngiht ago.

13 Oct, 2013


Hi Fran ..
Lots of lovely greenery there ..
and two sheds... fab ..
There will be a great variety of garden birds too. :o)

13 Oct, 2013


Fran its overgrown as you say but its got a "good structure" I think under the will look so different tidied up which hopefully they will do before long.
I love the idea of covering the space between the sheds, I have something like that, you could have a small table and chair......for you and your plants, in bad weather I stand an airer under mine.

Wonder if your soft hedge could be Thuja? Has a slight pineapple smell......much nicer all round than leylandii

13 Oct, 2013


What a lot of good hardy plants and shrubs, will be great when your lawns get look to have mainly perennial ground cover plants too..Geraniums,etc and the grey/silvery one in your 3rd pic from the bottom,is 'Snow in summer' or Cerastium ,and will be a mass of lovely white flowers next spring to early summer.It looks like the previous tenant wanted easy care plants too..
Just a thought about your sheds,Fran..if you don't need both to house all your stuff,maybe stand one of your clothes airers in one in the summer,with the door open? no worries about trying to use that pole,which will be hard to reach up to..and no running out to fetch them in if it rains :o)

13 Oct, 2013


Sorry had to delete what I wrote first as it would not do add comment. Went out to wash the dishes. Still there. What a good inventory for you to inherit various goodies inside and out. Bird feeders and bird bath. Two sheds indeed, and nice and clean too. Not llike our spider haunted 'workshop'. Seats, troughs, washing line.....use hangers on it maybe on nice summer days for blouses and the like. No reaching up to pin them. Nice selection of maneagable shrubs apart from some conifers in the front garden. I am really pleased for you. IT is your doggedly persistent search well rewarded. Found out my wifi server taken over by BT server......shucks. Changed server pressed the button and away.

13 Oct, 2013


Ooooh Fran, I can now see you have a garden in your new home! Where to start? Wow, will you need some help? I would say just prune things down a bit and just tidy, then you can see the wood for the trees! I love your sheds too, great places to store things and maybe overwinter some plants and as B. suggests put the washing in too! Great idea. :) Once the lawn has been cut you will find a very neat garden, we always say if the grass is cut everything else looks good even if it isn't, LOL. Look forward to seeing 'progress' pics.

13 Oct, 2013


This is already a great garden with lots of mature shrubs and perennials, someone has spent time and money on it. I bet you cannot wait till the spring to see what treasures you really have and maybe there will be bulbs too!

13 Oct, 2013


Fran its looking lovely the whole aspect is far nicer than where you are at the moment, I'd say it has been a well loved garden, nothing that a mower and a pair of shears/secateurs can't put right and I also bet you are in for a few good surprises as the seasons go by, I think you will be in your element once you get through the moving in process....

13 Oct, 2013


On pics 11 and 13 there are defnitely Euonymus fortunei and Euonymus japonicus, these are very healthy, not demanding lanscaping bushes. You can trim them in a shape you would like. Bush on the fourth picture from the bottom is beautiful piece of Prunus laurocerasus, you can also trim it into shape you would like (only with scissors) but if you let it grow naturally, it is beautiful bush, reaching 2-3 metres, with shiny evergreen leaves and it blooms in summer with white flowers. Well, you have lot of work to do there, but it is invitating for creative boom. Good luck!

13 Oct, 2013


Thanks TT and SD and Pam and Bloomer and Dorjac and Grandmage and Drc!!

I’m not going to touch anything, apart from routine care, for some time: need to know what’s what, for one thing, and then try to work out a plan that will incorporate my own plants that I’m taking with me.

I would like some changes of level, some raised beds or large troughs – easier on my back as well as visually more interesting (more to see from the windows, for one!) lol and I want to get a raised minipond in there somewhere!

But I want to take it very slowly and carefully, so that I don’t do something that can’t be undone later.

So basically what I’ll do in the beginning will be to do with the edges: sheds, plant tables, everything except the plants themselves. I don’t know what the shed is standing on at the moment, but it should be ok to turn around ninety degrees – then I can see about getting the space covered – l love being outdoors, but don’t always enjoy being rained on!

Besides, an outdoor dry space would be good for my laundry (at the moment I have to dry it indoors most of the time: I have a short airer meant to stand on the sides of a bath; it’s opened flat on top of the shower cubicle, handy for hangers and out of the way. The new shower doesn’t have walls all round, it’s fixed to the wall, so not sure if it’d take the weight, not wiling to try it in case it can’t)

I think working round the edges will be exciting enough for a start. And when I’ve found the local gardener person, s/he can help me work out what to do next.

But for the first while, think I’ll have enough to do indoors to worry much about outside.

I never thought to check for scent in the front hedge, Pam, I’ll have to remember to try that next visit.

Lol Bloomer, I’ve got stacks of pots, troughs and tubs and I’ve been presented with stacks more! Maybe I can liven up the “driveway” edges.

I’ll have to take lots of pics of individual plants and post them in “what are these, please?”

*s* I’d already thought about turning one shed into my outdoor craft space, for plaster and concrete projects that might (would!) create a mess indoors. The first shed is a bit creaky, don’t know how old it is, but that seems better for sacks of compost and other dirty stuff.

Hmm, where to put my composter? Now that I’ll have something to put in it??

Lol I could try outdoor “pole” dancing! But I think I’ll put it up on the local Freecycle site. Maybe my beach umbrella could go there, I assume there’s a socket for it (provided I can wedge it in! I bought a base for it, but first gust of wind here and it took off and landed next door!)

This is an ideal home for someone who never had a garden, it’s all there already. My prob’s going to be trying to fit in as much as I can of what I’ll be bringing with me without having to play hopscotch over the pots.

Lol Dorjac, just found out that my o2 has been taken over by Sky, which is offering deals from £5 (so why am I still paying £18?) I suppose there’ll be a good signal there, won’t know till PC is moved and set up again.

I’m always nervous of pruning, Grandmage – if you cut off too much not easy to stick it back on again! I tend to wave the secateurs vaguely in their direction and just snip the very ends off. No doubt the gardener will be able to coach me on how much to do to which plant.

You’re so right, Drc! I’ll have to label every plant (or number them) and log what flowers when – one of my garden expert books says do nothing for a whole year, what looks dead in one season can look very much alive in another. Not sure if I’ll be able to restrain myself that long! But I need to check prevailing winds, amount of sun in which parts, etc – as the house is orientated east-west, the back garden is to the east, front to the west, and the hedge will make a difference to how much sun reaches the front of the front.

There might indeed be bulbs! Lol and here’s me with the 20 boxes I bought at Sainsbury couple of months ago!

13 Oct, 2013 lucky lady :) I can imagine just how happy you are going to be. You've certainly inherited some great shrubs - nothing that a little attention won't put right.
I see your rotary drier - my mum can't reach up to put the cover on ours - I wonder if one of those little wooden step things from Ikea might help. It's what she uses and is very sturdy and not high but just one step up is enough. Alternatively what about one of those plastic step up things used for teaching kids to reach the toilet.
I'm rabbiting now, please excuse me.
I'm with Grandmage - once that lawn is cut, the whole garden will look much better. I always look at the garden differently when the grass is tidy.
I'll bet there are lots of spring bulbs under there too - so don't be too hasty!

13 Oct, 2013


thanks Lincs and Kat.

Lol it is indeed about a million percent better than what I have now! Even the front garden alone would be a mega improvement. A proper gardn with grass and dirt against a balcony-sized slab of paving?!

*s* never used an electric mower or strimmer or whatever, maybe I can hire a sheep to do the mowing for me, except it’d probably take the lot. Maybe the gardener could do that for me – save my toes! I never had a lawn in any of my fantasy garden layouts – one book said they need more TLC than any other part of the garden – but this doesn’t need to be Wimbledon smooth.

Thanks for that, Kat – I’ll have to go back and count pics (should have numbered them!) and check out which plants you mean. I prefer natural shape where it doesn’t get too big, lol looks more natural!

13 Oct, 2013


thanks Scottish

lol at the moment I’m a bit in trembling anxiety at how to get the place ready to be moved into, given that it’s got to be only one visit a week – can hardly ask my handyman friend to do more than one, given the distance he'd be driving and the fact that he’ll be working while he’s there. and then driving back!

Busy making lists, who to tell, when to tell, what to take each time, what needs doing, what – urk, drowning in paper. Prob is how to tell my current landlord (local authority) and explain that I can’t be out in a week, or even two. I'm prepared to pay rent at both ends for a while so that I can do the move properly - get things ready and *then* move, rather than dunp a ton of boxes and have nowhere to unpack them into, and have to keep moving them to get to the ones lower in the stack... Lol rabbiting is catching!

I have three airers, two gate-fold and one A shape, they should do me – and it’d be a bit hard to incorporate the dryer into an inconspicuous part of the planting scheme! Besides, easier to whiz them indoors in case of a sudden change in the weather. And at least this kitchen and hall will be big enough that I won’t keep tripping over them.

I’ll soon get into the habit (hope!) of checking both gardens regularly and noting what’s coming up where, and what’s flowering when.

13 Oct, 2013


I am so , so happy for you Fran! I can't help smiling when I think back to you asking about what you might grow in your tiny patch in London, and when you said you got about half an hour of (was it reflected?) sunlight....and my heart sank...and look at you now! I am thrilled to bits for you! :)))))))))) that fuchsia is really Bonny!

13 Oct, 2013


an hour a day of direct sunlight, if i was lucky! blocks' built north-south, garden faces east, but trees in the green beyond, and the block of flats beyond that, block all sun until it moves round enough to shine along the block. lol got more sun in winter when the trees' foliage didn't block.

years ago i bought a solar fountain, but got fed up with it only working one hour a day while being there to be tripped over all day, so i packed it up and it's still packed; would be lovely to have that working properly - lol won't say "again"

now got a morning garden and an afternoon garden - and can put planters down the side as well

it'll be fine once i've started redecorating - at the moment i'm standing on the edge, shivering, waiting to jump in - or be pushed! bought some packing boxes which should be here sometime during the week, so i can start getting stuck in then, that should give me less time and energy to sit here worrying! lol remember the days when you could get tea-chests for nothing, people were happy to give them away? last time I checked they were about £10 each

13 Oct, 2013


Know what you mean! We are taking lots of boxes from the o.h. Gets regular deliveries. We bought three wardrobe boxes ...mostly because we have no free standing wardrobes (all fitted in this house). So we can use them until we get wardrobes at the other end. It's very exciting now. I was up at 5am this morning...just can't sleep long enough! Today's task is to pack up a bathroom. We spent a lot of time this weekend taking pictures down and repairing the holes in the walls and touching up with paint for our buyer. We're getting day at a time! I was so anxious for the first few weeks, but now I am just really excited!

Your idea of putting a note in to your neighbour turned out really well! I can see a lot of happiness ahead...can't wait to see your solar feature up and running! :))))

14 Oct, 2013


All this sounds so familiar,Fran and Karen..the weeks of preparing to move,and the packing..but it will all be worth it in the end..We downsized,so lot's to be firm about,and get rid of..which we never missed ! Lol..only took a single wardrobe,chest of drawers,bed and a well worn bed settee to sit on .plus garden chairs for visitors :o).all our wardrobes were fitted too..The lounge was stacked floor to ceiling with boxes ,like the Berlin wall..from January till April,till we got them finally emptied..all my pots with shrubs etc,were in other neighbours gardens for safe keeping,till we got round to clearing the mud pile that was eventually going to be our back take heart,you will both get there eventually,and I'm sure you won't regret it..We also had to move out on the day before Christmas eve, day,as the new owners said they wanted to be in by then,as their buyers were going to give backword otherwise ..nice eh? Our lovely neighbour took us in till moving date here,11th we had to put everything in storage...she was going to stay with her daughter,so offered us her central heating or mod cons,and thick snow on the ground,but we were just so grateful...but we made it.and here we still are,12 years later..still loving it :o)

14 Oct, 2013


Following everyone's house-move progress with interest .. Hoping plans go smoothly ... :o) x

14 Oct, 2013


All this will keep you very busy indeed Fran. I hope you can sleep well to get up the energy for this exciting move! You will end up with more pots than you can shake a stick at. You are upsizing with a vengeance when most are downsizing. Keeping a load of pots serviced, planted, watered, tanked up with soil, nurtured is a big job when you also have a probably slightly larger place and 'grounds' to care for. I have made a resolution to cut down on my pots/containers....whether I will succeed is another matter. I keep my laundry pole in the gazebo all the time until I use it in the 6 weeks of summer we are usually allowed! I do not like it poking up all the time when not in use, in the midddle of the 'lawn'. Grass looks very lumpy when not cut, as others have said. Let's hope no dratted squirrels, that would be a blessing for you.
Oooooo so exciting, that your dreams have hopefully come true.

14 Oct, 2013


Thanks Karen and Bloomer and TT and Dorjac.

I’ve seen wardrobe packing boxes while I was looking for standard ones – never occurred to me that they could be used after the move as well.

For my last move I went to my local mini-supermarket and asked them to save boxes from their next delivery; they did, and I was able to take a load home to use; mostly smallish, crisp and tinned-fruit size, but enough for me to lift when full of books.

Lol a lot of the cost of moving seems to be getting the boxes – I was due to move in 2008. bought stacks of boxes, the move fell through and then had about six months of box packs always being in the way – got so fed up with it that I gave them away on Freecycle. Of course, a couple of months after I’d done that, I got a proper move, so had to buy another lot …

But I had a lot less stuff to move then; I seem not only to have filled the space available here, but to have slightly overflowed it! I’ve been chipping away at it over the past months; do I really need this? Will I ever actually use this? Most of it was for craft projects that I intended to do – some day, when I had room ...

When the boxes arrive, my first job will be to pack my books – not the first thing that would normally come to mind, but I have a walk-in cupboard that I’ve had shelved on three sides for my “library”. If I clear that, I’ve got somewhere to stack packed boxes. Of course, that means having to find somewhere to stack them while I’m emptying the cupboard, and then moving the stack back in … dot and carry. And, given my back injury, even more dot!

I’ve never had a built-in wardrobe before, so I can get rid of mine, which means losing some shelf space – I had the wardrobe doors taken off, cut, and put up as shelves between the wardrobes, that’s my only “chest of drawers”. Maybe I can get the shelves reworked as a small free-standing shelf unit.

The real prob for me is clearing space to work, and to stack boxes, where they won’t be too much in the way. Last time I had to move the stack about three times as I cleared more space. Also, given my physical strength, or lack of, I can’t stack too high (last time I made steps out of the book boxes and used them to stack boxes higher, but that was years ago and I’m more of a wimp these days).

Because of my previous aborted move, I wouldn’t buy any boxes until I was absolutely sure that this move wouldn’t fall through – till I actually got the keys – otherwise I could have been well started on the packing by now.

Of course, I could have started on the garden, dismantling the arch and mini-greenhouses to bundle up, dismantling and dumping the scrap wood in my work table – every time I’ve thought of doing that, the heavens opened. Besides, I won’t hear the block intercom from out there and I don’t want to miss getting those boxes!

This is a council place, and the other is a Housing Association, so there’s no buyer’s needs to be taken into account – I can take as long as I’m willing to pay rent at both ends! This will be my last move - I can't imagine ever getting anything better than this - so I'm willing to take more time and spend more money to get it done right, rather than move, and try to redecorate and put up shelves with mounds of boxes all over the place - and you can't unpack when there are no shelves to unpack into. (it took me two years to get the carpet down!)

Distance is the real drawback – I’ve only ever moved locally before, and I had family to help. This time, I can’t ask my friend to drive there and back (and do work while he’s there) more than once a week, so the schedule will be stretched accordingly. I think it can be done in four stages: measure up and get the paint; paint; put my wall shelves up, move. I’ve still got to come back to clear up here and hand back the keys, but that can be done by train. That’s about a month.

Oh, what lovely neighbours, Bloomer! I don’t have much experience with nice neighbours – one place I went to look at before the official viewing, the neighbours were outside, so I asked them what it was like round here. They invited me in for a cuppa and a chat, and were keen to help me move – a bit too keen, I felt uneasy about how “friendly” they were – verging on pushy. I found out why when they said they wanted me to move in because otherwise (please excuse the language) they might get a “Paki” for a neighbour. The place turned out not to be suitable, but I’d have had second thoughts anyway about having neighbours like that!

Lol Dorjac, that’s why I’m definitely not calling the second bedroom a “spare bedroom” – don’t feel like paying “bedroom tax” because of it! If I can get my PC and my art-craft stuff in there, there won’t be anything “spare”.

There’s a local Freecycle, so once I’ve sorted the pots etc out, there’ll be quite a bit to put up for grabs. What I’m not taking here can be put on this local Freecycle. (I do recommend that people find their local Freecycle site, it’s amazing what you can get for nothing – and what you think is junk is wanted by others!)

Watering is going to be a prob – but, I hope the weather will take care of that for a few months, at least! There’s a water meter (never had one of those before) but I don’t like hose-watering plants even here. Once I can get water butts installed, that’ll help (at least with not running up the meter) but the watering will still have to be done by hand. Lots of water-absorbing material in the soil and thick mulch will help, I think – and now I’ll have somewhere to store the materials that I can buy in bulk, or at least more bulk than having to lug it home on foot from the hardware shop one sack at a time on my shopping trolley frame.

Pots aren’t really cost-effective in terms of watering, and the smaller the pot the more work involved; it’s been Hobson’s choice up to now, and will be for a bit after the move. I’d like to get raised beds, or large troughs (Snoopdog’s pallet planters look good! ) That will help in so many ways – larger containers need less watering, raised level will be easier on my back, and different levels will add more interest to the garden as a whole.

The rotary dryer isn’t exactly unobtrusive, stuck in the middle of the lawn like that! There’s little I can do to disguise it – I don’t know if I’d be able to move it back and forth, there’s only one way to find out, but I’d have to leave space around it for when it’s in use, so that much garden would have to stay open – the dryer might be well above any plantings, but I’d still need to get at it. Of course, I could plant right next to the pole, as I shouldn’t need to get that close. This is all totally new to me, so only experimentation will show what’s possible.

There’s a thick plastic bird feeder on the feeder station; I had a look, couldn’t see any obvious squirrel damage, so hopefully that’s one problem that won’t arise – here, they live surrounded by gardens so they’ve not got much range unless they invade; there, there’s open ground with lots of trees and shrubs on the other side of the fence, so they shouldn’t need to visit. Again, only trying it will tell. (Lol also need some kind of “hide” so I can get close enough to see them without them noticing too much!)

Oh, to have a lawn to lie out on! I did try one of my Lidl “grass mats” here, but paving stones aren’t all that soft, even when there’s no corners sticking up to poke you!

14 Oct, 2013


You seem to have studied long and hard,which will be the right options for you Fran..that is the best way,and once you get in,you have all the time in the world to plan your next rushing,just one day at a time,whenever you feel like it...:o)..We also live in a Housing Asssociation Bungalow..but they were offered on rent or buy,or a bit of was up to the individual..there are only nine of them,and only for over 55' easy to look after as you get older :o) by the way,that lovely neighbour is still a very dear friend,and recently celebrated her 90th Birthday in July..maybe you saw my blog and photo's around that time :o)..

14 Oct, 2013


I probably did, Bloomer, but now that I know how much of a friend she was, I'll go back and look again.

I don't know if there's a "right to buy" on the bungalow, doubt I'd take it up even if there were - being disabled, it's so much easier to phone them to get probs sorted than to have to hire workmen every time! Besides, doubt I'd get a mortgage! and got no one to leave it to; my bro and sis both want to live near their kids and families.

The housing agent said she wouldn't mind living here herself, but these properties are for people retiring out of London, so I'll hear a few accents that i'm used to as well as the new ones.

Just had a phone call from the council; they've been informed that i'm about to move out of the borough. Explained why i hadn't told them yet; they need 4 weeks' notice, so that's my deadline. Think it can be done at one journey a week, but got to make sure this place is as good as I can leave it, and hand back the keys. Well, the deadline's been set, just got to make sure I meet it. gulp!

14 Oct, 2013


Well,you now have a better idea of when you can move's good to have something to work around..You WILL make the deadline..I'm sure..and you can start ticking things off your 'to do' list and adding to the new one :o) only four weeks to a brand new start...great,isn't it?

14 Oct, 2013


lol, who was it who said that work expands to fill the time available for its completion? if i'd had six weeks, or six months, that's probably how long it owuld have teken. but the deadline is set and that's my time limitj - good job they didn't say 2 weeks, I'd never have made that!

Got to discuss with my handyman-driver-friend what he thinks he can do; that's the limiting factor. I'll need him here to disassemble the shelves he so recently put up, so that they can be reassembled there. and once the packing boxes arrive (next Monday, another week!) i can get down to some serious work myself.

14 Oct, 2013


Your new garden looks as if the previous tenant cared for it. I can never understand why councils and housing associations do not jump in and keep the gardens of newly vacated property in good order. Neglect can often make a whole street look down at heel but this house does not look like it has been empty for long. Now you know when you have to be out of your present home it will galvanise you into being ready in plenty of time. Someone must have applied for your home which is quite a compliment to you. Did you say you have a carer maybe he or she will be helpful when you start your packing. Both you and Karen will be very busy for the next few weeks but you both sound so positive I wish you all you would wish for yourselves. Take care.

14 Oct, 2013


This council aims at rapid turnarounds of housing - they have to, the pressure is tremendous (according to the last census, the population was up by 25%). No doubt someone will be offered this place within a week of me leaving, once they've checked it out and made any neccessry repairs (I'll leave them a list of small jobs that need doing). I'll be leaving the carpet and a few other bits for the next tenants, provided the council don't chuck 'em first.

I don't think the new place has been empty for long; the plants aren't *that* overgrown (apart from the bird-feeder-eating shrub at the back!) Maybe they think that doing a bigger job once will work out cheaper than regular small trims.

I have a new befriender via Age UK; she said she'll help with packing etc, but she's only here an hour a week, and nothing can be done until the boxes are delivered, though I've asked my local shops to save the boxes of their next deliveries. Hope they do - it's frustrating to know the clock's ticking and there's nothing I can do till I get some boxes!

15 Oct, 2013


I'm thinking the last tenant might have deliberately allowed the bird feeder to be overgrown by the shrub to give the small birds protection from predators. My daughters neighbour did that. Its funny how self imposed stress is stimulating whereas the stress of frustration is debilitating. You are going and you will get there, just hold on to that thought.

15 Oct, 2013


It does sound a very daunting project and one very much needed by you. Your neighbour should try our street. The P word would not do to describe it. Inscrutable Chinese opposite in a family inherited house. A white South African next door. A chip off the Voer Trekker block. A very caring Asian lady over the road, a widow. Opposite it her 2 S Korean teachers have moved out to America for 2 years. The Romanians shock horror in their place, have already repaired the bent garage door. His blond wife sweeps the front frequently. Over the road an anglo saxon drunk who lives alone in a posh detached house, police called to calm him down recently by the lady opposite. She is moving out soon. Hope fully your new turning should be less exotic than ours

15 Oct, 2013


I didn't know that, Scotsgran; I thought that birds preferred a clear view all round, so they couldn't be sneaked up on - shows what I know, lol. That's why i repositioned my "bird bath" so that it was clear on all sides - maybe that's what put the smaller birds off. I'll check with the gardener before cutting that back - need to be cut back a bit, because the two trays below the feeder are almost completely hidden, and I'm not sure if the bird bath should be that close to shrubbery. The good thing about it is, if I take too much off, it'll grow back!

lol Dorjac, Tower Hamlets is a very cosmopolitan area, and this end, by Brick Lane ("Banglatown"), is even more so - the Asian people are more obvious by their dress, especially the women, but there's dozens of other nationailites - the council reckon they do translations in 20+ languages (except large print in English!!). The Asian dress shops do brighten up the street, such lovely colours and gorgeous designs - nothing I'd wear myself, even if I knew how to wrap a sari! but I often stop to admire the displays.

15 Oct, 2013


Those sari fabrics are glorious. Ladies of all ages look so elegant in this form of dress, if not to done up in cardigans as well. They don't really mix. In the last few days a troop of gold finches, as many as 8 at a time have discovered our feeders. They use the cover of the trees to filter down to feeders. Return into the foliage to digest their intake. They do like cover in our garden of mature trees. The blue tits are up and down too, as they don't stay on the feeders, just snatch a seed and go. So Fran, the birdies love foliage as it helps them to avoid predators. You should get a greater selection of birds there if there are mature trees near to and some more open land as well. Good to have a Sainsbury near as well

15 Oct, 2013


There certainly are very tall shrubs, if not actual trees, over hanging the fence from the open gorund at the back, so maybe open close to and cover just above, sort of thing? lol the way you mention Sainsburys sounds like that might attract the birds too!

I've bought lengths of sari material (mostly the very cheap nylon, £5 for three yards: reckoned I could use them for dressmaking practice, they were cheap enough that I could afford to make mistakes with them), but also a few patterned lengths, for making long, full skirts and tops when I've had enough practice! As usual, not got around to it yet! got an excuse this time: nowhere to lay out the matierial to cut and pin it. Hopefully, that will be solved shortly

15 Oct, 2013


You are an inspiration Fran, nothing deters you does it. I went to an Afghan owned shop to get the silk for my daughters wedding dress. It was on the recommendation of my usual Scottish owned shop because I could not find exactly what I wanted in their shop. The parking is a lot easier in my usual shop, the other is in a main thoroughfare in the city. My shop also recommended I use a high street multinational for the flower girls dress because it would match the material I was using. I just added a wide sash and bow of the silk to make her co ordinate. No problem with the bridesmaid as he was actually a man so he wore a kilt like the others in the party.

16 Oct, 2013


lol Scotsgran, *everything* deters me at first! A new mountain suddenly looms up, and it takes a while for me to find the steps that mean I can climb it a bit at a time, to realise that it doesn't have to be all in one go (as with this present move, for eg!)

I wanted to turn my bed into a four-poster, mainly toinsect-proof it - in summer I used to sleep with windows wide open (I was on the 7th floor then and the windows were in a wall with no balconies outide) and often kicked the sheet off in my sleep, so the insects had plenty of space to picnic. I thoguht the cheap single-colour nylon mesh material would do for screens - let air and light in, shut out pests. Still working on that idea, especially as my new bedroom will face the street, it'll come in handy as a "modesty screen" too.

What a lovely shop! It's great when shops put their customers ahead of their own business and recommend "rivals" - I'd go back to a shop like that. Rather than push their "almost" on to you, they help you find exactly what you need. That's the way to build customer loyalty!

16 Oct, 2013


It is a small but thriving family business as is the one in the city. The husbands met while running market stalls around the area. The wives run their respective family shop.

16 Oct, 2013


Sounds like a business that's going to treasure regular customers and want them to come back - unlike huge shops or chains that can always get thousands more, so who cares if one leaved disssatisfied!

16 Oct, 2013


You are going to look very posh if you can get a four poster type screen round the bed. You will need screens on the windows to stop the neighbours coming to look in to see it. There have been an awful lot of flies this autumn. I think it is because of all the ripening and rotting fruit. I find even big shops have the small shop ethos of looking after the customers maybe it is because we are a small country and the shops want tourists to buy lots. I could weep when I see something I am buying being sent off to customers abroad without the taxes we have to pay on goods. However no point worrying about something I cannot change.

17 Oct, 2013


I have never seen so many of those tiny fruit flies as there are this summer into autumn Scotsgran. Clouds of them on the compost heap and lots in the kitchen green compost box. You can't clap your hands to catch them as they are artful dodgers. Other flies in Essex about the same amount. We are fortunate here to have several long lived shops. A barber who comes in from his shop to cut OH hair. A long serving helpful chemist, a long established newsagent and a post office survived but under new ownership now. A chip shop too has been under family ownership for ages. A lovely sunshiny start today after a day of rain yesterday.

17 Oct, 2013


Lol Scotsgran, not too sure about “posh”. I have a cabin bed with two sets of shelves underneath – bought it for the storage, but it’s really come in handy for my back, as I don’t have to bend down to get in or struggle upright to get out; I get one leg up, then just sort of lean and roll in.

I bought some 1x1 lengths of wood for a hall shelf unit, bought some extra with the idea of securing four uprights to the corners of the bed and then bridging the gaps. Provided I only use light curtains (and it is only for insect-proofing – well, maybe a bit or “eastern promise” as well!) there shouldn’t be too much strain on the wood.

The prob I had before was the “roof” – of course that needs closing off if I want an insect-free space, but now I’ve got this wood I could put some battens across the width to help support the roof. Lol, of course I could make the roof all wood, then I’ve got more storage space (not sure how “exotic” that’ll look!) – living in small flats, I’m slightly paranoid about using every inch of available space, and then making some more space available. And now there’s the added need to keep floors clear as much as possible, to avoid trip hazards – I don’t bounce like I used to in my younger days, sigh.

One reason for the insect increase may be the milder winters we’ve been having, at least down here! The old ones survive to lay even more eggs along with the new generation.

I hadn’t noticed much “small shop ethos” round here, even *in* the small shops! but maybe that’s London for you. Even had one pound shop person telling me not to go into another one a couple of doors away, when he didn’t have what I wanted. Cheek. As someone said, the problem with “dog eat dog” is that even if you win, you’re still a dog!

Lol maybe you can find out where they’re being sent to abroad and buy from them? I once bought a DVD set on eBay from someone in Scotland and was very surprised to find out that the package was being sent from China (he’d run out of stock, he said – so why was he advertising stuff that he didn’t have? I wondered). I got a note from Customs saying that I had to pay duty on the package, I went to the seller and said it’s up to you to pay this, there was nothing in your advert to say that I’d have to pay Customs duty.

Agree, Dorjac! This is the first time I’ve used a composter, and I was worried about the clouds of tiny flies – was I doing something wrong? The manual said that flies mean the mix is too moist, so I often added a load of shredded newspaper, partly to help absorb it and partly to cover it.

I prefer corner shops – even walk past a Tesco Metro to get to one of them. Local money stays local, not sent back to head office, maybe in another country. Besides, once the supermarkets have squeezed out the small shops, they’ll have a monopoly, which don’t sit right with me. Lol and you can’t find someone in Tesco to discuss joints of meat with – and even if you could find an assistant, the response would probably be on the lines of “durr”! a proper butcher, baker etc know their job and can discuss it with you.

And small shops do build customer relations in a way that supermarkets can’t, and wouldn’t want to anyway. Can’t see a supermarket letting me owe them a couple of bob till the next time!

I think the rain lately has been my fault. I can’t start packing till I get the boxes (next Monday!!) so I thought I could at least start dismantling the garden structures. But every time I’ve thought that and gone to get my shoes and jacket on, blow me, it’s started tipping it down. Maybe I can sneak out later today and do some, but keep your brollies handy, just in case!

17 Oct, 2013


Moving can be quite a stressful business we moved many times in Spain. One of the moves we made in Cuenca we were living out of boxes for the better part of a year between leaving one place & moving into another! Since we've been here we haven't moved again!

Four weeks isn't a lot of time when you have to set up another home many miles from where you currently live! My dad would have know more about that than I do as he had to continue working in London & come up here. When we have moved it's mostly been local, ie: within the same town/city. When we moved between countries we have only been able to take the clothing we could manage in suitcases!

Your garden will need some work but as you say the interior of your new house will take up quite a bit of your time during the winter. Hopefully you will find lots of nice surprises in you new gardens. :-))

Looking forward to reading more of your blogs from your new residence!

18 Oct, 2013


The old hospital beds are a great height for most people. They are just the right height to slide out of bed or roll in. We bought extra mattresses to raise the height of our beds. Visitors think they are great. It does mean we miss out on the storage space but we already have too much clutter. I should love to adopt a minimilist ethos but what would I do when I found I had no this, that and the other just when I needed it.

18 Oct, 2013


A lot of it is frustration, Balcony, having to rely on other people and I don't know what's going on (but don't get me wrong, i know I'm lucky to have those other people! If I had to move solo, and get a removal firm to do the packing ...) and still three days to go before the boxes arrive (if they do then) before I can even start packing.

A lot of is is because I can't even put up a shelf these days - well, not level! - so I'll need someone to do just about everything at the other end to get me ready to unpack.

lol and the rest of it is cos i'm getting old and creaky and cranky!!

i need to link up with the person who does gardening for some other residents; they can do the hedge and lawns and general tidying up and help me identify what plants are where. once I get started, I'd want to do most of it myself, but don't fancy my chanced with electric hedge or grass cutters, so they can keep that job!

it's juist nerves, I think. Until the boxes arrive, there's nothing much I can do except worry. Once I can physically stuck in, that should take the edge off it.

Know what you mean, Dorjac; I dimly remember the last time I was in hospital, though the "modern" beds had electics that meant they could be raised, lowered, and contoured - before that they had to be at a height for the nurses to reach without too much bending.

Ikea did sell a "hospital" type bed, don't know if was the same height as the proper ones, and i did think about it, but when I went back tehy no longer had it - sounds about right!

I have an Ikea bed, whihch meant getting an Ikea mattress, as the beds are a bit longer than standard; it was just the right height, but then I added a memory foam mattress topper, which makes it just a tiny bit too high. I can turn that mattress, and turn the other one over, but have probs turning it round - my old home help helped me do that and it was like sleeping on feathers!

don't think I could be a minimalist; what does one do of an evening, twiddle one's thumbs??

18 Oct, 2013


I would find it torture to be a minimalist. No ornaments. Wooden floors, echoing rooms, wooden blinds. No books or mags on the coffee table or notebooks or a diary ,as on mine. Everything obsessively coordinated Do you just sit in a cushionless chair and think of England? It looks beautiful, sterile, following the herd, copying others. Neither should one be messily cluttery either. That is overwhelming and due to lazyness to clear away the detritus of living. I went round Dixter house once. Christo knew about homeliness, comfort and shabby chic, as well as how to organise a huge herbaceaous border.

20 Oct, 2013


lol can't imagine any "normal" person being able to minimalise, Dorjac - I've seen pics of "extreme minimalsist" rooms and they look depressingly empty - as empty as those people's lives might be.

I suppose this sort of thing is for people who sit around and converse, for hours on end, no doubt on deep and significant subjects.

Okay, "no-clutter" has a point, but not *that* much of one! Your choice of "sterile" is exactly the right word - it would be torture of me, or I think for any reasonably normal person. Someone with this mentality would be the mirror image of the extreme slob!

22 Oct, 2013


I'm glad I'm not alone in not being able to see any good come out of my being a minimalist.I just popped in to see how you are getting on with the packing. Don't overdo it will you.

22 Oct, 2013


lol can't even underdo it at the moment! damn boxes still not arrived - first delivery date was middle of last week, changed to yesterday at very latest. still not here. will have to jog them if they don't turn up tomorrow. ten days at least wasted ...

22 Oct, 2013


Oh dear I do feel for you. Just don't get upset. My old aunt used to say "what is for you will not go past you". Hang on to the dream of life in your new home and be assured your temporary problems will soon be a distant memory. You will be too busy enjoying life in the new property. Have you seen Karensusans latest blog. It looks like she might need a lorry to move all her plants never mind the contents of the house. You are not alone. We are all rooting for you.

22 Oct, 2013


I can get in touch with the council and extend the "out by" date, it just annoys me that i've been sitting here twiddling my thumbs when I could have been doing

I'll nip right over to catch up KS's news, thanks for the tip!

23 Oct, 2013

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