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If only everything in life was as reliable as a.........ROBIN???


Hi all!

Well, seems like I’ve been gone an age what with work keeping me busy and tired! Had very little time to spend on here and managed to do some catching up yesterday. You’ve all been very busy in your gardens and so yesterday, it seemed only right that we did some cleaning up in ours as this will be our last proper time off together before xmas other than the odd days off here and there. So, we were woken bright and early by the sound of a lorry delivering this outside our front door……not literally, of course!!

Not bad either. 7.25am delivery….supposed to be between 8 and 12!!!

Fortunately for us, the weather took a turn today and by the time we went out at around 8.30am, the sky was like this and it just got warmer as the day wore on….

Now, since I started sharing my ‘Garden Experience’ with you all back in July, you have all been very nice and made some wonderful comments about how tidy our garden looks. Well, you’re right…..about one side of it. As for the other…..well, there’s some work to be done:

Now you see why we had the skip delivered! It is in need of some desperate tidying up so we set to work trying to skip all the rubbish that had accumulated over the past few months. Here’s a closer look at what had to be moved:

It seems the lawn could do with a hoover as well!

We started working and after a couple of hours, we had a visitor who, it appeared, had come to help us…..

After surveying the cleared area where once layed many conifer cuttings and rubble and slabs…..

Our friend decided that it was in dire need of a good brush…..

He was in and out of the bushes for a good half hour, bouncing around and generally wanting to help out….and pose, of course! We stopped for tea and toast at about 11am……

’I’ll have Rice Krispies please…..I’ve got my own spoon!’

So, after brekkie, it was back to work and I got the feeling that Mr Robin wasn’t too keen on using the secateurs…

‘Let me get this straight now. You want ME, to use these nasty, sharpy things?’

‘But they’re soooooooooooooo…….well, BIG!! A robin could do imself some mischief trying to operate them mate!’

Maybe if I look away, they’ll disappear by the time I turn back……

Blast, that didn’t work!

Maybe I could make a run for it through the back gate…..

ORRRRRR……..I have a cuuuunnnnning plan! What if I fly over to where you’re stood mate and pose on the chimney pot not 4 feet away from you. I can look really cute and you can get some lovely close-ups of me…..on condition, of course, that I don’t have to use those secateurs…’

‘There you go mate! How’s that for trusting you? they don’t call me tame for nothing!!

Strike a pose!

Anyway, back to the matter in hand, or one of them, anyway. Forming a sort of border around the Rowan tree. This is just starting it…

This is it finished, before the bark goes down….

Whilst I was working underneath the Rowan tree, which houses many bird feeders, I placed a tray up on the patio for any birds who fancied a bite to eat but who might be too afraid whilst I was lurking around. No prizes for guessing who was the only one to take up the offer….

So, the border was formed and now we needed to plant the following Narcissus, Iris’ and other such bulbs in the hope that next Spring, we will get a bit of a show….

Whilst working on the border, I upturned one of the tree stumps to find many a woodlice or, Granny Grey, as Ali calls them, lurking underneath.

Whilst I was doing all this, Ali was cleaning out the GH with Jeyes fluid before sorting the veg patches to net over for winter so the cats can’t poop in them pulling out the last of our veggies, she found 1 rather LARGE carrot – pen next to it for scale…..

…..and 2 rather not so large but naughty carrots!

Now, she also showed me something else which I know won’t go down well with some of the faint-hearted among us but I just had to take a pic or two.

This is of a thick cobweb under one of the flower pot trays from Homebase….

And this is what was asleep underneath the web….

I went to fill the watering can up only to turn around and be faced with… know who!

‘I just want to help if I can Mr Dan…..!’

‘Okay, but only if you come a liiiiiltle closer so I can take one last close up of you!’

‘Okay, but be quick coz we gotta finish this border and clean up…..’

Despite Mr Robin’s best efforts to muster up some help from his friends, some seemed more interested in what was for lunch!

So, on we trundled and with Mr Robin’s able assistance, the garden was sson looking like this:

All cleared at top end….

Border formed, bulbs planted and bark down…..

I know some of you will say, ‘You must be mad putting bark down. It will be all over your garden and cats will poop in it….Well, we are aware of this and apart from purchasing a Sonar Cat Deterrant system, it’s what we want, so we will have to put up with some of the less favourable things attached to having bark in the garden in order to achieve the look we are aiming for. I think it look quite nice.

Also, many months ago, we visited a small, cheapy, garden/xmas shop on a trading estate and found the following 2 metal flowers at a bargain basement price. Now seemed the right time to bring them out….

See this? Doesn’t look much more than a tub of compost does it? Well, hopefully, next Spring, it will be a Floral Carpet of Golden, White and Orange Emperor Tulips….

This one is looking back down the garden from the area we cleared…

A dieing wasp on Ali’s M & S bag….

(We hadn’t killed it, by the way!)

The back of one of my pansies with droplets on

So, after starting in the garden at about 8.30ish in the morning, we finally called it a day at….

I’m quite sure that without Mr Robin’s help, we would have taken far longer than the 9 or so hours we did. So, we thanked him kindly and he was soon on his way…..

Guess he’s what’s known as a……ROBIN RELIANT!!

More blog posts by oddbillie

Previous post: Some you win......some you lose.....

Next post: Clearing our daughter & son-in-law's garden....NO Robins BUT, plenty of spiders!!!



Lovely blog smashing pictures of the robin and a good punchline.?T he garden looks nice all your bulbs will look lovely in the spring.

13 Oct, 2009


Lovely blog, fantastic pics (well apart from the slaters & other skin-crawly things) but a TRULY awful punchline!! You're slipping!

13 Oct, 2009


I don't know about a Robin reliant but somebody parked a Skoda in front of your house hehe, I hope you did'nt throw that old BBQ away Dan, I want to see it planted up.

13 Oct, 2009


Great blog. Marvellous what you can achieve in a day especially when you have little helpers around

13 Oct, 2009


Lovely blog your garden looks wonderful and will look even better when those bulbs start popping their heads above the ground, loved the robin best of all.

13 Oct, 2009


Great blog OB ..loved the robin arent they just the friendliest birds with such character makes you feel he s really appreciating all your hard work.

Love the skip too .. the Nolans should have been recycled years ago .

13 Oct, 2009


Thats a good days work Dan and it certainly looks neat and tidy and come next spring you will have a nice lot of flowers,love your little helper. Smashing photo`s with amusing captions..........

13 Oct, 2009


great blog Dan, lovely little robin and so helpfull, love the new border, cant wait to see in spring, and like the metal flowers to , great story well done :o))

14 Oct, 2009


I enjoyed reading your blog, and the pictures were great :))

14 Oct, 2009


Enjoyed your blog - you certainly got a lot done. What are your plans for the newly cleaned up area? Your new border looks very good - will wait to see photos when everything has matured and filled out. Lovely robin photos too.

14 Oct, 2009


Well, that was a good days graft and no mistake! I think it looks fantastic, 'what a difference a day makes', eh?

Robins are such good little posers aren't they? He's a sweetheart, no wonder they're everyone's favourite bird.

Really enjoyed this blog, Dan! Thank you for sharing!


14 Oct, 2009


Thankyou all for your kind comments.

The robins are absolutely magical and to have one land not 4 feet away from me and then hop even closer to me up by the shed, well, I felt quite honoured. They are such wonderful little birds and it was great to get so many nice pics of him.

It was indeed a very loooooooong day out there and we didn't ruch things but boy, were we aching by the end of it! All worth it though and very productive so it's a positive acing, if that's possible:0)

Best part is, foolish as we are, we went and helped clear the daughter and son-in-law's garden yesterday as well so another 5 hours spent working our butts off........NOW I'm aching so today, it's a quick visit to the GC, I'll try and be good,honest, before coming home, chilling ALLLLLLLLLLLL day whilst my lady cooks a nice lamb dinner. It's so expensive, we haven't had lamb this year, in fact, due to our conflcting shifts, we very rarely have a _proper_ cooked dinner, so seeing as I have cooked twice already this week, Ali has promised me my long as I buy the lamb?? Hold on a minute!

BB: 'I'm in the mood, for gardening.....'. Love the quip about the Nolans, LoL! You're right about the robins, they do make you feel like they're admiring and appreciating your work, it's brilliant.

Bob: Alas, it is not often I don't get myway in the garden but Ali was really NOT keen for me to use the BBQ as a planter. Reason being is thatit was a gas one and had 3-4 different knobs on the front and was in very bad nick and didn't look nice. So, I gave in peacefully and it has now gone to a recycling yard so not all bad. Pity though, as I would have loved to have had a go at doing something in it. So you win on that one mate. Your's was always gonna be better anyway:0)

Bh: If you look at the 11th picture up from the bottom, I will try and explain. The area where the slabs are missing plus some more grass in front of it around to just past the steps of the decking, will be gravelled the same as the path I made, shown in previous blogs. The are will have wooden planters with Cordylines in - already on order - along with Fatsia japonica which is already in his new home. To the left of the 'slabless' are, you can see 3 more rows of slabs. These will be lifted and an arch will be placed across the first 2 level with the 4th row back as you look at them. We hope to grow a nice rose over that arch in memory of Ali's mum who passed away many years ago. Unfortunately, I never got to meet either of her parents as they both passed in their fifties so we hope to have flowers next year, somewhere in the garden, for both her parents and my dad who passed nearly 4 years ago.

The gravel will come across in front of and through the arch and we hope to have some sort of seating area there as well.....time and money and can wait til next year now! Beyond the arch up towards the shed, probably just gravel with the occsional slabs the same as on the path. Any clearer now? It's hard to picture unless you know what you want, I suppose!

MP: You don't wanna be putting my punchline's down else I'll be blogging some more creepy-crawly things!! In fact, I shall be doing just that later today when I blog about our day ysterday at the kids new house. a jungle to clear but looooooooads of spiders with wonderful markings on! Keep an eye out.......

Bscott, Sanbaz, Grindle, Lincslass, Morgana, Pipsqueak, Avis & Mavis....thank you all for youe generous comments.

14 Oct, 2009


This is such a beautiful blog Oddbillie. Well done all of you.Yea! I agree, the Robins are the best, I do not keep pets, but I have got 2 Robins which keep me company in the garden. The thing I like about the birds is, that they are free to fly away and get away from me if they so wish. I love all birds and animals, but would not keep any as I like them to be free. But then, that's my choice.

14 Oct, 2009


Another great blog Dan, you sure did work hard and it's looking great, just as well you had the foreman there in his red jacket and I know he's very photogenic but he really is a bit of a poser isn't he! lol. I like the look of bark too but find it's the blackbirds that scatter it more than cats.....maybe some more bird photo opportunities there then?
You may be aching but I bet you think it all worth it when you look out at the result. Well done both of you.

14 Oct, 2009


Another 4 of those skips and you could of named them the Nolan skipsters lol

14 Oct, 2009


Thanks Michaella, that's really nice of you to say that. The old robin is the star though and as Lily states, he was a real poser. We get a lot of pleasure out of the wildlife and birds in the garden as well. They are so used to us now that they rarely fly off from the feeders when we are about or close by. It's great as well, when we sit upon the decking with a cuppa just watching and listening to the sights and the sounds of them.......magical!

I think it's important that everyone has that choice over whether to keep animals or not. Certainly, from reading about the cats and dogs and other amazing family members on here, it's quite apparent that they are all loved and more importantly, looked after. I remember seeing Animal Hospital a few years back with ......mmmmmmmhefammmmmmmmhefammmmmm......can you guess what it is yet?......Rolf Harris, and the vet on their said something very apt when dealing with 6 poodles who had been just ignored by their owner and were covered in fleas and sores and more. He said 'I've no doubt that people do love their pets, but it's whether they know HOW TO look after them'. He said it with tears in his eyes and you could tell, that he really did care.....and the poodles were saved and re-homed.

We live on a corner plot and would love a cat but feel it's too risky being right on 2 roads as we are. We don't want a house cat as we want one to have it's freedom as well. Again, that's our choice but who knows further down the line.....

Lily: Harder than you can imagine!! We pottered but a lot of physical work involved and then we went and did the daughter's new garden yesterday....the day after this one!! We are TRULY feeling the after effects today! Hope to get lots of photo opps as you say. Already seen a couple of coal tits in the bark earlier but no camera on me! And YES, it is worth it when you look down at it. Still some way to go as we need more bark but all in good time!!

Morgana: Oh dear.....big Grooooooan from the cheap seats :0) Sounds like one of my lines I'd use!! LOL!!

14 Oct, 2009


I never liked them not my cuppa tea he he

14 Oct, 2009


as always a great blog hun
you have both done an excellent job
reminds me I must collect some slabs from my mothers before it gets too cold

x x x

14 Oct, 2009


Great achievement for a little robin. If you had worked as hard as he did, you would have finished earlier :)
I hope your aches and pains have eased - you might have to help him build his nest next spring!

14 Oct, 2009


Wow! Great blog and your "helpers" have been busy in the garden, lol :)) Your border looks great....the bulbs will be fantastic in spring...and I love those metal flowers (very "Me", lol). Congratulations on all your hard work....dead proud of you both :))

14 Oct, 2009


Thanks Mookins.

Gee: I'm aching more today than ever....Siad I'd have a quiet one today but my neighbour offered to help me lop the last few conifers down a few weeks ago, when I told him I had a week off. Wasn't feeling like all that mullarky today.....BUT HE WAS!!! My gawd, I have to go to Bristol tomorrow, on my week off, for a meeting for work. I won't be able to stay awake!!!

Hope he doesn't want any help next Spring, I don't like heights.....:0)-

14 Oct, 2009


Dont you WANT me to look at your next blog??:~((
Warning me about the s********!
I did say I LIKED this one! I just didnt like the creepies!
(or the punchline, not to your usual standard, sir!)

14 Oct, 2009


I've enjoyed your blog oddbillie, especially the star (poser) Winning the affection of someone is quite something, winning the friendship of a domesticated pet is special, but to gain the trust of a wild bird is really special. It says much about you though I have to admit our Robin won't come near me which doesn't say much about me Lol.

14 Oct, 2009


Hi Marie!

i'm afraid that apart from progress pics in the next blog, there was not much else to photograph other than spiders.....some lovely colours on them though. Just you wait and see. You may grow to like them.....even if only on pictures at the safety of being on the other end of an internet connection!!!

Heron: What a nice thing to say...about me.....but not so much about you...LOL! It is a great feeling though in fairness. He just kept reappearing all day and as I always keep my camera in my pocket, it was just too good an opportunity to miss....time and time again!!

OH, and welcome to GoY! A little late but I've been away from here for a couple of weeks so missed your arrival sir!!

14 Oct, 2009


Sorry Dan! I'm NOT going to get to like them! Pics are WORSE than the real deal! :~((
I've managed to deal with my fear of the real ones & dont have to (& wont) kill them now, but pictures of them literally make my skin crawl! EEEEW!

14 Oct, 2009


That's wierd isn't it. I'm not a great lover myself but am fascinated by the pics of them. Ah well, guess you won't be looking at the next blog.....unless you peak through half-open eyes and scroll down quickly.....:0)

14 Oct, 2009



14 Oct, 2009


Sorry Dan but I have to be honest, I,m exactly like Marie and although I love your blogs I do skim by the spiders, I am petrified even of pics of the darn things,daft I know but it aint never gonna change........

14 Oct, 2009


So thats me, you & Lily, then. Lincs!

14 Oct, 2009


Great blog Oddie.......I'm sure I commented yesterday but, once again, I must have forgotten to "submit".
I love your Robin photos....I sure wish we had these little fellas over here.
You did a great job on your border. It looks fantastic.

15 Oct, 2009


As I said earlier our Robins are a bit shy but we do have two Collard Doves that live and breed in our garden. They come very close when hungry and when we scatter their food. Even when Barnaby is with us, he seems to know that the Doves are our friends.

15 Oct, 2009


Such a helpful little Robin, I'm glad he got a rewrd in the end! They always seem to come around when there's some activity in the garden, hoping you've unearthed a worm or insect or two!
Lovely blog and photos.

15 Oct, 2009


Thanks Gilli. Still some work to go on the brder but not sure if we get there sthis side of xmas!

So you do have friends Heron, that don't fly away....the doves!

Yes Paul, always appear when I nip out there and start pottering.....I actually unearthed a fair few worms that were no doubt gobbled up by our feathered friends!

Thanks for your nice comments all:0)

15 Oct, 2009


Great blog, love the robin pics, and the commentary, thanks for the warning about the web and the spider, skipped past those very quickly, even the web made the hairs on my arms stand up. Those robins are very keen - I was digging a hole to plant in last week, and the robin went straight into it before I'd finished - had to stand around and wait for him to finish rootling. Was that a eucalyptus I spied in a pot, that you have now actually planted? good job too, they're not good in pots are you growing it as a shrub under the trees?

15 Oct, 2009


You've got a keen eye Bamboo, yes it is a Eucalyptus and still in a pot. Apparently they will grow really big if not cut back each year. The ground here is full of roots and so not good for planting but maybe a bigger pot? It seems to love it in his current pot.....?

Did you get any pics of your Robin in the hole by chance?

Thanks for the kind comments too!

15 Oct, 2009


Our garden birds eat all sorts of insects but I wonder which ones only eat the nasties. We need worms but not Greenfly vine weevil ect.

16 Oct, 2009


Bad news, Oddbillie - Eucalyptus gunnii will not survive in a pot - it is one of the deepest rooted trees in the world, and won't survive long even in a large pot. Plant it somewhere, chop it to the ground every spring, it'll grow as a shrub, to about 6/8 feet in a season. Or keep it as a small tree by constantly pruning it to a lollipop shape that you can reach easily. Don't plant it and ignore it - it'll be 50 feet before you turn round...

16 Oct, 2009


Absolutely brilliant ........You got me really engrossed there....Looks like you had a really good day and what a difference its made. Well done both of you and of course Mr Robin......

16 Oct, 2009


Have never seen a real English robin before: how great! No wonder the settlers named our red breast for your little wren. You seem to have a good plan and progressing well to realize it. The fatsia is so lush looking. But I would never put a Eucalyptus in the ground as they are so thirsty & suck all the water from everything else. As Bamboo says, get huge quickly so best enjoy it in your pot as you say you already have competing roots. Now where will you put the hot tub?!

17 Oct, 2009


Your garden looks lovely - and I love the bark. Now the back is as tidy as the rest of it!!! Will the paved area be a suntrap in the summer? How on earth did you get so much done in one day. Goodness you were busy. Well done.

18 Oct, 2009


Well, have to think on the Eucalyptus then as contrasting thoughts. Our idea was to put into a large pot and then trim back each year. Failing this, we may offer it up to family or friends as it won't really fit into our garden theme.

Thanks for your comments though, Milky & Orgratis.

Spindle: Hope you're well. The paved area will, eventually become gravelled like the path with random slabs, like the path! An arch will sit there somewhere as well and we hope to make a seating area just in front of the left hand slabs that are stiil down at year though I think!!

18 Oct, 2009


I got a robin!! :~))

18 Oct, 2009


In your garden or from Tesco?.....they do everything else in their quest to take over the universe.....!

18 Oct, 2009


In my garden, silly!
What do they like to eat? I cant dig over the beds every time I see him!

18 Oct, 2009


They do like mealworms....expensive and you can get robin feed of sorts....expensive. They tend to be ground feeders but will occasionally feed from a feeder.

In the blog, you can see the little black mesh tray which cost about £4 or so. That would be ideal or something like it. I just put seeds in it. Tried mealworms but if they're not around, the other birds, especially Starlings, tend to eat them all first and as I said, mealworms are not cheap!!

Great to have on ethough eh?

18 Oct, 2009


Ta for that! I'll get some mealworms but just put them out when I see him!
I have a mesh tray thingy on my new feeding station, I'll unhook it & put it on the patio for him.
Its lovely having him around! He's beautiful!

18 Oct, 2009


I must admit I do buy the robin seed mix, which has some mealworms in it, and the song bird/thrush mix, even though they're more expensive, because all of it gets eaten. With the cheaper mixes, there are seeds that get left all the time that obviously none of them like.

19 Oct, 2009


The border under the trees looks lovely now. Good job you had that robin's help or you wouldn't have got half as much done :o)

19 Oct, 2009


That was good reading, and so enteraining , and with all of the comments. It would take me forever to do a blog with as much infomation and photos. allthough I am improving with the kind help from GoY freinds.

19 Oct, 2009


Robins are always Reliant but I doubt that Del boy would agree.

19 Oct, 2009


This is the first blog I have read on the website and it was a brilliant read. Your garden is fab and the robin looks a proper cheeky chappie!

19 Oct, 2009


I don't mind paying a bit more for the robins but the starlings tend to swoop down, along with the crows and magpies, and eat everything I put out for the robin so I tend not to buy the expensive stuff.

Frank: Very kind comments, thankyou sir. It doesn't matter how many photo's are in the blogs, I just tend to get carried away and like to inject a little humour into them, as many others do to. I get immense pleasure out of reading other folks blogs no matter how big or small. I wll add younow as a favourite and look forward to seeing more of you. A bit belated but Welcome Aboard the good ship GoY!!

Heron: He who dares wins my son, he who dares wins.....!

Rufus67: Welcome aboard Rufus and hope you stick around for a long time to come. I had a quick read of your profile and will be returning to look at and comment on your pics. I, myself, am also a novice gardener of only 6 months or so and learning so much from this great site. The folk are very accomodating and there is a real camararderie amongst us all. It's also VERY addictive.....I only found it by googling a question on ponds and I've not looked back!! Look forward to seeing some blogs from your good self and I am honoured that one of my blogs was the first one that you have read on here...albeit it was probably not by choice....LoL!! :0)

19 Oct, 2009


I know what you mean OB, the magpies Crows and Starlings can be a problem. Could you fix a wire mesh around the feeder, one that only smaller birds can enter?

20 Oct, 2009


I didnt keep my eucalyptus pruned and it reached over the top of the street light and I had to get it cut (£80) and then even now keep seeing little shoots popping up!!!
Loved the blog - nice to see the end result of your hard work and your little helper!!

20 Oct, 2009


Sounds like it will be lovely next year. Although it looks pretty good now. Love your idea though - of the random slabs :o)

20 Oct, 2009

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