Sunday, 1 July 2012


Well, I meant to blog more, and I meant to do more, and neither happened. We're having a few weeks in limbo as jobs are planned, superceded, and abandoned for various reasons. Hopefully a workshop is going to occur to help us plan work and budgets better in the future, so there is less uncertainty about when things are going to be done.

Sometimes it's very hard to remember that we're new at this: new to budgeting, planning major works on a house, living together, doing huge DIY missions, and trying to do all this while still living our ordinary lives, going to work, studying and raising a child. There have been quite a few frayed nerves, and not a little grumpiness, but also lots of laughter to act as a welcome antidote. We clearly have a lot to learn, but being aware of that is a good first step.

Small things have been happening. A lid rack for the saucepans has appeared. A third of the tiling that needs doing in the kitchen has finally been grouted. Cassian has made some fab pockets for our post to go in so it stops wandering off around the house. Lloyd has taken on the role of treasurer and made all our records digital, so we can all have access to our ongoing accounts and it's easier to keep track of spending.

Joe has finally had some time off after working some truly epic shifts recently, and he's been raring to go. The other day he cleared all of the existing rubbish in the concrete half of the garden, and today he climbed over to the fenced off bit and made a path through the buddleia to the bottom of the garden. The fenced off bit is full of rubbish and enormous swathes of bramble and buddleia, and until today afforded us tremendous privacy and looked rather green and lush, with the odd flower. This section of the garden is actually bigger than the concrete bit, so will more than double the existing garden when we reclaim it, the very thought of which fills me with glee.

It would be lovely to leave all this greenery in place until next year when we might actually find the time to do a permaculture design and get some plants in, but unfortunately the shrubbery is hiding a rather dark secret. The retaining wall at the end of the garden is roughly 7 foot tall, and atrociously built. It has a big crack running right up the middle and the surveyor described it as "at risk of collapse". This is not only terrifying on a general level, but the lane behind is used very frequently to access parking spaces in the offices opposite, and the potential damage to cars, and heaven forbid, people if it did collapse is horrifying to contemplate. Our plan is to get this wall taken down as soon as possible, and for a new blockwork wall to be built in it's place, but properly this time.

To get to this bit of the garden to do work, almost all of the buddleia need to go, so Joe got started today with a pathway to the bottom so we could see how far we had to go. I neglected to take a before picture, but got lots of nice ones once he's laid into it with the one pair of secateurs we could muster. It felt a bit weird to be complicit in such a mass hacking of plant life, but needs must. As a random aside, the buddleia is named after a potential relative of mine, so I've always had a bit of a sweet spot for them. Sad times indeed.

Finn helped to put the chopped up bits in our garden waste bag

A temporary reprieve for these lovely blooms

Joe took Finn for a bimble around our new bit of garden

That tiny pale patch on the left is our first view of he bottom of the garden :D

Finn made friends with this friendly snail

In other news, Lloyd got a first in his degree. If you want to have your brain warped by his sci-fi/horror radio play, you can listen to it here.

- Hannah

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