Archive for the ‘garden’ Category

The gate saga

November 15, 2009

Fifteen months ago my brother-in-law built a fence around our garden. He did a great job, and when I went away back home to visit my family, all that was left to do was the fence and gates across the front of the house. I gave my husband this picture:

and told him that’s what I wanted it to look like. Without the broken bit, of course.

However, when I came back, what I found was this:

Gates before

I stared, and stared, and then burst into tears. (Well, I was jetlagged and emotional.) “What’s the matter?” my husband asked, with a bewildered look on his face. “It’s the fence.” I sobbed. “The wood’s rough, the fence is too high, the palings on the fence are a different width to the ones on the gates, and they’re higher as well. They don’t match. And they’re not even finished! Waaaaah!”

“Don’t worry,” said my husband. “I’ll get it sorted out for you.”

For the first few weeks, I’d often ask my husband when his brother was coming back to finish the gates. Soon, he’d say, soon. Then a couple of months passed, and the gates still weren’t hung. I saw my brother-in-law. “Oh, I must come and finish off those gates,” he said. But then he got busy with work and didn’t come. So I suggested to my husband that perhaps we could hang the gates ourselves. “I’ll do it. Don’t worry,” he said.

A year later they still weren’t done. At that point, I realised what I should have known all along: if I wanted those gates to be hung, I would have to do it myself. And while I was at it, I might as well change the palings.

So, my husband and I went to the hardware store to buy a circular saw. The conversation there went like this:

My husband: My wife wants a skill saw.

Shop assistant: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

My husband: ….

Me: ….

Shop assistant: Oh, right. Right. You really do want a skill saw. Well, of course there’s no reason why a woman can’t use a skill saw, is there? Just be careful – you don’t want to chop off any of your fingers.

(They’re probably still talking about the time a woman came in to buy a skill saw in that shop even now.)

I tried to take the big palings off the fence, but after an hour of struggling wondered what was the point in keeping a dog and barking myself, so asked my 6’3″ tall ex-rugby forward husband to do it. It took him two weeks to get round to it, but about 10 minutes to actually do it. Once they were off, I cut the palings down to size, using my new saw, and I didn’t chop off any of my fingers, nor did my womb explode. Then I measured and marked where all the palings should go, and started to hang them. I quickly realised I needed an extra pair of hands, so once again asked my husband to help. Then I did all the measuring for the hinges, and drilled all the holes, and attached the straps, and my husband and I hung the actual gates together. And finally, after 15 months – ta daaaa:


Much better, isn’t it?

And look – these ones have even got a latch on them:


A couple of days after we finished these, a man came round to finish off replacing the putty on our windows. Last time he was here was before I’d changed the palings and got the gates done. He looked at the gates and said, “Your husband’s been busy, hasn’t he?”

That day, I added ‘digging a shallow grave’ to my to do list.


In the garden

May 25, 2009

You might be forgiven for thinking that all I have done in the past few weeks is read, given that that’s all I’ve blogged about recently.

Well, it’s not true; I’ve also done this:

Finished off building the raised veggie patch my husband started building a few months ago…


Ordered five tonnes of topsoil and compost…


Spent two days moving said five tonnes of soil from the front of the house…


To the raised bed.


And planted lots of seedlings.


From front to back: leeks, onions, celery, cauliflower (“The only flowers worth having in your garden are cauliflowers,” said my grandad. I don’t agree, but it made me smile thinking of him as I planted them), and spring onions. I foresee a lot of soup and cauliflower cheese in our future…

Moving that soil was very hard work. Very hard work. I’m not quite sure why I decided to move it all myself, rather than wait until the weekend when my husband would be back, but I think it was partly the desire to just get this garden finished at last, partly because I knew I’d be dead chuffed if I managed to get it done myself, and partly because I didn’t think it would hurt future, ummmm, negotiations with my husband if I could say, “I moved five tonnes of soil all by myself, and you can’t even be bothered to pick up your bloody socks?” Especially as my, “I moved halfway round the world for you, and you can’t even be bothered to ….” line is wearing a bit thin after 18 months.  (I haven’t had to use the soil line, yet. In fact, my husband cleaned the kitchen on Sunday while I was still in bed, and then I came back from the DIY shop on Sunday to find him hoovering the sitting room. I almost fainted with shock.  This is not usual behaviour.)

I’ve also been doing some other DIY, but I’ll blog about that another day.

Fern fronds unfurling in our back garden

March 21, 2009

Fern fronds

I love it when the sea is this colour.