Project Garden continues

Weather was good today, forecast is for crap weather for three days so along with eldest we went to a garden center.

Lots of money, some varied plant posts and varied plants.
Probably going to buy another bunch of pots & plants for the right side. But for now, the new arrivals remain in their original plastic pots and at the weekend I’ll repot them to the proper pots.
Apart from the pansies – which will live in hanging baskets – they are perennials, pollinator friendly and I picked them because I like them.

2015 ….
“Hey Mark, in 5 years time you’ll be wandering around a garden centre and enjoying it”


Task complete

The area behind the rear garage door is now pretty much complete.

The weed membrane is working really well and the bindweed looks to be dead.
The gap between the walls is – while not pretty because membrane can be seen – is covered in pea gravel.
The mess that covered the block paving is clear.

The rear garage door does not really need to open, so that area could be used, but I’ve no idea what for.
Eldest suggested a brick BBQ, but why build something that would be used a handful of days only? Same for her other suggestion of an outside pizza over (my g3ferrari works perfectly and predictably).

If anything I’m leaning toward building a walk-in cage for some ferrets.

Or maybe nothing.

More garden

The nettles and bindweed have been chopped back, weedkilled again and covered.

The area is covered with a trampoline bouncy thing fabric + weed membrane + wood so the wind fails to remove it.
ETA to take that off? April 2021 maybe

Next in the garden are three steps in this one pic.

On the left I need to fill the gap between the walls with stone / gravel.
In the middle I need to weed, clean and tidy
On the right I need to repaint the garage brickwork (it’s breeze blocks), then clean, strip, sand and paint the back garage door.

The first two items are when I have the motivation. The garage stuff I need both good weather and the motivation. (It’s like planets aligning….)

As to why the garage has a full back door that leads onto a garden? Apparently a previous owner of the house owned a boat. So the garage is bigger than a single, not as wide as a double and longer than most. Weird.
Oh, and it’ll be green. The paint for the door that is.

The front door of the garage also needs repainting. I did it several years ago but it’s flaked. I have 3 choices:
– the same boring white
– sunflower yellow (which Jacqui would have liked)
– or both

Time will tell 🙂

Nature at the end of the garden

When we moved into the house there was an old wood frame greenhouse at the end of the garden just beyond a small picket fence. You can see that in this pic:

We never used the greenhouse but in that same area there was a playhouse which the girls used.

Then because of the dogs we had at the time we had a wire fence put around the whole garden. The foxes could still come and go but the dogs could not. Girls grew, playhouse got neglected, greenhouse remained empty and we decided to just let nature do it’s thing.

Because of the trees it’s a very low light area, so not much grows.
I had wondered for a while how big that area was, and what things looked like now. Armed with shears – to cut my way through – I ventured in.

Lots of brambles, ivy coats the floor, nettles and a few other plants on the edges.

The greenhouse

The playhouse

Lots of green looking out the back

The garden is about 11 meters wide, and that area is about 10 meters deep. So that’s a sizeable chunk of ground. Could it be used? Yes if you were happy to chop down trees and spend a heap of money on it. I’m not about to do either. I am content that nature continues to do it’s thing and hopefully it’s a refuge for bugs and tiny animals that are less welcome in neatly manicured gardens.


There is only so many times you can clean indoors before getting bored of it while also aware that outside is a mess. So I tidied up.

– the curved area on the left had the waterfeature, but it sat on a mass of soil and a few white stones. There were weeds and it just looked ugly. So I took the top surface off, put the wood border in, laid weed membrane and plonked 20kg of blue slate on top (needs more slate which is on order)

The walls (both sides) had a mixture of plants, weeds and opportunistic Ash trees. Weeded, cut the trees down, weedkilled heavily. Membrane added and so far 60kg of pea gravel in total. Cats love to lie down in what must be a little heat trap on a good day. Plan is to have glazed ceramic flowerpots with perrenials. Those plant pots aren’t cheap though so that’s a very long term goal.

– the curved area on the right used to have a massive bush and more Ash trees. Got a local company to chop that down, grind the stump. It’s been left as open soil since and both dogs dig in there. So I dug out more roots, levelled it, membrane and 20kg of plum slate (again needs more). Undecided what to place there – one large ceramic or maybe 3 of different sizes. Time will tell.

The pig statue sits where a dead fir tree was for years.

So I’ve gone from a messy patio that looked ugly to one that is clean and zero maintenance.

If it’s dry until tomorrow I’ll weedkill the bunch of nettles and bindweed over on the right next to the fence. When that kicks in strim it to the ground, cover it with heavy membrane and if when checking over weeks I see any sign of plant life I’ll repeat the weedkilling.

Apple tree is in fruit and will be pollarded next Spring

The hedge on the left I’ll trim this week.

I can now sit outside with the dogs, maybe burning some wood and not have to look at mess.

And the grass? It does it’s own thing. That’s the dog’s play area and they don’t care if it’s mowed.


Story on the BBC about a kid who put a lego piece up his nose reminded me of something.

Jacqui was in the ‘any day now’ window to give birth to our second. One evening the firstborn pushed a piece of lego up her nose which we could not retrieve. We headed into the city to the main A&E. A friend of ours was either there or came with us – I forget. As we are waiting Jacqui said “It’s now, the baby is on the way”. We left lego-girl with our friend and began walking to the Maternity building some 80 yards away. On the way the waters broke. Jacqui was wearing boots, so she sloshed in them til we got to the birthing room.

The Doxie Q scanner

A project for this year is to scan all the photo negatives I have and to upload the digitised images to Smugmug after sharing them with my girls. First though I wanted to address the physical photos I have.

These date back to before we were married and cover many holidays, school sports days (in those times when you could take a camera) and lots of just family photos.

I saw a mention of the Doxie Q scanner on Daring Fireball. It looked to be just the job so I gave Amazon money and they sent it.

My eldest took the photo albums from the bookcase and the scanner. Her partner scanned them all in. 858 photos. When she brought everything back I mentioned the negatives, looked in the garage and found more photo albums. So I scanned and uploaded them.

Myself and the girls now have over 1200 images which now include more holidays, school photos. All digitised, all secure on Sumgmug and they have download links to save them locally.

It’s more than good to look back and see the Jacqui I wish was still here – she could walk, swim, play … and it’s good that the girls have that too. I found a lovely pic of her in the pile too.

I’ll never post any pics here. The privacy of my two daughters is not mine to violate. Their names are not on this site so there is no way I’ll post their pics, esp of when they were younger. And Jacqui’s pic is for me to see.

Anyway – the Doxie Q. Highly recommended. Very easy to use, good results. As they used to say “It does exactly what it says on the tin”.


The increasingly weird, violent and draining nightmares continue. The medication I used to stop them does not now do so. I wish I could avoid sleep

I’ve no-one to talk to.
Not just covid but about life, stuff, things, goals

I don’t mean talk, I mean TALK. Someone who knows me, understands

Few hours ago I was folding laundry. Dogs were on the sofa watching me, as they do. I started talking to them

What should I do?
What would Jacqui want me to do?
What/where in a year should I be?
and similar

I got really angry
I haven’t got a single fucking clue