Saturday 15 September 2012

The show goes on

While out and about, over the last few days, I have noticed that the trees are starting to turn and who came blame them after the miserable Summer, that we have had, here in the UK. However, the garden continues to perform despite the cool, wet weather. Many of the perennial flowering plants have flowered as well as they would have done in a good Summer, bringing some much needed cheer and colour to our garden. I wish that the same could be said for our vegetable garden which, by comparison with last year, is a mere shadow of what it was.

Here is what will probably be the last look at our garden for this year. These photographs have been taken over the last few weeks, but the first was taken some time ago. I had gone up to our bedroom to pack for a holiday and when I saw the neighbour's cat admiring our garden, I just had to get my camera out and capture the scene.

 There is not so much to see in the front garden. So I think that we'll start there. On the sunny side of the garden we have a phlox

and the white daisy that no cottage garden should be without.

On the shady side up against the front wall of the cottage there are Japanese anemone

and by the front door a hydrangea.

Now round in the back garden let's start with a dahlia, which this year has been in the  raised bed to the left of where the cat was sitting.

While to the right of the brick wall a buddleia or butterfly bush grows.

Then we'll turn back towards the cottage to see the black hollyhock that enjoys a sunny position against the rear wall.

From there we shall take a walk around the back garden starting with this fuscia.

Next is this perennial sweet pea which is situated at the back of the shrubbery bed.

After that comes a trellis with this clematis growing up it.

Turning the corner we come across an orange day lily or hemerocallis.

Moving down the garden it looks as if we are going to have a good crop of cooking apples this year.

And finally in the back garden we have a gladioli in the white bed.

I have had to give up on the idea of getting on top of the garden this year. The weather has been against me. So I am giving myself another year to achieve that objective. Now it is time to start thinking about dividing perennials and moving them and shrubs while the soil is still warm. Then it will be a matter of getting the garden ready for Winter.

Tomorrow we are going away. Bad timing I know.  Downton Abbey starts tomorrow night. Just like the garden, the show will go on without me. The recorder is set and it will be something to look forward to when we come back, in two weeks time. There I go wishing my life away! Back in October when I hope to have more time for my blog.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

The heat is on

Nothing last for ever and as things get older repairs are required. Some problems sort themselves out and go away, while others just seem to take ages to get sorted out. Recently we have had a spate of jobs which were beyond husband’s DIY skills.
This saga started in December of last year when we realised that the cloakroom radiator was not heating up. Husband phoned the plumber that we have used most recently who told him that he was busy - everybody wants jobs done in time for Christmas.  So it was  left it until January. Now he had flu and would phone when he was better. ‘Manflu’ lasts an awful long time as months later he still appears to be ill! By now we also had a radiator that would not switch off and the overflow was regularly overflowing. We clearly were not going to hear from plumber no.1 which meant trying plumber no.2 who took about a week to come to look at the job then about another week to produce an estimate which involved draining down our system and replacing a tank in the loft. It was March by now, still Winter and too cold in my book for draining a central heating system which would result in no heating. We  also did not think that it was necessary to replace the tank in the loft  and  thought that his estimate was rather high. So we decided to live with things as they were and the overflow has stopped overflowing.
Over the Easter bank holiday we did a stint of decorating which resulted in a leaking radiator after husband had removed it to get at the old wallpaper behind it and had not quite managed to tighten it up as much as it needed. Plumbing is not his strong suit. After attempting to fix a leak at my house before we were married I ended up with water running down the living room wall. And still I married him! At around the same time our waste disposal stopped working and the outside tap started to drip. We started our quest for plumber no.3. this time we tried a chap recommended by one of husband’s squash playing friends who actually came round to have a look at shopping list of jobs on the same day that I had phoned him. Sadly that was where the enthusiasm ended. Two unanswered phone calls later we were looking for plumber no.4.
In the mean time the thermostat in the main had ‘gone’ an had to be replaced. As had the washing machine pump. We are also having problems with windows that will not open and box guttering in the conservatory that leaks.
Anyway back to the plumbing problems. Plumber no.4 was recommended to me by the flower arranging teacher who said that he was a friend and expensive. At this point we were getting desperate and beggars can not be choosers. He came and produced an estimate which was on the high side but probably was no more expensive than plumber no.2. We asked him to do the work which he did ten days ago. He was quiet, clean and tidy and I hardly knew that he had been, but  I noticed, a few days after he had been, that the central heating was coming on when the system is programmed for hot water only. I phoned him about this and his reaction was that it was not possible. However, he did come to look at things this morning and now we need a new valve in the airing cupboard.