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Friday, 24 April 2015

And . . . relax

Another frustrating week where my full-time role seemed to be telling people, via calls, emails and reports, how busy I am.

Spoke to a colleague in the Cloud space, he mentioned that my name had been mentioned on a recent team call, but still no movement from where I am sitting.  I think I know that actually, the changes have not yet filtered down to us bottom-feeders, however I am also very conscious that I need to not drop off the radar.  Tried to hassle my contact, no response as yet, so need to become the stone in the shoe.

At home, Maggot 2 is ill, again.  Doctors seem to find nothing wrong, but it is driving us slowly mad, coz he has a hacking cough, headache and sore throat, and at various time other bits of his body aching, so it could just be a virus, but we are also concerned that it was only three weeks ago he was last ill, on holiday in Blackpool.

This weekend has therefore changed.  No clubs for Maggot 2, much to his dismay, and Maggot 1 even left for school to day "not feeling right", so our weekend could indeed be another frustrating one.

I do hope to finish the preparation in the garden for the new turf to cover the bare patch, then I will be jet-washing the (as yet unused) patio in readiness for sealing it.  We just need to find some spare change down the back of the settee to buy furniture, pots, architectural plants and a tray of herbs, the latter planning to be put on to the Singer sewing machine base with marble top table I have just cleaned up and repainted.

I hope you have a great weekend, and speak next week.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Unpleasantly busy, being escalated all over the place. 

Weekend will be busy too, but in a different way.  Sports for Maggots, night out for adults, probably some gardening in between.  

And when I say gardening, right now I mean digging out the dead bit of lawn* sufficiently to lay new turn in the shallow hole made.  Also, genius idea that is also a stupid idea, deciding to re-purpose the topsoil relinquished from the hole to top-dress the rest of the lawn.  This is a great idea, apart from the time it takes to turn grotty diggings in to fine, stone- and weed-free soil. 

Also taking the chance to cut out some tree roots that protrude in the lawn, currently the perfect tool for breaking kneecaps.  LO is worried that the tree will fall down.  Make a note to tell her about trees and roots.

Hope you have a great weekend, speak next week.

* it was first where the trampoline used to be, which partly killed it, followed by being the goal mouth for the (then) new goal, which finished it off.

Friday, 10 April 2015

And . . . relax

Maggot 1 has a sleepover party today/tonight.  Ten teenage boys, the size of men, camped out in the front room.  They are out playing football just now, but when back they will be on XBox, take-away pizza later and a camping fridge full of drinks.

They will have great fun.  We will not.  Can't even drink too much in case we need to take one of them down A&E.  May seem extreme thinking, but have you ever seen ten thirteen year old boys in one room?

Tomorrow, I hope to finish the fence staining, and then start of cleaning the new, as yet unused patio, ready for sealing.

I hope you have a peaceful weekend, speak next week.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Time off for good behaviour

We had a good break away.  Well, to be precise, it was nice to have time off with the family, but the location itself was not that great.
We had a week away near Blackpool, a static 'van site near Southport to be precise, which was something of a ghetto.  It had no redeeming features that we were able to find.  The site was tatty, and the bar atmosphere was less than friendly*.

Blackpool tower and ballroom were great.  In the fabled ballroom, there was a guy on a Wurlitzer and an open dance afternoon in progress, so we watched some dancing, which was nice.  The revamped promenade was well done, so walking on there looking out to sea was fine.  Turn your gaze towards the "strip" and what you saw was much more tatty than we had expected, so overall it was a disappointing destination.

Southport, our local town, was more of a surprise.  None that we had spoken to before we went said much about it, but we found it to be charming, with (definitely faded but in a good way) Victorian architecture, a lake just in from the sea around which one could walk, those of a hardier disposition could partake of water-sports, and one could get an ice-cream, some fish and chips or just play on the well-provisioned playground.

We also did a tour of Anfield, and that was really fantastic.  The guy who took us round was entertaining and enthusiastic, and the atmosphere, heritage and passion for football was evident all around the ground.  Liverpool are now my second team.

This weekend, I have mostly been doing fences.  To be precise, yesterday I sprayed, but the previous days I had been preparing surfaces, jet-washing off the algae and generally readying the wooden surfaces for their day of glory.

So yesterday, from 8am to around 4pm, I slowly sprayed the shed and a good portion of the fences.  Gorse Fox wanted to know whether a spraying system is worth having, and I would say that it definitely is worth it.  The treatment is more expensive that standard brush-on variants, but actually as time is money**, then it was money well spent.  I did run out, and we went up to Homebase to get some more, only to find that they were out, apparently all-but ransacked during the four day weekend, so it seems that I was not the only one spraying this weekend.

It runs on four D batteries, and I did change batteries once, though not sure if I was a bit premature since the loss of power may well have been slight blocking of the delivery hose.  But, you do need to factor in battery cost as well, since four cost around six to eight pounds.

I adopted a spray and brush technique.  The spray definitely gets the coat on the panel, but following up with a brush seems to help to even it out, fill in the gaps and generally provide a smoother and more regular finish.  At the start, I did overdose on spray, so the brushing left plenty of excess treatment on the brush, which I then used for the top of the back fence (it has a one foot lattice top, to make the fence higher and harder to climb for anyone who may want to get in to our garden from the allotment) and other missed areas.  I also used a sheet along the bottom to minimise the amount of spray that went on the edges, and by the end that really was soaked through, so you can easily waste treatment if you are not careful.

I managed to do a shed of sixteen foot by ten foot, and maybe twenty or so six foot fence panels, which took just over four tubs of treatment, and in the round, probably not much more than one set of four D batteries.

I chose a colour this time***, mid-brown oak, and it has brought the garden together nicely.  Just need to get the disaster of a lawn fixed up a bit and it may start to resemble a normal garden of sorts.

One word of warning, you do need to do it when there is no wind, zero wind being the best.  There is a mist of spray that can form if you spray from the recommended nine inches distance - I found doing it much closer for the edges reduced this - and if Google is to be believed, others have experienced windows and frames coated in treatment from a neighbour's spraying during windy conditions.

This evening, we are going over to Brighton to meet up with Brad and Angelina, who are staying there for a few days, for a meal.  It is their twentieth wedding anniversary - so all the jokes about being free had it been murder should surface - and we hope to go to Jamie's for some Italian dining.  Can't wait.

Have a good, short, week, and speak on Friday hopefully.

* including open staring at these five-fingered interlopers
** perhaps less so for those retired, but nevertheless, there must be a dozen things more enjoyable to be doing that painting fences
*** I think I have said before that last time, I used a clear treatment, and when I had finished I had nothing to "show" for all my hard work