Monday, 30 June 2014

It was quiet.....

On Friday I only had the company of the builders for a short while, which did involve more banging, but it didn't last for long at all.  However, the gas man.......  He was here for nigh on 2 hours servicing the boiler (furnace).  Our boiler is very old, and our gas suppliers are, I think, desperate for us to replace it so they keep searching for things that might be wrong to make us replace it.  But, touch wood, so far so good and it keeps going and they cannot find anything wrong!  Yay!!!  Long may the situation remain the same.

These are my first ever begonias grown from corms.  I hope that I can save them and overwinter them for next year, but I will plant less in a pot next year as they are a bit crowded!

Saturday was peaceful.  Apart from the thunder and lightning and the rain.  However, that was good because it gave us an opportunity to see how the newly repaired roof and guttering stood up to a big rain storm.  I am pleased to say that they both did really well and we no longer have water running around the house in places where it should not be.  We were so happy, but I didn't do a happy dance in case the weather misconstrued it as a rain dance!!

The weather has been just right for encouraging these lilies to bloom. I was worried that they had been attacked by lily beetles earlier in the year, but they seem to be doing just fine now!

Sunday came around and it was bright and sunny, not too hot, a light breeze, but dry and lovely.  I spent the day indoors.  Hiding again.  More noise.  Not the builders this time.  My dear hubby......

Ever since we moved to our house the patio has caused us problems.  First of all it was buried in leaves and sand and I can't remember what else.  We cleared that fairly easily and thought that we were OK.  Then the slabs gradually started coming up one after the other and the pointing (the stuff that goes between the slabs to hold them in place) between the slabs disintegrated.  Upon further investigation we discovered that the way that it had been laid was the cause of the problems.  They had been put down on an old concrete slab, but because a gap had been left between the house and the slabs that was filled with pebbles, the water ran into the pebbles and then under the slabs on top of the concrete, wearing away the cement that was supposed to hold the slabs into place.

Hubby took them all up, relaid them and we hoped for the best.  It didn't work!  Then we discovered - after some horrible drain issues which I will not share with you - that there was a manhole buried under the slabs just outside the back door.  So the slabs had to come up again and hubby rebuilt the manhole, and raised it up to the level of the slabs and then relaid all the slabs down again.

This is the manhole that had to be rebuilt after we discovered it buried!

That lasted for a while, but the slabs have been popping off again and we were not happy with the fact that the water shed off the concrete slab towards the house, rather than away from it.  One of the builders jobs is to fit a new back door.  If we were going to do anything about the patio we needed to do it before the door was fitted so that the door could be fitted properly and also so that we did not damage it once it was in.

You can see where that the patio used to come right up to the door sill, which is one of the reasons they door is in such poor shape!

So on Sunday hubby got out and started digging up the concrete slab, after he first removed all of the slabs! 

As you can see there were a lot of slabs to remove, this isn't all of them as there are more tucked round behind!

After a whole day of working, mainly by hand using a hammer and chisel, as the hammer drill he borrowed didn't work very well so he only used it a little bit, hubby had dug up this much.  As you can see, there is still a lot more to be removed.

The concrete is about 4 inches thick, so very sturdy, but completely inappropriate due to the water drainage issues, and as you probably know by now, water has been a big problem in this house of late, so we want to make sure that there are no more problems!!

My job is to try and dig out and remove some of the rubble during the week and then next weekend and in the evenings hubby will do some more.  We have until the middle of next week to get it all done before the door is fitted!  Then we will either gravel the whole area, or re lay the slabs properly.  Although that will have to wait as hubby will have to rebuild the manhole again, at the original lower level this time.  Then we have to decide what we are going to do with the rest of the patio.

Although Friday and Saturday were quieter, Sunday wasn't so quiet, but great progress was made!

If it sounds as though I am incredibly proud of my husband, it is because I am.  Building is not his job at all, he works in an office at a desk most of the time, but he works so hard and is not afraid to tackle any tasks.  It is thanks to him that our house is so well cared for and has been repaired to the high standards that it has.  The house is in much better shape than when we bought it thanks to all of his hard work.

Just in case anyone is bored with all this building work - as I realise that it isn't especially girly! - here are some more shots of the garden which is just bursting with life and colour it seems!

These are my first ever Verbena Bonariensis blooms and buds.  I have wanted to grow these for so very long, but only got some plants this year.  They are supposed to spread well, and I hope that they do!

This clematis is peeping over the fence from next door, but I am very happy for it to peer over the fence at us!

The grapevine has lots of tiny little grapes coming on it.  The blackbirds will be very happy in the autumn to eat them all.  We think that they are wine grapes as they are not good for eating!

I hope that you all had a good June!


Friday, 27 June 2014

Five on Friday

Regular readers will know that it has been a different kind of week around our home over the past few days especially.  The scaffolders came Tuesday, the builders arrived on Wednesday, today we have the gas man coming to service the boiler.  It's all go a thrill a minute around here!!!!

So, things to be thankful for and that have happened this week.

1.  Our garden table and chairs are 13 years old this summer, we love them, but they are looking rather the worse for wear and a very rusty on the underside of the table especially.  They have been repainted several times.  Once we made a big mistake and chose some paint for garden metalwork, which turned out to dry to the texture of sandpaper, not good for sitting on so we repainted it again very promptly!  When we got the furniture out again this summer we thought that we might replace it, but the cost of a new set soon put paid to that idea.  So instead we bought some new cushions for the chairs and we will get the paint out again and keep it going for another year - or 10!

2.  The noise from the hammer drills of the builders only ended up lasting one day instead of the three they initially thought and the two that they said it would definitely take.  They worked really hard to get all of the render (stucco) removed as quickly as they could to minimise the disruption.  I cannot fault their work so far, they have worked very hard, been very polite, cleaned up after themselves and although there is still lots to be done, they have made great progress and we now have all of the tiles back on our roof and no more holes to allow water in this winter.  Hopefully the gutters are now clear and draining in the right direction and not leaking as well!  All in all a good job so far and I have never been so thankful for quiet!

The house after all the render (stucco) was taken off.

This is our sixth or seventh skip since we moved in to this house (we have lost track of how many!).

The roof before repair and after!  It looks much better now and most important of all it is now watertight again - yay!!!  xx

3.  The beauty of the plants in my flower pots.  I am especially loving this blue and orange combination of lobelia and marigolds.  Also the fact that I managed to save three of last years pelargoniums (geraniums) and that they are coming into flower again.  It is the first year that I managed to save any, but I think that it was more due to the very mild winter than anything that I did.  The lavender is also looking spectacular, I need to pick some to put indoors.

4.  I have made some progress with my tapestry, it might not look like much, but I don't like rushing it.  I am enjoying the change from crochet, although my no two the same blanket is still waiting for my attention, so I better get on with it.

5.  Did I mention the peace and quiet......

Thank you all for stopping by again this week, welcome to new followers and thank you for your comments.

I wish you all a happy and interesting weekend whatever you are doing - or not doing!


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Thirty six minutes

So far it has been thirty six minutes since the builders starting chipping off the render from the front of the house.  Using some sort of hammer drill tool.  It sounds as though I am inside some poor person who is having every single one of their teeth drilled at the same time by the dentist.  I cannot hear myself think.  I must remember, it will be worth it not to have water coming in the house over the winter, it will be worth it not have water coming in the house over the winter, it will be ..........

If I feel like this after thirty six minutes, what will I feel like after 16 hours - they reckon it will take 2 days to get it all removed!!

Here are some of the preparations that we made.

First of all we removed all of the pots from the patio in the back garden, as well as the table and chairs and BBQ and so on.  We seemed to have an awful lot of things on our patio, I hope that we will put less back.  This is all to allow access for the new back door and gutter repairs.

Then we moved to the front of the house where most of the action will take place, here is the flower border before we started above, and after we added our home made plant protection cover.  It is made from wood battens and horticultural fleece to ensure that the plants still get some light and can breathe.

Then the scaffolders came and covered the front of the house up.  Once they were done we finished our plant wrapping at either end to keep them as covered as we can.  I hope that they will be alright in there as it is going to be quite some time.  The builders originally said it would take 2 weeks total, they have already extended that to 4 weeks, and who knows if they will take longer.......  They won't be here every day, but I wish they were so they would just get on and do it!  I will miss my plants if they are covered up for a month or more.

While I was in the back garden moving the pots around, I took a few shots to share with you.

These anemones - above - and ranunculus - below - were sent to me by Leanne earlier in the year and have just started to bloom.  I was very excited to see them.  Thank you so much Leanne!

It was also lovely to see these annuals blooming, they were a mixed packet, so I don't know what the individual flowers are, but they are delightful to look at.

Before I sign off, I have some photos of the Phormium to show you, I took these pictures of the blooms before we had to cover it up with the fleece.  You can read my previous post about it suddenly coming into bud here.

I expect this is the last I will see of these blooms as I imagine they will have finished by the time we get the covers off.  At least I got to see them in flower first though.
It has now been seventy five minutes since they started and the builders just stopped!!  Peace is reigning for a little bit.  No doubt they will start again very soon.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Featuring Colour - Pink

There are so many beautiful pink flowers, especially at this time of year, these are some different flowers, some pinker than others, some with a touch of red or orange, but with pink in mind.
The building work started today with the arrival of the scaffolders to erect a large scaffold which covers the front of our house.  I thought that it would be bigger than it is, but it still seems odd to see it.  We cannot open the windows on the front of the house now, and parking is going to be fun, but we will get round it.  The scaffolders were very polite and considerate which was very nice!  The builders come tomorrow to start to remove the render.  I think that will be noisier than today was!  We will have to wait and see.
As the reader in Blogger has been playing up I have switched to following you all in Bloglovin - you can find my feed in the sidebar - but if I don't appear at your blog can you let me know as although I think that I transferred everyone, I might not have, so please tell me!
I hope that things are "in the pink" with you!