chrisamies: (Default)
This week I have mostly been tidying up the garden. After much researching found out that it is not only acceptable to prune a Euphorbia pasteurii down to ground level in winter, you are actually supposed to. And there I was complaining that one of them was blocking the view from the back door to the garden! (sounds like a triffid, but it just growed there.) Also combined the various heaps of leaves and branches into one pile, though no real idea about what to do with it. (yes, into bags. This pile is four feet high or so and is probably harbouring wildlife in its lower layers).

Also have been practicing the guitar - trying acoustic renditions of "Mother" and "Comfortably Numb", as well as "Valerie", and "In my Time of Dying" (the Blind Willie Johnson song, not the Led Zep version). Last night was the first Choir night of the new term - so far we've started "All my Trials" and "Make you Feel my Love", neither of which I'm familiar with.

Today, got two phone calls that went down well - the first from the bank's fraud unit saying that I should get my money back in the next few days. The second from my neighbour's brother who wants me to do a website for him. It sounds a small but creative and interesting project. Also last night my brother-in-law phoned - he is recovering although he will obviously have to make some changes to his life e.g. not smoking.

I went for a contact lens checkup today - eyes ok, but I enquired about having monthly lenses instead of daily disposables - cheaper and more environmentally friendly. So I have these to try out and will do so.

I exchanged emails with Penny that I met on Sunday - she wants to meet up again next week. Looking forward to that very much.
chrisamies: (Default)
I haven't posted since 20 February. Too long. Rather than go for an update for the last several weeks I'll just post on the last week.

Monday and Tuesday: on strike. Monday evening, went to the Windmill in Brixton for their Women's Day gig including Gwennie, Katie Malco, Catherine Paver. Went home before Dawn Kinnard went on, which is a shame but I had to get home (after Catherine's set and telling her I enjoyed it and see her at her next gig).

During the week, read 'Crime' by Irvine Welsh. Less unusual possibly than most of his novels - certainly less dialect. Might have been written by Carl Hiaasen. And not a depressing ending either.

Wednesday, annual leave. Went to several pubs researching for the forthcoming Kingston and Surbiton Pubs Guide. Wednesday is recycling day but after the recycling van has gone some person has half-inched my recycling box despite its having the address of the house on it.

Thursday and Friday, Adobe Illustrator course near Waterloo. Good. Nice people. Thursday evening, no Open Mic for me, just the Mary Ward class - only four of us turn up so I get to read my piece which although to a class assignment fits very nicely into the WIP.

Friday night, to the Ditton in Long Ditton where 'Genie in the Jukebox' (singer Maria Ahearn, guitar virtuoso Dale Harris, and a drummer) were doing a mix of covers and original songs. Maria and I talk about songwriting etc during a break. I just miss the K3 bus on the way home so have to walk to Surbiton (and would have got lost had it not been for a man walking his dog who gave me directions - the man that is, not the dog) to get a different bus.

Saturday morning, the inaugural meeting of A London Tea and Cake Society. More nice people. I am still not quite sure how I happened across this group - [livejournal.com profile] euphoricstimuli and [livejournal.com profile] arryabsinthe are members, Stay Beautiful and Black Plastic were mentioned, and the group's founder [livejournal.com profile] xandratheblue is a pal of [livejournal.com profile] hoshuteki and [livejournal.com profile] exliontamer, but the exact route I am no longer sure of. Still, up to Camellia Sinensis off 'London's Carnaby Street' and Tea and Scones and Sandwiches. Photographs of the event appeared on its Facebook page later (the one of me is awful but everyone else looks nice).

Went back to Kingston and had a haircut.

Spent the rest of Saturday chilling out and fell asleep on the sofa at 9 or so.

This morning, walking down the garden I hear watery sounds - yes, a frog has hidden itself in my pond and there is frogspawn! I hope it doesn't freeze now. The end of the garden needs more plants not least because it's that bit that's visible from the back bedroom and so for it to be neglected as at present is not the best idea. For that matter I could dig up the lawn to plant vegetables.
chrisamies: (pub)
Friday night: Susan's birthday, so we meet in Hammersmith for me to give her her present and head for the Old Suffolk Punch. However by the time we realise there is nothing happening there and the locals are beginning to shake their spears, er, fists, it is too late to go elsewhere (for a meal, say) and we go our separate ways. Was in bed by midnight. Usually I'm on the way home at that time.
Saturday begins subtly, with a wander into the Market Place and buying a few household items, and then further afield for some plants, which can stay in their pots until Sunday. Saturday evening, off to Bethnal Green! The area draws me back ... well it does because [livejournal.com profile] lproven is having his birthday drinks at the Dove, where I haven't been since July 1994, and I have no idea why I went there then [Edit: diary says 'Roz's birthday' - [livejournal.com profile] rozk I believe.] Had beer and much conversation. Did not experience the Unisex toilet, but left in good time for a late train.

Today, woke up feeling moderately chipper and went for a swim. Felt much worse after swim. Planted the plants (a small yew tree and some primroses) and tidied up a bit in the garden.
Then, still with a headache, to London to meet Angela. We go to see "Let's talk about the rain" which was good and then went to have Chinese food afterwards. I feel a bit unsettled on the way home - second date blues perhaps if there is such a thing?

And tomorrow is not a strike day after all but the plumber is coming yet again to try and sort out this leaky central heating system of mine.
chrisamies: (Default)
Is it really only four weeks since the pub closed down? It is; and last night in the Honest Cabbage it was all right but emotionally unsatisfying. The only two people there from the Marlborough weren't up for much conversation and left fairly early - the Marl's former manager is leaving the country with her family in May and I hope I get some time to talk to her before that because it doesn't seem like I have recently. Did not have much beer. There were plenty of people in the HC but nobody else I knew. Could talk to them or to Susan but it didn't have the atmosphere.

This morning, up bright and early as you can tell, and a surprise awaited in the pond: not only frog spawn, but two (at least) frogs. Looking up at me and apparently guarding their eggs. I should probably not go down that end of the garden much during the egg-hatching season as I don't want to disturb them. Cats are bad enough (well, cats are worse, they think frogs are tasty. I could plant Coleus canina but I don't know that it works and it's too late for this year).

Third Exam

Feb. 28th, 2008 10:15 pm
chrisamies: (Default)
The third exam out of five has just gone by. This was 'Organic Gardening' which was really a catch-all for crop rotation, composting, and so on with a nod to the Soil Association and the HDRA. Wasn't too bad. But we have yet to have results from the second exam (which was some months ago now) - what is it with these people?

Passed

Dec. 31st, 2007 07:17 pm
chrisamies: (Default)
I just found out I passed the first C&G Gardening exam (Sites, Soils and Cultivation) with a Distinction. Now to see how I did in Trees, Shrubs and Hedges - though at this rate I won't find out until the end of February.

Exam

Dec. 14th, 2007 10:40 am
chrisamies: (Default)
So the Trees, Shrubs and Roses exam passed without major upset. This time there were absolutely no questions where I thought 'what the hell does that mean?' - which is a good sign.
On the train this morning Ch. said 'Of course you did alright, you always do in exams' - this based on size of sample, 1, as she is referring to the tests in the Greek course we did. She reverses my habit of wearing hat but not gloves - has been wearing gloves in the morning since November. But then she has plenty of hair but her hands are tiny. It's a matter of where you lose heat from.

After the exam, I went to the Honest Cabbage (aka Six Bells) where there was some Jazz. Good, too. This is the pub that is supposedly changing hands in the New Year to not become a Korean restaurant, as we'd surmised, but to probably become some kind of semi-gastro pub along the lines of the Canbruy Arms and the Pottery. Spent some time texting lproven (who passed on nolley's news, which I can't see as I'm not on his FL) and drinking Wells Bombardier - not my favourite beer (it's too 'heavy' for my taste) but it was the only option, and was my first beer for nearly a week too. Got talking to someone who more usually goes into the Marlborough - his wife does karaoke and I remember her from there.

She it was also who gave us a heads-up for Never The Bride being on at the Bulls Head, Barnes, on Monday - haven't seen that band for a while, so I want to go there.

Tomorrow I was going to Canal 125, as the_major said she might go along, but her LJ has been deleted.
chrisamies: (garden)
23 October
I cut down the two self-seeded holly trees.
I planted bulbs:
Purple alliums ('Purple sensation') - five, out front
Hyacinths by the shed (six, to bloom in March/April)
Allium sphaerocapis - ten, in the space where the other holly tree was. June.
Allium moly - 10, at the end near the mulberry tree - five by the small hedge, five the other end. June.
Crocus flavus (yellow) - ten, with the hyacinths
Crocus pickwick (purple) - ten, with the Allium moly
Galanthus (20) - between pond and apple tree. Feb-Mar
3 November
Tulips (10) (5 Shakespeare - red, March, 5 Queen of Night - maroon, May) - on right hand side nearest house. QoN at the back, Shakespeare in the front.

So the list is:

5 x Shakespeare tulips, red, 20cm, March
10 x Allium Moly, yellow, 3dm, June
10 x Allium Sphaerocephalum, purple, 6dm, June
5 x Tulips ‘Queen of Night’, maroon, 6dm, May
5 x Alium ‘Purple sensation’, purple, 9dm (in front garden)
20 x Galanthus elwesii (Snowdrops), white, 1dm, Feb-March
3 x Hyacinth ‘Yellow Queen’, yellow, 3dm, Mar-April
3 x Hyacinth ‘Sky Jacket’, pale blue, 3dm, Mar-April
10 x Crocus flavus, yellow, 1dm
10 x Crcocus vernus ‘Pickwick’, violet/white, 1dm

Total 81 bulbs.
chrisamies: (Default)
It is likely i can't turn up to the evening bike ride on Wednesday because i will be asked,
"Where were you on Saturday?"
I was on the list to go and see the Prologue of the Tour De France in London - but while my excuse for not going was that i didn't know what time we were meeting, my reason was that it would have been a n all-day exercise to go and stand in a crowd of people and watch some cyclists whizzing past. Which was not really my idea of fun.
Instead I went on a walk with Friends of Richmond Park, which became a visit to the gardens at Pembroke Lodge, guided round by the gardeners. Reading between the lines these two have transformed a run-down tatty sprawl into a pleasant and varied formal-ish garden over the last four years. Which, never mind 'Ground Force', is probably the minimum time it takes. Sure, you can demolish and dig and build and plant all in a very short space of time, but then nature takes over and the garden takes time to knit together. This is what I'm finding now. The arch is still partly unclad; the apple tree has grown back but needs further work; I could go for 'wildflower meadow' in the lawn, and sitting outside near my one Lilium regale I realised where I need to plant lily bulbs next year: near the house for the scent.

In the afternoon, went to the gym and then in the evening rode the bike to Surbiton to hear a band at the Surbiton Flyer. Good, as was the beer (Fuller's), but a bit keen on doing Thin Lizzy numbers, and I'm not a fan of TL at all. Rode back via Kingston Riverside where I parked the bike and sat looking at the boats and river in near-darkness.

Sunday my neighbour and I finally broke ground on The Path Project! This has been in development for months and would have been started a lot quicker had the paving suppliers actually come up with the pavers they were meant to supply. The project in its whole will replace the paving between my house and the next one - which is of two different kinds, one per house - with a single coherent design. As the path from the front of the houses to the street - on my side - is to be made of smaller slabs which we already have, we could start on that. We did but having broken up concrete, dug out, and provided a wooden structure for the hardcore and sand that the slabs sits on ...
we ran out of sand, and it was too late to go back to Wickes. So we now have a half-constructed path. But at least we're started.

We dug a few things up during construction: a seashell, a hinge of some kind from what must have once been a gate to the front garden, and most remarkable of all a big heavy Yorkstone slab which would once have been the house's hearthstone. Someone at some time had reassigned it as part of a pathway, and then it got buried under later development.
Once this project is over - and who knows how long it'll take, I'm away for part of the summer - I need to start on the patio out back of my house, which has broken tiles and concrete for now as well as a dilapidated shed.
chrisamies: (cana)
I won’t bother going on about where I got various plants etc from but my usual suppliers are Petersham Nurseries and Homebase (chalk and cheese, as you might say).

On Saturday I put four euphorbias and half a dozen vinca (periwinkle) into the new bed along the fence. I still haven’t edged this bed with anything but fancy the idea of coloured gravel there. Heavy stuff though and needs to be lugged home. The centrepoint of this bed will be a small piece of sculpture but I haven’t really started investigating this yet. It needs to be there for a point to break up the visual length of the garden, and also because next door’s pittosporum overhangs and sheds leaves there and nothing will grow in that precise spot.

Also I put two ferns into the area I call the Etre Maudit – the ‘damned thing’ that is nowhere in particular, behind the compost bin and before you get to the seating area.

Sunday I thankfully rejected the idea of moving the pear tree. The idea had been that it would go into the Etre Maudit and define it. There was also the issue with the new rose arch; one position for it would practically have had people exiting the arch to find a pear tree right in front of their nose. I’m quite used to moving small plants if I need them to be somewhere else, but the pear is taller than I am and would be quite a thing to shift. Instead I defined a path from the seating area, around the pear tree on one side and past the compost bin as far as the new position for the rose arch. Edged this with bamboo edging and planted cyclamen along the outside of it. Next year I want to plant thyme in this little path.

I also have plans for the area around the apple tree – some kind of screen, whether made of bamboo or something else, to visually divide up the part of the garden behind it from the part in front.

The other thing I did, which I wanted to do before the rose arch arrives, was to get a seat for the seating area. Previously it was just a rectangle of concrete. So now it has a Chelsea bench – that’s the sort with wrought iron ends and wooden slats – proudly upon it. I had to assemble the bench, but only by flatpack could I get the thing home. I don’t have a car and my luggage trolley ‘s resources were taxed by it. I wasn’t going to win any popularity contests by wheeling a two-metre-wide package through the streets but I had no alternative. Just about got it assembled by nightfall and was able to sit listening to fireworks (a few were visible over the rooftops) as it got darker, though lit by a full moon the garden was not too dark. I want to get some solar-powered lights for use out there as well.

It is coming along.
chrisamies: (Default)
Today I've been cutting back the tree which had grown over the kitchen roof - this mainly so that the roofers who are coming to repair said roof (some time, whenever) can actually get to it. I think the tree is a whitebeam, but the genus Sorbus covers about 100 species and a huge number of microspecies - to the extent that there are two which only grow in Bristol. Possibly subspecies designation has fallen into the hands of splitters rather than lumpers - the approach which at one point led to the claim of 84 species of brown bear, though most taxonomists now would only claim four, of which others are merely subspecies.

I've also planted begonias and petunias which I bought at the Methodist Church craft sale yesterday morning - that was before I set off for North London on the first of really three frantic crosstown thrashes yesterday, because the journey home was two, split by a pint and a bowl of chips in the North Star at Ealing, and home just in time for Doctor Who. It was a long journey but it was worth it, if you know what I mean.

Today as yesterday it's rained, but with a garden, I sometimes wish it would rain - only not so much it comes in through the kitchen roof.
chrisamies: (Default)
Must remind self that when someone says to his girlfriend while walking home, "There's that bloke" he probably just means 'there's that bloke who was sitting near us in the pub" rather than anything more downputting ...
Apart from that I am resuming normal service after Martina being here for two days. We did discover the award-winning Riverside Vegetaria restaurant on Kingston High Street - much recommended - and I have done more driving than for a long time. Trying to lead while she followed in her car was beset by my forgetting that her little Skoda has a much slower acceleration than my Rover, and the Skoda was also full of stuff that I had helped her get down from the attic of her old house (which is now occupied by two very nice Filipina nurses).
Was very nice to have a house guest, but she is quite self-starting: capable of making porridge in the morning for example. Some people WAANOLJ would give out a litany of complaint the next day.

Today, to the garden centre to buy compost and pots and then pot bulbs and plants up. The centre of town was busy because the Queen was doing a visit to Kingston Grammar School but I managed to avoid all that (apart from the Mayoral car, RBK 1, being parked in our street .. well, I managed to avoid that too, luckily).

Tomorrow, must go to the gym. I haven't put back on all the weight I lost last year (which she reminded me of - "you looked very good for it," she said, or something like, but I could do with starting to go regularly again anyhow.
Oh and in the Three Tuns tonight, after the band had finished: Huey Lewis and the News, "The Power of Love"?? Surely that belongs down the road in 'Barcadia'?

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