Day 050 – the fruits of our labour…

Finally, some small reward for the hours of work in the garden. C’s cherry tree is producing but as soon as they are ripening, the birds are taking advantage : )

The strawberries are doing well and we got back from camping to find a good selection ready to pick. I just need to go and see if the allotment is still there – I suspect it’s walked off or arranged to get new owners.

Thistledown camping 28-30.06.13 - 151


Day 038 – balloon caught…

As I was wondering what to do for the picture of the day…


: ) out

Day 014…

A sunny and warm day – mostly spent Spring cleaning the WHOLE house, but an hour or so out in the garden too.

Garden chive flower 26.05.13 - 15 Garden chive flower 26.05.13 - 17

Chive flowers are just coming out just as the cherry and apple flowers are going.


Kitchen extension ideas…

Some great gallery images of kitchen extensions on

All images courtesy of:

We’ve gone through just about every possibility of extending our living space, all of which so far have been beyond are very modest budget! My latest idea is to simply use the existing shell of the kitchen and utility area and to just redesign the space into a kitchen / dining room area, with large double French doors onto the garden.

This will mean no knocking down walls, building new walls, moving drains, laying foundations, no skylights etc. It will just mean putting a new pitched and tiled roof on the existing utility room (it’s a flat roof at present) and extending the walls up a bit.

The other main thing will be to insert a load-bearing steel lintel to support the end gable of the house, allowing us to open up the existing space into a single space. This may sound complicated but it just involves propping up the existing walls with removable steel supports then sliding in the new steel. We’d get a builder to do this and the roof and we’re getting quotes right now. Hopefully it’ll be affordable!

The connection to the garden is really important and means we would be able to see the kids without needing to be right by them outside. It would also improve our connection to the seasons and outside, including more light, better views and an improved feeling of space inside.

All the other jobs we can do ourselves, such as getting a new window for the kitchen, finding and installing the French doors to the garden, fitting a new kitchen, painting and decorating. I feel some major Doing Yourself In coming!


Bonfire Night…!

Always a good excuse to get the fireworks and sparklers out!

A very chilly and clear night – perfect for fireworks!

If I was the apple tree, I would not be impressed!

Double sparkler action!


Tomato blur with scar…

Some of the very scarce tomatoes from the garden this year, complete with top to tail water-split scar! It’s a tough world out there : )


Protected: Garden playing…

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Tinks and apple tree…

I walked outside and was fairly surprised to see our cat Tinks right at the top of our apple tree.


Itiquira House – Rio…

Some inspiring images from the Itiquira House in Rio (thanks again to the Cool Hunter!).

I’ve always got our future (and at this point totally imaginary) extension in mind as well as the garden landscaping, and we’re always adding to our ideas on design. There are a few ideas from this which are interesting.

– the use of covered outside canopy to provide rain shelter and extended living space.

– large glazing which lets in loads of light and the views.

– there is a restricted view to the garden but this is mitigated by the interesting plants – the perception of space inside is the key feature. There is very little depth but very interesting.

– it’s easier to control a smaller area and make it look really good, as opposed to the whole garden space. Our friends had a very small decked area to the rear of their old house – but because it was well presented and neat, the effect was really positive

– the use wood piles could help to define part of the outside room, combined with decking and plants, to form layers of texture and colour.


Upcycling: corks…

A great post from Light Green Life…


Cat issues…

Right, we are declaring war on our cat’s stress levels! Tinks has recently been more stressed in general, starting with a local male cat coming into the area inside the house by the back door. I’ve seen it in there once, but this and all the other cats which come through the garden are obviously making her stressed. She has been spraying a bit in the house and not been herself.

We’ve also been doing some decoration recently and have got two new armchairs, so a few things have been changed. She just came back from the vet with a diagnosis of cystitis, so the vet gave her some pain relief and we are starting up again with the cat pheromones.

There are also a few other things we’ll be doing…

– To stop or hinder the movement of other cats, I will build a fence across gap between shed and fence at the bottom of the garden. Claire’s Dad will also build us a new side gate as a combined Christmas present, which will hopefully help at the other end of the garden.

– The treatments, new sleeping basket thing from vet, a new chip operated cat flap (£80!), which our neighbour has also gone for. This will stop the cat(s) coming in.

– Tinks also likes the fire and last winter was always lying in front of it stretched out, so hopefully the more frequent use of it will help.


Protected: Jamie riding bike…!

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