Category Archives: Gardening

Am I turning into my gran?!

A beautiful sunny day beckoned. A Bank Holiday, no less, so no obligations of a Main Job nature. Or even an organist’s obligations, other than the fact I’d done a couple of hours piano practice.

But, how do I spend the day? In a gentle, relaxed fashion…. well, sort of. In a Japes’ kind of way. I have –

  • done five loads of laundry, four of which have dried outside.
  • mown the grass.
  • weeded the pocket handkerchief sized bit of garden at the front.
  • put weedkiller on the paths, front and back. (Shush…)
  • sorted out the cutlery drawer, taking out that which was here when I arrived and can now gleefully declare I have put all the landlady’s kitchen utensils away now. (It’s so nice to know everything I’m using in the kitchen is mine!)
  • cleaned the bathroom.
  • cleaned the bedroom.
  • disembowelled the vacuum cleaner and put it back together in perfect working order again. I always knew that extending pole would come in handy for something other than painting the stairwell.
  • made a list of what needs doing over the summer in the painting line. (Outside back window, and front door frame, bathroom, kitchen and stairwell woodwork. )
  • made another list of admin type jobs that need doing
  • made…..

OK.. That really is enough. I am going to have a bath, get the beautifully air dried laundry in, and relax for the rest of the evening now.


Didn’t quite go to plan…

The summer, that is! I was going to do lots and lots of piano practice,  finish the decorating, give the house a thorough clean and do a certain amount of gardening. Maybe even beginning to tackle the Bottom of the Garden. Normally, we do not speak of this. I keep muttering it is all a good security device.

I did do lots of piano practice. I think it’s fair to say I’ve re-established the habit of practising again.. maybe not as strongly as it should be, but it’s getting there.

The decorating, frankly, didn’t happen. It can wait a little longer.

The garden did sort of happen, but my landlady had other plans. Unfortunately when was convenient for her, was not for me, but what she wanted doing had to happen, and I worked around it. (It’s mostly why the decorating didn’t happen – when I’d planned to do it was the only time she could do what she wanted in the garden,  Not aided by the fact I wanted to finish the gloss work in the kitchen, and access to the garden only happens through the kitchen…And, of course, it all took longer than she’d optimistically kept telling me it would……. oh, you get the idea.)

The house did get a jolly good clean, mostly. That could have been for two reasons. The first is because I lost a bank statement, and in turning the house upside down to find it, cleaned various places out. The second  is I’ve had several house guests.

On the other hand, I got away a couple of times, I slept lots, I have the most detailed spreadsheet for dealing with work hours next year. (The hours debacle is, again, one of those matters of which we do not speak. It did not make for a restful month of July. Suffice it to say, I was right. )

I am deeply miffed that the weather is now glorious, when I return to term time work.

In many ways, the new timetable is a lovely one and gives me some leeway when I’m likely to need it next year. There is a huge amount of practical work, and a lot less classroom based work. I will be returning some PPE to the office. I’ll need aprons, but have decided I’d rather use my own, as I do with boots and overalls, as I will use them at home. I have some reservations about some of the work, but need to see how it goes.

But, I am going to have a lazy rest of the weekend now, and enjoy it!

Wherein I have surprised myself..

Goodness me. I have been gardening for much of the day. I have quite enjoyed it. When I say gardening I don’t mean anything complicated, I just mean tidying the front hedge, attacking the third of the grassed area with the shears (it does not deserve the name of lawn at the moment) so that when a dry day comes along and I can get the grass cutting machine out, it won’t die of exhaustion (it is on it’s very last gasp anyway) and weeding the paths.

This odd state of affairs may have come about because I have been office bound for weeks now, and it really doesn’t suit me. I know this, my team know this – the team I’d been lent to for two days a week now know this. So, a day of relatively strenuous activity has been very pleasant.

I have also been enjoying  the Olympics. I was staying with friends the opening weekend, and really loved the Opening ceremony, and the events we watched. Now I’m back home in my TV free zone, I’m enjoying the occasional on-line clip of the best bits, and catching the news about it on the radio. It’s sufficient. Actually, I surprise myself every four years by enjoying it more than I think I will!!

I have also, after taking nearly a month to calm down, claimed a most satisfying victory.

I’m also giggling at myself, after realising several truths about me and church. Dear me, I am a slow learner. But, I’m getting there, which is what matters, and, more to the point, I’m getting to where God wants me.


The Ongoing Adventures of the Painting and Decorating have had to have a bit of a rethink. Not much of a one, but the doors definitely need two coats of paint. I also need to watch out for a clear day so I can re-varnish the back door. And, my landlady definitely wants to do some gardening this week, so I do not want to be glossing the downstairs rooms woodwork whilst she is traipsing in and out between the tiny patch of garden at the front, and the back garden. Especially if garden waste is going to be coming through the house. (Anything going anywhere from the back garden has to come through!)

So, once I’ve attended to the remains of the upstairs painting and the woodwork down the stairs tomorrow, a halt will be called. For, believe it or not, I am on holiday, as various of my friends have been reminding me!!

I still have three weeks of part time work, though, so I am not too perturbed at this, though I’d been hoping to get all the glossing finished this week, leaving only bits and pieces to do next. (Odd bits that I’ve missed, bits of wall paper that could do with a re-glue, a massive cleaning session as I reassemble each room… things like that!) The kitchen cupboards, utility room and pantry can all wait for another time, as I do want to have a bit of a lazy few days before the full time work starts up again.

Back where I belong

.. on the sofa, in the sitting room! Which is such a treat after a week or so camped out in the kitchen! I am, however, grateful I could move most of the furniture from the sitting room in to the kitchen, it made dealing with the sitting room so much easier – furniture that’s too large for the room it occupies is a pain.

I’ve even gardened today. Grass cutting and general tidying rather than real gardening, but I was still working in the garden. Not bad going, considering I was wanting to leave it until Tuesday (one of my two non-paid working days next week) and was doing my very best to talk myself out of it.

All this energy is very splendid, especially as  it’s been a long, long time in hiding. It also has me querying a few things about work. It may have been with so much going on in my own life that all I’ve had energy for has been work, which I’ve not liked one little bit. Or it may be that in term time work is so full-on I’ve no energy for anything other than work, anyway, regardless of what is going on in my own life. And, is that what I want my life to be? I think not.

It could just be that doing this painting and decorating has made here feel that little bit more like home, and as several friends have remarked recently, I’ve really needed this bit of time to settle down and feel somewhere is home, rather than knowing I’m going to be on the move again within months.

But, for now, I’m enjoying a delightul work/life balance, even if it’s going to be financially tight for a month or so, and really appreciating the fruits of my labours.


A couple of weeks ago, there were saplings being given away.One had been given to a student who, I discovered, had snapped it in two and binned it…

I rescued it, brought it home, but did nothing other than putting it in my little utility room, which has a perspex roof, and forgot about it… I didn’t think it was going to survive the mauling it had had, (which had angered me, and the student heard all about it!) and was going to put it out with the green waste this week.

Today, against all the odds, it’s sprouting little leaves. It’s a very determined little sapling, and deserves to live!! I’ve got it a pot and some compost, and will be interested to see what happens next.

Yesterday, against all the odds, I discover there are bits of me alive that I thought had died, and weren’t ever going to be resurrected. I was wrong, they were merely hibernating, waiting for the right time and season to emerge. Despite the various attempts on numerous people’s parts to interfere, force things to happen.

Sometimes, it’s best just to leave things be.


to so many things at the moment including ..

  • the return of church being a difficult place to be again.,
  • sheer exhaustion most of the time. But, this has been the first weekend I’ve managed to do something other than a little light housework, essential shopping, slob on the sofa, catch up on sleep and sheer resentment by 5.00 p.m. on Sunday Evening at how fast two days off have been going,
  • continuing uncertainty on so many fronts.

I am also resigned to having to do a course, at a level much lower than I am capable of doing, just to tick a few boxes. (though, quite how it ticks the “up-skilling” box is slightly beyond all of us. However, it’s not actually down-skilling.) I am in danger, however, of not passing it from lack of motivation! There may be more on this matter around February!

On the positive side, there have been some very funny moments at work over the last few weeks, including the Best Ever Guilty Conscience moment I’ve seen at work (and I work with teenagers….), my sticker for “Being Good and Sitting Nicely” from the nursery, the moment in A&E when I was heard to be telling a Shakespearean tale to a lad who didn’t know the story (which entertained the nurses as well). Oh, and walking into the Techies’ office with the most creative reason they’ve ever heard for requesting a new e-mail address, (normally impossible to get, which has also totally confirmed the view of those who work there that my second role department are completely bonkers)  – but it was worth it just for the looks they gave me, and the knowing smile from the one person who understood just why I was citing the Archbishop of Canterbury in the reason.

There have also been some moments of sheer God-incidences, where I’ve been in exactly the right place at the right time. I may have thought what I did all that particularly awful day was a complete waste of time and effort, but it was well and truly used to make a really difficult situation much easier. And, some of the stuff I did last year is also paying off.

Still, no-one ever promised this big decision stuff was ever going to be easy, and, on balance, it’s been easier than it might have been – and there is no way I would ever go back to where I was two/three years ago. When I remember that, all the rest is OK.


My halo!!

Fortunately, this state of feeling truly virtuous will not last for long, and normal service will soon be resumed.

I have done most things on my Things To Do During This Week Off List – which includes wandering out to get the last load of laundry in (once I’ve had my coffee and written this – I do have priorities, you know) and do the ironing. It’s included a pretty thorough spring-clean. It’s included mowing the lawn, and being remarkably chuffed with myself for beginning to get a bit of a grip on this garden caper. It’s also included a whole load of bitty tasks for work which I never seem to get around to doing in the week at work, and tend to ignore on the weekends. (Bad, but true.)

I’ve also got a car for a little while, so am enjoying getting lots of little tasks done that I’ve been putting off doing because doing them by bus is a pest. Or rather, I’ve saved most of them up for this few weeks, knowing it would be so much easier.

Much, much more importantly I’ve spent time with my god-children. They are gorgeous.

So, once I’ve done the aforementioned ironing, I’ll be ready for the next three or four weeks of work, and can justifiably have a lazy and relaxing weekend.


I remain mystified by the subject of gardening.

Having spent the morning on a long over due exploring of the garden, as well as the gardening equipment left here by my landlady, and finding out the lawn mower works, but the strimmer does not, and neither do the shears, I am in awe of those who actually like gardening. My kind next door neighbours gave me some helpful hints, and lent me some things to assist me until I can meander to the shop to purchase said useful items! I don’t think it was just relief I was going to do something about the wilderness my back garden had become. (We have also established that the fence that is falling to pieces is theirs, not mine, but none of us are too perturbed at the moment – though maybe when Littlest Neighbour is more mobile a sense of urgency about it may emerge!)

Luckily, I did only agree to keep it tidy, and it certainly looks much tidier than it was three hours ago.  Not bad for someone who has just, in the middle of her fifth decade, mown a lawn for the very first time.

But now, I am going to reward myself with lunch, then Band Practice.