Tag Archives: aspirational self editing

our muddy patch

Shot of a swinging Zeph taken by me standing on the bindweed hump at the end of the garden looking down at a Pa Larkin style junkyard paradise if I ever saw one. Now, this is quite brave of me because I do love a browse through  the garden style blogs. And they all are either very beautiful or deeply productive and even squinting, these pictures don’t look like that. It is the most unforgiving season, my garden is at its most lovely in the blowsy overgrown summer when the harsh lines of play apparatus are softened by climbers and even the bindweed  makes the place look green and lush.

However in the spirit of full disclosure and to combat my natural urge for the aforementioned aspirational self editing:

This is the pile of buddleia I hacked off the tree in December – looking back I think I must have been slightly unbalanced and was driven out into a glowering grey day by all the usual festive pressure to try to exhaust myself with some sawing and tree wrestling. I love the old buddleia but want it to be a bit more shrubby than huge gnarly tree. All this effort left me with an enormous branch pile that I have been sighing at.

In fly lady style I’ve decided to just fill my green bin fortnightly until the logpile corner has been reduced to its usual size. This is the corner behind the compostbin  that gets left for nettles and bindweed to do its own thing. I disturbed a couple of mice and two frogs/toads during my labours today so it’s clearly wildlife rich. I also had to shake all the hibernating ladybirds back onto it from the clippings being shoved into the bin. Poor ladybirds, so rudely disturbed.

This is what needs filling..

In front of the compost bin are our toad abodes. Just two flowerpots half sunk into the earth. The snail shells you can see are the cast-offs from the three enormous toads who were to be found here reliably under the hollyhocks all last summer. I have plenty of snails for them.

Ah my lovely compost – whoop whoop. I am a rubbish, fair weather composter. I know, I am ashamed of this but still even doing it a bit half cocked still gets you good compost. This winter all our food scraps have been going into the food waste bin. Partly we are daunted by the sea of mud to be negotiated to get down to the compost bin, more of this later.

These are my hazel trees and the beginning of my hedgerow bit – they’re grown from seed and cuttings and I’m very pleased they have survived the bindweed surge of late summer. Now they’re big enough to survive most things I think but I’m still planning to lessen the weeds in this corner by growing squashes and pumpkins on the bank in front of them.

I hope this will work. The soil is really rich and I’ve spread some more compost under the weed mat thing (really cheap from Wilkinsons..I used  it really successfully last year having exhausted my supply of old carpet.) The end of the garden gets quite a lot of sun, hopefully having felled most of the tree should help. Must get a saw and saw off the rest of the trunk so the shrub can spring up straight.

This is the eucalyptus tree that was here when we moved in. I suspect it desperately needs topping and the roots snake across the entire garden. It has buckled the paving and concrete in front of the door and contributed to the mud sea and every time it’s windy I fear for the ukrainian church next door but I still love it and the sloughing swooshing sound it adds to our lives. When Zeph was about three he was convinced it would tempt koala bears to our garden and every time we went out we would have to check its branches.

This is the rhubarb Hattie kindly gave us from her mums supply. I’ve been meaning to plant it out for the last, god can it be two?, years. We still get loads of rhubarb from it in the bucket but I think this is the year I’ll release it. Probably onto the weedy bank, surely rhubarb can withstand bindweed?

Brave cheerful bulbs – we are all very cheered by their optimistic green shoots. It seems like such an act of faith burying those dull wizened things in the cold earth on windy autumn days. I think the kids thought I was indulging in one of my manic phases but have been enormously gratified today by seeking out the evidence of our treasure burying last year. Of course we have no idea what we planted. They’ll have been something lovely I know.

This is the pergola my Mum and Dad gave me for my birthday last year, sadly at the foot of it is the previously alluded to mud expanse.

We just don’t have the cash for even a few slabs and there’s a limit to what I can scavenge out of skips with the pushchair… My, lovely, sister-in-law has mentioned she has some spare slabs but the wheels move slowly. I feel optimistic… In the background you can see the tiny bit of mosaic Zeph and I did last summer. We want to  cover the whole wall under the pergola with mosaic but now know how much broken china that is. Luckily I’m woefully clumsy so the stockpile is growing.                         

I just wanted to say – we love our garden. Shabby and muddy and unorganised as it is we love hanging out in it..and getting muddy ourselves…and planting stuff and seeing it grow. Or not. I obsessively watch gardening programmes, read blogs and lust over Alys Fowlers plot or Hidcotes’ knot gardens but you mustn’t let that intimidate you from enjoying what you have or can manage to sustain. Ida doesn’t. That’s my verbena she’s just dug up. Ho hum.

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Lazy Sunday

It’s the end of the day and I’m trying to think where it’s gone… how did that happen? I had a lot of constructive plans but now I’m trying to think what exactly have I accomplished. I could do a list but maybe it’ll shatter my fragile self-worth… always a risk.

I’d just like to say that this is genuinely not going to be one of those things where people (you know who you are…I do love you..mostly) bemoan their inability/lack of motivation/laziness and then list things like; ran 10 miles – what the hell? wrote another novel – shit! whipped up lobster bisque – for f’s sake!

today I/we have;

got up and dressed (Ida too) – It took ages and I was listening to the Archers so was blinded by tears. Somewhere towards the end Z touched me lightly on the hand and said in his best gentle voice – you do know it’s made up Mum? 

put a wash on (you know it’s bad when you put this on a list of achievements – it’s not like we’ve still got a twintub.)

finished my book ha ha – nearly had you..finished reading my book!

did the crossword…well most of it

Stood and looked dolefully at my garden making plans while kids jumped gleefully on wet trampoline – this includes pretending not to see the section of fence that has blown down as I don’t want to have to wrestle it back, will wait for Steve to notice when he gets home from work.

shouted at everyone for tracking mud in then realised it was me..

made spaghetti bolognaise for tea and fobbed the kids off with fish finger sandwiches for lunch.

Washed up.

Used left over bread sticks (why do my children act like bread sticks are stuffed with cocaine? they seem pretty boring to me) to bribe Z into a few more thank you cards – I know! it’s shameful, we are down to the last few – hopefully they’ll be done before spring. I did also do some letters to go with cards, mostly to people who I don’t know very well and have no idea  what to say.(why am I writing all the thank you’s to Steve’s family?) I adopted the Z method of big writing in the middle of the page – his beady eyes noticed and I was formally reprimanded.

We are now, as I type, in the middle of homework wrestling. My poor boy – so bright, so many brilliant ideas – so hates the writing. If I let him do it on the computer we’d have pages & pages but having to form letters with  a pencil (that pen license is a long way off) is nearly unbearably painful. I try not to worry about this and am at the moment alternating between – oh that’s great, I really like… and GOD!!! will you just GET ON as I turn and catch him looking at th e ceiling again. Hmm I sense that this is probably not helpful.

And that’s it. I was supposed to be really cracking on with stripping the wallpaper in the hall (anyone who actually knows me will now be doubled up in hysterical laughter.)  I began stripping the wallpaper whilst pregnant with Ida and hormonally crazy. The shredded walls are quite useful for putting off door to door salespeople as clearly we’re penniless and lacking in any kind of standards.

That’s pretty much it, I can’t even pretend that I fitted in a lot of domestic chores as I’ve clearly already used them to form most of the list. I could pretend I’m going to do loads this evening but my plans include the sofa, the rest of the paper and possibly some idle crossword doing with Steve, annoying because he does them all v. quickly but hopefully he’ll be knackered from work (and wrestling that fence panel in the dark..)

Gah! Zeph, – WRITE boy! WRITE!!!

ah…the blank page

There must just be hundreds of new blogs begun today. This is my first but I am a past master at the new diary. It’s the terrible temptation of the clean blank page balanced against the weight of it. The pressure of getting the words completely perfect. As you’ve probably already realised I’ve decided to resist the pressure for perfection. I find that’s best or nowt would get done.

Well another festive season is over – along with a lot of desperate present crafting and decoration making. Zeph, my son, has been collecting pinecones throughout the year and we barely made an impact on his mountain. Will devote some time soon to trying to figure out how I can convert this raw resource into possible presents for next year…hmmm. Poor friends and family.

Although this is my first blog I do spend a lot of time reading them. It’s like a permissable form of stalking (don’t be afraid!) but I am always slightly dismayed by how perfect you lovely lot are. Even when being chaotic you’re witty, urbane and ultimately successful. When you’re low and depressed you manage to be very emotionally articulate and forward looking. I think it’s like when you fill in personal details on surveys – you know – like; what newspapers do you read? How often? Hobbies? and you put what papers you’d like to think you read every day to ensure cultural awareness and the hobbies you’re pretty sure you’d enjoy if you ever got the time or cash to try them. Aspirational self editing. I’m (as you see) going to avoid that.
I started the year by cooking an amazing roast beef dinner but have already tarnished the fresh start by going to bed without washing up. Tomorrow I’ll be whipping Zeph into making Thank You cards, a task eased by the printing set he got as a gift. I’ll let you know how it goes and whether actual blood is spilt.