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Monday, 24 August 2015

Silver Gilt

Great excitement at Pixie Towers, Ian entered the front garden category of Richmond Borough in Bloom, I had picked up a leaflet at the library it said that gardens should have a wow factor. Our front garden is real thirties suburban design, front pedestrian path, driveway leading to a garage that is way too small for a modern car. 

We told no one we were entering the competition as we had no idea of the standard required apart from the wow factor, the planting scheme - well we originally didn't have one but gradually tried to ensure the garden was insect friendly, colourful and a bit zany. How many front gardens have potatoes and squash growing, these have seeded themselves in our home grown compost? Somehow too there are nettles, many of the colourful flowers have come from Ian's habit of buying plants very cheaply when they no longer look their best, perhaps not been watered by the retailer or the last ones left. 

Some plants have been there for ever, like the privet hedge to the left of the garage, the roses to the right of the front door, the grass which was more extensive as there were no beds in the centre before. The hydrangea was originally one huge plant that also had been in the garden for ever according to a neighbour, was split into three, two for our garden and one to a friend. 

The following photos were taken last Monday, the judging was early July so the vista has changed a little, Ian has added more plants, moved some pots and there has been much rain since July. 

View from front door looking towards pedestrian gate. 

From front door, slightly more to right of previous photo. 

Centre bed in middle of grass looking towards front wall. 

View from garage door towards front wall and road. 

From front of drive looking towards house. 

Looking over the front wall towards the house. 

Looking towards the bay window, there is a water butt behind the big flower pot in which is growing one of the banana plants. 

The result of the competition came last Saturday, so there is joy that Ian has received Silver Gilt, we are thus off to an award ceremony next month celebrating 25 years of Richmond Borough in Bloom. Another personal pleasure for us that he is the only winner in our 'village' of Whitton, a district looked down on it is felt compared with fashionable Barnes, Teddington, Strawberry Hill and St Margarets. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Editing my phone.

Today much of the afternoon has been spent editing the contacts list in my phone. It all started when Ian asked me if I had the contact details of a friend of his, checked phone, didn't, found the information elsewhere, but looked more closely at the phone list, it isn't just a list of phone numbers, but email contacts, often with no phone number either. Much of the information had carried over from my iPad, information on there had carried over from my laptop. 

So, much editing of the database that is my phone was needed, I gathered my address book, Filofax, diary, pencil, paper, sat at the table in the garden, deleted, amended, changed names into lower case, added addresses, puzzled over names and emails of persons unknown to me. Where there is a field  for company I have started adding the context in which I know the person, so a Mary Smith will have Great British Yarn Crawl2014 as her business. 

It still took longer to type the details onto the small phone than to write them down, changed addresses are gone for ever on the phone, my address book and paper diaries are records of friends and families lives and house moves, but a phone scores high for portability. Haven't quite finished the task, there are entries requiring addresses but it is a start. 

All this activity in the garden meant I spent enough time topping up my Vitamin D levels, much better than crunching ghastly calcium tablets daily. 

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Being flexible

Last Monday met up with one of my friends, J. Have known her for over 34 years, we were both part of a group of five Mums who took it in turn to go to each other's homes with our babies. No sitting in coffee shops then, just a race around to ensure the house was clean and tidy, with the added worry that one's children would not share and play nicely. We all had boys first, all parents and thirteen offspring in this group have stayed in touch, J's son was best man to DS. There are further links with J., she lived six houses from my parents, knew all about me via my father before we met, we belong to the local history society too. 

I had invited her to my home for tea/coffee, she had an appointment in the local high street first, but she suggested we went out for coffee and then for a walk. When I considered this it seemed almost alien to me, I am used to going to friends' houses for coffee and chat, if Ian and I go out, say to Kew Gardens, we would have tea and cake, but it isn't something I have ever done with girl friends, yet it seemed quite routine to J.  Notwithstanding my doubts it turned into a lovely afternoon, we went to the Pheasantry Cafe in Bushey Park, gluten free carrot and nut cake cake and Earl Grey tea provided plenty of energy for walking around the Woodland Garden. 

Didn't manage to photograph the rabbits, but did attempt to capture this heron on my phone

It was good to walk, talk, laugh in the fresh air, much better than sitting in our stuffy house, all part of my attempt to try something new. 

Nowadays I just use my phone for photos as it has more pixels than my camera, by magic the pictures appear on my iPad, also photos of Edward sent by Whátsapp end up there too. I am not so pleased with my attempts to take photos with my iPad, however that comes into its own for FaceTime instead.