bonus points for new carpet

Before new carpet, we had floorboards covered, mostly, by a couple of cheap Ikea runners. This was not optimal for the Roomba, as it had a tendency to trip up at the edges of the runners, and thus the hall and the landing had to be done in stages, with strategic anchoring of corners with umbrella stands and kitchen stools and so forth.

But now I can set the Roomba going downstairs, put the guardian in the kitchen doorway, and he can zoom about the living room and hall with gay abandon, and then put himself to sleep. *Good* Roomba.

Similar goodness will happen upstairs, when he can do the hall and bathroom together.

weekend 5/6/7 dec 08

Our weekend consisted of:

  • Show of Hands at the Fiddlers – almost, but not quite, spoiled by a bunch of six Hooray Henry types, who shouted conversations at each other all the way through the show, despite many people asking them to stop. My conversation with them was to ask them to be quiet, because we’d come to listen to the music, and if they wanted to talk there was a bar over there [points]. Their response was that they’d paid for the tickets, and they hadn’t seen each other for two years, and thus they were entitled to catch up with news. Arses.
  • decorating with kittens – a tough job, but completed on time and without too much trauma. We also took up the bathroom carpet and deal with the horrors beneath – 30 year old linoleum held down with about 30 tacks per m2, which had to be either pulled out, or banged in with a hammer. The hall is now painted a sophisitcated shade of very pale grey, and we may have to move out, as the trauma of having it finished may be almost too much.
  • X Factor on Saturday night – *why* is the leprechaun still in there?, and Pub Quiz on Sunday with Pat’n’Dave (WANOLJ). We came fourth, which is not good – we aim for second (as the winners have to buy the prizes for the next time).

And all this with a filthy cold, thankyouverymuch.

compost for the garden?

I just answered the door, and found a chap standing there.

Without bothering with any niceties such as a “good morning”, he said:

“Compost for the garden?”

I tried desperately to parse this, but eventually had to ask if he was buying or selling. Selling, of course. I wasn’t terribly impressed with his dog running loose around the garden, either.

p.s. No, thanks – we have plenty of compost already. In our compost heap at the end of the garden, which is affectionately known as Modo. The compost heap, not the garden.

weekend 25-26 july 08

Was mostly garden related. We pulled the huge reed out of the pond – we planted it about seven years ago (I think), and it has spread some every year, but this year went utterly mad, and almost took over the pond. It was nearly as tall as me, and making the garden feel very small, never mind about the poor fish.

I was dreading doing it, because I was sure it would rip the pond liner, but in fact it came out clean with a lot of tugging. It brought every other pond plant with it, though … The roots were amazing – real wood rather than root in some places, and it had absorbed the bricks it stood on. perlmonger hacked it up with his trusty new garden saw, and we distributed it across 3 green bags, which we took to the tip yesterday morning, along with the plastic bottles and some electrical gubbins>.

On the same run, we went to Sainsburys to get them to recut the key they cut on Saturday, and to Maplins to get a replacement bulb for the fly zapper (2 for 1 – good deal!) that didn’t work when Pete brought it home on Saturday. They had some garden solar lights on special offer at£14.99 so we picked up a box of those too. Then we called into the garden centre at Cleeve to pick up some new pond plants, as the poor thing was looking very bald, and the frogs couldn’t get out easily. Also bought another heuchera and a lovely red sedum for the front garden.

Came home, did the garden lights and the pond plants, then I weeded all the patio pots, then cleaned the gaps in the slabs of weeds, while P attended to the front garden. Bada brought us a bird, which was kind. Still alive, so P rescued it and put it in next door’s front garden, where she found it and brought it back again, so she was confined to the back garden for the rest of the day.

We decided to have an early night after all that, and just as we went out to check the duvet cover on the line, we felt a few drops of rain – which turned into a lovely shower. So we poured another glass of wine (for me) and an Oban for P, and sat under our huge patio umbrella enjoying the sound of the rain, and the wonderful fresh smell.

It was a lovely weekend apart from my horrid HORRID fall on Sunday morning. I went down to make a cup of tea just after 7 – Pete was still asleep – and when I’d made it, I put the laundry in the washing basket to take it down to the washing line. We have a steep garden, and there are steps down to the end where the line is, and a grassy bank. The steps were a bit overgrown, and so as I often do, I went down the bank. But the grass was wet, and me feet went out from under me just like in a cartoon. It happened in slow motion, as these things often do. I sat down with a very hard bump, and then felt myself go backwards and I cracked my head on the grass behind me. My glasses flew off, and I was really dizzy for a few moments. I’d heard P get up when I was in the kitchen, so I called him, but he didn’t hear – he was at the other side of the house. I got up, found my glasses on the back of my head (!), and almost vomited. I was crying with the shock, and could barely get back into the house, I was so shaky. It’s very tender around the base of my spine, and my head still aches a bit, but other than that I’m ok, but it really wasn’t much fun at all. Oh, and this morning it feels as though I pulled a muscle in my neck, which is weird.


Yesterday afternoon, there was a knock on the patio door. I went downstairs, and found a chap there, asking if we’d like to sell the Pajero.

Now the Pajero has been off the road for a few months, as it needs about £500 of work doing, and we a) haven’t been able to afford it (never work for yourself – the cashflow can kill you), and b) we weren’t in a rush anyway. It’s probably worth about £1400, so we’d be looking to clear about £900 when we sold it. We went off and had a chat, and thought, if he’d pay us £750, that’d be acceptable – saves a lot of hassle, and we’re very busy right now.

Then it occurred to us to wonder how he’d found it – our drive is at the back of the house, and the entrance is on a cul de sac. He said he’d been “driving round”. But he wouldn’t have “driven round” here – a cul de sac in a village.

We gave him the figure, and he – predictably – sucked air through his teeth, and went off to “phone his boss”. He came back 5 minutes later, and offered us £200 for parts. We declined, and said we wanted a minimum of £550. He then informed us that “his mate in the business” had told him that it would cost £369 for road tax next year. Every six months.

So a shark and a shyster, certainly – but I’m still wondering whether it had anything to do with the break in next door. And I’m feeling ever so slightly nervous, because we sit here all day with the patio doors open as soon as the spring comes – the house is south facing, and becomes oven like otherwise.

plod visit

As I mentioned yesterday, the house next door is up for sale. The owners have gone – upped sticks to Americal, and the house has been empty for a few weeks.

Last night, the neighbour from the *other* side came round; she had noticed from her garden that the conservatory door had been stove in, and wondered if we’d seen anything.

This is a bit alarming – that house has no access to the back garden other than through the house, and neither has hers. So the perpetrators either came through our garden, and climbed over, or through the garden next door to *her, and across hers and climbed over.

We saw the plod arrived at about 7, and waited patiently knowing they would arrive to look at our side of the fence. They talked to Julie, and they inspected the empty house – but they never arrived to talk to us. Which surprised us somewhat.

knitting your own tofu

perlmonger and I cooked a charmingly retro supper last night, of brown rice and lentils. I wish we could say we donned sandals and kaftans while preparing and consuming it, but sadly no.

P is very good at dhal, and this one was delicious. I remain to be convinced about brown rice, but I’m too anti food waste to throw it away, and I have found a way to cook it where it’s ok, if not delicious.

In keeping with the theme of the evening, we found an episode of The Professionals on the Tivo. Nostalgia ensued – what where those round soda syphons called? So many Capris! Great fun.

don't be alarmed …

our neighbours went off across the Pond for the festive season – California, Colorado, Tennessee, and god knows where else. They left us a set of keys to the house, so we could pick up the post and so forth, and a key to Andrea’s Mini – because the builders who did their recent utility room conversion had failed to organise the removal of the skip from their driveway, and they thought we could move it in there when it went.

on the Friday lunchtime before Xmas, we realised that the skip guys were unlikely to turn up, so we popped the car into the end of our driveway at the back. And left it there until yesterday morning, when we returned it to where it had been on the road.

imagine my horror when it was gone this morning – could they be back without telling us? Or had some bastard nicked the bloody thing? Thankfully while we were making lunch today, Matt turned up in his car, and said that yes, they’d got back yesterday afternoon, but were too knackered to speak to anyone.

thank $deity – trying to explain to Inspector Knacker that the car had been stolen while we had a key was making me just a tad nervous.

another year over …

well, not quite – and I will be writing up some stuff about 2006; I bet you can all barely contain yourselves. I hope you all had a jolly time.

we had a very quiet festering season, which is exactly what we wanted. We collected kalunina from Temple Meads on Friday afternoon, and apart from a brief foray to North Street for veg and brunch on Saturday, we didn’t stir out of the house again* until we returned her to Bristol Parkway (why she used two different stations, lord knows). And we saw nobody apart from Pat and Dave (WANOLJ) who popped over on Xmyth Eve with some home made gifts of fudge and damson vodka.

mostly, we cooked and ate, as follows:

  • Friday: lasagne with embedded spinach, something that I tried once when we had some of the green stuff to use up, and it worked fabulously well. Just bung a load of fresh washed spinach in between the last meat and bechamel layers.
  • Saturday: lunch in cafe in North Street, boeuf stroganoff and chips for supper. I know, I know: chips. In my defence, it’s Rick Stein’s idea, and it works so well …
  • Sunday was 24 hour roast chili and lemon pork. I was so looking forward to this – and I was all geared up to do all the fiddly stuff on Saturday night. But it was disappointing – very dry, and no gravy juices. Don’t think I’d bother again. We had it with sweet potato/ordinary potato mash, which was delicious. And some sprouts.
  • The Day bought forth roast goose with apple sauce, red cabbage, sprouts, roast parsnips, roast spuds, home made sage and onion stuffing. All cooked as a team effort, dished up right on time at 3 p.m., and all perfect. I was well chuffed. We were far too stuffed for pudding, and barely managed anything else all day!
  • Boxing Day – cold cuts, including a gammon boiled and baked in spices according to the blessed Nigella, which was beautiful.

we also consumed home made sossidge rolls (go me), mince pies (dozens), walnut bread (go pete), grapes, and god knows what else.

tonight perlmonger is cooking his wonderful indian lentils with spinach – we’ve eaten *far* too well over the past few days, and we’re both suffering from it 🙂

*actually, we did go for a walk down the part of the River Avon trail yesterday, but it was miserable and damp, and the cold got right into my joints. My arthritis really is bothering me right now, but hey ho.

now we’re going to go into hibernation until NYE, when we will be holding our usual Open House. If anyone in the Bristol area (or further afield for that matter) would like to join us, drop me a mail to my LJ address, and I’ll furnish you with details.