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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

PLEASE DON'T POOH ON MY LAWN

It's by no means unusual. It is a universal problem with pets fouling lawns, invariably someone else's, away from the house where they live.

I have a real problem in my back garden where a large black and white tom cat has made my lawn his own private and exclusive toilet. He is very territorial and does not tolerate any other cat around.

Don't get me wrong, I love pets, including dogs and cats, and I do realise that they have to go somewhere. I don't mind as much if it is on the garden borders, but the lawns are a little different where the grandchildren wish to play. 

Until recently I have managed to keep it clean but a while ago there were no fewer that 10 poohs in various stages of decomposition, and I must say that the poor animal appeared, according to his results, to have an ongoing abdominal issue . . . with pooh being the operative word.

I have not been able to photograph him because he scarpers as soon as the deed is done.

I have tried various deterrents, including this lion face which I drew on an old bird table with the help of Peter. I had high hopes of it being likened to the ultimate nuclear deterrent, but no such thing. Perhaps my lion looks a little anaemic.





We placed the face on the cat's usual walkway to the garden lawn and I was highly amused, when looking out of the kitchen window on day one, at his reaction when he saw the lion face. He looked at the lion and then at me looking at him with an expression on his face as if to say, "You will have to get up much earlier than that in the morning to get one over on me!!" . . lol. Then he proceeded to go right up to it fearlessly, knock it over and then to urinate on it, looking back with what I can only describe as a triumphant cat smirk.

We have tried all sorts of things to deter him including orange peel, which they are supposed to hate, lion's pooh which was about as successful as the lion face, and these metal cats with marble eyes, plus a sound repeller,





 None of them worked and all were treated with complete contempt . . . lol

The only thing that seems to help is to keep the grass short, which I try to do regularly.

I'll try again with my camera to get a shot of him.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

Peter 'pulled' in the park today with a delightful little girl called Stella.


I had taken my grandson, Peter, to the park this afternoon and he had a great time on the swings and slides.

I noticed he was forming a slight attachment with a little girl. She was having a bit of trouble climbing the steep steps to a slide and Peter, gentleman as he is, extended his hand, which she took, and pulled her up. She tried again to go it alone but again he came to her assistance, and in fact did so another 3 times, much to the amusement of her mother and me.

She was a little shy of him at first as he chased and played and I did wonder if his advances might be unwelcome but lo and behold after about half an hour it was Stella who was doing all the chasing and holding his hand as often as she was able . . lol.

When it was time to leave and say our goodbyes Stella cried and said she wanted to stay with Peter. Their car was parked in the opposite direction to where we were heading so she grabbed his hand and asked me if he could walk with her to their car.

"Come on Peter, come with me!"

He looks quite proud of his conquest, doesn't he?
"I remembered everything you said, Grampa!" lol


So away we went, with Stella and Peter hand in hand and her mother and I following, rather amused.

When we got to the car Stella started to cry again because it was time to say goodbye to Peter.

I asked her mother if they visited the park regularly and if she thought it would be nice for them to meet up again and she said it was a good idea, so I gave her my telephone number. The little girl's face lit up and Peter just took it all in his stride. I wonder if he was thinking that this sort of thing often leads to this . . . lol


Saturday, 10 June 2017

BRASS PLAQUE FOR TREE BENCH

When I was in Bristol recently I passed a shop specialising in all sorts of engraving and brasswork ~ most interesting and just my type of shop. I had been considering having a brass plaque made for the tree bench I recently made, which now is at the garden where my friends Sue, Fran and I meet every Wednesday.

Here again is the bench, after a number of coffees have been enjoyed over delightful and amusing conversation, during the past few weeks.



And today I fitted the plaques.



. . . a closer look:



I had to be careful of the wording because normally such an inscription on a bench occurs when a person has passed on. 

lol . . . all three of us being very much alive I avoided the words, "in memory of".

Sunday, 14 May 2017

PARROT JUST PIPPED AT THE POST FOR STAR OPERA ARIA

Mozart's opera, The Magic Flute, has always been a favourite of mine, and one of my favourite arias is the well known and notioriously difficult to sing Queen Of The Night, when the Queen rather insistently orders her daughter, Pamina, to kill the high priest, Sarastro. The aria is full of high drama and tension, requiring the singer to utilise incredible vocal acrobatics, matched superbly by a parrot, as you will see.

I was very interested to see that during recent auditions for this star role, top operatic singer soprano Diana Damrau was faced with stiff competition by a parrot, as can be seen filmed by a secret camera man on location.

When asked why the parrot did not get the part a spokesman said that Ms Damrau won the part by her superior acting ability.

Judge for yourselves . . lol



If anyone would like to see the full human version, please be my guest.




Crumbs!!  "Hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn" . . . and . . "Methinks the lady doth protest too much!" . . . 

When asked to comment on why she did not get the part, the parrot said she should have practiced a bit harder. 




Rumour has it that Mozart was inspired to model the role on his rather eccentric and vocal mother-in-law, that is at least the flavour gleaned from the equally well know production, Amadeus. 

When children my mother used to wake us each morning with a "Wake Up, Get Up and Shut Up", followed by a breathtaking and dreadful  rendition of "Queen Of The Night". My father said she sounded like a dying duck in a thunderstorm . . lol

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

TREE BENCH FINISHED AND LOVINGLY WRAPPED ROUND THE OLD CEDAR TREE

Today is Wednesday, our usual gardening day at The Rectory, but it is rather an unusual day.  A few months ago whilst supping our coffee on an old scaffolding plank, Sue suggested we have a tree seat around the lovely old cedar tree facing us.

And today we had our opening ceremony with me cutting the tape, making a little speech and naming it "The Pentagon". And here are Sue, Fran and your's truly christening it and drinking our coffee during our break. It is designed to be 'three bums wide' without being over friendly, yet it is very nice to be a thorn between two roses . . . lol. The girls and I are over the moon about the bench.



When Sue suggested the seat, almost immediately I thought long and hard about the project and started designing and building a pentagonal shaped tree bench. I thought if I am going to build one I might as well do it in style which meant it would take some time to complete and it would be complicated to build. Various problems arose and were solved and it igradually progressed in my back garden to an almost finished state, photo taken from a bedroom.



On Sunday Sue and I transported it by cars from my garden to site, and did quite a lot of the re-assembly there.  It fitted perfectly. Over the next few days I finished it . . . . and here it is in all it's glory.



Somewhere to sit for our coffee and a lovely view of the garden on a warm sunny day. We are getting a little plaque made and inscribed which will fit on the back.



On Monday 1st May will be the village open day when the whole village will be open to a large number of visitors.  I wonder if I will get any orders . . . lol

I've added the 'before' photo again for comparison. It shows the tree covered with ivy, our wheelbarrow storage area, an untidy garden and our old rickety, unstable scaffold seat.



Wednesday, 5 April 2017

TREE BENCH PROGRESS

Last year I started a large project, building a tree bench around a beautiful 200 year old tree.

The whole end of this lovely garden was overgrown and was an eyesore, with ivy climbing high up into the tree and a compost area obscuring what would otherwise be a lovely garden.  Two friends and I have been working to clear the site and we thought a tree bench would be great there as a feature and for us to enjoy our coffee breaks.


Quite a complicated beast . . being made in my back garden. The decking boards are being delivered tomorrow and I shall then be able to build the decking and the five seat backs which I shall dowel together. I have a great new machine which will be very useful for this and all my furture building projects.

Now the weather is improving I am able to resume progress and hope to finish it and transport it to site by the end of the month, ready for their annual open day.

I met several design and construction problems along the line, which I am pleased I managed to solve and all I need now is time, and this seems a very valuable commodity these days.

The tree bench should be very nice when finished around this tree.


I hope to have more news on progress soon.


Sunday, 2 April 2017

PLEASE RESTORE ME TO MY FORMER GLORY

My daughter and son-in-law were given an old garden bench a few years ago and to be frank I did consider that it would be unlikely that we could ever restore it.  It was almost forgotten until recently when I said it would be very useful to sit on and enjoy the summer months.

There were several repairs neccessary, including a new central support, which I measured and made at home using my new bandsaw which cuts curved shapes, making the repair possible. The whole support structure was very weak and I have 'beefed it up' considerably, whilst trying to make it look good.

This afternoon I took the 'mod' along and fitted it and it is now very strong. A couple more modifications are required which can be done easily.



Then we got to work with an orbital sander and elbow grease and I am really pleased, and somewhat surprised, that that teak woodwork is in very good condition, and the bench is looking a lot better.

Next time I go I shall take my blow torch and scraper to get some thick paint off at the back and then we shall apply a coat of wood preserver over the entire bench.

Very pleased with it and great to know I have made it strong enough for three people to sit on it.



Shame we did not take a 'before' photo. 

Friday, 24 March 2017

LOOKING TO HEAVEN

Here is one of the 'apples of my eye'.

Rosa, looking to Heaven, as if she has just heard her Nana Maria calling to her to tell her how much she loves her ~ just as much as "Bampa" does.


She is a little angel isn't she and Maria will certainly be Rosa's and Peter's guardian angel.

I think Maria sprinkled stardust on her, just like she did with Peter. I am so lucky to have them and to be involved in their little lives so much and so closely.

Next month will be the 4th anniversary of Maria's passing.  Those four years have gone by so quickly.  It is rather strange but today young Peter was asking about his Nana Maria . . . :)

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

TUESDAY AT "BAMPA'S"

"Bampa!!" there are loads of weeds in your garden. Nanna Sue is working wonders restoring your border, surrounding your magnolia tree. Good job you cut the lawn this morning."

Thank you ladies ~ you are so kind, and I think Rosa may well become green fingered, just like her Nanna and Mummy,


As for me, I am a little side tracked of late, with a big project I am designing and building ~ a pentagonal tree bench, which will fit round a 200 year old tree, situated in a beautiful garden Sue and I look after on Wednesdays. 


On going work continues and it is all coming together, albeit rather slowly, as the project evolves.


Good, it fits around the tree ok . . . so I can take it back home to finish it . . . 



. . . and here is my other helper, Peter, who loves to get involved with woodwork projects.

It should look good in the grounds and it will be somewhere for us to sit to have our coffee.


I built some steps for it and not long ago this whole site at that end of the garden was a compost heap and the tree was covered with climbing Ivy and it was a bit of an eye sore.



I'll keep you posted about the progress, and the way I built it all.

Meanwhile I am afraid I am neglecting weeding in my own garden ~ I must balance out my time better, so I fully accept rapped knuckles now and then.


Saturday, 18 February 2017

THREE GENERATIONS



Spent a delightful day with my gorgeous daughter and granddaughter, Rosa, keeping them company while 'daddy' was out of town on his annual visit to ex university friends.

The selfie was taken during Rosa's snack break when she demolished loads of grapes and strawberries and orange slices. She asked for "Fruit" and the word, "more" is firmly established in her vocabulary.

Monday, 30 January 2017

THE GRANDS GROWING UP FAST

Yes, they are growing up fast and developing so interestingly.

Peter, aged 3, is now fully potty trained which is wonderful.

He has started playschool and loves it. I walk with him to attend on a Friday morning although his Nanny takes him two other half days. One of the ladies remembers Peter's father when he attended 20 years ago. . . . . and she even remembers me! Crumbs, what a memory . . lol

He is a lively little lad and has a wicked sense of humour. In these shots he has just hyjacked his Grampa's chair . . . 


Doesn't he look mischievous? 


Here he is watching one of his favourite TV programmes, Peppa Pig.

He is so funny sometimes. He really likes to drink his milk from his old beaker. He now has a Thomas the Tank Engine mug . . . 



His mother does not like him drinking from his old beaker because he is a big boy now and it is a bit babyish.

Yet, when he asks for a drink of milk, when I say I am getting his Thomas mug, he looks at me and smiles, saying, "No, Grandpa, the other one!" . . . tongue in cheek.

I say, "But Mummy doesn't like you drinking from that one!"

He says, "Grandpa, don't be silly, Mummy is not here, she is at work!" . . lol

He is very affectionate towards his little cousin, Rosa, and here they are together.



And little Rosa?

She is coming along very nicely. Her vocabulary is quite remakarkable already.  I see her every Tuesday when I and her paternal grandmother look after her, which makes a lovely day.
Here she is in her fireman's helmet . . 




Like the little bunny rabbit dress?



I count myself most fortunate to have them both.