Monthly Archives: Apr 2020

Garden project -Phase three, continues

So where were we?

Oh yes, aching lots from the previous days digging ect. Oh well, as they say no pain no gain! Really??

So today’s project is to get the soil dug over, as many roots and large stones removed and edging bricks relaid. I managed to smash the soil up with the rake then work my way through with some little spikes tool. Not sure of its name. A whole bucket of stones later and another bucket of roots it wasn’t looking to bad. But oh my, so much chalk and what looks like the remains of old terracotta kitchen floor. Well at least I can recycle that to use in the bottom of pots this year. I usually use the polystyrene from the bedding plants but with the nursery’s and garden centres being closed this year I’ve grown all my own plants instead.

So this is how the border looked first thing this morning.

Next was to replace the brick edging. Now I’d had a lesson from dad how to do this recently when I’d replanted the pond area. So I set to work with my trusty block of wood and very heavy hammer and bit by bit the bricks took shape.

Then with another rake over of the soil I evened out the border ready for the manure to be dug in the next day.

Before anyone mentions it, I know it’s not straight and it’s not meant to be. The curves compliment the lines of the pond.

Mid afternoon we had set up a surprise for Jan, Rich’s mum. It’s her birthday today and with lockdown we couldn’t meet up to celebrate. So the next best thing, we arranged a zoom video call and that we would all have birthday cake and candles with a cup of tea at the ready to surprise her along with an out of tune version of happy birthday. (I blame it on the signal delay😀) I hadn’t ordered any cake on this weeks shopping but I did have everything we needed for a lemon drizzle cake.

Lemon drizzle cake.

It was great. So nice to see everyone and enjoy cake at the same time. still not the same as meeting up but when this is all over we will be having a celebration for everyone’s birthday’s during lockdown.

So garden cleared up and knowing I would be completely worn out this evening, I’d prepared home made crumbles this morning. Apple for Ben and mixed fruit for myself. Doubled up the portions to so no need for desert making over the next few days. Main course was chicken enchilada, again with chicken cooked the previous night to make life simple today.

I’d intended to sit in the den this evening with my cross stitch but the weather was so nice I laid on the bench outside in the sunshine for a while listening to the waterfalls in the pond and the birds nearby. (one of the positives of lockdown is very little road traffic on the nearby M25 and A2) Whilst I laid here the bird song seemed to get quite loud. Now I hadn’t seen a sparrow in our garden for years but all of a sudden one was right by me catching the bugs out of Rebecca the clematis and the hanging basket next to me. Quite an inquisitive little fellow.

Mid flight
Sat on the hanging basket bracket taking the bugs out of a spiders web.

I’ll leave you with a few flower pictures. The first rhododendron was taken early this morning. The second late this evening. It’s trying it’s hardest to open.

First thing this morning.
This evening.
The first cucamelon peeping through the soil

So it looks like Monday may be our last day of beautiful weather. Rain predicted later in the week. Most people I speak to aren’t to happy about this but I’m quite excited. My water tanks will be refilled, ponds refreshed and the strawberry plants will bask in the rain water.

Tomorrow I shall get some manure dug into the soil in the widened border and plant my new plant that arrived a week ago. Then I will wait a few weeks until the plants in the greenhouse are ready to be planted out.

Garden project – Phase three

Feeling energetic today and the need to keep busy and as it wasn’t as hot and sunny it was the perfect day to start phase three of the garden project.

First job though, open up the greenhouse, put the bedding on to wash and get Ben out of bed. Oh hang on, scrap the last one. Ben hadn’t gone to bed yet! Best keep him busy then.

A few days ago I placed some string along the side of the garden as this phase is widening the border. It took a few attempts to find the shape I liked and would work with what I wanted to plant. So final design decided I got to digging out the edging bricks and placing them along the new line to ensure it would work and look good.

Original border.
Bricks up.

That turned out to be the easy bit. Next I had to cut along the grass by the new line of bricks to be able to take the turf up. Now that took some energy and a few tea breaks.

Mummy’s little helper strikes again.
Turf gone.

Time for lunch. The sun was starting to break through and the day becoming warmer, something I could have done without really.

Recharged and ready to go the next stage is to dig over the compacted soil. This job just gets harder. The amount of roots and stones. I forked through as best I could today and thought best leave it for the next day before I do it again. If I’m honest I was also running out of energy and wanted to make sure we had a delicious dinner tonight. Tools away, Ben and I set of for a Suzy walk of which she was happy to join us. The skies are now blue and the sun shinning.

All dug over and of course mummy’s little helper.

Dinner was to be super healthy, Roast chicken stuffed with garden herbs and lemon and for me roasted veg including a whole roast garlic bulb and red onion. If you haven’t tried roasting a red onion whole you really should. It becomes delicious and sweet. Enough left overs for lunch and Chicken enchilada tomorrow.

I’ll leave you for this evening with some more pictures of our garden bursting into colour. Have a good evening everyone and stay safe. X

Advent Bells Clematis.
Napaulinus Clematis, planted alongside our climbing rose arch.
Our newest Rhodedendrum almost in bloom.
Blue bells in full bloom on dads birthday, his favourite.

Lockdown gardening day??

I’ve lost count of what day we are on. I just know that I am keeping myself busy and I am so grateful that I have a garden and beautiful sunshine.

I started the morning by watching some gardening tips. That was the motivation I needed today to get out of bed. By 7.30 I was in the garden and projects lined up. But not until the greenhouse had been opened up for the day. It’s a hive of activity in their at the moment but some of it I am now bringing out each day to harden of before planting out in May. Once this task had been done it was time for project one of the day. Renovating another tatty old hanging basket ready for some cherry tomatoes in the next few days. I forgot to take a photo before but I’m happy with the end result.

Running short on pink so now everything will have to be grey.

Next it was time to pot on some of the herbs and melons I had been growing. I’ve to many for myself so have some to our next door neighbours and got some ready for Bev.

Last year we put three purple obelisk in the garden and although some have now plants growing up them, I wanted something for winter. So I planted a couple of winter flowering Clematis, one on the purple obelisk and one to grow in between the climbing roses we purchased at the Gardeners world live show last year. I’ll add photos tomorrow as I forgot to take them today.

I then heard my name over the fence, it was my lovely neighbour offering me a piece of freshly made quiche. I gratefully excepted and made a small salad to accompany it. You Just cant beat lunch outside.

After lunch I just pottered and did a little work on the van. Even Suzy had fun as I put out her little paddling pool. She was straight in. One happy pup.

The afternoon was spent out of the hot sun catching up with some cross stitch. It’s good to be energetic, but it’s also good to just stop sometimes. I’ll leave you with some photos of the garden bursting into life for the new season.

Rich’s Blue Delphinium.
Cucumbers are on their way
Strawberry’s in bloom, very exciting.
Mummy’s little helper.

Suzy goes to the hairdresser……

It’s a jobs day today. We wanted to get the patio finished, so windows need to be washed, hoovering done and the main job Suzy’s haircut.

Now for those of you that know Suzy, she used to have long hair, but it goes all over the house. Rich started a while back cutting her hair but then we started treating her to go to the Suzy salon.

However it’s lockdown and needs must. So Ben and I dug out her clippers, got ourselves in old clothes and sat ourselves with Suzy on the patio.

Wow. That’s a bit of fur!

We decided on a number 3 in the end. It started well but then she got a bit snappy when we tried to trim her near her head. So with a few treats and some fuss we went in again. Not a perfect cut like Rich or the Salon used to do bit she certainly looks tidier and has a new spring in her step.

The last part of her pamper treatment was to have a shower. Past experience tells us that if we do this in the bath there is a horrible mess to clear up after. So plan B, fill up the water tanks in the van and use the outside shower function. Great fun showering her and Ben on the drive. She looks more like a princess again now and younger.


Well positive day, windows washed, hoovering done and sun shine. The excitement of the day, our online shopping arriving this morning. Funny how the same basic things can brighten your day x

A couple of gardening type days.

Some of you may remember a while back dad taught me how to put a new border in at the bottom of our garden. Well it was about time it got painted along with a spruce up of the front of the shed.

So sun hat on, little helper in toe I painted it all. It’s quite entertaining the positions you find yourself in trying to paint behind plants.

Mummy’s little helper

I was about to go to bed when I popped outside looked up and saw lots of satellites flying above and the night sky was as clear as anything. So I grabbed my long cushion and a blanket and spent the next hour laying on an empty patio watching them. Apparently they are part of project Starlink.

Venus on show above London
Through the telescope view of Venus

The next morning it was time for the next step, jet wash patio ready for the hot tub to come out. My goodness me, Bev you were right it is addictive but also annoying at the same time. My poor neighbours with that noise all day. however I must say it now look sparkling, even the pots as I got a bit carried away washing everything.


Even Rebecca is flowering today.

So that’s today’s mission accomplished. Time for a shower and to relax awhile. Tomorrow we shall wash the windows before getting the hot tub out. How exciting.

Enjoy the sunshine everyone.

Time to say goodbye, part two……

Many people were not able to log in to the webcast during the service, for this I am sorry. It will be able to be replayed in a few days time. I shall notify here when it is available.

But for now I want to share the eulogy that Mark kindly excepted to write and read and the lovely verse from Nick.

I can’t thank you both enough for doing this, the words were perfect, the feelings much appreciated. You did so well during an emotional time.

So here we have first Marks’s eulogy followed by a poem.

Good afternoon, on behalf of Jo and Rich’s family I’d like to thank you all for joining us here today either in person or through the media stream.

When Jo approached to give this eulogy I immediately said yes no problem, but now I’m here a little nervous so please bear with me, but I’ve got my big boy pants on as Rich would say so here goes.

Rich was born 21st March 1967, Aside from his birth nothing really epic happened that day – I checked – and as I know very little of his childhood we would have to say it was fairly normal, something that cachers would refer to as “Blah blah blahsandstone”. Although for someone who loved crocs as much as he did I have to guess he was bounced on his head more than once growing up.

The first time I met Rich was on a Geocaching walk, he arrived with other friends, he had a scruffy looking jack Russell and his lunch in a plastic carrier bag. I remember he and I trading jokes and insults in between him yelling at Suzie to behave. From that moment on whenever a walk was arranged I would always ask if Rich was going… I have to say at this point well done to Jo teaching Suzie who is boss and making her more of the princess she deserves to be.

Rich and I shared a passion for speed and in particular motorbikes, sadly we never got to ride together as his bike was off the road but it soon led to him opening up about his other passion for scuba diving. This was also something I’d tried but never to the level that Rich had and we would talk for ages about similar hobbies we had or wanted to try.

In time Rich and Jo became a couple and between them, Sam and I, our adventures grew along with our close friendship.

I remember one day Rich coming to us and starting discussing climbing trees, and just like that a new obsession was born. With Rich and I being so competitive, it very soon became who’s climbing first, or “I’ve climbed higher than you”. We had many trips out with other caching friends and it got to the stage where we were setting our own tree climbing caches.

By this point, Rich had given up his long term career as a printer and had started to find other things to occupy his mind and time as climbing had started to get harder. Rich settled on learning to play the ukulele and suffer the jokes of becoming the next George Formby. He invited us regularly to the local pub to hear a group play but sadly we never managed to hear Rich play his. At this time Rich had also developed green fingers which led him and Jo to some flower shows and they would enjoy spending time in the garden planning new flower beds and painting ornaments to liven up the garden, or at least Jo would move bits whilst Rich gave the orders. 

Rich and Jo got married on the 28th of September 2019 with Sam and I standing proudly by their sides as Bestmaid and Bridesman, I’ve never seen them looking so happy or radiant as they did that day. It was also my first time of meeting his mum Jan, sister Lisa and brother Craig and to be able to talk with them about the man who had firmly become the brother I never had.

Whilst Rich’s passing has left a hole in all our hearts and lives I’m personally proud and honored to have been able to call him my best friend and brother. I’m sorry Rich, I can’t join you now on this next adventure, but I know that when we meet you again there will be more trees to climb, music to listen to and camping trips to make.

In finishing I would like to read a poem and while doing so please think of Rich and the memories you have of him.

Here is the poem….

I’m saying goodbye to your body
but your spirit will be with me always.
When i see a bird chirping on a nearby branch
I will know it is you singing to me.
when a butterfly brushes gently by me so care freely
i will know it is you assuring me you are free from pain.
When the gentle fragrance of a flower catches my attention
i will know it is you reminding me
to appreciate the simple things in life.
When the sun shining through my window awakens me
i will fell the warmth of your love.
When i hear the rain pitter patter against my window
i will hear your words of wisdom,
And will remember what you taught me so well.
That without rain trees cannot grow
without rain flowers wont bloom
without lifes changes i cannot grow strong.
When i look out to the sea
i will think of your endless love for your family.
When i think of mountains, their majesty and magnificence
i will think of the the courage your showed till the end.
No matter where i am
your spirit will be beside me,
For i know no matter what
You will always be with me.

Beautiful Mark, thank you x

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