Our back garden after having lived here a year and plans for next year.

Even though we are having a mild October thus far, it cannot be escaped that winter is coming.

We bought the house in February 2016 and our first summer here was spent just getting the house together and coming to terms with that my mother is terminally ill, after we received the news in May 2016 that her cancer is now too far advanced to treat.

So I didn’t do a lot in the garden. I hung washing in it on the line, and that was it.

So this summer I wanted to at least try to grow some things. I decided to try growing some herbs, and I wanted to try some nasturtiums as well. I was also gifted some plants before term ended at the college.

Safe to say, the nasturtiums did very well! But interestingly the ones that did the best were the ones we planted right into the flower bed rather than in the pot. I bought two packs of seeds for £2 and didn’t even use the other pack. I have been eating the leaves in salads and in sandwiches all summer so a very worthwhile investment.

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Nasturtiums just taking over the garden now.
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Look at it! Even the savage sage plant is a dwarf in comparison to the nasturtiums.
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Our bounty; a lone tomato. Gave it to Husband so he could have it in his salad, he said it was lovely and sweet.

Although tomato plants are not perennial, I have decided to try and winter them. I’ll take them to the top floor of our house and cover a section of the floor with newspapers – because they did grow tomatoes eventually and I want to give them a chance.

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Looking a bit forlorn now, I wonder if I can winter them?

For next year I think I will do the following:

  • I have managed to grow nasturtiums (probably through sheer dumb luck); I will try lettuce next year, and sow them as soon as it’s warm enough outside to do it. If my niece can inadvertently grow some by sprinkling some seeds in an unused sink in the garden, then I can do it too!
  • If wintering the tomato plants and pepper plant doesn’t work out I will buy some plants from the garden centre as soon as it’s warm enough. I may also try some cucumber plants next year.
  • Maybe get a fire pit or brazier? We have two deck chairs we have been gifted and it would be nice to sit outside with it in the back yard in the evening.
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The acer in the back yard is starting to turn, looking lovely ^_^

 

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Our visit to Green’s Windmill and Science Centre in Nottingham.

Despite having lived in Nottingham since 2009, I hadn’t visited the Windmill here until last Sunday when husband and I went.

It’s free to visit (donations encouraged) and there is also a community garden next door you can go and look around. There is free car parking, or you can take the red 43 bus there.

Green’s Windmill is a working windmill; it grinds grain and you can buy flour made at the mill on the souvenir shop. The Science Centre has some cool activities which deal with magnets, power and illusions.

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The Windmill
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One of the sails. We were lucky enough to see the windmill in action; they can slow down the speed the sails are turning at, by opening the shutters on them.
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The view from the top of the windmill.
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This is the chute where the grain sacks come up. The sacks have to be hauled to the top floor so the power of the wind is used to pull the sacks up to the top floor. How clever is that?
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Millstone, grinding grain.
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The finished product.
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The community garden next door. Hard to believe this is in the centre of Nottingham.
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The community garden next door.

Fly by, July!

Whew, where did July go?

July has been a good-ish month for us.

  • We came in at £133 for groceries which, while it’s good, is not £130! Must get this together for August!
  • Travelling to Wales to see husband’s sister and husband for the weekend was lovely. Very relaxing which is just what husband needed.
  • Our anniversary is on the 31st of July so we went out for breakfast and dinner as my mother sent us some money.
  • We were gifted a lovely garden seat!
  • College finished in the start of the month and as the uni job is largely finished for the summer I’ve had this month off. I’ve been doing self employed work, caught up on eBaying, doing surveys, and jobs around the house I’ve had to put off as I just haven’t had the time to do it until now.
  • We enjoyed going to the foodshare event in our local community.

Things that have not been good about July include:

  • Husband had a cold which he gave to me. It hit me much harder and I spent a little over a week in the house feeling really rubbish and drained of energy.
  • Husband’s workplace are still being mean. Manager has left now and since then Deputy has been running the show; Husband was not given any hours at all last week. When he went by with the time sheet for July so it could be processed, they had two new members of staff in. Looks like the meeting regarding the grievance will be held in August. Husband is very anxious about this and doesn’t want to talk about it, and alternates between being cross and sad about the whole thing.
  • Husband’s younger sister who has a learning disability has been exploited by someone she trusted by asking her for money under all kinds of pretexts. She was not supposed to be able to access her account but can transfer money out via the banking app and she’s been defrauded of £4000, her savings account is now empty. Bank have said they can’t help but we have contacted the police who are considering it to be fraud. Will challenge the bank via the Financial Ombudsman Service – how was she able to transfer the money out of her account if there are two people named on the account (her and her mother who is her financial guardian), without the other person’s authorization?

To end on a more positive note, here are some pictures from the garden.

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Our lovely garden seat. Just need the weather to warm up now that I’m better to actually sit out there and enjoy it.
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The nasturtiums are really growing well now and we’ve used their leaves in our salad for dinner on several nights. If I can grow this, maybe I can grow salad next year?
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Aaaah! We have a solitary tomato! Just hoping it’ll grow now!
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The Cat enjoys Husband’s lap.

Going exploring in your own garden.

After having lived in our house for a year we’ve been talking about what we want to do with the garden space we have, especially the front garden, which has been a mess.

We decided to tidy it up a bit more one Saturday as the weather was ok and we had time. Husband’s family have very generously helped us with trimming the hedge and cutting back plants (we had some shears here that frankly look like a prop from a horror film, that’s how rusty they are).

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Before we started. Looking a bit drab.

While I raked the ground and weeded between the slabs, husband swept all the dirt out to neaten the front up a bit.

I was surprised at what I found while raking; found a honeysuckle among the ivy which I’m hoping will bloom as it smells heavenly, I also found these guys:

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There were quite a few of these, I wonder what they are?
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And what are these?

Who would have thought you could go exploring in your own garden?

I finished off by putting some weed-killer down so hopefully that will keep the weeds at bay. Knowing me I think I’ll just have to keep pulling the weeds up, though.

Husband’s parents and a family friend visited the day after and mother-inlaw has taken some of our pots back as they are moving plants and she has said she’ll gift us plants for the garden, which is very generous of them. I was able to use some nasturtium leaves in the salad we had which was awesome. It’s quite strong so use sparingly; I think it tastes similar to watercress.

The front garden looks much tidier now.

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Looking much tidier now.

My mother in law suggested potting up the tomato plants and the pepper plant as they need the space to grow, and I think they like it here. Thank goodness for people’s gardening advice though as I feel anything we’ve managed to do has been out of sheer dumb luck so far.

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Everything seems to be growing nicely, even the nasturtiums are starting to take off. The leaves are delicious.
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Aah! Look what’s coming out!
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Sweet peas are bouncing back but have discovered there are still aphids on them so will spray them again.

A Jam-packed June.

Where did June go? It seems to just have whizzed by.

Despite this, June has been a very calm month, which we needed. Calm before the storm methinks, as we have asked the union to send husband’s employer the grievance letter now. Not a moment to soon as his employers continue to be infuriating.

Good things about June has been:

  • The weather has been lovely, meaning we’ve got some gardening on. I was gifted some plants for the garden so will see if I can get those going.
  • We’ve been under budget for the groceries again, which I’m very pleased about. We’ve still got some left of the food my sister’s family gifted us in April and it’s been such a boon to us. I managed to get some lovely reduced food and bargains from the fruit stall near my work. I also managed to snag some freebies with our last shop with Sainsbury’s.
  • Having Sundays free now as term has finished at the uni for the summer. No Sundays at work until October now! Yass!
  • Visiting our friends for a weekend, which was lovely and just what we needed.
  • We managed to list 47 new items on eBay we cleared out from when we did the flooring downstairs, when we had to empty the bookshelves.

Things that could have been improved about June were:

  • Husband’s workplace are still being ridiculous. The second part of his review which was due to happen mid-June was postponed due to a staff meeting and they have not arranged another date. This is the 6th time it has been pushed back. Manager texting husband at midnight to ask if he can work the next day. Husband was pulled to one side this week and was told to get in touch with the union rep as they have been trying to ring them but not getting a reply. They want a meeting arranged so that they can ‘hear what he has been saying to the union about them.’

We’ve had a letter regarding husband’s PIP application to say that Capita will be handling his PIP assessment.

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Hmmmmmm.

Not quite sure how to feel about this.

To finish off, here is a picture of some street art we’ve got at the end of the path by the house:

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I think these are so cool. I especially like the ‘Practice Kindness’ one.

 

 

 

 

Catch of the day: Free plants for the garden!

Just wanted to share with you what I got today:

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Some of the students at the college where I work do gardening as a vocational option, and they grow plants to plant in their garden and some to sell at the summer fayre. These must have been left over as they were giving them away for free today. I got three tomato plants and one pepper plant – score! So pleased I managed to snag a few of these for our back yard.

Just have to work out how to make them grow and not inadvertently kill them now.

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Some news and a gardening update.

It’s been an interesting week and a half.

We are having a heatwave here; husband has been melting and his joints have been giving him a great deal of bother – this happens every summer. Remedies consist of eating Ibuprofen as though they are sweets, having cool cloths and taking cool showers, and for tonight, setting up the sofa-bed in the much cooler downstairs sitting room.

The heat has done wonders for the garden though, everything is just growing away there. I have discovered that we now have aphids on the sweet peas I planted – I need to use something on them that is safe to use on edibles as well as the sodding rosemary is growing next to it. Many people have suggested washing up liquid in water so will make that up tonight in a spray bottle and try to get rid of them.

Husband’s parents did an amazing thing for us yesterday; they came and helped us tidy up the front garden and cut things back. We have so much space there now, I’ll get us a rake on Tuesday so we can tidy it up and then we can perhaps put our tables and chairs outside there. Not quite sure when I’ll have time to sit in them but never mind.

Have had a text from the DWP to say they have received the PIP form.

We stayed with friends from Saturday to Sunday and had a lovely time eating good food and playing games. A much needed break and a lovely treat for us, husband really enjoyed it.

Last week we went to see the union solicitors at their surgery. It proved to be a very interesting day. They took a look at husband’s contract and recognized the name of the employer; they are quite confident they have had to represent someone from the same place before. We have decided to go ahead with a formal grievance due to disability discrimination and bullying and harassment, as we cannot sit and wait for the employer to get it together, not to mention, employers are obligated to respond to it.

Not oh, I don’t know, push husband’s performance review back for the 6th time as they needed to have a different meeting that afternoon.

That meeting also proved very interesting as the manager announced suddenly and unexpectedly that they have handed in their notice and their last working day will be in the end of July. Everyone present including husband was very taken aback by this. Not even the deputy manager knew and asked if it was a joke. The manager would not say why they had handed their notice in and was and has been very tearful since. Some of the staff are wondering if the manager has been given a choice by the board: To either hand in their notice or be asked to leave.

The union rep has written a blistering letter to the employer – I showed it to my manager and she said she was feeling faint at reading it and it is not even addressed to her! Just need to put the finishing touches on it. Husband pities his manager now and wonders if we should send the letter at all. I feel that even though things are hard for the manager now, they are still at the end of the day the manager and is responsible for what they have said and done (and not said, and not done!) up until this point.

The manager is still an adult who has to face the consequences of their behavior.

Such as sending husband a text at MIDNIGHT on Monday this week to ask if he could come in to work Tuesday morning.

The delight of zero-hour contracts.