Archive for July, 2019


Monday, July 29th, 2019

A dreary early morning with a wet garden and the rain still dripping off the trees. The traffic noise is louder because tyres make more noise with water on the road. I hear lots of dripping on the roof of the garden shed. 

As I sit here I also have the light switched on in the garden shed. It is a dull morning. Still I have to doors open wide to the garden and am enjoying the contact with nature. Lets just hope it isn’t raining when I have to go in and make the tea.

Over the weekend I did purchase tea making facilities for the shed from John Lewis in Liverpool. A kettle and a teapot. Unfortunately disaster has struck on the journey home – there is a small chip in the porcelain at the end of the teapot spout. I’ll have to see if it is superglueable.

The shed is looking somewhat untidy right now as preparations for the Beyond The Woods festival get into overdrive. This is fine as one of the purposes of building this garden office was to take the mess away from the house. The investment is already paying dividends. 

Post rainfall noise aside there is a stillness outside. Only a very slight breeze. I note I am overdue thinning out the apples. I did this for the first time last year and it really paid dividends with the best apple crop we have had in our time in the house. It isn’t too late to do it this year but it will need sorting soon. Means getting the ladder out and really I’ll want it to dry out first. See how I get on.

We had our first tomatoes yesterday. Three of them with one left on the windowsill to completely ripen. It must be said that they don’t seem as sweet as last year’s cherry tomatoes but I’ll withhold final judgement until we have had more fruit and it is at least looking like a bumper crop.


Thursday, July 25th, 2019

Another early morning in the garden. We slept on top of the bed covers last night due to the heatwave the country is experiencing. Today is expected to be hotter. We will be in the air-conditioned cocoon of the jag for a chunk of the afternoon en route to Liverpool. The hotel in Liverpool will have ac natch though Anne doesn’t like it on at night so we will have to see.

I note that the arch in the garden now has flowers growing around it on both sides. At the start of the summer it had a rose on one side only but it has filled out nicely. In fact I think we have the best floral display we have ever had this year thanks to Anne’s continued efforts. Watering has become increasingly important.

The fridge in the garden office makes a noise, as fridges do. It isn’t an intrusive noise but it is there. It’s a compromise. If you want to have a fridge in the office then you have to put up with some noise but silence would be better. I’m opting for the cold water and the occasional cold beer, mostly for show. Certainly a cold pint of milk would be appropriate. One of the secondary objectives of the trip to Liverpool is a visit to John Lewis to kit out the office. Kettle, coffee maker etc. A bit of fun shopping with Anne. We very rarely go shopping together. It doesn’t work 🙂

There is a hedge sparrow foraging on the deck in front of me. With the double doors open it’s almost as if the office is outside. Did it notice my presence? I’m sat here quietly tapping away. An empty beer barrel stands on the deck, left over from the BBQ. I’ll have to take it back sometime but will have to wait until next week. There’s a fifteen quid deposit on the tap!

The forecast is hot

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

5.30am. An early morning start in the garden shed. Had a good night’s sleep and saw no point in staying in bed. The lawn remains mostly green although there is some sawdust in front of the decking. Left over from the build. The area around the fire pit has scatterings of charcoal from the barbeque on Saturday. It will soon disappear. I will have to start watering the lawn properly though as the next few days are going to be hot hot hot.

It will be interesting to see how the new office fares in the heat. It’s meant to be cool in summer and warm in winter as it is well insulated. If it comes to the crunch I can always dig out the air conditioner, purchased during a heatwave about five years ago when I was in the office at Lincoln University but little used. That business incubator building at the university was not very well designed when it came to insulation.

I can hear the birds outside and the fridge inside. The fridge contains bottled water. The philosophy is that it should contain beer but it doesn’t, yet.

Lunch out today at OleOle. We will be sat outside, presumably consuming chilled white wine with our tapas. I normally prefer red but when the temperatures are expected to be in the 30s as is the case today I suspect white will be preferable. I like the occasional bit of tapas.

The Garden Shed, as my new office is formally to be known, is mostly finished but not quite. The network cabling needs terminating and running back to the router in the loft and the furniture has not yet been ordered. When I say furniture I really mean chair and desk and a suitable cupboard needs sourcing for the patch panel and switch in the corner of the room.

In the garden I need to spend some time thinning the apple trees. I did this last year and it really paid dividends. The apples turned out to be the biggest we had seen in our time in this house. This year we have no cooking apples. The frost must have caught the blossom. Ah well. My experiment with onions is going well with the greenhouse based ones performing better than those I planted out. The cherry tomatoes appear to be developing a bumper crop which is exciting. Moreover we are not away for more than a few days at a time for the rest of the summer so we should fully benefit from the harvest.

We don’t have much space for vegetables in the garden with the raspberry and strawberry patch almost running rampant. Perhaps I need to discuss some veg space allocation in the raised beds planned for the autumn.

There is an empty beer barrel on the deck. A firkin of Castle Rock Harvest Pale. Just the right thing for the barbecue and indeed there was just enough left for a very pleasant drink or two on the Sunday when we had more or less finished clearing up. Talking of drink it’s time to make the tea.

5.30am in July

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

Woke up early after a good sleep. Despite being late to bed and then having to leave the room for a short while due to the convulsive laughter sparked by the act of rereading the first volume of Spike Milligan’s war memoirs: Adolf Hitler, My Part in His Downfall. 

I often get up early at this time of year. Best part of the day. Today however it is dull and rain is forecast. The noise of passing traffic also seems more noticeable. Perhaps it’s the atmospheric conditions.

Despite the impending weather the garden is very still. A very slight movement amongst the flower beds but the colour is largely motionless. The garden is also very green in contrast to last year’s fade to yellow during the dry spell. As I recall it was one of the best summer stretches we had had in a long time. Historically we have rejoiced when facing more than three or four consecutive fine days.

After twenty two years of living here the back garden is finally taking shape. There is a good balance to it with the greenhouse at the bottom left accompanied by an emerging cedar clad structure to its right. I say emerging as they builders haven’t finished yet but it is now only a matter of days. It is my new office. The business address will be “The Garden Shed, Rear of …  etc.

The constant sound of woodpigeons is one thing I wouldn’t miss in our back garden. As far as I can see their only purpose in life is to make annoying noises and be food for the peregrine falcons that inhabit the upper reaches of Lincoln Cathedral, a short walk down the road and an even shorter flight of the falcon.

My own purpose in life at this time of day is to put words to a page followed by the delivery of a pot of tea to the marital bedroom. In theory we take it in turns but I am usually up before Anne during the light mornings and consider it a privilege to take her tea.

Today is marginally more eventful than most. I am expecting a delivery of some new “audiovisual equipment”. This  includes a record deck. I don’t recall that I ever possessed a “new” record deck. I’m fairly sure the one I used as a kid was second hand. I may be mistaken. I don’t know what happened to it. In any case I have had no means of listening to my vinyl records for decades. I don’t even know that I will do so once the new deck has arrived. It is all too easy to use Spotify. We will find out very soon.

Right. Time to make the tea. Ciao.