The Weekend of Quiet

As planned, last weekend was fairly quiet – and much needed.

The only booked thing I had in was to get someone from nPower’s third-party partner company in to look at my electricity meter. I’m going to write about that in a different post, because it gets long-winded, and slightly farcical. (As do all things nPower)

Other than that, I didn’t do much. The total of activities was

  • Visit the cinema (twice)
  • Keep up my walking targets, so I did wander round Milton Keynes etc.
  • A bit of shopping
  • Sorting out the back yard, including buying new pots and plants, and getting them installed/planted.
  • Other very small odds and sods.

So it was decent.  It would’ve been better if I’d actually been able to sleep well too, but there we go, that’d be pushing my luck too far.


Today is the UK’s hottest day of the year (so far) – which is quite surprising, as it’s right at the start of Wimbledon fortnight. Usually that would signify two weeks of grey/damp/wet weather, but this week so far seems to be clear,bright and – yes – warm.

Of course, I realise that people in Australia, America, and umpteen African nations (as well as a bundle of others) are laughing their socks off at us here thinking that 30° C is anything more than ‘slightly warmer than winter’, but lordy, we do like to complain about it.

The thing is, here in the UK we’re just not used to extreme weather – or even ‘more than mediocre’, really.  30°C isn’t extreme to most places, any more than -10°C is, but to us in the UK, those are extremes. Neither end is common enough for us to have created the infrastructure to deal with it – neither air-con in every building/facility, nor heating and anti-snow/ice stuff for the cold bits. Neither hits us for more than three or four weeks a year, really – and on average it’s probably even less than that.

So yes, we’re not good at dealing with weather – and some of that is just part of Being British™, I suppose. But there is also that side to be considered, that we just don’t have the equipment (whether in buildings/facilities/institutions, or just within our own bodies) to cope with it decently.

For myself, I don’t mind it.  I used to really dislike hot/warm weather, but I’m getting better at it. Today’s been spent ‘working’ at home, and it’s meant I’ve been out in the yard for most of it, now that it’s a decent place to be. Those two weekends of doing stuff here turns out to have been pretty much perfectly timed, so it’s a pleasant environment. And there’s been enough shade in general to have let me be out in the warmth without crisping myself in direct sunlight.

That’s a win all round in my book.

More Practical Stuff

Following on from previous posts, the yard project was something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

Last summer, I saw some wooden decking tiles in Ikea, and thought they’d look good in my yard. I didn’t bother at the time, as there were other things to do, and I was more than slightly mired in dealing with a particular shitbag employer (I griped about them at the time, and can’t be chuffed to do so again) so it went on the back-burner and I didn’t get round to it.

Anyway, it’s stayed in my mind since then.  Once I’d done the fence last weekend, I started thinking about it again, decided “Nuts to it”, and went to Ikea on Friday after work. (It’s not bad directly after work, although admittedly I left earlier than standard working hours, and with only one thing in mind to purchase)  In the spirit of being organised, I also bought some weed-proof membrane to go under the tiles, which should help keep it looking better.

Purchase successful, I got home and decided that I’d make a start.

Less than two hours later, I was done.  Admittedly, it’s not a huge yard, but everything went together so easily and worked so nicely, I was really pleased with the entire thing.

Yard TilesI’m really pleased with it. And for an all-in price of less than £200 (including the weed-proof membrane) I can’t really fault it at all.

The final bits of the project now will be some pots and plants, although I’m yet to decide what stuff I actually want. That’s the next stage though.

Domestic Simplicity (Again)

A while back, I wrote about not being practical, yet still getting stuff done when the need arose.  A similar thing happened last week, and I’m equally chuffed with how it’s worked out so far.

Basically, the fence panels around my back yard haven’t been treated in a long time – since the cottages got revamped, at a guess, which is probably about ten years now. I’ve been in mine for three years, so I know for sure it hasn’t had any treatment in that time.

So basically, I decided to do the whole wood-painting thing, and sorted it all out.  Basic preparations got done – purchase of supplies, and cleaning off the fence etc. of all dust, spiderwebs and general grut.  The paint is ‘woodland green’ – I kind of like it, and if the landlord doesn’t then I can paint over it easily with something darker when it comes time to move on/out.

And on Sunday, because I was up horrifically early, I just got on with it. I’m really pleased with the results, too. Even better, I didn’t cover myself, and didn’t cover the rest of the yard with it either.  Some small specks, but nothing major.

I’ve got a couple of bits still to do – one of the fences also has a lagged water-pipe against it (don’t ask, I’ve no idea) and I still need to do under/below it. (I hadn’t bought any small brushes to get into those tight spots, but I’ve got some now)  And it all dried nicely, to a decent colour – and without being trampled through the house by the bloody cats.

I’ve got some other ideas for the yard, for doing some extra stuff with it in the next couple of weeks – once I get ideas in my head, I like to get on with them – but all told it’s been remarkably positive, and I’m deeply cheered with how it’s gone so far.


Yesterday we got another couple of fence panels painted – only about another 85 to go. (We started off with 97 to do, and it’s a shitty boring job, but it’s going slowly)

One fence panel, half done and you can see the difference

One fence panel, half done

The wood is very dry, so it’s sucking in the treatment as soon as it’s applied. Probably means we’ll need to do a second coat at some point, but I need to get the lot done first.


It’s a Bank Holiday weekend, which of course means we’re doing stuff on the house again.

To be exact, this time it’s the garage that needs sorting out.

It’s not actually a garage – whoever built the thing fucked it up, so it’s round a dog-leg corner behind the house, and thus well-night impossible to park a car in. (Of course, that just shows I’m getting old – who the hell parks their car in their garage these days?) As a result, it’s been a storage tip spot for stuff since we moved in.

It still will be a storage place, but we’ve sorted out a lot of the stuff inside it this weekend, taking out the bits we don’t need and/or putting things in far more order.

So far, it also means that I (with some help from Herself) have :

  • Put up an offcut of the kitchen worktop, for use as work-surface (and storage surface) in the garage
  • Put up two lots of ladder-hooks, and hung ladders from them (which haven’t yet fallen off again)
  • Put up another set of hooks for a couple of other heavy odds and sods to hang off
  • Done two runs to local tips, one with everyday rubbish to our normal recycling place at Snetterton, and one with tins of paint etc. to the rather more serious one at Knettishall

There’s still plenty more to do, but at least we’re getting somewhere. Even more importantly, it’s beginning to look like the garage will become properly usable space after all…

Playing with Concrete

Regular readers already know that when it comes to DIY I’m pretty much a total bell-end. It’s a thing I’ve inherited from my father, who is a world-renowned DIY bell-end, and tales of his idiocies have been used for me and my brother to dine out on many times.

Anyway, about two years ago, I put in a thing for the rotary drier/airer in the garden. At the time it was fairly straight, but over time it’s got more and more wonky.

So this time we got another fitting (this time with a built-in spirit level – genius!) and a bag of Postmix cement. You can see already where this might go horribly wrong, can’t you?

Only it didn’t – the holder is now cemented in properly (and absolutely straight!) and the airer’s post fits in it fine.

At the same time (i.e. while waiting for the postmix to set) we’ve also put up a hosereel thingy on the wall of the house, which’ll hold a 25m hose-reel – enough to get almost halfway down the garden – which should make for a tidier garden without sodding hosepipe coiled up in random places.

Sometimes, a day can be quite successful. Of course, I’m now waiting to find something to screw up in order to balance things out again…