Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Day 58 - Tiny Daffs

Another day missed, yesterday ... but as long as I keep adding something when I can, I won't give up the project altogether. (And hopefully, I will get back to daily posting when certain things have been settled and I can get on with my life again with a clear head!!)

Anyway ... I did a good job of sweeping and clearing our steps and paths around the garden yesterday, culminating in the "back" yard where these beauties were getting a bit lost among all the rubbish and huge piles of leaves. Little "Tete-a-tete" narcissi, which bring an early hint of Spring just around the corner ... hurrah!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Day 57 - Spider Plant

At the bottom of our stairs ... it's certainly grown since I re-potted it a couple of months ago!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Day 56 - Spring Colours

(I know I missed a day yesterday ... I may do a "double day" post in the week ahead.)

Don't you just love the colours of spring? So light and cheerful after the long, dark days of winter. The scents are lovely too ... shame you can't smell them!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Day 55 - Planning to Deprive Us of Our Peace?

So ... this is the second planning application to be made at the same time, bordering (and adversely affecting) our property. A similar application was made a couple of years ago, which we successfully opposed because the windows facing our property would have meant a loss of privacy and enjoyment of our garden; a second application was put in soon after, with only obscure-glazed windows facing our property, but the application was withdrawn because of the local "clean air initiative" that requires developers to pay £5000 per unit for new build projects. Let me describe to you what they want to do:

This is the view of our garden, taken from our bedroom balcony; it's long(ish) and quite narrow, extending to where you can see our neighbour's timber shed and pergola. His property currently ends there, although he does also own the land and small commercial building behind the wall just beyond these structures. He wants to demolish the building and remove the wall, because ...

... in this garden (right next to our garden, as you can see) he wants to build a terrace of four (yes, FOUR!!) two-storey, two-bedroomed houses (well, boxes!!). He now also wants to build a "coach house" where the current commercial unit is, along with 8 parking spaces for the terrace. You can, perhaps, see how much higher the ground level is on his side of the wall, which means the houses would tower over our garden (and at the nearest point, they would be a little over 2 metres from our wall).

This final photo shows our neighbour's existing 2-storey house and how it is already higher than our boundary wall; this house is built on much, much lower level ground than the proposed houses. The development, if allowed to go ahead, would be unbearable enough in its overbearing height and proximity; but to go from having NO neighbours, as such (we only share a garden wall) to potentially four families living alongside the length of our currently fairly peaceful garden, is just too awful to comprehend.

I'm sorry, but we've had our days of family noise, young children and teenagers ... we partly chose this property for its lack of neighbours (having had some noisy ones in our previous home!!) and to think of the potential noise and disruption that we could have to endure on a daily basis is deeply distressing to me. From nothing - just a relatively peaceful garden - to (possibly) babies crying, children screaming, dogs barking, families shouting/arguing/partying, four lots of TVs/radios/music systems blaring, foot traffic of up to 16 adults and children at all hours of the day and night ... I'm not exaggerating, this is ALL perfectly possible. And all along the length of our current little wildlife haven!!!

Please send out vibes, say a prayer, think positive thoughts or whatever it is you do ... thank you!

Day 54 - Planning to Block Out Our Light?

This post is a day late ... I was in no fit state to post anything yesterday, having been sent into a deep low by yet another planning application from our neighbours. This will be the fifth application we have had to fight against in the less than three years that we have lived here ... I find it both unsettling and upsetting, and sometimes I don't feel like I have the (mental and emotional) energy to fight again! In case anyone thinks I am being overly dramatic or am guilty of being a "NIMBY" and spoiling other people's wishes and dreams, I've decided to explain it somewhat on here.

So, this post relates to the still-ongoing application by one set of neighbours, which would - if allowed - seriously affect the natural daylight coming into our kitchen. Now, the "right to light" question is, in fact, a legal issue, rather than a planning issue (it is also very complex and is dealt with on a case-by-case basis, with no hard and fast ruling); the planning department, however, will take into account the degree of "overbearing" that a building, extension or alteration would have on a neighbouring property. See what you think ...

The brick wall on the right is the external corner of our kitchen; the wall opposite (with ivy and other planting) is the current boundary wall between us and our neighbour (a firm of solicitors on the High Street); the high wall on the left (covered with dead ivy branches) shows the height at which they want to build an extension along the boundary wall, to a length beyond our kitchen window.

Rounding the corner, you see that the space between our kitchen wall (and window) and the boundary wall is very narrow, and that the wall opposite already quite high (in fact, it currently just meets the "45 degree rule" rule of thumb for planning applications).

Finally, this shows how the "view" from our kitchen window will be affected. Follow the line of the mono-pitched roof along in front of out window and try to imagine how much natural light will then be able to find its way into our kitchen!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Day 53 - Ice and Lemon

Felt like having a strong drink today ... but I didn't.

(Planning applications from neighbours rearing their ugly heads again.)

Felt like having a cigarette or twenty, too ... but I didn't do that either.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Day 52 - First Full Day Smoke-Free!

Yes, I know I said I'd stopped smoking back in early January ... but it turns out I hadn't! I thought (having previously read the book illustrated below) that I would be able to just stop again, just like that! But having smoked pretty much constantly for almost five months, it wasn't that simple. I needed to re-read the book and commit, this time, to never smoking again.

What happened last time (two-and-a-half years ago) was that I stopped smoking on a daily basis, but would still have the occasional one with my step-daughter or one of my sisters. Even though this only happened every couple of months or so, it perpetuated the dependency ... albeit surreptitiously! Lessons learned. Yes, I may be able to have the odd cigarette here and there, without needing to return to smoking on a daily basis ... but if I do, the time between them will gradually get less and less, until I have to start buying a packet of 10 and, eventually, returning to full-on smoking.

So the difference - this time - is that I have re-read the book, understanding how it relates to "occasional smokers" as well as full-time smokers and have quite happily smoked my last ever cigarette. That was yesterday, so today has been my first full day smoke-free. I feel absolutely fine and have had NO desire whatsoever for a cigarette. With no hesitancy whatsoever, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any smoker who doesn't want to poison themselves any longer, but thinks they "can't" give up.

You can. And it is easy. Buy yourself this book, or borrow it from your local library ... you'll be glad you did!

Allen Carr's "Easy Way to Stop Smoking" on Amazon UK

Monday, 20 February 2012

Day 51 - Tidy Greenhouse!

So, three weeks after I began the greenhouse-tidying project, I've finally completed it ... well, as near as I can, anyway. I've run out of plastic clips to attach the bubble wrap (insulation) with, so this is how it will have to be for now.

I do have a thermometer in there and we should be getting a small greenhouse heater (with frost-control) any day now, so seed sowing should commence very soon ... I've already got some potatoes in egg boxes ("chitting"): second earlies "Charlotte", just about our favourite salad potato for the summer, and main crop "Maris Piper", which is just a good all-rounder and has a long harvesting season.

Here's how it's looking now:

And here's how it looked before I started!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Day 50 - Getting Creative Again!

I'm so pleased with myself, at the moment ... after a year of more of pushing myself towards my own recovery from depression, I've finally reached the point where I feel I can finally start doing some creative work again. So over this last few days, I have written a 40-line poem as part of a forum competition, created one piece of artwork for an online collaborative project and started work on a second piece for the same project. I've also devoted some time to preparing my greenhouse for the work needed in the coming months, in order to run a successful allotment and improve my garden.

Yes, I'm feeling very pleased with myself indeed!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Day 49 - A Visit to Mole Valley Farmers

A visit to MVF usually results in something delicious (and often locally-produced) to eat. Today, we picked up a free-range chicken for around £8.00, a large ham that is big enough to cut into three for under £11.00, a totally gorgeous lemon cheesecake (there were samples, which we tucked into happily!) and this utterly scrumptious bread. It was somewhere between a foccacia and a milk twist, baked with chunks of red onion and liberally topped with Stilton and rosemary ... heaven, served with some good cheese, chutney and an apple.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Day 48 - Hyacinth Update

I'm rather pleased with myself that I have been committed to doing this ... so many times, in the past, I've started a project (all manner of things!) and it's fallen by the wayside as I've lost my initial enthusiasm. So it means quite a lot to me - and is more evidence of my continuing mental improvement - that I have continued to check the water level daily in this hyacinth pot, so that it has thrived and developed as it should!

It is now at the stage where it can be brought into the light (much like me!!) and allowed to flourish ... I hope I can continue to do the same! It was a gift from one of my dear step-daughters and has come to represent a great deal more than she could possibly have imagined when she purchased it! Here's how it's looking today:

And here's a reminder of how it looked (in the cupboard) at the beginning of January:

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Day 47 - House Reflection

Okay, so I took this yesterday, for the weekly photo challenge I do ... the theme this week is "Water". However, someone else had done a beautiful reflection photo, so I chose something different from the shots I had taken (a flushing loo, actually, LOL!!). I do like this one, though, so thought I'd use it on here instead. It's our house front, reflected in our pond, seen through some of the garden greenery.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Day 45 - Begonia Rex

This will be the closest thing to a Valentine's motif in our house ... the vaguely heart-shaped leaves of Begonia Rex. One of the easiest houseplants to care for and propagate (just snap off a too-long stem and bung it in some water for a few weeks, until you get a good root growth) and always looks majestic!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Day 44 - Today's Jobs

Now, don't start getting on at me again, those of you who don't iron ... I just have to, ok? Simply can't wear creased tee-shirts, nor send hubby out to work in cotton shirts that look like they've been squashed under the sofa cushions for two weeks! (They haven't, incidentally!!)

So, today's jobs are to iron this little lot and put it all away, and then - if I still have the time, energy and incentive - sort out those piles of papers in the background!

Day 43 - Ooops, a bit late!!

Oh dear ... my first missed day of the project! So this silly little "Ooops!" photo is for yesterday, Sunday 12th Feb! (Hangs head in shame!)

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Day 42 - On Being a "Photographer"

The weekly photographic challenge I do had the following theme, this week: "What does it mean to be a photographer?" I haven't found the time, so far, to set up the response I had in mind, so in order to get something entered, I just set up a load of photographic paraphernalia. That's not actually what being a "photographer" means to me (inverted commas are because I don't, as yet, consider myself a photographer!!), so I'm hoping to still have time to do what I originally wanted to do before the cut-off date of Tuesday lunchtime ... but in the meantime, here's my current entry!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Day 41 - Orange!

Well, my camera's still giving me orange/yellow pictures ... so I decided to go along with it today!

(Actually, I almost forgot about doing a photo today and this is all I could come up with!!)

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Day 40 - Beautiful Flowers

My long-lasting lisianthus finally gave up the ghost and needed to be replaced ... this beautiful selection was out of date at the local supermarket and cost me a total of £1.35; the pink/white bouquet was reduced to 75p and the yellow tulips were marked down to 60p. Bargain!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Day 39 - Midweek Mystery (Aqua)

Not too much of a mystery, to be honest ... but it's such a pretty photo, I decided to use it anyway!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Day 38 - Allotment Planning

I'm hoping to be a lot more committed to my allotment, this year ... indeed, my husband and I have decided that this will be our last chance; if we don't get it together properly this summer, we will give up the allotment in September and let someone else from the waiting list have a go!

I've half-done my greenhouse (cleaned, sorted and set up) and we had a good session at the plot a week or so ago; I've also started sorting out my packets of seeds and made a plan for the plot for this year. Along with my lovely books, here are my January/February-sowing selection spread out on our dining table ... just waiting for me to GET A MOVE ON!! Hopefully I can finish the greenhouse this week, and I'm going to order a small greenhouse heater too ... maybe I'll do the latter today.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Day 37 - Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall ...

... am I really the ugliest of them all?

Not at my very best today ... and definitely not made to feel any better by the dreadful photos of myself that came out of one of those infernal instant photo booths! I needed to get an up-to-date photo for my driving licence, so duly popped my four quid (four quid???) into the machine and, even after three "try agains", came out looking like something from a low-budget horror movie ... no, seriously, I did!

I don't believe I am actually as ugly as those vile pictures indicate, so I tried snapping myself in a mirror to prove it! If I'd looked anything like I do here, on those wretched passport-sized photos, I would have sent them off quite happily ... as it is, I have decided to give up my driving licence, rather than have it carry such an appalling picture of me for the next xxx years!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Day 36 - Scone-eating Contest!

Enjoyed a visit from my son and granddaughter today, and had to do the "traditional" Sunday tea with sandwiches, cakes and homemade scones ... complete with jam, clotted cream and half a strawberry. I can't recall who challenged who, but it resulted in both of them trying to get a complete scone half in their mouths in one go! My son managed it with ease, but my granddaughter struggled a bit!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Day 35 - Lovely Log Fire

We've been cold enough, this last few days, to have a log fire as well as the central heating on ... and it does make it nice and cosy!

Our lounge is not quite that "yellow", by the way ... there's just some setting on the camera that I haven't sorted out yet!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Day 34 - Frozen Pond

Chilly February! Our pond is frozen over (there are no fish in it any more, sadly) but it's hardly big enough for us to skate on!! If you look closely, you can see the little icicles from last night's last drips of the waterfall.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Day 33 - Messing Around With GIMP

Just downloaded GIMP (free) onto my Mac yesterday ... haven't got a clue what it can really do, yet, but just had a bit of fun with this last night, so thought I'd use it as today's photo! It's another one for the weekly photo challenge that I sometimes take part in ... this week's theme was "Pink"!

And for those who are interested, here is yesterday's mystery item taken at a more "normal" angle!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Day 32 - Midweek Mystery (Silver)

Next up in the "Midweek Mystery" series ... what is this?

Best Photo in January

I've picked out my six favourite shots from January and would love my friends and visitors to help me choose the best photo of the month. Please select one from the poll list on the right of the blog. Here is a reminder of all six:

       A Lovely Surprise              Supporting Our Local Economy        Weston-super-Mare Pier

                          Dance of Lights                                Fascinating Fractals                        Meditation in Blue

(You can see the full-size pics by clicking on the archive links on the bottom right)