Friday, June 15, 2012

Two new followers! Most welcome on a grey morning!

Here we are. I can’t show you much of the dining room, because I daren’t advance into the room, still thick with plaster underfoot. But all went well. The rest of the house is no dustier than usual. The cornice is OK, and the walls won’t need to be redecorated after all. And ChemDry came yesterday afternoon and said that everything is dry so we can go ahead with a new ceiling. That pipe across the battens once supplied gas to the gas lighting, they told us.

It turns out there isn’t much of a deafening layer. ChemDry could reach up through those battens and touch the floorboards above.

Alexander did a sterling job. It was good to see him, however briefly. He is now back with his family, only slightly delayed by a motorcycle accident between Tarbert and Arrochar – that’s the road to Rest and Be Thankful, his lifeline to the outer world. Forewarned, he went over the hill on an unmarked road past an unnamed, closely guarded Facility where we suspect n*clear w*apons are stored for the nearby nuclear submarines on the Holy Loch. Who knows? That took him directly to Arrochar, bypassing the accident.

He said the road was only closed for three or four hours, and that means the motorcyclist survived. A fatality closes it for eight hours, at least.


We worked hard and got a lot done. This is the moment in the year when the cuckoo falls silent and Nature, smiling, turns over her cards. Slugs! Rabbits! Deer! Caterpillars! Pigeons! American Gooseberry Mould! Creeping buttercup! Encroaching grass! Weather!

It’s War, in other words, and I’ve already lost.

But I did get the Summer Pudding Bush securely netted, I hope. Last year I just tossed some netting over it and the pigeons stripped it anyway. This year I pegged the netting down all around. We shall see. There’s a good crop, as usual – that bush positively thrives on neglect. The berries have not yet begun to turn pink, so the netting is a bit premature, but we thought we saw some pigeons sizing things up.

The main thing was how cold it was. You can’t expect vegetables to make much progress when they’re cold. The little courgettes I grew on the windowsill are gone, and the seeds I planted directly haven’t come up. So, no courgettes this year. We won’t much miss eating them, but growing them is a lot of fun. The potato haulm doesn’t appear frosted. In fact, the potatoes are fine.

Here is my vegetable cage, planted with the plug plants which came by post and remained there for eight or nine days – some broccoli and some lettuce, the latter protected as you see with unorganic slug pellets. Slugs especially love lettuce. 

And here is a general view. The Summer Pudding Bush is in the upper right-hand corner of the cultivated bit, behind the vegetable cage.


Little to report here. I knit a couple of rows of the ever-patient Japanese shirt while we were away. I did a second Turkish cast-on for Alexander’s second sock last night, without a video or a book and despite weariness. It went fine. So that’s that skill temporarily mastered.


  1. Glad to see and hear all is well with the ceiling as far as things have gone.

    Your veggies are doing better than mine - we have only just planted/sown potatoes, courgette, runner beans and french beans! I am always optimistic about these things on the basis that something is better than nothing and not planting seeds guarantees no crop.

  2. Hi Jean

    I am so impressed with your veg patch, mine is shameful in comparison. I planted quite a few runner beans which the slugs and snails really enjoyed so there is nothing left there. The courgettes and butternut squash are faring slightly better but not really doing much.

  3. Good to hear your news. I guess the dust will be settling for a few days.

    For the first time ever, our potatoes have failed completely. We put this down to waterlogging of the ground.

  4. Welcome back, glad to hear the ceiling work went as well as could be expected. Gardening here consists primarily of weeding and eating strawberries, not a bad combination. We planted mustard greens this year for the first time. I am not quite sure what to do with them.

  5. Congratulations on the next stage of the repair!

  6. It must be a huge relief to know the ceiling repairs have been dealt with.

    It doesn't seem fair that the weeds and birds thrive no matter how cold June is, but the poor garden plants suffer. Here in BC we are on track for having the least amount of sunshine ever recorded for this month. Judging by the forecast for the next five days we will break the old record by a considerable margin. My garden basil is a sickly colour and most of my plants are stunted.

    I love seeing your pictures from Strathardle!

  7. My parents were watching a basketball game one winter (and it had been an unusually rainy one) when half the ceiling of the living room came crashing down. Luckily it was on the side they weren't sitting... as neither move too fast these days. Anyway, they ended up having all the ceilings re-done (and the roof fixed-- they didn't know their was a leak) and now the house looks so much nicer.... anyway I am glad things are going smoothly for you on that front.

  8. Good to see the ceiling situation is making progress.
    Your vegetable patch looks so tidy compared with ours. It is too cold for my father to be out in the garden and I have been coughing and spluttering with a fine cold so I have done nothing either. Thankfully our friend should be here on Monday. He is young enough to do more work in two hours than my father can do in two days. Between us we should get rid of the weeds and I will rescue the pumpkin crop!

  9. Anonymous2:54 AM

    Are there any plans for a sound proof/water proof layer on the new ceiling? Both should be necessary to avert disaster in the future.

    Slow time for my knitting,too, with only two rows on a sock over last week. Since I've had cataract surgery on both eyes, now I have to use glasses for close work and reading not watching tv or driving as before. Checks and balances with knitting losing sadly.

    China Doll 003

  10. Glad to hear the ceiling isn't as bad as it could be.

    We've already lost the vegetable battle - runner beans were eaten by slugs as soon as they came up, they've never been that bad before. Courgettes don't even seem to have germinated. I've planted more of both inside "slug collars" and will see what happens!

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