Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Heating and Raised Beds

As always, time seems to zoom by and blogging seems to keep dropping to the bottom of the list. But things have been happening. Our annual boiler service took place on 27 Feb ... the boiler was here when we moved in nearly 30 years ago, so for at least the last 5 years I've been expecting 'have you considered replacing this ...?' But this time, it was. 'This isn't safe, I have had to disconnect it!'

So we had to start getting people in to quote for fitting a new boiler. This of course was not straightforward, as the old one was a back boiler, and they cannot install new versions of those, as these days every flue has to be able to be inspected at each joint, which would mean hatches every metre up a chimney breast through the bedroom as well as the dining room - which of course isn't practical. So we needed to find somewhere for the new boiler to go. When you are in a semi-detached house, with a porch on the front and a conservatory on the back, there aren't many options, and in our case there were two - the loft, or the back wall of the integral garage. There was nowhere in the loft that wouldn't have meant the flue would be too long or have too many elbows, so that was knocked out as an idea, so we were left with the back wall of the garage. That was straightforward for getting the gas supply along as it was the same side of the house as the meter, but needed a lot of extra pipework to tie it all in with the heating and hot-water system, as the airing cupboard was the other side of the house!


We did the correct thing and got 3 quotes, made our choice and eventually were given a date for installation - 12 March. This meant we would be nearly 2 weeks without heating, and after the warm few days towards the end of Feb, the temperatures had of course plummeted again. We couldn't just escape elsewhere, as we had to clear space in the garage, removing the shelves on the wall where the boiler would go, and finding new homes for their contents, changing the position of the ladder that had been suspended from the ceiling at one end, and resting on the topmost of those shelves at the other, clearing the airing cupboard, shifting things in the loft to allow access for the pipes that would come straight up from the garage, and run across the loft to the expansion tank. we managed to have 2 nights at the flat, and the weekend before the work was to be done we had already arranged to have a night away as part of the celebrations for my impending birthday.

We were expecting the work to take longer, but in fact E-on sent enough workmen - there were four doing different things in different parts of the house at one stage! - that it was all done in one day, and we were able to start getting warm again!


A couple of weeks later - having arranged with our neighbour, who wanted a new fence on our boundary, to go shares in having it done - we also arranged that they put new edging round the raised beds in the back garden, as the old edging was rotting and falling out. So we have two very smart sleeper-edged beds; the deeper one for veg - which has lain fallow for a couple of years because of the frail state of the edging

and the shallower one with flowers - which has been growing on regardless!

Not only does it look smarter, but the edge of the veg plot is just the right height to sit on!

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Snow or Snowdrops?

The snowdrops are nearly out ... but we are threatened with the real thing tomorrow. Except we shall be on our way between here and the flat in Poole, via Yapp Brothers Wine Merchants in Mere, and the Udder Farm Shop, where we are booked for lunch. So we'll need to eat fairly quickly and get on our way, before the weather closes in at about 1.30!

The Scarf I started knitting before Christmas, with yarn bought last August, is nearly finished, and ready for handing over to its future owner in March when I see her.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Season's Greetings

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays for those who have other festivals to celebrate at or around the Solstice. 

Apologies for the dearth of posts since the spring. We've had a funny year, health-wise, but now beginning to feel a bit more like doing things again. This photo was taken by Mr Bufo on the Canal de Bourgogne in May. As usual we have made a donation - this year to Macmillan Cancer Support - in lieu of sending commercial Christmas cards.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Catch-up on the knitting

Time for another knitting post. I've been getting on with several things over the last few months, including finally finishing something that has been a bit of a millstone, and starting a fun blanket. Meanwhile there are always socks, and I've embarked on my first top-down cardigan.

The blanket is a Knit-Along (KAL) that started at the beginning of January, though I only got going at the end of Jan- but I've caught up now. Patterns are released every 1, 8, 15, and 22 of each month, leaving the extra days at the end of the month for sewing up the four squares produced into a larger square. At the end of each quarter we get the instructions for sewing the quarter's 3 larger squares into a strip. 

So far I have one strip

plus one month's large square

and a couple of weeks' squares from this month 

The plan is to end up with 48 squares and 'weeks' 49 and 50 will be the final assembly and border.

The 'millstone' is a cardigan for Mr Bufo that I started two years ago. The pattern was not well-written - to start with, the opening of the pattern stated it was 'Small, Medium and Large' But the actual instructions were for 4 sizes. 
I had a long gap when I had put it away for the summer, as being too hot to do in the warmer months, and when I came back to it in the autumn of 2016 I couldn't find the bag of new balls of wool! So I did other things that winter, and it wasn't until sometime last year I found the bag with the extra in. 
Then when I thought I'd nearly finished I discovered that the cuffs on the sleeves I had knitted according to pattern would not go over Mr B's hands, so I ended up picking up the stitches from the armholes and knitting down.
But now it is done, it doesn't look too bad, and I think he's quite pleased with it!

And then we come to socks ...

I bought 2 balls of sock yarn in Lille at Christmas

... and knitted up the red and blue for Mr B

Then I made a start on the purple and grey for me, but haven't got very far yet.

And I keep being tempted/distracted by other things, like this Sirdar Colourwheel

...with which I've started the top-down cardigan 

So that's most of it - I've done a few shawls and other bits and pieces along the way, of course! 

Friday, 27 April 2018

To Cheer Myself Up

Trying to compensate for yet another plan going 'a-gley' - and so as not to look at the grey weather outside the window, I'm cheering myself up with some of the photos I took in Poole Park last week when the weather was rather more springlike.

Anemone blanda cheering up the side of the footpath, together with some forget-me-nots further along.



Pen swan nest-building ...

...while the cob is on guard.

Pink Hawthorn (crataegus)

And I popped back the next day to
see that the pen was already sitting
... no sign of the cob, though!

There, now - that seems a bit more like spring!

Friday, 2 February 2018

Candlemas and Signs of Spring

I don't know whether the weather today has been bad enough to count as winter gone, or bright enough for it to take another flight,* as there have been sunny and cloudy spells here. But a couple of days ago it was pleasant enough to take a few photos of bits of the garden, which was cheering, as there are snowdrops nearly out ...

Primroses ...

Hellebores ...

Lungwort ...

...and my camellia is in bud for the first time in ages! 

* If Candlemas Day be sun and bright
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas Day be cloud and rain
Winter will not come again.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Christmas and New Year Greetings!

To wish everyone a very Merry Christmas 
and a Happy New Year 

The photo was taken in the Cristallerie Lehrer in Garrebourg on the Rhine-Marne Canal last May. They make thousands of baubles, all hand-blown - each year for the Christmas market. The barge we were on - with us on it! -  featured in the Timothy West/Prunella Scales programme where they did the same canal in the opposite direction. For a fleeting second you can even see Mr Bufo among the people waving on the foredeck. I was inside knitting!

(I note with horror that I haven't posted anything since last April, and hope to do better next year!)