On making a mess in the dark

I started planting my balcony boxes almost a month ago. Various things kept getting in the way, and I kept wishing I could get out and finish them.

Today, I left work earlier than usual and decided to ignore most of the things I should have been doing, and instead spent the evening playing in the dirt.

Since someone messed with the clocks, it’s dark by 5, but luckily I have a light on my balcony.

I ran out of compost, almost exactly at the same time as I ran out of boxes (if you don’t count the 3 waiting to be started).

I also ran out of warmth quite a long time before that, so I was glad of the excuse to go in for a hot shower! Autumn is cold and damp šŸ™

Tomorrow I will pick up a couple more sacks of compost – for the last boxes, and for the new houseplant arrivals.

This is the state I left it in:

Edit – the morning after:

The balcony was covered in plastic grass when I moved in.

It’s now covered in plastic grass and wet compost.

šŸ™‚ joy

Does anyone have any good ideas for getting the compost out, besides washing it? My balcony is right over the front door – it has to be a resident friendly idea

(And yes, this is probably why people buy those huge potting mats…)

On art, anniversaries, and playing with poo

Friday was my 6th just-finished-my-aprenticeship leavers-party anniversary.

I didn’t exactly celebrate, but I did get DB to take me to a friend’s ‘horse farm’ and load a trailer with 3-yr-old horsepoo.

Somehow it seemed fitting.


The headteacher usually gives the speech at the leavers ceremony on the last day of school. Usually. When my year group finished, he unfortunately had some extraordinarily important, spontaneous meeting planned which couldn’t possibly be moved to a different day (or time), so he handed the responsibility to his deputy, an art teacher on the verge of retirement. I’d never had him as a teacher, but he seemed innocuous enough. Until the leavers do anyway..

It started at 11 am.

Most of us were still exhausted(/hung over) from the unofficial party the night before, but that didn’t bother us much. It had mostly been a good night and we were ready for the friends, parents* and/or grandparents* to turn up and celebrate us. We were the Stars of all the shows and we wanted (and, at least in our minds, deserved šŸ˜‰ ) to be applauded for working so hard for so long.

The tables had been decorated and the canteen staff had graciously allowed us to use real plates and cups, instead of plastic. The stage was full of balloons from the morning’s balloon fight. J and I had organised drinks and most of the group had brought cake, sandwiches, biscuits and other party foodstuffs – someone had even made trifle, but don’t ask who. Several select members of the group below us had been chosen to wait on us.

Anyway, the scene was set.
Let the show begin!

The deputy head got onto the stage and, after all the customary waffling and welcoming that goes on at these things, he proceeded to spend 20 minutes recounting his first artistic endeavours. Which, seeing as he was an art teacher, would have been okay, IF he’d started his artistic career using crayons or potato prints or fingerpaints and paper like the rest of us. However. He had had the dubious privilege of learning to paint with the contents of his nappy and the walls of his bedroom.

Even that would’ve been bearable if it had been a 30 second joke before he moved on to something serious, but it wasn’t and he didn’t.

20 minutes is a long time to listen to someone you don’t know talk in graphic detail about things you’d really rather not know about.

It was excruciatingly embarrassing. Cringeworthy even.

No one actually got up and ran away, but it would have been understandable and probably appropriate.

I think the only thing keeping us there was the promise of certificates and once we’d got our grubby mitts on them there was no stopping us.

No one really felt like staying on and celebrating afterwards. Coffee was served and drunk in a stunned silence, no one really had an appetite for anything, much less for chocolate mousse or trifle.

By 1pm the hall was empty, except for J and I and a couple of others who stayed to clear up before going our separate ways for the weekend and the rest of the summer.


Which brings me back to the weekend.
I never thought I’d spend a weekend playing with poo. But I did. And I even quite enjoyed it.

I have a new raised bed and while the horsepoocompost was already amazing the way we got it, it’s also full of bits of wood and random stuff like clothes pegs, so I’ve been sieving the biggest stuff out. I’m getting a load of topsoil delivered this week so hopefully, by the end of the week, my babies will have new homes by the weekend šŸ™‚

*(not mine, but all the rest)

On winter proofing the garden and other acts of busyness

Today was a busy day.

I would most have liked to stay in bed, but there were Things that needed doing.

My list was a very indoorsy kind of list, things like finally unpacking the computer and pottering around in my corner, but DB said the outdoorsy things on his list were more important because the weatherman told him it was going to be cold soon and the garden needed winter proofing TODAY before the real frost gets here and kills everything. My indoors list could wait until after dark, or maybe until tomorrow.

So. Armed with thermal underwear and a pair of gardening gloves, I saved the geraniums* from all frost-related peril. I emptied and swept the dining room, lined the spare chairs against the wall and arranged the tubs on and under them.

I spent much of the summer not deadheading the flowers, so I had to do that today too – not much point preserving dead bits of plant.

I emptied the cloches and several flowerpots. I discovered and saved a pot of bulbs I’d forgotten about. I raked the lawn and swept the drive and the steps. I wound up the hosepipe. I sorted most of my flowerpot collection and arranged them by size and material.

DB built a house for the snow plow and put up the Christmas lights.

4 hours later we were 80% frozen and had to be revived with soup.

I unpacked 2 boxes of kitchenwear (from my flat) which had been unearthed while emptying the dining room. I salvaged the towels and repacked the plates. One day we’ll have a new kitchen with space for 2 sets of plates. Until then we’ll have to be content with the ones we’re already using.

We needed a new adapter for the Christmas lights, so we headed out to the place it came from, except they didn’t sell them. They weren’t even selling the type of lights we have. (They did have this rather remarkable loo seat though :



Not quite sure what kind of person would buy one, but it takes all sorts…)

We didn’t come back empty handed – we tried a different supermarket and they actually still had Christmassy food for sale. And paper for making stars with.

My evening was filled with paper folding. I even squeezed in time to plug my new computer! šŸ™‚ Not sure I can stand windows 8 though….

* I don’t particularly like them but IĀ  wanted flowers and DB likes them more than most other plants, so it seemed like a good compromise. Besides, they aren’t that fussy, they produce lots of flowers and they were fairly cheap.