Saturday, 3 May 2008

Outdoor life

I've spent most of today outside in our garden, soaking up the sunshine and managing to achieve certain definable, measurable tasks. I need observable achievements to balance my innate sense of inadequacy at times. Some call it nurturing. I think I would define it as creativity. I find it helpful to see things I have made or changed. Maybe it's meeting my wish to feel that, in some way, I can make a difference, I can change things. Maybe it combats a sense of powerlessness.

Anyway, today I refilled the pond, having half-emptied and cleaned it yesterday. It looks better - still slightly murky, but the hippos have less mud to hide in. We have a bed around the pond which has been taken over by Michaelmas daisies. While they are pretty in full bloom, they are not very inspiring at this time of year. So I dug out at least half of the bed. You'd think that would be relatively easy, given that the plants are small and have no great root systems. But you have to make a mental allowance here for the fact that our soil is (I may just have mentioned this before) solid clay. I'm talking potter's clay here. (Actually, maybe that's an idea. Do you think any local potters would be interested in coming and excavating our garden to have a raw resource? No, I don't think so either!)

Having excavated the plants (and replanted them - I'm hoping for two fine pots of daisies by the summer, plus additional ground cover in some hard-to-cultivate areas) the bare ground did look rather - well, bare. No more excuse than that was needed for a trip to our local DIY store which, fortuitously, had a 10% off day. Well, that may have been a mistake - but then again, retail therapy may have been a useful thing for me today. I came away with a lot of plants (have gone for blues and whites) for the bed, but also with a new patio table and chairs. I also decided (and my excuse here is that W mentioned it when I phoned him to check about the advisability of the table and chairs) to invest in some new solar powered lamps to go around the pond. The solar panels on our previous set had been rather negatively affected by my over-enthusiastic spraying of the fence last summer. And if we were to have a lovely new table and chairs, we really did need a new barbecue so that we could cook something outside. Didn't we?

Gratifyingly, two staff at the DIY store were only too pleased to help me with my purchases (two of their largest trolleys, if you please, and a re familiarisation with the lowering seat mechanism in our car...) The purchases were approved of at home (though the assembly of the table proved trickier than getting it into the car, and the barbecue had a twelve page set of construction diagrams - I abandoned it to W after he had put together the table, using the excuse of planting out.

I didn't quite get the planting out finished, being interrupted by two factors. One was the sudden rain shower (I knew I shouldn't have pushed my luck by hanging out two loads of washing!) and the other was the realisation that part of the skin on my hand had become detached. Ouch! However, the efforts so far have made a noticeable impact and I have some sensation of a day not wasted. Since I deserted our swamp for a trip to the gym early in the afternoon, my combined efforts are almost certain to lead to several interesting aches and pains tomorrow. I'll let you know.

Of course, I worked at this all day....
Well, nearly...
OK, so I am glossing over the two hours or so I spent this morning sitting by the pond watching our fish. Fish are very soothing, I have discovered. And fascinating. We started last year with three Shubunkin. we now have 8. (They are competing with the hippos for squatters rights). Yes, they all have names (though I can't tell them apart except by size, if I am honest.) The originals were named by E and H - Splodge, Fleeples and Shanichita (I think!). I named the babies, much more sensibly. Google, Yahoo, Alta, Jeeves and Vivisimo.
I guess I should let W name the next hatching. Since he wanted to name H (if she had been a boy) Drucus Germanicus I'm already worried.

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