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Our Diary 2013

December 13
We noticed that the beading on one of the planters has completely come away and pulled render with it. It looks like there is a bad mix of cement which is wet and simply has not stuck to the wall. Luckily this is the planter which we have not yet filled with soil but unfortunately it is going to need to be repaired. I started to dig over the soil in front of the workshop ready to plant the bulbs, only to find that the soil was completely contaminated by cement so I had to dig out the whole of one side down to about 30cm. In doing this I found that the overspill of the workshop foundations where so big that there was hardly any room for planting, so I borrowed a kango and broke out a lot of the concrete. I also used it (and a diamond cutter) to lower the edge of the base around the tractor barn to stop the rain from running in. Karen spent the day planting her bulbs in the front garden, then helped me sift, fill and dig over the border ready for me to plant my bulbs and fuchsias. It is really too late to be planting bulbs but the month has stayed very mild so hopefully the majority will survive - I planted 590 so something will grow next year. Apart from that we didn't do a great deal this month, instead preparing for Christmas. I did finally put up coat hooks in the hot tub room, drill through the tiles to put the socket on the wall and seal around the tile edges.

November 13
Richard came around to look to see if we can fit the swim machine in the hot tub room. As I suspected the only way we will get it into the room through the door is if we dismantle the glass block wall, doh! Karen worked on the garden, digging over borders again, and filled the large cracks in the rendor where the old part is moving, while Jason and I laid the sandstone path edging and steps and put down a concrete base for the path outside the workshop. When the rain started I put the electrics for the tractor barn into the garage loft and connected to the electrics. We also put down a road stone base for the path and patio outside the hot tub room while Karen cleaned the boundary wall. That Sunday evening we sat down to relax before heading to bed, but found that the farmer's whole herd of cows had escaped and found there way into the back garden. It then took us an hour to help the farmer move them out of the garden into the next door field. The garden was left in a terrible condition so I had to use Izzy to pull a roller (lent by the farmer) around the garden to minimise the damage. Unfortunately the very end of the garden, which looks like the Somme, was too wet to be able to roll.

October 13
After failing to deliver the last of the stone planks a couple of times we finally got the last two pallets delivered on Friday. Karen moved them all into the back garden and stacked them up so I didn't have to do it when I got home from work. We went to Fernatix to talk to them about ferns for the planter around the dog toilet. Kerry was realy helpful and after four hours we left with crates filled with all manner of mainly evergreen ferns (and for a very reasonable price too). I couldn't wait to plant them so took a day off work to get out to the patio and put them in. We also finally got around to opening up the Saniflo and cleaning it out which was a long dirty and uncomfortable job, but it now works as well as it did when first installed. The rest of the month was not overly productive as I went to another bike show and helped family move. I did manage to tidy up the workshop and Karen finished the hot tub room so we went to look at the hot tub/swim machine.

September 13
I started by laying a felt roof on the shed while Karen finished painting the walls and ceiling in the hot tub room. We are almost ready to put in a hot tub, when we can afford it. The other cars were transfered into the carcoons so the garage can now house the Leafs again. I also cleared up the remaining barn contents that had been strewn across the back garden and Rodney took away the remaining wood panels. Emma came over and as usual got roped into helping us, this time filtering soil to top off the planter on the patio and feeding through the cables for the electrics. Luke helped my fill the planter around the dog area ready for ferns which took a whole day. At the end of the month Karen spent some time starting to load up logs into the log store ready for the winter, while Jason and I started to lay the path in front of the workshop and built a conrete step. Unfortunately we have now basically run out of money for this year so progress is going to slow down until next April.

August 13
More stone was delivered which I moved around the back using Izzy, however I think I over-worked her as she has now sprung a coolant leak. Karen cleaned and started to paint ceiling in the hot tub room although she is struggling to find the right colour to do the walls. She also got out and rubbed down the planters on the patio before painting them. We had to call Brian back because there was obviously a bad mix and one of them needed rerendering. I put a roof on the shed which I will need to felt at some point. After work I got out and fitted sockets and lights in tractor barn ready for the carcoons and tractor, however I had to cut down staging boards to fit in. Erected carcoons and put away Volvo which is in a poor state. Put fabric down the side of house and filled the area with pebbles on my birthday while waiting for second grandson to make appearance.

July 13
Jason cleared the shingle from the side of house and put it into the dog area, then lowered the ground level before building new fence. I took the soil which had been dug up in front of the workshop and used it to fill one of the planters. Started to render planters. Erected barn but must finish. Stone delivery 13t moved around back. Dug out area for patio and path at back of games room.

June 13
We started to clear away the patio area and build the planters that make up part of the new design. I also cleared the area where the old shed used to be and prepared the ground for a new base. I took the sections of the old barn and cut them down and turned it into a smaller shed to hold the mower and other equipment. Hopefully the new barn will be ready soon! Two months of digging and moving tonnes of soil and ballast is beginning to be too much for my back and energy levels.

May 13
An exhausting start to the month when I took two weeks off work to dismantle the tractor barn and put in a concrete base ready for a larger barn to hold the cars. All the contents are now spread across the back garden.

April 13
We put up a new ceiling in my Study and had the room plastered before we started to decorate.

March 13
Time to get on with another room so we instaled the underfloor heating in the Study. After laying a new floor we removed the ceiling and half the plaster.

February 13
I noticed that unfortunately there is damp in the lounge around the windows which has been caused by a small gap between the window frame and the render so I went around the house, gamesroom and workshop and sealed all the windows. I fitted the heater in the workshop so I can work on the boat in the warm.

January 13
After returning from Finland for Karen's 50th birthday we have struggled to motivate ourselves to start working on the house again. Karen is still doing a lot of lake swimming (2 degree water) and I'm busy at work. Exactly a year on from when Jason built the shower area in the hot tub room he has started to do the tiling to finish off the room. I finally got around to changing the lights in our bedroom and ensuite to low energy downlights although the holes in the ceiling are in a mess, so a 30 minute job has turned into a half day job. Chopping logs for the fire and taking down the Christmas lights is the most work we have done so it is time to make a list of what needs to be done and get motivated...