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On the evils of bamboo…

When I moved into my new home late last year my garden looked like this:

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And there to one side is a rather lovely looking bamboo. The problem is two fold; one, I don’t want a bamboo and certainly not there. Two, whoever planted the bamboo didn’t put it in properly.
Bamboo likes to grow and you have to be super careful when you plant it to make sure the roots don’t go everywhere. The previous owners did not do this and so I am now chasing bamboo roots around my garden.

If you’re doubting how far they can go, my next-door neighbour told me that he had some pop up in his garden, on the opposite side to my joining fence. Sigh. Not only badly planted but badly planted right next to neighbours. Not nice.

So I am now waging war on the nasty thing. I thought as it has been taking up so much of my time I would share a few pictures.

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The lawn after I had pulled one of the roots out

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The root pulled out from the previous picture

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The rest of the roots I’ve managed to get out so far. I’m hoping I’m about 45/50% of the way there now.

 

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Some of the roots still in the ground. Sadly I think they go under the fence…

So this is what I’ve been doing in the morning, as well as shifting soil and moving paving slabs around ready to move the path and get ready to decide where everything else is going. Lots to do!

Vick.

Building a Library – Part One

Ever since I was a little girl I have wanted a library. This has been met with very mixed reactions over the years. For anyone who didn’t see my flat in London the books were quite literally stacked to the ceiling. Sadly I only have photographs from when I was selling it and most of the books had been taken out to make it look less personal.

I’ve had problems with damp twice now – once when my books were in London and my whole house was full of damp (basement flat and two lots of cowboy builders) and then again when they were being stored in my parents’ attic and the roof leaked. The second time was much worse and I lost 130 books at first and just recently found another ruined full bag. I’ve wanted all of my books in one place, where I can see them and read them for a very long time.

Looking at houses was amusing as people (quite naturally) assumed that I wanted a second room for guests or a future nursery. Trying to explain to people that the books were my children was good fun. My new house is perfect for the library – it gets the sun in the morning and is the larger of the two bedrooms with the smaller one having an en-suite.

I had several things that I knew I wanted to have. Two desks, so that visiting writer friends could work in here too. Armchairs so I could read near my books. Dark walls, just feels right for a library. Several lamps so I can have lots of different lighting levels (still working on this). And shelves, obviously.

For once I didn’t take picture while I was painting so you can see the room pre-shelves and post-shelves but the paint is all there! I’m only posting a couple of pictures now and will put the rest up online soon as well as probably a full blog full of pictures of my books.

One half of the library – with a hidden hint to my next poetry project…

The other side of the library

The arrival of the bookcases. Much heavier than they look too!

Almost half way through bookcase construction!

I’ll post pictures of the library as it looks now with all of the books in very soon.

Vick.

Plastered

One of the first things that I did when I was exploring the house was to look at the wallpaper in the two upstairs rooms. One was bad – the other was terrible. I knew the wallpaper would have to come off but had no idea what a mess it was underneath (see picture above from the bedroom). My house is over a hundred years old so it’s not a surprise and considering the age of the property the walls were in pretty good shape but they hadn’t been taken care of in recent years. Once we started pulling the paper off about a third came off in huge strips – the other two thirds took almost a week to get off. We also decided to get rid of the cornice because it was so badly put together and seeing as one room had it and the other didn’t upstairs it wasn’t replaced.

Getting hold of plasterers proved really, really difficult. In the end we got someone who had been off work with an injury and he was brilliant. Because of the awful rain, and the fact that he was supposed to be on an outside job we got it done really quickly. And it looks brilliant!

Here’s a few pictures of the nightmare of wallpaper to plaster, starting with the Bedroom.

A few giant strips and then lots of tiny pieces

The corners of the fireplace were in a pretty sad state too

…and some nasty gaps as well

New Plaster! I was so happy when I first saw this

All ready for the paint now.

And the Library:

The original wallpaper

An example of the terrible wallpapering!

This picture still makes me want to run and hide – such a slow process

Almost gone…

…and a new wall! Hurrah!

You can see where the new edges of the chimney breast were put in – all very neat and tidy.

It was wonderful to finally have a canvas I could work with and start putting paint on the walls. They had a watered down coat of white after this and then the final colours. Apologies for the sorry state of a lot of the pictures – they were taken in and around work being done so I couldn’t wait for the light and was usually tired after a day of paper-stripping!

Vick.

Kitchen Designs #2

A painting update on my kitchen. I had thought I wanted a light blue-grey colour but it just didn’t work in the space so I’ve gone with Crown Slate Grey which is a Kitchen/Bathroom paint and should last okay with all the mega amounts of cooking I’ll be doing in there.

It took a couple of coats to cover properly, the first coat looked really bad, also I had trouble with the sugar soap I was using.

The paint has all been done – I’m not bothering to paint behind the cooker area, partly because it can’t be seen but also the wall is a bit of a mess there. Once it is in place I’ll paint the other side where there will eventually be some sort of side-board I hope.

Vick.

Sutton Bonington Food Market

Today I dropped into the Sutton Bonington Food Market. It was in their Uni campus there which I’d driven past hundreds of times but never been inside (why would I?). There were some good stalls there, quite a few with student discounts, and most pretty well priced. I tried a sausage cob which tasted great but was so undercooked that it was still pink so I couldn’t eat it all, I also had a bison burger which was gorgeous. We brought home a key-lime pie, gingerbread cake, croissant and poppy seed twist. It was a good little market and worth it seeing as I’m so close by but nothing really new or different. They are an occasional event and if I remember I’ll pop by again – in fact I only remembered today because Valentine Warner posted about it on Twitter!

Vick.