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On the evils of bamboo…

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


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.


The lawn after I had pulled one of the roots out


The root pulled out from the previous picture


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.



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!


Moving In

Moving in day was fun, stressful and very nerve-wracking. I wasn’t nervous that something was going to go wrong, we were pretty much past that stage but I was nervous about moving in, taking on this huge responsibility.

All houses have problems, they come with big bills and many small annoyances, this wasn’t my first house purchase and I was all the more nervous because of how badly I had been burnt by my last experience (a story for another time). I was scared but I was well taken care of. I was picked up and driven to my new town – both for my safety and that of everyone else on the road while I was so distracted! I had coffee and lunch in the little service area just five minutes from my house which is very convenient and was close enough but also far enough away that day.

And then I waited. My estate agents had been great and briefed me on what sort of time I would expect to hear from them, and they were spot on. It’s always worth calling the estate agents the day before you move to sort out times and arrangements so that you know what is likely to happen and the day before is when they will have the clearest idea.
I was very lucky, I wasn’t moving out of anywhere that day. I had no chain to deal with and the previous owners of my new home were moving into an empty property so we were only waiting on the money going through. It was about 1pm when I got the call from the agents to say that the money had gone through so they had key release (meaning the house was legally mine). I went and picked them up, gave the staff a thank-you card and headed to the house. There was still the stamp duty formality to go through but that was a question for my solicitor to handle not me.

It was surprisingly fun walking through the front door, but also a little weird. Because the transaction had taken so long I had forgotten a lot of the details of the house and it looked very different when wit was empty. On the downside I saw straight-away that there was more cosmetic work to be done than I had first thought.

That first day, because I wasn’t properly moving in I took a few things that I thought I would want right off. My list included:
Tea & coffee
A few mugs, plates, bowls and cutlery
Scissors (well actually I forgot mine and had to make do but it was on the list!)
Cleaning products and cloths
Toilet paper
Hand soap
Tester pots of paint ( I’d chosen these well in advance)
Tool kit
Tape measure
Biscuits, crisps, salad, sandwiches.
To this I would add some old clothes in case you want to have a look around the attic/garden without messing up your day-to-day clothes.

As soon as I moved in I started making a list of things that I wanted to ask the plumber/electrician/builder about so that I didn’t forget. I still forgot a few tags but most of them ended up on the list. I also started thinking of things to ask the estate agents which I did a few weeks after I had gotten the keys.
That first day was great, and I had a lot of fun but I was also very critical and kept finding problems. No doubt the house did have a lot of problems but put in perspective I am so pleased with my little home.


I’m moving house…

I want to blog a little about the move, not only because it is going to be a huge part of my life but also I love house blogs and am addicted to looking through house things on Pinterest too. Also, as my friend Rach pointed out, what else am I going to talk about for the next three months!

I’ll be tagging them #Home or #Garden and keeping them in a Home & Garden category on here. I’ve also got two Pinterest boards here and here with lots of pictures of things that I am getting for the house, want but won’t be getting or think people should buy me. I even have a separate wish list set up full of things I want to buy when I have the time.

So, there is going to be a lot of paint colours, furniture, joinery, bookshelves, oven and white goods…sorry!
I might also put a few things in about the earlier days of the house purchase in the hope that it could help other people. I will probably make mistakes – I have often been good at advising people because I usually mess things up and can tell them what not to do!

Please do follow along if you’re interested, share if you’d like to and offer any advice you have if you can. There will be regular bits of poetry and food as well so there will be a good portion of the original blog still here.


The Bottle Kiln

The weather was so muggy that even the radio presenter commented on it, luckily I was headed to The Bottle Kiln in West Hallam to try out their coffee and their website advertised a Tranquil Garden. There is a good sized car park with an overflow signposted and inside the cafe there are plenty of seats.

The cafe is attached to an open plan shop selling a range of home, gift, craft and jewellery pieces. There was a nice mix of bigger names and smaller British designers. The shop is quite cluttered, not a place to take small kids or to try and get a wheelchair through. There are plenty of ramps instead of steps and it would be easy to get a wheelchair into the Tranquil Garden although the cafe itself is harder to navigate around. The garden is peaceful until someone starts talking and then the noise really carries. It is non smoking outside but this didn’t stop people from lighting up anyway. The tables are beautifully arranged in a circle around a central garden with all of the tables and a lot of the stools built out of stone to match the kiln chimney. The stools were comfortable but because of the solid base of the table it was extremely hard to sit around with no room for even my legs (and I’m only 5’3″). Inside the cafe there are mostly booths which looked good and made it seem cosy.

There was a rather limited selections of cakes when I was there at about 2.30pm, with only a few cakes and tray bakes as well as three types of scone. There were no gluten free cakes or biscuits available which was a shame. Also the cake display case was open at the back and there were flies on the cakes, which is quite off-putting as you stand in front of them to order.

I ordered a skinny latte, which I was hugely looking forward to. The Bottle Kiln and their staff have won awards for their drinks although I’m not really sure why. The coffee I had was weak and not hot enough, the foam on top was distinctly lacklustre and there was very little, certainly not the right ratio to the amount of hot milk I had. It left a rather unpleasant taste in my mouth and tasted a lot like a very average high street coffee rather than an award winning independent retailer. If you do decide to take your food and drinks outside you have to walk through part of the shop which seems a little strange but other people were doing it so I followed suit.

The food menu was limited but appealing and they had an extensive coffee menu as well, welcoming custom drinks with decaf, syrups and hot/cold options available on request. They also have a really good tea selection with good brands and plenty to choose from.

The surroundings were very pretty and relaxing and the craft shops are definitely worth browsing around if you are nearby but I’d avoid the coffee, I’ll definitely have tea if I go again!

This was the coffee shop I had been heading to when I was diverted to Newark because they are closed on a Monday.
The rest of the week they are open between 10.00 and 5.00. Check them out at http://www.bottlekiln.co.uk


I’ve got quite a collection of squirrel pictures now and being very undecided about what I wanted to put online I decided on squirrel pictures. Little bit odd perhaps but they are damned cute.