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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.

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Bramhalls’

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Today’s lunch outing in Ashbourne. Fab place with a great menu and frequently changing specials. They also have a lovely deli. Worth checking out if you’re in the area.

Bookshelves #1

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I had so many people saying lovely things about the pictures of my library that I’ve decided, over time, to show pictures of the books themselves on the blog. This will also show how many of them I still have to read…and yet I keep buying more!

Shelf #1 is mostly YA/children-ish fiction.

Part 1

Part 1

 

Part 2

Part 2

Apologies for the images being a little rubbish – it’s really hard to get good light in the library for photography. It’s possible that having lined the walls with books and dark blue paint has made it a little darker in there…

This shelf has a higher than average number of books I’ve read in it – largely due to the collection of Harry Potter books there. Sadly I have lost my hardback copies of books 1 & 2. I had them stored in my parents attic while I was moving house and the roof leaked. They weren’t first editions but they were early and I had had them for a long time. Losing books is horrid.

I’ve also read ‘The Swiss Family Robinson’ many times over, I love that book and I think reading it as a child was a great experience, especially with the illustrations in this edition. The copy of ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ was bought solely for the illustrations which are done by Quentin Blake. Noticing a pattern here, ‘Drawn from Memory’ is also full of illustrations by the wonderful E.H. Shephard.

On the other side of the shelf is the fantastic ‘Valiant’ by Holly Black as well as ‘An Abundance of Katherines’ by John Green (one of my favourite authors – see the P.S.). I never get rid of books, even if I don’t like them; this is partly because I think, as someone who writes, it’s interesting to look back at what I didn’t like about a book and also because one of my friends might want to read it someday. I actually didn’t manage to finish either ‘North Child’ or ‘The Witch Family’. Both ‘Hexwood’ by DWJ and ‘The Spellgrinder’s Apprentice’ by N.M. Browne were recommendations from Zoë Marriott – I loved ‘Hexwood’ and haven’t gotten around to TSA yet. Soon.

On the theme of Diana Wynne Jones there was a great guest article by Andrea K Höst on The Book Smugglers about her, that is definitely worth a read.

Read/Not Read shelf ratio: 21:14

Vick.

p.s. A Theatre for Everybody In My Pants…

p.p.s. If you don’t get the ‘in my pants’ joke then have a look at this Vlogbrothers FAQ video where all is revealed. It’s explained at 2.37 if you want to skip there. Also – watch the rest of the videos and become a Nerdfighter!

Downloading

I’ve been super busy working on Etsy and so have been blogging a little less lately. I now have digital downloads available of poetry photographs. I’m also posting the component parts separately over on Facebook as well.

I am putting them up online one at a time but each different item has five different font options available and they can all be customized at no extra cost. Here are a couple of examples of each one online so far.


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:
Kettle
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
Towels
Hand soap
Tester pots of paint ( I’d chosen these well in advance)
Tool kit
Tape measure
Camera
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.

Vick.