Friday, 1 April 2011

01.04. Three months' visitors

Hi there, 1st April today, 3 whole months of this year already gone – no April fool this one, it really is April already! I honestly can’t understand how the days can fly past so quickly; when I was younger I always thought I had plenty of time to do everything I wanted to do – whenever I wanted to, even back when I was still working. Now I don’t seem to get done even half of the things I’d really like to do, never mind all the other things :-) But one thing I have kept up with these 3 months is my blog, although as I suspected...the pace I set out at in January was far too ambitious. But 8 posts in February and 9 posts in March are not too bad either – I think that’s probably a more realistic level for the future.

I have had a look at the statistics for my blog for the first 3 months, and as I am writing this, late at Friday evening, my blog has had 1,026 page views. That’s pretty nice in only 3 months :-) As you can see from this list, there are certain countries that are better represented than other, for obvious reasons, as I have family in both Spain and Norway. But I don’t know anyone in America, so these people find me either through my web-site or just at random. The statistics only register the top 10, so although there are visitors from other countries too, they didn’t make it into my list. Like the 3 visitors from India last month, or the 2 from Romania last week – I suppose you all found me via Google, or perhaps you used the “Next Blog” button on the top of the blog, which randomly displays another blog for you. A great way to check out what other people are doing on their blog, but watch out, the hours flies when sitting reading like that – among the expectable rubbish and lots and lots of photos of children there are quite a lot of good quality blogs with interesting topics.

I have been out in the garden today, a bit windy but very nice temperature with almost 20 degrees at the warmest. I must admit I have been neglecting my own garden a bit lately, as I have been spending most of my time next door clearing away all the weeds, but this week-end I just have to do a bit in my own garden. Top of the list is this year’s first lawn mowing, as the grass is now so tall it will soon be too tall to use a mower!  I have a hover-mower so it really is an easy task; in fact, getting the machine out, dragging the extension cord out and then carrying it all back in the house takes longer than the actual it really is just a small patch of grass. I have thought about getting rid of the grass for years, but the alternative is to have gravel there too, and that’s not without its own maintenance problems, so we’ll see....don’t think I will be getting rid of the grass this year at least.

And what did I do next door today? Ta-dah! It’s really coming along now, isn’t it? I am at a point now where it will be important soon to get a weed liner down, so the weeds won’t get a chance to start growing again. I have, however, the last few days made a discovery that is going to put a serious spanner in the works for me. It turns out that most of the area I have cleared is just a few inches of soil on a concrete base. On each side I can put the spade much deeper, as if there is a flower bed made there. At first I thought it was just a strip of concrete that ran down in the middle, but as I have been pulling up weeds and bluebell bulbs, I have noticed that the concrete is here and there, and not in straight lines. I will have to walk around with a stick and mark out the area where the concrete is, and unfortunately, that’s going to be the area with gravel....probably a much bigger area than the path in the middle I had in mind.

The reason why there is concrete under the soil is that when these houses were built, more than a hundred years ago, they had of course no running water indoors – and therefore no toilet. The toilet was in the back yard, which wasn’t a garden – people didn’t have gardens back then, they had back yards, for hanging their washing and storing coal...and that’s where their privy was too. Later on, after the Second World War, people started to get an interest for gardening, and suddenly everyone transformed their “back yard” into their “back garden”. I am quite sure that at some point, most of next door garden has had paving, hence the concrete – with just some small flower beds on each side. And then later on, a new owner probably came along and wanted the whole area as a lawn. And instead of taking the huge job of breaking up the concrete and removing it, they just removed the paving and tipped 3-4 inches of soil on top of the remaining concrete. Ok enough environment for a lawn or undemanding weeds to grow, but no place for the low maintenance perennial shrubs and evergreens I had in mind for this garden. The soil isn’t even deep enough to plant the shrubs I have thought of, never mind letting them grow and spread their roots. Bummer!

It’s going to be a huge job to map out the “safe” areas where I can put plants in, but that’s going to be the next task, after this small patch is cleared. This is all I have left to pull out, just over a square metre! After this I don’t want to see another bulb for a long, long time. I wonder how many I have dug and pulled out? Must be many, many hundreds. But as I have said in a previous post; it is strangely therapeutically sitting there on my stool, pulling out weeds.... with my cat as company, of course. He usually find a place to sit or lie nearby, watching me work and then comes over to lie in my lap every time I have a break. He seems to be teasing the dog next door with his presence though; the dog often comes out to say hello and is dying to come over the fence and have a cuddle...not that there would be enough room in my lap for the dog, it is a Pitbull Terrier, possibly a Staffordshire Terrier. But the dog is only a year old, still not fully grown and would just love to come over and play with my cat. The interest is not reciprocated though; my cat plays his “couldn’t care less” act, and don’t even look in his direction. I have said hello to the dog over the fence, and given him a stroke over the fence when the owner is there....but the dog has now taken matters into his own hands, sorry, paws, and yesterday he managed to put his head through the fence! He literarily broke the fence, in his attempt to come over to me sitting in the garden next to him. The owner was at work, the dog was home alone with the back door open....when the owner came home she came straight out and together we put up a board and some bricks to prevent the dog from jumping through the fence. You can see it on the picture a bit further up; only temporary though, because today that clever dog found out how to move the bricks away! I think the dog owner realises that those fences have to be replaced pretty urgently :-)

OK, I think that’s going to be it for tonight, this 1st April. Did anyone fool you? Try to fool you? No? Me neither, seems like April fools have ran out of fashion. Well, I can assure you that everything I have written tonight is true, no jokes in this post. Oh, and by the way....whilst I have been writing this post, some more visitors have been passing by; the total page views is now 1,031 :-) And, I will give you a teaser for tomorrow’s post; it will be about something edible and I will give you the recipe for it. Teased enough? See you tomorrow then! Take care.

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