A day of odds and ends today. Amanda has deserted me in favour of a forest walk and cream tea with a friend, and so I have been left virtually all alone to hold the fort. Not that holding this particular fort requires anything more than brewing tea and catching up on the odd errand. A day of work looms tomorrow, in which I shall head off on my lonesome to the far flung village of Barton-on-Sea, and from there head back towards Bournemouth and visit as many gardens as I can before it gets dark. I expect to do mostly rubbish blowing, and hope to treat any path moss as I go.
One thing I had to do today was follow up a gardening request. As well as the full time contracted work, I also get many phone calls and knocks on the house front door from people asking for much smaller one-off work. Although it all comes under the Four Seasons umbrella, they are usually very small indeed, and are quite nice to do, even if they aren't particularly taxing to the old imagination. There are usually between 40 to 50 such jobs throughout the year, and as long as schedules for contracted work are maintained, all is possible. This one in particular was the friend of a neighbour who just simply wants the front patch spruced up and made fresher. All that is requested is for the Hebes and Juniper to be trimmed, the gravel weeded and then put to one side, the weed proof membrane replaced with new, and the gravel then replaced and topped up. Like I said, not much, but it will be tidier at least. Unfortunately their resident cat likes to use the patch as a litter tray, and has ripped the existing membrane in the process, and so a tougher one to replace methinks!
The birds in the garden have been enjoying all of the new feeders scattered about, and our population of tits, finches, robins and blackbirds have thrived. We have been lucky to see a thrush as well, and have many laughs watching this persistent pigeon try again and again to get onto the bird table. It usually slides off the roof and gets very frustrated indeed, but there is the odd occasion when it's successful, and looks very comical squashed inside while it tries to eat at the same time.
With Celia housebound most of the time over the Christmas period, we have been able to borrow the car, which is rather nice, but it has meant that the van and all of it's contents has been abandoned since December 20th. Today was the day that I had to approach both it, and it's contents. The battery barely turned over the engine, which was most likely a result of nothing but loads of short journeys in the dark with a two ton trailer in tow on the lead up to the festivities. But this is a Ford Transit, and she fired up like a dream. Next, the brakes had seized on the discs, but a quick rev and clutch drop resulted in one big bang from the wheels, and all was free. I hadn't looked in the back yet, but on reversing into the drive, anticipated dark, earthy dampness, and when I opened her up, I wasn't disappointed. I had forgotten that I had left some bags of wet rubbish in as well, and the mugginess that hit me was my own fault. Everthing was taken out and the van swept out. Then it was on to the machinery for a check over and clean up.
All still worked, even though a few extra ripcord pulls were needed, and after a good wash everything was stowed away once more, and order was resumed for the coming year.
The rest of to day was spent catching up on a little reading. As I mentioned before, 'The Hobbit' has been my latest read, and Tolkien has once again fired up my need for middle earth adventures. Celia is incredibly knowledgeable of all of the works surrounding 'Lord of the Rings', and so upon Amandas returned, we three settled down to the first film in the trilogy, and for the last three hours of the evening disappeared into a world of orcs, elves, dwarves, wizards and hobbits.
It's now 6am the following morning, I shall have my second cup of tea and then head out into what promises to be a dull and gloomy day for my first days return to work.....ugh!