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Discussion in 'Garden Projects and DIY' started by Retired, Jul 31, 2021.

  1. Retired

    Retired Some people are so poor all they have is money

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    Hi,

    34 years of solid hard graft since we moved into this our dream bungalow. Happiness lasted six weeks until a storm showed we needed a new roof when water came through two ceilngs; we were fully insured but when we claimed we were told to get lost the problem was lack of maintenance; unable to borrow more money we lived with buckets and bowls for 18 months then after lots of reading we lnstalled new roofs to the main bungalow and rear two roomed extension; we've done the lot from replacing the drains right to the chimney pot; the bungalow work took 30 years to complete but I also made a lot of furniture including a new hardwood kitchen; no outside help just my lovely wife by my side.

    Having sorted the bungalow I could start on the gardens which needed extensive work unaided by our very steeply sloping site being on a valley side. I've felled and disposed of lots of big trees two at 80' tall also lots of tall hedges; I've just been in the rear garden doing a spot of light work for a change strimming grass edges and cutting back some wildflowers.

    It's heartbreaking to have worked so hard for so long just to have all my work undone by animals and our dire climate.

    The recent rain coming down like pencils has wreaked havoc on the beautiful meadow; badgers and squireels too cause no end of damage digging holes better than I can dig them.

    Here are a few images just taken including a previous close up before the weather flattened the meadow.

    31 July 2021_0003.JPG
    Our bungalow is down there somewhere.31 July 2021_0004.JPG
    Across the front of the meadow; note the steep slope.31 July 2021_0005.JPG
    Down the right hand side.31 July 2021_0006.JPG
    Across the bottom of the garden having just strimmed the pathway31 July 2021_0007.JPG
    Loking up the garden; it's lovely from our kitchen window.31 July 2021_0008.JPG
    Looking up left hand. Mulched section; last year I spread 5 tons of mulch.31 July 2021_0009.JPG
    Greenery near the patio.
    July 2021_0008.JPG
    Thank you dire climate for this damage I really appreciate it.Meadow_0004_01.JPG
    Close up before the rain upset everything; the whole meadow was stunning in its beauty.

    I've been strimming so bits of debris still scattered around but at last I'm on top and I mean to remain on top with regular maintenance. Perhaps my wife and I can now ease off and start to enjoy what we've worked so hard to accomplish. My hands are still trembling from using the strimmer but they do say exercise is good for you; I thought all this exercise was going to kill me; no let up until now; I'm looking forward to some quality workshop time doing new projects I'm interested in.

    I'd like more time to spend on this excellent forum reading all the threads and posts but I'm also busy on other forums that aren't gardening related.

    Kind regards, Colin.
     
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    • Giri

      Giri Gardener

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      Superb work there, shame about the weather, as Tom Stoppard wrote, "You just have to be philosophical -- and not think about it."
      Regarding your hands trembling after strimming, I first had my strimmer balanced so I was holding the head up, then I slid the pivot forwards, so I was then gently holding the strimmer head down -- it made quite a difference. Where is yours balanced ?
       
    • Retired

      Retired Some people are so poor all they have is money

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      Hi,

      Many thanks Giri; also thanks for the balancing suggestion. I'll have a look but most of the strimming I've done today was to strim the grass edges and I was working on the steep slope; standing upright is challenging.

      It's been incredibly hard work removing the double parallel hedges at the top of the garden; I've posted these pictures before but they tie up with how difficult it was for me working on my own to create the meadow. Not a job I want to repeat.

      Meadow_0002_01.JPG
      The back hedge against the dry stone wall; there was also another huge hedge in front of it; I removed the front hedge first and this allowed the creation of the meadow but still unseen by walkers along the lane.Meadow_0003_02.JPG
      Over the years I've kept attacking the hedges lowering them each year until last year when I finally removed this hedge including stumps; a mammoth task which flattened me working me to a standstill each day for weeks on end. The hedge used to be as tall as the tree seen in the picture.Meadow_0022.JPG
      Another picture of the same hedge.Laurel stump_0001.JPG
      One of the Laurel stumps this the largest taking full five days of incredibly hard work to get out.Punishment._0001.JPG
      Here's what it's like now with the new wire mesh fence I erected and two tons of woodchip; in total I had five tons of wood chip last year the rest spread lower down the gardenPunishment._0002.JPG
      From the lane adjacent to our top garden wall. The posts were 4" x 4" x 12' long; I won't be trimming the hedge again this was just one of a number of huge hedges I've removed; the lane is 4' higher than the garden and the garden drops steeply away; I had to erect a wooden platform in order to stand upright whilst digging the holes. Walkers along the lane were amazed as they daily watched progress; I was amazed to still be breathing at the end of each long heavy day. I need a rest.

      Tomorrow I can go into the workshop and play with my toys; I'll never stop grafting.

      Kind regards, Colin.
       
    • Giri

      Giri Gardener

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      Looks like you have substantially reduced your workload regarding hedge trimming, and maybe you´ll see a bit more sky now. Short of getting the Army in, I can´t think how else it could have been achieved without recourse to explosives.

      I have, after viewing your Herculean efforts, and considering my advancing decrepitude, declared half my garden a "Wildlife Reserve" in order to absolve myself of any responsibility thereto, and the rest is an Iberian take on "Shabby Chic", a modus operandi requiring minimal intervention. You´ve been an inspiration ...

      My workshop boasts a new tool cabinet and a completely clean bench, all the better to tend the extraordinary array of equipment I´ve found it necessary to assemble in order to run a small fruit farm in Andalucia. The fact that, as my Beloved points out, it is all red and shiny, with motors attached, is obviously completely beside the point.

      I may have A NEW VEHICLE to look after next week, and facilities have to be up to scratch.
      Saludos desde Andalucia.
       
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      • Retired

        Retired Some people are so poor all they have is money

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        Hi,

        Thanks Giri; yes a lot less hedge trimming and less maintenance in general after all the work carried out; it's raining again as I type so I don't feel like getting another soaking hence I'm spending a bit of relaxing time being a keyboard warrior. A new vehicle is usually something to look forward to; any details please. Our vehicle is a Skoda Yeti 2.0L diesel SE L bought new in 2016 and it's a keeper because my wife and I love it and even with funds we can't find a suitable replacement now most cars are simply clones of each other with just different names.

        Here's a few more pictures for interest;

        Bricklaying 25 05 2013 (1).JPG
        No easy jobs living here on the valley side. Here I'm istalling flood defences to the patio area. Note all the new pipework.Too dangerous to point..jpg
        Here's our original chimney stack; my wife and I replaced the roof but then forgot about the chimney but in later years I decided to go up and repoint it; as I chipped away at the mortar joint using hammer and cold chisel the entire chimney wobbled dangerously so as usual sort it out once and for all. The stones had even become porous exposed to severe weather.
        Chimney completed.jpg
        A week later here's the new chimney stack I built this time with a new chimney pot; the pot is sealed at the top but vented to the sides; no more heavy rain; snow; sleet;hail or birds to worry about; tops of houses can be seen just across the street.Caroles fence _25. (1).JPG
        Not only grafting all the time for us I took a week out to help our former neighbour; I had to clear the original wire netting fence badly grown through with our laurels then erect the new chain link fence; a terrible job on the steep slope. Neighbour's fence so she paid for materials I did the labour entirely free of charge.DSCN2326.JPG
        More water ingress this time into the garage beneath the bungalow; foundation porous bricks removed; the faulty mortar joint made good then engineering bricks completed the job; I used water proofing additive in the new mortar water.Garage doors_0001.JPG
        Side hung garage doors I made a few years ago to replace the up and over door I disliked; I can now pop in and out without throwing the whole door up; the garage is now my fully kitted workshop; here I'm erecting new steelwork above the doors to extend the decking giving access to the front bedroom window and gutter area. Note the important mug of tea; I can work wonders if I have a mug of tea. The cladding below the window I installed it being 18mm WBP plywood fully sealed with paint to all edges and faces; still like new after five years of severe weather.

        For many years I've taken digital images of work I've carried out for future reference; I use a cheap camera then if it gets damaged I don't lose much; I bought my current camera years ago having dropped the camera I was using onto the concrete garage floor; it didn't respond well; this camera cost around £60 it's a Kodak PIXPRO FZ53; I have a more expensive DSLR which I seldom use it being rather big.

        Got to go enough time spent at the keyboard; I don't want to become lazy.

        Kind regards, Colin.
         
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        • Giri

          Giri Gardener

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          I´m exchanging my Moto Guzzi V7 Stone for a little scooter to do the shopping on, a Honda Forza 350. The mountain roads are just one hairpin bend after another, so a lower centre of gravity and automatic gears will suit me, hopefully NOT down to the ground ...

          IMG_0544.JPG

          I think scooters have come on a bit, since my Lambretta in the Sixties. They say the handbook´s instruction for bump starting were to engage gear, pull the clutch in and run, releasing the clutch, and to continue running until the engine fired, or you reached your destination.

          Nice job on the chimney stack by the way, better than original I´d say.
           
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          • Retired

            Retired Some people are so poor all they have is money

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            Hi,

            Many thanks Giri. You and I have a lot in common. Nice bikes; the Guzzi's were always highly regarded; I've never ridden one but seen a few over here. The Honda will be lighter going but with quite a bit less power than the Guzzi.

            Many years ago I assembled some of the Honda's first in the UK; they used to arrive in wooden crates; what a revelation compared to the British bikes of the day; indicators and electric start were amazing; the engines and gearboxe were combined and split horizontally exposing crank and gears etc unlike the vertically spilt British engines with seperate gearbox which always left a calling card under the crankcase; I well remember big old singles with their manual choke; carb tickler; manual advance and retard and valve lifter and all these big singles had a steering damper allowing a sidecar to be used without ending up with a tank slapper; those were real biking days.

            I passed my biking test on a 650cc BSA Golden Flash it having a huge double adult sidecar attached; the rain was as usual coming down like pencils and the test examiner stopped me in the middle of the town asking if he could get into the sidecar; riding in a sidecar is a thrill with the engine howling only inches away and gear changes always gave a gentle kick. I passed the test.

            I too had a Lambretta I think it was a 125CC LBD which served me well during my early apprentice days working underground in a deep coal mine; this reminds me of a minor who bought a big 650cc Panther single; he used to park it under cover by the boiler house; he was terrified of starting it and we saw him go over the handlebars a number of times having applied too much ignition advance; in the end he used to push it up the concrete slope and bounce it off; I've been over the handlebars too forgetting to retard the ignition on my Norton 500cc ES2.

            By the time I reached 18 I had a 1,000cc Ariel Square Four which self destructed on a motorway destroying it's engine internally smashing a rear piston and two con rods; I also had a Norton 750cc Atlas which broke its piston skirts every time it hit 110mph. A BSA 650cc A65 Lightning which rattled my teeth and made my feet and hands dance due to vibration.

            Of the rare bikes I rode were the one seen in my avatar this a Brough Superior SS80; at the time I was offered a Brough Superior SS100 for £34 but let it go I believe a Superior SS100 sold at auction for £350,000?

            I packed in biking in 1973 at the time having owned two BMW R75/5 750cc bikes; I loved these two bikes and if you want a top bike with a low center of gravity one of these can't be bettered; I rode these flat out everywhere and at the time when the police were starting to use them to replace the Triumph 650cc Saints.

            Colin on Brough Superior.jpg
            Around 1973 on a Brough Superior SS80; the same day I had a spin on a VW Beetle 1,200cc engined bike.

            Me on BMW..jpg
            My first BMW R75/5 750cc bought at a year old in 1972 then traded in for same model but brand new a year later; the new one I kitted out with full fairing; crash bars; top box; tank bag and I was one of the first to install a car radio; I spent about ten years biking and had five mates killed on bikes me a coffin bearer for one of them; I traded the BMW in against an MGB Roadster sports car; the MG was dead compared to the big bikes; I'm fortunate to have enjoyed lots of big bikes and what are now expensive classic cars.

            These days I wouldn't want to risk riding a motorcycle it being much too dangerous given the high volume of traffic and if the pot holes didn't get me the road humps surely would; I'm more than happy to be driving our Skoda Yeti. We have some of the best biking roads in the world; winding country lanes but just so dangerous these days.

            I've rambled on enough but I still enjoy a natter regarding bikes.

            Kind regards, Colin.
             
          • Giri

            Giri Gardener

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            Interesting stuff Colin, and yes, my story is similar since I went through a lot of bikes and eventually found a BMW R100 RS and stuck with that until it wore out, and finding myself suddenly solvent I bought the Guzzi. It´s getting bored with me now, so the Benelli 400 was a nod to my advancing years, and a scooter will reveal even more of the countryside as I tootle gently along. (It will do 85mph, but I probably won´t). If I do need to go up to Granada it will be fine at motorway speeds.
            I´ve done similarly with cars too, going from a super-fast Honda Accord to a Peugeot Partner which is more practical (think Postman Pat) but a lot less fun -- but I think the greater demands a bike makes helps to keep me fit and active. It has to be admitted however, that if I´d known I was going to last this long, I´d have taken better care of myself.
            Saludos.

            P1210029.JPG
             
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