Lets work backwards!
Yesterday was one of those perfect days. Despite a wind, it was hot and sunny. Kelly, and Ollie recently returned from an unsuccessful 4 days in Ireland with her in-laws and a more successful 2 days camping in the New Forest with Helen, Alan and kids, had persuaded us to go up and give them a hand putting their new shed up. Since it was one ofi Martin's rare Saturdays off we weren't that keen but Kelly is good at getting her dad to agree to stuff and so we were all ready to set off to help. We were more than happy when she phoned to say they had overlayed, hadnt had time to do the prep work, and now there wasnt enough time to do the job before the start of the England footie game (which they all wanted to watch and which had been the carrot to get her dad helping!).
So instead we used the morning to do a few other little jobs before going up to Croydon for the football and a BBQ.
In the event we ended up going to visit my mum and dad to collect the 30 year old high chair and cot out of their attic. It used to be mine for my two girlies, and since I dont recall giving it to them I can only believe their complicated tale of how it got to be in their attic. Never the less, I intended to clean it up to use for the new addition who is now only 6 weeks away from joining the family properly. Laura went for her 34 week scan on Friday, everything is progressing ok and baby is all the right measurements and right places. Everyone is getting excited as we all start gathering equipment and baby stuff together.
In fact as we arrived back home, it was to find Laura and Wayne's car on our driveway, they had come to collect the crib and other bits that had been being stored in our spare room. She wasnt impressed much with my cot and insists she is going to look on ebay for a cheap cot to put in our 'nursery' but I still reckon with a lick of paint, new hardware, mattress and bedding, it will be stunning. I am off to do the 'drinks can' test on the strutts later today to see.
It was gloriously hot and sunny in Kelly and Ol's back garden, the lads tackled a couple of jobs involving drilling and Kelly and I had a go at the flower bed. The neighbour had just had a new fence put up, and most of the flowers had been trampled by the contractors, the rest totally unsuitable for the narrow flowerbed and smallish garden so we pulled most of it out ready to start from scratch. I wasnt much help since the day before I had managed to stitch through my own finger trying to 'sew-in-the-ditch' of my quilt though.
Martin managed to break the prongs off the fork, digging rubble out of the flower bed!
We then watched the footie and finished with a scrummy BBQ meal (huge steaks, home made kebabs, prawns and sausages followed with home grown strawberries and icecream) and I arrived home full, and happy having seen all the members of my family in one day.
We have done well for meals too this week, on a whim I asked Martin when he got home from work on Friday if he fancied going out for tea with Laura and Wayne (who have also both had the week off). I had meant a quick eat in somewhere like the Harvester, but in the end (after a few false tries) we ended up in the Red Lion at Herne and had a huge two course scrummy home cooked meal, great company and rolled home just after 10!!!
Martin had been off on Thursday, and I was eager to try out my 2 for 1 garden entry ticket I had got from Gardener's World mag. I wrote down 3 gardens I thought were worth the trip, but then gave the book to Martin and let him choose. Amazingly he came up with two of the three I had written down, so we set out to Yalding.
Most of the drive is motorway but the other side of Maidstone you are in the heart of the Kentish countryside with some pretty amazing houses (a few of which were up for sale and I would have happily bought with a couple of large lottery wins!)
Yalding is divided up into lots of little garden plots to dipict gardens through the ages from the Medieval Apocathery to modern day organic, and was a lovely place to visit.
The gardening is mostly done by volunteers and there is also a small cafe doing amazing and cheap food. We werent hungry enough to eat but we had a huge pot of tea for the small price of £1.80, drinking while watching other people tuck into huge scones or home made pasties.
Me, sporting my new hair cut, and trying to train Martin to take a half decent photo - this is the fourth attempt to get me in the shot!
It was still only mid day so we decided to give the second garden a go, the 2for1 ticket having saved us a small fortune. Merle Place Gardens are tucked even further back in the countryside, but we were safe in the hands of Mrs SatNav. That is until we found Merle Place Road blocked by road works and according to the workman, the gardens were just the other side with a very long wait. Much to Mrs SatNav's disgust we turned around and despite her insistance in trying to steer us back to the blocked road we managed to find another way in.
Merle Gardens are the gardens of a private residence - well a huge manor type house really, and has
formal beds, as well as parkland, tennis courts and a swimming pool. The people from the house work the visitors but the children, home for school hols were having a terrific time in the pool - much to the envy of all the hot visitors. We had a delightful time wandering around and only left when tired leggies and hunger forced us to look for a country pub to enjoy a pint and a packet of crisps.
We hadnt had any lunch but there was meat waiting in our fridge to be cooked so I was happy to settle for a packet of crisps to tide me over. We pulled up at a likely looking pub, then as we got out something prompted me to say to Martin 'I bet they dont have any crisps'. He fooied the idea, saying all pubs have crisps. He ordered our drinks then requested the crisps - 'We doont do bar snacks' said the barmaid. Too late to leave as we had our pints, we sat in the garden sorrowfully. Martin did nip down the road into the village to look for a shop but he only found an estate agent so mornfully we finished our drinks and set off home. Still it didnt mare our day and we enjoyed our day out.
The beginning of the week off had seen me spring cleaning the house, washing curtains and such, plus getting the garden a bit straighter. Everything is growing at an amazing rate due to the unseasonal good weather. I think we are now into our 11th week with no significant rain, and I am having to do lots of watering to keep everything alive. On Wednesday Ann came over for the day, we had a lovely time catching up on each other's news, only spoilt by the times I had to run up the garden and chase off the seagull that kept landing in my pond and attacking my fish.
I have lost over half the livestock most of it the gold fish from Laura's wedding. The weekend before last I borrowed dad's pump and while he supervised (mainly shouted at) me, I emptied the pond, cleaned it all up and put everything back straight. I was pleased to find I had 6 newtons and 2 frogs, so glad the frogs are finally coming back after the red leg virus attacked the colony 2 years ago. I had thought it to be the Heron eating the fish as Laura and Wayne, walking over here from their place because they had locked themselves out, had spotted one down by the Brook, but it now appears it is a seagull and I dont really know how to defend against it short of a BB gun!
So thats how my half term has gone, more stuff tomorrow (I promise)