Wednesday, 20 July 2016

First greenhouse cucumber, my dad would be so proud

Today, 20 July 2016 is an auspicious day. I cut my very first cucumber from the greenhouse. I was very late sowing them (end of February) so I imagine people who have been cutting cucumbers for weeks now are thinking "what's the big deal?!"

In fact, the first cucumber from my dad's greenhouse was cut on 22 May so I'm almost exactly two months behind him. Anyway, I'm exceedingly proud of it, my very first indoor cucumber! The variety is Socrates F1 (in case anyone was interested!)

There are lots more on the way further up the plant, tons of tiny ones just developing which I'm super excited to see.

I put it to good use in some cheese and salad cream sandwiches for lunch.

I have only managed to grow outdoor varieties in the past. The last time I had a greenhouse was when we lived in Saxilby in the 1980s; every year I tried to grow cucumbers in it, something killed the plants before they even flowered ... much to the amusement of my dad, whose cucumbers won prizes at the local gardeners' show every year.

I just wish dad was still with us to see my success this year, I like to think wherever he is now, he's smiling and saying "well, it's about time!"

I miss you every day, dad.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Activities for the hottest day of the year

I know, says MTM this morning, let's move the sink unit that we bought when we went to West Lynn, you know the one that's been taking up space in our lounge for the last four months waiting for everything to be finished.

Getting the rest of my lounge back and the unit out of the way is very tempting. How long will it take, says me, thinking there are jobs I want to do in my greenhouse that I had today earmarked for.

"Only an hour, two at the most. I can't do it on my own." It IS the first weekend in ages that we haven't had something to do both days of the weekend and we've been fit and well enough to do it. We've been cursed with a variety of minor bad health issues lately but today, we're both feeling fine and we finally have a spare day. OK, you're on! 

First of all, the washing machine has to be moved out of the way as it's been in the skullery as a stand alone appliance whilst we got ready for the unit to go in. There was a lot to do, the dangerous steps whose treads were all different levels were redone, radiator was removed and replaced, two of the walls were stripped of some badly done tongue and groove, boxing in of pipes. Walls and ceiling replastered. The plumbing had to be reconfigured as our predecessor had the waste for the washing machine going through the sink waste for some daft reason, the tiling to be finished off and coats of wax varnish to be applied to the draining board of the unit itself to make it water tight. It's all go here, anyway, that's all been done over the last few months since we bought the unit. Here are some "before and during" pics.

So, we get the washing machine moved into the adjacent bathroom. 

Second job is the sink unit has to have very heavy Belfast sink removed from it. Then the unit has to be carried out of the house and all the way round the perimeter, manoeuvred round three corners and through a narrow side gate, down the slope (moving the wheelie bins out of the way as we go), negotiate a tricky step in order to get it into the skullery because it won't go through the house due to a configuration of a double door combination inbetween the hallway and the kitchen, which would've been a much shorter journey were it possible. 

So we do that, looks very nice in place, surely that's about finished then, I can get into the greenhouse, oh hang on ... it has to come out again in order for the sink to go in. You can't feed it in from the front, forgot that, ha "silly me!". 

So sink carried through (why are Belfast sinks so HEAVY?!) Once that's safely in place, we realise the damn thing isn't level so it has to be pulled out again a bit so we can lift it and twirl the self levelling feet on the bottom, you get one bit level and then the other bit isn't. What a good idea to do this on the hottest day of the year so far! Levelling it would've been easier before the sink went in because it has made it so much heavier. We end up see-sawing our way through it all, sweating, lifting and twirling, we finally get it level. 

I can get out into the greenhouse now, then ... ah, just the washing machine to go in now, love. Sigh. OK. Push and pull and swear the washing machine back in place whilst connecting up the water, waste and plug once it's close enough but when we've got it in, that's not level either. "Oh leave it, I can live with it", I sez whilst putting my gloves on. Well, no, not a good idea, when it goes onto spin cycle it will probably wobble about so much, it will bang against the sides of the unit making a heck of a racket. So out it comes again, more fiddling about with another set self-levelling feet. There you go, all finished, you can get out into the greenhouse now. 

It's too blimmin' late now, I need a shower and by the time I've done that, it'll be time to start getting something to eat. Still it does look very nice! 

There's only the windowboard and handrail to be fitted and painted, tap to be plumbed in, curtains/blinds to be made and a new lampshade and we're finished in that room. I'm wondering how long that little lot will take to get done ... we're waiting on our special joiner, Martin for the windowboard/handrail. Why do things always take longer than you think?!