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Colourful Garden Bed

It’s quite amazing that we have, all of a sudden, a colourful garden bed near our house. This area has been a bit of a disaster area for the past few years as we’ve had major renovations to the house, had a new patio and paths put in and only had the garden beds bordered with bricks a year ago. These garden beds were really like a war zone with labourers, brickies, scaffolders and decorators working all around them (and over them!) for such a long time. 

After the brick borders were put in last year, I got into the beds and did the first attempt to clear the weeds and I gave everything a pretty good prune. Also, in the autumn, I put a lot of the fallen leaves in the beds as mulch. It’s really pleasing to see today just what a nice colourful garden bed we have. It’s putting on a nice show (as my father would have said). Read more

My favourite margarita recipe

When I was living in France a few years ago, I decided I wanted to make my own margarita cocktails. I looked online and found plenty of recipes that were all quite different. I tried quite a few of them but didn’t really like the outcome – I was searching for a particular margarita taste that I liked.

One day, I was discussing this with my French language teacher during a lesson and she told me that her husband had a good recipe. At the next lesson, she brought in this recipe and it turned out this was almost perfect. After making just a few small tweaks, I’ve been using this recipe ever since, and most people who try these margaritas really like them.

two margaritas

Beware though, these margaritas don’t really taste very alcoholic, but they certainly are. There’s a lot of alcohol in each one, so be careful and don’t overdo it.

My favourite margarita recipe

Ingredients

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Pleasant pheasants

Last weekend, I was doing some early morning scything to cut some grass around my vegetable patches. It’s a very peaceful start to the day that I enjoy very much. The ideal time to cut grass with a scythe is around dawn when the grass is wet with dew. Sometimes when I’m doing this, there are pheasants in the adjacent field, sometimes a fox, and sometimes other birds. It’s like we’re all out and about to get the day started. The image below shows a strip that I’d just finished cutting with the scythe.

a patch of grass I'd just scythed

[Click image to see full size]


After putting the scythe away, I noticed there where a couple of pheasants (and a crow) on the lawn near the house looking for food (see image below). I didn’t want to scare them off so I stayed quiet and wondered how close I could get to them if I moved very slowly and quietly. Read more

Skiing in the French Alps

In the middle of March, Gloria and I went skiing in the French Alps. As you can see from this photo, it’s a long way from where I was born – 18,525 kms away to be exact!

skiing in the french alps

It was quite an interesting and eventful holiday and there are a few more photos below, plus a little more on what happened.

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Hartley Greenhouse – the good and the bad

I’ve recently had a Hartley Greenhouse (from Hartley Botanic) installed in our lower garden that I’m trying to turn into a beautiful natural garden. To install the greenhouse, it needed to have a substantial base built and then have the Hartley Greenhouse installed on that. You can see photos of all this construction below (click on the images to see them full-size). 

The end result is a very nice greenhouse, but it wasn’t all plain sailing. The base was built by a company called Chartwell Paving and Landscaping and they did an excellent job. The problems that I had was with the Hartley Botanic after-sales service. I’ll describe those problems next.

Hartley Greenhouse – issues with after-sales service

If you consider buying a Hartley Greenhouse, my recommendation would be to read the fine print carefully and refuse to sign off on it. Tell them that you’ll only buy their greenhouse if they change the conditions. Like normal for me, I didn’t bother too much with the terms and conditions and I didn’t notice that they wanted 50% of the purchase price on ordering and then the other 50% on delivery.

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