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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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Planting trees and shrubs – 24 of them!

This year some might say I’ve got a little bit over board, as I’ve planted 24 trees and shrubs in my back garden. It really isn’t as silly as it sounds as we have a rather large garden and I have about half an acre that I’m trying to turn into a lovely natural garden. I’ve been planting trees and shrubs over the past 3 weeks and have plenty of photos to share on this page.

I’m finding it fun to gradually work on this natural garden and to try and imagine how it will look in the future. It’s a bit like a really long term art project that will take many years and has the added complication of needing to work with Nature to achieve the final, living result.

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Somerset and Dorset Railway – Company Rule

I saw this sign in a pub in North Wales and it cracked me up. It says it’s from the Somerset and Dorset Railway in 1864 and it looks quite old but, who knows, maybe I’ve been played. I did a bit of research on the web and it looks like you can buy original, antique, cast-iron versions of this Somerset and Dorset Railway sign, and a lot of recent reproductions are available as well.somerset and dorset railway - company rule

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Pooltester kit – avoiding Bromine Hot Tub nightmares

When I bought a hot tub back in 2017, I decided to go with bromine instead of chlorine because I read that it was softer/milder and worked better in warm water. Well, it all started off as a bit of a nightmare. For a couple of months, I couldn’t get the water looking good and it kept going opaque and green. I was following the instructions given by the manufacturers (Hydropool) but these were inadequate and, in many cases, not good advice. After lots of frustration, I asked a friend who had a hot tub and he said he started off with bromine but switched to chlorine because of similar problems. This didn’t sound good, but I didn’t want to give up and wanted to get my bromine hot tub working properly. I did a lot of research and have sorted out all the problems now and have a crystal clear bromine hot tub. And it’s true that bromine feels less harsh than chlorine. One of the keys to sorting this out was getting a serious pooltester kit.

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