Autumn approaches and the end of a busy year.
The carpets have now been laid in the house and only one room hasn't been done yet but it isn't as important (library / office). Also the kitchen will need new lino as the what's on it now is unstable and creaky (bit like me really). The central heating was changed to a combi-boiler system and radiators here and there replaced. The electrical system as a whole was renovated too because of it being a bit old and creaky (see previous comment). The outside electrics also needs to be updated at some point but not this year. Various doors will need to be altered by a joiner when he gets around to it. The front door will need to be replaced too as you can spit peas through it in places (the postman isn't happy when he do this but it's a throw back to childhood fun). The new bed has arrived and awaits being put together. We have bought two second hand couches as the old ones wouldn't go through the front door because of the way the stairs run sideways across the hall as opposed to vertically. We lost the other bed as it too wouldn't go up the stairs because of how it was constructed. Curtains and curtain rails were put up in both ground floor rooms. In preparation of the new bed arriving and the first bedroom being carpeted, I had to paint everywhere in the room, to freshen it up, except for one wallpapered wall, which I washed down instead.
Outside the outbuilding was re-roofed as it had asbestos on it, rotten and crumbling (no, not the comedy duo – just the state of it). I painted the walls of one section but couldn't do the other two as I have covered them with Thompson's Water Seal (read the instructions after the second coat, where it says not to be used below ground surface and of course both outer walls are). Painted all the woodwork in the sheds though, after spending ages dumping sawdust and pine cones, which were in the wood shed section, covering several branches and chunks of tree trunks. These I sawed up for the multi-fuel stove (branches) or split into logs (tree trunks). I have also sealed the cement floor in the tool shed section and intend doing the same in the workshop section (it's got an immovable bench in it, unless I wanted to chop that up for firewood as well). I have to paint stabiliser on this section of the sheds as it suffered badly from damp because of water literally pouring in through a hole in the wall, hence the Thompson's water seal. Thankfully our next door neighbour to the left suggested I check the drainage on his side and lo and behold, it turned out the surface pipe didn't join the pipe in the lawn and you could put all the fingers of your hand through the resulting gap. I poured cement into this and hopefully that will cure it as so far it seems to but winter will be the real test. The wood above the leak, just under the roof, was rotten and I had to replace it with timber stored in the shed already. On top of this I put fascia board and replaced the old metal guttering with plastic as there was a hole where the downpipe was. After doing all this I reorganised the layout of all the sheds.
In the garden itself I had to level off the old cement slabs, to accommodate the new shed, which was delivered and put up by a team of two guys. I painted the fence and gate to bring those up to scratch, followed by the bird table and a bird box (a friend noticed the former buried in the bushes). I trimmed and levelled off the laurel bushes plus others. Following all this I dug and replanted two hydrangea bushes (one has since died and the other doesn't look that healthy either). Weed wise I pulled up three quarters of a basin, full of either bramble or rose seedlings. In the lawn itself I dug up what I think is a plant called Hawkbit, which I think must be related to dandelions but with shallower roots. The worst job was pulling up suckers from Snowberry bushes and this sucker spent weeks shifting the lot! A whole section of lawn about eight foot square had them coming through the grass and the borders. Bad back for ages.
Next year the back door will need to be repainted as will the upstairs windows. The back gate post and maybe even the post will need to be replaced but luckily that is a job for our joiner, not me. Retired? Maybe but not retiring from effort.