A slight obsession with books

Reading and Fibrecrafts


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Adventure playground – landscaping day three

Late shifts and rain have prevented me from posting the daily progress on this, plus the guys couldn’t work on one day due to unforeseen problems.

We do have lots of progress though. The gravel has been put down around the three sides, outside the enclosure, and it looks great. It’s still to be tamped down and levelled but we’re really pleased with how it looks.

The hardcore has been put down inside, leaving gaps where the planting will be. A finer layer was added after it was tamped down.

The slabs have been laid round the inside edge. They look great!

The step has been re-laid, with bricks beneath it and an extra step, partly because it looks nice, but mostly because otherwise we’d have had a patched bit of artificial turf as the roll isn’t quite long enough.

They’ve also weeded the patio and jetwashed the soil from between the slabs. They’re going to put some stuff down there to deter further weed growth as it’s a pain trying to get the weeds out of those fine gaps.

Looking good so far but lots more to do.

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Adventure playground – landscaping day one

I got home from work to find that lots had been done through the day. Just look at it now.

Stephen took a couple of photos during the day to send to me at work. At this point they’d put down the weedproof membrane.

They did a great job, tucking it under the enclosure so no weeds could come through and it’s tucked under the sleepers outside the enclosure too.

Talking of sleepers, don’t these look so much better than those old bricks that were on the verge of falling down.

And there are more sleepers supporting the slabs on the other side.

They’ve made a start on putting the hardcore down inside the enclosure, ready for the slabs and turf.

So far we’re really pleased with their work. I can’t wait to see what it looks like tomorrow night!

 


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Adventure playground – lots of progress

We’ve been trying to find the time, and the energy to get this bit of the garden landscaped for a while now. It hasn’t been easy, so we’ve given up on the idea of trying to do it ourselves and have found some nice chaps to do it for us.

It desperately needs doing and at the rate we’re working, it’ll still be a work in progress in two years time. Every time it rains it turns into a mud bath, which is why we have lots of cardboard down at the moment. My kitchen floor is permanently covered in muddy paw prints, or so it seems. Rosie loves the cardboard and burrows underneath it to dig in the soil. Not a great look on a cat with a white front and face.

I thought I’d take photos before, during and after as it’ll be fun to see the faster progress made by professionals.

This is how it looks this morning before the chaps start work.

The inside –  The safety porch –The left side – The right side – The back – The outside edges were knee-high in weeds but I had a good couple of days out there and got rid of them. Hopefully, once the chaps have finished, we won’t get that problem again.

Weather permitting, there’ll be more photos tomorrow.


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Scrapbooking – I’m on a roll

I haven’t scrapped for a couple of years, pretty much. I hadn’t realised it had been so long until I checked when I last uploaded any layouts to my blog. It’s been frustrating, to be honest. I have so much stash and I really want to use it, but every time I tried, it just couldn’t hold my interest.

I recently saw that one of my friends had started to scrap her holiday photos, days after returning from that holiday. The layout she’d done was lovely and it made me want to play with photos and pretty paper again.

So, I pulled out some photos that I’d already got a vague plan for and scrapped them. Just like that. Previously, whenever I’d tried, I’d pushed bits of paper around for an hour and then given up. This layout came together in about 30 minutes. It just felt right.

It’s a rubbish photo, mind. I seem to have lost the knack, (if I ever had it) of photographing the layouts straight. You get the idea though.

Once I’d done that one, I wanted to do more so this one was the result. Again, it felt easy to do.

Looking at the photo of it, in hindsight maybe the photo should’ve been a bit higher, but it’s ok. More to the point, I loved doing it (and the photo of it is a bit better).

Since then I’ve pulled out the Alaska/Rockies photos and have made good progress on those. Once I’ve got a few more layouts done, I’ll post a gallery of them.

 


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Adventure playground – progress

We’re still landscaping the new cat enclosure and it’s taking a long time. We’ve had to remove the top layer of soil to make room for the hardcore that needs to go underneath the artificial grass. That’s pretty much done now but it still needs a bit of levelling.

We’ve had plenty of help from the cats though. They love it if one of us is outside with them especially if there’s a wheelbarrow involved.

Rosie has definitely got over being nervous about going outside. She runs up and down the ladders as much as the other two. Frodo loves to lounge on the shelves and keep an eye on what’s going on.

Sammie loves it up high too.

The shelves make a great spot to watch the birds and squirrels from as we’ve got bird feeders outside the pen.

We have had a bit of a problem with dirty cats as both Rosie and Frodo think it’s great fun to roll on the ground and Rosie has been digging for worms which she then plays with.

We’ve started to get a few grasses, ready to plant once the artificial grass is down. I’ve got them on the patio for ease of watering and the cats love to get in between them. I can’t wait until we’ve got them growing all over the garden so they can hide in them.

The enclosure was definitely worth getting. The cats love being outside and we’re happy knowing they’re safe.

Hopefully it’ll be landscaped soon it looks a bit nicer than it does at the moment.


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A very bare garden

A few years ago we cleared the jungle that was lurking outside our back door and turned it into a vegetable garden. We’ve grown tomatoes, beans, courgettes and lots of other lovely veggies.

Last year, Stephen had to do most of the work himself as my legs and back were getting worse and I was so tired from the full-time rota at work. We decided that this year we’d drop the gardening as it was too much for us to cope with, and we’d use the space for an extended cat enclosure instead.

Stephen has been very hard at work outside over the last couple of months and has cleared away the old enclosure, a shed, and lots of junk that had piled up.

garden04 garden05That small shed has now gone too, as have some more of the slabs. Just in time too as they’re coming to install the new enclosure in a few days.

I can’t wait to see the cats when they can just stroll out the door and play outside. We’ll be landscaping inside the enclosure with hard and soft areas, plus some non-toxic plants for them to hide under to bird-watch. I’m planning a solar-powered water feature for Rosie and some tunnels for Frodo. Sammie will love all the climbing areas.

More photos to come soon.


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Kitty Angels

Before we’d even booked our last holiday, we’d talked about how the cats would be cared for while we were away. We looked at several options but quickly decided against a cattery. The cats are used to having the run of the house and I knew they’d hate being confined to a small space. Plus Sammie would be really stressed by strangers and noises.

That left a cat sitting service and after doing a lot of research, we contacted Kitty Angels. They arranged to visit us and spent some time with us telling us about the service and asking us lots of questions about the cats and their habits. Tony filled in a questionnaire with all the details of how we wanted the cats fed and cared for. We were very impressed and went ahead and booked with them.

They’ve got brilliant reviews on Facebook, which was just as reassuring as the various documents that Tony had brought to show us, such as insurance and DBS checks.

We had another visit a couple of weeks before we went on holiday, this time from Andrea who would be the main visitor. We showed her where everything was and she made sure she had all the information about the cats that she needed. She also met the cats and made friends with Frodo straight away.

What I loved about the service is that they set up a WhatsApp group so that I could receive twice-daily updates and ask any questions. With every update I got a chatty account of the visit telling me what games they’d been playing and including lots of photos and the odd video. Because of the time difference, the first update was there by the time that I woke up so it was lovely to be able to see how the cats were doing first thing in the morning.

Andrea and the other Angels took some great photos. These are just a few of them.

They played with the laser pointer, the flying frenzy and a piece of string. They got down on the floor and played with mice. They fussed them and cuddled them and talked to them. Even timid little Sammie had a fuss and some playtime.

They cleaned up any mess, even getting the vacuum out and took any waste away with them so there was no smell. They let us know that the cats were eating well and using their litter trays. On bonfire night they put my iPod dock on a timer so there was some music to block out the fireworks.

I’ve already booked them for next year. I came home to happy, healthy, well-fed cats and you can’t ask better than that.