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Friday 14th August, 2015
Category: 2015/08
Tags: DIY Alfie garden

Dear reader, you are to be congratulated for spurring me into action! The list of jobs is now being ticked off one item at a time and things are slotting nicely into place.

I was sitting in the side lane the other day (where even on the hottest days there's a lovely cooling breeze) watching Alfie play with his new friends. They are three chihuahuas of varying sizes (Topcho, Buxy and Suzy) who Stefan the mechanic brings along when he's fixing cars at his garage just down the lane. Alfie gets on particularly well with Buxy who is the largest of the three, and they bound happily up and down, chasing and barking and getting excited about nothing.

 Buxy

Well, as I was sitting there, Mitko the milkman came down in his car for some work doing, so as he got out I hailed him to ask if he knew anything about bales of straw.  As luck would have it he seems to know a source and asked me how many I wanted. I said about 20 and so he said he'd find out the price for me. Hopefully I shall hear something on this front when he brings the milk on Monday.

Yesterday I went into Dryanovo to get the car serviced. It turns out that the husband and son of one of the candidates for Mayor in Gostilitsa have a garage there and so in my mind I figured they must do a good and fair job otherwise votes will be lost, so I ventured along. I couldn't find the place at first, and cheekily asked in another garage where it was and was vaguely pointed in the right direction by a rather miffed mechanic. Still lost, I phoned the Mayor candidate who then got her hubby to walk up the street to meet me.  Anyway, they were able to do the service that morning so I left the car with them and went off up to the high street to browse the second hand shops for yet more net curtaining for the balcony mozzie net project.

On the way back from the car service I passed the old dairy where I'd seen all the lovely pallet boards. Summoning courage I pulled in and peered over the gate till the security guard came out. I explained I was interested in the pallet boards and would it be possible to have a few. He told me that unfortunately the decent ones are not up for grabs (even for a price) but I could help myself to as many of the damaged ones as I liked. Brilliant! It turns out that a lot of the damaged ones are in fact still pretty sturdy and just missing the odd slats here and there. Unfortunately my little car isn't wide enough for some of the bigger ones but after two trips I had 6 decent looking ones and a big bunch of oddments of wood for patching up the pallets. Certainly I should have enough for the compost bin project anyway.

Blow me, when a delivery of goods I'd ordered from Praktiker came, there was a shiny new pallet at the bottom which was mine to keep too! Bonus.

All fired up with action now I decided to tackle next door's tree which had now grown so large that the branches were dangling on my shed roof and clonking quite heavily on the tiles whenever there was a breeze. If there should be a strong wind I envisaged tiles being lifted right off, so some pruning was in order. It's not a fruit tree or anything (at least I hope it's not and that a summer trim won't kill it), so I propped the ladder up against the dividing wall and climbed up onto their garage roof, loppers in hand.

Now, I could get so far along just walking on the flat roof of the garage, so began to clip back the offending branches, but then I got to a point where I could reach no further. Only one thing for it - to climb up onto my sloping shed roof.

I have no head for heights at all, and to me my shed roof looks as steep and slippery as Mount Everest so no way was I going to attempt to actually walk on it. Instead I scuffled along on my bottom, inching my way further across and higher up until I reached the summit from where I could lop off the rest of the branches.

Straddling the ridge tiles I even felt confident enough for a selfie... sort of.

Look at me, mum, no hands!

Having safely scuffled my way back to the ladder, I threw all the trimmings down into the garden and then climbed back to terra firma.

 Some of the trimmings

Looking up at the now tree free shed roof I felt quite proud of my achievement. Let's hope the neighbours are equally happy when they see what I've done to their tree.

I hate throwing anything away and was thrilled several weeks ago when I obtained about 30 old water bottles which I plan to use for storing excess rain water (if it ever rains again) and for mini incubators for seedlings next spring. Unfortunately the plastic carrying handles are quite weak and often snap after a while making it awkward to carry the bottles especially when full of water.  So here's my solution - a new set of string and wood carrying handles:

So far it's working pretty well.

Keep sending positive thoughts my way everyone, there's still much to do!

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