Started mild and wet, after almost two month of little to no rain at all it was almost welcomed. The iris and daffodils budded up and opened almost over night and the camellia was a real picture of blooms. Despite the dry winter we still managed to burn our way through the wood pile.

During the dry spells in the first & 2nd weeks we scrubbed the tiled patio around the house, on hands and knees using wire brushes, of the build up of algae and lichen. We had to email Jeyes as the original canister we brought over rusted so we decanted the contents into a glass demijohn with a stick on paper label with the instructions. When we got it out of the garage the snails had eaten the label! Fortunately the manufacturer’s sent us a photo of the instructions so we could dilute correctly to treat the tiles. The weather became bright and sunny but the temperatures dropped to –2c at night giving hard frosts once more so we had to wait until it had burnt off to work in the garden.

Francesca, our friend who works for our geometra, organised a charity event to raise funds and food donations to support the animals caught up the earthquake who have also been made homeless too. There were two 5 month old kittens that she’d rescued being cuddled by people, very calm and gently accepting of all the fuss, as they are being trained to become social pets to be taken into homes and hospitals to cheer patients up.

The wooden loungers, we bought from friends on the move, scrubbed up well and after a coat of teak oil looked good on the pool . We also used a wood preservative on the wooden tiles in to gazabo base and on the small patio at the back but many of those fell apart. We salvaged some and replaced the rest with left over tiles from the pool and other areas to remake the table area. It took some scrubbing but it looks much better and wont rot again.

While the weather was so warm, 18c during the day most of the last 2 weeks, we got down to treating the wooden floor tiles that are the base of the gazebo and a small patio at the south end of the back patio. We found that the ones by the house almost half had rotted due to a blocked gutter that over flowed and flooded the area every time it rained. We salvaged what we could and took some to the gazebo to replace 2 that had warped down there. After the ties were treated we wondered what to do with the space left by the house. Exploring the grotto we found the left over hand made terracotta tiles form the pool, lugged them up in 10 barrow trips, and laid them down. It takes a lot of tiles for more trips we found a few that formed the patio around the house and used those and still had a large gap so back tot he grotto and lifted some roof flats and used those, we had just 2 left over. Several scrubbing and a rainy day got most of the sand and clay off and they won’t need annual treatment other than a wash to keep looking good.

We had a small wood pile collapse due to high winds, so we pulled what looked unstable down and rebuilt the stacks. We shifted flower pots around to make a change and to make a different flower displays, started the mowing and cleaned the bricks under the pergola in our month early spring cleaning. Clearing out and topping up compost into troughs and pots ready for setting seeds and plants. The ongoing chore of fence fixing, replacing and maintaining continued as the wildlife locally seem to enjoy the challenge of tip-toeing or hurdling them occasionally or in the case of some just ploughing through regardless. Despite the seemingly endless lists we had lots of time for our hobbies, friends and community events. The first cut of the grass was done, patchy in places but long in others. Thankfully with all this hard work we have lots of hot water to soak nightly and undo all the kinks. We We got a wonderful surprise when Pa phoned to see how we were getting on rather then just relying on emails, give us an up date on his health and confirming they’d not be visiting in the foreseeable future until he’s better. Later that afternoon he was taken back to hospital with his racing heart again. Several tries at sorting it out with medication etc before his heart was deliberately stopped and started again. This has seemingly regulated it, fingers and toes crossed, once will be enough.

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