Keeping everyone busy

As the lockdown continues we all seem to have found a way of coping and keeping busy. I’ve never been busier as I’m still working at the Q and as the summer is upon us I have lots of grass cutting, hedge cutting, trimming and weeding (which never seems to get finished) to do. So I’ve been outdoors a lot and having spent many hours with Abi Cleeve last month discussing pigmentation and sun protection, I am now really trying to take care of my face. I’ve always been a bit lackadaisical about my Mediterranean skin, believing that unless the sun was really strong I would be fine.

Well I now know that this is ‘head in the sand stuff’ and have started to wear sun protection all the time. The first few age spots have started so I am using the Ultrasun anti-pigmentation formula which goes on really easily and lasts all day long (even the long days I’m having).

While on the whole, we are all busy at home, I do feel a bit sorry for my son. As I write this he would have been sitting his first A level. For his particular cohort, it’s been a bit brutal. He was working part-time as a life guard at the local leisure centre, but resigned so he could concentrate on his revision. They closed the leisure centre on the day of his last shift and furloughed the staff, but as he’d resigned he gets nothing. They announced the school was closing and he was out two days later, his driving test was cancelled, he can’t see his girlfriend and he turned 18 in April and couldn’t even go out with his mates for a beer! Ouch. He’s at a bit of a loose end as we live too far from any civilisation for him to get a job without being able to drive and it’s all a bit rubbish.

However, I’m doing my best to keep him occupied and I’m sure he’s delighted to be ‘helping’ me paint the windows (I am paying him!) – actually, I had to do some major reconstruction work (as you can see) before the painting even started. The window had rotted and I had to excise the rotten wood and splice in some new before filling and sanding to make it look like new. Hopefully it’ll last a good few years.

As we are obviously going to be spending the summer at home, I was persuaded (much against my better judgement – as it will ruin my lawn) to buy a pop-up swimming pool. My daughter was the main instigator as she is even more of a tadpole than I am. It went up pretty quickly but took a long time to fill. Yes it has been used and there has been some shrieking getting used to the temperature… and the grass will grow back, I hope!

The garden is looking good (apart from that huge blue thing) but with the weather being so dry I have been spending a lot of time watering. I know our plant suppliers have been very very busy getting plants packed and shipped and I know some of you have experienced a few problems with deliveries. They are a good bunch and they have been overwhelmed by the number of orders, but they will sort things out if they can. Patience is a virtue for gardeners.

All my orders have turned up well so the lavender from Plants2Gardens is in, I ordered four sacks of Richard Jackson’s compost so the baskets are planted (or being planted), the gardening pick from May are in the herbaceous border and once they get going they will look great. So as long as I can learn to run with a full watering can, we should be OK. I’ve ordered one of my trusty favourites to help with the watering, Wet-N-Grow, to help with make the watering easier. I wouldn’t be without it and it’s just back in with a great special price. It helps break the surface tension of the water so that it gets into the compost better and allows the compost to soak up water better. I love it and have used it for over a decade now!

Keep a look out for June’s gardening pick which will create a lovely display very quickly. Thompson & Morgan have put together a trio of Thunbergia (with three different colours), also known as black-eyed Susan vine or clock vine. It’s a quick-growing vine boasting many open-faced flowers, usually with dark centres (hence the name “black-eyed Susan”).

They are including a half barrel tower planter so all you need is some compost and a bit of sun, and… bloom! They are ready for immediate dispatch so the earlier you place your order in June then the earlier you can get things growing.

We have a had a few really hot days (great to warm up the water in the pool) but also tricky when it comes to getting a good sleep. QVC are always there and have a few really nifty fans to keep you cool. We have personal ones from Fan U and clever ones that are very ‘cool’ from Dyson (check this one and this one out) Make sure to look out for some great special offers in June too!

Stay well and try to enjoy the moment, as we know there’s probably lots in store!

Simon x

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