Simple Tips for a Cheap Christmas

There is a Christmas Market on Cathedral green. The grass is flattened by rustic buildings and baby Jesus has his own, fresh from B&Q, right at the front. This is all a call to spend money, but first I have to take a closer look at that baby.

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How to Convert a Barn Part 99.  It is all about Marketing.

The chickens watch from the gate. They like the busyness as we rush in an out of that barn to polish taps, angle lights, and wrestle with curtains. It is fun, except when you get tripped up by a chicken, or until you go to IKEA to seek out fine, soft, crisp, bedding with tasteful cushions. IKEA is just a place for getting lost, feeling inadequate and making argumentative decisions about cheese graters.

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Do I Need a New King?

There are flags all over the village but this is the biggest one. When it flaps backwards, the letters spell NOITANOROC. A confusing word for a strange day. Watch it on TV? Go eat soggy cakes in the rain outside the village hall? Swear allegiance? Announce that he is ‘Not Mine’ or something else? What to do?

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What Happened this Summer? Only the Phone Knows

The blackberries and sloes are early this year. You can almost hear them chanting: ‘Here we are. That’s it. No more summer, any more.’ How did it go so fast? What even happened?  Tip. If you can’t remember how you spent your time, look at your phone, and piece it together with whatever photos are there.

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How Chickens Kill Time

Sitting out in the sun and ‘Doing Nothing’ is a bit like yoga, filing a tax return, or defrosting a freezer, because you have to commit time, and stick at it. Don’t bring your list of things to do, because you might forget you are forcing yourself to do nothing and start doing the things. Slow down, maybe read a bit, watch clouds and notice whatever is around. Here it might be swallows skimming the sky for flies, the cat stalking a moth, or the chickens chasing a butterfly. Those chickens. What do they actually do all day?

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Jobs to do in the Garden in Winter

The relentless grey skies are lighter this week. Time to step outside and watch the cat get stuck up a tree, maybe waste hours trying to get her down with ladders and treats. Or, leave her up there, and follow this list of exciting things to do.

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Different Ways to Seize the Day

The Laburnum is out, summer is here, and it is getting busy. This week I did three things that are good for the soul. Swimming, metal detecting and rodent trapping. Which was best?

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May Jobs in the Garden

The new variant is settling in quickly. Our government seems more surprised about this than our scientists do. The rest of us talk about nonsense travel rules and worldwide vaccine distribution. Then we wonder if the UK road map to reopening might end up looking like this footpath.

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March Jobs in the Garden.

Einstein suggested that time is not constant. He probably started thinking about this after a tough slow winter. One day he was glad that February was done, the next he was staring at his Camelia bush wondering where the hell March went. I know how he felt.

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Hedgehogs in the Pampas Grass

The garden is bleak. Leaves rot on slimy paths, sunflower skeletons collapse against broken garden chairs, abandoned balls wait for dogs that don’t visit and snivelling chickens hang around the back door, hoping for company. Above all this the Pampas Plumes soar towards the sky. ‘Look at us’ they say. ‘See how we glow in the sun. Autumn is wonderful’.

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Mallow, Buddleia and Other Uninvited Guests

This Mallow weed is usually pulled up for the offence of ‘covering the path’. This year I let it stay and now it’s a flowering bush. The chickens love lurking in it, sniffing out ants or something.

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Bottlebrush and Clover

Here come the bottlebrush flowers. This Australian bush is a symbol of laughter and joy. There is not much of that from the Australians I know. They should be here by now. Laughter and joy it was, when the garden was full of friends and family from far flung places.

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The Last Days of Spring

This is the last bright forget me not. The rest are dropping seeds on fading bluebells. Clearing them away is like packing up Christmas decorations. The explosion of colour, that made every corner look special, is coming to an end.

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