The Haunted House

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Revenge of the garden part 4

Now that I have finished most of the tidying and weed proofing in the garden, it was time to put some plants in. All this was left to Amanda, as I know nothing about flowers, I just helped carry the heavy stuff to and from the car.

We got some of the following flowers from the garden center:
  • Osteospermum
  • Chrysanthemum carnival red
  • Asiatic lilly, orange
  • Gerbera
  • Zantedeschia
  • Dahlia Micronetta
  • Dahlietta
  • Ageratum
  • F1 Antirrhinum floral showers (Snapdragon)
  • Dianthus cherry magic
  • Oxalis
  • Marigold french mix

Amanda got some already prepared porcaline urns from Costco, these were really good value and looked great. We also bought a couple of half whisky barrels from Focus and turned these into container gardens also.

I dread to think how much all the flowers and pots have cost, I wont even try to think about it, but it all looks really good atlast.


Monday, June 19, 2006

Nice up of tea and a sit down

The legendary HobNob

Was sent a great website link the other day celebrating a great British institution. A nice cup of tea and a sit down. My favourite part of the site is the extensive biscuit review section, as you can't have a proper cup of tea without a good dunk from a biccy.

The garibaldi - AKA Dead fly biscuit.

The creators of the site, nicey and wifey, also have a book of the same name available from amazon. All this talk of biscuits made me a bit pekkish earlier on, so I went to the shop and got a pack of Fox's ginger crunch. Lovely.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Funny little people

Amanda sent me a funny link the other day. It's called SP Studio. This site lets you create characters in a South Park theme. Here is a picture of Me done by Amanda, and Amanda done by Me :-)


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Revenge of the garden part 3

All through the week after work I have been going to the garden center to stock up on sand for relaying the patio. In the end I got 25 bags of the stuff. My car was not very happy going up the hill with 6 bags of sand in the back. I started work about 10am. I first emptied all the sand out onto the patio area and used a rake to try and get it all level.

Once I had done this I had to trample the sand down to make sure it was flat. I was knackered after doing this, and I still had most of the heavy work to do :-)

I started putting down the weed proof membrain. This was difficult to start with as the wind was picking up and it kept on blowing everywhere. I got the glass recycling bin which was full up with beer bottles and emptied them out and used them to help keep the membrain down. Once I had done 1 line of membrain I started positioning the paving slabs into place.

When I put the paving stones down I had to jump on them to get them to bed down properly in the sand. After jumping on a slab for 30 seconds it rested nicely in place. God knows what the neigbours were thinking with me jumping up and down.

Once all the slabs were in place I drove to the garden center to get some gravel. I got 6 bags in the first load. When I got them back I started opening the bags and emptying them out inbetween the paving slabs. I had to do another 2 trips to the garden center to get more gravel, in the end I got through 18 bags of the stuff.

I was quite relieved to get the patio finished in the end as it was very heavy work. Once I had finished I went and got a shower and then Me and Amanda went to Ikea to look for a patio table and chairs. We want to have a bbq tomorrow for dinner, so it would be nice to sit outside. Once we got the table and chairs back we had the fun of trying to assemble them. I really hate flat pack furniture, but between the 2 of us we got it all assembled within an hour.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Last day at Full Fat Productions

Today was my last day at Full Fat Productions in Coventry. This also marks my last day working professionaly in the computer games industry after 10 years. This is quite sad, but now I can focus on my new career in financial services as a software developer.

I went out for lunch with all my colleagues, I think nearly every turned up at the pub which was cool :-) I'll definatly keep in touch with a lot of people there, as I made a lot of new friends. But I certainly will not be sad to see the last of Coventry. Not a very pleasent city in my opinion. I now have a few weeks off work. During this time I want to get more work done in the garden, and do some work/tidying around the house.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Revenge of the garden part 2

Today I carried on my war with weed control in the garden. I started about 9.30 in the morning after the skip had been delivered. I started digging out the old flower bed. This took a long time to do as I needed to dig out all the roots. It took me around 2 hours to get this dug out.

Once the flower bed had been dug out, I started putting down the weed proof membrain. I peged it into place to make sure it couldn't move. Once this was all in place I covered the whole lot with brown bark chippings.

We are going to cheat with the garden. Instead of putting plants into the ground and puncturing the membrain, we are leaving the area covered in bark, and will put containers on top of this. Should make the whole area easier to maintain.

Once I had done the flower bed in the back garden, I did the same for the small flower bed in the front garden. This didn't taken me that long as I had already dug the area out. After I had done this I got rid of all the rubbish from the back garden and put it in the skip.

I also want to lift up the entire patio area and put weed proofing down and relay the patio. I started this process of, by lifting up all the paving stones and digging out the weeds. Through the week I will make lots of trips to the garden center to buy the sand and gravel I need to ge the job done next weekend.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

New Job Ahoy

The time since coming back from San Francisco has been quite bizzare. For a while I have been contemplating leaving the computer games industry. This is for a number of reason, one is that I have been in this industry 10 years, so I would like to try something different. The second reason is because the games industry really isn't that stable. Companies go out of business very quickly in this industry, and the amount of decent companies in the midlands is declining. Me and Amanda would like to start a family in the next few years, so job security is something that is high on the agenda.

I had an oportunity to go to an Interview with the online bank 'Egg' and I got the job :-). This interview came about quite quickly, I wasn't actually looking to leave my current job at Full Fat Productions in Coventry, but when the oportunity to interview at Egg came up, I couldn't refuse. I resigned from Full Fat a couple of days ago, this was quite a sad experience. Normally when you resign from a company, you are happy because there is something about the company you don't like, but in this case that is not true. Full Fat has been a great employer and they have a very talented team of people creating games. I wish I could say what the games are that we are working on, but they haven't been publically announced yet. But I can assure you that they are very good titles. I am due to start at Egg on the 10th of July as a C# Solutions Engineer. I am quite excited about this, but I am also very nervous as this basically is a complete career change for me. But hey, I like a fresh challenge :-) Wish me luck.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Revenge of the garden part 1

This weekend I decided to try and start sorting out the garden. Firstly on Saturday I mowed the lawn at the front and back of the house. I also mowed the grass outside the front of the house. This was difficult to do as it was about 2 feet long, so I had to go over it 3 times to get it looking right. Next I had to trim the evergreen hedge that goes around the front and back garden. This took all afternoon to do, but it looked good when I had finished.

Then today I started on the back. I have been in a fierce battle with the weeds for years in this garden and I'm affraid to say that the weeds have been winning. A couple of years ago, Me and my Dad managed to get the garden into a managable state, this included re-turfing the back, digging out flower beds and making a 2nd patio. When we had finished it looked very good. But trying to keep ontop of all the weeds is a challenge. Both Me and Amanda have demanding careers, and I commute 4.5 hours a day on the train forwards and backwards to Coventry, so the last thing either of us want to do is sort out the garden.

Herb garden after the membrain put into place.

Well this time I am fighting back against the weeds. It's going to be a lot of work, but when I am done it should mean we have a garden that is much more maintainable yet will look as good as the time Me and my Dad first sorted out the garden. Today I dug out the flower beds and herb area to the right hand side of the garden. What I decided to do was after digging them out, I put down a weed proof membrain. Once this had been secured into place I then covered the areas with gravel. I don't intend to put plants into the ground. I indent to buy nice looking containers to stand ontop of the gravelled areas and put plants into these. This will make the area much easier to maintain.

Work in progress area full of gravel.

I didn't realise just how many bags of gravel we would need. We went to the garden center 3 times today and bought 15 bags of gravel, and this still wasn't enough to fill the flower beds on the side of the garden. This week when I get back from work I will buy more gravel and get the areas properly filled.

Once I have completed these parts I will then sort out the main patio. The guy who owned the house before us did quite a bad job of laying the patio. He didn't put anything down to stop the weeds growing up through the paving slabs, so I will have to lift them all up, level the area off and put a weedproof membrain down. Once I have done this I can re-lay the paving stones and gravel the areas inbetween them. This should stop the weeds growing.

After I have done the patio I will then need to dig out the main flower bed which you can see to the right on the photo above (the overgrown green bit). As before I shall put down the weedproof membrain, but instead of covering the area with gravel, I will put down bark chippings. This should look quite nice when done, and as before we can put containers ontop of the area with flowers etc.

So as you can see there is a lot of work to be done, but the garden should be much more maintainable when I'm finished. Well I hope so anyway. I hope the weeds arn't clever enough to find other ways to invade.