June 6: Pool and lawn success

I can’t take any credit for it, but the pool is clean and slowly filling up.

Leo was up early to tackle the task and did a great job. It’s tempting to jump into it now, half full! While he did the pool, I finally, FINALLY!, finished the lawn. No more holes to fill!

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“I’ve come to clean ze poooool”

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From this …

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… to this! Yay!

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Liliane dipping a tentative toe … hopefully in a week it will be warm enough to dive in

We also moved a fridge into the little annex area under the balcony where the two pink geranium pots sit. We cleaned it, set it running and filled it with our drinks! We lost the bar fridge in the kitchen to make way for the dishwasher, so now we have another that will be just as handy throughout summer.

It’s another stinking hot day here today. We’re off to the Muse concert in an hour or so. Can’t wait!

Update: I forgot my 30-Day Challenge, of learning three to four new plant names each day!

The texture of these lamb’s ear plants make them one of my favourites. I knew their name before but now know the Latin name, Stachys byzantina. Unfortunately, there’s none in my garden but they are abundant in the Rosengarten in town. Sometimes, one leaf accidentally falls off the plant when I visit, and I rub my fingers over it constantly for the rest of the day. 🙂

The aeonium haworthii x urbicum grows willy nilly on the terrace, after I took them from the large pot and spread them around the rock garden under the bushes. They’ve multiplied like crazy, provide great colour, with their green centre and pink edges, and have beautiful long-stemmed pink flowers towards the end of summer. We also have smaller reddy brown aeonium spread in the same place.

We have a pot with fuchsia hanging by the front door. The flowers are a mix of pink and purple sections – pink undercarriage and purple centre. They hang nicely and I hope the flowers keep coming thick and fast!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

May 30: Physical and mental #2

Woke up with the worst hhhhh…ayfever (you thought I was going to write hangover, huh?), so spent a few miserable hours in bed feeling sorry for myself and waiting for the tablet to kick in.

It wasn’t all a waste of time – I listened to more episodes of a thoroughly intriguing podcast called Serial. Being behind the times is a recurring theme in my life – this non-fiction story/series, about a Baltimore journalist trying to find out if a convicted killer is in fact innocent – was released to great acclaim in October last year and I’m only just getting around to checking it out. Highly recommended when your eyes are so puffy from hayfever that you can’t read a book! Or when you’re doing the dusting, or knitting etc, or can’t sleep at night and don’t want to turn a light on. I can’t wait to find out what happens! This definitely ticks the mentally fit box!

Once I was ready to venture outdoors, we put up the tent near the pool with help from Liliane’s friends Fritz and Lotte. Now all we need is clean water (once it’s warmed up a bit more).

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Many hands make light work

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An action shot from the working bee after-party!

I also mowed a small section of lawn that couldn’t be accessed last week because of a parked car, and then whipper-snippered further down the hill in that area. I don’t like mowing there because the mower gets quite a lean-on, on the edge of the forest, so I had to clean up the edges a bit. It was important to do it today, so it’s nice for when Rene comes home from hospital tomorrow – his operation went so well, he’s allowed to leave earlier than expected. Good news! (Hope I haven’t jinxed it now.)

And in other ‘good news’, here are some articles I’ve enjoyed this week:

My blogging friend Freda (am I allowed to say that, Freda?!) from livesimplysimplylive recently posted this ballet-influenced exercise routine which I’m looking forward to trying. Her blog has many interesting and inspiring musings and themes, and many calming photos.

Improved flexibility and balance have been high on my list of “wants” for 2015 and this article reinforces the need to bend and stretch, reach for the stars

Despite the disturbing headline, this is a wonderful, heart-warming story of true love and having to go to odd lengths for the same rights. I hope countries around the world soon follow Ireland’s lead.

Ariana from paris-to-go has completed one month of washing her hair just with water. See the results and read her thoughts about being chemical free here. Very inspiring!

And presto! The reason for the holes in Swiss cheese has been discovered!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

May 28: Caving for a craving

Another beautiful sunny day meant more outdoor work, and outdoor work without breakfast or lunch meant one hungry beast come dinner time.

Rene went to hospital this afternoon for a scheduled visit – he’s having an operation on his neck tomorrow afternoon. This is his sixth hospital visit/operation since I’ve lived here (three and a half years). The first four were for his hip – what a debacle that was. This operation will hopefully alleviate some headache problems he’s been having.

So before he left, there were things to do. (Hopefully he’ll be back by the middle of next week, touch wood). I spent four hours with the jet hose cleaning the stone tiles around the pool. Four hours – on one ‘small’ job! But it was needed to get rid of three years worth of grime. I’ll do our terrace and the back of the big farmhouse on Saturday.

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You can see where I’ve cleaned – the two and a half rows on the right

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And this is what it looks like now. Cream stones rather than green

I was soaked and covered in black grot by the end. I had little stones up my nose and in my ears and my glasses were smeared grey. My arms are also slightly sunburnt. Slightly …

That’s not the only thing hurting my arms. Have you ever used a Kärcher jet spray machine? Those things pump out some serious water and the nozzle weighs quite a bit when in action. My arms were still sore from scooping and snipping yesterday so they are going to weigh a tonne tomorrow! How will I get over that? By cleaning Liliane’s house, of course!

And now to caving for a craving … I called Leo at about 5pm and asked if we could drive straight to McDonald’s when he got home from work. He was shocked – that’s not part of the fitfor15in15 plan! This is the first time I’ve had McDonald’s this year. It could possibly be the first time I’ve had fast hamburger food for an entire year. But he didn’t put up a fight and boy did we enjoy those babies! I was so hungry, I could have eaten my arm (if it wasn’t so burnt! 🙂 )

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Hello Alps! You’ve been hiding behind the clouds for too long! Taken by Leo at 6.30pm

Leo cracked me up when he took the photo, above, for me. My substitute iPhone4 is very, very, very slow and we’re still waiting to hear what’s happening with my iPhone5, which was sent for repairs last week following the black screen of death. Leo asked why I wanted him to take photos with his phone, and I explained the quality would be better. He then said, “You’re suffering from a bad case of missyourphoneia!” I told him that joke, in a language that is still sometimes foreign to him, deserved a hug (I suffer from misophonia). Very clever boy!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

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Missyourphoneia! Burgers! Yeah baby!

May 27: Five hours in the garden

Today was a busy, do-it kind of day, as opposed to yesterday’s nothing kind of day.

First off yahoo, the sun came out!!!! so it was time to scoop the leaves out of the pool to prepare for summer fun. In the next few weeks, it will be cleaned with a power hose, old water out, clean water and chlorine in and then final ingredient – just add people.

Rene kindly ‘made’ me a pair of gumboots from an old pair of fishing waterproofs, which came up to his thigh. They’re really old and he never uses them anymore, so he cut them off just below the knee. Because they were about five sizes too big, I wore a thick pair of socks and a pair of slipper kind of things as well. But I was dry and clean, and in this mess, that’s all that mattered …

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Gumboots at the ready …

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… let’s clean this thing!

The leaves and algae/gunk on the bottom were quite think and the smell was pretty foul too. Leo came home quickly on his way to a meeting, so he snapped some pictures to prove I stood in that cesspool.

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Had to block my nose!

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Dumping the leaves and getting a little sunburnt

I forgot to take an after photo, but all the leaves are gone and plenty of the gunk/gunge is still floating on the bottom but at least it will flush out easily with the jet hose.

Then Rene mowed the lawn and I whipper-snippered a large section behind the garage, where the forest is creeping closer and closer.

It’s amazing how fast the time goes when you’re working outdoors. I definitely gave my arms a good workout, scooping and snipping. And there’s a bit of colour on the back of my neck and arms. Oops!

Speaking of colour, here are my little garden photos at long last.

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Pinks and purples and one red one

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Lots of colour in the pots

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In the corner near the herb garden

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Geraniums and snapdragons on the kitchen window …

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… and geraniums on the unused, north-facing balcony

Wishing you a wonderful day.