For those of you who are bored enough to actually visit this site, or nerfbaby, (given the total lack of updates - sorry!) I just wanted to let you know that we'll be moving...virtually, that is. No firm decisions yet, but we'll let you know when things are decided. The upcoming new arrival necessitates some shifting around of usernames and that will be sorted relatively soon. In the meantime, you can find minimal updates but lots of photos on my facebook page - I'm not as precious as Stu is about photos having to be perfect before sharing them with the outside world, so there are quite a few already available, and more coming soon.

Some notes on gardening.

What a busy, busy weekend, and what a lot got done! Saturday saw us finally plant stuff out in the front garden (only half of it, but that means only half to go!), as well as more-or-less catch up on the masses of laundry left from the previous week. Rohan had come up to install a new doorway into our bedroom; he pulled down the wall, closed off the old doorway, and put up plasterboard for the new wall. It looks fantastic - will look better once it's been plastered and painted, of course - and it was wonderful of him to do it for us, but it did mean that there was plaster dust absolutely everywhere. In the pile of clean laundry waiting to be folded, in the pile of laundry waiting to be ironed, in the clean stuff from the linen closet because the door doesn't close properly, in the curtains, etc. And, since I'm allergic to plaster dust, it wasn't as though we could just take everything outside, shake it, and go on from there. No, absolutely everything had to be washed. We might have to buy a new washing machine soon since I think this one might have been knackered in the process!

But we now have our bedroom in the layout that I have wanted since moving into the house: the furniture can basically be arranged in such a way that the original fireplace, boarded up for years and years, can now be opened - and left open! We've still not done that, though, because I've got to order the chimney balloon first: don't want birds flying into the bedroom down the open flue! We'll be getting a bunch of chimney balloons, since we've taken out the stove that used to be in the library and are intending to use it instead on our "newly" created patio out on the top level of the garden.

The call for garden helpers last year to create an area that could be paved was answered and a fantastic job was done by all. We have a lovely seating area on the top level now, and a newly sewn lawn around it. Last week Dylan and I constructed the arch that will frame the entrance to that particular part of the garden, and the sweet pea seedlings that I have been nursing for weeks are on their way to creeping up it. I also bought a climbing rose today which will also go there - mainly because the chocolate vine that I had originally intended for the arch is too expensive....

I've also finished the veg patch. I decided to go with the easily-created option for raised beds, and have got loads of old tyres from a local garage, and have used them to create the raised beds. I've planted bulbs and climbing plants on the side of the tyres visible from the rest of the garden, so hopefully they should be obscured from view, and once full of growing vegetables they shouldn't look so incongruous. I can't wait to see how they work out. I planted broad beans in the autumn and have just added some sweet williams to those tyres, since they're supposed to help attract pollinators, and over the weekend also took all my seedlings that I have been raising on windowsills out into the cold frame. We've also got a barrel of jerusalem artichokes already planted, and this week I'll be planting the first early spuds. Having had such a mild winter I keep thinking that I should be able to plant some more plants outside, but also keep thinking that we're bound to have to pay in some way for such mild weather and am worried about a cold snap if I proceed too hastily. So other than the spuds I'm going to wait until the end of March before getting stuff actually into the ground. But feel free to pop by during the summer to sample some of the produce!

We're also lucky enough to be sharing an allotment with some friends, and I'm planning to get some asparagus and globe artichokes (already doing well as seedlings) out there soon. Since these are long-term crops they'll mark the borders of the bed. This year, the rest of the space is going to be dedicated to a "Three Sisters Bed", an Iroquois system of co-planting which involves planting sweetcorn, then growing beans up the sweetcorn plants, and planting squashes underneath. The beans replace some of the nitrogen leached by the sweetcorn, while the leaves of the squashes shelter the earth so that it doesn't lose too much moisture - essential for greedy plants like sweetcorn!

Yes, life has been about gardening a lot of late. Since I've eagerly been ordering and hoarding seeds all winter I'm ecstatic that I'm finally able to get some things started. Oh, the raspberries and blueberries were also planted over the weekend, so Dylan's going to be a happy bunny when those start fruiting - he absolutely adores both. This year is going to be quite experimental. I've got stuff like salsify and scorzonera which I've never tried before, the jerusalem artichokes which I've only tried once, and some different varieties of the usual tomatoes, salads and courgettes which we've grown successfully. I'm not going to be doing as many radishes or beetroots this year since, despite the fact that they're a pretty fail-proof option, you can only eat so many of either. So just a few of each this time round! My leeks from last year came to absolutely nothing because of the dratted slugs, so this year will be grown on ground freshly treated with nemaslug which kills the blighters before they hatch, but which is also totally compatible with organic gardening.

Ok, must stop nattering on about gardening.

Of course, this weekend Dylan also turned 3. And Monday saw his first 3-year-old temper tantrum which was NOT fun. We've not had temper tantrums in months now, so this was rather unexpected, violent, and totally unwelcome. And he threw another one today. So I guess what my friends have been telling me about the progression in tantrums is true.... :-( More details on Dylan on his blog...which I aim to update tomorrow. Right now we have an episode of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" to watch. :-)
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in brief (as usual)

Having just checked over my journal and realizing that the post from last year's Lindean is only a couple down on the page has given me the incentive to put something up - other than a request for help with our jungle of a garden! My main news is that I'm really, really loving my job. A couple of months in, one assignment down, onto my 4th tutorial, and things are going great. I've had enthusiastic responses from all of my students who've attended tutorials (about half of them so far) and am anticipating a busy day this coming Saturday, when I give them all a lesson on "how to reference" and "how to write an essay". I figure now that they've had their first assignments returned to them, they'll have more of an incentive to actually come to tutorials (which are optional).

I'm really impressed with the quality of the study material from the OU, and am finding my course interesting to both study and teach. I've applied to teach another couple of courses, including the second half of the course I'm teaching now, which will keep me busy year-round, and am also planning to take advantage of the fact that as an OU staff member I can take any of their courses for free and do a couple of short courses - though not for another year, by which time teaching this stuff should be pretty automatic and I'll be able to afford the time. As it is, with only one course load, I feel like I'm only ever half a step ahead of my students. That should change from September, however, since Dylan will then be going to nursery 5 mornings a week.

Speaking of which, I should really get started on the prep for the tutorial this Saturday. I'd completely forgotten about it until a student reminded me about it, so I have to make it a particularly good one to compensate for that!

Garden party

Well, summer's here (finally), which means one thing in our household: "oh my god the garden needs major work"! Hence the following invite: anyone and their mates are welcome to come stay in a pretty house in the Borders on any or all of the following dates: July 7-10 and/or July 21-24. In exchange for accommodation, food and drink (margaritas will definitely feature at some point in the proceedings...) we need help digging up various parts of the garden, re-positioning plants, levelling earth, and possibly (time permitting) erecting a child-proof fence around the vegetable patch. So, any takers? :-)

One Tree Hill

I like this quote: "you'll find her in the phone book under 'W' for 'whore'.... Wait, she's not that smart. Better look under 'H'."
  • Current Music
    Walk the Line soundtrack

woo hoo!

I got the job!!!! :-) They called today to let me know, though no paperwork as yet since they have to have a photocopy of my passport to prove I'm eligible to work in the UK, but once that's done it's all systems go. There's a training weekend at the end of April and then the course starts in May.... :-) Yay!
  • Current Music
    Tyler Hilton "when it comes"

the wheel's turning, but the hamster's dead

ok, sad, sad, sad, I know...but I was up with Dylan at 4am on Sunday and we were staying with his aunt and uncle who actually have a tv, so of course I was watching it! and what should come on but 'beauty and the geek', the basic premise of which is that 8 geeks and 8 blondes pair up to pass various tests, so the 10 minutes that I saw included the blondes having to pass a fifth grade exam (e.g. 'spell 'tattoo''. Blonde 2: 'T-A-T-O-O'), while the geeks were supposed to learn how to dance. I kid you not, one of the girls' 'professions' is 'lifesive barbie model'. WTF???

Another blonde, when asked what happened in the year 1942, replied 'Columbus sailed the ocean blue.' You couldn't make this stuff up...and we may have to get a tv so I can watch more of it! Unfortunately I couldn't persuade Dylan that this fascinating social experiment was more entertaining than CBeebies, but if I had my own tv I'd have power over the remote! :-)

Which naturally leads to the classic quote I read the other day about Paris Hilton - someone who'd interviewed her, and complained that all she ever said was 'that's hot', 'I'm hot' and 'too hot' described her intellect by saying 'the wheel's turning, but the hamster's dead'. I need to use that more often IRL. But hopefully not in relation to myself...I have a job interview for an associate lecture position with the open university on monday. Hate, hate, hate job interviews and never feel that I carry them off well, but really want this job so have to make the effort!

And on a complete tangent, I was walking through town the other day and I realized why I love living in Gala so much: you know how in most towns you see graffiti and/or handprints and/or footprints in sidewalks, made while the concrete was setting? Well, in Gala we have hoofprints, courtesy of the regular horse parades. How cool is that?!? :-)
  • Current Music
    Pussycat dolls


So, deciding to name your daugther after a type of nut. Well, I guess you can't say later that the therapy bills came as a surprise! I mean, Gwyneth may get away with 'Apple', but let's face it, little Apple's going to be going to school with Moon Unit Zappa and Moxie CrimeFighter Penn Jillette, so her name's gonna look pretty pedestrian in comparison. Whatev.


Today is Lindean, the start of Galashiels' Braw Lads and Lassies Gathering. This means horses and riders riding through town to kick off a week of events, including another rideout on Wednesday which is in fancy dress, and then the full rideout on Saturday, which is supposed to be pretty spectacular - we're apparently expecting about 400 horses and riders! These common ridings take place throughout the borders, though we've not been to see any of the others so far this year because we've been so busy. But who knows, maybe we'll participate next year! ;-)

We've had a pretty good week/weekend. The weather's been great, which has meant a lot of time spent gardening, and that resulted in our eating a salad on Saturday made up of stuff I've been growing in the garden! Lots more to come - if the slugs can be defeated, that is. I planted out some courgette plants I'd been growing in pots, and was amazed to find they'd been munched completely within 2 days. Nothing's eating the rocket though - which Stu says is telling, but we'll just ignore him. ;-)

Our en-suite is also almost finished, and is looking great. The workmen will be finished by Wednesday/Thursday, and then all we have to do is paint it sometime this weekend, and then that's done. I've also finished painting Dylan's wardrobe, using a blue chalkboard paint, which I've also used to paint his tabletop. Stu put up the light fitting in his room, a sun, and this week I'm going to stamp stars, and comets, and other fun things onto the ceiling using luminous paint.

I've also painted the walls in the downstairs bathroom - a pink you have to see to believe! I think it looks great. :-) Still got to paint the woodwork white, but it's getting there.

My other success has been finding a song, quite by chance, that I've been looking for for ages. It's "Something about you" by Kevin Welch and I heard it ages ago and fell in love with it, but his stuff is a little too independent to be carried by most stores and so I never got around to ordering the album. Then I was in the library last week and picked up a bunch of CDs, one of them by Kevin Welch. By this point I'd actually forgotten the name of the song, but figured I'd give the album a go - and luckily it was on there! It's a good album all in all, but that song is fantastic - highly recommend it. Am now going to give some of his other albums a go....

welcome to civilization!

we have hot water! ok, the toilet's still leaking in the only functional bathroom, but who cares because we can at least have a hot bath after struggling with it! :-) The boiler was installed yesterday, and so now all the heaters have thermostats on them and we have hot water on demand.

Unfortunately, get one thing fixed and something else breaks to fill the vacuum...the water from the toilet has made the parquet flooring in the back hall swell and come up all over the place, so that's one more thing to add to the neverending 'to do' list. But it's a small hall, at least, so we can focus on other things for a while.

Last night we set up the dining room, complete with some pictures on the wall, so that's looking great. Stu's constructing a bookcase now to go in the alcove in the living room, a temporary measure until we can put custom-built shelves in there, but will do so that we can get some more books out. The house feels empty with only a couple of bookcases scattered around with a few books on them!

Dylan spends every morning exploring the changes that were made to the house overnight...he goes to bed at 8pm and we spend the next few hours re-arranging, unpacking, building, etc. and he comes down in the morning to find a new landscape. He's going to be disappointed when this is all finished! Last night I unpacked the first couple of boxes of books onto shelves in the living room, and today he's spent most of the day pulling them off. Then after dinner this evening he opened a cupboard that has been empty until last night, and he just stood there for a few seconds, his eyes lighting up, as he processed that there were all sorts of treasures in it...and promptly pulled everything out to explore. Hopefully the novelty of having all these things will wear off soon, but I'm not holding my breath.

Tomorrow is his nana's birthday, and we're celebrating by leaving Stu at home to babysit while my mom and I go to the cinema, I can't wait! :-) We had been going to try and go out for dinner all together, but Dylan's settling so well into his schedule that we don't want to mess with it now. It's so wonderful having evenings to ourselves that even a dinner out is not worth the risk.