Saturday, 8 April 2017


Holy shitballs, I hurt in places that I didn't know could hurt.  First thing Monday morning we were out in the garden. We had made a start on it last year, but circumstances meant that it wasn't maintained, it wasn't used because we didn't get a moment's peace, we didn't have one barbecue, and if my memory serves me well, we didn't eat one meal out there, either.  It had been really neglected, and I personally hadn't set foot outside the back door for months.  But Monday was a fresh start. Monday, we were like a pair of Phoenix (Phoenixes? Phoenii?) rising from the ashes of the last two years.  And that could only mean one thing. Summer was on the way.  And we were reclaiming our garden.

The tubs were emptied of dead plants. The patio was weeded between the cracks and then cleaned with a heavy duty chemical cleaner, as it was green. We do this once a year but this was the worst I had ever seen it. Testament to the weather, I suppose?  And then. It was time to tackle the furniture. This too is done once a year, but this year, I fancied a change from the usual woodstain. A friend of ours has the same furniture set and she used Cuprinol Shades on hers, she painted it a plum colour, and it looked really nice. I didn't think that colour would suit our garden, so I looked through the paint chart and we settled on Sage.  The table and one of the benches had been scratched to death by cats, so Mr G said it would need undercoating.  I didn't think anything of it, and so we cracked on.  The table was undercoated. Mr G said he would take the chairs and the benches down to the bottom and just try applying the wood paint directly. He did a bench, and it looked fantastic, so we didn't bother with the undercoat on the other pieces. Thankfully, in retrospect!

The very next morning I was in the garden at 7. A project like this gives me a lease of life, even if it kills me physically.  I start painting the table. And it's apparent from the first brush stroke... this table is not going to have it. It's repelling the paint. 'Christ on the cross.' I muttered to myself, as I persisted. Maybe when it dried, I could give it a second coat, and that would be ok. But it's not drying. And this stuff is touch dry in about fifteen minutes. I call Mr G and show him. We realise that we've done the wrong thing, and it wasn't undercoat we needed, it was primer. Pair of plonkers, we are. We make a decision to wipe the table with kitchen roll, and we end up with a table that could only be called 'distressed'. As was I.

Cue two more days work (and expense) where we attempt to paint over the table and legs with another brand of outdoor paint (more paint than stain) and I don't think it's dried yet! Then we attempted to tackle it with Nitromors, and get it down to bare wood, as it was too tacky to sand down. I was getting really antsy, as we were on our third day of doing the garden, and we still didn't have a bloody table to eat at, and I said to Mr G that, we wanted two new chairs for the side of the house (which is another project on the list). We wanted a bench anyway. And upon checking Amazon for a new table of the same size, the cheapest came in at £150.  Wouldn't it make more sense to replace the entire set for £200? So, we did that. Quickly assembled the table, and that was painted and put in place within a couple of hours.  Job done!

The distressed table, actually looks good though! It looks weather beaten. If I'd tried to get that effect, I probably wouldn't have been able to manage it. So, what we're going to do is leave the top of the table like that, and spray paint the legs white, or black. It's too good a table to get rid of, and will do at the bottom of the garden when we want to eat down there, save lugging our other one back and forth!

Friday comes and after a cloudy start, by lunchtime it's glorious!  I do a little more planting in tubs, and I see Mr G eyeing up the flower bed at the bottom. The one with the palm tree in. It's not the easiest patch to maintain and weed, and he'd been saying that he wanted to dig it up and put weed control down, and put gravel on it. So we did that between us, and as he went to the hardware store for the stones, I grabbed a new tub of woodstain and started to do the trellis on that side. We'd bought two new climbing roses this year, after having passionflower and clematis there in previous years. That was done in the space of three hours, no messing about (and we made and ate lunch too in between!). Staining, stoning and planting the roses.

Mr G then went rummaging in the shed and he came out with various spray paints. He painted his father's ornamental house and put that on the gravel. And he found a full can of barbecue paint, so our slightly rusty chiminea got a coating too! As he did that, I decided to tackle the shed pub. Gave the sofas a good clean with leather feed. Wiped the surfaces down, hoovered the floor and cobwebs. Stripped all the cushions, and washed and dried the covers.

By the time I'd finished, I could barely walk. My back, my hip, my knee, my shin, and my plantar fasciitis all in full swing. He went to get me some wine, and I had a well deserved few glasses sat in my chair, watching the rugby. Well deserved.

Today looks like another glorious day already, the sun beaming down since I woke before 7. Today I'm going to tackle the decking area. Hopefully stain the fence and the pallet furniture at least. That's the only thing about making a part of your home or garden look nice, isn't it? It shows up the parts that aren't so pretty. Ah well, onwards and upwards!

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