Six on Saturday: The 2017 Finale

I’ve mitched off for two weeks. A mix of too much going on generally coupled with a lack of motivation. But I have to tie up some loose ends as I look forward to 2018. So here we go …..

I have poured a large glass of Southern Comfort which I will drink as I write. I haven’t drunk spirits at all for a couple of years but this bottle was a present and it would be rude not to ……..

I will probably lighten up as I progress …..

One: The Tree

Not any old tree! I’ve been following this tree all year over on Squirrelbasket’s Tree Following Meme. Until I mitched off that too. Well I had reasons. The first mitching was because the tree hadn’t moved anywhere so there was nothing to follow. The second mitching was due to something called gastroenteritis (which you don’t want to find in your garden unless you also have an outside loo). The third mitching was because, well, I got the date wrong and missed it.

So here’s the tree now. It’s a malus. Last year a neighbour loudly announced to anyone within earshot that I had crabs. They didn’t itch much though. I find that rubbing lots of sugar in helps. Rots their teeth and they fall off. I’ve had crabs again this year. And so far they’ve survived through Christmas. This is unusual. I’m grateful to resident cat who has taken to sleeping on the roof of the car regardless of wind, rain, hurricane, whatever, and so dissuades the blackbirds.

Two: The Tree’s Feet (Singular-ish)

I’ve also followed the Hakkonechloa planted around the base of the tree. They haven’t moved much either but have added interest as they’ve developed over the year from small plantlets to more mature specimens. They’re looking a bit, well, dead now. But they’ll be back soon. I won’t follow them any more but I will be giving them something new to look at. And a haircut.

Three: Edifice Two (The Plan)

When the guys at WoodblocX get round to sending me the buildable plan (and the building blocX), I’ll transform one end of the front garden into a temporary source of swearing, battered fingers and general upheaval. This will be my fourth WoodblocX raised bed thing. Not quite as complicated as Edifice One but an improvement which will help my back and enable me to more easily create planting areas that will suit plants other than those which will grow in my heavy clay. For now, only my sketch plan exists so you have to put up with that.

Though this is where it will be going, more or less, in a different shape.

Four: Recycling

The best thing to do with waste is not to create it in the first place. The next best thing is to recycle it.

I ordered all the seeds and plug plants I want online (without any paper catalogues) aaaaaages ago. I’ve since received 23 seed catalogues (including some duplicates from persistent people). The heaviest are from companies I’ve never ordered from; indeed have barely heard of. I wonder whence they get my address. Treatment is the same for all. I tear off the identifying information for shredding and drop the catalogues unopened into the recycling sack. Job done.

All praise to Thompson and Morgan who have only EVER sent me a paper catalogue once. It came with a free DVD about growing some fuchsias I’d recently bought.  And a nice message saying that as I hadn’t ordered from them for several years, they would now stop sending me paper catalogues.

Explanatory note: This week, the recycling gets collected tomorrow. So it’s currently in the recycling bags just inside the garden, by the garden gate.

Five: An Absence of Ducks

HMRC ducks that is. After forking out loads of my hard-earned dosh to the friendly taxman, the great HMRC computer decided that, although I’d paid every penny they asked me to pay, I still owed £1.20. So I sent them the money.

And then I logged into the Self-Assessment web site twelve times to check that I had in fact paid it. The system now is that when I try to log in, HMRC text an authentication code to my mobile phone. Business texts usually cost 10p each. That’s my £1.20 accounted for. I’ll log in at the end of January again. I mean, if for some reason they’ve lost the payment, they’ll want another £100 from me.

I should have claimed a rebate for the cost of processing the plant photographs I’d taken as part of the fee-earning project for which the tax liability arose. But I didn’t. Oddly, getting revenge via text messages was much more satisfying.

HMRC are now trialling a backup authentication code system. So they will also text (with BT’s wonderful text to voice conversion) the code to my landline phone. 2018 looks promising already!

And it’s a few years since I last compared the value of my Gift Aid declarations to my tax bill. I need to make sure none of my cash ends up with the DUP! Or paying for Nigel Farage’s pension.

Explanatory note: There are currently no ducks in the garden. There is therefore an absence of ducks in the garden. In this context, “absence” is a noun.

Six: An Absence of Resolutions

Some years ago I made a New Year Resolution to never make any more New Year Resolutions. It’s the only New Year Resolution that I’ve kept beyond about five seconds after making it. And I’m still keeping it. Along with New Year Resolutions I no longer bother with “to do lists” which take more time to compile than to immediately ignore. The only plans I make are ones (see above) that someone else will then turn into something capable of being turned into reality. And no more than one a year of those. A few days of feverish activity once a year is enough thanks.

It’s not a Resolution to ignore people who make disparaging (apologetic is disparaging, isn’t it?) remarks about baubles filled with gin. That’s just a reaction. You know who you are! 😉

Explanatory note: I have made no gardening-related resolutions. There is thus an absence of resolutions. The “absence” is therefore in the garden.

So There We Go

See you next year. In the meantime, pop over to The Propagator’s blog for lots of interesting decoupage, voluminous to-do lists and copious vegetable plot plans. And his offering for today to which all SoSers in all four non-existent corners of the ball-shaped world (slightly squashed model) will, in time, append links to their own offerings.

And don’t forget, there are only 358 shopping days till Christmas (if you frequent small local shops). On one of those, DFS will not be having a sale. Do your research and don’t get caught out.

Happy New Year.

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7 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: The 2017 Finale

  1. I’m slowly catching up. I love the grass beneath the tree, a great look. Also love those baubles. 😉 It is going to be a good year, I can just feel it in my bones. For all of us. We are going to be even more perfect than before. x

    1. Touch wood, they haven’t found the tree yet this year. Tits are starting to nibble but, for some reason, they stick to the bit that isn’t so dense. That bit is not over the car so I don’t mind so much!

  2. crabs…haha love your crab tree….
    Those woodblocx look good actually; I’ve looked at those before but are they as simple to use as they make out?
    Jan tax woes….. hate it especially as my better half is an accountant; I don’t see him this month basically so I feel your pain.
    Loving that sporty car btw….
    Anyway, happy new year to you lovely John. Xx

    1. I’ve found WoodblocX to be just like the Lego I played with as a child. The main exercise involved is in hammering in the plugs that hold the blocX together. And once assembled, the structure is like the proverbial brick sh*thouse. The car’s 11 on Tuesday. Almost as old as I am. I’m careful not to park in a lay-by next to a farmer spreading his sh*t though! Happy New Year to you too Sophie. xx

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