Sunday, May 29, 2011

Water - Who Needs It Anyway?

On Saturday morning Mr Shoestring leapt out of bed and donned his fetching green overalls.  He crawled under the cottage and spent some considerable time fixing the water system.  Imagine his disappointment when it transpired that now, though the cold water was working, the hot water was not!  Yes my dears, it was yet another plumbing disaster for Mr Shoestring and I believe his spirit has been broken.  He did not swear, he did not turn to sports radio, he merely murmured, "Oh dear, oh dear" and looked sad and dejected.  Eventually (after a few trips to the local hardware shop which must be noticing a spike in its profits since we bought Shoestring Cottage) the problem was fixed, but it set him well behind schedule and when he did the painting in the kitchen the paint would not dry.  Finally he turned his attention to the repainting of the chest of drawers, at which time a veritable swarm of midges flew into the wet paint and caused even more consternation.  He got there in the end, but it took until the very end of the weekend and I think the lustre may have gone from Shoestring Cottage for Mr Shoestring for the time being.  Poor thing. 

I got lots done in the garden this weekend, seedlings planted and weeding done.  Though there is one thing which is bothering me, and that is the fact that I foolishly planted some Jerusalem artichokes.  I just could not resist the offer of some and though I should know from past experience that they may be more of a curse than a blessing the deed is done now; they are tucked up under the ground just waiting to burst forth and overtake the whole garden at the front of the picket fence.  The last time I grew these little devils I was warned about their invasive tendencies, but the positives seemed to outweigh the negatives.  An easily grown vegetable which needed no care, had lovely sunflower-like flowers and would provide masses of tubers for eating.  The first season when I harvested them I wanted Mr Shoestring to like them.  I found a Jamie Oliver recipe which did turn out to be delicious (I seem to recall a lot of cream), and I warned Mr Shoestring that the little artichokes had a reputation for causing excess wind in some people and that he might exercise caution on his first tasting.  He must have thought I was being unnecessarily cautious, because he sneaked out of bed in the night and polished off the rest of the dish.  Needless to say there were disastrous results.  He confided in me afterwards that first of all he was frightened he might die; then he eventually came to wish that he might die, such was his agony.  We tried to remove the artichokes from the garden but every little remaining scrap grew with ever increasing vigour and in the end it was only when we put in a swimming pool and covered them with a deep layer of concrete that they were eradicated.  (And even then I had a few anxious moments when I imagined them bursting through the concrete around the pool.)  So why have I made the same mistake all over again?  I could well spend the next few years trying to dig out the tubers and they virtually impossible to get rid of.  I suppose it is just good to cram in as much as possible into the garden in my book, and deal with the consequences later on.  Foolish, foolish.

Here is the chest of drawers after its facelift.  I am thrilled with the result, the colour is the same as the shade we used for repainting the bed ends and the little drawer pulls are so sparkly and pretty.  All in all a great success, even allowing for the disastrous yellow colour we had last weekend.

And also this weekend Mrs Peaceable gave me two lovely wooden curtain poles.  We have been searching everywhere for cheap wooden curtain poles and one weekend Mr Shoestring nearly had his hands on some at Habitat For Humanity.  Unfortunately he wasn't quite quick enough and he was pipped at the post.  Now he is like a dog which remembers where it found a juicy bone, and keeps returning in the hope that he will find the perfect pole.  No luck so far!

These pretty red candles cheered up the front porch this weekend, just what we need when the weather is getting colder and the days are so short.