Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Labouring Through Labour Weekend

Labour Day in New Zealand celebrates the gaining of an eight hour working day and many clever people take advantage of the extra day’s holiday and go away for a long weekend.  Not Mr Shoestring and me though, oh no!  We celebrated the true meaning of “labour” by painting another room at Shoestring Cottage over the long weekend, and what a mission it was (once again).  I donned my white Little Gem disposable coveralls (complete with hood) and felt like The Michelin Man as I bobbled around the place preparing to paint and then actually painting.  It turned out to be very fortunate that I had a hood because as Mr Shoestring painted the ceiling I could feel blobs of paint plopping down onto me from time to time – uncanny how he had the ability to be painting just above where I was painting!  Naturally the weather turned sour as soon as the paint can lid came off, so that the drying speed was glacial and we eventually had to turn on the heater, which made things even more uncomfortable.  I can report that I was very happy to eventually toss my Little Gem overalls into the rubbish at the end of the weekend.  White was the colour of choice once again and I can’t really say much more about it than that it looks white, and we are pleased with the end result even if it did take a lot of time and effort.

Luckily I had gone out into the garden before the weather really turned to custard.  I can’t understand why the birds will only go into their homely old bird house from last year and not the more attractive one with the sloping roof made by Mr Shoestring to improve their comfort.  They are still using their old flat topped "art deco" style one though and raising a large brood of nestlings from what I can gather. 

Now be honest, don't you think the one on the right is more attractive?

After being so pleased with the more homely clematis plants last week I had to splash out and buy these two beauties, and planted them near trees so that they will hopefully in years to come climb into the tops and festoon the canopy with flowers – doesn’t that sound picturesque?  The trick is not to plant them too close to the chosen tree though, or they will be starved of water and nourishment, so you have to endure them looking a little but ungainly at first as they bridge the gap between their spot and the tree you want them to climb through.

This exotic minx is named Ramona

All ready to frolic up the trunk of a kauri tree (fingers crossed)

A slightly pedestrian name I thought - "Bees' Delight" - but it must be very difficult to keep coming up with thrilling new names, a bit like naming paints or lipsticks

She coordinates quite well with the aquilegias and cinerarias but you can see the awkward looking stakes she has to negotiate in order to make her way onto the tree trunk

Another iris has is blooming this week and it was a relief to find it is different to the first one.  After they led such a peripatetic early life, and were constantly wrenched out of the earth as I thought of better places for them to be planted I worried that perhaps instead of having a wide variety of plants they would all end up being just one tough iris which was able to withstand my attentions.  So far so good and with more buds ready to break it will be interesting to find out what else is in store. 

The wind and rain were so powerful that the bees seemed to be exhausted and rested wherever they happened to fall

 The latest star

Inspecting the strawberry plants (which I have moved also, there is never a moment’s peace for the inmates of my garden world), I was surprised to find the leaves all lacy and holey.  Closer inspection revealed attractive bronze metallic backed beetles.  I don’t know what they are, but they are quite pretty.  Hopefully they will only feast on the leaves and not on the actual berries as they ripen because so far there seems to be a fair crop coming on. 

Perhaps I was suffering cabin fever after a weekend locked up with my paintbrush and roller (or maybe it was the fumes), but when I came home after work on Tuesday night I spied a fabulous pair of old kauri chairs in the second hand shop just round the corner and something came over me - I just had to have them.  What a bargain!  Can't you just see them with lovely needlepoint seats?  What a pity it takes so long to complete just one but it is always good to have a project.  Do you think the nylon leopard skin covers on the seats may have put a few people off?

And this birdy plate had to fly home with me too.  The man in the second hand shop is my new BFF, he starts laughing and rubbing his hands together when he sees me approach, I wonder why?

Ah bless the little darling!  You can't see it in this photo, but he has a very twinkly little eye!