Random Jottings Of Gildersleeve

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Location: United Kingdom

Perhaps you'll learn more about me as you read my blog. For anyone who translates my blog using the translator facility, don't forget if you wish to read the comments in your own language to click on the title of the post down the left hand side otherwise they will remain in english. Also I assume that the translation is accurate but I don't know, so please allow for errors.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Twenty Seven Pages To State The Bleedin' Obvious...

What's important in your life?

What makes you happy?

In broad brush strokes, many of us are going to say our families and friends. Health. Enough money to be able to afford to eat well and stay warm. A decent roof over your head. A life free of crime and violence. Then you might start to narrow it down to those personal pleasures from a walk in the countryside, sitting by a lake, a river or the sea. Gardening(if you have access to one)watching the birds that visit. Possibly a glass of wine, a favourite piece of art, a piece of music or a painting and so on. It may be a hobby where you make something.

It could be that you or someone close to you has had a serious illness and recovered and are glad to be alive. The birth of a child. Playing with your children. Someone saying "I Love You!"

You may also put job satisfaction amongst your priorities but that is more likely to be because you have to spend so much of your life working and that having a job hopefully gives you enough money to do all the other things that are on your list even though to coin a well known song "The Best Things In Life Are Free!"

The list is probably endless.

At these times of restraint and cutbacks there are many more reasons for people to be afraid of what the future holds and in many cases the Government should actually realise that their policies are more likely to add to stress and worries of many.

So a report has been issued and its taken twenty seven pages at a cost of £2Million to say what most people could guess what would be said but its full of spin and jargon.

It is available online but for quickness you may as well look at the review available here.

What did the report find? health, family and relationships, work, the environment and education were most important(Surprise, surprise)

In many ways its airy fairy. I know I wouldn't like to take part in what appears will be an annual exercise. I wouldn't want to say what they hope you will but equally I wouldn't go down well if I said all the negative things that affect my life. I want to be optimistic and I am more likely to be so, the more that authorities and Government keep out of my life.

That may seem contradictory but I like to think they'll keep essential services going and be there for when the most vulnerable and sick need help but often its those who are affected first.

Most of society depends on each individual doing something already, no matter how small that gesture or action happens happens to be.

There are very few that don't do something.

And no doubt this will be tied into the other plan that has been promoted lately and entitled "The Big Society" which pushes the idea of each of us doing more for ourselves which sounds OK but it actually divorces Government from many of its responsibilities for the caring and well being of its population.

Already, if all the charities, volunteers and people who look after their loved ones were to stop doing this unpaid work much of our society would fall apart because Government is already reducing what money and support it gives in these areas already.

However, there is always money to be found to give away to other countries(and not always for the reasons few could argue with such as natural disasters)and they get involved in more and more wars or skirmishes. Even though they have less money to do so.

How much more are we expected to do? What are we paying taxes for if not to have a decent health service, law enforcement, social services and welfare. I suspect most who took part in the survey would agree with that if asked.

I have mentioned this topic before but back then the idea was about to be launched, this is the first time any of us have had the chance to see what has been found out.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Have To Have One More Rant...

I'm not not happy!

I finally got myself into my garden to inspect the fence...its not good.




Perhaps 90% I can put up with and when its painted and shrubs bulbs and flowers are planted, maybe some containers with flowers in them it won't be so bad. See the images below.

Until you come to the part of the fence nearest our house and our down pipe.

He's built it so there is a gap at the bottom and has left some of the old brick wall in place. The gap is filled from their side with lots of little pebbles that keep falling off the brick wall into our border and onto the concrete path alongside our house, they also fall into the drain as the grill is flush against the wall.

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The wall and pebbles should be removed. But then there will be such a gap!

I think I know what has happened and why its been built as it has.

He's tried to keep the planks high for privacy in the conservatory(as if I want to watch what they do or would stare into it)and in doing so he's had to fasten them to the frame quite high, hence the gap and why he's left the wall there.

What he should've done is put up longer planks in that area so he could have the privacy but the extra length would mean they would reach to the ground and there would be no gaps.

I cannot see them changing that now so we'll have to try and get some wood and slide it behind the pipe but in front of the wall so it will block the gap and stop the pebbles from falling into our drain and border, its not the ideal solution but it will be better than what we have now. And once a shrub is growing in front of it maybe our repair it will be hidden.

Should you look at the images remember you can enlarge them by clicking on the image. It looks worse when you study the pictures than looking at with your eyes.

Now the ultimate straw that broke the camel's back, I tried to gently straighten one of the shrubs and support it with a little cane and a big piece of it snapped off.

So hopefully what remains may start to sprout new foliage so I'll keep it in the ground and I'll buy some special compound tomorrow to seal off the damaged branch to stop anything getting in and killing off the remaining shrub altogether and keep my fingers crossed that it recovers.

Our gardener is too ill to do work at present but has said he will have a look soon and if required he will take it up with our neighbours(he does building jobs too)and has built a similar fence around his own property. As he put it "Leave it with me, I'll sort it out!"

I don't want ill feeling but I suspect if I contact our landlord as it affects their property they would take this up on our behalf and if they did we could avoid being seen as the one's complaining. And they would have more of a legal standing to force the situation.

But we'll see what happens...

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Must Stop My Rant For Now...

for my health and sanity.

You can probably see that the border is no longer clearly defined and has encroached into the lawn area. What is there looks like rubble...


The fence is up but done at speed so lots of mistakes...three quarters of it not treated with preservation(they were going to paint the planks before they were fastened onto the frame and the frame was only half painted)so I guess she'll be asking to come around to that in the coming days.

Gaps underneath some planks and the little bit nearest the house is not how I would have left it(a bit of the brick wall there and showing instead of taking the planks to ground level. So I'll have to try and drag some soil near to the fence to block the gaps.

And finally...one plank cannot be be put into its correct position because its against a brick wall in their garden and its too close so he'll probably have to sort that out when he returns.

At least they are just teething problems to be tidied up and the good news is that at least 5 of my shrubs have survived and are still in my garden.
The image below shows how close the Conservatory is to the fence...so little can be done from their side. Who's fault is that?

They have decided to leave us with a view of the new fence so we see all of the posts and framework. Anyone building a new fence can choose which side to face outward to another neighbour. No wonder I wish to soften the appearance.


Heaven knows what's happened to this shrub, I'll have to investigate later once the fence is erected.


We also have aquired lots of stones and little pebbles which we never had and they have also been trampled into one of the lawns so they will all have to be tidied up and removed. Their garden is so undisturbed and tidy, you would have no idea all this had happened in the last day or two. We're the one's left with any mess.

I'm holding my breath whether there will be any offer to correct any of this.

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I can understand how and why the easiest of people are pushed into disputes with their neighbours but once all this over I hope we'll have as little contact as possible and be left alone as its been for decades living here. I guess we have been lucky for so long, it had to go wrong eventually.

People try to copy too many of those home improvement TV programmes that seem to be on every channel these days.

Update(2011 07 17)The fence is up but done at speed so lots of mistakes...three quarters of it not treated with preservation(they were going to paint the planks before they were fastened onto the frame and the frame was only half painted)so I guess she'll be asking to come around to that in the coming days.

Gaps underneath some planks and the little bit nearest the house is not how I would have left it(a bit of the original brick wall is there and showing instead of taking the planks to ground level. So I'll have to try and drag some soil near to the fence to block the gaps.

And finally...one plank cannot be be put into its correct position because its against a brick wall in their garden and its too close to it so he'll probably have to sort that out when he returns.

At least these are just teething problems to be tidied up and the good news is that at least five of my shrubs have survived and are still in reasonable condition.

They've removed a tree in their garden that they were originally keeping only a few days ago so again more reason for the wildlife not to hang around.

But things are better than they could've been.

The Saga Goes On...

If the original fence that broke lasted, it looked quite nice...In the image below I even had some daffodils.


But as I have watched the frame work being built and horizontal struts fastened to the veritical posts on the new fence, I thought...something is not quite right...

The planks are facing away from us so that we not only have the posts and all the cement is in our border. Its their right to erect the fence as they wish but most people put planks so they are facing outward.

A neighbour over the road did that when he decided to erect a similar fence.

I am going to look for some shrubs that will grow quite tall and not cause problems rootwise but soften the look of the fence and if they are unhappy, hard luck!

Our garden has been spoilt so I must claim it back somehow.

This may appear petty but I have seen a number of shrubs growing against their other fences, and they are also as high as the fences(or soon will be)so if they are allowed to do that, I will do likewise.

It was requested that we keep our shrubs away from the fence and keep them low.

Another Day


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Update:A few friends have seen the previous images and say its not me being unreasonable so that makes me feel better but in another way it just make me all the more full of disbelief(I'm no builder)but I wouldn't put posts in with cement in that way.

But if it was my fence I'd make certain most was on my side or it was evenly distributed. Thier garden hasn't been touched.

I'd like to cause a stink but I am too easy going.

Does it look any better this morning? No. The cement and stakes are covered with something but I'm not sure what. It looks like whatever it is compacted and the rest looks like rubble.

Whilst the fence is down, the conservatory is getting some plaster on it which when the fence goes up is too close to the building for any work to be carried out. No one can squeeze in the space. Until now its been breeze blocks.

And here's a fact when the original fence was erected it was done before the Conservatory was built. The builders had such a job finishing it because of the fence and they had to stand on top of it(don't think the neighbours ever knew that)which probably helped weakened it.

I'll try and take some images from the same angle as before later...Perhaps I'll come around in the end.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Maybe It's Just Me...




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Am I being too critical. The fence is being erected with the stakes in cement in the ground.

As I see it tonight...what a mess!

Yes, they have secured posts into the ground and it will probably stand any weather thrown at it but just as when a wall was built to surround the front garden, they always put more of the foundation on our side, so we lose soil(and depth for planting flowers. It means if you were to dig to put something in the border, you could hit cement so you are always going to have to put your plants next to/in front of or in the spaces between. Also the drainage is different.

In reality I'm not sure our Housing Association would be too happy. Or the previous Council with this. If any future tenants move in if/when I go from here it could affect how they do their garden as they wish.

I never saw the soil from my border moved to be replaced when its finished...as I look out tonight I seem to have no soil.

It even looks as though I have lost some of the lawn nearest the house. Its not clearly defined.

Then again maybe I'm being too critical. When it is finished I'll feel different.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

That's Us Told...

Our neighbours are erecting the new fence tomorrow. "She" has spoken "We're spending a lot of money on this fence and I want to be able to paint it every year!" So she wants "small" shrubs on our side so she can access the fence every year.

What can you do?

Other gardens around here have quite high bushes and shrubs against or growing on the fences, looks as though we're going to have obey someone else's rules.

So we have lost two that were well grown and offered us both protection against high winds and privacy.(Since writing this I know another has been pulled out)

When their first attempt at fence was erected all bushes and shrubs were removed so this would possibly the second time we have lost our greenery.

I'm getting to the point where I'm not sure I can be bothered to put up a fight.

The Tree Survey...

Hoorah! They finally caught us in.

They said it was their final day on our town and they had to be away by 2pm.

After talking to them I feel more positive...they said they were making a survey of what trees are in the gardens of properties in the area but were not here to decide which trees are to be removed.

Just what trees are there, I assume what type they are and that is it.

They were only here perhaps 5 minutes.

So my fingers are crossed that is another problem solved.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Unexpected Events...

Our Gardener arrived earlier than expected and I opened the door to find that he is ill. So he could not do our garden(and he's saying he'll try to come again next week instead)but to cut the story short, he thought he'd had a stroke earlier last week and was taken into hospital with the blue lights flashing and given all the tests.

He has Bells Palsy. My limited knowledge of that is that it can disappear quickly or drag on for months or years. It would give anyone a nasty shock.

Bells Palsy

If it does and he's not well enough, we may have to see if we can find someone willing to take on our garden.

It should not affect his ability to do gardens unless he feels it has(he has pain at present and is feeling dizzy)

The other news is that the neighbours are going to try and put the new fence up this week...the bad news as I thought that they may...they want to take out all our shrubs and we seem to have little choice.

The neighbour has tried to claim that there are lots of little black flies in some of our shrubs(rubbish)she asked our gardener if he ever noticed them he said that he hadn't. I have had look this afternoon and still cannot see any. I think its an excuse to get their own way but once the fence is up that hopefully will mean even less contact.

We have never had anything like this until now and we've had three or four couples living next door within our time here. One was a local councillor so if we were doing anything wrong with our garden I'm sure that they would've said.

We had more birds and wildlife around here too but that has changed drastically. I was looking at some photo's only the other day that showed how different it is now.

I'm repeating myself...I said they would probably want to remove our shrubs to do their fence some time ago...

I will attempt to save and replant some of them as they are lovely in the summer and I don't want to lose them and I'll buy some others to replace the one I know will be destroyed.

I've been thinking about "That" fence again...the neighbour said the reason the first fence failed was because of the roots of trees and shrubs. No, it was a rubbish fence.

And as I was cooking lunch(soup)earlier I thought...wait a minute...when the fence that is being replaced was built...all shrubs and trees were removed from that side of the garden. They also removed a wire fence. So there were no shrubs to cause such a problem and this actually means this is the second time shrubs have been removed because of/by them/or because what was left after they'd finished they died off.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Another Job Completed...

They arrived whilst I was out and within an hour they had scaffolding outside my house. That was yesterday.

Today(24 hours later)the broken window was installed within 10 minutes if that.

Now, all we await is the removal of the scaffolding which hopefully will be early next week(They don't work weekends)

I was surprised in that I thought that one pane of glass would be replaced but its a sealed unit so both had to be removed.

So that's two out of three tasks sorted...

The ventilation of the gas heating system, the broken window...now its the tree survey(which has been dragging on for months...)

So far its been better than I hoped and the work has been satisfactory.

Hopefully we can be left alone again.

Sunday, July 03, 2011


You may've seen a post earlier about how a neighbour's dog wanders into our garden and leaves its business(this is until a fence is replaced)which we are having to wait another three months to be completed, its already been a couple of months.

A potted history is that the original wire fence and shrubs which offered a natural break against strong winds was ripped out and replaced with a panel fence but that was placed on top of a small brick wall and over a period of two or three years it has blown over numerous times and now it is totally smashed and the brick wall is in a variety of broken sections or odd bricks.

When its replaced hopefully it will be more able to stand whatever weather is thrown at it. It will be of a different design.

I'll be honest I am not a fan of the Rotweiler breed but I can understand the attraction for some their strength and possibly use in guarding a factory etc...against robberies etc...but too many are being kept in unsuitable conditions in towns where there is little or no space to give such an animal a decent walk or the exercise required and there is always the worry that if you are unable to control it a child or owner wouldn't stand much of a chance.

The other day I saw someone walking one without being on a lead around this housing estate.

Even though I know that it is said that in many cases they are very friendly and are "Big Softies!"

Its nothing to do with me but I do know that our neighbours dog usually only averages twenty five minutes or less exercise daily, that's not enough for a dog as powerful or inqusitive and there are times where it howls for what seems like ages. Especially if left alone.

I tried to fit a little section of fencing into a gap between our properties but the dog is such a lean muscle machine its like watching an elephant or a military tank pushing everything in its path.

And it pushed over my fence like it was nothing.

I have now had to drag my wheelie bin into the garden and use it to block up the gap and further up the same side place a recycling crate.

So far so good I hope...

It is a nuisance as if I put rubbish into the bin it will too heavy to take to the front of the house on collection day so I'll have to save the rubbish in the passage that runs alongside the house and put the bags into the bin on the day the refuse company empties it.

But if it stops me finding large dumps of **** in the garden and the shock I had the other day. I left the door open to the garden because it was warm. I opened the kitchen door to go and get something out of the fridge/freezer in a kind of outhouse for the evening meal and the Rotweiler looking at me. It was quite a shock especially as I wasn't expecting it and had forgotten that it was entering our garden.