Aug 132015

The bottom of our garden has always been very shady.  In fact the whole garden was dark until around 1pm every day, hidden in the shade of a large, but still young Sycamore.

I’ve been wanting to remove it for several months, but Eli was keen not to have it out before our Summer party thinking it would leave the garden as a mess.  In retrospect we needn’t have worried.

The tree came out yesterday, along with a Laburnum and a Hawthorn that were crowded in next to it and growing into each other.

You can leave roots to rot, but that can spread fungus.  We wanted an apple tree here so paid a little extra for grinding out tree roots of each one.

We kept the Hawthorn and Sycamore for firewood.  Laburnum is poisonous and the wood doesnt burn well so that got taken away by the tree surgeon.

garden before

When we moved in

I’m delighted with the result!  Suddenly the garden appears so much brighter and larger.  Not only that, but the garden feels more balanced now.  The tree dominated the garden so much that the eye always led to that.  Without it there the other plants already show up much better.

See the difference before and after…

garden after

After removing some of the excessive growth, plus the 3 large trees


Once the Sycamore came out I counted the rings and it is 18 years old.  So very very young.  That means by the time the last owners bought the house it was only 3, and just a sappling a few feet high.

We already know the last owners were not gardeners so the age tells me that it was almost certianly an unplanned tree.

Now it is gone I can finally start to plant something better in that space.  Perhaps an apple tree, or more elegant tree that won’t grow too high or wide.  Any ideas?

Sep 062014

Since moving in we have wanted to get the house exactly how we wanted it.

But with so many jobs to do we had to prioritize.

First we are concentrating on the “must-do” structural work. Work that we have to do to keep the house from being damaged. That includes clearing blocked gutters and treating the woodworm on the ground floor.

Then we are tackling the basic comforts, like getting the TV working and at least one sofa.

After that it’s everything else.  And there is so much to do.

Every month we try and set aside enough cash to do at least one major job or major purchase.   We aim to do at least one significant job each and every month, and then fit in everything else around it.

See our list of projects and remaining jobs at the Project list for the first 6 months.


 Posted by at 5:39 pm
May 172014

Finally, after one year of searching we finally exchanged contracts on the new house last Wednesday, 15th May!

I am relieved.  Now that contracts are exchanged the house is effectively ours, or at least it will be in 3 weeks time when the mortgage is released and we complete.

This last year has been exceptionally painful.  We’ve seen the worst that the London housing market has to offer.  Buying in a sellers is not much fun.  Gazumping, sealed bids, estate agents telling porkies, failed surveys, and open days where we have queued for 30 minutes with over 70 other people just to get into a house.  It has been generally horrific and has eaten up almost every weekend for the last 12 months.

Now finally that part is over, and the new work begins.  From here my weekends will be spent digging the garden and doing up the house.  Can’t wait to get started!