Privacy is Blooming

Our home got a lot of attention this weekend (as it does most weekends!) and therefore our fence is almost complete!

My Love’s father was back, bright and early, to help more with this project and share his experience. We were worried as rain was predicted but much of the work was completed before that got too bad. That said, we did hammer a lot of nails in the rain! We were just lucky that it was not cold…

Here is the view of the fence from the back. We still have that plumbing issue but should receive the quote today (plumbers are very busy here) so we can’t complete one section of the fence yet. We also need to decide how to do the gate! The bulk of the fence is up though and it really does feel like we have a lot more privacy but that is balanced with not sacrificing too much sunlight that comes into our yard later in the day. For that reason our fence is not really tall and is multiple heights.

Here is the view from “the driveway”… I call it that because the driveway doesn’t really exist anymore…. but that’s a project for much further down the track. The fence looks a bit funny with its incomplete bits. Also we plan to stain it so it is a uniform colour. I have ideas for planting too!

The area in front of the fence is allocated on our title as two car parks. It looks like we’ve given up a bit of land but it’s actually not ours to give up. We have a strange title but that’s the way it is. The expense to change it is not worth it for us when this is likely a short term home.

The old rotary washing line also came out after much effort by My Love. I’ve been using some of the old path to continue on with the low maintenance area around the back of the house. As I’m doing a cheat but putting down broken concrete and the a top layer of white chip, this is a bit more labour intensive than the first segment. I have to sort through the rubble but it’s worth it as I’m quite passionate about us re-purpose for as much as possible

Work in progress. Cardboard weedmat, concrete, white chip, bricks from around the property and river rocks to fill in the other gap til the concrete is ripped out here.

We live in an area that was once a riverbed so there are many rocks to be found when we’re working around the yard. The concrete path I’m standing on must go as it is old, poorly done and cracked. The rocks are unlikely to stay but make a good weedmat for now.

I also randomly-ish extended my herb garden to start a beneficial insect patch. There is already a forget-me-not coming through the fence that bees love, I’ve planted a sad aloe vera in the hope it might live and two swanplants to attract monarch butterflies. I got a couple of packets of seeds from a gardening website called “Butterfly Garden” and one of those will go there too. Again, rocks to put the cat off digging, fingers crossed!

It’s Monday so I’m back to work. Today I’m involved in some systems testing and reviewing some policy. These are things in the background before I can really get my new team that I’m heading up and running. I want to be back in the garden though!! Have a great week!

Friday Night Wine & Revisiting Italy

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Looking down the Spanish Steps, Rome, September 2018.

I’m going to try to revisit Rome, again.

The above picture is from shortly after we arrived in Italy. We were stubborn and determined to walk from Roma Termini, where we were dropped off by a bus that we’d caught from the airport, to our accommodation, just off Piazza del Popolo.

Google maps is a bit of a saviour. I can’t really imagine having to look at old school maps to get around a city like Rome, with a suitcase, in that heat – 34 degrees celsius. We didn’t really know it at the time and partly followed our noses as much as the map but the route we took was quite scenic, leading us to see some iconic sites of Rome on the way! The aforementioned heat is NOT something we are used to in New Zealand so we had to stop several times on the way, simply to rest. Our walk was probably about 40 minutes, maybe longer with the stops and the uneven cobblestones but we were really relieved to find ourselves safely at our apartment – Al Corso 4.

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Looking down onto Piazza del Popolo, Rome, September 2018.

Our accommodation was just at the entrance to this piazza and we walked down these steps, rested a bit and then realised just how close we were. We were too early for our prearranged check in though, and still had our suitcases which were a bit awkward, but decided to eat our first Roman gelato of many and tried not to melt ourselves.

This was our first lesson in how much Italian we DID NOT learn in advance. We also found ourselves getting stage fright with what we did know. And the conventions of buying things in Italy are not the same as New Zealand. Usually at home, we pay after we have ordered and pay the same person, generally, who served us. We sort of knew in advance that things could operate differently but it was amazing how long we took to get used to this and how intimidating it was at times. We eventually worked it out, after browsing gelato flavours for some time, that we were doing something wrong and were directed to purchase the gelato at a cash register quite far from the gelato. This probably sounds silly but we are just not used to that, and after hours and hours of flights, walking in the heat it all felt quite odd! That said, the eventual cooling gelato made the whole awkward experience worth it!

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View of Piazza del Popolo from our apartment. September 2018.

We checked in to our lovely apartment at Al Corso 4 and I think we just kinda collapsed for a bit. We rested and I had preplanned the route to the supermarket which we headed to later in the day, an early evening stroll, to get essential supplies, coffee, genuine spicy Italian deli meat (I think it was salami?) gluten free crackers, pickled onions, olives, and surprisingly cheap Italian Brie. We basically made a really lame antipasto. With wine. When you are as tired as we were, that seemed amazing.

I am struggling to remember the hazy details of our first day in Italy. We were a bit overwhelmed by the bustle of Rome – so, so different and about a million times busier than our home city Wellington – the smell, the heat, the hustlers (that we observed but were not hustled by on this day), and the language barrier. I want to keep writing about Italy because I am realising that it is fading a little. I have been reliving the experience a little through other people’s photos on Pinterest and of course my own. More to come.

Wedding Planning Progress & DIY!

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Swans & Ducks at our Wedding Celebration Venue.

So we did a pretty exciting thing recently which was confirm where we are going to celebrate our wedding with our families. We also decided that we are going to do the paperwork side of things at the Registry Office and be able to keep our “Wedding Day” (hopefully the next day) to the small, family gathering that we want it to be.

We started looking at celebrants and none of them felt right, so this way we are going to run our own ceremony (MUCH TO DISCUSS) and not have anyone there who we don’t know on the day. I don’t know if this is unusual or not. We are possibly having the smallest wedding party in the world…. less than 20 adults including us! But we are older – 37 & 35 – and we have other priorities to focus on. That said, I want our wedding to be about more than us, about a celebration of our commitment but also of family.

And now, back to the wonderful world of DIY!

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The beginnings of our biggest house project thus far, our fence! October 2018

As you can see, our fence is just beginning really. My Love’s Father helped him to put in the posts after a week of My Love digging holes. Already I can feel the privacy expanding and our new vegetable patches coming to life. As you can see, My Love has also be demo-ing the concrete path which has revealed a wealth of rocky/concrete/brick material that we will try to re-purpose before deciding it is just garbage.

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A pile of our ex-path by more important, it’s our teeny tiny Lemon Tree. Oct 2018

We also planted a Lemon Tree which has a lot of flowers on it but I don’t expect us to be lucky enough to get any lemons any time soon! It is still a mere baby plant.

This corner is super sunny most of the day and will have some garden beds added in the near future. All my recent yard photos are afterthoughts at the end of the day so the light is really low, in fact the sun is setting but look! The lemon-child is still in sun. Well planned us…. 🙂

It’s Wednesday night here which means 2 more days until the weekend and the next step of the fence can begin. This step is the rails and then of course the palings. We had someone look at our damaged pipe today but are still impatiently awaiting the quote for the damage. Alas! I want to get that work done so we can truly move on from the harrowing experience! Hah! It actually has more been a “that’s life” situation but yes, would like to focus on more fun things like having a fence and doing some landscaping!

We managed to tick off a couple of really small DIY projects too, like putting up our new and improved coat rack and get a proper closure on our letterbox. Oh! And a new lock for our shed. My Love was particularly busy this past weekend and I am very grateful for all of his work, as well as that of his Father. And I am also to his Parents for taking us to the venue that we’ve now chosen as the site for our Wedding party.

And with that, I am sleepy. I want to write about my new job at some point, the cause of my tiredness! Another early night may be on the cards!

 

Life in a little place called Home.

I’m not sure if I will ever get to writing up our entire trip to Italy. Maybe instead of thinking that I have to do that before I ever move on, I should just write about it when the mood takes me. I have wanted to write about things happening since we’ve been home more but I’ve told myself I cannot until I finish writing about Italy. This is madness!

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Moving Thor Home. Late September 2018.

Since we came back home from Italy, a lot has happened, even though it has only been a month. Wow! A month!

My Cat is happily living with us now in his senior years. It was an easy shift this time as he has slowed down a lot and seems most content to live the snug life inside, doing lots of sleeping and cuddles.

My Love & I have also begun doing a lot of work around the place and have started building a fence with the kind experience and help of My Love’s Dad. We have had a rather major mishap however and now have a busted pipe in our yard. When digging holes for the fence posts, one was placed incorrectly and the pipe was damaged by spade or crowbar. It’s not an emergency scenario but one that is important to remedy. The financial damages will become apparent this week. Not much you can really do in this situation other than accept it, get it fixed, learn the hard lessons about checking and double checking, and then moving on. All part of the joy and sorrows of being a homeowner!

A minor project we did was some small landscaping with things we already had around the place. We have used cardboard, bricks and white chip rocks to create a low maintenance edging.

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Brick and white chip edging, completed late September 2018

As you can see, this looks a bit rough around the edges. This was the day we finished the main work. Since then we have topped up the lawn with more soil, removed lots of weeds in that area and sown some new grass seed which is starting to come up now that we are more diligent in watering it. We intend to carry the bricks and chip along the full back length of our house and if there is enough white chip (this is currently at the front of our house and we are moving to the back) we might carry this around the other side too.

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Late in the day, 22 October 2018. The grass is a bit patchy now, and some weeds are sneaking in, as well as the ever present oak leaves. Some baby oak trees, potted up for My Love’s Mother are next to the flourishing potted pansies, gifted by my Father.

The above picture really makes me want to get out some white paint and sort out the bottom of the house! The projects are never-ending, really!

I’ve also started planting up my herb garden which I am really excited about!!

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Right after I’d just planted the first few herbs in. L-R – Lovage, Lemon Balm, Italian Parsley, Garlic Chives, Lemon Bergamot (a rescue plant, new to me!) Lemongrass, Oregano, Rosemary and Purple Sage. 7 October 2018

I have since added in a few new herbs, place eggshells around the plants to protect from slugs and naughty bugs and have added cat deterrents against digging. Oh and stuck in some solar lights which look cool at night. The below pic also shows the lavender plant that I just picked up and need to repot.

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Late in the day 22 Oct 2018. You can see the addition of Green Sage, Curry Plant and Tarragon. Sort of. I need to take some better pics!

I do have more to say about the outdoor work we’ve been up to and not to mention other life changes in the realm of work…. but I think that’s enough of a post for this evening!

I wonder what other people are getting up to in their gardens?

Campania Day 2 – Pompeii

I’ve been quite distracted from continuing my Travels in Italy blogging by many real life activities but now it is time to sit down with a glass of wine and continue, or it may never happen! I want to be able to look back on this trip as it’s unlikely my life will allow for another big trip in the near future…

The main drawcard to Naples, was to see Pompeii. It was a must-see if we were to go all the way from New Zealand to Italy…

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Animal Frescoes at Pompeii – September 2018

Before I will continue I will get my biggest Pompeii-travel-tip out of the way.

TAKE WATER! Don’t fear that you bag with your water bottle in it is too big (unless it is truly massive) and check it in…

We spent half the day at Pompeii but probably could have stayed longer, had we had our water bottle with us. There are a few fountains and we managed to get some water on board through using our hands as cups but this was less than ideal. We missed some final parts of the site and really skimmed over some of the houses because I was really starting to fade in the heat.

Pompeii is EXTRA hot because there is not much shade and the stones in the ground also emanate heat back at you.

Despite not seeing at all, we had a worthwhile and interesting time at Pompeii. It is a mixed feeling being there. You are interested in seeing so much history but also acutely aware of those who lost their lives in the eruption of Vesuvius.

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Photo looking into the Antiquarium. Many amphorae & several casts of bodies found. People throw coins in, honouring those who lost their lives.

Our strategy when heading to “touristy” sites, is to try to arrive early and miss some of the hordes. We did this reasonably successfully but some parts seemed to be packed most of the day. My number one must-see within Pompeii was the Villa of the Mysteries, and I am so pleased to say that we struck it so lucky there. There were barely any other people there when we visited it. I’d studied it in high school and it is still surreal to me that I have now been there myself. It’s funny though because I was also very taken by the huge Rosemary garden on the site. I had to put my face into it, I cannot deny it.

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Fresco in the Villa of the Mysteries. Pompeii, September 2018.

Pompeii is extremely interesting and made me wish I’d revisited my school materials and re-learned things about it before going. That said, it wasn’t really a regret and I still got a lot out of being there. I definitely want to go back if I get the opportunity. Something that really struck me about Italy is that excavations are still happening in all of these famous sites, so I’d love to go back in 20 years or so and see what is new, armed with more knowledge to really soak it all in.