So, my previous blog touched on some of our best memories of our previous house, which we left behind on Thursday.

In Part 2, I look at how we spent our time in the great outdoors of our house!

1. Gardening

It was not clear at the beginning whether we would flourish in the outdoors. I mean, we’d never owned a garden before and it was all very new. We kitted ourselves out properly, a mower, some plantpots, a whole host of random evergreen bushes to provide a bit of colour. And at times, we did make a decent fist of our garden looking nice. Whenever the grass was trimmed, the garden looked ten times better, although the fact the edge backed onto those tiny decorative stones made mincemeat of our mower’s blade and even completely broke it at one point. Oops.

Speaking of breaking, I think my green-fingered skills did come up short a few times. First of all, there was the beautiful green shrub in the back garden. Asked to “trim it back” by my wife, I beat it to within one inch of its life, leaving it looking forlorn and withered throughout the winter. In my defence though, it did make a strong comeback in the Spring – maybe that’s the point!

Or the gorgeous lavender bush which framed the entrance to our house – how grand does that sound?! Little did we know that, without due taming in March or April, the swarms of bees descend and you shall not pass during the summer months. It sprawled onto our path and up into the sky spewing out bees left, right and centre. #safe!

Not that my wife fared much better, even if she was far more skilled than me. Her attempts at beating off creepy crawlies and insects did see her hitting the garden at 10pm at night, armed with a flashlight, slug repellent and stern look on her face. For a year, we even got a few courgettes out of it. (To be fair, nobody really wants more than a few courgettes!).

Some of the flowers did look pretty

Some of the flowers did look pretty

There were real moments of loveliness!

There were real moments of loveliness!

However, it was downhill from there and we resorted to flowering plants for future years as our green beans, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries – even roses! – failed miserably to burst into life!

I guess our neighbours were probably given an insight into how successful our gardening was going to be as, even before we’d moved in, we’d got some tree surgeons out on a Saturday to chop down three influential trees. I say influential, they were just encroaching, but I’m sure that the sound of a chainsaw at 9.30 on a Saturday morning had a certain influence on people’s feelings about us!

And it is true that the neighbourhood emptied as we arrived. Everyone we touched base with or seemed to make connection with left shortly after getting to know us. Even the young family who had a baby on New Year’s Day 2015, who we hadn’t met but thought we might get to know them through having children, got wind of our existence and soon scarpered!

2. Outside DIY

We also perhaps over-estimated our DIY skills when it came to the outside of our house too. There was the time when I tried to wash the windows on a hot summer’s day, feeling quite pleased with my proactive ideas. As I put my bucket down and finished up, I realised that vast smears had been swiped across every single window, leaving them far worse than they’d been before!

Or there was the painting fiasco of the front of the house. I’d chosen to do the porch and was performing rather well until I scooped some paint onto the only brick bit of the otherwise pitted stone frontage. The white blob of paint was clear to see for the rest of the time we lived there.

Meanwhile, my wife worked incredibly hard at painting the fence. Initially branded as “awfully blue”, she grew to love it and even repainted it herself in the same bright blue colours. Remarkable turnaround.

The blue initially got her so angry

The blue initially got her so angry

It would have been great if the heavens hadn’t opened just five minutes after she’d put the final touches to it. Washed away all her hard work. And, besides, a tree collapsed into our fence later!

I guess this was only a natural response to our gate being stolen a few years earlier. I mean seriously, who steals a gate?!

The gap where our gate used to be

The gap where our gate used to be

Finally, for this section, we invited our minister over to help address a guttering problem. He brought his tremendous ladder over and proceeded to launch himself up it “No Footing Needed” (I still did it) and raced up to our roof. With a determined look on his face and a curiosity drive to poke and prod everything that was up there, he did manage to extract whatever it was that was causing our drains to be blocked. With only the small sacrifice of pipes and tubing careering down from on high to pay for it!

So that was the great outdoors.

The final post in this series takes a look back at the moment which changed our lives forever…