Pictures by Walter

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Metamorphosis – Complete

Day 6 of Garden Make-over :  Jamie, Terry and Brian took us on a transformation journey over 5 days (Day 1 was the prologue/planning), they were joined by Martin on days 5 and 6 to metamorph my overcrowded, claustrophobic garden of potted plants (See image on left) to  one with bedded plants and open space. (See image below).  During that journey I watched 3 magician work their magic and a elderly wizard create his magic for the centerpiece of the made-over garden.

The quartet from “Gardens R Us” exceeded their brief and as a result I now have a garden of tranquility  as well as one with space. The physical cost of this act of magic was £6000 – and to me worth every penny.  The fact that the profit from this venture goes to help Susan’s and my favourite zoo “Five Sisters Gavieside, West Calder EH55 8PT” was one of the attractions to hiring “Gardens R Us”  the others were seeing the transformation they had carried out on similar projects during 2019.  I was not disappointed in anyway.  They grafted hard, worked as a team and created to use their phrase “A Mint” of a garden.

I have no hesitation in wholeheartedly recommending “Gardens R Us”  for any of your garden work or indeed any building work you may be considering.  I have not been paid too make such a recommendation just one very satisfied client.  I will be using them on any other project I may have in the future.  Meantime they are providing a monthly garden service at very reasonable rate – just as well as I am not a green fingered person – more like weed finger.  To Brian (the gaffer), Terry the Layer of the slabs, Brian (the Chippie) creator of the raised beds) and Martin the wizard of bricks thank you  all for your marvelous efforts on my behalf and providing me with a place of tranquility and rest to enjoy.

 

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Design Central – Centerpiece

Garden after major clean up May 2017

Day 5 of Garden Make-over :  One of my requests at the initial discussion was to replace the centrepiece as seen on the image to the left taken after our clean up in May 2017  today that request was to be fulfilled. The trio from “Gardens R Us” were joined by Martin the brickie. A general discussion took place with regard to design for the central area was to be.  BrianI knew it was suggested to be kidney shaped but I had no idea how that was to be achieved.   I left the team to work out the design and to let me know when that had been decided.  Martin, Terry and Jamie set off for slabs and bricks whilst Brian came up with an outline for the revised centerpiece.

Whilst Jamie, Terry and Martin were away to get bricks, slabs Brian took on the designing of a kidney shaped Centrepiece.  The centerpiece was to be moved slightly into the centre of the garden area on rebuilding.

Upon the return of the rest of the crew, Brian (Chippie) had come up with an outline and team had a discussion with me. as I had final approval.  You can see the outlined centrepiece in the image above.

The three lads continued with the  laying of slabs.   Moving a shed around to sit back against the house wall instead of side on.  T Continue slabbing to the gate they had to remove concrete base, rebuild a set of steps to back door and slab the area to the rear garden gate. The three raised to the challenge and delivered the goods.  Whilst all was chaos around him Martin continued with his  task to change the appearance of the square centrepiece.

By the end of the day the garden had taken on a new look and feel.  Martin had completed three-quarters of the Centrepiece and the three grafters had slabbed the garden, put in temp steps to back door, moved shed into new position and completed slabs to rear gate, placing a step at the gate.

 When I stepped out to get the last few shots I was taken aback as the garden appeared to have expanded in size. The old shut in claustrophobic feel had gone.

I look forward to tomorrow when the work on the centrepiece has been completed, the plants placed into the raised bed/planter and all work completed. Some plants have to be replaced but that was to be expected. I am so impressed with this team and the change they made to my garden, Susan would be over the moon at the new look. What a change in five days!

Loki and Felix gave the makeover their seal of approval. 

 

 

 

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Building Site – Garden Rebirth Imminent

Day 4 of Garden Make-over : The team from Gardens R Us arrived at 8:15 and immediately started to work on the extended raised bed/planter. In order to carry out the extension they had to clear out the contents of the shed, demolish it and then take all the residue down to the tip. Upon return they built the extra length taking it almost to the end of the fence. Next was prepping the ground to have the slabs relaid, as well as line the side of the planters. By lunchtime they had the planter filled with soil, hardcore spread in garden area . then it was off to get soil and slabs. then from 1:30 until 7:10 they slabbed 3/4 of garden area..

Again I was impressed by the teams work rate.  They covered a lot of tasks between 1:30 and 7:10.  As they worked I began to see the garden take a new shape  The addition of the raised bed added space by allowing the transplant from pots and very large pots at that.   The transplanted plants being at a higher level immediately removed the claustrophobic feeling of overcrowding.   I’m looking forward to tomorrow when with luck all should be completed and the grand unveiling of the reborn, made over garden shown to all

 

 

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Building Site – The Rise of the Beds

Day 3 of Garden Make-over : The team of three arrived just after 8 a.m. and immediately began to clear the site and prepare the area for the Raised Beds / Planters.  Jamie and crew wasted no time working straight through till just after 1 p.m.  The last task was setting the support posts in concrete and that was it.  The concrete had to be giving time to set so they went for lunch and onto another site.  Early start tomorrow to continue preparation for re-laying of slabs, laying them, powerwash and seal plus add extra 2 tier bed to top left hand corner as seen from gate.

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Timber Yard- Site Clearance

Day 2 of Garden Make-over : The plan was to start work a 11:30 am when the timber was due to arrive.   The timber would be 21 lengths of sleepers and some wood battens to protect fence.  This time things did go to plan, but not for long though <grin>.

Jamie was by himself and he unloaded all the heavy timber by himself.  Unfortunately the driver  was unable to assist and Jamie’s fellow colleagues were at another site which had a problem.   Prior to waiting the arrival of  his colleagues he cleared out the proposed working area ready to  create the protection batten and installation of the timber to form the  Raised bed or as they term it the planter.   Fate had other plans, Jamie received a call requesting his assistance at the other site as the problem was bigger than previously thought.

Full of apologies he explained what the problem at the other site was and made arrangements with me for an early start on the building tomorrow.  He assured me that the planters would be in place and the garden fully slabbed by Thursday with hand over by Friday.  Mind you I think one cat was pleased that the work came to a halt as he then spent most of the afternoon in the unfinished garden.  He had explored the changes to the garden this morning and passed his approval at the new design by have a roll in the sandy soil then settling down for a nap.  The current state may meet Felix’s approval but as he is not paying the bill the garden will be reconstructed (but I’ll make sure he has a wee dirt patch for himself) 🙂

 

 

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Timber stacked for start in Morning

 

 

 

 

 


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Demolition Site – Garden Goes West

Day 1 of Garden Make-over : The plan was to start work a 9 am, however, like all plans that went astray.  Brian (Garden R Us)  advised that one lad would soon be on site.  Not an auspicious start I thought.  I was soon to change my mind.  The one lad arrived full of beans and started to dismantle the garden that Susan and I had created.   He arrived at just before 10 am and by 11:30  he had gathered the trash that was to be dumped and headed off to Civic Amenity Site to dispose of it responsibly.

Upon return from the dump he was accompanied by two other lads.  The work began in earnest then.   By 1:30 the potted plants had been removed to a safe place as they would be brought back to be transplanted into the new raised bed or planter as they termed it.  Whilst two went with the load the other started to life the slabs, I was amazed at the rate of work he was doing.  By the time his mates came back he had approx half of the garden slabs lifted and stacked awaiting their return

By 17:10 all the slabs had been lifted and taken off site, partial preparation was started for the arrival of the sleepers to make the raised beds and leveling of the ground for the relaying of the slabs.  It may have been a slightly late start but the work rate of the 3 involved was very high and good time was made.  So much so the had finished by 5:30 though it was planned to work till 7pm.   On leaving the site site the cheerfully advised I could have a late lie as they would not be back until 11 tomorrow which ois when the timber will be delivered  and work would recommence.

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The next stage prepped for start in Morning

 

 

 

 

 


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It’s a Jungle Out There – Tamed Garden Goes Wild

Life is full of choices, some are good some are bad, but each choice has a knock on effect.  Susan and I agreed in 2015 that we would amalgamate our houses and she would move in with me.  In doing so Susan gave up her home not just her house and a her lovely front garden.  My house had a small garden which was once the pride of my late father.  However on his death my mum was advised that her pelvis was wearing away and that she would need walking aids and eventually the use of a wheelchair. This meant that the garden had to be slabbed over to allow a larger ramp that could take a mobility scooter be fitted and the back gate redesigned to allow said scooter to exit.  It had to be the doors from the living-room in order to allow a larger platform that the sidewalk could take.

After my mum passed away in 2010 the ramp was removed and the garden remained slabbed, it was easy to keep clean just a power wash every two months.  Potted plants appeared.  and a potted garden was established.  When Suan moved in the central slabs were removed opening up a small area for plants and the garden became Susan’s domain.  3 times a year it would get the slabs washed and tidied up, Susan looked after her plants with tender loving yet ruthless care.  This care came to an end in the latter half of 2017 as her cancer became more aggressive.

The choice made to provide Susan with the care and attention meant that the garden would be left to survive whilst we attempted to give Susan not just extend life but one that had quality so gallevants became more important right up to the week before she passed away.  Our last trip out was an Intrepids’ Trip to Rest and Be Thankful then onto Butter Bridge in Argyle:

Butter Bridge 20190907

The last choice was not mine to make it was life’s – how to deal with the intense grief I felt with the loss of my wife of 6 weeks and 2 days!  We had been partners ,longer that Husband and wife, 10 years and friends for 12.   All I can say is I bumbled my way through the fog, lackluster will from then until  two weeks ago.  Whilst the country and most of the world was in lockdown I had no need to think, to go out etc.  It is not trite but true that you will come to terms with such a loss, you will never forget but you will carry on with your life that is the choice you make.  Having unconsciously made that choice I realised I had a lot to do on the domestic side and did so.  House cleaned inside my attention turned to the garden.  My heart sank at the overgrown state as the once tamed garden had gone to the wild.  Susan and I had discussed a way forward for the garden and it was time time implement some of that Discussion – Cue in Garden’ ‘R Us

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Ennitoun – Update – 12th June 2020 – City of Sheffield Joins Ennitoun Stock

Hornby “City of Sheffield” & 2 Converted Black Fives Join Ennitoun   

Yet another model of Ex LMS Duchess/Coronation locomotive joins the stock in Ennitoun Shed.  The addition of this model brings the total up to 26.  However, I have three versions of City of Glasgow, 1 in BR Green 2 in LMS black (one will be renamed/renumbered as City of Carlisle),; 2 of “City of Bradford” 1 BR Maroon/Crimson, 1 LMS Black;  2x City of Chester, 1 BR Green and 1 BR Blue;  2x City of Edinburgh , 1 BR Blue, 1 LMS Black; 2x Duchess of Sutherland, 1x BR Green, 1x LMS Black.  That makes 6 duplicates and 20 originals only need 16 more to have the whole set.

46249 “City of Sheffield”

Black 5  44781

 


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Ennitoun – Update – 4th June 2020 – New Locomotives Join Ennitoun Stock

New Locomotives Join Ennitoun – Changes in Coast

On the 19th April the date that the change over from DC to DCC was implemented the system was in sudden lack of locomotives stage. as these figures from April’s blog revealed:

  • DCC Fitted 9 – able to be run on new system
  • DCC Ready 19 – awaiting fitting of DCC Chip
  • Non-DCC – 33 with possibility of 14 being converted to DCC by fitting chip
  • Possible DCC stock = 42 out of 61 as at 9th April 2020.

As of 19th June 2020 the tale is different:

  • DCC Fitted 23 – able to run on system
  • DCC Ready 22 – Waiting to have sound chips fitted
  • Non-DCC  16 – Confirmed too old (Coarse wheels or Split Chassis – they will be on display in Ennitoun Museum
  • Up-gradable (Previously Non-DCC) 16 (2 undergoing upgrade to sound @ Horns and Whistles Workshops.

Breakdown of DCC Fitted

  • 16 are LMS/Ex-LMS locos
  • 2 are BR Class
  • 5 are LNER/Ex-LNER

West Coast  engines out number East Coast engines by a considerable margine.  If you take in the DCC Ready figures:

  • 17 are LMS/Ex-LMS Locos
  • 2 are BR Class
  • 3 are LNER/Ex-LNER

The West Coast outnumber the East Coast.  Yesterday the balance started to be addressed with the arrival of 2 DCC fitted locomotives (no sound).

Bachmann 32-280 Class K3 61869  EX-LNER

Bachmann 31-716 Class B1 61180 renumbered 6103 Mayflower

A policy change is soon to be implemented – obtain more East Coast Locos.

 


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Ennitoun – Update – 3rd June 2020 – DCC Conversion Update

DCC Upgrade Modernisation Update 2nd June 2020

On 30th May 2020 we welcomed back Hornby R053 LNER B17  Manchester United and Hornby R1019 LNER A1 Flying Scotsman after Horns & Whistles Workshops  completed the conversion on both locos from DC to DCC.

The conversions went well and I must admit I thought problems would be encountered converting the B17 as Hornby released it in 1980  and ceased in 1982, making the model at most 40 years old.  Models at that time were not as scaled or detailed and had outsize wheel gauge to fit on the older Triang/Hornby system 4 and not the latest scaled tracks produced by Peco and Hornby.

The video of the test run on Ennitoun’s modern tracks confirmed my faint suspicions but by no means caused me to be disheartened as the problem is not unsolvable.  The stutter as she crossed the points is not the fault of the conversion done by Horns & Whistles Workshops.  The cause is the outsize wheel rim bridges the iso-frog and causes a small short as the wheel hits both metal parts of the frog (the V formed where the inner rails meet in the point).  This will be rectified when the layout undergoes its expansion to have a loop (tail-chaser) added.  In fact for a 40 year old model she ws in very good condition and on the straights proved to be a fast runner.

The A1 Flying Scotsman was part of a  Train set released in 1999 – 2002 so I did not expect any problems with the running of this model and pleased my  faith was well founded.

Further Locomotives will be sent for DCC conversion (with sound where possible) until all stock has been upgraded and available for traffic duties.  Those that are not up-gradable/convertible will be gracefully retired to the “Ennitoun Railway Museum).

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