Battening Down The Hatches

Another week has almost passed, in a flurry of work and very little time.

Silhouette of tree against sunset

At the weekend, it took the best part of a day for King of the Hill to lay new felt on the shed roof; while we anticipated replacing one side, the other side was later torn by more winds, so the entire roof needed re-covering. We are hoping to lay vertical battens over the felt this coming weekend, to prevent such extensive damage again should the winds get their icy hands on the new, sturdier roofing in the future.

Re-felted shed roof, explored by cat Both cats were keen to help while the felt was being unrolled on the lawn, and today Xander seemed to give it his seal of approval. One evening this week he did not appear for his tea, while his sister was waiting as punctually as ever; through the evening we listened to the rain coming down and hoped that he was warm and dry, perhaps sheltering somewhere from the downpour. There was still no sign of him by bedtime, and we slept fitfully, the occasional click of the catflap downstairs seeping into our dreams, but in the morning he had reappeared, seeming a little jumpy but otherwise unscathed. Ah, if cats could just talk…

The work on the shed took rather longer than expected, and as the afternoon wore on, the temperature dropped and the winds crept up, making progress slower and less comfortable. Somehow despite careful placing of ladders and feet, there was at least one casualty in the border by the end of the day: the helleborus foetidus that I planted in front of the birch tree the week before Christmas was rather trampled, however part of the plant does seem to have survived, so my fingers are crossed that it makes a full recovery.

Trampled helleborus foetidus

Amid the sea of shoots that are springing up in pots by the house and along the fronts of the borders, in all shapes and sizes from the variety of narcissus, crocus, alliums and snowdrops that I planted in the autumn, the first dainty white bells are appearing on the snowdrops. A tray of these tiny bulblets was given to me by my mum from her garden at the end of the summer, lightly covered in soil, and as I uncovered them and planted them in groups of two and three along all the border edges, they were already starting to shoot. In just a few months they seem to have found their feet and today I found the first two or three white buds glowing in the weak sunshine.

Green shoots and the first snowdropsIt looks as though we have one daffodil making a bid for freedom in the middle of the newly seeded lawn, so I suspect that will need moving if it is to avoid the mower in the spring.  It gives me such a thrill to see these first brave flowers appear. Last winter, we found one lone snowdrop growing amid the rubble; this year should give us many times more. Already I am dreaming of the various narcissus, crocus and tulips that will hopefully bloom all over the garden this spring: what a difference a year will have made!

Details of handmade curtain

The cold weather is set to return in the next day or two, so besides braving the cold to complete the shed roof, we are unlikely to get much more done in the garden this weekend. Indeed, there is plenty of indoor work to be done: for myself I suspect much of the weekend will be taken with curtain making. Having fortuitously found some sale fabrics while we were out and about in the New Year, I finally found time last weekend to make my first curtain to hang at the inner door in the porch, with thermal blackout lining to keep the draughts out, and we also now have the fabric to replace borrowed curtains which hang at the French doors in the kitchen with our own: wish me luck for I shall be wrestling with eyelets and pattern matching!


12 thoughts on “Battening Down The Hatches

  1. The wind does seem to find out where the weaknesses are doesn’t it – we had to replace part of our roofing felt too. Did you see the sunset tonight – it was spectacular – trouble is they change so quickly don’t they, by the time I had my camera in my hand, it was less spectacular – yours is hot enough to warm your hand on.

    • Indeed, this picture was yesterday’s sunset: I was bent over my desk working when I noticed that the room was glowing red, and looking up I saw that brilliant sky outside, so grabbed the camera and ran outside – luckily it held on just long enough for me to capture it.

  2. Oh dear sorry about your shed roof and I am sympathise about the worrying disappearing cat. Mine hasnt yet stayed out all night but she has been very late in before now and I was beside myself – silly really as lots of cats round here are out all night.

    I am impressed with the curtain making. I used to do dress making so curtains shouldnt be a challenge but all that fabric makes me nervous. Determined to overcome my nerves soon

    • Thanks, Helen. When we built the shed, we knew that the felt that came with it was rather flimsy and brittle: at least now we have a more robust roof. With our cats, we leave their cat flap open all the time so that they can come and go: in the summer they would be gone for hours, and it would not be unusual not to see them some evenings at all, but on these winter nights it is very unusual for them not to be queueing up for their tea together, even if they pop out again for a while afterwards.
      I agree, the quantity of fabric involved in curtains makes me nervous too: especially floor length ones! Not the easiest thing to start with, but the hall one went well, I just had to hold my nerve (and patience) to cut very straight lines along the warp threads, climbing on the fabric stretched out on the carpet. I’m quite pleased with the result, though. I hadn’t used the blind hem stitch on my machine before, and it is so elegant, it pleased me greatly!
      The kitchen ones require me to join fabric (and pattern) and there are two of them, so will be rather more tricky. The fabric and lining is washed and drying ready to cut, make up and sew tomorrow hopefully. Eek.
      I recommend it though, the feeling of satisfaction is immense.

  3. How about a sedum or grass roof on your shed?
    The curtain making sounds like a doddle. I remember making some a few years back for my flat in Edinburgh. They were long windows and I was poor at the time. I spent hours making them and hung them up to find the pattern was upside down…

    • I do like a living roof, though I’m not sure our shed is the place for one. We have an interesting project in mind, which is not unrelated, and will hopefully come to fruition this year.
      Argh for your upside down curtains; I dread doing something similar… it’s so easy to miss a detail.

  4. sorry about your roof Sarah I hope the flying felt didn’t do any damage, male cats can go aroaming, females like home more, glad he was back safe by morning,
    I love your sunset photo it’s sooo beautiful, I hope the curtain making today went well, looking forward to seeing your garden grow this year, Frances

    • Thanks Frances: the felt came off in small brittle pieces; most of which landed at the feet of the shed and didn’t go far. I reclaimed odd bits around the garden, but fortunately no other damage. Funnily our female cat seems to be the most adventurous, and slightly more independent. I’d love to know where they wander off to, whether they are down in the valley or just sleeping in a hedge.
      This weekend’s curtain making didn’t get very far – I prewashed six lengths of fabric and lining ready to make them up, and finished hemming the pinned-up hall curtain, then today we were seduced by the sunshine and a long winter walk, so the indoor projects must wait for another weekend. Oops.

  5. Glad to hear you have managed to get the new roof on, not sure about you but we’ve had quite a lot of rain in recent days. Love the new curtains, I have a stack to make for my sister and some blinds for here, although I love the results I never really enjoy making them so tend to put it off! Bethx

    • We had a bit of rain in the past couple of days, and the wind is up again – though not as ferocious as in previous weeks.
      I agree, the process of making curtains/blinds is not as enjoyable as other projects – the size of fabric, and possibly the cost if it goes wrong, I suspect! But the results are rather satisfying, so far!

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