Friday, 28 November 2014

The Four Elements

November brings our 2014 challenges to a close & the theme for this was my choice. Much to the disgust & distress of everyone. Me included :o)  I don't know what I was thinking when I chose it, but I was obviously having a funny five minutes or had finally lost the plot :o) Probably a bit of both, if truth be known :o)

Anyway, I managed to get one card per element from each parcel, so 8 cards in total.

First up, Terri.


The only thing I actually used from Terri's parcel was the holly patterned paper behind 
the snowy scene tag. To give it some oomph, I used Stickles glitter glue for the snow.


You need plenty of wind to get a bi-plane in the air :o) The image was mine, but the gold mirror card & blue paper came from the parcel. I used a cloud embossing folder to echo the clouds on the image, added the card candi & greeting.


Well, Fire BOY, but artistic licence & all that :o) Again, the image & greeting were mine, but the card & nirror card cane from the parcel. I added glossy accents to the hose & helmet to make it shiny :o)


This is my favourite - I love the Forever Friends teddies & this one, walking in the rain with his little brolly, was perfect for the water card. Everything but the image, greeting & card candi was from the parcel.

Now on to Liz's.


I loved the green background paper so decided that would be the main colour for this card. I like brown with green, so used the brown from the parcel as background for the image & greeting. I coloured the image - a digital stamp of mine - with pro-markers, die cut the circles & added the greeting.


In my head, this was a beautiful card. In real life, it's not what I wanted AT ALL. 
I loved the terracotta & gold coloured papers & thought the strippety stripy ribbon would go well with them. I still do, but unfortunately, the image isn't right :o(


Well, a candle left unattended in a glass lantern, COULD  grow to become fire !! :o)
I love this image, but again, it's not as nice as it could be. I used it for a couple of cards last year & it was much nicer. The yellow & green paper was in the parcel & I thought it went quite well with the tartan-ish paper I had. I think it's quite a masculine card :o)


The blue & white wavy paper just screamed SEA at me, & living at the seaside, I just had to have a boat on the water for this card :o)  Yet again, the image, card candi & greeting were mine :o)

As usual, all very plain & simple cards - I can't do fancy, gorgeous or intricate, it just isn't in me, but
as the challenges for 2015 are all techniques, who knows what I'll come up with :o)
For now, though, I think we're all pretty much "carded" out for this year :o) 

Monday brings December & with it, our favourite parcels - ADVENT :o)

We give each other 24 little parcels, each containing a crafty item - it might be a small stamp, a few buttons,  ribbons, cardi candy or stamped images, and it should come from our stash :o) We are, however, allowed to buy something for parcel no. 25 - Christmas Day :o)

Roll on Monday, I can't wait to see what's in my parcels :o)

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Remembrance 2014

I have very strong views about Remembrance Day & Remembrance Sunday . I don't think wearing poppies glorifies war, as some people seem to think & I don't think two minutes silence on each day is too much to ask.

Maybe I feel this way because I *do* my family tree & we have lost family members in both world wars & in recent conflicts.

Or maybe I feel this way because it's right to be thankful for the freedom we have today,  that we probably wouldn't have, had it not been for those who died defending us.

Whatever the reason, we shouldn't forget, not now & not in the future. Our children & grandchildren, their children & grandchildren, should always be aware of what went on before and be proud of the part their ancestors played in history.

Lest We Forget.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Dotty for Spotty

Well, I've actually managed to get this months cards made & blogged with a couple of hours to spare !! :o)

I only managed to make 2 cards from each parcel, not because there wasn't enough stuff to use, but simply because time wasn't on my side.

Anyhoo, here are the cards from Terri's parcel:

The only thing I added to this card from my stash was the silver card candi. A lovely little tag & two different spotty papers, made a nice plain & simple.birthday card.

Yet again, I used one of my favourite stamps for this card. The card candi ,stamped image & greeting, along with the black & white card & ribbon just cried out to be used as a Thinking of You or Sympathy card.

Now on to Liz's two.

The brown card, image & spotty card was included in the parcel. Using promarkers, I coloured the little bird. I then stamped the greeting, added red strips & the brown card candi.

As this spotty paper was quite busy-but-plain, I decided to keep it simple by using a lovely lily stamp that I'd forgotten I had :o) I just coloured it with promarkers, die cut the circles with card & paper Liz had included, stamped the greeting & coloured & edged it with a promarker & ink pad & that was it.

November's challenge is my choice & for some strange reason, I chose the Four Elements. Don't ask me what I was thinking when I chose it, I was probably having a funny five minutes :o)

Watch this space !! :o)

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Whinge, moan, rant . . .

As a rule, I think I'm fairly even tempered & I take what life throws at me in a reasonably calm manner. I'm pretty much a heads-down-grit-your-teeth-&-get-on-with-it type of person. AFTER the first initial panic, that is :o)


This past month has seen me want to do my ravin' nana far more than I have in the rest of the year.

Why ? Other people's ineptitude, recklessness, indifference & just plain ol' stoopididity !! :o)

Where do I begin ?

Well, recently, we have had a few appointments at the Disablement Services Centre at Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham,  so that means going along the Thanet Way & M2. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am a bad traveller, a nervous passenger & a downright nightmare in a vehicle. I can't help it, travelling in a large tin can at speeds of up to 70mph scares the !%$@*! out of me & it hasn't been made any better by the mindless idiots who:

undertake when there's not enough room to do so

don't put their lights on when it's foggy and/or tipping it down with rain


honk at us to get out of the way when there's NOWHERE TO GO !!!

Why on earth don't people read the road ?? Why don't they actually use their eyes & their brains ??
In my experience this past month, not one driver who illegally passed us or honked us out of the way got any further than being the vehicle in FRONT of us !!! What did they achieve ? Nothing whatsoever, apart from scaring the life out of me. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

What's next on my whinge list ? Data flippin' protection.

It's the 21st century. I am NOT my husband's property & I do not appreciate being told that until they have written permission from him allowing me to speak to them, they won't even acknowledge that I exist.

I phoned our electricity supplier earlier in the week to change our direct debit payment. I gave them the account number, my name, address, Shaun's name & date of birth etc. & before I could even say what I was calling about, was told, in no uncertain terms that data protection meant they won't deal with me.

Now, I understand why Data Protection is in place, but quite frankly, when it concerns a married couple, in this day & age, they should make allowances. I deal with the finances, always have, always will & any company asking Shaun ANYTHING about account numbers, online accounts etc. will be told - STOP right there, I don't have a clue, you'll have to talk to my wife because she's the one who set the account up, she's the one who inputs the meter reading, she's the one who pays the bill.

Now, my argument with the company was that I could give all the details they need to my next door neighbour & he could answer any question they asked & they wouldn't be any the wiser. I was told that would be fraud. I replied - prove it.

I also said it was funny how they were quite willing to talk to me on the phone when they wanted to sell anything or get us to change tariff or get our gas from them as well as our electricity, how they were prepared to take payment out of a bank account with MY name on it, how they used my email address to send meter reading requests & other messages,  but they would not talk to me about the actual account itself without my husband's PERMISSION !!!!

Am I living in a Victorian Melodrama ??? So much for equality between the sexes. Whoever thought data protection was a good idea between husband & wife needs his/her head examining IMO. I know more about Shaun than he does & I expect many, many other wives would say the same about their husbands too.

My next whinge is quite funny, really, now that I've had time to get over it :o)

Earlier this month, Shaun had a hospital appointment at QEQM. The doctor we saw was very nice & asked all sorts of questions, including was I Shaun's wife. So, it came a a bit of a shock, not to mention an insult, when we got a copy of his letter to our GP, stating that he saw Shaun *in clinic, accompanied by his mother*

His MOTHER ????!!!!

Now, I know I've had a few stressful years since Shaun's paralysis & I know I'm no longer in the first flush of youth, but - HIS MOTHER ???!!!

I think the young doctor we saw ought to get his eyes checked. VERY SOON.

*What's next ?!* I hear you cry. The saga of the stump board is what's next.

In Which I lose The Will To Live

Shaun had a below knee amputation on 17 July.

On 18 July we were told by the OT that a stump board had been requested for his wheelchair. (When you don't have/wear a prosthetic leg, you have to keep your stump on a stump board to help with swelling, circulation & muscle strain etc.)

We were told it should only take a couple of weeks to arrive, but after about a month it hadn't, so Shaun phoned the ward he'd been on & asked to speak to the OT. She was busy but rang him back. She said the stump board had definitely been requested so we just had to wait for it.

Fast forward to 11 September -  first visit to the Disablement Services Centre at Medway Maritime. FABULOUS team of people, very caring & really great at putting you at ease.

First question - where's your stump board ? You HAVE to have a stump board.
We explained we were still waiting & were told to phone Shaun's wheelchair OT the minute we got home.

Once we were in & settled, Shaun did just that. His OT wasn't available so he explained it all to whoever he spoke to & was told that the stump board hadn't been ordered till 26 AUGUST !!! Shaun said no, it had been ordered by the OT on 18 July, but he was told, again, it was 26 August.


I then heard the woman on the phone say to Shaun that she could hear that someone was rather agitated & upset, would he like her to talk to me. Shaun, knowing me SOOOOOO well when I lose my rag, diplomatically said - I don't think that's particularly wise :o)

Anyhoooo - upshot was that first thing the next day, the wheelchair OT we deal with phoned to see what she could do. She agreed it was disgraceful that the stump board hadn't been ordered & said she'd look into it. She phoned back later, very apologetic & said that the data required for the ordering had been received by them on 18 July, just like the hospital OT said. HOWEVER, when it left them to go to the people who actually order it, not all the data was received & they did absolutely NOTHING about it !! They just ignored the order !! It wasn't till a month or so later that someone picked up on it & redid the order. The wheelchair OT said she'd raised an internal enquiry because she & her manager both think not having the stump board has caused Shaun problems with his health & healing.

Fast forward another 4 weeks. Still no stump board, so I emailed the wheelchair OT again & this time, when she rang me, SHE did her ravin' nana !! :o)  She told me to make a complaint & gave me the email address & phone number of the dept. to complain to & she got on to the company who do the stump boards to find out what they were playing at.

A couple of days later, we got a phone call from the company saying they wanted to deliver the stump board on Thursday of that week !! HOORAY !!!!

Thursday came & at lunch time the front door bell rang & there's the delivery fella with stump board in hand. He handed it to me, I signed for it & off he went.

The next morning, we had to go shopping, so I got the bits & bobs needed for the wheelchair ready, got the stump board & guess what ???



We went out as planned & while I whizzed around the supermarket, Shaun phoned the wheelchair OT & explained what was going on. Long story short, when we got home, I took photos of the stump board & where it was supposed to fit on the wheelchair, emailed them to the wheelchair OT who then got hold of the  suppliers. Turns out because Shaun has swing away foot plates, the stump board needs a different fixing. Now, they KNOW what type of wheelchair he has - THEY supplied the flippin' thing !! Ugh,

The part was ordered that day - Friday - & the wheelchair OT was told it would be in Saturday or Monday & they'd send someone on Tuesday to fit it. So, Tuesday came & along with it a lovely bloke but with a somewhat shameful & apologetic air about him.

Written on his paperwork was something along the lines of - if part not in, cancel job. Because he didn't have a clue what that was about, he decided to call in to see exactly what the problem was & what was actually needed. He agreed the stump board wasn't right & said that if the part came in that day, he would come back on Wednesday.

It's now Sunday. We're still waiting. The wheelchair OT will be getting a phone call AND an email tomorrow & I am busy compiling my email of complaint.

We've been up the Medway 4 times since the amputation & each time we've been asked about the stump board. Because Shaun still hasn't got it- 13 weeks after his operation - the swelling hasn't gone as much as they'd like for him to have a cast made for his proper prosthetic. Now, no one can say for sure that not having a stump board has caused this, but they all say it's a possibility.

Oh, another thing I will complain about - at one time, we were told that the stump board had to be made especially for the wheelchair & that might be why it was taking longer than anticipated. When we finally got it, on the bottom is a big label saying  MANUFACTURED NOV. 13 !!!

I give up, I really do.

And finally - yes, I can hear you heave a huge sigh of relief - when we came home on Friday after Shaun's podiatry visit (remember - he does still have ONE foot !!) we found THIS in our shared driveway & Shaun's ONLY access in & out of the house:

I knocked next door to see if they knew anything about it - no answer.

I rang both their mobiles - no answer.

I then phoned the skip company & told them they had not only illegally blocked a shared drive, it was also the only access for a disabled person & I didn't care who had ordered it, I wanted it gone NOW !!

The bloke I spoke to was lovely - he said he'd ring the driver to come & move it & true to his word, less than 15 minutes later, a skip lorry came down the road. Turns out he'd been told to deliver it to our house number when in fact, it was a house further down the road. 

Just to add here:

I have NO complaints about the skip company or the driver - they were fab. Polite, punctual & true to their word. The person to blame was the idiot who'd given them the wrong house number & told them to stick it in the drive. Again, that wasn't the skip company, it was the company they were working for

Just then, our neighbour came down the road & I told her she & her husband would find missed calls from me & explained what had happened. I said that as I'd spoken to her husband earlier that morning, if they were having a skip he would have said something & she agreed.

Being disabled in any way is pretty hard going.
I think people forget sometimes that getting around isn't as easy for some as it is for themselves. And the strange thing is, now that Shaun's in the process of getting a false leg, some people have it in their head that he'll be running, skipping, jumping & walking. I just want to shout at them - what part of partially paralysed from the waist down do you not understand ??? It was his spinal injury that caused his leg to be amputated, it wasn't his leg that caused his back problems !!

But then, there's no telling some people, is there ? :o)

Rant over. 

Normal service will be resumed shortly :o)

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

September Stripes

As usual, I'm running behind in blogging my card challenges, but 
September was our strippety stripy challenge month. Now, anyone who knows me well, knows that stripy hats, socks, gloves, scarves, bags, wellies & umbrellas are ME. In the colder weather, my extremities are stripy. Every. Single. Day. If I go out & it's raining, my stripy brolly accompanies me.  It's a simple fact of life:

I love bright stripes.

When it comes to cards, however, I don't seem able to inject as much vividness/brightness/in-yer-faceness as I do with my hands, feet, neck & head. Maybe I'm all strippety striped out :o)

Anyhoooo - cards. The first three are from Liz's parcel, the last three from Terri's.

I love this cheery little stamp & seeing the bright stripy paper included in the parcel, just had to put them together. Easy to do - coloured the image with promarkers, stamped the greeting, mounted the image on the card, & stripy background paper, stuck it onto a card & that was it.

Another quick & easy card - first I stuck the dark stripy paper to a card, stamped the greeting on white cardstock, coloured it with promarkers,die cut it with a rectangle die, mounted it on gold mirror card  & then - technical term coming up:  *bunged it on at a bit of a wonk* :o) I then added the 2 sets of 3 card candi to give it a bit of a lift. Job done :o)

This is the last of Liz's & the one I'm least keen on - it's too twee for my liking. I LOVE the stamped image, though.
Again, it was just a matter of using card & paper included in the parcel & then stamping a greeting & adding card candi.

Now onto Terri's.

This was such a simple card - I just coloured the image using the pink & yellow of the background paper for the balloons, coloured the bear a bear colour - as you do :o) -  which I also used to edge the image, stamped the greeting & that was it. I DO like a plain & simple card :o)

Because of the busy-ness of the flowers in the wheelbarrow, I wanted something simple for the background. Green & gold always go well together, IMO, so I just cut the gold card to size & stuck it onto a plain white card. I put the cream ribbon down one side, added the mounted image, which I'd coloured with promarkers & die cut & mounted onto a die cut green & cream stripy bit of paper. A small stamped greeting & no. 2 was done :o)

I LOVE this stamp, but I HATE this card !! :o)  No need to explain what I did, looking at it is explanation enough :o) I really don't like it, I don't know why it turned out like this - it certainly didn't look like this in my head !! :o)

Ah well, maybe I'll redeem myself in October's challenge - we're all going dotty for spotty !!
Apparently . . .  :o)

Monday, 8 September 2014

Foggy, Foggy Daaaaay . . .

Sung to the tune of  *Starry, starry night* if you like :o)

We have been held captive indoors for the past couple of months because of Shaun's operation & other health problems, but yesterday, I put my foot down with a firm hand and TOLD him in NO UNCERTAIN terms, that come hell or high water, rain, hail, fog or snow, we WERE going to walk into town, do a bit of shopping & then wend our weary way home again !!

I say *we* walk, of course I mean ME walk & he mobility scoot :o)

Maybe I should have kept quiet, because, as it turned out, it was a very foggy Autumnal morning. 

The garden looked quite eerie. I think Morty's preparing himself for Halloween :o)

The spiders had been busy in the early hours - the trees & bushes were just dripping in silver cobwebs.

There were so many webs in these bushes, but what amazed me were the snails climbing across the leaves. I'm always surprised at how leaves & branches can take the weight of creatures, be they birds, snails, slugs etc. :o)

As we left home, the fog seemed thicker in places. Didn't stop idiot drivers whizzing along with no lights on, though.

Normally, you can see quite a long way down the road here, but not yesterday :o)
By the time we'd reached the middle of town, there seemed to be hardly any fog around. However, along the front, it was a different story.

The harbour had its middle bridge up, so something was coming or going or had been & gone :o) Every now & then we could hear a bell on a mast or somewhere, ding-donging as a boat moved in the water. Through the fog, it sounded quite spooky :o)

Walking home along the prom, the sun was trying to get out & it was pretty hot on my back. Hardly anyone on the beach, but it wouldn't have surprised me if that changed during the afternoon.

I liked this view of the sea with the grass & wild flowers. Over to the left, is a small boat with a couple of people in. Not sure if they were fishing or just have a  bit of a sail :o)

Even though it was foggy, I thought the sea looked very inviting. As you can see, the sun was shining weakly on the water, but it still managed a twinkle or two :o)

Unfortunately, closer to home, the fog was thicker than ever !! There were two or three fishermen down on the path, but goodness knows how they could see their rods moving, let alone see what they'd caught. 
I LOVE living at the seaside, but to be honest, drowning worms is not my idea of fun !! :o)

From here, it's about a 15 minute walk to get home & by then, the sun really had come out. It was sweltering & for a couple of hours, it was just like Summer.

Today, the morning is bright & sunny, but there's that lovely nip in the air that signals Summer is virtually over & Autumn is just waiting to take over.

My favourite time of year :o)

Monday, 1 September 2014

Swapping the Swaps

August was our *Swapping the Swaps* month. All the bits & bobs I'd given to Liz & Terri & they'd given to me & each other over the previous months, the bits that we'd not got round to using or didn't know what to do with, were bunged into envelopes & sent on their way, in the hopes that inspiration & imagination would spring forth when we tore open the parcels :o)

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . . .

I'll let others be the judge of that :o)

First up, Terri's parcel. This month I made 3 cards.

I bought this old car stamp in a sale at Hobbycraft & hadn't used it, but when I saw the browns & creams of the paper & card in the parcel, I thought if I used brown ink, it would give the card a sort of sepia look. I used the same brown ink pad to stamp the greeting.The photo is a bit blurry & it doesn't do it justice AT ALL, but I really like this card. It turned out just how I wanted it to.

I really wasn't sure what I was going to do with this image, but after a while, decided to use a flourish type stamp on the plain green background paper to make it a bit more interesting. I stuck to different shades of green, mounted the fairy image on a slightly different green patterned paper & stamped the sentiment on white card, which I then edged with a green ProMarker.

A Christmas card ??? Already ??!! Yes, I know it's only 1 September, but Christmas isn't far away. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that it's down the road, round the corner, first left, third right, over the crossroads, right at the traffic lights & there it is, on the left hand side :o)
This little image is such a simple design, it doesn't need much to go with it. I just coloured it with Promarkers, plonked it on some silver mirror board & then stuck it on the check paper, which I'd already stuck on to a plain white card. I punched out 3 snowflakes from the same mirror board, stuck the greeting on to white card & then more of the silver & that was it.

I also made 3 cards from Liz's parcel :o)

I really must take more care photographing cards. They aren't really on a wonk :o)

This image was already coloured in, so all I did was use the green & cream paper Liz had included. I embossed the cream card, die cut the green, stuck the image on the green & stamped a greeting on what was left. I cut the greeting out, edged it with black ink & that was it. Plain & simple.

This little snowman is one of my favourite stamps. I have NOOOOOOO idea why she'd send it back to me !!! :o) Again, plain & simple - I embossed the red card, die cut a circle from the patterned creamy colour paper & edged the image with red ink. I then used a silver glitter strip across the middle & embellished that with 3 silver leaves I had in my stash. I stuck the image on top & added the silver greeting.

When I saw this image in the parcel, it just shouted *Cold, wintery Christmas !!* at me. So, all I did was colour it with grey Promarkers & mount it on a bit of silver mirror board. I used the green card as a background, edged it with silver glitter strips, stamped the greeting & added three white card candi.  
As my Mother in law would say - it's a NEAT card :o) 

So, that's August's challenge all done & now it's on to September - stripes !! My favourite :o)

Monday, 11 August 2014

A Summer of Sport

Our card challenge for July was sport, which was quite appropriate, given that we've had the footy world cup, the Commonwealth Games, Glorious Goodwood & Wimbledon this summer. 

I made 4 cards from Terri's parcel & three from Liz's. I probably could have made more, but things at home have been somewhat busy, what with Shaun's operation & recuperation, so finding time wasn't particularly easy :o)

Anyhoooo - here are the cards from Terri's parcel.

This is probably my favourite of the four. It strikes me as a typical English summer's afternoon - cricket on the village green. Rather like that Bank Holiday weekend 100 years ago, when life carried on as normal while the clouds of war were gathering pace.

Terri had included some nice images in her parcel, so I just cut them to size & embossed background card/paper to plonk them on. (Plonk - a technical term meaning to place !!)

I can never think of really fab layouts, so plain & simple is the way I tend to go. I decided to use card candi of the three main colours in this fisherman image, just to bring it all together.

This is my least favourite. I don't particularly like the colours together, but I do like a game of golf :o) Shaun & I used to play, way back in the mists of time. We still have our clubs & bags etc., even though we'll never play again. I'm hoping Grandsons 1a & 1b might decide to take it up & if they do, we'll have all they need :o)

Now onto Liz's parcel. She included three sporty images all by the same artist/cartoonist, so they're all very much of a muchness, just different sports & different colours :o)

I rather like this little fella :o) All I did here was cut two pieces of card into small squares & place them diagonally opposite to each other. I matt & layered the image, plonked it on top & that was that.

This image was a bit bigger than the other two, so all I could really do was matt & layer it & stick it on a card front. 

Lastly, another golfer & in pretty much the same colours :o)  I cuttlebugged the cardstock with a diamond type embossing folder that I thought was not only golfing attire shaped (think Argyll jumpers !!) but also matched his rather fetching socks !! :o)

As usual, I added greetings & card candi to them, but really, they were plain, simple & quick. Maybe I'll be a bit less boring in this months challenge, but don't hold your breath !! :o)

Monday, 4 August 2014

100 Years Ago

11pm tonight will mark the 100 year anniversary of Britain's declaration of war against Germany. It was supposed to be over by Christmas, it was supposed to be the war to end all wars. 

How wrong they were.

Looking around the world today, can we honestly say that we've learned anything in the last 100 years ? 
I'm not a political person, I don't pretend to understand what's going on & why one country wants to dominate another, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who believes that if our war dead could come back & look at what is happening today, they would shake their heads in dismay & wonder why on earth they sacrificed themselves for future generations.

Like so many families, mine lost a few young men between 1914-1918.
 Unfortunately, with it not being the war to end all wars, we also lost quite a few more during WW2 & in recent years, a distant cousin was killed in Afghanistan, aged 21.

As much as I believe that the Great War shouldn't be forgotten, that the future generations should be taught about it in school & at home, I also believe we need to ask why we, the human race, are so hell bent on destroying each other.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

All change on the patch

Today, I am having a *me day* for the first time in years. Just me, on my own, with no one to look after.

So far, I've made a special anniversary card for a special couple, made a start on July's challenge cards, cut the grass, had a go at crocheting a snowflake - DISASTER - done some housework, sorted out photos,  eaten chocolate, I'm updating this blog, spoken to my Mum & Mother in law & also to 'imself who isn't actually here at the moment.

*So what have you done with him ?* I hear you cry :o)


I haven't actually done anything to him, but he's in hospital. He'll probably be home tomorrow, but minus a fairly large part of himself.

Unfortunately, he's been pretty poorly for quite a number of years & even though those in the know acknowledge that there is something neurologically wrong with him, they don't actually know what it is. This has lead to mobility problems because he's pretty much paralysed from the waist down & long story short, on Thursday afternoon, he had his right leg amputated below the knee.

We've known since Christmas that it might happen & so, with that in mind, decided to see if we could come up with something to make the garden more wheelchair friendly, especially for the first couple of months when he won't be able to go in the husband hut.

Various ideas were thought of, but in the end, we decided to get rid of all the grass closest to the house & have the whole area laid to patio.

We got three quotes & went for the middle one who I am going to advertise here cos we LOVE what they did:

D.B Garden Services

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone. Dan is the main man & Richard is his labourer. Dan was here the first day to help do all the digging out, but it was Richard who did the rest of the work & I was HIS labourer. I had a ball :o)  It was hard work & it was very hot, but I really enjoyed myself :o)

Anyhoo - here are the before, during & after pics. Click 'em to big 'em :o)

The slabs around the grass were all higgledy piggledy & Shaun had an awful job using his wheelchair or walker on them. You can see two large dark green conifers either side of the rockery. They had to come out, so he set himself up in his wheelchair & attacked them over a week or so & managed - with some help from me - to get them down, branch by branch :o) The stump on the left was dug out as part of the patio job but we wanted the larger one on the right kept so that we could put a large stone frog on it.  Why ? Just because we could !! :o)

This very wishy washy photo shows the conifers removed & the large right hand stump waiting to be cut to ground level.

 Digging the grass up & part of the rockery out, to make a slope going up to the middle of the garden so that Shaun can get up there. He can't get to the far end, but by getting to the middle, at least he can see the whole garden.

This pic shows the rough shape of the slope looking down towards the house.

 Two thirds of the rockery gone, all the grass gone & the slope dug out. The old slabs were dug up & eventually relaid, along with new ones used for the slope & main patio area.

The partly laid patio.
It was a GLORIOUS week, but really, it was far too hot for such heavy duty garden work.
Richard turned a lovely brown, but ME ? Being fair skinned, I just burned & all my freckles came out to play as usual !! :o)

We wanted to break up the light grey slabs a bit, so Shaun suggested a simple pattern of half slabs around one of the new light grey ones.

Because the slope bears round to the right, Richard had to cut some slabs to shape. He did a BRILLIANT job, they look really good.

All finished :o) Looking down the slope towards the house.
He even managed to put a hole through the patio for my washing line :o)

Looking up the garden from the bottom end.

The rockery is now a lot smaller & much easier to keep control of - I hope !! :o)
To the left of the slope is the bird bath that used to live in the rockery.
On the right is the sundial that also lived in the rockery but was hidden by all the weeds & the heather that had gone wild & straggly over the years.
The little ghost statue is Morty, who I have had for at least 10 years & he used to live at the far end of the garden.

The back end of the rockery. We bought a few plants to brighten it up a bit for this Summer, but come Autumn, I'll get some early Spring bulbs to plant in there to give us a splash of colour after the Winter.
Hows that ? All four seasons in one sentence !! :o)

 The rockery after I'd planted it up. You can see our collection of frogs, including the large one on the conifer stump. We've had them for more years than I care to remember :o) The stone statues of the old man & old lady sitting on benches used to belong to my MiL but she gave them to us when she moved 13 years ago. I named them Fred & Mabel after my paternal Nan & Grandad :o)

And finally - with the garden table & chairs all set out. Like the first pic, it was raining when I took this :o)
The washing line has been taken down to make way for the table etc., but it's no hardship just moving the chairs & turning the table sideways on so that I can pop the line in its hole.

When Shaun comes home, the idea is for him to relax & recuperate in the garden, maybe wheel himself up to the middle if he feels like like & just get better in the sunshine & fresh air. IF it stops raining, that is :o)

He can use his laptop out there to watch a DVD, do some lace making, some tapestry, read or just fall asleep in his wheelchair if he wants to. And when he feels ready, he can go back to the husband hut and get going on a project or two.

 Grandson 1a has already suggested he make himself a wooden leg so that he can be a pirate :o)

No topping that, is there ?! :o)