Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The new planting and THAT lawn

Now, Molly, the Springer Spaniel, is a wonderful dog; friendly, caring and doesn't run off or escape from the garden. The only trouble is; she can be a bit of a bitch and that's unfortunate. It means we can never manage to keep a decent lawn. Even if I tried re-turfing it, the result would be the same; a tatty, muddy (at times), mouldy (in places), moss infested mess.

So we decided to take drastic action.

We moved most of the plants from the bottom bed where they don't get enough light, dug over the area, fed it with farmyard manure and planted shrubs.

In case you can't read the names, they are: (L-R) New Zealand Flax, Amelanchier, Buddleia Davidii, Cornus Sanguinea (Midwinter Fire), Philadelphus Aureus, Pieris (Forest Flame), Olearia Haastii, Cornus Alba Sibirica, Nandina (Firestorm) and, hidden off to the right, Jasminum Stephanense. (I think it's obvious from the varietal names what we're trying to achieve. The next thing to do, after the nesting season, is to cut the laurel hedge hard back to let in much more light.

Then we called in the suppliers to lay our new ARTIFICIAL lawn.

They stripped it, prepped it, laid a membrane to stop weeds and then laid what they call 'the carpet'.

After a lot of sanding (kiln dried) and brushing, this is how it looks.

I'm very pleased; apparently the dog will love it because it stays warm. It's great to sit on because it dries quickly and doesn't feel damp. But, most of all, and best of all: I WILL NEVER HAVE TO WASTE MY TIME MOWING IT - EVER AGAIN.

Friday, 15 April 2011

A visit to the Picasso Museum, Malaga

You can probably see from the short hiatus that we've been away. we went to the Costa del Sol - our first time in mainland Spain. During the week we drove down to Gibraltar; assertively British and, on the day we went, very cold and blustery with the Levant blowing.

We also drove up into the Andalician hills to Ronda, a most beautiful town on the edge of a precipitous gorge. Perhaps I'll do a piece about that later.

Anyway, while we were in Fuengirola we took the opportunity to go to Malaga and visit the Picasso Museum. We thought we might be able to get fairly neat in the car but the satnav kept asking us to turn the wrong way into one way streets or pedestrian areas.

In the end we drove to a car par expecting to have to take a taxi but, as it turned out, we were only about a kilometre from the Museum and the walk took us through the main shopping street, a chance for people watching.

I seem not to have taken any pictures down Calle Larios, so I’ve borrowed one from http://www.spain-holiday.com/blog/photographical-journey-through-malagas-top-15-sights.php. I’m sure they won’t mind.

Our walk took us past the Cathedral (we had passed it in the car a couple of times but it was much better on foot) and up a cool shady street to the beautiful Picasso Museum.

The exhibition was apparently arranged thematically though, as most of the artworks were portraits or other pictures of people, there seemed only to be one theme.

We both wished they had been arranged chronologically; that would have made the point about the revolution in art that Picasso led. I took a number of pictures until, eventually, one of the attendants said it wasn't allowed. Oddly, there were no notices anywhere, even in reception; nothing to forbid the taking of photos, but I had to stop. I've never understood what harm it does and personally, I think it's daft but it seems to have become the norm (except in Birmingham where you can photograph the Pre-Raphaelites to your heart's content).

The Bulding itself was very beautiful; classically Spanish, arranged round a cool central courtyard and with wonderful dark wood ceilings.

Afterwards, we had lunch in a plaza adjacent to the Cathedral and went for a wander around.

Most things don’t close for siesta in the larger cities. Then back to Fuengirola to sit on the balcony with a glass of wine, a book and the late afternoon sunshine. Exhausting!