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T’was a domesticated Sunday here at Bigland Towers, albeit after a slow start. Dawn spent much of the morning glued to her iPad watching the London marathon. Her interest was piqued because a community railway colleague (Karen Bennett) was running this year. Next thing I knew Dawn was so immersed in the event I could hear her shouting encouragement at the screen whilst she was making brunch in the kitchen!

Suitably fed and with the weather staying dry I escaped outside to carry out some routine maintenance to the cottage which involved climbing onto the roof to clear it of the winter’s debris and sprouting greenery. These old Yorkshire cottages don’t have slates, they have stone tiles. Their roughness combined with nooks and crannies are ideal for all manner of life to take hold. This year we’ve had a veritable plague of young sycamores. I’ve never known anything like it but for some reason conditions have been perfect for them and the bloody things have sprouted like cress! I spent the best part of two hours cleaning down the roof to dig the Sycamore shoots and roots out before they could get anymore of a hold and do real damage. I’m sure a hot dry spell would kill them off, but I don’t want to risk what they could do in the meantime. We’re very much in April showers territory here in the Pennines so tenacious buggers like Sycamores could still surprise.

Our roof on the left with tiles and gutters cleared. There’s fantastic views from atop the house, I just have to remember not to step back to admire them…

Having disinfested the roof the two of us nipped out to our local B&Q store to pick up new lightbulbs and other maintenance mundanities required for running a household. The store was unusually quiet apart from the piped music. Chaka Khan’s ‘I’m every woman’ was playing over the PA so Dawn couldn’t resist strutting her stuff to the music, taking advantage of the wide, empty aisles to sashay through the store in grand style. It certainly raised a smile from me – I just wish I’d videoed her! We didn’t leave empty handed as I took advantage of their deal on garden plants to stock up on Lobelia, Sweet William and Petunias which will add more colour to the back of the house over the summer months. After one last pitstop at a supermarket we dropped off the car at home before venturing out for a walk through the local woods, stopping just long enough to chat to neighbours whilst on the way up the the promenade on the edge of Halifax. The prom’ affords stunning views across the Calder valley which is looking luscious right now. The combination of rain, sunshine and rising temperatures has meant nature’s going into overdrive, so the valley’s a palette of greens, browns and more as the bluebells are about to burst into life in our garden and the surrounding woodlands.

Early Bluebells in Scarr woods.

Having strolled around the local park just to get a few more steps in we dodged a shower whilst enjoying a ‘swifty’ in our local pub, the ‘Big 6’ before wandering downhill to home and another round of domesticity. Dee headed to the kitchen to prepare tonight’s meal (her home-made meatballs in a spicy sauce served with salad) whilst I ended up to my elbows in compost, planting out many of our new garden acquisitions whilst dodging showers.

We’ve had both a productive and enjoyable day. OK, it’s not rock and roll, but we like it!

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