Getting Stuff Done

You know me, I just love getting stuff done.

Early Morning CX Ride

I was up early as usual on Saturday morning. I managed to do an hour or so of work on the computer and then decided to go for a ride. I could have ridden with Simon later in the day but it was dry, it wasn’t too windy and at 14ºC it was the perfect temperature for a bike ride. So off I went. I took my CX bike out as it’s just so versatile. Plenty of hard efforts on the hills. A little bit of exploring. Some fun on the trails. Some speed on the roads and not a single person or car in sight. Best of all, I was home by 7:30am having ridden for just over 90 minutes.

Gardening

Next on the agenda – after a shower and some breakfast – was some gardening. I’d bought a new tree and some other plants on Friday so now it was time to plant them out. I wanted to move a few things around as well and of course there was plenty of weeding to do as well. The new tree is nothing too exciting, a hawthorn with bright pink flowers but I’m hoping it’ll do a little better than the birch tree at the bottom of the garden that it will replace. There were  also some heathers and grasses for the front garden and a nice red-leaved shrub for the back garden.

The garden is looking really good at the moment. Everything is growing well and filling out nicely. I just wish it could stay like that but as summer progresses it tends to get a little out of hand as everything competes for space.

Garden Lawn

Garden Lawn

A New Compost Bin

With the tree planting done it was to build a new compost bin. The old one was rotting away and had been for a year or so. I’d already built a replacement but this was now full. So, it was time to take the old one out and replace it with a new one. First I had to empty the compost. It was pretty good quality compost so several wheel-barrows full went out to the front garden where I’ve been trying to create a new border. The rest was used as mulch here and there or bagged up ready for another day. There was more of it than I thought!

It was then time to dismantle the old compost bin. Most of this was pretty easy thanks to it’s rotten nature. Then I cut back the trees and cleared out all of the rubbish that had accumulated behind it and finally had a blank canvas to start again. I also cut back a Gunnera to give me a little more room. This was going to be a behemoth of a compost bin.

I’d bought £100 worth of timber and had quite a few old pieces of 6×1 planks lying around. These leftovers were from the fence we took down whilst building the lean-to. Morgan and Anna came out to help after a bit and before long we had a huge new compost bin to show for our hard work.

Anna and Morgan left me to it as I cleared up, got rid of the old wood and continued working in the garden. The lawn was mowed, cuttings were taken, and cuttings that I had been nurturing all winter were planted out.

The Front Garden

The front garden still isn’t great but I have at least started work on it. I’ve always wanted a large border here full of heathers, grasses and junipers. It’s not the easiest of places to grow things though. Just a short distance from the beach with nothing but a single dune between it and the sea it takes quite a beating. Salt, strong winds and constant sand-blasting don’t help matters. The soil is non-existent, just sand and it is sometimes water-logged in winter and bone dry in summer. A few things are growing there now though and I’ve planted more over the weekend. What it really needs is a little more shelter from a low fence or hedge. Maybe both. We keep planting things that are supposed to do well in windy coastal areas, but nothing really survives. The cordyline does OK for a year or too but then get destroyed too. The latest additions include a few Goji berries shrubs. I doubt that they’ll survive but it’s worth a try.

Windsurfing

The wind had been picking up all day and now that the tide was coming it it was time to head off to the estuary for a windsurf session.

Ynyslas Estuary

Ynyslas Estuary

I couldn’t quite decided how windy it would be there and therefore couldn’t decide which board to take so ended up taking a selection.

Which Weapon

Which Weapon

Once on the beach, which is all of 60 seconds away I went with my biggest board, a 104ltr Starboard S-Type and a 5.7m sail.

Windsurfing Wagon

Windsurfing Wagon

I was nicely powered up with this combination and soon skimming across the waters of the estuary with the sun shining. Ivor, out katabatic wind was doing his thing and the wind picked up throughout. There were a few people out kitesurfing but most of them got off the water as the wind picked up. Shem was out and kite-surfed over to Aberdovey. I stayed on this side of the estuary so as to avoid the shallow sand-banks. My GPS tracks soon coloured the whole area red as I sped from one end of the channel to the other with some super-fast gybes at either end.

Painting the Estuary Red

Painting the Estuary Red

As I packed up ready to head home for dinner a young couple turned up and went out windsurfing too. They’d been in Aberdovey where the wind was a little dodgy and they weren’t sure about the currents. They had seen me sailing on the other side of the estuary so had driven around for a sail here. The wind was howling by the time they got here and they seemed quite impressed.

Back at home it was time for dinner, time to sit and watch highlights of the the penultimate stage of the Giro and time to chill. I did of course wander around the garden. It was now covered in leaves that had been stripped off the trees by the wind. The new hawthorn was bent over double. Irises had been flattened by the wind, flower stalks of lupins had been snapped off and shrubs were windburnt, brown and bare. Such is life in our wind-ravaged part of the world! There will be lots of work involved in clearing it all up again.

Can’t complain though as a windsurfer can never complain about the wind and it had been another good day of getting stuff done

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.