Faltering steps

It has been a long time since I last posted. It has been difficult to know where to start after such a long break and I had almost forgotten how to do this. I am afraid that circumstances have rather overwhelmed me and for a year or more I have struggled with ranting about what is happening to the UK and the world in general. This is not supposed to be a political rant but I just can’t get over what is happening to the world. But I will just bite my lip and let the idiots get on with ruining the planet. I won’t promise I will keep quiet for ever but I will try.


It was almost exactly a year ago that we moved, lock, stock and barrel to Ireland. Sold up, and a few months later, bought a house in central Co. Wexford. It was a rather typical modern Irish house, built with an acre of a field by a farmer in the Celtic Tiger years but when the crash came it did not sell. So it was 8 years old but not finished. It was at ‘first fix’ stage and needed a lot of work – and money.

With work limited to weekends and no large sum to spend it has taken two years to get the house close to completion.

Who would buy a house like this?

We are almost there now and I hope we can move in within two months.

Getting ready for water

There have been issues: the well was dug in the wrong corner so last August we had to lay pipes and cables. The electricity cables were in the wrong place too. The moronic farmer ploughed (and left as mud for 7 months) the field around us meaning that when the electricity company finally got round to connecting us the farmer would not let them onto the mud so there was more delay. And although we tried to do as much work as possible to save costs we had to get a plumber and he is a lovely man and does great work (it all seems to work now we have the well connected) he took a looooong time to finish.

The front in March

The garden has had to take a back seat but there has been some progress. Of course last summer was a scorcher and without water most of the hedges died. My apple trees just about survived but then the rabbits stripped the bark off them in the winter. The soil is compacted and full of stones and I have a feeling the topsoil was removed before the house was built. It is certainly the worst soil I have ever had to deal with and it barely deserves the name ‘soil’ – it is just geology. So, 16 tonnes of compost later we are making some progress and the more normal summer this year is helping.

I didn’t want to lose a whole year so, although the greenhouse is still just a concrete base, we put up a polytunnel last month and I have some beds made and the toms planted.

It is all about essentials so far. A shed (for the water filter) and a garage had to be bought and I am looking forward to buying something frivolous, like a table cloth. I had a builder friend look at the house before I bought it and he said it would cost about 80k to complete it and I thought that was wildly over the top but I am not so sure now. We think we have done things right and we certainly did not stint on the insulation so I hope it will be warm in winter.

Of course other things have happened. Eighteen months ago an idiot wrote off my car. Although I tried to avoid him he was driving in the middle of the road. Don’t text while you are driving. Don’t use your phone while driving. There is no excuse. You are not that important. He was lucky that I was not killed and I am not litigious.

On the work front, I still write for UK garden mags and am pleased to say that I recently took over the garden column in ‘Move’ in The Sunday Times (Irish) from the lovely Jane Powers. The day job looking after a private garden continues and I do talks around the country and at Springmount Garden Centre.

Thank you to all those who still visit the blog and especially those who have followed lately – you have more faith in me than me! This will be a tentative start as I get up to speed but I will begin to add more post, especially as work on the house comes to a conclusion (yes I know it will never be done). I never want to paint a wall or lay a tile ever again!



13 Comments on “Faltering steps”

  1. derrickjknight
    June 25, 2019 at 8:56 am #

    Amazing, Geoff it is only a couple of days ago that Jackie was asking me if you still posted. So good to see you back, and pleased the idiot didn’t kill you. You have certainly had your hands full

    • thebikinggardener
      June 25, 2019 at 9:11 am #

      Thank you for your comments and kind words 🙂 Hopefully the first post of many in the near future.

  2. Meriel
    June 26, 2019 at 11:39 am #

    Great that you’re back and that the house is coming on – and you’re alive to live in it! I’ve had a difficult winter myself and the garden suffered but am sort of caught up now. Iris ‘Ghost Train’ has been the star of the show recently and has really bulked up and have been thinking of you. I was intending to email you to ask you to call in sometime should you be passing and have the time. All the variegated ground elder gone – for now!

    • thebikinggardener
      June 26, 2019 at 7:31 pm #

      thank you. Sorry you have had a tough time too but glad the iris is doing well. Would be glad to visit again. And let me know if you have any special opening days in case I can publicise them.

  3. Anne Cullen
    June 26, 2019 at 5:32 pm #

    Hi Geoff. Welcome back – you’ve been missed.

  4. tonytomeo
    June 27, 2019 at 6:50 am #

    Goodness; I get frustrated just reading this; but it is good to see that you are back.

  5. thebikinggardener
    June 27, 2019 at 7:46 am #

    Thank you – not sure if your frustration is caused by what happened or my convoluted sentences!

  6. thelonggardenpath
    June 27, 2019 at 10:36 pm #

    So nice to see you back! 😀 I haven’t posted much myself for some time now, so you’ve prompted me back into action!

  7. offtheedgegardening
    June 28, 2019 at 4:41 pm #

    What a tough time you’ve been having, I’m sure there were some very low moments. I hope the way is just up, up, up from now on. Glad you are back.

  8. Kathy Larson
    July 3, 2019 at 1:26 pm #

    I check on your blog every few weeks-and you’re back!Hooray!

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