Kevin Smith's Blog

Day 49 - FLOOD!

Monday, 18 October 2010

I'd planned to blog about all sorts of things today (*1) but I've experienced a full-scale disaster. I'm not exaggerating one jot - here's how it went...

It was about 9am and I was hanging washing around various places on the landing in hope of getting it dry (those of you who know my house can no doubt picture the scene. For those of you who don't know my house, I live in a six-bedroom converted barn and I was merrily hanging clothes from the vast, galleried landing). All of a sudden I heard a strange noise. I couldn't work out what is was although it sounded a bit like this: pssssssssssssssst. I tracked the mystery sound down to mine and Gemma's bedroom and was absolutely horrified by what I saw - there was water BURSTING out of the bottom of the radiator. PANIC PANIC PANIC.

I had absolutely no idea what to do, but resorted to unsuccessfully trying to soak it up with the clean, wet washing in my hand. Needless to say that didn't help a bit so I tried catching the water in a glass that was luckily on Gemma's bedside cabinet. That wasn't much good either because the glass filled up every four seconds (honestly, I'm telling the truth) and I had to keep on emptying it out of the bedroom window. In the end I decided to abandon the disaster zone, leaping down the stairs and over the stair gates in search of a roasting tin. I found one and managed to slot it underneath the radiator to catch the water before too much damage occurred. The roasting tin took roughly 30 seconds to fill up, which gave me a little more time to think.

But I couldn't think. Don't forget that I had Ida in my care who was thoroughly delighted by the unexpected spray of warm water, kept crawling through the puddle and was generally making it impossible for me to do anything useful. And should a baby have be crawling through manky radiator water anyway? Oh well, I didn't have much choice. I'd say I stood guard, emptied my roasting tin out of the window and kept Ida at bay for at least 10 minutes until a solution presented itself.

"Can you help me please," I screamed out of the window when I spotted an unsuspecting man in next door's garden (*2). "My radiator's burst, I've got a young daughter and I can't do a thing about it." I never thought I'd be a damsel in distress, but hell did I need a man to come to my aid. I timed my roasting-tin emptying carefully so that I could make it downstairs to let the rescue man in. He'd bought a spanner and quickly, efficiently isolated the radiator and the water stopped flowing. Phew.

At this point I felt a little inadequate and said, in my best butch voice, "yeah, I knew what needed doing, I just couldn't leave her [that's Ida, who's was still totally loving every second of the drama] unattended to sort it." The rescue man played along to save my blushes, and was gone as quick as he came.

I immediately put Ida down for a nap (luckily the excitement seemed to tire her out), collapsed in a heap on the sofa and was extremely tempted to reach for the gin. I was strong though and telephoned a plumber. The plumber came quick sharp, all is now safe and secure and we might be getting a lovely new carpet in the bedroom via our house insurance. Every cloud and all that.

Sorry, I've no pictures this time. Taking a snap whilst juggling a roasting tin, a baby and a spurting radiator was beyond me.

Until next time...

*1 The topics that would have been included were:

* My autumn container shoot with the very lovely Sarah Cuttle for the totally unstoppable Gardeners' World.

* Maddie May's gorgeous Christening (all members of the Smith family wore shades of cerise and purple)

* Gemma's vintage dress that she's planning to wear to my 30th birthday black-tie dinner dance

Of course, I'll still happily blog about these things if you'd like? Does anything tickle your fancy?

*2 I'd never seen the unsuspecting man before and he turned out to be a builder who was renovating the property

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Day 42 - magic gardens

Monday, 11 October 2010

Okay, I've had quite enough of blogging about serious topics (I'm referring to my last post that was all about politics), so I've opened a bottle of wine to assist me with something a little more light-hearted. I'm not fibbing, look:

In reality I don't think I really need the wine. It's not going to be difficult to write a light-hearted blog because I've got the perfect subject matter. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a Baby Sensory party:

I'm not sure if you remember, but I wrote about Baby Sensory in my very first blog and, if truth be told, I've grown to rather enjoy it. It's basically a load of babies, a load of mummys and me, gathering together on a wednesday afternoon to have a bit of a hoot. It involves lots of music, lots of singling and lots of doing actions that make you look like an idiot, but the babies do genuinely seem to love it. Saturday was a special day because Baby Sensory threw a party meaning that some other Dads could come too (oh, I felt smug - you see I actually knew all the words and actions, while they looked on with awkward embarrassment), and it was absolutely ace.

The picture above shows the 'magic garden' activity. You see, another stonking example of me, gardening and my baby coming together in a perfect union (this blog was meant to be). Admittedly I've never seen a garden with green dangly stuff falling from the sky, and if my lawn looked like that green crumpled furry mess on the floor I'd be worried. But there were flower petals (they're too small to see) and giant insects on sticks, which made all the difference to the experience. Here's Ida and me so you know we were definitely there:

To finish I must say that t's been a very good week so far. I've finished the first edit of Toby Buckland's next book, which is a huge relief, and my BBC gardening blog has been deemed a hit by auntie, and I've been asked to contribuite on a regular basis (thank you to everyone who read it - if you haven't, visit now). And most important of all, I've had a hair cut (check out the barnet above) which, according to my lovely hairdresser Rachel, works well with the receding locks on my left temple. 

Until next time...

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Day 38 - politics

Thursday, 07 October 2010

I haven't blogged for a bit because of a series of both fortunate and unfortunate events:

  • I've been so busy with real work that my feet haven't touched the ground (fortunate because I've enjoyed the work and the cash is handy, unfortunate because I haven't been able to blog and I've let my domestic duties slip - the house is a tip).
  • I took a short trip to Southwold with Ida and my parents (fortunate in every way).
  • I've been ill with a most severe strain of Man Flu (unfortunate in every way).
Never mind, I'm here now and I'm going to write about politics. Yes, it's a huge surprise to me, too. Anyone who's familiar with my political views knows they usually extend to, "I hate them all [politicians], let's emigrate," and that's about it. However, I'm feeling very compelled because I'm delighted with this:

Okay, I know this tree isn't very political, but it is worthy of a few words. It's directly opposite my house, I can see it from the kitchen window when I'm washing up and I'm in love with it's sudden spectacular show of red. It was planted by Southend on Sea Borough Council last winter and, as far as I can remember, it's about the only government-related thing I've ever shown an interest in, let alone be thrilled by. I'm delighted that the council is planting new trees and am really pleased they're choosing such beautiful varieties – they've gone up in my estimations. Our local park is also stonking, with border after border of gorgeous bedding, and it's somewhere Ida and me spend lots of time. Here's a shot of a nicotiana-filled bed I snapped on my phone in the summer. See, it's gorgeous:

But how long's it going to last? Will this bloody dreadful Tory regime see an end to tree planting and a reduction in parks-department budgets? I suspect so. If they can come up with such a ludicrous way of deciding which families are entitled to child benefit, I guess anything's possible. And then we might just emigrate.

Until next time...

Ooh, one more thing. If you've just read my blog please tell me you have by leaving a comment. It doesn't have to be anything profound, ' I read this' and your name will do. It's just that so many people are telling me they're reading my ramblings, but I've got no idea who really is!

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Kevin Smith | Garden Media Writer and Editor

On 31 August 2010 I quit my full-time job as the Commissioning Editor at Gardeners' World Magazine to be a stay-at-home dad  and to try and scratch a living as a freelance garden journalist. It's often said that a 'life change' is good, but can I cut it with the yummy mummys? Will I manage to get a single shred of work done? Will Ida (she's the gorgeous little girl who's the cause of all this) like gardening as much as me? Who knows, we're going to find out...