Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Greenhouse

This post has been a long time in coming!  Not just the post, but the greenhouse as well!  We bought it  in kit form almost two years ago, while we were both in the UK   and it was delivered to our house  over there.  

The boxes were very heavy,  some very long and there was also, of course, the glass!  Despite me having a large Ford Mondeo Estate, there was no way that I was going to get all the boxes in the car.  The car had been used to transport railway sleepers, so that gives one an idea of its size. One of the biggest UK  "station wagons" on the market.

By April 2011, we had we managed to arrange with a "man and  van" to collect the greenhouse boxes, and fill his van with a whole lot more of our boxes (and more railway sleepers) for delivery to France. All the glass had to be wrapped in cardboard to protect it as far as possible!  

 When the van arrived in France, I was lucky enough to have the help of my friend Jean-Paul to help me unload.  He is quite small, but incredibly strong and I caught him taking off  with a railway sleeper on his own!!  JP has become a good friend following his work on renewing our roof.  He arrived at our house last Sunday evening with a whole tray of cepe mushrooms that he had gathered that day in the woods; his wife said there were too many for her to deal with!  Yum yum, we had cepes on toast, cepe lasagne and cepe soup!!!

Oops I digress, this is about the greenhouse.  Nigel came over in the July  and we thought we we would quickly put the greenhouse up; two days at the most!!  I am sure most of you have tried following DIY instructions (these were a small book!) and generally they were not that simple.  I think these were harder than most and only clear if you had built one before!  We assembled sides and ends and tried to bolt them  together; they didn't look right, so we took them apart and tried again!

Finally we carried the various bits to the barn, where they stayed until we eventually moved here at the end of the year!!  Further work had to wait until March this year, as the weather was too cold and we were blanketed in snow for several weeks.

With further head scratching and spanner work, the structure  slowly, very slowly, began to take shape and it was positioned on the paving Nigel had put down over a year earlier!


We then had a weather delay - endless rain, but the glass fitting and shelf installation went quite quickly, until at last in May, the job was done!!


Hopefully by early spring next year, the seedlings will have got away earlier than usual.  We have not got heating in it, so I will still have to use protection, but I am looking forward to putting it in use!!






 
See also - My Life Before Charente updated  21 October 2012 

80 comments:

  1. i know it was a lot of trouble to assemble but what glorious results! i can just picture it filled with all sort of seedlings! i would love to have one just like it!

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    1. Jaz we are both happy with the result, I just hope tit serves its purpose now we have it:) Take care Diane

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  2. Hi Diane .. I remember plenty of greenhouses from my youth - not having had one myself .. I do miss that puttering around in one - perhaps/definitely one day I'll get my own real one. Can't wait to see how you progress with your seedlings under glass ... Nigel's done you proud with the good base - while the greenhouse itself looks fairly solid (ie good quality) ...

    Enjoy .. and great to see an English greenhouse in France ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary I answered this before but somehow the reply has gone AWOL, Google is always full of surprises!

      I am really looking forward to getting some use from the greenhouse over winter and spring. The base is fantastic and yes the green house is good quality. Nigel has done a good job. Have a good day Diane

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  3. Well worth the wait I would say, love my greenhouse, though it is a bit over run at the mo, needs a clear out for the winter. Have fun with yours. xx

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    1. Karen I hope to have fun with it but I really would like heating ;-) Problem is it is quite far from the house so we would have to have something other than electric and nothing is cheap!! Have a great week. Diane

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  4. Very neat and tidy job, and I look forward to seeing what you grow in it for next year. I think we will get a poly tunnel eventually, when funds permit.

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    1. Vera funds are always the problem which is why no heating! Next is double glazing all the windows and wooden windows, not standard size, do not come cheap! Also the old bathroom to re-tile. It will be interesting to see how I get on next spring. Have a good week. Diane

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  5. I've been away a while...love your header photo...really stunning. Now, you are just so adventurous! I just can't see LT and I putting one of these together at any point in our lives. Looks like a real challenge, but good to see you are up to it!

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    1. Deb thanks for the kind comment on the Charente River header. I am not sure that we would want to try and put together another green house now that this one is finally done!!! Next spring could be interesting..... Take care Diane

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  6. Great! Looking forward to seeing this little greenhouse full of plants.

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  7. Oh, you will really enjoy the greenhouse! What a challenge to put it together though! Enjoy your day, sweet friend! We are having fine Fall weather here....I hope you're having a beautiful day as well. Hugs!

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    1. Lavender Dreamer it was a challenge!!!! The weather here at the moment is lousy it has been raining for the past 4 days with no break. Very unusual!. Have a great day Diane

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  8. How wonderful to have a green house. Been trying to talk my neighbor into building one. Hmmm, hadn't thought of a kit. Wonder if they make portable ones for me to use at the canyon.

    Those mushrooms look delicious.

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    1. Portable greenhouse Gaelyn, what about a cold frame, you would be able to move that. What can I say about those mushrooms, wow they were good. have a good week. Diane

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  9. We have a sunroom that is not heated, but it still works fine for starting seedlings (a light bulb right on top of the tray, or a heated tray)and keeping things protected through the winter. We can heat it if we want to use it for a dinner party, btw, and having the ability to be almost outdoors during long wet winters is a good thing.
    You will definitely enjoy your investment for years to come.

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    1. Rodaria, We had a conservatory at our first house in the UK and it was wonderful. The green house is a bit far for electric so even a light bulb is not that practical. Never the less I am sure it will be put to good use and we will overcome the heating problem. Take care Diane

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  10. Congratulations on your greenhouse!! Looks very nice, and I look forward to see it in the spring/summer time too.

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    1. Gunn thanks for the visit and the comment, I hope that it will be worth taking photos in spring! Have a good week Diane

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  11. The cepes look huge! I bet they were tasty. That seems to be quite the ordeal with putting the greenhouse together but now that you have it up, I'm sure it will be put to great use. Happy gardening ;-)

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    1. Joyful those cepes were gigantic and so flavoursome :-))))))) I am sure there will be lots of use for the greenhouse come spring, in fact I have a couple of pot plants already in there ready for some winter protection. Take care and have a good week Diane

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  12. The greenhouse looks great Diane... looking forward to seeing how you fill it in the Spring:) I bet your soup and lasagne dishes were super tasty with all those huge mushrooms:)
    ~Anne

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    1. Anne I have never taste such wonderful mushrooms and the soup was out of this world. I hope the green house looks good in spring :-) Have a wonderful week. Diane

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  13. You are so lucky to have a greenhouse--a stellar one at that! Looks like a great size.

    Seeing the photo of the mushrooms takes me back (a week) to the markets along rue Lepic in Montmartre. Lovely!

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    1. Freda I am really chuffed with the greenhouse and looking forward to using it. The mushrooms were so yummy :-)))))Take care Diane

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  14. Hey Diane, have you thought of a big black barrel full of water to absorb the heat of the Sun in the daytime and then slowly heat the greenhouse at night. you can also put a heater in the water to help heat the green house. It will also keep the greenhouse humid. Just a thought.

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    1. Horst thanks for the idea, but in winter I think the water would just freeze and the sun would never be warm enough to unfreeze it it. Last year we went to -18C. In summer it is too hot even with all the vents and the door open, we then need the cold water. Bit of a vicious circle. Will think of some idea though I am sure that will not be too expensive. Take care Diane

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  15. Congratulations to you for getting your green house erected. I can relate to struggling with putting things together. In fact, I rarely try anymore and leave it to Shirley since she seems to be able to figure things out. I love how you can get so many cepes in France in almost every part of the country. Have a great week.

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    1. Michel I hate these DIY things, I remember when we first moved to the UK we assembled two large wardrobes, whew, that should have put us off the greenhouse!
      Mmmm those cepes were wonderful and e have just had the perfect weather for them to appear :-) Take care Diane

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  16. Wow! Building a greenhouse by scratch. I'm impressed. I have trouble opening aq box of cereal. And my wife would love the bounty of mushrooms!

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    1. Stephen don't ask me to open a jar, even with all the special gadgets I find opening most jars are difficult, even the ones I have bottled myself! The mushrooms were excellent :-) Enjoy your week. Diane

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  17. Diane, that is some story! It looks great, I can't wait to see more, keep us posted. It actually sounds like some projects we have around our house. Our concrete carport and Wade's workshop is still waiting for a door and stucco...when our old one was tore down there was weeds and grass growing before we had the concrete poured...we nicknamed it the Clark road project...the same thing happened to a local road that was widened...oh oh I'm off track now! Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Lyndsey, some projects seem to on for ever, we still have to change our windows to double glaze and have the old bathroom re-tiled. Not one of the windows are standard size they are so old so they all have to be made in oak!! You have a great week as well, Diane

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  18. There's a great book by Elliot Coleman who raises food all year long in Maine in greenhouses (quite a feat it's like Scotland). He teaches lots of season extending tips in Year-round harvest... It's on kindle!!!

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    1. lostpastremembered thanks, have looked it up and it seems he uses organic heating and it looks interesting. When I told Nigel how much it was he said it was too expensive! It is certainly not cheap. Thanks for taking the time out from your busy schedule to comment. Take care Diane

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  19. How terrific to have a green house, you can plant all year long! The mushroom reminds me of my childhood, my father used to gather those from the woods as well.

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    1. Chubskulit Rose all year round if I can sort out the heating in it! The mushrooms were very yummy, wish I knew what was what but I have to rely on other's people's skills. Enjoy your day Diane

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  20. You are going to love that greenhouse Diane. Think of all of the things you can start in it.
    Sam

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    1. Sam I am going to rally enjoy it once I have the hang of it. Having never had one previously I am on a learning curve. Have a good week Diane

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  21. amaaaazing !
    wondering what all you will come up with !

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    1. This is Belgium I am also wondering as well, all new to me. Have a good week Diane

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  22. Very impressive!!! What will you be growing in it? Mainly vegetables, I suppose, but maybe some flowers too? Looking forward to what next spring will bring. Please keep us informed of the 'progress'. Hug, Martine

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    1. ladybird, yes the idea is vegetables, we only have a couple of flower beds and they mainly reseed from year to year so I don't have a lot to do to them. Just keep the weeds out as much as possible! Have a great week Diane

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  23. It's great that you are finally getting to use your greenhouse! It should make your vegetable garden much easier to deal with, because not only can you get a start earlier in the spring, but you can also start second settings of plants such as tomatoes shortly before the first batch are harvested. I'm sure you will love it.

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    1. Marjie I am looking forward to using it. At the moment I am waiting for the rain to stop to tidy up the garden. We have had a full week of rain and drizzle and even before that the weather was not good. As I type this I see blue sky through the roof window but a huge drop in temperature! Time to get going Diane

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  24. Compared to the progress on my DIY projects this is lightning fast. I don't make as much use of my little greenhouse as I should but, despite the lack of heat, it's proved really useful in getting a lot of slightly sensitive plants through the winter.

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    1. Ha ha Phil and I thought we were slow I am so please to read your comment. I am looking forward to putting it into use. Take care Diane

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  25. I well remember when Beloved put ours up many years ago - in a previous house. It was large and complicated and I also remember a lot of ‘language’. Sadly, I don’t have one now, but as serious gardening, i.e. vegetable gardening, is not an option in the current garden, i shan’t bother getting one. Yours is a splendid one, I hope you’ll be getting ready with seeding now. It looks too new and a bit lonely as it is.

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    1. Friko it does look a bit lonely I agree, I hope to very soon change that. I am glad that we were not the only ones that used language to put ours up! Keep well Diane

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  26. That is quite a large greenhouse! And very impressive mushrooms :)

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    1. Sara We had to have a large greenhouse, my husband is very tall!! Thanks for the comment, take care Diane

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  27. I do admire you putting up that greenhouse...I panic when looking at all the pieces that look the same but...somehow...are not, and the air rapidly turns blue.
    We used the double glazed breakfast room for seedlings in the last house...like your conservatory, it worked jolly well.
    I do envy your your ceps...we loved mushrooming and here no one eats them so there are no good books...scientific classifications aplenty...but no clue as to edibility.
    Just a thought about your windows...in our area there was a 'bespoke' window manufacturer, but there seemed to be plenty of hiccups in his operation because every year he had a huge misshapes sale...really good prices. We could not get all we wanted, but even a few reduced the bill. Might be worth a thumb through the yellow pages.
    There are also 'end of line' depots about...not with small stuff, like Noz, but with building supplies as well...I'm racking my brains but can't think of the name...apart from it starting with Big...in English!

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    1. Fly thanks so much for thinking of us and the windows but we have been given what we consider to be a very good price. Nigel is a QS so he is more aware of costs than the normal person. The guy who has just finished off our extension for us has a cabinet maker living next door. The cabinet maker has been and measured, and his devis is more than reasonable. He is making the first three now for the bathroom and toilet so they can get on with the tiling. The others he will make between other jobs but he said it should not take long. All in oak with double glaze. The sample he showed us looked fantastic. Fingers crossed all will go as planned.

      Sorry, wish I could send you some cepes. Thanks again for the thought. take care Diane

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    2. I am responsible for the content of our greenhouse and you have been far more patient than I would have been. I hope that you get as much pleasure from your greenhouse as I do.

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    3. Cheshire wife, not sure how you got onto the reply to Fly but I also hope I will get a lot of pleasure from it. Have a good day. Diane

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  28. How fun to have a greenhouse, even if it's not completed yet. It sure is coming along and I can't wait to see the final results. And then the fun begins........ :_)

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    1. The Café Sucré Farine it is finished but we have decided there will be no heating as it is too expensive. I have to pick and choose what I grow over winter but there are a number of plants that will grow well with the extra bit of protection. Have a good day. Diane

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    2. Je t'envie. Un jardin riche en produits bio et même une serre pour ne rien perdre l'hiver.
      Vous êtes comblés.
      See soon.

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    3. Merci pour le commentaire. Je suis très content de mon jardin et de serre. Je suis impatient de faire pousser des légumes en hiver. Bonne journée.

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  29. We had problems just putting a table together, I posted about some weeks ago. I'm sure you are going to enjoy growing stuff in there.

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    1. diane we had problems with a couple of wardrobes in the UK and we said never again but we still took on the greenhouse!!! I am looking forward to using it now. Hope all well there Diane

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  30. It is so nice to have friends to count on to help with the green house. I am sure you will enjoy the pleasures of planting early and having a beautiful garden next spring.
    The mushrooms sound like they were put to delicious use. Cepe toast, soup and lasagna. All very healthy and delicious.
    I hope that you have a good day. Blessings my friend. Catherine xo

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    1. Catherine not sure what friends you mean, Nigel and I did the greenhouse all on our own, no help from anyone. I am though looking forward to using it. I am hoping my friend finds more cepes this weekend - wishful thinking may be, but I can live in hopes! Keep well Diane

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  31. What a great DIY project for you and Nigel! That greenhouse will be great come spring. I see lots of veggie seedlings in your future. The mushrooms look fantastic, how nice! I'm just trying to figure out what a railway sleeper is...

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    1. Pam I only have ever heard of them as railway sleepers but having looked it up, it seems in America you call them railroad ties! They are (here) made from a very hard, heavy wood. Often when they are replaced the old ones are put up for sale and used to make beautiful furniture. We have used them as an edging on our terrace. Looking forward to using the greenhouse, but I am on a learning curve! Take care Diane

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  32. I've never had cepe mushrooms before... they look tasty. Love your little green house!

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    1. Pam cepe mushrooms are a delicacy in France and grow wild in forest areas, some grow very large. The greenhouse I hope will be lots of use in spring, but I have a lot to learn. Have a good day Diane

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  33. Is that a bare chested Nigel or Jean Paul?????

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    1. Leon JP had nothing to do with the greenhouse, only Nigel and I worked on that. JP brought the cepes, he has in the past though re-done our roof, and I helped him to put the ceiling in the barn. Paid employee but now also a friend. Have a good weekend. Diane xx

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  34. The greenhouse sounds like a lot of fun!
    Will you be growing veggies only or some delicate plants?
    The cèpes are indeed delicacy, but they are not the only ones! I've had girolles and delicious lactaires sanguins! Great stuff!
    A lovely reportage on whet you are up to!
    Cheers and keep well Diane!

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    1. Noushaka if only I knew what I was doing picking mushrooms we would eat all and sundry.... I rely on people like JP to tell us what we can eat and he knows where to find them. The greenhouse is mainly planned for vegetables, I prefer not to do delicate, too much hassle! Take care Diane xx

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  35. hi diane, i didnt know that there's greenhouse kit available :)i'm sure now you are getting even busier! that's a very nice header pic. is this the place where you are staying?

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    1. Lena I think that they mostly come in kit form but generally you would buy one and they would put it up for you (at a price). We could not do this as it was bought in the UK and put together in France. The header photo of the Charente river is about an hour's drive from us. The Charente river though is large, long and winds everywhere so there are parts much closer to home. Take care Diane

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  36. It must have been some work to put it up, wow! Thank you for stopping by Diane, have a great weekend!

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    1. Francesca, If we had got it right first time it might have been easy but we didn't!!! Keep well and enjoy your weekend. Diane

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  37. Oh how cool to build your own green house. It sounds exciting. I'll do the same if I were in your shoe. So much fun to plant something even during the winter. Hope you're going to have a fabulous week ahead, Diane. Enjoy & have fun.
    Kristy

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    1. Kristy I am really looking forward to using it. I have actually in the last few days put a few pot plants in there as it has suddenly turned very cold. Have a good Sunday Diane

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  38. Hi Diane, your greenhouse look excellent. Great DIY. Looking forward to see your plants soon. Love your huge garden and new header picture. Excellent!

    Have a nice week ahead.

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    1. Amelia I am more than happy with this result, I am looking forward to getting the best from it next spring :-) Keep well Diane

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