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Bellis and a New Start

Welcome to my blog and a new start where I can shout out to the world. This site is more for my friends and family than the general public but if you happen to stumble in here then that’s cool! I grew up in the UK and moved to sunny South Africa in my teenage years and have been here ever since. I am happily married with two children and although I have thought about moving back to the UK I am not sure if I could put up with the miserable weather.

I have a couple of passions in life which are suited to this part of the world. I love the game of golf and I also love tinkering around in my garden. Golf is not so easy in the UK and although the climate is suited to growing plants I prefer to be outside in the sunshine working on my garden. Southern Africa has such a diverse ecosystem full of amazing plants and animals which makes it more exciting. I do not particularly like snakes so I do have to be careful when messing about in the garden beds although after living here for 20 years I have only seen about 4 or 5 in total!

There are some downsides to living here and that is the political issues as well as a surging crime rate. It is tough to really decide whether to move or not as you really have no clue how things will pan out over the longer term. A lot of people are concerned that upon reaching retirement age they may end up having to move which is really not an option considering the local currency is not worth that much in world terms. There is always the lingering thought of Zimbabwe and I personally know quite a few people living here now that literally had to make a run for it. When they left it was in a hurry and many of them were only able to bring the amount of possessions that they could get into their cars. I suppose we can’t see the future so for now I at least have a few options with a UK passport.

I hope to use this blog to showcase some of my gardening successes as well as discuss some of the aspects of my golf game. I used to work in the industry so I guess I have unique insight when it comes to the sport and I will also talk about mental fitness, physical fitness and a slightly different approach to game improvement. Most articles on golf leave out these important factors and seeing how much of the game is in the mind it does make a difference if you can shift focus slightly to the foods you eat and the condition of your body. There are plenty of foods available that help with mental abilities (brain foods) – a good example of this would to take one of the many fish oil tablets that are currently available.

I will update soon with some tips and pointers for indoor plant growing as well as a little bit more discussion on the golfing side of things.

 

Fresh Air and a Humidity Problem

As I think I mentioned in an earlier post I currently live in South Africa with my family and recently I have been struggling with my health. It all started with a typical cold which slowly went away as per usual but left me with an unusual amount of phlegm in my throat. For some reason I just couldn’t stop it so I ended up with a trip to the doctor. It turns out I had a post nasal drip that somehow began because of the cold. It slowly got worse and worse until I ended sick quite a few times from the level of phlegm I ended up swallowing. The doctor had tried a few things including pills but nothing was really helping.

A thought was perhaps the humidity levels in the area I live so I went out and bought myself a home humidifier, you can have a look at these home humidifier reviews to get an idea of the different products you have to choose from. I started off with a baby humidifier and that did little to help so I ended up installing a proper commercial unit with ducting and everything inside the home. This did end up relieving my symptoms slightly but I still ended up with problems and after a few months of this I decided to visit my local ENT specialist for help.

After going through a bunch of tests the doctor discovered I had developed Polyps in my nasal cavity – the revealing factor was the images from the CT scan which clearly showed the problem. The negative was the only way to treat the problem was with surgery which I am always nervous about! The surgery was scheduled and a week later I was laying in the hospital with a bunch of bandages surrounding my nose :-)

Fast forward a few months and I have to report that I am almost 100% fixed up. There is a fair chance that these Polyps will come back again as they are normally the result of allergic reactions to plants, molds, dust or other combinations. I suspect it may have something to do with the plants in the garden as I do end up with sneezing fits at certain times of the year – normally spring in fact when all the plants are starting to bloom.

This has to level up there with one of the worst (and strangest) experiences of my life as I lived with this problem for a few months. I really do feel sorry for people who end up with constant allergic health issues as it is no fun whatsoever to live with.

Growing Plants at Home

With the price of food going up all the time (it never seems to end!) I decided to take on a little project with my children to teach them a little bit more about growing herbs and vegetables at home. In order to make a slightly more controlled effort without worrying about the weather and insect problems we decided to setup a small garden inside our home. There are several important things to consider before doing this with the most important being to sort out a decent LED indoor plant lighting system, there are plenty of grow light kits and other equipment on the market for you to choose from.

Plants really need three things to succeed properly – lighting, water and food. Modern LED grow lights really help as they are able to replicate natural sunlight by using many different spectrum’s which look like the colors outside. Have a look at the picture below to get an idea of what they generally look like.

LED Grow Light - Example

You can see the red for infra-red and the blue color to simulate UV lights so the plant gets all the different rays it would receive from the sun if it was outdoors.

Now, you can either use normal plant pots that you would find outside or you may want to spend a little bit more and get a proper plant shelving systems for growing in a neat and tidy fashion – check this website for some ideas of different systems you can buy. There are some really great products on the market that are perfect and also look great in the home.

Plant Stand

 

Lastly, plants need water and that is part of the fun and a job I give to the Children. This could be automated if you were trying to get a proper setup going but to invest in tubes and timers and other irrigation equipment is not worth it at this stage.

We have started off growing simple things like herbs and tomatoes – when growing these types of plants inside it really is quite amazing how you end up with perfect plants. Our tomatoes are juicy and red and the quality surpasses anything you might find in the stores. Herbs are also coming along nicely and it is quite convenient to be able to slice a couple of leave freshly off the plant while cooking to enhance the flavors.

So, with Winter on the way it could be a great time to start thinking about setting up your own garden indoors to give both parents and kids a fun project to focus on when it is tough to get outside!

 

My Passion and Golf Simulator

As I discussed previously I want to talk a little bit about golf on my website and one of the most important items I ever bought was a home golf simulator so I can work on my golf swing without having to constantly spend time at the local driving range. You can get some ideas about golf simulators by checking out this site.Building up to a decent handicap and a consistent game takes a lot of hard work and dedication and it would be impossible to do with out my Optishot at home.

This is a product that also comes highly recommended to those who live in the regions which experience cold winters as this seriously makes it tough to retain a decent golf swing. With everything setup up properly at home you can get in as much practice as you wish by either using a practice mode or trying your hand at some top class courses which have been replicated exactly within the software,

My Optishot Simulator

The only drawback to setting yourself up with a simulator is the amount of space required. Most of the lower end models will not work outdoors due to the sensors being affected by sunlight so you have to find room inside. It is also recommended to ensure you have a permanent space as setup times for products like this with calibration and getting sensors working can take 30 minutes or more. This ends up being a pain and can result in the simulator spending most of its life in the box which basically defeats the object!

As an avid gardener I have combined my growing room and my golf studio into one, I will try and upload some pictures soon. It really is a wonderful and relaxing space in the home where I am surrounded by fresh plants while I can work on my golf swing without any interruptions. One of the best times of the day to squeeze in a bit of practice is late in the evening when all is quiet. This is definitely one of the benefits of having a setup like this as you obviously cannot go down to the local range in the middle of the night.

If your home is a little bit on the smaller side then I would recommend considering using the garage for a setup like this – it makes the most sense and you often can make plan to increase the height to allow a golf swing if you need to. This is also a space where you could leave everything installed making it much simpler to have a short practice session whenever you feel like it.

There are some options when it comes to the display, you can use a normal computer screen or an LCD TV. To be honest, the best solution is to invest in a projector – these make the whole thing so much more realistic and complete the experience in the best way possible. These days you can pick up HD projectors for a reasonable price and in comparison to a TV it is just on another level.

I will talk a little bit more about my setup and include some pictures in a later post.