Thursday, 22 September 2016

A full house

To tell the truth I wasn't completely sure that today would go as planned, there was a distinct possibility that booking five different skills to be here on one day could go horribly wrong.  But, we had a fabulous day and a great deal was achieved.

For me it passed in a something of a blur of endlessly filling the kettle and washing mugs!  Everyone turned up, everyone did (pretty much) what was expected of them, and the sun shone.

I spent pretty much the whole day on my feet: making a drink for one of the 'gang', checking they were OK, checking they were doing what I wanted, move on to the next one, rinse and repeat . . .

By the time I'd done the rounds of every skill, it was time to go back to the first one again.  And yes, I regularly never got round to making myself a drink in the middle of it all.  But we survived very well, and tomorrow there's only Wayne & Keith outside, and Kate finishing off inside - easy peasy.

So, a quick round-up of what was achieved:   Ian probably had the most boring job and spent the whole day putting wood preservative on the vegetable beds.  I think it is fair to say that by the time he left to collect the kids from school he was thoroughly sick of Cuprinol 'Willow'.  It does look absolutely scrumptious though!

LP came for another half day and continued to work on the little scrap of ground at the end of the huge log pile.  "All" it needs now is a bit of digging over and we can then plant 3 or 4 laurel, the eventual plan being to both screen the timber stack and add some evergreen to this area which can look a bit stark in winter.

Graham quietly worked away outside the garden, the only sign of his presence was the tell-tale "chip chip" of a hammer on rock as he dressed salvaged stone and made an outstanding job of repairing our old wall at the end of the Coppice.  He also checked over both sides of the whole wall, secured a couple of small loose stones using lime mortar rather than the cement that someone had once daubed on the top, and replaced a coping stone on the outside wall.  He has the tidiest van of any builder on the planet, is extremely pleasant to work with and we'll definitely have him back to do more work in future.

Kate continued to quietly work her way around numerous pieces of old and tatty pine furniture.  Much of it has now had six coats of Farrow & Ball and will be finished tomorrow.  The painted pieces deserve a post of their own when she has finished.

Typically, it was Wayne and Keith who made the most mess - but probably also the most impact.  Remember the arch & gate which used to cause us so many 'privacy' problems before the big wall was built on the drive in June 2014?  Time to re-use it and improve the unsightly mess that was/is the patio outside our front door.

In a simple (ha ha ha) act of recycling, it now has a new home.

A busy day at Bag End wouldn't be complete without a couple of wildlife moments. We were delighted to find this little Sand Lizard under one of the paving slabs and she was safely moved to the stone near the Top Pond. Less delighted to find where the mice have been stashing hazelnuts . . .

We still have to make decisions about the height of raised beds, trellis, gate and so on, but already it looks an order of magnitude better :)

Very deliberately no-one was working in the same space as anyone else, so there were no "little conflicts" and everyone seemed to get on really well.  The only person not to have a great time was Daisy who got thoroughly fed up of me constantly moving around and her not getting quite as much attention as she thinks is appropriate.  I made it up to her at the end of the day with one of our regular 2 ½ miles around the lanes and at the end of the evening she completely crashed out on the sofa.  No-one else had a chance - Madam had taken up all of it, aw bless.

Bleeuuuurrghh - rubbish iPad picture :(


  1. That's a lot of activity for one day! I'm exhausted just thinking about it. I'm hoping to "willow" my garden furniture once it's taken inside for the winter. X

    1. You're right Jules, it was a bit full on and I wish I had thought to clip on a pedometer before it all started:) I can definitely recommend the Cuprinol Willow - two thin coats (three is better) and it looks lovely.

  2. Sounds like a successfully organised chaos sort of day with brilliant results :) I hope your Australian visitors enjoy their time with you - give Susan a hug from me xxx

    1. Thanks Hawthorn, lucky me because all my 'big plans' this week for 'big days' worked out really well. Susan and K. left half an hour ago and I think we're all exhausted. I took them 'sight seeing' all day and they've been up a small fell, had lunch overlooking a lake, and visited everything on our 50-mile route around this corner of Cumbria.


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