Sunday, 16 November 2008


The rubbish from the Leylandii had grown to stupid quantities; the damn stuff won't compost, shredding proved to be fairly unsuccessful and getting a quote from the council to take it all away resulted in two people (me and the very nice chap from Allerdale) rolling around the driveway laughing our fool heads off! We knew the only logical way to be rid of the never-ending piles was to burn them but that is not without problems. Firstly, very large bonfires are extremely hard work, all that brush has to be picked up and carried to the fire. Secondly, very large bonfires are not neighbour friendly.

Enter aforementioned neighbours with whom we chat on a regular basis about the garden, the village, and nothing in particular. The general consensus was to get on and burn the damn stuff. Suggestions were also made that Guy Fawkes night would be a good time to do the deed.

And so the idea of a small get-together was born when we realised that the Saturday closest to 5th November was the first day of our SECOND year in Cumbria - we left Hampshire on 7th November 2007.

Most of these piles are 7 - 8 foot tall, that is an awful lot of rubbish!

Thanks to a lot of neighbours and friends (a couple of whom travelled a very long distance to attend), all of whom worked INCREDIBLY hard, in 3 hours we managed to have the biggest bonfire you've ever seen and the following day all that remains is this. This pile couldn't be accessed to get it on the fire because it was directly down-wind of some very thick smoke and an awful lot of flames.

Be thankful you can't see the mud. A combination of numerous pairs of boots walking back and forth over this area plus an absolute deluge about 20 minutes after the workers came inside for supper means this end of the garden is a no-go area and will be for some weeks to come.

It's taken me a week to diary the event because since then I have been so tired I've barely been able to get dressed and walk the dog each day. Although it wasn't strictly necessary I used the bonfire as a deadline to finish up a pile of outstanding jobs in the house (silly tasks like finally putting a curtain rail and curtain in the bathroom, d'uh, like any visitors were going to notice?) and for 2 weeks beforehand whilst Husband was away on business I slogged through List after List from breakfast until bedtime.

Fire is cleansing and cathartic and this huge conflagration (it really was too big to be called a normal garden bonfire!) has come at exactly the right time.

It is now time to slow down and rest for a while. Nine months of preparing to move house, four months in limbo at the rental house, and nine months of non-stop work at Bag End has taken its toll. It is now time to relax, think about the garden rather than slogging in it every available opportunity, get out fellwalking when the weather allows, and make some quilts when it doesn't.

Of course, being busy providing food and drink to the workers meant that I didn't get to participate in or actually see much of this tremendous burn, and it also meant I took no photos at all. At least one person did and if he would get around to downloading them off his camera and send them to me I could share some . . . you know who you are!


  1. can you now see how big your garden actually is Bilbo?

  2. Granny darling, it is frightening to see how much space we have freed up, you'll see for yourself next week!

    I am going to have to get better at propagating plants than Carol Klein because no-one could afford the amount of new plants we will need to fill this place!

  3. Having achieved as much as you have I hope you are finally going to do what you have often threatened to do and stop and rest for a while.

  4. Wow! Now you CAN see the wood for the trees - or something! The secret to plant propagation is to choose plants that propagate themselves - things that self-seed or root like weeds (so long as they don't spread like weeds or you'll be grubbing them up everywhere and cursing - ask me how I know!)

    Nowt like a good burn-up is there?


Thank you for leaving comments, I love receiving them; sometimes they are the only way I know I am not talking to myself . . . 😊