Saturday, 6 August 2011
Those with fair to middling memories, or an acute interest in gardens, might recall that the posterior of Large Mansions resembled at one time a bankrupt builder's merchant's yard that had been hit by a medium sized atomic weapon. As the first four pictures here show (all taken about September 2009), our rear was bare, barren and smelly.
And as anyone who has occupied this property may recall, even as recently as Christmas 2010, there remained areas of our territory that were untamed, and frankly dangerous. However and further to this, by way of illuminating the following, anyone who has ever played Settlers of Catan with either RHB, or self, will understand that despite our egalitarian facades, we are both, in our own ways, prone to - nay enthusiastic about - Empire building. And further to that further, persons may be aware that since June, I have been on extended furlough, a term that is impossible to explain the pronunciation of to speakers of other languages, thus remaining sadly underused in my own vocabulary, except in times of need such as now. And, as an aside, and as the foregoing illustrates, this extended period of leisure has not been densely populated with my practising the art of clear writing, as will be necessary in my impending deployment. No, instead, I have spent most of the last few months improving my demesne, or, in more prosaic terms 'messing around in the garden'.
This has not been an instant process. For example, an ugly wooden fence ran the length of one side of the garden. The decision was made, towards the middle of June, that the fence should be removed, and the surplus bricks we had dug up, or remained from Concretia would be used to rebuild a traditional English garden wall. The decisions were also made that:
a) Yrs truly would be the one to rebuild said wall, depending on
b) A consultation with Darren, the expert Master bricklayer who built our extension to determine level of skill, feasibility and unforeseen problems.
I found Darren in the Bull's Arms, propping up the bar, and bought him a drink. Polite conversation established that work had been hard to come by recently, and he was interested in taking on a new project. I told him about my plan, and, in view of his situation, invited him to join our enterprise.
"Not a chance" said Darren, ordering another pint " I'm too busy".
"But you just said....." I protested
"Well I suddenly remembered that there are a million things I have to do, including tearing my own arm off and beating myself to death with it, sticking unsterilised needles in my eyes, and chewing a metre of barbed wire for a bet, all of which are vastly preferable, and probably better for my reputation than building a wall out of those particular recycled bricks in that location".
"So you think there might be a few problems with the job, then?" I asked.....
A few hours later, armed with the knowledge that the rebuild in the manner I proposed to do it was "a stupid idea, especially if you Mart - no offence but I have seen your plastering and you just dont 'get' stone products - are going to be the one doing it" , I ordered the mortar. It has taken me three months, although not constant. And I have had to pretend that the Gaudi-esque wobbles are deliberate, theatrical interpretations, adding character. BUt the wall is at least built and I fihure if I get enough ivy to grow on it quickly enough before it falls over, the ivy will hold it together.
We have also acquired a wood burning stove, priced at 60 pounds. This, as anyone familiar with British prices will be aware, is very cheap, as these devices usually cost about 500 pounds for a similar size. However there are a few reasons this particular stove is cheap as follows:
1. It is competely rusted having been left outside for two years
2. There is no glass in the front.
3. One door is broken
4. THe flue has fallen out
5. One of the vent covers is broken.
It looks like this:
we figure with just a bit of work, it'll look brand new. Also it will reduce our heating bill enormously this winter. And also, as the global economy fails, bringing down our beautiful civilization with it (many people think these two things are the same, but I can assure you they are not), and rioting in England spreads, we figure we'll have a way to heat ourselves and get water.
Finally, the eagle eyed among you will have noticed that we are growing Brussel Sprouts next to our pond. I have no idea why I decided to plant this crop as i hate them. Brussel Sprouts are, in my opinion, up there with cardigans and tanning salons in my private list of completely useless things, and are certainly not going to be missed at Large Mansions when civilization does collapse.
Finally, when society does collapse, we will be heading for Nova Scotia, via Scotland, The Faroes, Iceland and Greenland. This is because I think you could just about live in the Bras D'or Lakes Region.
Posted by MJN at 10:48