It’s that time of year again – Happy Easter!
It was this time of year, two years ago that the invaders from the South came to visit for the first time, and as I recall I was madly rushing about trying desperately to get the house habitable before they arrived.
This time, when half the pack came back for another visit, I had big plans to keep them occupied – let’s explore the garden…….
A long time ago, back in the dark days of building this place, I was shocked by an estimate from the builder that included an eye-waveringly high cost for removing rubbish from site. I challenged it, but he refused to budge saying that high costs of landfill needed to be covered. So in a misguided attempt to keep the costs down, I suggested to the builder that anything that was dug out of the barn during the build could be dumped on site. With a couple of acres of land available, there was plenty of room to lose the scrapings off the barn floor without impacting the landscape too much.
Unfortunately this was in the days of Mr Incompetent Builder. Rather than spread the floor scrapings out across a wide area, he dumped it by the digger load in the field next to the house. When the snow fell that Winter, it looked like I had an Olympic Standard ski jump in my garden!
Nor was that the worst of it. Mr I-B had also developed selective hearing when we discussed this. He decided that I’d agreed that all the building waste could be dumped or burned on site. In fact, using his initiative, he decided to turn my land into his own private landfill, bringing up the rubbish from other sites he was working on. I finally caught him out when I visited the site one day to find a fire smouldering with the detritus and packaging from a Worcester gas boiler, which I was fairly confident had nothing to do with my build. a) Because at the time my barn had no floors, doors, windows or much in the way of a roof so it seemed a bit premature to have installed a boiler, and b) because the barn is too remote to be able to get a gas supply!!
It turned into one of the many arguments I had with that particular builder and he eventually agreed to remove aforementioned rubbish. But did so rather unenthusiastically, and, as it turned out, rather inefficiently.
But now I had a willing team of helpers – even if they didn’t know what they were letting themselves in for….!
Inevitably as we wanted to work outside the temperatures plummeted and there were flurries of snow. Winter is refusing to give up this year. But hey, this is Scotland – if you let the weather get in the way of your plans, you’d never get anything done. So we braved the elements and got to work, clearing up the ‘builders yard’.
Starting out in the forest, where many years ago when the forest was first planted, the saplings had been cased in plastic and staked, presumably to keep them growing straight and to protect them from deer.
Forestry management hasn’t been top of my list of priorities in building the barn, so nothing has been done out there since I bought the place. The trees have grown (as they have a habit of doing) breaking out of their wrappers and leaving lots of broken plastic lying around on the forest floor.
Though I hadn’t actually realised quite how many there were.
The plan was to take everything down to the gate at the front of the property, and pile it up ready for dumping in a skip at some point.
But it’s a fair old trek down to that gate, and with all the tree casings piling up it would have taken us a whole day to carry them all down there. Fortunately my genius baby brother came up with a cunning plan for transportation.
Take one old security fence, pile on as many bits of plastic as possible, put another old steel security fence on top to keep them in place. A plastic sandwich.
Three trips. Job done!
Of course having transported them all to the gate we needed a way of keeping them there. These things are so lightweight that one puff of wind would scatter them all over the grounds again – which would kind of defeat the object.
Well a couple of bits of old rope solved that one.
Meanwhile outside the forest, the lack of enthusiasm in Mr Incompetent Builder’s tidying up soon became apparent.
Fencing wire, barbed wire, temporary site fencing panels, broken wheelbarrows, bricks, blocks, heat pump pipe, underground drainage pipe, aluminium sheeting, roofing lead, downpipes, gutters, you name it, we found it.
So there it is – two and a half acres and 16 years of builders on site……
Time to order that skip!