Apologies for the late post this week – you can blame it on the weather; we are currently enjoying endless days of glorious sunshine, which is such a rare event that I’ve been making the most of it and spending all my time out in the garden. So the blog took a bit of a backseat this week.
I could well regret saying this, but I’m actually sitting here in Scotland wishing it would rain. Here. In the middle of sunny Scotland! It is close on a month since we last had any proper rain. There’s been a couple of misty mornings with just enough moisture in the air to fool the plants, but the promised thunder storms and lashings of rain seem to have passed us by. So the sparrows are happily taking dust baths in my flower beds, and the only bit of grass that I claim is a cultivated lawn is looking like tumbleweed.
And I am getting nervous. For unlike most of the country, I can’t rant at the water companies if the water supply dries up. My water is from a private borehole. It is pumped up from 60 metres below ground level in my back field. People laughed when I said I was also putting in a 6,000 litre rainwater collection tank. Like I’m ever going to run out of water in Scotland. Well this could be the year I get the last laugh. Except that, having installed said tank, I’ve never quite got round to connecting it up. There are rainwater drains from all the gutters taking the rain into the tank. There is lots of complicated pipework in the house to divert the rainwater supplies to all the loos. But the two aren’t actually joined up yet…..
(Note to self – must call a plumber)
Such are the pros and cons of being (partially) self-sufficient. So I’ve instigated a self-imposed hose-pipe ban and started rationing my cups of tea.
Not that the lack of rain seems to have hindered the growth of the weeds in any way. They are continuing on their mission to turn my garden into a jungle and in places the nettles are now 6ft high. But at least if it isn’t raining I can get outside and do something about them.
The garden at the front of the house is now looking vaguely presentable.
So I decided to concentrate my efforts on the bit of land at the side of the garage. Unfortunately, in the absence of any proper compost bins, I confess I have been using this area as a bit of a dumping ground for all the weeds I pulled out of the front garden, so it has become a bit of a compost heap. Still, it’s only about 6m x 4m, so should be manageable in a couple of days if I get a welly on.
Right. Famous last words.
I got started with my shovel, bucket (for collecting the weeds), sieve (for sifting the stones out of the soil), and cup of tea (to keep me going).
Within a couple of hours, the bucket had been replaced with a wheelbarrow and the sieve had been abandoned. Way too many weeds, and way too many rocks in the ground.
I revised my estimated time of completion from a couple of days to a couple of months. This wasn’t just an oversized compost heap; it was a builders scrap yard.
So far I’ve unearthed 6 steel security gates, about half a tonne of concrete, yards of barbed wire and fencing wire, some steel reinforcement mesh, a bag of concrete, a couple of bags of sand, several lengths of broken plastic drainage pipe and enough chocolate wrappers and coke bottles to start a sweet shop.
Oh, and discovered a long lost manhole.
My neighbour suggested I get a mini-digger. That’s what he would do. Be finished in a day.
I do love it when people stand around offering helpful advice while watching you work!
Well, as anyone who’s followed this blog for a while will know, me and JCB’s don’t get on too well. In fact I have a 100% track record on trashing them. OK, I’ve only hired the one, but I’m not sure my nerves could stand the experience a second time. In any case, with all the bent and broken up steel I’m uncovering, I’m not sure it would be safe – I doubt a mini digger can shift a 6ft security fence panel that is tangled up with a mangled steel concrete reinforcement mesh. Not the way I drive it.
Bucket and spade it is…….
And of course, on top of all the builder’s garbage there’s the all weeds that I had piled up a couple of feet high which have now retaken root and started growing again…. The two brand new 500 litre compost bins are already full. More have been ordered!
My neighbour reckons I’ll be finished about August at the rate I’m going. I reckon he’s being optimistic.
Mr Incompetent Builder has a lot to answer for.