Sunday 24 May 2020

60 days' worth of distance dug

Lockdown has driven a coach and horses through the phrase "... when I can get around to doing it." As someone who doesn't really enjoy DIY projects, I need a long run up, as it were, to make a start on any such task. And a weekend has never been time enough.

Until now.

Readers who have not qualified for time off for good behaviour may recall that, in 2017, our drying pole had to be moved to make way for Our Lass's new shed.

In 2017, a rough footprint of the shed location serves as an eviction notice for the drying pole. Note, also, the carpet and tyres which are suppressing weeds in the new location for the drying area. And note, too, the plastic silage wrap and other tyres which is the location for either raised beds, a veg plot, a greenhouse or a polytunnel.

Also in 2017, the shed was duly installed by the local company who built it.

Fast forward to 2020, and after three years, the drying pole is finally re-positioned, although the hard-standing is not yet done. However, this is where the lovely crop of Daisies was for Flora Tensensis!

I know! Allow me to metaphorically waft smelling salts beneath your nostrils.

So, what happened next on the runaway train of Old Tense's lockdown you may be wondering? Well, those three years weren't wasted, oh no! After more than a thousand days of thinking, we can say goodbye to the greenhouse, cheerio to the raised beds and auf wiedersehen to the polytunnel.

The tyres were stacked out of the way, the plastic silage wrap was neatly folded up and the plot roughly dug over to make a veg patch. The dry weather meant that the large lumps of soil immediately set like concrete, but I was ready with an answer for that conundrum.

It was time to create a pond at Tense Towers. Hey, it's only been six years.

I was quite keen to use the only flat bit of the garden for this purpose, that pale bit over towards the oil tank, which just happens to be right by the kitchen window. I was out-voted, and so had to hoick the mower back out and give another rectangle a severe crew cut.

The rough idea was to pave three sides, dig out several shelves and have a gentle slope back up to a boggy area. The hole would be about 20' long by 8' wide and maybe 2' deep.

The turf was stripped off and used to make one side of a compost heap, as due to Covid restrictions, I can't take the grass cuttings to the local tip.

My cunning plan for the veg patch (for which Our Lass had already bought seed potatoes and onion sets, no pressure!) was to excavate the first layer of decent soil from the pond location, and re-distribute it over the patch as a well-weeded and de-stoned mulch.

It seemed to (and did) take forever, but eventually I was satisfied that the veg would stand a chance, and I could begin worrying about the pond again. As an aside, you might notice that the drying area has begun taking shape too. In fact, there were so many heaps of small stones and rubble laid about the place (dug up from the garden) that, after laying some weed suppressant material, I was able to hardcore the base.



Here it is!

But I digress.

Next, I marked out the rough locations of the shelves/steps down and the bottom of the slope. These were going to be a bit more free-form than the graph paper drawing, but I wasn't sure what I would encounter as I dug down... drains, electricity main, telephone cable etc. As it turned out, what I encountered at about 20" was compacted rubble, probably of a natural, rather than the builders', variety.

My intention is to construct the slope with the excavations from the 'deep' end, when I get around to de-stoning it. Yes, things have paused again, for a couple of reasons, one of which was this...

and the other is this...

Yes, the chippings arrived to finish off the drying area and also add a layer to the car park hard-standing. Whilst the former is done, the latter is still a work in progress.

No, it's not the angle of the photograph, or the way you're sitting, the pole is off-centre. Free-form, remember?

So, whilst I can't crack on with my dragonfly habitat just yet, at least I can order in a few things. I have enquired about pond planting, pondered (but not yet ordered) the liner, and had two tonnes of sand delivered.

To be continued...


Mark said...

to be continued ...mmm a bit like Cygnus X-1.

Martin said...

Wowsers, so many projects. You might want to have a direct line to N. Sturgeon to ask for an extension to lockdown to get all the projects finished. I am impressed by the progress though, and that the airer has been re-erected.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Martin, have you not wondered why Scotland is slower to leave lockdown than England...

Mark, I missed a trick there. Should've christened my wheelbarrow 'Rocinante'.

mrs ishmael said...

This is beyond impressive, mr imperfect and tense, particularly in view of the diabolical weather we've been having until recently. And so organised! My efforts outdoors tend to be spontaneous and ramshackle - and wholly weather dependant. Currently contemplating the first hedge cutting of the year, with a sinking heart - but the rosa rugosa is becoming thuggish, the oil delivery man is complaining, and I need to cut a passage through it to the outside world.

Alyson said...

Well done indeed, and, documented every step of the way. There is no excuse for me not having achieved more during the lockdown period however all the uncertainty about the future is really affecting my get-up-and-go at the moment, which I suppose is understandable. Hopefully we will start to get ourselves out of this mess soon.

Imperfect and Tense said...

mrs ishmael, Welcome! I must confess that I have spent years creating the illusion of 'organised', years which may have been better spent actually doing stuff. Ah, the irony of the Rosa rugosa restricting the flow of fossil fuel formed from Triassic trees. I guess that it's no consolation that the weather will be warm and dry this weekend?

Alyson, well, not so much documented every step of the way, more an excuse for a breather at regular intervals. To be honest, if I thought I could've got away with wildlife watching for the duration, I wouldn't even have picked up a shovel. I guess we're all coping with our particular circumstances as best we can. And, yes, hopefully there is now room for a little optimism.

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

That's a lot of work.

Never have I previously been invited to take such an interest in someone else's washing line. I even enlarged one of the pictures. The frame supporting the 'lines' seems very substantial, even if at an angle. Perhaps you could set it to generate power when spinning?

Imperfect and Tense said...

Lucy, it is a particularly heavy duty washing line, anything less substantial wouldn't last long. Whilst I've not seen any horizontal turbines up here, there were several back in Milton Keynes when we lived there.