Tuesday 15 July 2014

An evening by the pool

A fair proportion of last Sunday was spent with friends in Stromness, dismantling an unwanted greenhouse. The structure is a small, light, aluminium-framed affair, which Our Lass hopes can be re-homed at OTT, though I have concerns that the weather on our windy hilltop will have other ideas.

Photo found on t' net of said greenhouse in happier times.
Door removed, but all spiders and snails still in situ
All panes removed and the dawning realisation that the glass was probably holding it together!
Our Lass pondering whether to tie the wreckage down to stop it blowing away.
After gingerly driving back to Holm, laden with about 50 panes of glass, we decanted the contents of the car into a corner of the garage for safe-keeping whilst we figure out where to site the greenhouse.

Now fired up with red hot horticultural enthusiasm like some bizarre personification of Kniphofia, Our Lass suggested that she'd quite like a potting bench built, thank you. In life, you can only play the hand you're dealt, so despite my general loathing of DIY, my expression remained impassive, betraying not a trace of the mixed emotions that the request had created.

A generous neighbour had donated several pallets which, as I was working with minimal budget, at least solved the problem of sourcing construction materials. Not only is the internet awash with a myriad of ideas for re-using second-hand pallets, but also plenty of chuntering about how difficult it is to dismantle one without turning it into a heap of splinters. Suggestions for remedying this problem included sawing off just the bits that weren't nailed down or giving up and buying some decent wood instead. Neither of these ideas were an option for me, as the proposed bench height required the full length of a pallet rail. Yippee!

In the absence of a tyre lever or similar, my first few attempts were pretty disastrous. Actually, make that unprettily disastrous. However, whilst trying to come up with a scheme for removing the nails without collateral damage to the rails, I happened upon the Tense tool-of-choice for pallet deconstruction.

A garden spade.

In combination with a couple of screwdrivers, a claw hammer and Yours Truly at the end of his tether, the spade provided sufficient leverage and spread of force to minimise the carnage. Once my wounds have healed and the bruising's subsided, I may even take photos.

Er... the pool? Oh yeah, nearly forgot! In the evening, for a bit of respite from all the yelps of pain and disgruntled swearing, we wandered down the road towards St Nicholas' Kirk. It was low tide in Holm Sound, the rocky foreshore populated by slovenly young gulls, Oystercatchers busy bathing and the occasional Curlew picking its way through the seaweed.

On the landward side of the road, a freshwater pool was teeming with bird life, most of it nervous of our presence. To save the various bundles of feathers any further anguish and also our ears from the constant shrieking calls of anxious Redshanks, we hit upon a bit of a ruse.

Hightailing it back to OTT, we jumped in the truck and then drove back down to the pool, parking on a piece of solid ground on the opposite side of the road, but facing the sea. The rear windscreen in the tailgate can open separately from the whole door, so this we did, and in combination with the fact that the rear seats were folded down from the day's greenhouse adventure, voila, instant hide!

We were able to watch plenty of ornithological activity without distress to any party, the low evening sun adding the finishing touch to the scene.

The pool was full of the fledglings of Redshank, Lapwing, Moorhen, Mallard, Teal and Pied Wagtail. Swooping low over the water, Swallows and House Martins dipped their beaks into the cool liquid. A Snipe watchfully stepped out from the vegetation at the edge of the pool and probed for morsels of food in the mud. In an adjacent meadow, a pair of Brown Hares casually lolloped through the lush, green grass, seemingly without a care in the world. However, I suspect that they were as ready as ever to scarper should the need arise.

Admittedly, it wasn't the most comfortable of hides, so after a while we carefully stretched our aching joints and clambered back into the front of the truck. It was only then that the thought struck me, what did the neighbours think we were doing?


Sarah said...

I'm sure if anyone saw you both climbing out of the back seat with cameras, they wouldn't have automatically thought you were bird watching!!
Hehe it would have been a sight lol

Imperfect and Tense said...

Exactly! :o)