Horrible weather yesterday. Constant drizzle and grey, grey, grey.
Decided I may as well crack on with the renovation of the old garden bench. It is the only bench in the Priory garden and it has sat under an enormous oak tree out in the flower meadow for goodness knows how many years. Decades probably.
|The bench out in the meadow last summer|
Sadly the wood was all rotten. Had you sat upon it with a contented sigh, you’d have disappeared in a cloud of splinters, dust and woodlice. It is immensely heavy and I used to have to drag it to one side and back again, huffing and puffing, when mowing the grass.
I removed all the wood using a lump hammer a few weeks ago and barrowed the three cast iron supports into the workshop. There they sat waiting for a rainy day. Yesterday was the rainy day.
For the first time in my life, I had to use an angle grinder. This is a grown up tool that proper people use. I have to say it made lots and lots of really pretty sparks as I cut off the rusted up old bolts. I need never buy sparklers again. Just plug in my grinder and go to work on a scaff bar. Or a neighbours car.
I used a wire brush to clean off the old flaking paint and rust. Job done. Do Hammerite make a cerise? Or dayglow orange? I’ll paint it next week and then put it all together. (If the bench is never mentioned again, you’ll know I made a hash of it and that it’s languishing in a forgotten corner of the grounds). I asked Tom the Builder (not his real name) to cut some green oak to length, chamfer the edges and drill the required holes. Tom truly is a proper person and has made a beautiful job. The oak sits in an orderly pile, weighted down by bricks to stop it warping. He comes to the Priory fairly regularly to carry out the never-ending remedial work that a 500-year-old house demands.
Someone else who has been a regular visitor over the past year is Rob the Brickie (not his real name). He has been lifting and relaying many of the old pavers (or is it pavoirs? Perhaps it depends on how posh you are) around the house. He too has done a beautiful job but then, needless to say, he also is a proper person. As well as being an excellent paving chap, Rob has a bit of a thing about trenches. He loves digging trenches. Deep trenches. Shallow tranches. The longer the better. By hand. He’s done several at the Priory for power cables and drainage pipes. I now need to have water piped up to the greenhouse in anticipation of that hot, dry English summer we’re going to have (!). It’s a distance of about 80 yards across lawn, under a drainage ditch and up a steep slope. Jolly hard work to my eye but Rob was fairly salivating at the prospect and itching to start there and then.
|An old photo showing some of the route of the proposed trench|
It was really nice having someone to talk to (did I mention that I work alone) and I didn’t really want him to leave. Rather embarrassingly I suddenly found myself hugging onto his left leg and pleading with him to stay a little longer. To come and have some Earl Grey in the greenhouse. Play British Bulldog. To carry on doing the chatting. In the end he had to give me a punch on the upper arm to make me let go. Quite hard. We’re still friends though, I think.