For months I have not been able to do any real gardening (at least not in any satisfying quantity). Ever since the broken-wall-saga began, my muddy horticultural endeavours have mostly involved shifting tonnes of soil down a very slippery hill.
BUT – the end is sort of in sight.
The wall has been fixed and at virtually no extra cost, the builder added some decking that significantly extended the size of the patio area. It is one big blank canvas waiting to be festooned with flowers and plants. The Highland weather has conspired to foil my attempts to seal the deck and paint the wall, but viewed from the top, it seems at first glance that my work is done and I can at last return to real gardening. (Which means planting things, of course).
Ah, if only that were true. My devotion to frugality and desire to recycle the materials into the garden meant I did not waste money shifting stone into skips and dumping it. Afterall, lots of stone is super-useful, especially if you garden on an unterraced slope. Think of all the things I could do with a few tonnes of rubble. From the warmth of my bed I’ve dreamt of the charming steps I will build, the delightful stone terraces hewn from the hill and the little nook with a sunny bench. Hooray!
And now those dreams are just a few more tonnes-of-soil-shifting-in-the-freezing-rain-while-humping-huge-great-breezeblocks-around-and-falling-in-the-mud away. I’ve been on an erratic cycle veering between excitement and despair, blind optimism and defeated exhaustion, denial and fantasy. But I haven’t actually done that much work yet. The task that would most cheer me up, painting the wall, is not yet possible due to the wet weather and the concrete still settling. And building steps and cutting terraces isn’t something you can pull off in an afternoon. (Note to self – it ISN’T something you can pull off in an afternoon, not even on Boxing Day).
So, I’ve been trying to rationalise the task into manageable steps. This involves a lot of standing and thinking and a fair amount of comedic slipping over. Clear the walkway by shifting mud. Move the rubble. Collect hardcore for the base of steps. Cry. Be fiercely cheery. Dig randomly. Drink a lot of tea. Move some stones. Rush out to buy trellis and plants (NO! Not yet!) Drink tea. Move some mud. Fall over.
It looks like hell and everything I do just now makes it look worse, not better. It’s winter, it’s dark, it’s raining and blowing a gale – but, ever the optimist, I’m sure things will be fine by Spring. I might even get to garden again (eventually).
The fact the ground isn’t frozen is a big bonus. So in the meantime, I’ll just keep shifting one stone at a time and bucket after bucket of mud. And of course, I’ll keep drinking lots of tea (well it helps me resist the planting temptation).
Some semblance of normality still seems very far away. But oh, what potential 😉