Monday, 9 July 2012

Piles and Tiles

Two blog posts in as many days! You can tell it's been non-stop around here.

Today ended up being a very productive workday, one of the ones where we all stick our heads down to a single task and it means that real results can be seen. Well, we can see them, just about. The garden is turning into such a mammoth task that it's good to focus on small improvements to prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed and burying your head in the nearest bit of soft ground (if you can find any). That's what I've been trying to do, anyway.

Today's small improvements were numerous. Lloyd has been dedicatedly burning through the larger bits of wood/shrub detritus which have turned up, in an effort to stop the garden completely filling up with them. Joe finally got his way and cut down the last of the brambles, meaning that the concrete path which runs a little way down the garden is now a useful platform for rubbish sorting.

A previous retaining wall?
Definite piles are appearing, which gives the whole thing a sense of order which it probably doesn't deserve to have. We now have the most glorious rubble heap, consisting mostly of bricks from the remnants of a previous retaining wall (found this morning) and stones which must come from the original Victorian walls, by the look of them. We are saving all of these in case we need them for infill or building raised beds later.

The pile of chopped shrubs will at least stop getting bigger now there are none left to cut down, but it's still taller than me. The rubbish pile has reached epic proportions and still isn't a fraction of what we expect to find. Closer investigation has revealed that at some point a sheet of that black weed-suppressing fabric has been gloriously draped over the rubble and rubbish, and presumably the culprit has then spent the next however-long congratulating themselves on a job well done. Considering how much crap there is we will probably have to hire a skip to move it on, as without transport we have no sensible way to get it to the tip.

We have so far found 6 rubble bags full of broken white tiles, who knows why. You really do have to wonder, sometimes. They don't even match any of the tiles currently in the house. Mysterious, indeed.

The vast majority of the tiles have been dull, white modern ones, but we did have one or two moments of delight upon finding some beautiful tiles in either plain blue, or blue and white, which look to be part of a set. I think they might be from one of the house's original fireplaces, but I'm prepared to be corrected if anyone knows better. They certainly made hunting through all the broken, old-school credit card machines and tiny polystyrene balls of doom a more fun experience.

Between all the digging we've been making plans for the workday on Saturday. We've come up with a few jobs, so there'll be lots to do, but the rubble-chucking will be punctuated with tasty food and confectionary, so you will be well rewarded. There will also be some crash space here if anyone from further afield fancies coming, so please do get in touch if you're able to help. Even a few hours would make a big difference to us, and I will make sure there are biscuits and a good supply of fair-trade tea.

- Hannah

The garden after today's hard work

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