Yes, yes, the crochet version of the Hiking Reindeer Cowl is well on its way. I’ve done lots more since taking this photo yesterday:-
Meanwhile, there’s a standoff going on between me and the Stoic Spouse, concerning the garden. With an enthusiasm-to-wisdom ratio of approximately 500:1, I’ve been planning the redevelopment of our small plot. It’s very, very, slowly on its way to being full of bulbs, and fruit trees, and sneaky interspersed vegetables, and ferns, and – I dearly hope – a pond. Mostly what I’ve done so far is rip things out and dig stuff up, whilst shouting ‘Ha, take that, you fiendish foliage!’ a lot.
The Stoic Spouse was accepting of this plan and its glacial pace of progress towards fruition, but now he has announced that he wants to use a sizeable chunk of the garden to build a railway. A railway. In the garden.
It would be fair to say that our visions of back-garden bliss are not entirely compatible. It would further be fair to say that, whilst we have discussed the matter without either of us attempting to bury the other under the vintage brick patio that I’m building, we have both been guilty of pursing our lips and frowning slightly, which is the properly-British equivalent of ripping each other’s heads off.
Between you and me, I feared that I had no chance of winning this. But then luck plonked a pair of unimaginably powerful allies on my side. Two of them, both so unassailably mighty that their wishes must be accepted without question.
Obviously, I’m referring here to Mr and Mrs House Sparrow, who have taken up residence in our nest box, in order to raise their young:-
The nest box is right over where the train track would be laid. But you see, it Cannot Be Disturbed. The Stoic Spouse does not approve of causing distress to creatures. (DO NOT tell him that I said this, but it’s one of the things that I like about him.) For example, when asked to escort a spider out of the house, he’s been known to walk half way across the village to find it sufficiently comfortable alternative accommodation (the cricket pavilion,* in case you’re spider-phobic and are wondering which bit of the village to avoid.)
So whilst the Stoic Spouse paces back and forth, fretting over when the baby sparrows will get round to fledging, and muttering about how birds were away working and supporting themselves by this age when he was a lad, I get to sneak over to the opposite corner of the garden and work on my little patio, because nothing is nesting over there.
Is it awful that I’m hoping those birds will be in residence for a really long time?
Anyway, the little patio. I finally screwed up my courage and bought some reclaimed Victorian bricks. Without the convenience of owning a wheelbarrow, I had to improvise when it came to moving them:-
Also, I’ve dug a large hole in the ground, and found enough fragments of 19th century clay pipes to suggest that our Victorian predecessors spent as much time standing around smoking as they did making beer in this old brewery.
But I’ve carried on digging… and digging… and digging, and ended up overshooting the recommended depth of the hole by… quite a lot. The problem was that there was always one part of the hole that looked shallower than the rest, so I dug that for a bit, which made another bit look too shallow, and so on…
I think that what we’re creating here might yet be a pond.
Work was delayed by that weird lumpy thing you can see in the hole, which between you and me is a big ol’ blob o’concrete, but which the twinnage announced with touching sincerity was definitely, definitely, a fossilized iguanodon skull. Using brushes and small trowels, they worked on excavating it with such care and patience and excitement that I could hardly bear to burst their bubble. But I ask you this: why do none of the websites offering advice on patio-building even touch on the major issues such as how to manage your children finding “”dinosaurs”” on-site? Or how to deal with small children stealing your bricks and burying them in weird places? One day, my friends, I will write the definitive text on how to build a patio. It will be awesome.
Here’s the latest view on-site:-
If you’re a patio-building expert, please don’t laugh.
Anyway, I have 145 reclaimed Victorian bricks, a cherry tree that’s currently in a very tall cardboard box…
…no wrought iron bench (yet), and no experience whatsoever of building anything, except out of Lego. But I have utter determination that this will be fabulous. And it’ll have very, very, deep foundations… just in case we decide in the future to convert it from a patio to a 30-storey block of flats.
∗ And in case anyone who knows us in real life is reading this and wondering how they’ve failed to notice a cricket pavilion in our village, I’m talking about a previous house in a previous village.