GARDEN DIARY: WEEK SIX & SEVEN


Week six was a strange week, in that we had 90% of the rubbish and scrap metal removed but the land was still in dire straits. It also rained a lot. Then we found out we had to return to work on 22 June. To say I felt defeated was an understatement. 

Work was momentarily halted again the following week, while we tried to get into some sort of routine. I get two days off a week (not always together) and the other half works in a shift pattern of four on/four off. My days off are usually on the weekend, sometimes one mid-week. Having days off together can be tricky. So being in the early stages of garden renovation will be harder being back at work. 


I did attempt to cut back more weeds from the jungle garden for a couple of hours. I happily spent two hours trimming back brambles and watching the bees at work. I have missed the bees and the way they zip around. I find peacefulness in observing their activity. Back in the city, it isn't the same, especially as I work in a big building full of people. I shut myself away at lunchtime to observe some stillness, which I never used to do. If I can't be in the garden all day anymore, I will find sanctuary elsewhere. 

This week I did manage to take some photos of our neighbours garden. The garden is full to bursting with produce. I have loved seeing it grow before my eyes. I can't wait for that to be the case for us one day. They struggle with getting the cabbages to grow each year, but this year is looking positive. The potatoes look ready to go, it's so exciting! 


GARDEN DIARY: WEEK FIVE


This was the week in which we had to surrender. And by we, I mean me, because I like to be in charge of everything! 

Most of this week we moved the bricks that were used as flooring for the wooden greenhouse. Digging bricks out of the ground is as fun as it sounds. Which is no fun at all. By Thursday my stomach started to get so firm I was convinced it was flatter than the day before, and, by the end of this, I would have the figure of Texan bodybuilder. To say all this manual labour is what I signed up for would be a great big lie. 

I am aware that gardening would entail heavy lifting and DIY to set the garden up. I know it is a physical job. But the garden had descended into a building site and we had stopped any form of gardening. I can - and have - cut down brambles all day, but it was all getting a bit much when I was still finding panels of glass buried in the ground and planning to buy a litter picker. I think I cried more than twice this week. Luckily, we found a land clearer online, and the bulk of the rubbish has been taken. A local scrappy was let loose in the garden, and that eased a lot of the rubbish. Although he managed to shatter two large panes of glass everywhere. This was one of the times I cried. 

The weather hasn't been on our side much this week. Neither have the spiders. I have had them crawling all over me as I disrupted their brick homes. We have one more day of the land clearers and then it's back to moving the bricks (which we are keeping) and then hiring the rotivator. The weeds have rebounded with an abundance and I can't wait to tackle them. 

I didn't take many pictures this week. There isn't a lot to look at right now. 


GARDEN DIARY: WEEK FOUR


We arrived on Tuesday morning to find S had broken into the sheds and started taking random things that he thinks he can sell. I had mixed feelings about him and how he had mistreated the land. The deeper we went into clearing the land, the more I resented him. Yet, here he stood heavy cough, deep valleys accent, telling us how much every item he took was worth. At one point he presented me with an old greenhouse heater and proclaimed "this is worth £360" and shuffled off. 

As he was shuffling through the mess his wife stood in the background with pieces of tissues stuffed up her nose, on the tail end of a nosebleed. She observed the space we were in and said "well this looks a lot different from the last time I was here," I responded, "It's tidy," and walked away before I said anything I would regret. The whole exchange ended with S making D (our neighbour) take some half-used tomato feed and then insisting on taking one of the padlocks to the sheds. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried!


By the end of the week, we had managed to finish dismantling the wooden greenhouse. It was built with a brick and wooden base, with wooden frames and heavy-duty double-glazed windows that have come from an old conservatory. By the time we tore the thing down, I had had enough. I knew what we had signed up for but the rubbish has been something else. My moment came when we had to remove all the plastic sheets that had to protect the greenhouse from rain. The construction was so slapdash that S had just used plastic to cover over all the gaps in the framework. The result has left us with disintegrated plastic and wood scattered in the ground. I could've cried. And I did. 

By mid-week, we hit Gumtree to look for someone to remove the rubbish. We were so achy and tired that we felt defeated. We are keen to get the land cleared so we can focus on what we are here to do -grow vegetables. In the meantime, the rest of the weekend is dedicated to clearing away all the pots and trays we've rescued. We need a break from dismantling and rubbish clearing. 

I know this will be all worth it in the end.