24th June

We declared war today. On the weeds. What with all the rain and spells of sunshine the once knee-high nuisances suddenly have taken over the place, growing to Triffid-like proportions and surrounding the old house. With building work about to start something had to be done.

Typically Em decided to wade in a few days ago, digging the biggest monsters up by their roots while I watched from the safety of the Chintz Palace, but today I cast my laptop aside and, in an uncharacteristic display of gettingoffmyarseness, attempted to hack the feckers down man-style.I began with my trusty Stihl strimmer, which annihilated everything in its path, two-stroke motor screaming and an addictive tang of pre-mix fumes in the air. Then the undergrowth got really dense, at which point the strimming cord wasn’t man enough to cope.Undeterred I retrieved the rather scary hand scythe that we found in the old house when we first had a look round. It’s seen better days and isn’t what you’d call sharp, but as I soon discovered it did the job.There’s something incredibly satisfying about slashing through six-foot tall thistles and other unidentified prickly stuff by hand, and I have to confess to being overcome by some strange primal thrill. At least until my back started hurting, at which point I remembered I spend most of my time sat behind a steering wheel or a laptop. Good job Mrs Meaden’s made of sterner stuff.

You see, we do have a pond. The house looking lovely now the 6-ft high monsters have gone. Just the acre round the back to do now 😉

On discovering how much more fun I was having hacking away than she’d had methodically digging, Em got jealous and drove to the local garden centre, returning half an hour later with a rather funky-looking Fiskers brush cutter. Obviously I poo-poo’d it, until she let me have a go, at which point the old scythe was demoted.Some hours and several pain breaks later our friendly and very practical neighbour appeared with what looked like the contents of Freddy Krueger’s garden shed. “Here, use these” he said, brandishing a long-handled scythe, a pitchfork and some kind of stabby thing on a stick, adding “I’ve just sharpened the scythe, so watch you don’t chop yer fookin’ leg off!”

While Em departed on a relaxing three-mile route march with the dogs I managed another hour of slaughtering the weeds before my office boy body cried enough. By this time though I’d circled the pond and all-but cleared the area behind the house. About a quarter of an acre all told.

With the sun setting and a clear view across the pond to the old house I was treated to a fantastic view of our handiwork and our future home. Despite its decrepit state, the shambolic old pile of rocks looked beautiful. Sometimes the prospect of fixing it terrifies me, but this evening it inspired me. This is going to be quite an adventure.

Dickie

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