Sunday 22 October – No Turning Back and Back not Turning

It has been another 2 weeks since I wrote my last blog but things have been happening and we have made the first big strides in our large winter project.

When I wrote the last blog we had David’s Dad staying with us and 1 week left to complete the clearance of the old vegetable patch prior to the expected arrival of the diggers to start the swimming pool build last Monday.

By then, we had completed most of the required tree felling other than one large ash tree which, much like the leylandii, had grown, conveniently, with an obvious lean that meant it could only be felled into the garden and needed to go.

Being an ash tree is wasn’t quite as visually obvious growing on the talus as the large, dark, ugly leylandii, it actually sort of blended into the horse chestnut next to it.  As such, it also didn’t make an obvious difference when it was felled and so the before and after pictures look pretty similar!  However, it has now gone and was, almost, totally cleared away in time for our Monday deadline.

I say ‘almost’ totally cleared as I had carefully managed the work required so that it could be achieved on time despite a couple of wetter days and making sure I didn’t use the noisy equipment (chainsaws and shredder) on a Sunday.

The wetter days assisted as it meant the pool builder was delayed and he told us that he wouldn’t arrive until the Tuesday so giving me an additional day’s prep time.  I left the last Monday for the final shredding and storing some of the wood I had sectioned but it was while bending over doing the shredding that my back gave me a searing pain and, having struggled to finish, I was then rendered practically immobile for a few days.

Despite having spent weeks lugging wood, felling trees and clearing large lumps of concrete and breeze block, it was really frustrating that it was when I was doing something as innocuous as shredding that my back broke.  It does so every few years having done so the first time in 2005, again when bending over to pick up a squash ball, and generally takes a couple of weeks to recover.

The timing now was inconvenient to say the least and David had to store the wood and move the shreddings I had generated early on Tuesday morning while our builder arrived and mapped out the site for the digger who arrived on Thursday (Wednesday being another very wet day) and broke ground.  Exciting times.

The excavator made good progress over 2 days (sadly no buried treasure discovered!) although wasn’t able to continue on the Saturday (we were a little surprised he had even planned to) as it turned out to be the wettest day of the autumn so far as we were on the periphery of Storm Babet.  Thankfully we weren’t impacted anywhere near as badly as so many others in the UK, but it did seem that the pool might have filled itself rather sooner than we’d anticipated!

We have made some timelapse videos of the excavations which we have attached below.  Ideally we would have liked one video to cover the whole build but, as can’t adjust the timelapse interval on our tablets, we have had to a video for each period of the build.  We will share more as things progress.

For those who’d rather just see photos they are here too:

End of day one:

End of day two:

I am always impressed at just how precise a professional can be with such a large and agricultural piece of kit.  While it has proven to be the wettest week for a long time the driver has caused minimal damage to other parts of the lawn and drive but we are aware there will be a lot of making-good when the big  work is completed.

During the week, we have also, finally, had the new front door fitted to Stable.  You will recall we had the roof replaced in the spring this year and had ordered a new front door last November.  Now, 11 months later(!) the company has come to fit what we had ordered and it looks great – so much better and, we think, more in keeping with the style of the building than an old, white, uPVC patio door.

From (end 2022):

To (October 2023 – plants need a bit of hacking back!):

We will eventually make a swan out of the ugly duckling Stable once was and the door has certainly helped.  Still more to come …

This weekend is also the time of year when the amazing smells of winter and (say it quietly) Christmas, start to waft from the kitchen.  Dave has a long list of seasonal lovelies that he makes and today was Christmas cake day – the usual 2 large and 4 small!!  Lovely.

My back has, slowly, started to ease and allow me more movement so I should be able to pick up on a couple of other tasks while we leave the professionals to progress the pool build.

More next week.