Sunday 28 May – A More Productive Week for Yew

At the end of last week’s blog I mentioned that the forecast was looking much more favourable for a productive week, and, thankfully, so it turned out to be.  It was, by some significant margin, the warmest and driest week we have had this year with no rain at all since last Sunday, and so allowed us to be outside all week and progress the projects that have been waiting for some time, including one that has waited 7 months.

I started the week back at Stable.  Having had our chambre d’hôte re-roofed in the last few weeks we wanted to finish the job and replace the tired wooden frontage and old lamp above the door.  We would have done this regardless but, with the new roof being slightly higher than the old, it was essential as you are now able to see some of the frame and insulation inside.

Initially we wondered whether we would just attach new wood to the front of the old but, having seen the state of some of the frame, we thought it sensible to remove the old and see the state of whatever sort of frame was holding it.  I’m glad we did as, while it wasn’t completely terrible we decided it would be a better job, and last longer if we removed all the old and replaced with new.

The intention is to clad in the same manner as the garage.  The garage can be seen when looking down the garden from Stable, and also from Hent Gorreker, so we thought it would look good to be consistent across the buildings.

Having removed all the old and replaced the frame I have reached a pause.  The reason for this is we also want to install a TV aerial in the attic space.  Stable has not had a TV in previously (other than one for watching DVDs – yes, they still exist!) but we felt that it would benefit from having one.  We didn’t want to attach a satellite receiver to what is now an attractive building with a beautiful new roof, we have decided (as Hayloft) to use a traditional aerial in the attic.

As soon as I complete the new façade, the attic will be plunged into darkness so I thought it would be easier to fit the aerial while there is light.  It is also easier to set up and adjust correctly with 2 people so we will do that early next week.

Mid-week we were assisted by one of our neighbours, Gilbert, who used to farm and has access to something that could lift the large yews we had delivered last October and had sat at the end of our drive ever since.

On a previous blog, I mentioned the saga of the yews and how they were far larger and heavier than what we had ordered and so how we had to find some new pots to plant them in.  Having found the pots, and completed the plinths in front of Granary where we to move the olive trees being replaced by the yews in front of Priory we were ready to go and Gilbert provided the lifting power.  With the right bit of kit it was a fairly simple task and we managed to plant all 6 in a couple of hours.

Once in the pots, we then had to move the olives and were again assisted by a couple of other neighbours, Etienne and Sean.  The pots they were originally in were fibre glass, one of which was in a pretty poor state so we cut it apart to move the tree.  The other pot was in a better condition but, despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to save that either and it fell apart as we were trying to delicately remove the tree with as many roots as possible!

We actually liked the look of Priory with the olive trees moved as it is an interesting building, but we also think the yews look great too.

The olives look equally good in their new location and we hope they will survive the move.  They may even prefer their new spot as they have more light all around the plant so we hope they will grow more evenly.

David continued his war on weeds and has made good progress clearing up the drive and I gave one of the champignon beds behind Priory its first cut of the year, tidied around the edge and trimmed a couple of the shrubs that had suffered a bit over the winter.  I say ‘first cut’ but I rarely get around to giving it another …  It has at least allowed me to see just how challenging keeping the new yews conical shape will be as my topiary of the conifers is these beds isn’t great!

Next week I should be able to cut the second bed and complete Stable so we can finally open it up for the season.

À bientôt.