(‘There are no new steps’ – Association president Barry Fife, Strictly Ballroom.)
Oh yes, there are!
Every winter, I draw up a list of jobs which can be done while there’s no mowing / planting / weeding (OK, that goes on all year). And generally the list gets buried and forgotten about and isn’t discovered until March. But this year was different. This year I had motivation.
My garden runs around the house on three sides. It slopes down the hill with the top garden – behind the house, where the veg patch is – being about twelve to fifteen feet higher than the lowest part of the bottom garden. Both the top and bottom gardens slope, while the middle garden – at the side of the house – is comparatively flat. The three are separated by stone retaining walls topped with Rosa rugosa hedges.
Two sets of steps lead upwards from the back of the house and the middle garden. One was rebuilt a few years ago, but the second set – the ones I use all the time – somehow remained unimproved. The grass slopes down to the top of these steps quite steeply and of course is often wet (this is Wales). So it is perfectly possible to ski elegantly down it, take off completely and land on your bum with such force that you crack your coccyx.
Time to do something about the steps.
Rocks were sourced and sorted and any slate rejected – too slippery when wet. And it was a lovely fine day, so no point putting it off any longer.
Initial excavations had revealed the existence of a deeper top step which we were able to build on (and also a piece of slate with ‘milkman, three pints’ painted on it in English). Work was fully supervised by Madam:
And by the afternoon I had lovely, safe, extended steps. Now all I have to do is behave sensibly and there should be no more ridiculous accidents. Yeah, right.
And, even better, my snowdrops have managed to push their way through what I thought was turning into permafrost. They are beginning to appear all over the place, even the doubles which are often more reluctant to spread. I keep coming across little clumps in places where there have been no snowdrops in the past, and delightful it is.
Now I’d just like a little more sunshine – and rather less wind…