Mortared and sorted

..and hidden away. Being a completist, I had to show you the finished steps and the new secret area below the deck.

We had some of the dark cladding left over from the extension. So in keeping with the spirit of waste not, I asked Etienne to calculate whether we had enough to hide the mess directly under the deck.

A bit of before and after if you please:

That’s better.

And he created a little door which I can use to gain access to the four water barrels I have under the deck. No five. I’ve lost count. Actually the system is not going to work the way I dreamed. So I might haul them out of there and donate them to the new extension on the stables.

And then just let the water flow out of the pipe, down a new (garish red) flexible pipe and to the oak tree below the soft fruit orchard.

I tell you, it has been a month of trench digging getting the water where it needs to go.

And now to the steps.

Properly mortared. And note I snuck a rosemary in the impossible corner between the steps and the fence. A Miss Jessop’s Upright, so hopefully it will grow over the years and obviate the need to bend down to pluck one’s garnish.

Well, half the steps are mortared and built. We ran out of stones to go all the way to the garden room level, so the old beams from the bread oven were cut to size and positioned. And then I added stones and gravel and pray I don’t spend the rest of my days pulling errant weeds out of the gap.

The reason for the stones on the treads?

It’s steep. And narrow. And one does go out in one’s slippers at night to pick herbs, empty the compost bin and then worry about traipsing soil all through the house on one’s return.

I need to either sow seed on the path directly below the new stone wall. Or do a spot more transplanting.

Oh, and the fencing is now up and in place. I wish we didn’t need to have this chestnut fence directly in front of the newly cladded base of the house.

But deer are deer and the hares think nothing of hopping into the courtyard and bounding down. Their passion for leafy greens is as fervent as mine.