The blessing of good neighbours

1tipper truckHave you ever looked at the word neighbour closely? It’s an odd word. And I’ve never really thought about it until now. From the Old English, nigh and boor or gebur.  But around here neigh really means that. I hear the horses neighing from the two farms on both sides of ours.

It’s a lovely sound. One will neigh lower down the mountain and another horse – Ulysse probably – will reply.

I was listening to this melodious music (well, it is a bit strangled in spring time courtship desperation because they are both behind fences) when I heard a different sound coming up the mountain road. topsoil

Our builder friend Bebère came roaring up with a tipper truck.

‘I thought you might like this topsoil that I’ve been excavating at a building site over the way. It would be a shame to let it go to waste.’

Might like? Love.

What a wonderful neighbour. He drove all the way over to us on his way home from lunch just to deliver a cubic metre of gorgeous topsoil.

I didn’t hesitate to tell him to tip the truck bed while I raced to the potting shed to get my shovel and buckets.

1wheelbarrow workI tell you it was like a day at the beach.  And he dropped off a second load later in the day.

And the timing couldn’t have been better. When I was mowing the lawns a few days ago I was lamenting the fact that I could do with some more soil.  The edge of the road where I pulled out the fence this winter has left a gap of about a foot wide and a foot deep.

You don’t really notice it when you are looking – the grass will grow to fill the gap.  But it’s a devil to mow.  I was fantasizing about topsoil to fill in the gap so I could glide over this space (and it’s a very, very long strip of grass) with my mower.  And bless me my dreams came true.

Sorry, that’s a bit gushy. But gardeners understand.  Weed-free rich topsoil for the garden delivered to your door.  For free.  1fence repair 1

I know exactly how I’m going to repay Bebère’s kindness. He was talking about how he lost a lot of his flowers to the cold weather this year.  So I think a large tray of my just sown cosmos, gaura and verbena bonariensis seedlings might do the trick. I’ll be seeing him at the village for our volunteer morning soon.

The area I wanted to landscape was only about fifty metres from the pile of topsoil at the top of the parking area.  But that’s too far for my damaged back. So I do the cheat method.

1fence repairI turn our station wagon into a wheelbarrow. That is what we call it after all.  Fill the buckets, heave them into the boot and drive them down to where you want to work.

This procedure works best when our neighbour Jean Daniel isn’t roaring up and back on our shared road. In fact I haven’t seen him for days. Hence the heavy presence of Artur around our house.

And in one glorious afternoon I managed about 150 metres of repairs. And that included a pause to chat with our electrician who also turned up after gentle hounding for weeks. So I was twice blessed.

A quick sow of grass seed and now all I need is a light sprinkling of rain. Which is predicted. I’m thrice blessed.