A new pair of shoes

new steps to poolHardly. Shopping for shoes has never been on my agenda. But I was thinking today that when you really, really need to be cheered up, then getting someone to build you a small wall is the equivalent of shopping for a new pair of shoes.

Boy it cheered me up.

Nicolas came and had that mad laugh that so many visitors have when confronted with our avalanche zone of mess that is our farm and gardens. It’s either laugh or cry.

And he was so relieved that the wall that came down wasn’t the one he feared. He built so many walls on the farm and he considered the one that came crashing to earth as a minor disaster. Bless. steps up to hedge That’s 15 metres, or 50 feet of wall.

And he even has ideas on how to get it back into place. It will require a digger. And I have to remove all the thyme plants that are perching rather precariously on the wall. But it might work.

M. Dumont, the mighty man with the machines is coming on Monday to look at the work. We’ll have to go on his waiting list, but at least he kindly called and commiserated and wants to help.

We did a long consulatative lap with Nicolas and then he set to work. It’s so hard to prioritise when there are so many disaster areas. But I was thinking ahead. On Monday, when Bernard and Manu start hauling the soil out of the pool, I want to take it up to the shade garden to return it to its rightful place.

So that means having steps to actually get from A to B. With heavy buckets of soil.

So that was the first job Nicolas tackled.  And the new steps look even better than the original. They now have a curving turn.  I will need to sow grass seeds on the exposed areas, and build up the soil behind the big steep wall above. It’s called the barbican in Nicolas’s lexicon. I never knew. I was too busy puffing and blowing after hauling bucket after bucket of soil and trying to keep up.

new wall shade gardenNext up was to repair the steps leading from the top road down to the shade garden. Half of the chestnut steps had to be fished out of the pool.

But they are back now with new pegs to secure them in place. I nipped up to the forest (picking my way over the rubble field of mess) and cut down some chestnut saplings. It’s marvellous to have the raw materials on site. Even if it’s a hot steep walk up to the forest.

And then was the best bit.  A new low wall for the half rebuilt shade garden.  There are so many gullies and gaps here that a new stone wall was just the solution. And we happen to have a mighty store of huge boulders that came out of the cellar.

I had to reinforce the path that leads through the barn and onto the shade garden. The wheelbarrow (squeaking merrily under the weight) had to be carefully negotiated along the gravel and the wonky bits.

I will take more photos in daylight tomorrow. This one grand bowling alley of a shot doesn’t do it justice.

And I have stolen a lot of the good soil on the path to put onto the banks either side.  There is more than enough sandy rubble to add to this path from the flood. No pont wasting good soil.  It was delightful to see so many worms in the buckets I scaped off the path – progress. Even if most of the topsoil and all of the precious mulch has long gone.

Well, it is decorating the pool and the banks around the pool, and it will be fastidious work to try and get it back. But I’m determined.

Nicolas will come back tomorrow for a few hours to finish the path and maybe make a start on the steps up to the top vegetable garden. They were wrapped around a tree two terraces below where they belong.

All in all, a happier day. Tired by happy.  It feels great to be chipping away at one small part.