Chestnut fencing

I’m going to boast about what I did today as it’s rare I’ve achieved so much in one day. I’ll be a goner in about an hour, so I’d best type fast.

People often ask me if I get help for the garden work and the answer is mainly no.  We had help for the stone wall work but the rest is done by one keen gardener.  Me.  But once every four or five months or so I book up a local lad to do some heavy lifting. I prepare a long list.fence detail

Manu is an early riser, so I have to be ready with my list of chores and tools because he can easily turn up well before the agreed time of 8am.  He comes up on foot from about five kilometres down the mountain as he cannot afford to run his moped at the moment. So he is usually nicely warmed up from an uphill struggle.  He is not fit.

And for Australians who are used to their ‘tradies’ arriving at 7am or 730am, 8am may seem languid. But it’s keen for around here.  And for me the mornings are busy.  I light the fire, get a load of washing on and put the kettle on for tea. I then take my pot and go out to sit on the outside steps for a chat with Artur and listen to the extraordinary bird song during the breeding season.  And all the while drinking tea and wolfing down two slices of rye bread and peanut butter.

And right on ten minutes early, Manu plodded in to view.  First job of the day was boulder moving.

We went to the lower terraces where I showed him how many rocks and boulders I needed him to lever out of the ground. They fall off the stone walls and roll down to rest on the flatter surfaces of the terraces. And it makes mowing frustrating.  I have cleared the lesser rocks. But I left the boulders to my ‘staff’.

While he did that I raced up to Jean Daniel’s to feed the cat and the horses.  Then Manu and I assembled a fence on the top potager edge.  We then cleared out an entire basement (full of rotting plasterboard and broken tiles.) Everything was shoved into the car and I’ll be going to the tip first thing in the morning.

We then walked down to the stables where we got out the wheelbarrow and loaded piles of wood for Manu1artur detail to take to the old shed down the lower terraces to hide away.  He has a friend who wants some rabbit hutches so I have told them to help themselves. they weigh a tonne and are taking up a lot of space in that shed.

Back up at the guest house I opened up the shutters and doors and then we both moved two mattresses, two bed frames, no three. One had to come back downstairs. And then moved two sofas into new positions.

Poor Manu was exhausted and so was I. We settled up and then I drove him home.

And then once he had left, it was a fast lunch, and then back up to the guest house to help build the bed frame and change furniture around a bit more. Then I did a last coat of paint on all the wooden parts of the new composting toilet surrounds. (lots of fiddly bits). Then I wandered up to the potting shed to try and sit with Artur (who was having none of it) and picked four bouquets of flowers for tomorrow.  I hope that Lydia and Manou will have their stalls by now. And one bunch is for the butcher’s wife. And one for the garage owner’s wife.clear cellar

Since then I have rearranged the linen press, made a huge batch of dahl for tonight’s dinner. And I bet if you asked me to get off the sofa my legs would refuse. What an action packed day. I wonder if this is what it’s like to be on drugs.

I’ve packed the car ready – I must remember to take gloves tomorrow when I empty it all. Hopefully Paolo will help me, but even he will baulk at broken tiles and pasterboard.  There is only so far a councll employee will go in the service of his job.

And I’m looking forward to a teensy bit of cafe hot chocolate leisure in between the seven or eight things I need to do up there.