I bought an orchard today

The builders did turn up – all six of them. At first it was a bit like the Chuckle Brothers meet Carry On Building, but with some guidance, they managed to get a long way yesterday.

We went from this:

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to this:

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in a day. Pretty good work I think.

Plenty of making good to do, but the amazing amount of extra light that the doors bring to what is actually quite a dark sitting/dining room is really welcome.

Some of them will be back on Monday, to continue to make good, plaster etc. And they will start the repointing of the external walls – the existing pointing is really bad, so it will be good to have that sorted.

Maybe next weekend, I can start the flooring in here…

So, where does the orchard come in?

Here:

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They say that every man (and woman, of course) should plant a tree during their lifetime. Well, there are four lifetime’s worth coming soon.

The two coal bunkers with the metal lids are in the skip and the weeds have been treated with weedkiller. In a couple of weeks, I should be able to rotovate this area, pull up the worst of the roots and turf the whole lot. Again, in “The Plan”, there are some fruit trees in here, and these will be the ones that are now in their containers in the back garden. Have decided that an eating apple (Braeburn), a cooker (Bramley) and a pear (Comice) will all sit happily in this space and provide a nice place to sit out in the summer.

I also bought a damson, to replace the one that had to be taken out of the hedge last autumn. The fruit from that one did make a very nice damson gin…

So, another couple of steps forward…

Once again, the end is near… A different end, this time.

Soon, it will be the beginning of this end.

On Friday, 9 months after moving into the “new” bungalow, the builders will be starting to install the new French doors in the wall of the dining area. As soon as they have completed these works, we will be able to take up the hideous stained carpet left by the previous owner, I will be able to finish the laying of the oak floors (together with the skirtings, coving and architraves) and the room can finally be decorated. The carpet is the last thing in the place that was the old lady’s and it will be good to finally put it in the skip. Replacing it with the floor will make a huge difference, as will the extra light that the French doors will bring.

The builders should have started on Monday, but, well, we know what builders are like…

We have done pretty well with the refurbishment works. The hard work tends to come in fits and starts, with a lot of work being done over a couple of weekends, then nothing for a month or so while we wait for someone else to do something. Despite enjoying doing the work, it will be good when it’s finished and we can get back to doing whatever it was we did before moving.

The only thing that will remain will be the bathroom – we have a fitter that can do the work, so it’s “only” a question of finding the right suite and tiles.

Oh, there’s the garden to do too, although a start has been made on that recently. The area at the front, cleared before Christmas, has now had a serious weed killer treatment, ready for a good rotovation later in the spring. The two old concrete coal bunkers have been broken up and placed in the skip, and things are looking a bit tidier out there already. I think that turfing the area will be the way forward in the first instance, with some fruit trees to be planted in the autumn. Two apples, one cooker and one eater, and a pear, will probably do the trick, although it would be good to replace the damson tree that had to be taken down in the back garden.

The loosely described patio area to the side of the new French doors and kitchen will need lifting and replacing with something more suitable. At the other side of this paved area, there is the hedge to the adjacent field and I am thinking of building a slate wall along that inner boundary to more rigidly define the edge. I have been researching dry-stone walling courses and have found one in the Peak District that might just do the job. We don’t want or need a real dry-stone wall, but learning some of the techniques required will no doubt be useful if I do proceed with the slate wall idea.

The other fairly major thing to worry about in the garden is the pond. A few weeks ago, we were treated to a couple of dozen frogs all getting frisky in this little pond, croaking like it was going out of fashion.

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Two days later they had gone, but the frog-spawn evidence that they have left behind is now developing nicely. We will have to make sure that the water level is topped up for when the tadpoles emerge, as it’s all a bit overgrown at the moment and then decide what to do about it later in the year when they have either hopped off, or been eaten by whatever eats tadpoles. It’s only a small pond, but if it’s to be removed, it ought to be done properly.

So, I have given myself a target of the end of April to have the inside of the place finished (achievable) and maybe my birthday in July for the garden to have been moved forward (also achievable).

When it gets to the first anniversary of the move, in August, I think that we will have to get the fizz out.

Any excuse.