Let me explain the title of the post before I ramble on, forget and leave everyone confused: We've had spectacular weather this week - while quite cool first thing in the morning (around 7C on average), it soon warms up and by midday it has been in the early twenties and almost cloudless all day long until we lose the sun just after 4pm. The next hour involves a rapid cooling down and gradual darkening, and it's dusk by 5.30pm. It has been a beautiful week for working outdoors, but all the while we've been keeping an eye on the forecast. As next week's weather has crept into view, there's one thing that seems certain: it's going to be wet.
|It's hard to believe it's going to be wet next week after this is all we have seen for days on end.|
When we realised this, Helen and I decided that we would spend a large chunk of the weekend working outdoors to make the most of the dry weather before it turns. When I told Noah this, his reply was 'yeah, I'd noticed the weather forecast and was going to offer to keep working through the weekend, then I'll take a couple of days off next week when it's raining instead' (he was then quick to retract his hand before I bit it off!). So, today is not the end of the week for us here, but more like a Wednesday. Is that all clear!?
So today, after breakfast, Noah and I headed up the driveway with the wheelbarrow full of tools to make a start on the furthest trench from the house. The logic was that, after doing the furthest one away, it would be much easier to follow it up with shorter walks to the second one - as well as not having to barrow concrete across the first one of the day.
After a furious hour of pick axe work, we had pretty much dug the first trench except for a large piece of stone that took a fair amount of pulverising with the sledge hammer. We went back to the parking area to start mixing the concrete and after one barrow load (uphill), I promptly fixed rope and a makeshift wooden handle onto the front of the barrow so that one could pull at the same time as the other pushed.
We had the our first drainage channel of the day done by coffee break! An excellent start to the day, and I was glad I had made the effort to go and buy the extra concrete last night. We had coffee and yet more of the rapidly diminishing stocks of Helen's ginger biscuits before heading back to get stuck into the final trench. It was bound to be a pig of a trench to dig after the first of the day having been so relatively easy, but within the hour we were dug out again (despite Noah's efforts to escape by slipping and disappearing into the bramble down the slope at the side of the drive!). I couldn't believe our luck - 12.30pm, and we were ready for the final five or six bags of concrete to go in. I offered Noah the option of an early lunch break, with the concreting to do after lunch, but he said he'd rather get it done there and then and out of the way - there's no holding this quiet 19-year-old back!
Six bags later, we were done - and HUNGRY! After digging out two trenches with a pick axe, and after barrowing nearly half a tonne of concrete uphill along the drive across a distance of about 100m, we both slumped into seats on the patio and almost drank our delicious home-made pumpkin soup straight from the bowl. Food tastes so good when well earned, and in the sun too!
After lunch, it was time for some more gentle work for the boys, while Helen started yet again on the endless pile of bramble and acacia cuttings, slowly but surely forcing it downhill before moving it across the drive to its resting place.
So, while Helen wrestled with that, Noah and I went to fashion an extra 'stall' under the tarpaulin for kindling storage. In need of materials, it was time to delve deeper into the rubbish shed that's hidden from view on the terrace below the house and full of... well, rubbish.
We found nothing of use inside it - a whole horrible pile of rubbish that will grace the pages of this blog in the not too distant future - but spilling out of it we found a few pieces of wood, some shelf-like stuff that we could use to make a pallet-sized panel. We moved it over to the wood pile and, using a metal frame that I found in the undergrowth last week, Noah made a 'wall' while I dragged out an old (possibly original) door from the rubble pile for the other 'wall', knocked in a couple more metal post,s and we tied the walls to the posts ready for kindling. No photos of that today, we'll save it for another day when it's full of lovely kindling.
It wasn't quite 3.30pm (Noah's clocking off time), but I stood him down anyway and I started on moving the aforementioned kindling - although I was rapidly running out of steam.
At about 4.15pm, I decided to head to Amanda's for yet more bread and wine before I lost the will to do it. Noah had asked for a lift into the village if I was going, so the pair of us hopped in and drove down to Pietrabuona where I dropped him off so that he could explore and have a walk around and I went to relieve Amanda of more of her stock before heading home. When I got home, Helen was complaining of a painful hand, so I suggested we both pack up and call it a day.
We gave the geese their nightly feed of lettuce (during which they hissed and honked their heads off!) before putting them to bed, and retiring indoors.
Over a glass of beer and some nuts, we assessed Helen's injury - excessive raking/pitch-forking of heavy clumps of bramble clippings seems to have given her some tendon damage or some sort of strain on her left thumb. Sounds minor, but she couldn't even pick anything up or chop garlic for dinner, and it was clearly swollen, so she's taken an anti-inflammatory and is hoping for a rapid improvement overnight. We then pored over pages of dogs and information on the internet for an hour or so, before lighting a fire and getting ready for dinner - a pea and mint risotto this evening, and maybe even some limoncello to follow, it is Friday after all... Or is it?!