We are on day three of the garden project here at Boo Towers.
Day one was largely uneventful. It mostly involved tramping around in the cold and bickering over what lines went where, and how curvy did that curve need to be, etc. There was spray paint involved, which always gladdens my heart.
Our run through of how the garden will look meant that we realised that one of the pieces of grass we had drawn on the plans will look bloody stupid. It is now coming out. I am delighted about this. I detest grass for the most part, and would have done away with all of it were it not for Jason – who, apparently cannot live without grass and a shed or two.
The one piece of grass now left in the design will actually have a ruddy large shed on most of it, which begs the question of why we are having even that grass. Jason pointed this out.
I suggested we remove all the grass.
He said no.
I suggested we have a smaller shed.
He said no.
I suggested we put the shed on the other side of the garden so he can have both a large shed and a larger expanse of grass.
He said no.
I realised that he needs to fret and sulk about this for a while longer, and no amount of problem solving on my part will help him.
He tells me that he doesn’t do this kind of sulking.
He says that he is a practical, solutions based guy. He gets cross with me when I indulge in this kind of fretful agitation on my own part, preferring instead to fire answers at me to which I say ‘no’. Eventually I shout at him. Usually I say:
‘I do not want your stupid, rational answers. I just want to moan about in a flounce for a bit and think about how utterly unfair life is and how my existence is wretched. OK?’
He finds this perplexing. He says:
‘Because it makes me feel better, and then I get it out of my system, and then I don’t kill people in a stabby, stabby, knitting needly type way, and then, when I’ve finished I will find a practical solution. ALRIGHT?’
He usually shrugs and says:
‘O.K. Don’t shout at me. I’m only trying to help you because you’re my wife. WHAT do you actually WANT me to do?’
‘You say. ‘Yes. Yes. Life is shit. People are shit. Everything is rubbish. You are always right. Shall I put the kettle on? Here, eat a biscuit.’ That is what you say.’
He shrugs some more.
He always fails to do this.
After the third ‘No’ viz the shed/grass ratio/conundrum type thing I imagined all this going on, but with the roles reversed. Then I went to put the kettle on and gave him a Ginger Nut.
We are no further forward with the shed/grass issue, but he isn’t sulking about it any more.
Ginger nuts are usually an acceptable mediation tool.
Day two, which was yesterday, was far more eventful. I got back from dropping the children at school to find the back fence panels gone, and a mini digger sitting on the lawn.
They did lots of scooping and churning up of earth and clattering around. It was quite exciting.
The cat is horrified. She runs squeaking upstairs and downstairs and in my lady’s chamber. She sits on the Chaise Longue of Death, moulting plumes of fur and sweating through her paws. It is all too much for her. She is thinking of moving out and going to live permanently on the end of Tallulah’s bed.
She hates us.
Other people aren’t keen, either.
We are using an access point from the fence at the bottom of the garden, which backs onto some housing association owned sheltered housing for the elderly. The Housing Association have agreed that we can use this land, and remove the fence, and park our skip, digger etc in their car park. It is jolly nice of them.
In return we will give them a new fence and make it lovely.
Despite this, some of the residents were out in full grumble yesterday.
If it were me, incarcerated in a housing association flat waiting for death, I’d be delighted to have something to watch other than my own slow decline into senility.
Still, I suspect it’s being so cheerful that keeps them going.
This grumbling was eclipsed when one of the guys with the digger, dug into a water pipe and we ended up with a cross between the fountains of the Bellagio and the Somme, but with more swearing.
I was late to the party for this. Jason came in to find the stop cock and said:
‘You’ll never guess what they’ve bloody well found.’
I replied, honestly and promisedly, without a moment’s hesitation:
He looked up momentarily, shocked.
I said: ‘Well, given the history of the house I wouldn’t have been at all surprised.’
He nodded, and got back to turning off the stop cock.
To no effect.
It was not our water pipe.
It was, in fact, three of our neighbours water supply. We found out about the first two when we dug out the house plans. Jason went round and apologised while the workmen scuttled off to the local builder’s yard to buy plumbing surpplies.
We found out about the third one when she came to the house in a total rage because she was at home with the flu and had no water and heating. I can understand how annoying it would be, but she was so determined to be angry, despite our apologies and the fact that we were, by now, about ten minutes away from fixing it and turning the water back on, that I decided to hate her instead.
I suspect there will be no Christmas cards from that house this year.
Apparently, the builder who put the ruddy great extension on the back of this house, cut a few corners, like using plastic piping for the water supply, and only running it just below the turf instead of buried to a requisite depth. It was, therefore, not really our man’s fault for digging through it. It’s lucky I hadn’t put a spade through it myself whilst indulging in earlier excavations.
Eventually everyone got their water back on, and digging commenced.
This morning I have returned to find more men, and more digging, and more mud.
The cat went out during a tea break and was suitably distressed. She does not like mud, and every single time her paw lifted off the ground she shook it, delicately and in disgust. She tried to avoid the mud by placing her legs further and further apart until she looked rather like she was trying to limbo dance under the earth.
She retreated to a railway sleeper. Stared in horror at all the strange people in the garden and then came home to pack her bags.