And Three Days Later..




..the job was done.

They got to the rear slope of the house from ladders propped up against the face of the bank. It looked rather precarious at times but it would have been a difficult place to erect scaffolding. The angle of the ladder has to be just right to lay flat against the roof. Ramming the foot of the ladder into the face of the bank proved the most practical solution.

The chimneys were given a good brush down and a new coat of paint. And yes, the birds have flown. Their nest area beneath the end chimney was left to the last day and by then there was no sight or sound of the parents or their brood. Maybe a week’s worth of thatch thumping and the crashing of ladders above her head focused Mama Coal Tit’s mind somewhat. But at least there was a happy ending and the thatcher was able to finish off the job.



Whose clever idea was this then?

To enable the thatchers to reach the top of the end chimney the scaffolder had provided an extra high platform on that side of the house.  It’s visible in the top two photographs above. You can guess who was itching to get up there. But it needed an additional ladder which didn’t materialise until the painting began. As soon as they broke for lunch I had my moment.

It’s a very long way down.



Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’ resplendent in pink and the yellow spires of Phlomis russeliana. And more planting opportunities!

But then I was drawn by movement, top centre of shot…




Spot the eye. And the long furry ears. And could that be a white bobtail? Many of the rabbit resistant plant lists online would have you believe that bunnies don’t much care for Verbena bonariensis. Let me tell you folks, those lists are wrong.



In the month leading up to the start of work I cleared the front edge of the bank to give the thatcher room to manoeuvre his ladders. The white flowering small tree is Cornus kousa ‘Wietings Select’ and to the left of it Magnolia sieboldii bearing the last few of its fabulously fragrant blooms. The tree stumps and roots from the high conifers which used to be here show up well from this height. Slowly they are rotting away and the new planting is taking over.



Swinging around even farther to the left we’re looking at the point at which the Precipitous Bank merges into the woodland. What I often refer to as the woodland edge. With the canopy now fully into leaf it’s deep shade from that point on and quite a challenge from a planting point of view. Those old conifers I mentioned were getting on for 50 feet high, towering above the house and perilously close.

You can also see the precarious arrangement with the ladders! That was one climb I was happy to leave to the experts.



All it needs now then is for the scaffolding to come down.

I shall quite miss it. In a funny sort of way. Apparently there have been very few of the thatcher’s clients up and down their scaffolding as frequently as we were. It didn’t get as far as taking deckchairs and a bottle of wine up there.. but almost!