Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud


He’s back. The Digger Man.




There was always going to be more work for him to do.

As we come close to completing the greenhouse terraces (of which more next time) our thoughts have turned to finishing off the landscaping. The Digger Man had planned to be here two or three weeks ago but it was just so wet then it wasn’t worth attempting. Even now chez duck bears a closer resemblance to the Somme than it does to a garden.

Our intention is to create a new level below the greenhouse as an extension to the lawn, in the foreground above. I then plan to extend the low hedge right the way through to the point at which the digger is so precariously perched. I’ve no shortage of plant material. It’s Lonicera nitida and was planted by our predecessor extensively throughout the plot. The first part of the hedge therefore cost me nothing as we relocated all the plants and I’ve enough to do the second half in the same way, perhaps bolstered by a few cuttings.



But just look at the mud. It’s a quagmire.

One of the most difficult tasks has been the removal of the three tree stumps left behind after opening up this part of the garden last year.


Enter The Ripper..



A fearsome beast. It reminds me of a kangaroo’s middle claw..



Both could rip open the belly of a man. The engineered version is pretty good at hauling out trees.



But it was a long old job. In an ideal world we’d have employed something with a bit more grunt in the digger department. Not only would it have had these stumps out well before breakfast it could also have cut the number of days deployed to landscaping by half. But of course chez duck is not your ideal world. Getting to this part of the site means passing between two walls little more than a metre apart, effectively defining the maximum width of any ‘heavy’ plant.

At times the force exerted by the ripper raised the digger off the ground high enough to be balanced on just the rear edge of its tracks. All within inches of the sheer drop off down to the river. My heart was in my mouth.

And are our challenges over yet? Of course not. By the time the Digger Man has completed the levelling, plus some additional foundation trenches to enable the wall builder to complete his work, he will have dug out the soil ramp that he used to descend to this lower level of the garden. Which means that he has to find another way out. And, as we’ve seen, the going at the moment is what might be described as ‘soft’. It has been mentioned in passing that we might have inherited a digger by the end of the day. I am sincerely hoping not. Given Mike’s passion for any kind of mechanical ‘toy’ can you imagine what chez duck might look like by the end of the week??




How things have changed in the three short weeks since I last posted here. Back then we were watching with concern developments in other parts of the world but with a sense that COVID-19 might still be contained. How wrong that turned out to be. I have been trying, and mostly failing, to avoid being overwhelmed by the increasing sense of panic now sweeping across the world, fuelled in part by the media. Thankfully for Mike and I the work inside the house has largely been completed as far as contractors are concerned. The work outside will continue as long as the wall builder himself is happy to travel and government advice does not change once more. We will all just keep a respectful distance. And it’s not as though I’m likely to go short of tasks of my own.

The blog has so often in the past proved a welcome distraction for me through difficult times. I aim to be showing up here a little more frequently from now on and hope that we can continue to support each other as we have done so effectively before. And if I can extract a flicker of a smile and brighten your day just a little bit, so much the better. I will do my best.

Look after yourselves and your loved ones. And please keep well. See you soon, J x