Who said Mother Nature doesn’t have a sense of humour? Having planted so many of our new yews in the last couple of weeks, this week has been the first of the year when we have had absolutely no rain! In fact, for at least 4 days the temperatures have been soaring into the upper 20s – exceptionally hot for April – and it feels like we are approaching near drought conditions. This follows the other unseasonably cold, wet and snowy winter and spring. Climate change, what climate change!!
The dry weather has allowed me to complete one task that we have wanted to do for a while – and, as I mentioned in last week’s blog – I was able to use a new toy that David has allowed me to buy. The job was to create a gully along the front of Grange to reduce the amount of water which comes into the parking bays and channel the rain from one of the downpipes to the end of the building.
As the interior of the bays are slightly lower than the driveway outside, during rainy weather most of the water comes into the 2 central garage bays as I haven’t created a sill across them. This is aggravated as one downpipe, which takes ¼ of the water from the roof, currently adds to the water on the drive as it has nowhere else to go.
The gully is just a concrete trench with a groove running along its length (not quite as straight as I would have liked!) made with my new toy – a concrete mixer. However, as ever, the preparation took almost as long as the job itself as I needed to dig a trench in front of the garage and make some shuttering that I would pour the concrete into. Turned out that mixing and pouring the concrete was the quickest part of the job as making a decent finish to the groove along its length was much trickier than I had anticipated – perhaps my concrete was a little too wet.
However, job now done and should make a huge difference to the interior but, as with so many of our jobs has created another as we now need to raise the height of the ground inside and out so there isn’t a huge kerb to enter the parking bays!
The remainder of the week has been taken up with one task and, as the weather has been so good, not the games room floor this week but lots and lots and lots and lots, and lots, of weeding!
Having created a number of flower beds in the gardens the Breton combination of mild, wet, weather seems to be ideal for weed germination. Having cut down the scruffy trees from the north bed in the orchard at the end of March, I hadn’t been able to go back, expand the bed as we had wanted, weed it, and then plant a couple of shrubs. I did this week.
Then, as the new bed looked so good I thought it would be worthwhile paying some attention to the other beds in the orchard which has taken the rest of the week to get to the same state (and I’m not quite finished!) With David also putting in a couple of days in the champignon beds behind Priory there has been 7 man-days just clearing flower beds. We need to find a way of keeping on top of them now – but that is also something we have said before!
After all that effort though we are really pleased with how the gardens are starting to look and they will only improve as the shrubs we have planted grow, the cherries we bought this year are almost in blossom and should look fabulous and the spring colour on a couple of the small shrubs already look great. The difference it has made removing some of the apple trees and the hazel et al on the north end of the orchard is fantastic.
As the weather has been so good we did ‘reward’ ourselves with a picnic lunch at the side of Lac du Drennec yesterday – obviously only so the dogs could have a swim and cool down you understand! Even David went for a dip, although he did admit it was a little chilly still, but it fabulous that we can pop down to this amazing place whenever we want in a matter of minutes. Foolishly we haven’t had our first BBQ of the year yet. Hopefully we will make up for that soon although the dry weather looks to be lasting another couple of days it won’t be anywhere near as hot and, I don’t believe I am saying this after the winter we have just had, we really could do with some rain!