Sometimes underground, sometimes stuck among the branches of shrubs, a hosepipe trail snakes across the garden. It began coiled up behind a water butt outside the back door. Today Jackie tried attaching it to the outside tap, and followed its path. This was not an easy process, and would have been impossible without the amount of undergrowth clearance we have carried out.
Beside the butt, the yellow pipe disappears under paving stones. Between two of these we catch a glimpse of what appears to be white piping. Only a sixth sense prevented Jackie from hacking this out when she was weeding between the stones. This was just as well, because, almost certainly, this is part of the first piece of plastic hose that emerges in a shrubbery some way across the garden. From the now exposed earth, continuing by attachment to a green hosepipe, it climbs into a now much reduced vibernum. Until I cleared that area, the lengthy irrigation system was entwined among weighty brambles whence it dropped down to weave between plants and shrubs flowing over the brick path that it now runs alongside. The compost heap lies beside a dead tree at the end of this path. The green hose was looped around a branch perhaps seven feet above the soil, and had been flattened before vanishing into the heap. Jackie unhooked the pipe and puffed it out. With the aid of a fork and gardening gloves we extricated it from the pile, the tap was turned on, and, hey presto:
the far end of the garden has a water supply.
Maybe when the compost heap heats up a bit, we could trail the hose back through it and I could have a bath in the kitchen garden after all.
Actually, I jest. I emptied the bath today. First I had rather a shock because I couldn’t move it. This was because a thick root of something or other had grown through the plug hole and was clinging on. When, on the 28th June, I had begun to clear out the soil, first Jackie, then Paul, on our visit to The First Gallery, quipped: ‘Just pull out the plug’. How right they turned out to be. Having done so, it was reasonably easy to lift the bath over the box hedge and carry it down the garden. Jackie and I then sorted out a temporary resting place for it on the ever diminishing skip pile. This involved beginning to transport the IKEA wardrobe sections across to the boundary between us and the empty property, so I can use them to make a more substantial cobbled up fence. That will probably be a winter job.
In the still hot and humid early evening, I ambled through Shorefield, passing the now silent rookery and Alice’s rabbits which have grown a bit, to Hordle Cliff top and back. I stretched out on my back among the grasses and thrift to take some shots of the Isle of Wight and The Needles for Barrie who missed them during his and Vicki’s years in Lincolnshire. I know our friend will appreciate the effort required to get down for the angle of these images, and even more so to turn over and clamber back onto my feet.
Sparkling water was the perfect accompaniment for Jackie’s chilli con carne (recipe) with wild rice and peas that we enjoyed for our dinner.