A Firm Base


Aaron of AP Maintenance does not hang about. Skilled, patient, and thorough, our friend nevertheless manages to work at an amazing rate. He will tackle anything in the garden that you ask.

This morning’s exceptional effort was no exception to his general rule. In less than three hours he had laid a seven foot square stone base for our anticipated greenhouse.

Aaron laying greenhouse base 1

First, the area from which he had already removed a tree needed to be cleared of bits of rubble

Aaron laying greenhouse base 2

and some plants.

Aaron laying greenhouse base 4

The outline was then cut clear

Aaron laying greenhouse base 8Aaron laying greenhouse base 9

and swept.

Aaron laying greenhouse base 5First base line

A dry mix of sand and cement was applied, to form a bed for the stones.

Aaron laying greenhouse base 3

Everything was carefully measured,

Aaron laying greenhouse base 6Aaron laying greenhouse base 7Aaron laying greenhouse base 10

with a spirit level regularly employed.

Aaron laying greenhouse base 11

A final sweep added the cement bond into the crevices between stones.

Observant readers will have noticed the roll-up behind the craftsman’s right ear. We keep him plied with mugs of tea which he usually allows to cool before he drinks on the go. Otherwise the only breaks he takes are of the length it takes to smoke one of the cigarettes. Today he was so engrossed in what he was doing that he forgot all about the smoke.

Alongside kitchen window

This is the current view of the path alongside the kitchen window, as it awaits delivery of the greenhouse. The white patch at the end is the stone base.

Aaron mixed the sand and cement at the end of the Back Drive and transported it to this corner in a wheelbarrow, as he did with the heavy stone slabs. In passing he had every opportunity to make the acquaintance of the

Rabbit 1Rabbit 2

rabbit on the grass.

Bird sculptures

The Head Gardener, however, was more enamoured with the birds of Somerset she had brought back from her brief holiday.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s super-spicy pasta arrabbiata with which I drank more of the Fleurie. Jackie didn’t imbibe because she had finished her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand.


  1. He does a great job!! Good workers are to find – he’s a keeper!!
    You might as well give that rabbit a name and make it a pet, Derrick.

  2. Aaron also dug out a n old vine root! and removed soil to the end of the garden in order to level the site, just thought I would mention that! He’s such a star.

  3. What a wonderful worker! We’re going to be laying the foundation for the duck cabin soon. I’d love to have Aaron here to help. And you really should just name the rabbit.

  4. We have to have a gardener now, and you are right, Derrick, it is amazing how much work they can do without stopping. The trouble is, I don’t remember ever being that fit !

  5. Such a task, removing trees. These photos are inspiring to me, not just the beauty of the plants and flowers, but seeing Aaron work. They remind me that this type of work is very satisfying.. and that I’ve been such a loafer lately! I think it’s great your honoring his work with these photos.

  6. I love Jackie’s new bird collection – I just sketched their shape into my sketchbook. I thought you might have gotten a faux rabbit to frighten the real one off – but on closer inspection saw it is the real one πŸ™‚ Your man Aaron is an absolute treasure, rollie behind the ear and all! The view along the kitchen path is looking beautiful – but I’ve probably said this before!

    1. Very many thanks, Pauline. The rabbit is often to be seen on the grass, πŸ™‚ Aaron certainly is an absolute treasure. The next kitchen path view will have a green house in it πŸ™‚

  7. Funny how it goes – it’s only three or four years ago I was a professional gardener. Then the arthritis kicked in, then the knee went…

    Not saying I was as good as Aaron, just saying that “the days of wine and roses, they are not long.”


  8. He’s a great worker all right, and he is probably very happy to have the regular work from you too. Means he can throw himself into what he does best without having to shop around for employment. So a win-win I would say. Cute rabbit. Wish those early settlers never brought them Australia though….was listening to a radio programme the other day about the the havoc wreaked and the various eradication methods employed. Used to spend a bit of time in the country in my teens and saw the devastation first hand. Guess it’s so lush in England that they don’t have the same impact.

    1. Your comment makes me think of the Rabbit-Proof Fence, which I know you’ve read. You are right about win-win. We saw immediately that we should keep him regular every Sunday morning – that was two years ago. But he does work seven days a week. Thanks a lot, Gwen.

      1. A sad indictment on our attitude towards our Aboriginal population, and an amazing storage of courage and survival which can be enjoyed as a book or film. The latter I highly recommend also. As for the actual fence, courtesy of Wikipedia, it asserts “When it was completed in 1907, the 1,139-mile (1,833 km) No. 1 Fence was the longest unbroken fence in the world.” And as for Aaron … aaaah that clarifies. For a while there I thought you had him for the entire seven days each week – LOL.

  9. For a rabbit name, may I humbly suggest Pierre (although not androgynous). This is clearly in honour of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit, but it also starts with PIE !

    1. Pierre it is, Bruce. Jackie, who wants rid, doesn’t want to make a pet of it. She does however say ‘You can call it Pierre if you like’.

      1. Dear Jackie and Derrick – The skinning and gutting of a rabbit is as easy as pie (pardon the pun). It certainly is easier by far than plucking a chook. I could tell you how, but only in a private email – as some might faint – but I “do” one or two rabbits – mainly to save my garden and enhance the diner table…

          1. I don’t catch them. They are simply picked up after they are… shot. If you do manage to catch it, then simply search “how to kill a rabbit” on the net. It’s a painless twist and a yank. (Now I’ve probably lost all my vegetarian friends…!)

  10. Tell Aaron that some woman in Maine that he will never meet and has no interest in knowing admires his work and dedication.

  11. Perhaps Aaron was extra quick getting his work done due to a certain pesky gentleman who kept taking his photo! πŸ˜‰ I should take pictures of our pool boy, but I’m not sure if it would be to get him to work faster or that I enjoy the cut of his bathing suit! Lol. I’m kidding or wishful thinking — we don’t have a pool or a pool boy! Looking forward to seeing what you’ll be growing in your greenhouse…

  12. I thought you were going to say you dined on that rabbit;
    Will there be any sun (assuming the sun does shine) getting through to that glass house? Seems a lot of trees in the way

  13. I thoroughly enjoyed the Greenhouse in making. Kudos to the ace Craftsman! I look forward to relishing the creations in the Greenhouse. Could it be that innocuous looking rabbit is the Big Beast? Birds of Somerset are beautiful.

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