The Castle Bench

Yesterday I began preparation for reassembling the garden bench based on those in Nottingham Castle grounds.
The first task today was the purchase of nuts for the bolts that would attach the wooden slats to the cast iron sides. These could have been obtained at a nearer establishment, but Knights in Lymington is fast becoming Jackie’s favourite emporium. In any case she needed some curtain rings and whatever else might take her fancy. We did buy a few more things, and, in fairness, it was me who chose socket spanners so I could get at the underside of the bench with a little more ease.

When we drive out of our front entrance we pass our potentilla which is in full bloom at the moment.

Before lunch, I carried the various components of the seat to the chosen spot in the garden. This sounds a rather routine task. In fact each one of the cast iron sides is quite an awkward proposition. It is six years since I last manhandled them and I now find them much more daunting.The previous owners kindly left us a home made wheelbarrow, the container of which is a large blue plastic basket. I thought it might save my body if I used that to transport one of the pieces of iron. I just about managed to raise it to the required level to dump it on the barrow. It cracked the container.
There was nothing for it but to carry each piece the few required yards. It helped to yell and groan a bit. Jackie helped me try all the slats, before we were driven in by heavy rain. But not before we realised that they wouldn’t all fit.
After lunch we had another go, with no more success, and, since we were getting very wet, gave up. Jackie continued her cleaning and scraping tasks.
Eventually the rain eased up and I decided not to let the problem defeat me, even if it meant cutting some lengths to size. I managed securely to fit eight out of twelve slats. By this time, I had run out of bolts, because some of the originals were missing and two others were bent when the construction collapsed at one point. These are thick bolts that have stayed attached for a good twenty years.
This time we drove to Milford Supplies for the bolts, because that is sensibly nearer. I then finished the task. This involved sawing ends off, drilling new holes, and hoping for the best.

We now have a garden bench.

The rhododendron behind me is now in full bloom, and we have a rich variety of aquilegias.

Our dinner this evening was Jackie’s choice chilli con carne (recipe) followed by chocolate cake and ice cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden. I drank marques de Carano reserva 2007.