I wanted to show people what I’ve been up to lately. I had been gripped by a diabolical downturn in my mood for the best part of four weeks – weepy, hopeless, helpless …. hapless, in fact. And this horrid mind warp not only disables me, but it creates a living hell for my son too.
That said, in my absolute anger towards what was going on, I went over to a couple of people who were knocking an old outhouse down and asked if I could help. The act of hitting an old wall with a very heavy sledge hammer proved quite therapeutic, and I discovered, quite by accident, that extreme physical exertion has helped keep my tensions isolated towards things that are less likely to have their feelings hurt by my actions.
Having knocked down the old building, I asked if I could have some of the bricks, and I proceeded to load up three car loads full and dump them in my very small back yard.
About ten years ago, I had my back yard block paved, thinking I could get by with pots and containers for colour. But I have always wanted a raised bed, and when the next door neighbour started digging up her own garden, it prompted me to start working on mine. During the last couple of weeks, I have been out there every day doing something.
The bricks are from Victorian times, so they are not the lightweight bricks of today: they are large, solid clay bricks, and very heavy. They needed the old mortar taken off as much as possible, so I had another reason to bang something with a hammer.
Then I built the wall. At first it was just a straight line between two oak half-barrels that I already had out there, but convention has never been my strong suit, and I changed it to a more wavy pattern, incorporating a massive wooden “reel” used to carry steel cable in the deeper curve (don’t know why yet, but I’ve had it for years, and I just wanted a reason to use it).
All in all, it looked quite good in the end.
Obviously, on block paving, drainage would be an issue, so I dug up some of the blocks within the bed and dug down. Of course, it wasn’t going to be straightforward, because below the block paving is a layer of sand, then clay … then coal! (For God’s sake! Shouldn’t be surprised living in an old mining village). But I’ve put lots of chisel holes through the hard stuff and hope the water finds a way out.
Started off using the neighbour’s dirt to fill the bed. As she dug, I transferred the dirt to mine. But she gave up and hasn’t been back to her garden since last week, so I had to order a ton (literally!) of the stuff from elsewhere. Transferring a ton of soil from the tipping point to my garden was made all the more fun when the predicted “three months of rain in three days” started to fall. But actually, having a mini Glastonbury mudbath in your own back yard has its fun side too. Luckily, another neighbour came out and helped me with the last third of the mound – because I’m not sure I’d have made it on my own. That said, earth moved that day 🙂
I moved a few plants and trees around that I already had in the barrels, and then took a short walk to the local Cash and Carry, where I spent the princely sum of £18 on a massive number of plants, dug up some gorgeous poppies from the nearby train tracks, and scattered a bunch of assorted seeds I’d collected over the years.
It’s still very much a work in progress because I have to do the other side, using bricks to create various levels, paint and mosaic some pots and recycle stuff I have, including an old Butler sink, a wooden lamp stand, two chimney pots, some old rusty bed springs, and various tins of paint. I’m even tempted to build a bottle wall!
I’ll post pictures as I get to stuff, but for now, this hard work has definitely kept my tensions at bay.
© Alice through the Macro Lens 
Weekly photo challenge