I’m happy to say Jessops sorted out my computer problem, so I was able to add photographs to yesterday’s post. We then drove back to The Firs, arriving just after midday. The Three Graces, first mentioned on 11th. September, is, in fact, a bird bath. When we arrived, a pigeon was drinking from it.
In the first stage of preparing compost bins to replace the heap we have at the moment, Jackie and I moved the trunk of a deceased eucalyptus tree. This had originally been carried from one side of the garden to the other by two strong young tree surgeons. We now wanted it in yet another corner in order to make space to build the bins. As this was rather a complicated procedure for a couple with 134 years between them, it may be helpful for it to be outlined. The most simple method is, of course, to borrow a chain saw and massacre it. Unfortunately the lady of the manor wishes to make a garden feature of what is an attractive, if extremely heavy, piece of timber. Woodlice are already enjoying it, and it would be very unkind to disturb them more than is necessary. So, what you do is obtain a sack barrow. That was the easiest bit, because Elizabeth bought a strong antique one quite recently. You push this under the middle section of the trunk and gradually lever it into position. Then you find you can move neither it nor its load. Then you get Jackie to think about it. She suggests one person positioned with the barrow at one end, as shown in the diagram, with two people at the other end to lift it so it can be gradually swung round until it is facing in the right direction. Unfortunately we didn’t have two people at the relevant end, so I got the job. Well I couldn’t lumber Jackie, could I? Once pointing in the right direction you stagger along, a few feet at a time, until the person without the barrow yells ‘drop it’. If your ground is uneven, the barrow is bringing up the rear, and the person at the front is the stronger, you may have to switch places for a while in order to make the wheels go round. It may need a push uphill. This is repeated as often as necessary until you have the tree somewhere near what you hope will be its final resting place. Then the swinging round manoeuvre described earlier is repeated in order to refine the positioning. If your tree trunk is not exactly straight it is apt to swivel of its own accord, which can become rather awkward. It is then likely to fall off the sack barrow end. If the opposite end is higher and you have been forced to drop it in the process and can’t get out of the way in time it may potentially strike you a nasty blow. If this does happen and you are forced either to leap about or double up in pain, it is advisable to inform your partner, as soon as possible, that it is only your thigh which has been hit. This whole process is best tried before you do your backs in by sitting on bench seats at The Globe Theatre, as described yesterday.
Jackie and I shared an early meal in Eastern Nights before I went off with Paul for a drink at The Hampshire Bowman in Dundridge, near Bishops Waltham. This is an old style pub serving real ale which is accessed along one of those country roads where it is impossible to pass oncoming traffic without using one of the passing bays at its side. It is also known as the dog pub, because it appears to contain more dogs than people. I had to share an upholstered bench seat with a lurcher that kept stretching its legs in its sleep, thrusting them into my thigh as it did so. It has a very friendly atmosphere.