Rain has stopped play. It was dry for Will to dig and, it seems, there hasn’t been a day without frequent, cold, wintry showers ever since. For variety there have been a few days of total wash-out. Wind and rain lashing the caravan windows and roof for hours on end until our heads feel as though they have been repeatedly beaten. The trenches have filled with water, been pumped and refilled, time after time. My dream front garden is awash – swathes of standing water, broken only by muddy swamps. The ducks are enjoying it. The rest of us are getting fed up.
The trenches needed a bit of finishing off with spades. No-one better than a pair of gardeners for this job. Waiting for a dry enough day was hard. And digging a bed is one thing. Infact, digging out brambles would be light relief after a day of scooping heavy, sloppy, muddy, stony soil-ish stuff out of the bottom of metres of claggy trenches. I must confess that Phil did most of the work and I helped him out for a couple of hours. Long enough for me to acknowledge that my dream isn’t going to come about just by dreaming. My aching shoulders are testament to that.
The next step is to wait for another dry-ish day – or two, ideally, to allow the trenches time to properly dry out. We need to measure levels so that everywhere has at least six inches of concrete and then the deepest places up to four breeze blocks and the shallowest places just one. Then we will start mixing and pouring concrete. These are the calculations that have been taxing Phil in quiet moments – how long will it take to fill these trenches to the right height of concrete. I think the most likely answer is that we will know when we have finished how long it took.
The weather forecast doesn’t inspire us. Nor does the hail throwing itself at the window as I write. I have had to remind myself that we didn’t move here for the weather. The stunning landscape we are fortunate enough to live in was created by wild, relentless wind, rain and sea, and other, dramatic natural events. It has been beyond the control of humans and will always be so. I can’t really expect that to change just for us to build our house to our timetable. From the very beginning of the process, from buying the land, through planning permission, crofting procedures, building regulations, to waiting for dry weather, so much has been at the whim of unfeeling, inconsistent, powerful forces beyond our control. It will be worth it in the end.
Patience. Surrender. Acceptance. And don’t forget to breathe.