Getting anywhere in the garden was becoming problematic because of the Triffid like quality of the flora and floribunda. So on a hot and humid day I went abroad armed with two pairs of secateurs. a saw and a pair of gloves. This was of course very ambitious! Terry sensibly made haste for the loft and started chiseling out holes for the new floor joists.
I first cut back the greenery along the pathways nearest to the house and the grapevine run as I like to call it. There is some kind of self seeding tree that is covered in cruel and lengthy thorns. It had a heyday with me and it wasn’t long before the blood on my limbs attracted both mosquitoes and flies. I made haste for the well and sluiced down with the cold water and then applied the perfectly useless Jungle Formula spray I’d bought from UK. These insects were formidable opponents and had become my nemeses.
I felt almost sad to be chopping, hacking and sawing my way through this verdant wilderness but even putting clothes out on the makeshift washing line was a trial. I learned several things on this days work. Don’t use secateurs on saplings, always wear gloves and never, ever, pull dead wood from a large tree! As I approached the area under the Sliven plum tree I noticed a very dead limb hanging precariously from the mid branches of the ancient and ponderous tree. With gusto I jumped and grabbed the branch and lent my full weight to the operation. I was rewarded by what felt like a full fisted punch to the face and wobbled cartoon like with stars around my head. I literally wondered where and who I was for a second. My jaw and side of my face felt like they’d been injected with anesthetic and thrummed. In a daze I stumbled up the makeshift stairs to the loft and asked Terry what my face looked like. In the semi darkness he said I looked fine but when he asked why he moved closer and saw that I had a cut that had almost spliced my ear from my face and a 3 stripe bloodless gash to my upper arm. In my slightly confused state I laughingly thought if I were in the navy that’d make me a commander. Mother please don’t freak out reading this I’m perfectly ok! I was ordered to sit down for a while and given a cold drink but you can’t keep a good woman down. As I returned to the plum tree I really did wonder at my stupidity because the limb was an honest to goodness branch of a very large tree and a very substantial one at that.
I continued my crusade whilst Terry slaved away in the loft calling me sporadically for help. I have to say I have reverted to my childhood tomboy state so being inside and in a dark place on a sunny day is torturous. I begrudgingly left my garden paradise to help out in the semi dark troglodyte cavern of the loft. I freely admit I did this with bad grace!
You will note that there are no before and after pictures. Well the honest truth is that after a days work there wasn’t too much difference to be seen except in the magnitude of bites and lacerations on my small personage. Terry however was impressed and felt driven to get the Stihl chainsaw out. Ilia had arrived by this time and as Terry attached ropes to the pine tree outside the old part of the house I kept chuntering about preponderance of weight of branches and possible algorithms for tree cuts and fall path. Terry looked sideways at me, started up the Stihl and with Ilia screaming direction he sallied forth like a demented character from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. As the chainsaw bit wood I watched in slow motion as the tree started to lean towards the house. No amount of screaming cut through the roar of the engine and it was Ilia who picked up a piece of handy 4×4, lodged it firmly into his chest and for a few precarious seconds held the weight of the tree whilst Terry and I in exaggerated slow motion leaped forward to shove the tree over to the left. It creaked and finally fell like a mortally wounded soldier missing the old house by a hairs breadth! Nervous laughs were released and then belly rumbling roars as the tension of the moment was released.
The men then had fun chopping up the tree and I reveled in the smell of what appeared to be cedar overwhelming my olfactory senses. The old house was revealed, battle scarred but beautiful. Suddenly the possibilities of our property, nay our home became clearer.
There is still a mammoth amount of work to be done. The damage to the bread oven behind the summer kitchen also became apparent and the ugliness of the broken plastic sheets above the summer kitchen patio but that is for another day.
Amalia was due to visit us in the not too distant future so thoughts of accommodation became a more pressing matter. Currently she’d be either bedding down on a mattress with us in the impromptu bedroom/living room or in the makeshift kitchen. We both thought that if the summer kitchen was in a better condition we could possibly move the kitchen there and then have a second room free. It was at that point that I realized Amalias arrival in Sofia was only 2 days away We could only hope that her summers spend at the caravan with Pappous and Yiayia in Greece would prepare her for the campsite conditions of our home.