There are times when you feel like your not making any progress as far as smallholding is concerned. There are other times like in the last few days when you feel that finally the plans are coming together. Here for example is a picture of the work in progress on the stable block where we have taken a slight liberty and built it slightly bigger than originally planned for. Careful observers might see the tack room and goat dairy on the back. Well it was going to be 32 foot long and now its only 24 so it seems only fair we stick the missing bit on the back. No will ever know, no one ever bothers to venture up our lane.
So we got cheap concrete from our neighbours, Karl and the others put the base down and the stable sprites have been erecting the building while we are out at work. Never having seen the magical pixies that are busily constructing the wooden wonder we always got excited at home time wondering what they had been up to while we were away. Sometimes it looked like not much had been going on and we were disappointed, perhaps they had just dropped new piles of wood in the lane, and other times we were delighted to find they had been very busy little sprites and walls were up or roof joists were assembled and fitted. They are a month behind schedule though but you cant tell them off lest they disappear for good!
Now as I had been project managing the kennels, goat houses and retaining wall these busy sprites had been working around the over order of timber, bags of sand and 160 extra concrete blocks. I knew they would have to be moved, mainly because if we wanted to use the stables the blocks blocked one of the door ways. Now William is an agile beast but even he has his limitations. So the extra building materials must be moved, but I kept putting it off. It was going to be a hard job!
We accidentally met the chief sprite in the lane after a busy days toil, bad news he said, as he leaned out of his big white chariot, what I cried, thinking oh no has the bank returned the cheque, have the planning people been around.
No worse than that, it was the day, the day that the sprite decided the blocks must be moved.
By us, not by magic.
I only have one functioning arm so using a wheelbarrow is a hell of a challenge but I gave it a go for amusements sake if nothing else, carefully placing four of the concrete blocks in the barrow I attempted to lift it. Not a good idea as I felt the metal work in my left arm twang. So I took two out and cautiously tried again, success and soon the two blocks were transported across the yard and lined up along the fence. Tracey came to help after cleaning out the kennel block and after an hour and a half of toil we had moved forty blocks. I could not remember why I had ordered so many of the biggest, heaviest concrete blocks on the market. Our backs were breaking and we needed help.
I gave the secret call.
The team assembled, Ben (our son) Tom (Beth's boyfriend) Tracey provided the muscle and Beth provided the coffee while I provided much needed moral support as they set about the task. Within an hour they had moved the 120 blocks and stacked them so they looked like a concrete homage to the Terra Cotta warriors, twenty concrete statues now guard the lane and entrance to the Kennels.
Thank you team.
And as for no one ever coming up our lane, well a large green four by four nudged its way through the throng of dogs and poultry that gathered round to welcome it. I eyed it with suspicion.
A man got out and looked at the building site and then me. I looked at the blocks, the wood, the concrete and the extra bit and then at him. He introduced himself, our local councillor.
Will we vote for him in the local elections.