Happily Ever After
Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, memories of a much-missed moggie, three adventurous new cats, a camera, a computer and a garden filled with wildlife
The Parting of the Waters
by admin - 20:51 on 25 January 2012
Country living demands a certain hardiness and self-reliance that doesn't come naturally to someone with my limited manual skills, so today's DIY daring was a triumph.
Asking a farmer to make a repair that doesn't affect his day-to-day labours – such as filling in the tractor-created potholes in the lane beside The Rural Retreat, or clearing the gullies through which recent abundant rain should flow – is almost certainly a waste of time.
But as the bottom of the lane has recently looked more like a river, thanks to an overflowing gully, I decided it was time to do something myself.
The gully in question runs beside the lane, alongside Mr Moneybags' field and past the entrance to our drive where its contents are channelled through an underground pipe before emerging and disappearing again beneath to drive of our absent neighbour. The other side of his drive is where the river began.
After much prodding with sticks (to the bemusement of a cat who wanted a walk in the woods) I was rewarded with a slurping sound and a steady lowering of the pool which was the river's source. Soon the river dried up and the previously arid bed in the lower part of the gully began to fill. Result!
Bess got her walk after all. However, on our return I was tempted to increase the flow with more fancy stick work. The result was a re-blocked gully and much annoyance, so I returned in wellies, armed with various tools, rods and a pair of secateurs to clear the shrubbery around the pond and allow me to see what I was doing.
Chopping, rodding, twisting and prodding proved fruitful; after twenty minutes the water flowed freely through the gully and the river dried up again. This time I left it alone, and several hours later all was still well. Call me Mr Handyman.
Matchgirl will be disappointed, for she's not had such mighty rivers to ford since driving the Land Rover across Namibia, but it does mean that the erosion of the lane's surface might be slowed. I'm sure Mr Farmer will thank me.
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