The Long Bank
The bank is 75 paces long (about 60 metres) and I guess it averages 4 metres wide, and slopes down steeply to the grass verge and road. It is well stocked with a variety of shrubs and perennials. I remember with joy how beautiful it looked last summer when it was in full bloom.
It was daunting to see how wild it had become with the buttercups, nettles, grass and ground elder taking over in the months it had not been tended. On top of that all the autumn debris needs to be cleared.
Still, they say every journey starts with a single step. I had about 3 weeks when we first moved up when the weather was kind and I set about the task, starting from the bottom of the drive where the slope was more managable.
It was at this point I discovered the stones...and rocks...
I started to accumulate cairns on the verge. I struggled and fought to remove the rocks. I filled sack after sack with buttercups. I began to hate the sight of buttercups - my fingers were numb from groping their roots from the cold mud and tiny stones that they entwined themselves around. My finger nails were ripped off. My hands were filthy, scratched and stung - no matter how much I washed them my fingers still retained that dirt-encrusted look.
I resumed in March, setting myself the end of May as my target date. As the ground had dried out it has become easier to clear the ground. It is strangely satisfying digging out a big clump and shaking the hell out of it to separate the weeds from the soil.
I am measuring my progress by how many paces are still to be cleared. For every few feet cleared I have to spend another day or two re-weeding what has gone before, and if I am very lucky I may actually get to spend another day planting or sowing seeds in one of my new beds.
I am well on track - 9 paces to go... But I may become a wimp - the nettles and brambles have moved in.