I'd rather hoped that once the Cottage was sold last August the financial pressure would be off; but there's been one unexpected expense after another since then, and my remaining pot of money has continued to shrink. I hope things are different in 2012!
The latest unplanned mishap that will cost a lot of dosh to fix was waiting for me yesterday morning. We'd had exceptionally strong winds overnight and they blew down a section of my fencing. Here's the damage:
Some of the fence panels and posts (those adjacent to the greenhouse) had been damaged beyond redemption and would certainly have to be replaced. Closer to the house, the fences and posts were still standing but had clearly been shaken about, and would probably go down if we had another wild night this winter. If I decided to have a proper job done, with concrete posts and upgraded panels, I would be looking to replace 18 metres (say 60 feet) of fencing. You can imagine the cost of that. Ouch.
However, first the wooden debris had to be broken up and mostly burned. With the help of my next door neighbour, who had a chain saw, this was accomplished by midday today. Then I set to, clearing the garden edge next to what was left of the fence panels still standing. I put in two hours steady work unaided, and managed to clear several metres:
Although the gardeners among you will pooh-pooh this as a feeble start, believe me, I was impressed with myself. No gardening whatever had been possible for three months after my op in March, as I felt so weak, and I only gradually regained some physical strength and the ability to bend. I'm afraid the garden edges, somewhat neglected since 2009, got overgrown and unruly. In a way, this fence damage has done me a favour: I will at last have to see to all the accumulated lopping and pruning and digging that I've been putting off. And not just on this side of the garden - the other sides as well. And repair the greenhouse. And scrape the moss off my patio. And it must all be finished before the snow arrives.
But all this effort is going to make me fit and burn off some calories! Now that's better news.
And I'm very glad to say that two hours of unaccustomed excercise this afternoon did not leave me with an aching back. It was a surprise, but I survived and I feel greatly encouraged to carry on.
Here I am, late in the afternoon, feeling rather cheerful about how well my lopping and pruning and shovelling were going:
If I lived in a flat (or a houseboat) I wouldn't have a garden and wouldn't have to maintain it. But I think I'd be missing a lot. I aim to get it back to its former glory, which is perfectly possible.
But until the job is fully done, the little squirrel who likes to visit my garden is going to be upset, and I expect to be scolded for messing about in his territory!