Sunday, 7 April 2013

enjoy the journey.....

When we embarked on this project, Pauline told us to enjoy the journey and not just the final destination.

This cold winter along with its dessicating, icy winds and the daily slog of building the house has made the enjoyment of the journey difficult at times. Yesterday was different.

Inside Waxwings, the floor screed is complete. We have become used to walking first on the concrete raft foundation, then on the 250mm polystyrene insulation, then more recently and gingerly on the underfloor heating pipes. With the screed down, we are suddenly that much closer to the ceiling! And therefore to finishing...

And we began to insulate (or 'lag') the water pipes. 100+metres of hot and cold water pipes need a foam sleeve: let the lagathon begin! I'm not sure why all the pipes need lagging within such a well insulated house, but hey ho, there's much I haven't understood during the journey. We sat through another meeting with our builders and architect on Friday. It was like sitting for two hours in a foreign language environment.

Yesterday afternoon, I gave myself permission to work in the garden. The temperature was 8 degrees C but it felt so much warmer. A steady flow of Fieldfares (Scandinavian thrushes) flew north east and homeward during the day, a sure sign that winter is on its way out. And on the fields, the wistful call of skittish, beautiful Golden Plovers.

So, the chance to fork through soil and add more soil to the newest area we are developing which is the garden outside the utility room and kitchen patio doors. Here, we are trialling 'prairie planting' as pioneered by Piet Oudolph.

And this 'enjoying the journey' thing of Paulines came to mind. In 2011 we'd visited the RHS Gardens at Wisley and been completely taken by the phlomis russeliana (Turkish sage) in their prairie garden. With leathery leaves and architectural spires of flower stems, their appearance is quite distinctive. After the yellow flowers have finished, the spires remain like wooden sculptures: imagine the way that frost will play on them.... It is a Mediterranean plant that will withstand dry conditions and should thrive in our sandy soil. As a result of this encounter we'd received phlomis seed as part of the RHS seed scheme, sown it and planted out the seedlings. Yesterday, the seedlings were strong young plants and they were moved to the new beds we're creating.

The discovery of this plant, our enjoyment of Wisley, the thrill of growing and now planting them are in some way emblematic of the journey we've been on.

Yes Mrs Smith, there have been many highlights along this journey. And we have enjoyed them.

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