9 November 2009
pavior saviour 1
The path at the rear of the garden has been in a state for years. Loosely laid twenty years ago it had become increasingly crazy paving as the cellar rubble beneath had settled and the trees have grown undermining roots. Some minor repairs had been carried out last year on the worst trip hazards but it has only been luck that teeth and hips have not been broken here. For wheelchair users it has been a bone-rattling roller coaster route so replacement has been long overdue and with the funding in the bank there was no more putting it off.
First the existing path was ripped up. Part of me likes this bit, the rest becomes increasingly anxious as the scale of destruction is revealed (i have in the past few years 'destroyed' the garden piece by piece - there is always the worry that it won't go back together - of course this doesn't stop me). All the old slabs will be reused for something interesting, in the meantime they are stacked outside the office. At this point it was suggested we could dig out the dead willow tree by hand - the trunk is three feet thick (as i must be) - after half a day it became glaringly apparent we could not. I am re-committed to not being led astray by the bright ideas of others.
Of course there is flexibility to any plan, what looks right on paper can actually be so wrong, so a general outline that can be adapted is needed. The initial design had the path ending at the wildlife pond at the back of the garden. When marked out on the ground this revealed a rather unnerving finish teetering on the pond edge so with a paint spray, a piece of string and a cane an alternate design was walked out. There is a lot to be said for working it out this way.
The new layout would connect two circular paved areas with straight sections of path. Easily marked out, less easily dug. To ensure that the new paving will last we put extra effort in to preparing suitable foundations. An incredible amount of material was dug out as the whole area was excavated down to a foot depth - or to the 'carpark' level (the car park the site once was remains just beneath). Thanks to Doug, Graham, Ollie, Garrad and Peter for just keeping at it till done.