The next pressing external jobs were to:
1. Prepare the base for the greenhouse
2. Fix the leaky garage roof
3. Mow the field/lawn
The greenhouse we had decided upon was a Rhino from Greenhouses Direct, a make we had long coveted. In the run up to moving, we had discussed the need for a bigger greenhouse than the 8x6 flimsy aluminium one at our old house.
Budgetary constraints meant that we decided upon an aluminium finish 8x12 or, at a push an 8 foot x 14 foot. Clearly it is unwise to order such capital items without seeing them, so we jetted off one Sunday afternoon to take a look at the display centre.
Even more clearly, it is unwise to go to display centres as we came away having ordered a 8x20 in the powder coated green finish, hence blowing the previously allocated budget by a factor of about 2. Never mind.
The immediate result of this was the need to remove 160 square feet of turf (and a bit more round the outside) to prepare for the new greenhouse, although the advantage of a Rhino is that it can be assembled directly upon solid ground, so there is no need for (much) concrete. Removing that with a spade is a guaranteed way of wrecking both elbows and backs, so we needed a solution.
Next door's bungalow is in course of construction, and the builders put us in touch with a local tool hire shop. They have a turf stripper. Turf strippers are great! Why have I never used one of these before?
Having hired it for the weekend, by the time we'd had it home for 2 hours, the turf on the greenhouse base was already cut,and being carted off. In order to make the most of our 'investment' it would be rude not to keep going, so by the end of the day, not only had we a cleared greenhouse base, but also an area clear of turf ready for the first veggie patch of the new garden.
By the end of the weekend the turf was carted off (albeit the workforce were not entirely keen).....
and the father-in-law's rotavator was going full tilt (I know that those of a truly organic persuasion would be turning in their potato trenches but time was of the essence).
With the weather still being cold, but dry, the next job was to get up on the garage roof to fix the leaky seams. I think we've already mentioned that the wind whistles through here compared to your average housing estate, but even that does not describe just what a brisk easterly is like in early April. When you're up on a metal garage roof it is impossible to describe without expletives. The job itself was split into 10 minute stints, each punctuated with a cup of coffee, but was accomplished still smiling.
.....and of course, the next time it rained, it still leaked!