Happy Birthday Elmo

A grand success of a birthday weekend.

Elmo and his brithday cake

Cute, sweet, beautiful Elmo turned 51 in style with a polka-dot birthday cake and surrounded by load of friends. The weather was stunning, beautifully sunny but, for the most part, not too hot for working.

foundation stones being finished

Alec headed up the team finishing the foundations for the outdoor kitchen, ably aided by Christopher and Daisy. I’d been procrastinating about finishing that for ages; you can’t imagine how happy I was to watch other people do it so well.

the floor

In the end, we got all the paving slabs laid, and I’m now working on finishing the scraping away underneath them to make them stable. I want to plant stuff between them, so I haven’t used mortar or sand or anything.

de-nailing boards

Debbie did quite a lot of cutting up the remainder of the oak offcuts from the neighbours’ garden trimming session a couple of months ago. Good to get that done, finally. Meanwhile, everyone had a go at de-nailing the reclaimed wood for the frame of the outdoor kitchen.

a particularly reticent nail

Occasionally there was a nail so reluctant, a team effort was required.

sawing boards

Anna re-drew the building plan and made a cutting list, and then oversaw the cutting of the pieces for each wall. Mainly she used the power saw, but in cases where we were not totally sure of the absence of nails, it was safer to use the bow saw.

hay fever

Unfortunately she had a cold, so was constantly blowing her nose, which made sawing difficult.

Anna on her pile of wood

But triumph was hers in the end and the pieces are all cut.

pulling down the ivy

At the other end of the garden, Ryan finally got his way with the wall of ivy, which peeled off in a satisfying sheet (barely visible above)…

burning the ivy

And then burned MOST smokily. But blessedly briefly.


And of course, come Saturday night, we had a mega-feast around the bonfire.

the spread

The sausages and teriyaki beef are now traditional, and I added some veggie chilli, quinoa salad and a goat stew made of some goat brought by Lea.

anna eating steak

People look really funny eating meat off sticks and I can’t help but add a few pictures every time.

simon eating steak

Simon was particularly photogenic.

Lizzy eating sausage

Lizzie was the lucky recipient of the now traditional rude comments about sausage eating.

music session after dinner

It all descended quickly into music and singing after the food was done. Val’s shanties were particularly saucy.

lunch on Sunday

On Sunday we relaxed for lunch on the lawn before people packed up and went back to their humdrum lives. Lets hope they don’t get too bored and depressed before they can come back to the excitement and stimulation of Boggart Hall work weekends!

hanging out

And finally, my two highly-paid models reveling in the glamourous lifestyle of the volunteer. Lets call them the Boggart Hall pinups.

boggart hall pinups

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