So guess what, the houses didn’t get moved *again* which bummed me out for the first 12 hours or so of this weekend, because I am kind of apprehensive about the whole plan (Roll it along on fence posts? No way of getting machinery on site? What could possibly go wrong?) and also because I am just a moody cow and apt to sulk when things don’t go according to plan. I didn’t have a very clear idea in my head what I wanted this massive workforce (12 people for dinner friday night and more on Saturday) to be getting on with if it wasn’t that, and I was feeling a bit fragile and as if I was going to end up squandering the opportunity to power through loads of stuff on account of I hadn’t planned for the forklift not arriving.
Luckily, my friends are awesome and dinner was so lovely and convivial and followed by such a cheerful evening drinking wine round the fire, I was lifted from my grumpitude and managed to enjoy myself.
Saturday was kind of semi-productive, if a little directionless as people made the best of the piss-poor leadership (I may have been more cheerful but I wasn’t any more competent) but the whole thing got a million times better when we decided to go swimming. I’d heard of this place at the top of one of the hills that surround Todmorden, and I vaguely knew where it was. I have been occasionally disappointed with what passes for a swimming experience in England, so I didn’t allow my hopes to get too high, but I was very impressed. I’m not sure of the history of the place (must google it) but I think it was one of the reservoirs for mills in the area, and at some point in the past it was bought by “the people of Todmorden” as a recreation area, so now it’s the local swimming hole. For those willing to climb 20 minutes up a hill to get to it. It was absolutely lovely, really very big, not too crowded, lovely sandy bottom, not slimy or horrible and not a single zombie to drag you under screaming while your friends watch in horror. Think of my delight.
That more or less shot us for usefulness that day, but I made mole for dinner (the chocolate sauce, not the mammal) and everyone just relaxed and sat around and we had another fabulous evening. It felt a bit like a festival site, actually.
Sunday was WAY more productive, as we sort of settled on a project and made quite a lot of progress getting the ivy off the mullioned shed (as we now call it) in preparation for getting it re-roofed. Here’s what it looked like before:
And here’s what it looked like (albeit from a different angle) after we’d hacked a whole lot of ivy down:
There was a wall under there all that time! And luckily it turns out it was not being held up entirely by the ivy, though we did borrow a prop from Barbara to put under the arch, just in case the crumbling sandstone down the left side turned into a pile of dust. Barbara says there’s someone nearby who has a quarry and can cut me some replacement stones.
I’d like to get the rest of the ivy off that bit of shed and get the roof down. It will have to be done bit by bit from the inside, since there’s no way that roof could hold a person anymore, but we can’t just pull it down because the slates seem to be in surprisingly good condition and we hope to re-use them, so it’ll be a matter of slowly and carefully dismantling it from the inside (through the convenient hole in one corner) and just cutting off the generous layer of ivy and nettles as we go.
Naturally, my work ethic being what it is, we did a reasonable amount of cake eating even on the hard working days. I rather outdid myself on baking day and made about 5 kinds of cupcakes, peppermint brownies, lemon poppyseed cake, raspberry and lime cake, banana bread and zucchini bread. I’m afraid there were leftovers. I obviously need to work people harder.
Val, Steven and Lizzy took some time in the evening to work on a tune, which provided the first music we’ve really had on site. I’d really like to have more and I want to get the basic amenities in place asap so that it’s a bit more comfortable. There’s a plan afoot to build a washing station with a decked area over a soakaway so that hand washing, dish washing and showering can all happen in a clean and covenient, covered place, without making a big muddy bog.
Val brought us instructions for making a “tip tap” which she’d done with school children in the context of learning about Africa (where these are making a real difference to children’s health). We made one for hand washing up by the toilet, but I want to use the idea for the shower in the new washing area. I think I can use a watering can, which can be filled with warm water and controlled with a foot lever, using the minimum necessary water. I could really have done with a shower up there after pulling all that ivy dust off the top of the wall.
Actually, I haven’t showered yet…