The English girl who went up a pile of rubbish and came down a patio

Sorry about the long title, but I’ve been dying to write it since I first thought of it. 🙂

I’ve spent the last two days putting what felt at times like a never ending mountain of old turf, stones, soil, stones and rubble into two skips. This is what I started with:


Yesterday was possibly the most unpleasant garden-related day I’ve ever experienced. I was constantly buffeted by winds, rained on, snowed on, hailed on, sleeted on, etc ,etc. There was a teeny tiny bit of sunshine too, but not really enough to count. (Naturally the driest, sunniest part of the day was when I was inside having lunch.) At one point I was hailed on non-stop for about half an hour. Not huge hailstones (we don’t often get really big ones here in the UK), and it wasn’t pummelling me exactly but, combined with gusty winds that refused to let me keep my hood up, it felt like an extremely long time. Example hail:

Prevailing weather conditions

I should also mention that I don’t have a wheelbarrow, so I was carrying all this to the skip in a green plastic tub. Bear in mind I’m not quite 5ft1 and weigh 7.25st (about 101 pounds or 46 kilos according to google) so there is a severe limit to how much I can carry in said tub without causing myself a mischief (4 spade fulls maximum). It’s a shame I don’t have a pedometer. I’m quite interested in how many miles I’ve walked back and forth to the damn skip.  (Anyway – the green tub was fantastic.  It’s one of these. It’s my new best friend. I genuinely couldn’t have managed with out it. They’re described as “the world’s most useful tub” and as far as I’m concerned it’s true.)

At times I could have cried and I was so cold my hands hurt, but I can be very determined when I want to be, so stamina kept me going. This is what I’d achieved by the end of yesterday:


Somehow there was an awful lot of soil. At one point I was actually sieving bits of it out to put back on the garden – this is what the smaller pile at the front is. I’m unsure quite how there was so much soil since I distinctlyremember sieving it off (somewhat anally) last year before I put it on the damn pile in the first place.

At the end of day one I rang the skip hire place and ordered skip two. Skip one wasn’t exactly full but I was worried it would be too heavy to lift because all the turf and soil was sopping wet and therefore heavier. I did fill it up a bit more this morning with lavender bushes I am replacing from the front garden. (It was a ‘hedge’ that separated me from next door, but my neighbours aren’t keen it.) It was very windy again and I found myself occasionally chasing damn lavender branches around the garden. Smelt nice though. 🙂

Skip two arrived at eleven and was promptly filled with the rest of the lavender bushes. After a quick pit stop for lunch it was back to the stone pile which gradually covered the lavender. (Quite handy really – no chance of it blowing out of the skip. 🙂 ) Fortunately the weather was much more pleasant today (I was only snowed on twice) and eventually – just at the point when I was beginning to think it would never happen – I made it to the end of the stones:


(I couldn’t manage not to get a sun-streak on the photo no matter how much I crouched down, but I’ve decided it’s quite fitting since it highlights where the stone pile ended. 🙂 )

I almost danced with joy. Almost. But instead I went to dig up the lavender stumps before all energy left my body. Surprisingly, that didn’t quite finish me off, so I turned my attention to a job that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. When I re-turfed the first bit of lawn last year, there was one small spot I didn’t do very well and it’s got a distinct ‘hollow’ when you walk or try to mow it. It needs to come up be re-levelled and put back.

I tried. Honestly I did, but I made a complete hash of it, which was a bit annoying at the end of an otherwise successful day. The turf was just too damn heavy for poor ickle me to lift and put back without breaking. In the end I just took the whole section up in – it’s not that much – and I’ll re-turf it next month.  (Mr Hedgewizard sir – if you read this – I promise I AM saving and composting that bit since it’s all nice and non-weedy.)

Anyway, the turf disaster finished me off. I ache everywhere now. But it’s a good ache.

 Wow…this is a long post. Thank you and “well done” if you make it this far!


8 Responses to “The English girl who went up a pile of rubbish and came down a patio”

  1. 1 sal March 22, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    oh wow! You have worked so hard! But, buy a wheelbarrow – I got one last year and it is such a good thing to have – makes so many jobs a whole lot easier. BYW I love that photo with the purple beam in it

  2. 2 nezza March 22, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Hey – wow – you were quick!

    My neighbour had the same thought as you and offered to loan me his wheelbarrow. I certainly would have been able to manouvre (sp?) more stuff at once but the problem is I’d then never managed to tip the thing over the edge and into the skip. It’s never simple is it?! Still… I must be a bit fitter than I was this morning. 🙂

    I used to have a wheelbarrow, but some nice person stole it out of the garden – a time when the fence was only a five footer and my old shed was too small to house it. Grrr!

    That purple streak is like a symbolic shaft of light from the heavens isn’t it? LOL

  3. 3 hedgewizard March 23, 2008 at 8:38 am

    The Hedgewizard is always listening. ALWAYS LISTENING.

    Well done, and wishing you no joint or tendon pains in the coming days – I completely overdid things when I landscaped our place and did some tendon damage that I expect will plague me in my old age… I look forward to the photos as the place matures!

  4. 4 flymind March 24, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Thanks for the “well done,” although it was interesting enough that I didn’t mind reading for hours and hours. 😉 The patio is beautiful.

  5. 5 vonne March 24, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Wow! Job well done, indeed! I’m 2 inches taller than you and about 10 lbs heavier, so I feel your pain, my friend. 🙂
    Hubs is always reminding me that I’m not 10ft. tall and bullet proof. haha

  6. 6 nezza March 26, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    I rolled out of bed on Sunday (getting out any other way was impossible) but the aches had subsided by the end of the day. 🙂

  7. 7 uphilldowndale March 28, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Awe and wonder, I would never have shifted that on my own, with or without a wheelbarrow!

  8. 8 Katie April 4, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    I’m super-impressed with your efforts. It looks great, too.

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