Not A Country Cottage Home
0 comment Wednesday, July 16, 2014 |
No secrets here: my house is a disaster area. I've got boxes of soap stacked all over my bedroom to keep them dust-free, my son's room stays clean a total of 24 hours before it looks as if a bomb hit it. With a dog in moult, I hoover round twice to try and clear the dog fur. And both dog and sprog in a muddy environment due to lack of grass means that the carpets and low bits of the walls have seen their fare share. This month, I didn't even try to keep on top of it - too much to do, so maintenance cleaning has been the par for the course.
One of the banes of my existence is "house inspections". It's a wondrously UK invention - the house you rent isn't yours, after all, and it seems the assumption is that all people who rent need to be watched over to be sure they're cleaning regularly and keeping the house in show-home condition. Fat chance of that for me, but the gent who normally did my inspections was a grandfather of three, and he had actually met my son; as long as nothing was broken, he had no issues. He didn't even enter Sprog's room - "he's a boy, isn't he? Well there's no chance that's going to be clean so as long as he hasn't put holes in the walls, fair play, eh?"
He's retired apparently, and the fellow who came in last week was new - in his 20's very professional. I knew this wasn't going to bode well at all. I suppose I'm paying for some karma, here as when I was a single 20-something I sniffed more than once in disdain at the disorder and chaos of a family house with toys everywhere and unweeded flower beds.
But the report I received on Saturday had me seeing red; I was so furious I called and left a scathing voice mail on their answering machine. Not only was there criticism on "not able to see the carpet due to mats on the floor!" in my son's room - and honestly if you saw the carpet it's a relief there's mats on it, he didn't like the leaking faucet (which we've had to have fixed twice, and it's STILL leaking), he didn't like the mud and the dust and the "unwashed windowsills" - come to that, neither do I which is why I purchased a HEPA filter out of pocket. He had all sorts of things to say about the carpet (beige carpet...landscaping works, yeah, you better believe I've got some hefty carpet cleaning my way, but any idiot could have figured that out). In short, the bit I was told about "don't worry about making things showhouse perfect" was not entirely truthful.
But to my complete, total disbelief, he really didn't like the overgrown, weedy, atrocious state of the back garden....
Since the first work commenced, over 20 people have dedicated well over a week's work of removing dead wood and rubbish. They have paved, cut, strimmed, levelled, and fenced. Choking ivy has been completely removed from three trees, all the bramble is now gone, and they're coming back to repair the broken, botched up paving. The same landscaping group is coming back to finish up the job in a few weeks, and with limited funding and a goddamn BUCKET I have been growing the grass to the best of my ability, and also fighting the encroaching weed army which is marching into my garden from next door. I've planted rosebushes out front, planted an elder and hazel tree, brought all the rosebushes which were here when I moved in back into production with pruning and compost, and I'm nursing the lilac back into health, though I may cut offshoots and instate them in the back garden.
But all this hero saw was the overgrown borders near the hedge (a hedge which used to be full of bramble and ivy, thankyouverymuch) - and those borders are quite honestly in a stupid place, plants aren't going to grow in the shadow of a hedge. He tsked at the dandelions growing in the side-space - a space I refuse to spray as I'm still undecided what I'll do with it, and besides I LIKE my dandelions. Apparently he didn't get the memo that we're in the middle of landscaping and the end of his report in huge capital letters was "HOUSE AND GROUNDS NOT BEING LOOKED AFTER AT ALL."
Not only do I now have a level space to put in my son's Wumpy-House, but we're also getting soil delivered to grow some proper grass. Here's the kicker; there's ZERO point to do that when they're coming back to finish the job in a few weeks. I am sacrificing my raised beds this year to get topsoil so I can get the grass back in. I'll still put in some flowerbeds, down by the wall, but that's not being touched yet because the levelling still has to happen, and it probably means ripping up the turf in those areas. I not only no longer have a flipping rubbish tip in the middle of my garden and brambles actually crawling into the overhanging trees above but I've got a productive raised bed full of veg, a patio, dog roses which are going to come into flower this year, and a cherry tree. I have a GARDEN. A actual GARDEN in progress, which is certainly better than what I had before, thankyouverymuch.
The garden - indeed, the whole HOUSE, thanks to me doing paint jobs and getting insulation and mobility aids in - looks nothing like it did when I first got here, and I have many, many people to thank for that. I certainly don't need some nightclub-going pretty-boy with a hint of BNP in his manner coming round to cast judgement upon whether or not my laundry is folded.
Get. Stuffed.
So for this laddie's sake, the ex will be Having a Word tomorrow, because gods help the boy, he doesn't want to hear what I have to say. I loathe these inspections like death anyway - I've got plenty of issues as it is without having to worry about what a stranger thinks about my housekeeping. Gods, I got that enough with the ex! It's put me in a horrible humour all weekend, and I'm still seething.
But I shall breathe in, and breathe out. Things are coming along. I have plants and tools coming tomorrow which will make weeding out those pesky "weeds" easier - not that I'm getting rid of all of those, some of those weeds I saw for sale at the garden centre! Discussions about final landscaping has come to pass and hopefully in a few weeks, shall start to happen - and yay, topsoil! I've got some beds I want to prepare and get some of the more prickly of plants out the way, and then after that, my lovely church volunteer folks will be coming round to finish the paving job.
No, the dandelions won't be completely eradicated - I want a good crop for next year. The borders won't be perfectly manicured and straight edged with lawn scissors - because quite honestly I think that's just fussy. My garden isn't for preening and looking at from a distance, it's for eating icecream in, blowing bubbles in, romping around on, digging in, laughing in, hiding in, and wumping in. And if that means there's some weeds and uneven borders, then fine. I love my overhanging "borrowed" apple tree, and my bluebells, and my lily of the valley, and volunteer tulips. I love my rosebushes which have managed to survive years of neglect, and my volunteer primrose and freesias growing along the side of my house. I love my tiny hazel tree, and my elder and my garden seat out front - which gets a fresh coat of weather sealant every year. I want clemantis growing along my fence, and my son's Wumpy House framed in sumac. I don't want a tended, sterile space, but a wild garden, with rough edges and soft curves.
And if they've got a problem with that, then I'll take it ALL out- the fencing, the paving, the insulation in the loft, the twice-fixed faucet, the showerhead we had to fix the second day we came here, my son's painted room, the HEPA filters...and they can bill me for the rest.