8 October 2010

I'm Redundant

The Jungle Complete With Banboo

It’s just over three years since I retired and I’ve always had something to do; mess around in my garage/workshop; fix the cars and scooters or do some repair in the house, but if I was ever stuck for something to do to pass the time, I’d get my wellies on, wander down into the jungle and do a bit of slashing and burning.

I did quite a bit down the bottom of the ‘garden’ about 18 months ago but only because that’s the area nearest to our neighbours’ houses and it’s a legal requirement to keep your ground clear. Then I noticed that the brambles were starting to take over between our house and Tan and Angies’ and I began to clear it away, put down a membrane and generally landscape it a bit.  I was just getting to the tough bit where there’s quite a steep slope and it was there that the dreaded Rubus Fruticosis (bramble to you and me) was making a dash for the pool – crawling under the railings and slithering along the poolside making a desperate attempt to presumably get a drink, or even a swim!

This was going to be a tough job. Indeed, it was taking me about an hour to clear maybe one square meter and I was so scratched and knackered after a couple of metres that I’d go and sit on the terrace, have a glass of wine and (a) look at my landscaping work, and (b) look at the other 2,500 square metres I still had to do, so not much was done in the course of a week. It was either too hot, too wet or I was too tired.

And then there’s poor Tan and Angie.  They don’t know it (they will after reading this) but there used to be a path, ok it was quite steep, but there was still a path which led down to the pump room of their pool, but in the mists of time, the Rubus Fruticosis also took over, and Tan and Angie’s only route into the ‘locale technique’ was to climb over the their railings, clamber down some treacherous rocks, fight through a dense screen of thorns and then wonder what they’d gone down to the pump room for anyway!

Cleared (sort-of) with membrane
My problem was – well keeping up with the growth. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and so when I was clearing the ground, every single weed would be removed before the membrane was put down and even right at the bottom of the ‘jungle’ I’d clear it so well, the old Frenchies would stop, stare and scratch their heads at the mad ‘Englishman’ who was trying to make what looked like a bowling green out of a wild hillside.

So it was with interest and a not inconsiderable checking of bank balances when J informed me (sneakily, the day after I left on my UK trip) that she’d gone and hired a local gardener (jardinerie – I think) to tackle the ‘jungle’. My plan had always been to try and get some French community service convicts to do it for me or even start a bit of a fire (with hoses handy I should add), or just get a bulldozer in, but she’s gone and messed up my plans and all because she wants to build a retirement home for me down the hill, and in order for the architect to design, he needs to see the land contours, and in order to do that the surveyor needs access to the land and he won’t venture on to it until it’s cleared and so on and so on!

It's Being Cleared !
Looking at Thierry’s work yesterday, he was doing a fine job and had cleared quite a bit already. There’s parts of my ‘garden’ I have yet to set foot on (after ten years!) but apparently he’s been round the lot and based on his devi (estimate !!!)  for clearing a mixture of tropical wood, dense jungle and easy-peasy bits I’ve already done, he’ll be rolling in my dosh for years to come! 

Just my luck if on the day he finishes it, the town hall declares it ‘green belt’ land!

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