|Still a bit rough but it's cleared|
Well, after two weeks of concerted effort by Thierry and his fellow worker, I now have a clear patch of terracing. The jungle has finally gone and I hope to keep on top of it so that I never again have to shell out wads of cash to people who do a job I should have done.
But, I have to say, from up on the terrace, the land looks quite good. It will look even better a few months from now when the grass has started to grow and some of the remaining weeds have died off. The big trick now will be to try and get each terrace into a state where I can use the lawn mower as opposed to the bushcutter – it’s much quicker and gives a more consistent cut and look once you’ve finished.
However, from down on the lane, looking up, the house looks rather stark. It’s been hidden by trees and bushes since it was built four years ago and I now have to devise a landscaping plan which softens the long stretch of pool wall visible to those who walk along Chemin de St Arnoux. Usually in these situations I just plant a few Virginia Creepers and within a couple of years, their lustrous leaves cover even the tallest of walls. It’s just the two or three year gap before you get a covering which is the frustrating bit. Unlike other bushes and plants which you can buy in various sizes , Virginia Creeper comes in small pots and really needs to get established against a wall before it takes off and spreads everywhere. The good thing is that it’s only when I’m down in St Arnoux that I’ll see the wall in questions so I’ll just learn not to look up at it – at least for the next couple of years.
I have to say though that Thierry was a lot quicker than I thought he’d be. A total of about 65 man hours I reckon was spent clearing the land and although I complained to J that that equated to something approaching 40 euros per hour, more than many other professionals earn, he did work like stink! The second way to look at it was that the final charge came out at 1 euro per 1 square metre of land and given that there were mountains of brambles, trees and other nasty thorny stuff to cut and burn, that seems a better and much more financially acceptable way to look at it.
Thierry normally worked from 7.30am in the morning to sometimes 6.30pm at night but he had to go off early last week and have a heart operation only to return on Friday and continue to slash and burn with gusto. I’d hear his machines from up on the terrace (the house terrace not the land terrace) and I’d look down and all I could see was thorns, weeds and bits of tree being thrown into the air as he wandered through the undergrowth, devastating everything in his way. If only the Americans had used him in Vietnam – the country could have been cleared in days without the need for any agent orange!
The only problem he had was listening and understanding. Trees I wanted kept were cut down and trees to be removed are still standing, but hey that’s a small price to pay to be able to see my garden for the first time in ten years!
I can’t wait to get down there with my mower now and really spruce it up.