So, this is the Carpenters world. A rare treat for those who claim to understand this dark art.
The seasons ultimately determine how plants behave at certain times of the year. The function of any glass house is to create an artificial environment; an environment where the seasons may be emulated to a degree.
A glimpse around the vegetable patches provides useful insight for the coming winter menu.
Watching with excitement as the lower sash windows are trial fitted and fettled before their final glazing process, we proudly admire the standard of craftsmanship and discipline emerging from the Carpenters Workshop.
With rain water issues resolved, we are ready to put a little more icing on the cake. Some of these flagstones weigh over 150 kgs each.
It must be every young boys dream to live in a house which has real tunnels; ones that you can sneak along, popping up in other parts of the house from time to time. If you are one of those who believes that boys never actually grow up, we can provide all the proof you need.
It was quite apparent, from the evidence which we uncovered whilst redistributing the top soil, that this land drain was once a main artery of the hydraulic system. We had anticipated the need to devise a practical method for channelling rain water from the roofs and paved terraces above, into the Dipping Pond. The integrity of the old land drain was more than sufficient to allow us to repair and reuse it.
A garden which is situated on a slope has an obvious tendency to slide down hill. The rate of movement is determined by the steepness of the slope and the type of sub terrain. If you happen to have a wall at the bottom of your garden it's only a matter of time before it becomes an issue. In this case it's about every 200 years or so.
The solution is simply to collect the soil from the bottom of the bank and put it back at the top. This process brings an extra dimension to the meaning of the term 'top soil'.
As ever, digging turns swiftly into formal archeology as we uncover an old land drain.
Excitement grows as the first melons show signs of being nearly ready to remove from their hammocks.
The carpenters workshop has been franticly preparing the new timber structure for the roof of the Fig House. Finally the time has come to start putting some of the pieces in place.
"Parma ham" comes to mind; soft fruit too. The first melons are showing healthy signs and elaborate 'hammocks' are devised to support them individually as they mature.
We had been aware, for some time, of a large water tank which resided under the terrace below the Melon House. Evidence of the old conduits provided a suitable plan for the new hydraulic system. Rain water from the roof is captured by gutters on both sides of the Melon House and collected in the underground tank. All we have to do is turn on the tap and, "Eureka", we have an abundant supply of pure rain water.
Summer again.. .
Simon and Digger play hide and seek.. .
With the weeds, I might add..
Alles in ordnung.
Most of the brick work is now back in place and we are ready to make a start on the new timber structure.
Not only were the walls built on a slope but, in places the bricks followed suit. This meant that some fundamental building practices had to be breached in order to replicate the peculiar original design.
As the bricks are carefully removed and stacked in the usual way, a new vista unfolds from an upstairs window of the cottage. More over, the complete view of the woodland from the porch is almost irresistable. For a second time in recent history the Gardeners Cottage is unvailed and in harmony with its older familiar surroundings.
There were tempting moments when the idea of erasing the Fig House from history, for the sake of the view, was voiced around.
After all, we're only human.
The force of temptation was soon put to good use.
The desire to restore the Fig House in the same spirit as the Melon House, was abundant. This time it carried a more pragmatic quality.
Effort = reward. A simple equation and a good policy for dealing with Edens.
There is speculation amongst those in the know, as to the original primary function of this versatile building but it has become known to us as the 'Fig House' over the years. With the restoration of the Melon House under our belts, we were ready to expand our knowledge and experience once again.
The timber structure had been carefully dismantled and recorded, and the new frame work was progressing well in the carpenters workshop.
The main supporting wall had been badly stressed by the forces of neglect. It had to be completely dismantled before it could be restored.