A month enclosed by snow.
A month enclosed by snow, as either end of it we are covered by wintry weather. Water solidifies to icy forms and flat hardened surfaces. There is a soft scrunchiness underfoot as the ground whitens and drifts into unexpected shapes. Trees cast blue light shadows, branches are frost feathered. All of this acts as backdrop to work continuing as and where the conditions allow.
The main bulk of activity is work begun on the Aqueduct and top pond.. Draining the pond down has revealed the cause of ongoing problems with water leaking – as the aqueduct structure itself (as suspected) was slowly subsiding into the silt. The first section where it meets the water was well off level – this has been corrected and a supporting structure put in place. Temporary repairs made up of accumulated packing of sandbags has been removed and everything will now be sealed up with a special thick heavy tacky clay – of the kind used to repair canal banks – so a tried and tested formula and hopefully a permanent solution. At the same time accumulations of silt in the Diana / Artemis pool and Xiape pool further down have been pumped out and repairs made to their overflows so that each of these will run true again.
It has proved a tricky job in the weather but also just as troublesome identifying the problems and setting them right – hopefully we will not have to think about the upkeep of these areas for a good while as they settle back and function as intended.he tops of the wooden stile (An escalation of the footpath) have been sent off to letter carver Caroline Webb to be redone and near completion – it will be good to get these permanently back in place.
The tops of the wooden stile (An escalation of the footpath) have been sent off to letter carver Caroline Webb to be redone and near completion – it will be good to get these permanently back in place.
Repairs need to be made to thebases of the brick gateway pillars in the front garden entrance – A Cottage A Field A Plough – littlesections of the limestone have flaked off but been found and set aside and will be stuck back on.
Elsewhere there is a new scattering of branches and twigs blown or weighted down – another tidy round will be needed in better days.
In the woodland the brick paths which were put in to repair wear of the grass pathways are showing signs of frost damage as their top surfaces break up – but this is not a problem as it just somehow adds to a softer appearance which will quickly weather in.
New wooden foot bridges are being made for the crossings at the top of the garden by the Virgil water source font where the slats were badly rotted through.
Jet washing of the stone and brick paths and patio areas has started and good progress made before snowfall stops any further cleaning. It can be finished in due course but it is good to know at least some areas will be pristine when they reappear.
The little colour and cheer brought by snowdrops and aconites is smothered over as they are concealed again by a snowy blanket – but their brightness will resurface like a hidden promise in the days to come.