Its true to say there’s a lot for us to do here. In the grand scheme of things we don’t have a lot of land but the bit we have needs some work. Its horribly overgrown, there are rocks as big as your head and  the ditches need digging. So we’ve always planned to get straight at it when the weather turns. And turn it did for a couple of glorious days. There’s nothing like a good bit of sunshine and warm weather to get you motivated, the blissful feeling of stripping down to just 2 pairs of socks is a liberating thing.

But where to start? Countless times we’ve walked the land and drawn it out. Making lists of things to do both wishful and practical but its all a bit daunting. We are overawed with the magnitude of it at times. If we had pots of cash or a shed full of equipment it might be different but we doubt it. So on these couple of beautiful days we decided to attack something achievable that wasn’t entirely practical but would at least give us a starting place. The overgrown bank right outside our front room window. Everyday we look out to the Calf of Eday and the Redhead cliffs and its a breathtaking view except for this rag tag overgrown bank. Its an eyesore and a constant reminder that we haven’t been able to get started, so get started we did.

Armed with our trusty scythe (available in all good stores) we set to it. What about a strimmer we hear you cry, oh no that’s not for us, where’s the back breaking effort in that? In fact where’s our petrol strimmer? Laying forlornly in the shed refusing to start that’s where! We didn’t expect to be breaking it out for a couple of months and its on the to do list so it was strictly a case of hand held weapons for this particular foray. Of course we had the ever present army of helpers in the chickens who can’t resist scratching around in front of any bladed or heavy implement. Obviously in a chickens mind an unearthed worm or bug is worth the risk of certain death.

Anyhow, we persevered, dodging rocks and chickens alike with the scythe and slowly making progress. As the mound of dead grass steadily grew it dawned on us that we do not in fact own the most essential of groundskeeping devices. A wheelbarrow. Great, a four foot high pile of grass to move with a chicken apparently nesting on top of it. Scooping massive armfuls of the stuff we dutifully trotted round to the chicken shed to deposit it for future use. And all the time it got hotter, we were starting to entertain fantasies of scantily clad ladies frolicking with a beach ball by an azure pool for the next few months, well one of us was. The other was busy providing the stern look that says get on with it you daydreaming dolt.

The weather held for two days and with our little bit of gardening done reaffirmed our belief that we live in the most beautiful part of the world, privileged to be able to spend time like this together on our little adventure in wonderful Orkney.

After

Before