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Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow

Sorry, no photos of the garden tonight – it was raining when I got home from work and I was in no mood to stand around getting wet. Besides, there wasn’t a great deal new to see.  I’m impatient to get a better view of what the terraces will look like, and am really keen for the builders to finish off laying the sleepers in the upper terrace. But they have other views on the order things should be done, and have spent the last two days doing necessary but less “showy” stuff.

The foreman, Pete,  told me yesterday that, now they’ve done all the hard work getting the levels of the bottom row of sleepers and the angles of the I-beams right, actually slotting the sleepers in place should be “a piece of cake”. So they are leaving that until later in the week, and concentrating for now on the more challenging task of getting the fencing sorted out for the lower terrace. That’s actually a pretty big job, and there is a lot of preparatory work to do in concreting posts in place, and setting the correct levels and spacings for the wood. They firmly believe in “doing the job properly” and are taking absolutely no short-cuts.  But that does mean two days of marginally-visible progress, compared to the huge leaps and bounds they did last week.

The previous “fence” was hardly worthy of that name, being some wooden batons about 1″ wide by 1/4″ deep, tacked together. The uprights weren’t even concreted in place, just sunk into the path. It was absolutely lethal – there is no way it would have broken my fall if I’d tripped, and I had to be careful not to lean on it when going up or down the slope.  The new fence is based around sturdy uprights, about 3″ square, buried deep into the path and concreted in place. Pete leaned heavily on it this afternoon to show me how strong it was, and it easily took his weight.

I have to say that I am very pleased with the builders, Hollins Landscapes. They came highly recommended by my colleague Adrian, and I can definitely endorse that.  They are a family firm – the foreman and number two are brothers – and don’t have a website, as they get virtually all their work by word-of-mouth with minimal advertising. They really do seem to know what they are doing, and are very thorough. Their mantra seems to be “if in doubt, over-engineer it” and they will not rush the job. I’ve been most impressed with their attention to detail, which you can see in the way that the sleepers all line up horizontally, even though the garden itself isn’t particularly level.

I’m hoping that, once this preparatory work has been done, visible progress will leap forward again by the weekend – when (weather permitting) I’ll post a few more pictures.