Destinations Magazine

Better Than St. Albans

By Alternativeeden @markngaz

The lure of a day out every Saturday is always there. From Monday to Friday I always look forward to the weekend when we'll get the chance to do lots of gardening (weather permitting). Somehow though when the weekend actually arrives, on Saturday especially, the urge to have a day out somewhere, anywhere is always there. 

Better than St. Albans

Not that I don't want to garden on Saturday mornings, in fact its one of the best times especially if it's bright, sunny, and warm outside. But there also seems to be this subconscious want for a temporary change of scene that tries to pull you away as a part of you also wants to stay put and spend time at home and in the garden. Every weekend, decisions, decisions!

But this weekend, it was neither bright, sunny, nor warm. It was actually cold, with temps hovering just above freezing even during midday and little flecks of snow drizzled intermittently all throughout the weekend, not enough to settle to make the scenery white nor wet (thankfully) but just enough to reiterate that yes, it is still winter after all.

Better than St. Albans

Little granules of ice scattered all over....

It was a cold weekend, what do we do now? Have a day out somewhere of course! We have a strong excuse, it was cold outside and it would be uncomfortable to spend the day gardening. And also I have a long shopping list of things to get for the garden in preparation for spring, so in a way having a day out visiting the shops will also be a way of preparing for the garden. So where can we go that's nearby and have most of the shops I needed to visit? Pretty little city of St. Albans came to mind which is only half an hour's drive from where we live. 

So St. Albans it was but as prepared ourselves to go out for the day, we saw the large pile of trimmings dotted here and there from the view of our kitchen window. Perhaps we ought to take some of them to the tip first? And so we did.

Not just some of them, we ended up doing them all of them! It was nice to see the garden clear again, making space for more spring trimmings in the following weeks to come. And thinking about trimmings, we decided that we ought to tackle that large mass of ivy that had starting to ruin some of the fences and was casting so much shadow in the side passage. So we started to hack it and we got carried away, thinking we might as well finish the job. And so we did. Finally we can see through the trellis again (there's a temporary lack of privacy now but that should fill up in the following months, knowing how vigorous established ivy can be).

Better than St. Albans

Ivy be gone....most of it anyway

Better than St. Albans

We can see through the trellis again!

By the time we finished that of course, it was too late to go out, oops! We might as well carry on being productive, so we bought some wooden posts and ship lap fencing panels and presto, the end screening of the new garden was made by early evening.

Better than St. Albans

This went up much quicker than I thought it would!

Now this one I did not expect at all that we'd do so soon, and so quick! I thought we wouldn't be doing this untill next month or so. But there it is now, all done. This panel demarcates the area of the new garden, giving a visual end to when you look down the narrow garden as you enter it. It also screens the more functional working area beyond it, and the gap will serve as the entrance way to it.

Better than St. Albans

It will be painted white like everything else

So no day out that day, we can go the next day, Sunday instead. 

And Sunday morning, whilst having breakfast we saw how grubby the decking was just outside the kitchen doors leading outside. We might as well give it a preliminary and quick scrub before we go out. And then we remembered we have a jet wash...

Better than St. Albans

An algae and dirt laden deck

A jet wash that we haven't used for years and almost forgot about it until now. And it would be perfect to clean this mucky decking, with the old stain flaking away and algae covering large parts of it.

Better than St. Albans

Layers of dirt removed in seconds

Better than St. Albans

It was brilliant in removing years of dirt from the decking, and so much fun to use, so we jet washed the decking, the brick wall, the windows...

Better than St. Albans

Ta-dah! Ready for restaining once warmer and drier weather returns

As Gaz took over the jet washing halfway through I got a bucket of a soapy water and stiff brush and started to brush the walls of all the raised beds and exterior pond wall in preparation to being painted a final coat of white paint, hopefully soon once the weather warms up...

And time flew by again, too late to go to St. Albans! But not too late for a quick trip to a couple of nearby garden centres to do some shopping and cap off the weekend.

It turned out that the lure of spending time in the garden despite the cold weather was much stronger, and we had so much fun! We managed to accomplish loads, without even planning for it nor expecting to do so. 

As I looked back in the garden and saw the things we have done by not going out I thought to myself, "This is better than St. Albans, much much better!".

Mark :-)

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