Extreme DIY

Day one of the ‘Big Easter Weekend DIY Fest’ got underway yesterday. Most of the day was spent on my knees cleaning out the moss and stones from the cobbles ready for flooding them with cement.

Now, hold on a minute. Before you start screeching “Whaaaat, covering cobbles with cement, you heathen!”  Lets understand each other. These particular cobbles, or more accurately, stones, are an accident waiting to happen.

They are on the downhill slope between the stables and the outside loo and are at all heights and angles and how no-one has broken an ankle on them before now is a mystery to me. When they’re wet they get very slippery and I for one will be glad, and just a little a bit sad since they’ve been there since 1850, to see the back of them.

Admittedly cement isn’t the prettiest material to use but the idea was that the top of the tops would just poke through and it would retain some of it’s rustic charm. The other thing we thought was that when we do put the house back on the market, horse owners would find it a lot easier for getting their equine buddies up to the bridleway if they had a smoothish path to walk up.

Y’see, there is method to my madness. Forward thinking.

Anyway. The method for applying said cement, as described by Don the farmer up the lane: “Nah sithee, mek it reight sloppy and flood it, poo-er id all oo’er an brush i din wi’ a broom an it’ll be reight.”

Relaying this instructions to Boofuls I could see that he wasn’t seeing it as a viable plan, “Poo-er id in…. er… I mean, pour it in? Really sloppy? Are you sure?  Should we not trowel it in.?”

“Nope. It’ll take forever, Let’s just try it his way.”

Boofuls mixed it all up, kept adding water and looking at me worriedly.

“Go on, more water, we want soup not mash.”

Eventually the first batch was ready and out from the cement mixer poured a thick, porridgey, gloopy mess. “Now, Boofuls, when I said we wanted ‘soup’ I really meant consomme not clam chowder.”

We used brooms to sweep it all , as well as we could since it really was thicker than we thought,  into the crevices and holes. We could see that the plan had potential but as for the tops of the stones popping through well, nah. They were buried as soon as we started to sweep. Maybe we should just pour it in and let it settle.

The trouble is that once cement’s on, well, it’s on. You can’t really take it off and start again. We should have the technique right by the time we get to the bottom of the  20 yards stretch to be covered (hopes).

We (Boofuls) mixed up another  batch,  adding loads more water to it. This time the mixer dispatched a lovely thin liquid that poured exactly where we wanted it to and swept out beautifully. I think this might just work!

What a shame that we ran out of sand and cement at that point. I was secretly pleased though as I ached in places that I didn’t know could ache. This morning I’m walking round with a very unusual gait, a bit like a cowboy with a dowager hump. Standing upright is more than a bit tricky, my back and thighs are killing me. I’m not used to this bending down lark.

We’re in for more of the same today, if the rain stays away.

The plan was to get to B & Q by 8.00 am for more sand and cement but it’s 8.15 now and Boofuls hasn’t surfaced yet.

As well as doing the cementing he spent most of yesterday strimming,  mowing, working on the new workshop door he’s building, fixing and generally being a very busy bee.

I think I might let him lie in a bit longer, eh?


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