You’re a devil for work

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When I think about myself I often think I’m a bit lazy. I’m lousy at practicing things (I’ve fallen off the guitar practicing wagon, but have plans to get back on it when my 3 day stint of garden madness is over), I am terrible at studying, the house isn’t finished but clearly it could be, and I struggle to get going in the morning, favouring the dopamine-rush of internet dinking over real, actual work.

But yesterday, I was told by someone who barely knows me that I’m a devil for work. And perhaps, sometimes, I can be.

Despite the fact that I sat and watched two episodes of Marvel Agents of Shield* while I waited for the soil to be delivered (although I later worked out that I could have been outside doing ‘stuff’ because our portable door-bell does work outside) when it did arrive I truly slogged my guts out to get it round to the back of the house.

Getting it off the lorry turned out to be entertaining. Unlike our gravel which was delivered on a lorry with a HiAb, the soil came on a disintegrating pallet and the guy just had a little pallet truck. Having twirled the truck so that he could roll the soil downhill rather than up hill to get it out of the truck he attempted to manoeuvre it onto the tail lift; in the process of doing this it ended up tipping and he ended up clinging to the truck and leaning back with the pallet dangling off the edge and attempting to tip and dump the soil into the middle of the road. I ended up clinging onto it as well, dangling backwards hung on a strap at the same time as lowering the taillift myself. Having got it down we couldn’t get it up onto the pavement, so it sat in the street behind Rebecca Mog.

It’s about 800kg of soil (around 1760lb), which somewhere around the 10th wheelbarrow load I lost track of the number of trips it was taking. What made it more fun** is that the front of our house is about 1.5 m higher than the back, which you may think means ‘oh, Kate just rolled the barrow down hill, that’s easy’, but no. See, the path to the back of our house drops down somewhere in the region of 2.5-3m, so what I actually did was load up each barrow load, walk them down the row of houses, along the unmade track, down the dirty great dip in the unmade track, then back up hill, then up the ramp I’d built, up the garden, and then off load it.

It was demonstrated to me during this process how lovely our neighbours are. Two of them came out to apologise for not having a barrow to help, and offering to help just generally (including carrying buckets of soil through the house). One of those neighbours returned as I prepped the last load. I’d filled the barrow and decided that, as it was both dark and raining, I would stop and just drag the bag (which contains probably around a load-and-a-half more soil) into the front garden. As I returned from dragging the bag in, our lovely neighbour reappeared, and refused to let me wheel that last barrow around. He took it round for me, along with the disintegrating pallet, and helped me get that last load into the garden.

Of course, today I’ve got the 2 tonnes of gravel to take around. But that, the plan is to lay path matting and then take it around as I do each section. And I should get on with that because it is apparently going to rain lots later.

* I’m still not wholly convinced by this show. I think I more want to like it than I actually do like it. I think the problem is, when you’ve got Firefly and Dollhouse, well… maybe I was expecting too much.
** That may not be the right word.


Kate is lord and mistress of all she surveys at