Although I have come to hate it with a passion there’s absolutely no denying that ivy is great for relieving stress. Not content with working on my own garden I agreed to help a friend out on his allotment today – and it’s nice to finally be physically able to return some of the help he and others have given me over the years when I’ve been incapable.
When taking on his allotment he inherited a plot where successive owners seem to have ignored a continuing problem with this weed of a plant and instead covered it with layer upon layer of black plastic and nylon sacking.
Someone did the same on my garden’s borders and so far I’ve not pulled this horrible (and rotten) stuff up to see the full horror of what lies beneath. If today is anything to go by it won’t be pretty…
In response to its treatment on the allotment the ivy went underground, growing even stronger and even more sinewy. It continued (now hidden from view) to migrate further along the ground, working its way through the black sacking and then under and through everything else.
The stuff is like a virus.
Although we had already cleared a small spot in this picture there was clearly a LOT of work to do along the fence line – which was where it was all coming from.
I have to say I’m rather jealous of the ease that things can be disposed of on this particular allotment plot. In my case ripping all this down would then result in lots of chopping and stuffing a recycle bin or bags for the tip.
Before starting at the allotment I took another 6 of my own sacks to my local one this morning – bringing the total number of them (stuffed full of garden waste) I’ve now shifted to a rather mind boggling 75 sacks…
Each of these theoretically contains 95 litres – so if I had around 75 in each then that means 5625 litres of rubbish has so far been pruned or pulled out of my garden (and thats not counting the huge green bins)
Also – to fit the bush branches I’ve lopped into these has taken a LOT of pruning. The pile I created from the remaining section where the blackbird was nesting took somewhere in the region of 15 (approx) bags. I also started counting last night (during this seemingly endless and mundane task) how many cuts I have to make to the average (rather large) branch in order to fit it into my wheelbarrow before I start putting it into bags.
I lost count after 100… It’s a LOT.
Basically it takes tons of chopping. For the last two days alone I’ve done nothing for around 3.5 hours but a continuous chopping motion. However – without a chipper I don’t see any alternative. It all has to be moved somehow.
On the bright side it’s been absolutely stunning for exercise. So much so that today we were happily pruning away for a 3-4 hours before I excused myself to go and get some lunch at around 2pm.
It’s always nice doing things together though. As my friend said today you get more than twice as much done with two of you working in tandem. It’s the ability to share the load, have a natter and a laugh in the process that makes the difference – and boy did we clear the end of his plot.
As always this kind of wholesale removal of ivy uncovers lots of creepy crawlies – and a young robin was following us around all day. It was quietly watching what we were doing and then hopping in when food was available.
This little fellow was such a feature of the day, and so comfortable with our company that at times it seemed like he was posing for photos – and as you might imagine I’m not really one to complain!
When we’d had enough we sat back (me in my newly purchased £4 folding camping chair from the recycle centre that would never have fit my ass six months ago) and looked at our handiwork.
Although there was still a lot t do it looked much better than when we’d started!
At this point I took a selfie – not realising that half a tree full of bits appears to be stuck to my head – but hey ho!
I can’t help noticing that I look a little tanned at the moment – and I’m just loving how capable I feel. It was a big thing for me a year ago to feel like I could walk anywhere and move through the world unaided.
I feel like I’ve cracked that now.
However what I hadn’t really thought too much about until fairly recently was what I could do from a hard work perspective in the world.
I don’t mean drilling holes in the road or working on building sites (although you never know) – I mean that I always thought that I hated this kind of thing. I’ve said over and over that I didn’t like gardening and I didn’t like DIY.
What I really meant though was that I didn’t like the way they made me feel both physically and emotionally.
Nowadays they seem to be having absolutely the opposite effect – and I’m genuinely enjoying the hard work that they represent. Sitting back on that chair looking at the blank fence panels felt awesome. Helping my friend felt awesome. The coffee tasted sweeter, the air smelled fresher – and it made me happy to be there.
Later in the evening another friend happened to send me a picture taken in 2012 of me holding her then newborn baby.
It reminded me that when I held her son in my arms I couldn’t sit properly on her very large leather sofa.
I couldn’t rest him on my lap because at the time I didn’t have one.
I couldn’t turn around to put him down.
I couldn’t lean forward with him.
I couldn’t stand up from the sofa and hold him while I did so.
I couldn’t do anything but have the baby handed to me and then after a while hand him back.
Things are very different now internet – and if ivy continues to make new Davey possible then I accept it’s challenge. I’ll pull it and dig at it and tear at it for as long as it takes. This is not only so that I can continue to feel the way I do now – but eventually so that when I hit my target I’ll look back on this moment with a wry smile and think about what I did to get there and what I learned about myself along the way.