Thursday, February 23, 2017

Chalk & Cheese. The trials of a woodland hobbit.

Braap braap.

The last few weekends have proven to be quite diverse, and occasionally challenging.
One weekend was so vile that I opted to stay at home and get stuck into the construction of the compost toilet just so that I could escape the horizontal sleet and snow occasionally. I spent both days alternating between bouts of potential hypothermia and hiding out in the kitchen brewing coffee and simultaneously de-frosting my lifeless fingers.
I did eventually pop down to the wood for an hour or so when a glorious break in the weather materialised late in the day. I wandered around daydreaming and had a little session of bramble pulling (it's very therapeutic).
Amid all this darkness the Bluebells have begun to arrive.
I spotted one sprouting through the leaf mould whilst clearing an area of brambles (I currently do a lot of bramble clearance) and once I had my eye in, as it were, I began spotting them everywhere. I'm pleased to report that the springtime display should be wildly profuse, they are in every nook & cranny it seems. It's dead exciting (for me at least).
The Bluebells are beginning to make their presence felt on the ground.

Friday, February 3, 2017

A bridge over (un)troubled waters.



I've been building a few bridges lately (actual as opposed to metaphorical).
When I announced that I had bought the wood quite a few friends offered to come down and help out. Unfortunately the January weather seems to have put them off, I'm sure come the spring they'll be beating a path. I won't hold it against them, I have questioned my own sanity on more than one occasion recently. My parents have been regular visitors and have helped me out a lot. My old mucker and mountainbiking wingman Mitch Bryan called in to assist me in between his rigorous Strathpuffer training sessions and has promised further labour in the near future when his off-shifts coincide with mine. And my good friend Phil Evans (he of Yak Attack fame - the race organiser/director no less) lent me his considerable construction knowledge for the bridges. We spent the best part of a cold Sunday digging, sawing, and hammering to our hearts content. Phil has also pledged further assistance and I will happily take him up on it; particularly when it comes to laying a base for the shed and then constructing said shelter. I, in return, provided fresh coffee and Chocolate Hobnobs, a fair exchange if ever there was one.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Weekend (woodland) Warrior.

Bluebell Wood. 

After the agonising four week wait for the completion of the legal process for purchasing the wood I have now been able to get down there and get stuck in.
I managed a few days immediately after the completion date before I had to pack my bags and head to the big smoke for work (London. Noisy place).
I have been down and done a lot of work during the last two weekends. It's hard graft at the minute but it's a very rewarding process.
I'm slowly getting a feel for the place and finding my bearings.
The wood is triangular in shape with a 350m road frontage (not too noisy except for commuters using it as a rat run during rush hour) and about 150m at its widest point. It slopes gently upwards, in an east to west direction, from the pointy end to the wide part; and has a lovely little brook meandering throughout its length. The westerly end on the road side of the brook has a steeper gradient. The perfect spot, it seems, for rope swings (Unfortunately I've had to remove them for insurance purposes).

A crappy screenshot from Google maps but you get the general idea. 
Rather fortuitously the quiet corner furthest from the road is relatively flat and is the perfect spot for my HQ. This is where I'm currently focusing my time. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

If you go down to the woods today...


...you might find me there.
I got confirmation from the solicitors today that everything has gone through smoothly and I'm now officially the owner of almost 6.5 acres of mature woodland.
It hasn't been an entirely smooth passage however.
Unfortunately my mate Dave couldn't raise the necessary capital to fund his half of the purchase and so I had to make a decision; let it go or go for it. I went for it.
For the first time in many years I've had to borrow some money, but sometimes in life you have to take a risk.
I'm finding the whole thing both exciting and slightly scary in equal measure. One thing is certain though, no matter what happens now, I am going to gain a great deal of pleasure from the whole adventure.