7 October 2018
Welcome to October. We’ve had a lovely week with a couple of simply gorgeous days – Thursday was stunning with warm, bright sunshine and a light breeze – good enough to make you think that perhaps the cold, wet weather will hold off indefinitely. And then Saturday came and it rained all day! Quelle Merde!
Annabelle came for an overnighter on Friday so we finally held the official opening of our latest garden project – #1 Wood End. This is the project Adam and I have been working on for a number of weeks now and it’s finally reached a stage where we can contemplate the grand reveal.
At the top of our garden there is a mound of earth which has been there for years. Presumably it was the excavation of some aspect of the building of our house back in the day. The mound has been colonised by an assortment of shrubs, bushes and small trees over the years and has always been one of Annabelle’s favourite hiding places during games of Hide & Seek.
From the beginning I had planned to build a little playhouse for Annabelle up there but naturally never got round to it. When Adam came back from China we discussed the project with him and set him the design brief and for the last several weeks he and I have been constructing it.
I have to say, his design was considerably more sophisticated than my original ideas and it’s lucky that I never got around to building the tiny little box I had envisaged. In comparison, this place is a palace.
There is a small playhouse with a door and windows with a ladder inside leading up to a mezzanine level with an octagonal window looking out over the garden. The decking is arranged so that the children can do a circuit – up the stairs, across the deck, down the slide and around again stopping, if required, for a quick swing or three. The decking is also sufficiently wide with comfortable seating areas for a grown-up sitting area on a summer’s evening where, as you might imagine, adult beverages can be consumed.
It all sits at the top of the garden immediately adjacent to Ms Playchute’s wooded area, hence the name of #1 Wood End. Not surprisingly, the kids love it and it has been finished off with a number of nice touches – shutters for the windows, carpet up on the mezzanine level and inside it’s been finished with some old elm floorboards that Penny rescued from Byfield 20 odd years ago. Adam sanded these and Pen finished them with some clear varnish and they look fantastic – much too grand for a garden shed! Penny has also painted some of the children’s chairs which she salvaged from her days running the original playgroup in Radway when our boys were small more than 40 years ago, one for each of the three grandchildren.
On Friday, then, when Nick brought Annabelle over for the night we held the Grand Opening complete with ribbon to be ceremoniously released by the two Guests of Honour, Annabelle and Jessica. The paparazzi were out in force and after the grand reveal Bubble and Jessie had great fun both inside and outside of the house. The mezzanine level is, of course, very popular particularly with the octagonal window out of which they can survey the garden and everyone in the vicinity. Then, there are the windows with their bright green shutters to look out and finally the activity circuit – down the slide, across the ground for a couple of turns on the swing and finally up the stairs across the deck to the slide again. In short, a great success and I’m sure the girls (and Max when he visits) will have many happy hours hiding from the grownups in #1 Wood End.
Not much else this week. The following was from my New Yorker calendar one day this week. Don’t know why but it certainly made me chuckle.
We’ve got a number of excursions planned for next week and we’re away next weekend. So, it’s likely that there will be no posting of the Picayune next Sunday. Consider that my gift to all of you!
And, finally, before I forget Happy Birthday to my sister Susie and nephew Theo last Friday. Theo is three; I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how old Susie is (but she will always be younger than me)!
Love to you all,