A couple of years ago, I was pushing a wheelbarrow of wood up a hill from a woodpile inconveniently located 100 metres away from the beautiful farmhouse we were staying in at the time (which probably qualifies for the longest opening sentence on this blog – but that’s not important right now).

It wasn’t the first wheelbarrow of wood I’d pushed that day, or the last that winter. Wood is heavy, the hill is steep and I was pretty tired.

Coming down the hill was an English guy I know, who chuckled and said: “Good training”.

Training? I thought. I wasn’t training, I was doing. And what kind of thing would that be good training for? Pushing bricks uphill?

That said, we’ve burst into the unlikely sounding year 2011. The rain was good enough to stop, which allowed me to get back into the sand filter and re-start digging out the bottom to the required depth. By hand. Which, you’ll know if you’ve read many of these screens, is the way we do pretty much everything around here. After a few hours’ work, the sand filter looked like this:


And the spoil went down the slippery slope to start forming the edge of what will be a beautiful woodland pond, encouraging wildlife we don’t currently have, and a splattering of aquatic plants. I’m telling you this because, at the moment, it looks a bit rubbish:


I’m also telling you this because the rain has started again and is due to be with us for many days. Which means I have to find jobs that can be done in the wet – strimming, coppicing etc. – one of which is to move a few tons of rubble and spoil from outside our yurt.

It needs to be done and, curiously, is good training for moving the 42 tons and sand and gravel that need to be put into sand filter once it’s empty.

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