As Jean-Jacques was about to start working in Abbeville Peter wanted to get the most out of him whilst he was still available.
For three days the idea was going to be - weather permitting - that he and Sandra would get the lawns mown whilst Peter and I continued working in the garden. That way if there were any snags or decisions to be made, Peter would be on hand to make them. I was not taking responsibility for his beloved garden.
I thought he wanted to continue putting his posts in along the river but in fact he was more pressed to get the borders finished so that he could get the plants in.
The first hurdle came as we started levelling off the seating area. You obviously have to an idea as to where the edges of everything are going so that you can mark them up. In this case the bracketing on the fence that was going around the compost bins did not follow the desired angle. Pad the bracketing or change the line of the border ?
The day had started out damp and in the end although the sun made an effort to come through we all ended up working in the garden all afternoon.
JJ got one of the borders cleared off whilst Peter and I played with angles and posts to get the framework of the new fence into place.
I dug the holes, JJ mixed the concrete and Peter ensured that everything was square to everything else.
The following day Sandra and JJ did head out to work elsewhere whilst Peter and I solved the problem of getting the fence around the bins correctly aligned and the result came up really well.
That done we finished off the remaining borders around the designated seating area and it is all looking pretty good.
Before we could go to Magnicourt this morning JJ had an early morning appointment with the Brew. His brother Johnny had put him in touch with his firm's new call centre at Abbeville and JJ had put in an application for work.
However to be taken on he had to be declared as unemployed - which he wasn't. I assume that the firm gets a credit from the Region for taking somebody of the Brew. That would also explain why a Parisian firm has set up its call centre in Abbeville.
The interview was for a lot longer than we were expecting considering that most answers to - what do you want to do - would be answered by - start with the firm I am about to be employed with.
Got over to Magnicourt in time for a quick coffee before Sandra took JJ off to mow seven lawns.
The next stage for Peter and I was getting the uprights in along the road side hedge ready for the fence up there.
We had to cut back the inside of the hedge and then try and work out a straight line along the wall of the greenhouse and out as far as the steps.
You have to rely on your eyes for all this in rural France. There seems to be nothing that is actually a straight line, everything is at an angle. We ran a string right along and across the river but according to the measurements off the road and the bridge it wasn't correct.
According to us though it was and checking the road and bridge we discovered that they were not parallel in anycase.
The front fence is going to be fixed to 3.4 metre poles which have to be sunk into the bank under the hedge (which will eventually be taken out). The idea is to form a windbreak for the garden. With all the cows in the barn opposite, that is a lot of wind to contain.
We calculated out where the holes would have to be and I set about digging. As the bank is quite steep we decided to spike the base of the posts with rods and one of them had to be spliced with another to bring it up to length.
The tricky part was then standing the post absolutely vertical, in a straight line under the string and the exact distance from the previous post for the arris rail.
Whilst I hung on to the post, constantly checking to make sure it was vertical Peter set about fixing it in one direction with an arris rail and a bracing rail in the other.
After all that we started the second post. By the time we had the third in place the afternoon had gone. The sun had come out and I was fed up with lugging three metre pieces of timber about. Time to tidy up and check out the new seating area.
No great surprise that we had only just sat down (honest guv ! ) when our wandering minstrels passed by on their way to the seventh lawn.
With the sun out it would be fair to say that they had had the harder day. Mind you sitting down and looking across what has been achieved so far it has to be said, it is looking far more like a garden than Dunkswell Abbey (family joke - everybody else can ignore it).