Sunday, 16 February 2020

It didn’t happen today

‘It’ being Kunersdorf. To not many peoples surprise. This is part of the reason: 
Following M. le comte de Foy’s house style, I have opted for terrain ‘one scale down’. Human figure in 1:1 scale . Tree is 1:1.5 scale.


Rouva Nundanket ordered a mature olive tree in the week. I agreed would be ideal for our south facing garden. Recent summers have been very hot and dry and the expectation is that they will continue to get hotter. What could be better for Mediterranean conditions than a Mediterranean tree that is used to parched conditions.

The corollary of hotter drier summers, is warmer wetter winters. So when this tree arrived on Thursday  (let’s call the old girl Olive for convenience), when Olive arrived the ground was sodden and the rain was about to start again. This was the midweek ‘dry spell’ between two storms we’ve been ‘enjoying’ in the UK and northwest Europe. 

The pot that Olive arrived in was a metre wide - her  tree trunk is over half a metre in diameter in parts (sorry Olive your bum DOES look big in that). It took an hour of hacking the (plastic) pot, emptying soil, squeezing and pushing, and lifting* to get Olive through our 83cm wide side gate on her trolley. * inevitably one of the rear wheels went into the drain just inside the gate. We (Mrs N and I) looked at each other several times as if to say why did we do this. But we pushed on through and a couple of  minutes after getting through the gate, Olive’s trolley had reached the end of the concrete paving. Any further and we’d have had an object lesson in why ECW guns rarely moved once in position and the horses had been led away. The ground was too wet (though it did occur to me later we could have used the left over planking from our building work. Never mind the spot where she came to rest would be ideal and Olive would give us some shade on the patio. Mrs N dug the pit whilst I returned to my own labours indoors. Attempts to lift and lever Olive into position were abandoned before we caused ourselves too much damage to our musculature. 

We returned to the task with fresh vigour late this morning  after I’d dropped off the ever-so-slightly younger Ms Nundanket off to her third ballet session of the weekend. My bright idea to lift Olive worked. The only question is whether Olive will get root-rot with the ground as wet as it is.  Phew! We did it though. We saw the job through. We’d constructed the VKT Line. The conditions to be fair were more like Ypres in 1917 than Karelia 20 odd years later. But still a case of ‘sisu’. We’re available for any 1:1 scale earthworks you have in mind.

That still left most of the afternoon after I’d picked up the ever so slightly youngest up, but hay fever (not the onset of a cold as I thought yesterday) made me very sleepy. Hay fever! At this time of year and in this weather! I blame interfering Brussels bureaucrats.

Oh my excuse for the evening? ‘Why didn’t you get on and wargame after your afternoon snooze?’ nobody asked. Well that was because of a delayed anniversary dinner. Can’t beat that for an excuse.

9 comments:

  1. Well done mate! A useful instruction in feasibility. How long to unlimber a gun? One move? If it doesn't rain....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never miss an opportunity to gain some insight. 😁

      Delete
  2. Too bad about the postponement of Kunersdorf but I enjoyed the retelling of your travails, nonetheless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I got in a few rounds on Saturday. Maybe five. As the action was limited to the Mühlberg the turns churned around quite quickly. I also got in more turns this morning following and very early work call.

      Delete
  3. A fine effort, I would say. I enjoyed the ebb and flow of the story very much, but (unless I missed it) there was an element of "with a single bound he was free" about the ending. How did you lift the beggar - I was looking forward to the denouement. You didn't hire a chap with a JCB...?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. You want more? Here goes:

      A JCB was out because I'd have had to pull my side gate and associated fence down. I figured the amount of time we'd spend getting the tree through the gate was worth it for the time it'd take to dismantle the gate and fence and re-erect it (and the ensuing security risk whilst I got around to the task).

      I had the bright idea of using one of the spare fence posts (don't know why I had a spare one) to slot under the top of the trunk and lift it with one of us on each side. This proved impossible to lift from ground level without severe backstrain. So we built up the height by sliding bricks under each side of the post in turn until it was at a sensible height to lift and hey presto it worked! I held Olive in place whilst the Mem shovelled bags of grit and earth around the base.

      Hopefully in years to come this area of SW London will ring to the merrymaking of the olive gatherers at harvest time.

      Delete
  4. Ideal time to put it in the ground and generally your meant to water it in really well! Even the dog didn't want to go out this weekend, hayfever? World gone mad!
    Best Iain

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Iain. Watering it wasn’t an issue this time! The tree is a beaut.
      We’ve got 4 little spindly olive trees in pots, a couple we’ve had for years, so God knows how old Olive is. It was well worth the effort getting it in place.

      Delete