Fresh Beginnings ( Pt 2 )
Dear Diary...one of my fondest memories of when I was in the Woman's Refuge back in the early 1980s, was when I and some of the other women would sit around in the huge kitchen and discuss one day owning our own house, never believing for one minute that it would actually happen to me. We would describe the way we'd dress our homes, whether we'd have wall paper, or just painted walls, color schemes to match our personality, where we could live in harmony without a man in our lives. It has to be said my thoughts left me on a roller coaster ride of emotions that left me with many dreams, but without much hope of them ever coming to fruition.
Now here I was living out that dream, though not quite the way I'd have wished it to happen. Breaking someone's heart is one of the most traumatic experience and one I promised myself would never happen again. Divorce not only sparks discord, of which I absolutely detest having gone through it once before, but also leaves one with feelings of mixed emotions and guilt. It's so easy to blame the other person, but as they say, it takes two to tango. I just felt we were no longer compatible and wanted my partner to be with someone that would give him real love, which thankfully he found in another lady he met along the way.
On a happier note for myself, because the factory I was working in made parts for Honda cars, we were lucky enough to have two weeks off for shut down during the month of August that I was so looking forward to. I had it all planned out as to what I would spend my holiday doing, even though I still had to get up and do the cleaning jobs, but at least I had the afternoons to myself, plus the bonus of getting a good nights sleep.
My ultimate dream was to have a fishpond where I could sit and relax, a little bit of nature just outside my back door that I'd created. Living in town had it's advantages being close to main shops, but I never saw much nature, not even a bird unless I made a trip down to the canal, which wasn't a place I liked walking on my own, although it was nice and peaceful with a few dog walkers and some fishermen, you also didn't know who might be lurking around the next corner, to be honest I've tried to keep away from isolated spots with the many experiences I've had in my life...you live and learn.
Since working in the factory and not having a social life, I'd lost contact with many of my friends, but also because a lot of them had taken my ex husband's side in our breakup, they'd felt I was in the wrong and had let him down, so much of the time I found myself on my own. It was hard but I learned to cope.
I remember telling Jane in work of my plans to build a pond, she thought I was mad. “Why don't you go away with your son on a holiday?” She said to me. “I would have thought you'd need a rest with all the hours you put in.”
I agreed up to a point, but knew I had to keep the cleaning jobs going as I needed to get the roof fixed before Winter set in. Anyway I had it all planned out and nothing was going to get in the way of my project.
My first exciting job was on the first Saturday of my holiday. I'd worked all Friday night in to Saturday morning, arriving home at 6.30am, but was too hyped up to sleep, so spent the morning eating breakfast in the garden and drawing up a plan and a list for what I would need, what a relaxing way to spend the first part of my holiday while my son slept, it was so quiet that early in the morning with not a soul around.
A trip to the garden center as soon as the shops opened was next on the agenda, it always got me inspired looking at all the wonderful array of plants and having the money to buy them. I wanted to make my garden as colorful as possible with the amount of money I'd put by for plants. Geraniums always do it for me with their bright colors and look fantastic in hanging baskets, so they were my first choice. Then there were dahlias and lilies and some other flowers I can't remember the names of. I ended up going overboard and spending far more than I intended...but hey ho! You only live once. Next on the agenda would be the pond liner and a fountain, plus pond plants, but first I needed to get the hole dug, so I would have the right amount of liner to fit in.
After doing some food shopping and treating myself to a bottle of wine, I made my way home. Now parking in our street was always a horrendous issue, because on a Saturday everyone was home and you wouldn't be able to find a parking space outside your door, so it was a matter of driving around the streets till a space became available...BIG NIGHTMARE! When finally one did become accessible, you would have to run to get your car before anyone else had the chance to jump in, normally I sent my son out to hold the space for me if he was around, which used to anger some drivers, but I would need to unload my shopping and they seemed to understand after I explained.
Once we'd unloaded everything, I spent the rest of that afternoon digging out earth for the flowers which I might add was bloody hard work, there were other plants already established in the area but I didn't want to loose the plants so had to be extra careful when uprooting. Boy was I knackered by the time I finished later on Saturday evening.
I'd also made a start on the hole for the pond and had to shift all the earth to the top of the garden by the back gate, building a huge flower bed which I bricked in eventually with some old bricks the previous owners had left. The actual hole was about three foot deep for the pond, can't remember the square footage, but it was very big for me to cope with on my own, so I would need to continue another day, there was no way I could accomplish something as big in one afternoon. The old lady next door kept coming out in to her garden, saying what an amazing job I was doing and I should be very proud of myself.
I was so ready for a shower, though I could have done with a soak in the bath really, but because I was hungry, a shower would have to do.
The rest of the evening was spent sitting out in the garden chatting to the old lady next door and enjoying the wine I bought. It was so pleasant staring up at the night sky and watching the stars, I even lit some nightlight candles and set them around the patio. My neighbor was as excited as I was to eventually see the finished pond with all the flowers.
On the Sunday morning when I awoke it was another fine sunny day...no cleaning thank goodness! So after breakfast I got to work on making up the hanging baskets which had me engrossed for a good part of the morning, plus some pots too. It was then back to work on that hole which again had me heaving and hoeing earth for all I was worth. I can't say that I enjoyed digging, but this was to be such a challenge that I knew would be worth all the hard work in the end. The lesson for me to learn was, little and often, so I took many rests between digs, though sweating under the hot sun and aching joints was my biggest problem. I was now beginning to see what Jane meant about a proper holiday. I also had to take care, because I still had to get up for cleaning on the mornings, so decided to stop early and get some rest on Sunday night.
The hole took me about four days to dig out, all three foot of it, I actually felt like I was digging my grave when I got down inside. Though I say it myself, it was an amazing achievement and one which I don't know how I did ever have the energy to complete now I look back.
By the fourth day the liner was ready to assemble, but for that I needed help, so called on my good friend from work who had offered his assistance. On the fifth day with his support we put the liner in and he put the patio slabs back down while I filled the pond up with water, this was the best part, standing in the pond to level everything out, it was so cooling having the water flowing around my feet and ankles because the sun never stopped shining, we were so lucky with the weather.
Time passed as the pond filled up to the level I wanted, while I got on with preparing some food. It was nice to just sit and relax after all the commotion. The flowers were looking great and I'd gone out and bought some pottery fairies, mushrooms and frogs, to go among the flowers which really set a magical scene for any child that happened to come into the garden. The old lady next door had two young grandchildren that adored the garden ornaments and hoped they would attract some real fairies. I said; “well you never know, those little fairies just might be intrigued enough to take a look at my pond!”
The guy from work gave me some bags of pebbles which he'd had left over from a job in his own garden, so I decided to build them up like a rockery to a small pond at the top...yet more hard work! But hey ho, I thought it looked good with the solar fountain at the top and the giant frog surveying the pond.
Then came the plants for the pond, this was also a lot of fun, I was beginning to feel like that woman Charlie Dimmock off Ground Force...just loved that program, but building one pond was enough for me, just don't know how she found the strength for all that digging.
One morning on the second week of my holiday I took a cup of coffee out side and was sat on the edge looking into the pond, when I was sure I saw something small and black wriggling in among the plants, it was as if whatever was there in the depths of the water was playing hide and seek with me, but then I thought! There can't be anything alive in there, because I'd not put any fish in yet and there weren't any ponds around the neighborhood . What was going on? Could it have fallen from the sky? I asked myself, thinking how stupid that idea was.
Gazing again at the spot where I'd seen it, there it was again. I told my son to come and have a look, whereupon he informed me that it probably came with the plants, but I thought! How on earth would it have survived out of water for two days before I actually put the plants into the pond, plus the time it had been in the shop too? Well wherever it had come from, I now had one established black fish which I named; Lucky! Which it most definitely was.
I'd gone out and bought some gold fish and pretty soon they too were joining Lucky, swimming around in the luxury of my pond, although over time a couple did die, but these things happen sadly. But now I have a moral to this story.
After the first year of enjoying my pond and getting so much pleasure from it, I had the shock of my life when one morning opening the back door, I was stopped in my tracks, for there outside were literally hundreds of baby frogs hopping around. Slamming the door quickly, I rushed around to the kitchen window and looked out, devastated at the scene that met my eyes. Not being an expert on ponds, I had no idea that all the frogs spawn in the pond would produce so many babies, it left me feeling sick, because I was afraid to open the backdoor in case they decided to hop into the house, just the thought of many frogs hopping around inside made me shudder. I nearly fell out with the old lady next door too because of the many frogs...it was a huge nightmare. Eventually though the frogs disappeared and I could once again go outside. So! As I was saying, the moral to this story is; if you're thinking of getting a pond, don't build it right outside your back door, you never know what might come visiting.
To be continued...