Thursday, 19 February 2015


A couple of years ago, we had some trouble with our neighbour over a piece of our front garden that he claimed should be a part of his garden. As far as we were concerned the builders had clearly intended it to be a part of our property, since it ran continuously across the front of our house up to his driveway. We could have fought harder but we had other things on our mind. Firstly we were away in the states for a few weeks immediately after he first raised the issue and then just as we were returning, I discovered that my brother-in-law from my first marriage had died. Apart from my two sons, his nephews, I was the only surviving relative and had to take care of all his affairs, which unfortunately had become rather complex. This meant travelling back and forth to his property for several months, dealing with banks, solicitors and all the paraphernalia involved in an unexpected death. So we had delayed dealing with the boundary for as long as we could, despite several threatening letters and unacceptable demands. We decided in the end to accept his claim, rather reluctantly, since it was cheaper than disputing them in the courts which is a really really expensive thing to do. For a few square feet of ground it was just not worth going for such a pyrrhic victory, so we then fought a prolonged rear action whilst we organised our tactical withdrawal from the battlefield. In the end we built a fence exactly along the boundary he had claimed was the correct line. In the front it was a an ornamental metal fence but, between the two houses a big six foot high wooden fence. Sadly in the process we had to dig up a lot of nice plants and a flowering tree.

As it was originally but, all the shrubs to the left of the tree and the tree  had to go
So the front garden has been a bit sad since and we decided it could do with a makeover. There were good reasons to change the driveway where we park our cars. We had become fed up with the drab tarmac drive, which was getting a bit crumbly and shedding its surface, whilst gravel we had around the edges was always scattering. We were forever kicking and sweeping the pebbles back into their proper place and removing weeds and animal droppings, so we decided to get rid of the lot and put down block paving, leaving a most of the original grass with planted borders against the new fence.
So day one out with the tired old tarmac.
Day one
Day two it snowed so they could not do a lot, so they left it as it was and we stayed indoors.

Day three, the snow had gone and the ground was levelled off and prepared.

All the tarmac and paving slabs gone

levelled and a base put down

A delivery of paving blocks arrived

Day four and blocks were laid.
The blocks marched across the prepared base
 I would dearly have liked to make a stop motion sequence of this process, but it was done so rapidly, I did not have time for more than one shot of it happening.
and that part of the job was done.
We were able to park our cars on the drive that night.

Day five and the ground has been cleared for the new lawn, the old turf removed and fresh topsoil put in to build the level up to the top of the edging blocks.

Day six the planting. Day six came and went and due to the ground being frozen solid, nothing happened. This continued not to happen for several days including a weekend and some prior engagements by The Better half and yours truly.  So it was not for another week that the turf finally arrived and was laid.

The final prduct,  The grass has yet to establish itself and we will need to keep it watered for the next few weeks, but soon enough, it will require cutting.  Oh well I will sharpen the blades on the old lawnmower...

It was once said that the United Kingdom and the United States are two great nations divided by a single language. This is clear in this kind of work, because if I said 'sod the garden', in the USA, grass would be laid whereas in the UK, it would be taken that I was annoyed with the garden and did not intend to do anything to it.  That word is not considered very polite in this country and is used more often than not as a swear word, derived from sodomy. The word is also known as meaning a clod of grass and soil here, but rarely used in that context.  So our friends in the USA, should never be surprised if UK residents are taken aback by an American using that term and UK residents, take note your American friends are not being rude about your garden.


  1. I once had a boundary dispute with a neighbour. She had a right of way across my garden and though it meant that she could walk where she wanted between her back gate and my front one. In other words she objected to my parking on my own drive. Believe it or not I took it to court and lost! It was expensive - not least because some time later when my parents came to see me they had to park on the road and a bus drove into the car! It wrote off a four week old Ford! I really wonder about some people.

    Your new drive looks very nice but I'd have gone for flowers, not grass. I can't bear mowing lawns.

    1. That sounds unpleasant and it is what we wanted to avoid. Flowers are nice, but flowers need weeding and weeding means bending and old age has started to make that more of a problem than mowing.

  2. Lovely new driveway! Honestly I do believe some battles are not worth fighting ! It's too bad it caused you so much trouble but the 'heartburn' and hassle of legal affairs is harder in the long run I think.

    At our church in Minneapolis when Glyn was only three years old, the head deacon was watching him run around the church kitchen and he came out with this comment: "Cute little b-----, isn't he." That's when I discovered another word that has different meanings in the USA and the UK !

  3. Such a shame that you had to go through all that, but I must say that I really like the end result. Looks neat and smart, and I am sure it will be much more manageable!