Jolly Boating Weather

26 May

That’ll be why I am at the treehouse then and not at the boat…

The Law of Sod dictates that any decent boating weather going is also good farming weather. As someone in this alliance of ours needs to earn money (and it isn’t me just now) farming has to take priority over the fun things – boating and even flying. We will get to take Hobo out but no doubt when the weather isn’t fit for much else – you can still boat in the rain and cold and wind even though you probably don’t want to. It does mean that you get the river to yourself though so that is a bit of a bonus. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves.

The treehouse is where the John resides when he is not on the boat. It is at the farm on the Fens where he works (delightfully and accurately known as Nettle Bank) and, whilst it might not be the lovingly crafted from wood, romantic maze wedged among the branches of a magic tree with lookouts, secret escape runs, rope swings and fairy lights that you might have (and I once did) imagine, it is at treetop height and does have some lovely views. Fen skies in particular (you’ve seen those before so I will try to show you something different this time) and countryside in general. No, it is a portakabin on stilts – sorry if this shatters any illusions.

John is in fact playing tractor tractor right now, making the soil ready for planting, which is set to start on Monday (late this year). So if I want to see John I come to the treehouse. It’s no hardship though, I like it here and it has become another home from home – much like the bus in SA. It can be very peaceful here too (when the yard isn’t full of slaves during the potato harvest and the peacocks aren’t being overly vocal) so condusive to writing, reading or doing nothing…three of my favourite things. It’s also a damned good place to walk or take the air, provided the ‘Fen Blow’ is switched off and you have packed suitable outdoor wear. I’ve finally got it right this weekend with wellies, arctic fleece, woolly socks and anorak when all I really need is shorts and flip-flops…hey-ho.

There are sofas – two of them – so a real treat for me. I do love a good lounge on the couch but not enough to crowd out Hobo by installing one there. 

Multi-aspect windows are great for gazing out of but play havoc with computer screens – as yet no blinds/curtains but John is threatening to make shutters. (He has coped for a decade without them so I am not holding my breath). 

Heating by halogen/convection is fine now that the boss has his own windfarm and encourages the use of electricity and much less dramatic than the flame-throwing space heater that was the order of the day on my first visit.

Tom, Dick and Harry – phase 1 of the windfarm

Kitchen facility is minimal with kettle, microwave, toaster, slow cooker and electric frying pan. The lack of a conventional oven and hob is fine by me – no hot stove for me to slave over. The bathroom has all the usual facilities – H/C, shower, loo – no bath though. Well…nothing is perfect. The bedroom is just that – room for a bed and not much else so we fight for floor space on which to neatly hang our clothes. There is, however, both curtain and blind that helps to stop the rising sun from being too much of a nuisance in the morning.

Being a lazy cow Not wishing to upset the natural and unique charm of the treehouse, I do try to leave it be and not engage in  domestic interference or inflict too much order hereabouts. John has his own system and far be it from me to upset the chaos rhythym and feng shui that he has created. It does get the better of me sometimes though and I find myself tidying or cleaning but it doesn’t last for long.  Usually just as long as it takes to scour the inside of  a mug that has seen many brews and not a lot of washing up inbetween. Or scrape a path through the mud on the kitchen floor. Nothing too strenous you understand.

There’s decking (cleverly crafted from potato boxes) at the top of the stairs that serves as a dumping ground for John’s treasures verandah. This is due for a little re-modelling imminently as the staircase is about to be moved (to give slightly more private access away from the middle of the busy, muddy yard) and existing boxes now rotten as a pear and an accident waiting to happen fail to meet strict health and safety standards in force at Nettle Bank. Yeah right..

To be fair, the treehouse doubles as the farm office so sees its fair share of muddy boots and, with farming starting painfully early and continuing till darkness and beyond, I completely see that anything more than a shower/something to eat/bed after a day’s work is simply too much to ask. Of a man.

Downstairs is a fully kitted out workshop (where John makes things and can amuse himself for hours), jetwash (well there was before the pikeys paid a visit), endless supply of calor gas, diesel and wood in exchange for reasonable money or (in desperate times) my labour. And all the potatoes you can eat, the occasional cauli and coming soon – peas. Not to mention a runway, now properly grassed (needs mowing and rolling) just the ticket for John to make his escape…

Walk this way…

…to the landing strip

John’s boss, recently seen on BBC’s ‘Question Time’ and not one to be messed with,

is very accomodating of John’s love of flying and has made a super job of the new runway. He’s a pussycat really…….

Mostly, this year is all about wheat and the spuds are being kept to a minimum.And the aforementioned peas.I’m thinking we need a tractor pic so here is John in the distance, spreading the fertilizer..and again close up..Now you know what it means if John is back in the yard……..Yep, it’s time for lunch. Hooray!!

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