Our collective desire for the arrival of spring is huge. Each day, there are reports on the radio of tales of budding trees or carpets of blooming crocuses at some National Trust property somewhere in the country. And each day, I go outside to look for evidence of spring at Crockern and wonder why so little has happened? All those bulbs I planted. The hours spent stooped over with my hands in the dirt. And yet so far, only a few brave snow drops and a couple of the crocus bulbs are peeking through the grass.
My capacity to accept or tolerate delay can, at times, suffer, but Spring is coming.
My impatience for its arrival is not the only thing having me tapping my toes with restless eagerness. I’m waiting for the plumbers. Will this downstairs project never end? Three years ago we started it all with the replacement of the beams. We had to wait to see if roof repairs would make any difference to the damp before we could do anything else, and that took a year. Since that time, we’ve framed walls, insulated, laid floors, put in a new boiler, built a closet, had stairs installed, and turned our attention to the bathroom. The tiles are all in place, grouted and sealed. The walls painted. The refinished door installed. The pipe work is ready and we are waiting for the fixtures to be installed. Some houses have living rooms, guest rooms, studies, playrooms, but few have a soon-to-be-finished-but-can’t-be-because-of-a-bathtub-a-sink-and-a-toilet-in-the-way-bedroom. Since October, these fixtures have been sitting in our way, slowing progress on this bedroom.
That was about the same time I planted all those bulbs. Can’t we finish already?(see also: https://crockernfarm.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/home-renovations-2/)
To be fair, the fixtures had to be purchased and sit about in order to lay the plumbing correctly. Precision with location of pipes for radiators and a toilet is important. After that initial rough work was done, it did take us ages to raise the floor, frame out the walls, insulate, rip out the ceiling and insulate some more, plaster the whole thing, and cut and lay the reclaimed slate tiles.
If our project completion is slow, so too is the emergence of spring. Yet, the endless activity at the bird feeders of Sparrows, Tits, Robins, Finches and Jackdaws is a happy sign. In fact, the Jackdaws are back to making a loud racket as they build their nests in the barn. Broken twigs are flung about in search of the right one, for what looks like rather messily thrown together nests.
Despite the cold, wet wind we have blowing this week, spring is in the air. The chill outside is diminishing and my list of gardening chores is growing. I’ve cleaned the greenhouse, planted seeds into trays, and bagged more compost. The annual repair of potholes along the track is in full swing as I recently discovered someone throwing out a load of bricks. As it transpires, bricks are fantastic for filling the larger holes before laying in the road plannings. Plus, they are free.
Yet in my impatience with the arrival of spring and the plumbers, I feel reduced to behaving like a teenager. Text after text after text I send, with the odd and infrequent response from the plumber. I usually write something like, “We’re all set, should we look for you tomorrow?” No response. It’s in times like these that I check what I’ve written, worrying that I might have sent something adolescent like: “Did you get my text? Please answer. Did you? Did you?” Usually, the delay is more because our plumber is a good guy and very busy. He couldn’t come out at all last week due to an emergency of a failed boiler and broken radiators in someone’s house. As it is still chilly outside, that project trumps our new tub being fitted into place.
But spring is near. It’s lambing season and soon those cute little lambs will return with their bleating “Baaaaaaaah!!!” as they attempt to re-unite with their mothers. The light is lingering later into the day and our chickens are laying eggs with greater frequency. The mosses and lichens are showing new little flowers and budding. The trees are starting to show buds, too. And each evening I hear the lovely tune of a blackbird, letting me know their mating season is beginning. But more exciting still, I’ve just got a phone message and the plumbers are on their way!