… we’ve been very busy on this season’s improvements.
The grounds here provide me with endless inspiration up in the studio. The flora and fauna, the views and the sheer beauty of Ty Isaf filter into my drawings and paintings at every level. If I never set foot away from the place again, I’d have as much to paint as ever I’d need.
However, the footbridge that linked two adjoining properties… ours and that of our neighbours John and Catherine… while picturesque in an Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom sort of a way…
…was also rather lethal to negotiate. Slippery in the winters and with a hand-rail only good for fingertip steadying. There wasn’t anything solid to hold on to had anyone lost their footing.
Looking at the above photograph, I’m rather taken aback that Peter and I used to cross the old bridge after a few drinks with our friends over dinner, and moreover do it at night by torch light with Jack leading the way. Mercifully there were no accidents as the drop to the rocks below is considerable. But it would only have been a matter of time before something really bad happened, so we all put our heads together and decided to demolish the rickety old thing and replace it with something more dependable. Peter and I acquired a couple of redundant power-line posts to span the ravine, and John and his son Joe got busy building frames to bolt to the posts and hold everything secure while providing solid supports for proper handrails on both sides and a foundation for level decking. On Sunday, with help from John and Catherine’s friends, here on a visit from Germany, plus John’s parents and assorted children and guests, we all got down to work.
Getting the two heavy posts across the gorge was the trickiest bit, achieved with a pulley located in a sturdy tree up-stream, with guide-ropes to then pull them safely into place. Everyone took part, no-one too old or to young to lend a hand.
Benjamin, the smallest in our work-force, was in charge of the spirit level!
The first of the four locking-frames, bolted into place. Everything now solid enough to make a few trial crossings.
I can’t say I felt very safe at this stage. Later the intrepid Heike crossed while carrying Jack, but she’s clearly a fearless adventurer! I’m glad to report that I didn’t see her do this, because I don’t think I could have watched it without betraying my anxiety.
Jack thinks that bringing his frisbee is the best contribution he can make to our endeavours.
Later when we’ve completed the bridge I’ll post more pictures. Elsewhere at Ty Isaf over the weekend Dan levelled the site of the new car-park at the side of the house…
… and Meirion with his dumper-truck used the soil removed to turn this part of the rear orchard…
… into this new viewing-platform.
Dan, an artist with a digger, deftly constructed the embankment in just a few hours. Yesterday Andrew planted the slope with the daffodil bulbs carefully removed when we prepared the site. Later this week we’ll broadcast a ‘wild meadow’ mix of seed onto the bare earth. This time next year the platform should look as though it’s quite at home here.
Note what an appealing shape the platform is. I’m sure that before too long it’s going to start turning up in my paintings.
So, we make progress!