Bullshit and gardening

One day soon I’ll blog about our whole experience re house buying here in France.

However we still haven’t signed for the house so, until hopefully after sometime in the week beginning 10th October, I’m going to omit the details – I don’t want to offend anyone involved just quite yet. What started out as a simple transaction with no mortgage and no chain has, through the action and inaction of certain people, dragged on and on amidst a load of bullshit that needn’t have figured in the process at all.

But, as I said, more on that later…

The whole deal isn’t in doubt – there are just all these totally unnecessary bullshit delays – but we’ve been working away on the garden meantime.

The new house stands on a plot of about half an acre, with a further similar area (with small barn) just across the track into the hamlet.

The plot with the house is now about three-quarters cleared and what was once a forest of vicious brambles is now emerging as a grassy area with an orchard at the bottom. Amongst a few young oaks there are various apple trees, a plum tree, a pear tree, a hazel tree and a walnut tree – all in dire need of pruning as the garden hadn’t been touched for 7 years before we started on it.

One of the fun things to do with the garden has been the very expensive but very necessary purchase of a Stihl brushcutter – sort of like a strimmer but petrol-driven and with optional cutting blades. It’s so heavy that you have to wear a harness to support it and wearing a helmet (with ear defenders and visor), heavy gloves and steel toe-capped safety shoes is a must. This motherfucker is major garden machinery and makes your Black & Decker strimmer look like a fucking Fisher Price toy.

We’ve been getting a real kick out of clearing the garden and seeing features emerge from what was virtually jungle. The house stands in one corner of an essentially rectangular plot with a sort of patio along the back of it. The main garden itself stretches away from the side door over a flat grassy area which has a crescent-shaped pond at the back of it which then goes up to a well and a terraced area of orchard and oak trees.


The other half acre plot with the barn on is a different kettle of fish, however…

As far as we can see, as well as the barn there’s a collapsed stone, timber and slate structure which will be plundered for useful building materials (there’s a market here in old oak beams) and also a pond. There are also various fruit trees, including plum, cherry and apple, as well as sloe bushes. The whole area is totally overgrown with brambles of gigantic proportions. The plot runs right alongside our neighbours’ potager so we’re thinking that this may be a good place to site ours eventually.

Of course, we now have huge piles of rubbish, so I predict a bonfire very soon…

I’m not normally a keen gardener – I’ve always left that to Mrs Shark who is – but I’m enjoying this garden clearing lark immensely. I just wish we could get on with the house as well, but it’ll come eventually.

Patience, SteveShark…patience…

10 Responses

  1. “I’m not normally a keen gardener – I’ve always left that to Mrs Shark who is – but I’m enjoying this garden clearing lark immensely.”

    Give a man power tools, and he’s happy… 😉

  2. i have to say that I am in the middle of buying my second property in the area I live in in France and it is going perfectly, the omly problem is caused by me, trying to find some paperwork the Notaire needs, good luck with the purchase though.

  3. Slash and burn gardening! The best kind! With petrol-powered plant pulverisers too. Oh, it’s a herbicidal maniac’s dream.

    The only reasons for growing anything are to eat them, smoke them or burn them. Plants have no other purpose. Grass grows just so we can imagine other people’s faces on it while mowing. It’s therapeutic.

    Next you’ll need the chemical weapons – the Weed Death Spray, the Slug Pub of Doom and the Ant Napalm (burning polystyrene on the end of a stick).

    Gardening can be fun if you look at it from a Vlad the Impaler viewpoint.

    Just don’t kill the hedgehogs. Gardens are improved by anything with spikes.

  4. Oh yes, we’ve been waging chemical warfare too – fucking right!
    Stump killer, herbicides and insecticides of all kinds.
    One of of our future neighbours commented on our use of chemicals as environmentally unfriendly but, eh monsieur, what the merde if it works?

  5. I’ve also bought a chainsaw…


  6. Weedkiller, environmentally unfriendly. I’ve had this argument before.

    The environment is full of weeds. I don’t like weeds. Therefore I need something that is unfriendly to this environment and friendly to the one I’d rather have.

    Ooo, look. Environmentally unfriendly chemicals. Just what I need.

    Then I can concrete the bastard thing and cover it with Astroturf.

    I have seriously considered concreting the flower beds, painting the concrete brown and drilling holes I can put plastic flowers into every spring. So far I haven’t but it puts the shits up the plants whenever I explain it to them.

    Have to keep them scared. I learned that from Government.

  7. I wish I had an excuse to buy a chainsaw. Just in case of zombie attack.

  8. I haven’t used it yet, although my brother-in-law is coming to stay today so he’ll teach me to use it.
    It’s not something I’d want to fall foul of…

  9. Two gardening hints : 1 Don’t grub up the blackthorn (that green shambles with the sloes on it). 2. Don’t listen if some fool says “make sloe gin”. That would be a total waste; they make FABULOUS jam.

  10. I really enjoy gardening! I’m looking forward to reading your posts!

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