Last weekend was long weekend, Thursday and Friday free. I decided it was time to put some time and effort into our second home. We have a 210 year old cottage on the island of Lolland, Denmark. It has a thatched roof. Very quaint. We haven’t been there for a while and I suspected the garden was probably getting to be a bit overgrown.
Packing all the necessary tools for doing battle with the lawn and the hedge and armed with a big bag of “vittals”, I set off on the 100 mile trip on the Thursday evening. It rained all the way.
On reaching our cottage, the rain stopped and I drove into a jungle. The hedge was huge, the grass was three feet tall and nettles had taken over a chunk of what once was lawn. Everything had grown unbelievably. Including the weeping willow over the fishpond. There were days of hard work here.
Entering the house, I realised something was missing. The wood stove had disappeared. Nothing else, just the wood stove. The back door was smashed indicating the point of entry for what had obviously been a break in. Then I noticed the water on the floor. Where had that come from? Rushing outside I looked up at the thatch. Four large holes in the thatching gave me my immediate answer.
Almost reduced to abject misery and livid about the break in, I decided to simply inspect the whole property and make a to do list for the following day. I fortified myself with tea and biscuits and then went to bed.
Friday dawned after a sleepless night.
I called the police. They took details but didn’t come to inspect the damage. I called the thatcher. He promised to take a look-see at my roof. I then got stuck into the lawn. At least, it had been a lawn once. Now it looked like an overgrown hayfield. After an hour I had it cut back to three inches. Then I tackled the hedge. That was pretty easy after the lawn.
In front of the house we have a brick patio. I couldn’t see any bricks for weeds that had grown up between the stones. I lifted them all, one by one and cleaned the whole area of thistles and dandelions and re-laid the stones. Then I tackled the larger outer lawn. It is much bigger than the lawn in front of the house, so it took me forever. By the evening, I was done in and hungry. I took a quick shower and headed off to the local town. Pizza and a beer, and then a drive into the surrounding countryside to relax.
A friend turned up on Saturday. I still hadn’t heard from the thatcher, so I gave him a ring. He was going to come over on the morrow and would bring tarpaulins with him to cover the holes in the roof. My pal and I took stock of what I had achieved and what was left to do. I wanted to continue on the garden and left him to get cracking with the whitewashing of the old house. This we did and we were both finished with our appointed tasks relatively quickly. Agreeing all was done, we went off in the late afternoon to find beer and food. We did so, and had a pleasant evening in the house drinking a lot of beer and eating well.
He left me on the Sunday morning and I waited for my thatcher. He duly arrived at two in the afternoon and we covered the roof. We discussed repairs. A new section over the entire eastern side of the house is necessary. Sixty thousand Danish Crowns. About nine thousand dollars. Ow! Still, it has to be done, so he gets to do the job.
Finally, I left Lolland and headed home. Tired but relatively happy.
On reaching home, the dogs were the first to greet me. I have never been away for three days since they came to live with us so they were excited to see me back. So excited that the larger one of the two broke a claw off in the maul and needed a bandage on the foot.
Back to work on Monday then. Hallelujah. But no, it continued. We have to take a reduction in wages to keep the company alive and I have to take my team over to normal daytime hours as the day team can’t keep up because they have so many away on sick leave or schooling. So now I have to get up early in the mornings again and get paid less for the trouble? Sheesh!
I need a holiday.