Friday, 11 May 2012

A Nearly New Patio For Next To Nowt. (I Wish I Still Smoked)

Howdy Folks.  We have been busy making a new patio - seating area this week.  It took a day and and a half and cost absolutely nothing.  Well maybe a few cans, sandwiches and a few blisters.  We used mattocks, shovels, hand brush and trowel (too many episodes of Time Team) and lots of elbow grease and sweat .    

The picture above us is the old dry stone milk house where the milk was kept.  It's now minus the ivy and you can see holes where a lean to roof used to be.  The stones are held together with packed earth or clay.  The farmhouse itself was made this way and not one bit of mortar was used.  The people long ago used to build houses for next to nothing.  Talk about sustainability.  Just clear a piece of land, get some stone and build yourself a dwelling.

Here's the finished product or even patio.  I  hadn't got the heart to remove the old dry-stone walls which my ancestors built over a hundred years ago.  All we need now is lots of sunshine and we can look out over the bay and drink lots of ale and put the world to right.  I was sat there the other evening thinking I wish I still smoked.  Perhaps I should get one of those 'Church Warden' pipes and smoke  cherry brandy tobacco?   What do you think?


  1. That looks excellent, Dave. I wish I had some DIY skills. Claire bans me from using power tools - and supervises carefully when I have a screwdriver.

    I didn't know you lived next to the sea. It sounds idyllic.

  2. Thanks Ben. The patio is far from perfect but it's functional. It cost me absolutely nothing because I already had the paving slabs in my vegetable plot.

    I live on the edge of Bantry Bay. It's good because we're in the countryside but also next to the sea. It's great when we have some sunshine but absolutely terrifying when we get the Atlantic storms from America.

    Thanks Ben!

  3. I think a nice cigar to accompany the stout on a summers evening, just right to contemplate the scenery and the meaning of life?
    You just nedd a table or something (flat rock on top of the wall?) to put the stout on.

  4. Welcome back Cumbrian. Hope you a good break?

    There is definitely something about smoking I miss. How many times in the past have I got talking to somebody after them or me asking for a light.

    My Irish grandfather used to smoke a pipe and I swear now and again I get a whiff from his pipe. I also have a theory that Robins are old gardeners or ancestors perching on your spade or fork.

    You're right about having a table for the stout. We're also thinking of putting some kind of canopy/roof on it to make it into a Pergola. Perhaps I could make it into a bandstand? Or should I just play my brass bands on my CD player? Allotments, Real Ale, Brass Bands....Perhaps I'm just an old person at heart?

    Thanks Cumbrian. I always appreciate your helpful comments.

  5. Yeah, smoking does tend to be a sociable habit, like yourself I've met a lot of aimiable characters when asking / being asked for a light.

    And the pipes were a symbol of knowlwdge in my early drinking days, the old boys congregated round the open fire and created a cloud of aromatic pipe tobacco, with occasional streams of brown tobacco juice sent into the glowing coals, they never seemed to miss the fire. The old boys were a font of knowledge to beginner drinkers, they could pass intelligent comment on just about anything, from vegetable growing, small livestock, pigeons, greyhounds, fishing, etc.
    An education in how to cut tobacco, then correctly fill, tamp and light a pipe, a special little pocket knife being used, I guess you can remember them?
    Cigatettes were enschewed "ladies smoke", but an occasional cigar was acceptable.

    A pity I think those days have long gone, where do all the old boys go now? No fire to sit beside in the pub, even if there's one left and they could afford the price of a few pints, and no pipe to smoke there even if they could afford the twist and plug tobacco they dearly loved.

    Canopy's a good idea, but I doubt you could get anything that would look right with the old building and traditional materials, they all tend to be very modern, not in keeping at all. Pity we can't grow grapes here, there's something to be said for a gazebo with a a vine spreading over, a bunch of grapes to chew on in season? But then you'd need some wine to be in keeping. And some of those little cigarillos.

    Raggy cat come back, looks sick, very thin, not eating despite being offerd tuna, chicken, biccies and milk, just lying in the shade.
    At least we've got some sun, keeps cold though.

  6. Thanks for that Cumbrian. You paint a wonderful picture of drinking and smoking not that very long ago.

    Due to the powers that be and so called progress, we are all losing or having our social skills taken away. We're not allowed to smoke in a pub or a bus (what's one of them?) and we couldn't afford to go in one even if we wanted to.

    I think you would probably find quite a few of the old boys down the local bowling clubs or allotments?

    I do remember the special little pocket knife. My grandfather used to chew his pipe tobacco and the Woodbine plant from the hedgerows. I guess that's where they got the name for the cigarettes from?

    Raggy cat was obviously pining for you both. He'll be right after his milk.


  7. Dave! Fab patio! I suggest a bottle of Cherry Brandy AND some tobacco, to celebrate! And to Cumbrian: I do hope yr poor cat feels better soon.

  8. Thanks Carol. I could do with some Cherry Brandy to warm me up. It's cold and wet and I wish the sun would shine. Thanks for visiting!!

  9. Nice of you to mention raggy cat Carol, it seems to be back to normal now, re-discovered the delights of lying in front of a fire.


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