Friday was The Day. With temperatures soaring OV donned his old red T-shirt and ancient navy trousers and headed up a ladder. The ‘chicken wire’ had been put in place a few days earlier. The site was cleared and, with my Health-and-safety hat on (actually, I couldn’t find it) I went to find some rope to tie the precarious ladders into place. OV teetered up and down said ladders (sometimes they were balanced between two tables) with loads of thatching straw, which he placed on said wire and fastened with pieces of green wire – which I produced by demolishing an old looped-wire fence.
He laboured on through the heat of the day, hour after hour, stopping only to take on water (or lemonade) and munch a sandwich.
I started out with him in the ‘cool’ of the morning, but the mid-day heat drove me into the shelter of the garage, where I busied myself making the ‘topknot’ which will ‘cap’ it all off.
By the end of the day we had run out of straw, I had ‘goffered’ on and off all day and kept the site moderately tidy, and OV had turned a very strange colour: the sun-exposed parts (smothered with UV cream) were lightly simmered lobster, but every part of him that had connected with the straw was filthy, grimy, charcoal colour.
Due to take a wedding rehearsal at 6pm, OV scurried in to the house and scrubbed off the dirt, re-emerging dressed in cool clean clothing and looking as if he had spent the day lounging in a deck-chair (how does he do it?).
Whilst he was gone I completed the site-tidying in the (now) believable temperature, watered the plants in pots and prepared supper. OK, here’s the slide show:
All that remains to be done is: gaps filled, top-knot wired into place, ends trimmed, a ‘skirt’ extension fitted + wire netting over the top (to prevent the birds stealing it or the autumn storms whipping it off). Mmm – should only take an hour or two 😉