The Land Rover Owners Wife

Over a barrel ……. or two!


Newly painted tub - ready for plantingThere is nothing more likely to drive Mud to distraction than to have jobs to do outside and not be able to do them due to poor weather. Nothing, that is, except to have lovely weather but still be unable to do the jobs at hand because he doesn’t have a vital piece of equipment, a part hasn’t arrived or is out of stock. Last Saturday was a case in point.

Mud was still waiting for the rest of the Protek Blue wood paint he had ordered, to come in to stock and the arrival of yet another ‘perfect for painting fences‘ sunny weekend was seriously trying his patience …… and mine! Pacing up and down, bemoaning the lack of materials, mumbling on about needing to get on and do something, wondering out to gaze at the part painted fence – again, coming back in, moaning some more, it’s a miracle he wasn’t hospitalised by the stress (that would be the stress he was causing me, in case you were wondering)!

After his umpteenth visit outside, he announced that he would paint the two enormous wooden barrels I had acquired back in October last year. Yes! That was what he would do! He would nip down to the timber yard buy some more of the wood paint but in a different colour, and he would refurbish the barrels before they rotted away to nothing.

In need of a facelift

In need of a facelift

Half an hour later he returned with a 5 litre tub of sage green paint.

By the end of Saturday the first tub had received 3 coats of paint, including the one that had got washed off when the sun had disappeared and a deluge of rain hit it. Mud, of course, was not impressed by this change in the weather and the Mudlets and I were treated to more utterances about how it always rains/is windy (delete as applicable) whenever he starts a job. Which of course if you think about this logically, can’t possibly be true, otherwise nothing would ever get done.

The final job for Mud on Saturday was to paint the metal rings in Hammerite copper paint and then he left it overnight to finish drying off.

Sunday dawn chilly and dull. Eldest Mudlet and her boyfriend were due to come over for the day and so I was up nice and early to get the rest of the tidying done, before leaving to go collect them from the bus stop, some 6 miles away, as their bus doesn’t pass through our village. Mud was also up nice and early, as the excited younger Mudlets hadn’t been able to keep a lid on their excitement over big sister coming, and had managed to wake us both up before 7am!!

“Can you help me move the finished tub over onto the lawn, so that I can start the second one,” Mud asked at around 8am.

Knowing that he would need to clean off the worst of the muck, grime and original protective covering from the second barrel, using an extremely noisy power tool before he could apply the first coat of paint, and so wouldn’t actually be able to start working on the barrel until after 9am, and that I had to get all my jobs finished before driving to a nearby village to meet the bus which was due in at about the same time, I was a little peeved by his request.

Newly painted tubs in positionHowever, being the kind, thoughtful and helpful soul that I am, I agreed to help him move the barrel. I should mention at this point that these barrels are huge. They are 36″ diameter by 24″ high and are very, very heavy. Somehow I ended up with the job of going backwards, carrying the extremely heavy barrel, over the extremely uneven gravel path, trying not to trip over the extremely large sleepers that edge the lawn onto which we were going to place the thing. Unfortunately, I was so intent on watching where I was going in relation to the sleepers on my left, I completely forgot about the other barrel which was behind me and backed into it!

How I managed to stay upright and not drop my side of the first barrel, is a mystery. Mud, being his usual caring and concerned self, told me to be careful, watch where I was going and not to damage the barrel he had spent hours painting!

Cheers hun!
I’m fine!
Don’t worry about it!
Your concern is touching!

To be honest I did wonder if I had done something to myself during my struggle to stay upright and not drop the thing because for about 30 minutes or so afterwards, I couldn’t actually take a decent breath in without a sharp pain in the right hand side of my rib cage and there was a dull ache when I moved. Thankfully, this did wear off and by the time I left to pick the eldest Mudlet up, I was back to normal.

I have to say that the reaction of our eldest daughter to the blue fence panels and green/copper barrel, was priceless. The blue fence, she said, was akin to the day Mud had decided to paint the outside of the cottage yellow, which had been traumatic for a then 14 year old girl, especially when the painting of the house had required the building of an over engineered wooden scaffold which was so huge and cumbersome, we had had to use the high lift jack every time it needed to be moved! Sadly we don’t have a picture of Muds’ homemade scaffolding but if you can picture the huge wooden structures marauding parties sometimes used to scale the sides of castles, then you will have a pretty good idea of how it looked and you may feel that our poor eldest daughter had a point.

When asked what she thought of the newly painted tub, it soon became apparent that she was as equally unimpressed with that as she was with the fence.

“But don’t you think it looks like something off a pirates’ ship? You know, like Pirates of the Caribbean or something?” asked Mud.

“No!” was her unequivocal reply, “I was thinking more Disney, as in ‘Hook’ and I think you two need to act your age. What’s wrong with, you know, a normal brown colour?”

Undaunted Mud and I proceeded to tell her the rest of the planned colour scheme for the back and front fences and the raised beds.

“And what’s even better,” finished Mud, “Is that the blue is actually a pastel version of Annies’ Marine Blue and the sage green of the barrels is a close match to Ciggys’ cockpit green. Oh, and the Protek cream we want to use on the posts and edging pieces, is the same as the Limestone we’ve used on the truck cabs!”

Newly painted tubs in position“Oh my days!” came the disbelieving response, “You’re going to have colour coordinated fences and cars!!!” I think she has never been so relieved that she no longer lives at home.

By the end of Sunday the second tub was finished and eldest Mudlet set off for home dreading what she would find next time she came home for a visit. That evening we moved the first tub into place in the vegetable patch and Monday lunchtime the second one joined it. Wow that was easy to write but it wasn’t so easy to do, as the tubs were bigger than the gate into the vegetable garden and the old cement mixer was in the way and so we had to lift each tub clear of the 4 foot high fence, nearly giving ourselves hernias into the bargain.

newly painted tubs ready for plantingThey do look amazing though and yesterday I filled each one with half a dalek (that’s a normal 330 litre black plastic compost bin by the way) worth of home made compost, around 49 litres of topsoil and a 60 litre bag of bought compost. We’re going to grow beans in these and so I set up a 6 leg pyramid in each, to see what they looked like. Mud thinks that he can improve on the traditional bean pyramid (now there’s a surprise …. not) and is going to get some bigger canes and concoct something more pleasing to the eye – apparently.

In the mean time, it’s up to the worms to use the next 10 days or so to do their thing so that, once the risk of hard frosts has finally gone (I hope), I will have a lovely mix of worm churned compost and topsoil in which to plant my ‘getting taller by the second’ Runner and French Beans.


2 thoughts on “Over a barrel ……. or two!

  1. Wow! Pretty pretty. We have gone for Forest Green fencing and Sage Green shed. The barrels look well impressive! What’s next? x

  2. Thank you. Glad to hear it’s not just us then 🙂

    Mud has to finish painting the vegetable garden fence which he hopes to do at the weekend, as we have now been told the paint has finally arrived in stock. I think Sage Green is planned for the fence that borders the lawn. Not sure what colour we plan for the raised beds – I guess it depends on what we have left over. For the front fence and workshop doors we’re looking at the blue again with cream posts and fascias. Can’t see what eldest daughter has to complain about, after all it’s not like we have chosen pink for the house or anything like that (although Little Mudlet would be delighted :D)


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