After a frustrating delay of several weeks, we've finally started building work on the garden. The first step is to dig out steps- which will lead out from French Windows, which we've yet to install. The steps will be built from re-claimed creamy yellow London stock, leading onto a small raised gravelled terrace, and the new French Windows will line up with a slightly off-centre Gothick trellised arch- which should act as a focal point.
I've got a thing about wide steps. I remember my grandmother (an expert gardener) lecturing me on this. Broad, generous steps are what you want; avoid those mean, narrow, mealy-mouthed things. At the same time, I'm not that keen on deep steps, with a high rise. The challenge is that the current level of the garden (the area which is going to become the gravelled terrace) is about 2 ½ ft higher than the basement ground level; so we've got quite a way to go, and in such a tiny garden, there's no space.
By the end of yesterday, I became neurotically punch-drunk through staring at the space for too long: had we dug out the steps too far back, leaving too small a space for the upper terrace? It looked like quite a squeeze. This morning, I'm more rational, and I think it's going to be all right, especially when higher trellis is installed, emphasising the verticals; currently it's all about horizontals.
We've also excavated around the base of the Victorian ironwork pillar, revealing scraps of old mauve coloured paint. Mauveine was discovered in 1856, the first chemical dye. I suspect that this was the colour the ironwork was originally painted in- a far cry from Farrow and Ball.
And last night, the rain returned. Torrential rain, leaving the building site looking like something from The Somme.