The Demise of the Wild Wood

I feel a bit guilty about this. Until yesterday I had this tangled stand of trees, bushes, raspberry vines, who knows what all, but the birds loved it and it was green. It was about the only thing that survived years of contractor depredations. Then I sold the rental house, which gave me a bit of money, even after taxes, to fix the front garden. So I had a little plan done, which I showed you a few posts back. And yesterday, Kieron started work.

Kieron and Eddy rebuilt this house. The two of them, with very little help, and they did a great job. So once I heard that Kieron was off on his own, I told him to put me on his calendar, which he did, and now he’s here. Julien is working with him and his brother in law will appear in a couple of weeks.

We marked the outlines of the new garden plan. It’s hard to see, but there is spray paint all over the grass. The grass is seasonal and barely covers a thick layer of gravel and construction debris. That won’t be missed. But as we worked out the plan we realized that if we wanted to properly back out of the garage (the gash in the wall will be enlarged and the appearance improved), the Wild Wood would have to go. And now is the time, as the birds are wintering in Spain.

So Julien fired up the chainsaw and went to work. The hazelnut trees will stay. Probably the stuff screening the street will stay, but we’ll see. bay laurels are death on walls, so we might have to take that out. At the end of the project I’ll probably plant some bushes around the hazelnuts. I’m not a big fan of grass and I want to do something for the birds.

And do you see the concrete truck off to the side there? The commune decided to give me a sidewalk. There is literally a sidewalk starting at one side of my street frontage and stopping at the other. That’s the whole project.

So my little country refuge is moving to the suburbs. Or maybe the suburbs are moving to it. My ratty front garden — a friend — yes, still a friend! — once said coming here was like stepping onto the set of “Withnail and I” — is getting tidied and organized. And this weekend, as I was preparing the house for Sunday lunch with friends, I realized that I could actually clean, not just stuff everything into a back room. Okay, some things went into a back room, but much less. At least Jacques is still himself.

Jacques Report

Remember Poodle with a Mohawk? Linda Barry? Never call him Fifi again? Hah. Poodles. It’s all about fashion for them. Westies take action. And Jacques has gone rogue.

It’s his new dog door. Reignoux finished buttoning up my house. It’s all bulletproof now, assuming I remember to lock it up. As part of their work, they designed a dog door, custom-made for Jacques. We drove out to their shop, where they measured him as carefully as would a Saville Row tailor. Chest height, shoulder height, head height, body width, they got it all. Then they designed a door to fit Jacques, of course, but also to suit the look of the door. It’s hard to see, but the knob on the left goes to a sliding metal panel. The vertical reflection on the right, halfway down, is a latch. When the panel covers the dog door, the latch pins the panel in place. Hey presto, nobody is getting in. And no nasty white plastic.

This is the thanks I get. Here the little delinquent is, on his grooming table in the utility room. He loves his door. I can’t keep him in. He runs out and barks, randomly, just for fun. Then he runs back in, probably hoping the neighbors will complain, so I can say “Jacques? Barking? no, see, he’s right here.” Yesterday he brought in a dead pigeon — dead for a while, so at least he’s not killing pigeons, yet. I guess he wanted to give it a decent burial, maybe in the sofa cushions. Fortunately he changed his mind and took it back out again. I have no clue where that pigeon is now. And today, look. Did he really need to roll in the mud? Is being clean all that painful?

I basically triage-cleaned him. Of his various dry shampoos, it turns out the mousse is better than the sprays. He’s sort of tan, now, which I hope won’t rub off on the furniture. I put some antiseptic and skin soother on that ear, so it’s a normal light pink. A little work on the nails and job done, he’s back in action. Not clean, exactly, but better. For now.