Sunday, August 14, 2016

Exciting, Challenging and Relaxing - Three Very Different Days.

I've just had 2 weeks off work - I didn't go away but I did do lots of things.

The most exciting thing I did was a 20m tree climb.  Using ropes, knots and karabiners I climbed right into the tree canopy.

The tree was a 30m high, 200yr old sycamore in Marks Hall Arboretum

I'm the circled one, about to go through the canopy!

Once we'd got to the top (there were 6 adults and 2 children in my group, including the curator of Marks Hall), we did a free-fall abseil back down to earth.  This is where you don't put your feet on anything but control the descent through the ropes (picture the SAS climbing down a rope from a helicopter) - it was amazing.

The most challenging thing I did was to make a new deck for in front of my shed.  The old one was made of pallets and was rotting.

The reason I need a deck here is because underneath it is a big hole.  A old brick lined drainage chamber (old cess pit) which dates from when the houses were first built and before they were connected to the main sewer.

It's about 15ft deep and is not what you want to fall into (although it was very useful for chucking the old rotting wood into!).

It was challenging as the normal way of constructing a deck wouldn't work as there wasn't enough solid ground to lay the joists on, but I persevered and adapted as I went along and this is the finished result - it's very solid and looks good too (though I say it myself!).

The most relaxing thing I did was visit Wicken Fen - I'd not been for many years and it was just as lovely as I remembered it.  I took a boat trip along Wicken Lode where we watched dragonflies darting all around.

It was a glorious day and I went for a long walk - ending up at the mere before returning back to the visitor centre.

I also visited Fen Cottage, which is one of the last remaining buildings of the hamlet that once existed by the reserve.

It's constructed of local materials including peat, wood, sedge. reed and clay, all of which would have been harvested from the fen.

It was occupied until 1972 and has been restored pretty much to how it was when the last people lived in it.

The cottage gardens are gorgeous!

It was a lovely, relaxing way to end my fortnight off.



Celia Hart said...

I admire you for do the tree climbing and abseil down, it must have been amazing to be up in the leafy canopy. The cottage at Wicken Fen is lovely and full of proper Fenwoman stuff, did you notice the white bungalow at the road junction when you turned down the lane to the NT car park? I think it's probably one of the last real Fen villager's gardens, it makes me smile every time I pass.

Frances said...

Su, your weeks' off from work surely did allow you quite a mix of activities.

That tree climbing ... wow! It's been so hot and humid here during the time you describe that it's impossible to even consider such exertion...but looking at the photos is great fun.

Bravo on the new deck. It complements the shed in purpose and appearance. Again...too much activity for NYC summer heat, but I applaud you!

Wicken Fen looks like such an interesting place. I am wondering if I have ever seen a mere. I think that I know them only from reading, and thank you for sharing your walk.

Fen Cottage and its garden...well, charming is a word that comes to mind.

All in all, this has been such a great get away for me, Su. Thanks so much. xo

Toffeeapple said...

How intrepid you were. I was always up a tree when I was a child - I can still climb them now, in my head.

You deck looks very professional and sturdy, no danger of falling into the cesspit now.

Wicken Fen house looks gorgeous, I must get my OH to take me there.

Jo said...

Tree climbing and abseiling, I take my hat off to you. The deck looks great and should last a good many years. I think you've done a great job working out how to construct it with that hole underneath. Fen Cottage is so pretty, I love these sort of buildings which have been restored and resembles how it would have looked when people lived there, so interesting. You certainly have chosen a variety of things to do on your fortnight off.

elaine said...

Sounds like you had a lot of fun during your break. Well done on the decking it looks fab - that hole beneath looks a bit scary. Love the fen cottage - I love these old houses that have been preserved (is that the right word) they do give such an insight to how people lived in the old days.