Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Goodbye to The Mound.

About thirteen, maybe fourteen years ago, Mr Squidge and I decided to give the back garden a makeover. This was due - in part - to having had little Squidgelings, and we felt the need for a slabbed play space for wet days as well as lots of grass and lovely borders.

With the help of a good friend who owns his own landscaping business, we set to work.

One of the problems in our garden was the step up onto our lawn; the small patio outside the French doors was a good six inches lower than the grass. To increase the patio size, we needed to shift an awful lot of topsoil to make everything level.

To save on skip fees and carting goodness knows how much earth to the tip, G suggested building a mound at the end of the garden with the topsoil he removed. It would give the kids a little hill to roll down, and - most cunningly of all - it would have lengths of pipe buried inside it so that cars and balls could be rolled down the inside of the hill.

Put the balls in the pipe at the top...
...and collect them at the bottom

We went along with the idea and over the years, have had great fun on The Mound. (The photos above were taken in 2002, the year the garden was finished.) It was a dingly-dell for a fairy birthday party, and a castle for the pirates who came to another. It gave us a shaded seat in the summer and on occasion has allowed us to nip over the fence into the neighbour's garden to retrieve tennis balls, shuttlecocks and off-target stomp rockets when said neighbour was away. The local fox used to use it for sunbathing in the mornings, but we haven't seen him around for ages.

All that is about to change.

Yesterday, Mr Squidge and Squidgeling T took a crowbar and lump hammer to the retaining wall that holds The Mound up.

Still two more sides to knock down once the earth's out...

It's all part of a wider plan to build a large shed-cum-outdoor-room at the bottom of the garden. The idea was sold to me as a writer's den (I am assured it will have heating) but T seems to think it'll be far better used as a rehearsal space for his band. It's also the reason why the slide, climbing frame and swing have finally been dismantled...(We still have the tree house, thank goodness, but even that's had a makeover in the last twelve months and is much more grown up than the old one.)

By the end of this weekend, The Mound will become The Flat Space At The End Of The Garden.

I can't help feeling sad about it. Not because the mound is being dug out (yes, we are paying for a skip to get rid of the soil this time!) but more because its removal seems to mark the end of childish things. My children aren't children any more - they are young people, on the cusp of adulthood. Gone are the days of fairies and pirates and the simplicity of rolling balls through a tube. Now it's Warhammer model painting and studying for exams and whether we can boost the Wifi signal to the end of the garden for the inevitable smartphone...

The end of an era. *sigh* And maybe, the start of a new one?

I'll let you know how I feel about that once the shed-cum-outdoor-room's finished...

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