Today is somewhat of a record. For the first time in all my 30 years gardening experience, we have had three jobs on the trot which for various reasons did not work out.
The first one was four lawns, I politely call them lawns. They were actually little better than fields. For some time they had just been strengthened and the cut grass had just been allowed to fall. What happens is that after a time, a mat builds up and new grass has to struggle to get through. This results in a deterioration of the whole. I asked the customer what would happen to the land if I mowed it and she just said “we’re just trying to keep the grass down that’s all”. The whole area has an unloved look and feel about it and I felt that I would not make any useful contribution so I declined.
The second job was a graveyard in Timsbury, a job which involved streaming over 100 graves each of which were in a different condition. Most of them had not been touched for some time. I estimated that as each grave had to be treated as a separate entity, it would take around two days to do the whole thing and then once it had been done, maintenance would have been less expensive than two days. The Parish Church Council had a meeting and they decided that one of them would “have a go”. I said that the graveyard had reached such a stage that having a go would only result in further mess and I was not prepared to go along and clear up someone else’s mess. People do not realise how much work is involved in getting something from a dishevelled state into a working condition.
The third job was even more complicated. It was in a place called Shoscombe, which is close to the middle of nowhere as I can recall, deep in the country along small winding lanes, up and down hills, up hill and down dale as they would say in my native Yorkshire. The customer had bought an area of land behind his house which he hoped to sell for housing. Unfortunately, an area of land is only as good as the access which was of a very narrow lane, down at least 100 yards of track, actually part of a field. The grass was so high that we had to wade through it. The garden itself was a complete mess which although small in area had a number of carpets laid upon it to prevent weeds growing.
I asked the customer if he had got planning permission and he replied that an architect friend of his was coming along the following week to give advice. I said that our input would be relevant only if the way was clear, or likely to be clear, for a building. Without this permission, the purchased land would be virtually worthless or at best could be used only for agriculture. The problem with the track was that it was narrow and the lane at the other end was also very narrow probably just about the width of a lorry. In order to go down the track it would have to be made good and to further complicate things, there was nowhere to turn at the end.
I told the customer to call me when he had sorted out its problems. I do not expect to hear from him again. This is a good lesson when buying any land. You need to think ahead to what you want and what are the conditions necessary for the success of your plans. The customer failed to do this and I think will suffer accordingly.