We have a whiteboard in the kitchen which is the place to record that we are running out of tea or cheese. It also records jobs that need doing, and, in my theory at least, these are vaguely "current" jobs as opposed to one of Ian's masterlists of the hundreds that things that need to be done in house, cottage and on the land. We have had one of these for years and every now and then the children, now way old enough to know better so obviously never going to grow out of it, adorn it with gently mickey-taking cartoons.
Completely belying my "current jobs" theory, we have had "ivy at back of house" on there for what feels like months and may be years. Here is an idea as to why.
We had established that somewhere under there were some stone steps which would allow you to climb up on to the rocky higher ground behind the house so we went looking, Ian armed with a billhook while I had my trusty Felco secateurs. The area under the yew trees was dense with ivy, all the way to the rickety treehouse.
Slowly the steps emerged from what had been an ivy covered steepness. It was a good job to do although these steps will hardly be in constant use. All that is up there is the high curve of land which protects the house from the prevailing winds and the huge beech trees which line the boundary with our neighbours' farm. This was part of the reason for finding the steps as Ian is keen that our neighbour's son, who has a business working on trees, should reduce the height and width of the beech trees. As always I want the least done that preserves the safety of the house and am swimming against the tide of male, chainsaw wielding opinion. So the question of improving access to the trees was the practical reason for extricating the steps.
But for me there was something magical about seeing them appear, like the magic of ruins or the half tug at the heart of the forgotten, overgrown garden.
I think they are rather beautiful, our steps to nowhere.
Perhaps it is time to get the fixing of the rickety tree house on the whiteboard.