Stone Hedge comes at a cost
IN THE middle of our backyard we have a circle of rocks which I christened "Stone Hedge”.
Anyone who reads my column will know that there was an olive tree in the middle of it that Rita and I took down a few weeks back - and that I managed not to drop a branch on her noggin in the process.
You will also know that I put up a couple of garden lights to make it look purty.
Except it didn't.
What those lights showed up at night was a messy piece of dirt with rocks around it.
So it came time to go to Stage 3, which was to lay pavers inside said circle.
On our last trip to Hooterville I borrowed our mate, Lorna's heavy duty 6x4, on the proviso that I return it within two weeks.
Now to find some pavers.
Onto Buy, Swap and Sell and there are millions of them - all at $1 a pop.
That doesn't sound like much, but when we need an estimated 320, the price starts to spiral.
I contacted a few and offered 50 cents each, but got knocked back each time.
Pointing out that their posts had been up for weeks didn't sway anyone - which is why there are millions of 'em still at $1, blocking up people's backyards.
Then my sharp eyed Rita spots some in Bendigo with the post 'make an offer'.
This is more like it! So she contacts the seller and offers to take what we want away for nothing.
And would you believe, the seller turns into a giver!
Rita did offer for me to dig up any extra that we may need which swayed the woman. A good wheeler and dealer is my wife!
We arrive the next morning to a mountainous pile of various sizes, back the trailer up and within the hour we have five layers loaded with what we want - and without having to dig up a single paver.
The seller had long disappeared inside so with just a tinge of guilt, Rita knocks on the door to maybe offer a couple of bucks.
Guess she didn't hear her one decibel knock.
With the trailer well down on its haunches we wend our way back to MooTown where I unload them - 280 in all, which is down a bit on what I'd estimated.
That was the easy part. It's been 10 years since I last laid pavers and the difference between 56 and 66 is telling.
I clear the area and go buy some brick dust to use as a base.
Then I start to lay. I do three rows and stand back to admire my handiwork.
Then I pull them up and do it all again - this time with a spirit level on hand.
Of course, the 'dead flat' block we have slopes back to front so, after a level area for the fire pit and seating, I slope them down to the stone hedge.
This was intentional, so don't look at the photo and knock me, all right?
I work all the next day without lunch - which is a good thing as I've plonked on a couple of kilos and by night-time it's all but finished - those 280 pavers being the exact number needed. And I ache!
But hey, we have somewhere to sit around a fire when our Tom and Laura return from Japan in a couple of weeks.
I'm finishing the edges the following morning when Rita excitedly calls me over.
She's seen a brand new nine piece outdoor lounge suite on FB for $303, including postage. She shows me and it does look brilliant.
"We've gotta have that.”
I think a tiny part of my mind was trying to push a big question mark before me but her excitement was infectious.
"Let's go for it,” says I.
She jumps on the website and orders it. 'Delivery in six days' says the blurb.
She completes the order, watches $303 disappear from our bank account and comments "Do you think we've done the right thing?”
That question mark pops out and I say, "If it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true”.
They send a receipt and the next day we get another email saying it's been despatched with a tracking number.
Rita has been looking up that tracking number for the past three days only to find a blank page.
Did I mention what a good businesswoman she is?
Talking to a mate about it, he mentioned this fantastic foldaway bed he ordered from China for $80 delivered.
Six weeks later he got a 12x12 inch plastic screw box.
It didn't even come with screws - much less a fold- away bed to screw together.
If our lounge turns up I'll happily name the company and what a bargain we got. If it's a no-show I'll still happily name the company and what rip-offs they are.
Take care of you, Kermie