What Lies Beneath
Thank you for your concern about the dark clouds over Hotel H, they involve people who are very dear to me and that’s all I can say but your kindness is much appreciated.
As well as fears for others, we’ve been beset by general worries; slow progress on the boat engine has put Tom in the doldrums whilst I keep looking at the Great Green Monster in the garden, aka, the oil tank, wondering how much more of our budget it’s going to devour. With chores building up after our run of visitors I decided that sitting around worrying wasn’t doing me any good so I’d start tackling the backlog, beginning with the garden.
Inspired by Wizzard’s composting blog,(http://wizzardsfirstrule.blogspot.com/ - why can't I get the script prompt to work?) I took the plunge and decided to get to grips with the wormery. Now a wormery is fine and dandy at the beginning; it arrives pristine and shiny with a little bag of bedding material and your very own compost worms. You simply put the lot together and let it settle for a week before gradually building up the amount of kitchen waste you add. After about eight weeks you can start tapping off the liquid and that, dear reader, is your first shock.
I remember shortly after moving here, one lovely sunny day when I’d thrown all the windows open, suddenly being hit by the most mephitic, eye-watering stink which sent me scurrying for cover. The farmer opposite was dredging his cowshed, although he may well have uncovered the pit of hell as well. Imagine that on a slightly smaller, wormier scale and you get the picture. Worm wee really smells. And they do a lot of it. Much more than I can use. In addition to wee, the worms produce compost; some wormeries have chambers to help you decant the layers – mine doesn’t. Recently it’s become a huge, bloated bin swarming with fruit flies and, having sought advice from Wizzard, it was time to face the inevitable.
Tom and I moved the wormery to the middle of the garden where we hoped the neighbours wouldn’t think we were waging germ warfare on them and lifted the lid. The house martins went berserk eating all the fruit flies whilst Tom and I started forking out the horrible, smelly, caramel dog-poo coloured contents. If there is ever a lesson in reaping what you sow this was it. All the instructions that come with the wormery? They’re there for a reason! They don’t tell you to avoid excess moisture content and add lots of shredded paper for fun but because it’s essential if you don’t want to find yourself up to the elbow in evil slime. The don’t tell you to chop up woody stalks to give you something to do but so you won’t have to extract ancient, stinky stems of old cabbage and cauliflower that has been marinating in worm wee months later.
With cries from Jeremy and Tracy next door about the sewage smells wafting in their direction and mutterings from Tom that he’d attended sweeter-scented post-mortems, we finally managed to harvest our seam of useable compost, turning the rest of it over with plenty of shredded paper and calcified seaweed and sticking it back in the freshly washed bin. I can’t say that what we dug out was exactly teeming with worms but I’m hoping that the ones who’ve made it this far will appreciate their spring clean and turn what’s left in the bin into something a little more user-friendly.
I’ve resumed work on an idea for the next novel which I started last year before the rewrite of FTT. The working title is 'Make, Do and Mend' - what do you do to set right a terrible mistake?
Painting is 'Orange Rope' by Tom Tomos