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The country may be slowly reopening but this Easter our focus has been on the home front. No exotic jaunts or days out just slogging to do work around the house. I suppose you could call it a traditional Easter in some ways as we joined dozens of other people trying to get into a local DIY superstore (B and Queue, as it were)…

For years we’d promised ourselves that we’d do something about the virtually inaccessible narrow strip of land above our terraced garden at the back of our house. It’s not our land, in fact none of our neighbors know who owns it either. It’s been left to turn into a mess of Russian vine, ivy and Sycamore trees which have started to encroach on us and overwhelmed the gorgeous Boston Ivy that we used to have covering the high wall at the back of the terrace. The only way to gain access to the strip is by dropping a ladder over the wall from the road above it, so the for the past few days that what I’ve done. Today, armed with extra cutter C/o B&Q and myself joined by Dawn, we made some serious inroads into the mess, clearing all the parapet above our cottage and making some serious inroads into the neighbors on either side (much to their appreciation). We did it all with hand-tools which was masochistic but damned good exercise – even if I expect to feel sore tomorrow!

The Russian vine (God, how I hate that stuff, there’s a very good reason its other name is ‘mile a minute’) has taken a severe beating and several Sycamores trees are no more – none of which were occupied by any nesting birds, so I’m not expecting a visit from anti HS2 ‘tree protectors’. Taking these things down with a Bow saw certainly gives you a workout! Dawn was convinced that the work would give us a lot more light but I was skeptical. In the event I was proved wrong. It’s made a huge difference. Now we just have one more tree trunk remaining and a load of ivy to clear – as well as cutting up some of the Sycamores that have fallen into the gardens (the rest we’re leaving on the derelict land as a wildlife sanctuary). So, hardly the most exciting bank-holiday weekend but satisfying nonetheless.

Now, in the finest Monty Python tradition, it’s time for something completely different – the picture of the day. I did manage to get a few more old slides scanned yesterday evening and this is one of the results. I took this picture on the 14th March 1992 at the Buddhist temple at Bodnath, just outside Kathmandu in Nepal. A small group of us who’d met on the way from India had stayed in Nagarkot in the Kathmadu valley and then walked back to the city. Bodnath was en-route. The stupa is huge and the site is a fascinating place to visit, even if you’re not of any religious persuasion as it’s a great place to people watch as the devout (many of whom are Tibetan refugees) walk around the base of the stupa singly or in groups, spinning their personal prayer-wheels or using the ones that line the base of the tower whilst prayer-flags (like so much bunting, only with a more meaningful purpose) flutter in the breeze.

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