November (or Movember if you are growing a moustache for charity) is the month when we start our maintenance on the outside of the house. The roof, windows, drain pipes, parapets and drains all inspected and repaired where necessary. It is always necessary!
We are surrounded by beautiful mature deciduous trees which shed a gazillion leaves over a four to five week period, November winds pick them up and deposit them in drifts everywhere, but mainly in the roof gullies and the drainage system, thus rendering them useless unless they are cleaned out every other day. Gullies are the worst as reaching into an eighteen inch deep round hole only slightly bigger than ones arm which is full of icy water, mud and leaves is bad enough – the discovery of a very large toad (we have lots breeding in the lake) who is quietly hibernating and starts squirming madly in ones hand just adds to the general disenchantment.
Our Groundsman, General Handyman and all round good egg Ian blows the leaves into vast piles on the lawns (gone are the awful days of raking endlessly). We then spend several days pushing them onto a tarpaulin and dragging them into piles in a corner somewhere . They are then ignored for a few years – this is apparently known as mulching, but Ian and I have another name for it.
Leaf mulch is much prized by our gardeners, and I really do love our trees, but just occasionally I do wish for just the odd Spruce!!