It is Divine

It is divine. Really it was de-vine day. The day to de-vine Cliftoria and its converted “stables”. Last Sunday I arrived with tools of plant destruction. I do admit the vines look attractive. If our buildings were ruins they would be a very attractive feature. However they have taken over gutters and worked their way around pipes and other important services on the outside of the house. Some were even invading the inside of the house and stables. So the vines had to go.

Sharen wasn’t keen on me using a ladder when I was there by myself so I had to content myself with brute force from the ground. Wearing a pair of gloves and working from outside vines inwards I set to work. It was quite surprising how easily most of the vines came down. I could watch vines that ended above the second floor window come loose and drop down as a single thread amongst the others. The process was not too onerous although I couldn’t get all of it off. Some are very much imbedded between pipes and the wall and wouldn’t move. So in what may turn out to be a bad move I have cut them off from their base.  I’m hoping that they will dry out a bit and become loose. If not at least they will stop growing and I’ll get a ladder later on and bring down the remnants. I also discovered that there is a few inches of soil against the bottom of the brick walls that will have to be removed to elsewhere in the garden.  The excess soil built up onto the walls prevent them from drying properly and promotes rising damp.


Cliftoria before


Cliftoria after de-vining

After removing what I could from Cliftoria I moved onto the stables where the vines had used the gutters to set themselves up for the assault on covering the roof. A small gutter came down in my efforts while a much longer one has been turned over from my efforts getting the vines out. As we will have to replace the roof of the stables they will be set right then.


Stables before


Stables after de-vining

I’m afeared that it might be the type of vine that grows from pieces of itself so I want to make sure it is dead first. So I piled them in a heap on some open concrete paving between the house and stables so that they have a chance to properly die before I will turn them into compost.


The mound in the centre is all the vine I got down. The gutter in the lower right of the picture is the one that fell off.

To finish up I mowed most of the back lawns, with a mower powered by me. I don’t do much exercise but I do like using a push mower. I didn’t quite finish before it started becoming dark with clouds and very, very windy and I had to pack up.


Mown grass.

I took a few breaks from all this activity during the day by making my way to the big front balcony and sipped coffee made from a thermos and drank vast quantities of water. On my first trip up there I discovered the same cat as pictured in the last blog sitting on a table. It can make its way up the outside of the house and onto the balcony. It was staring intently up at the corner of the balcony roof where a couple of birds have made a nest. I’m fairly sure that the cat won’t be able to make it to the nest although it is obviously trying to work out a way to do so.

4 responses to “It is Divine

  1. De-vining is hard work. I had to do it to the Grotto and am struggling with the persistence as they keep coming back. Looks like it was a successful but massive effort for you with multiple buildings.

  2. Hey John – sorry for taking so long to make a comment on your blog 🙂 I love looking at old houses and trying to decipher them, ever since I was a small person. The stables that are definitely not stables – I wonder if they date back to the period that Cliftoria was used as a private hospital. A family home wouldn’t have stables that close to the back of the house, but a hospital would mostly like need a facilities or wet room, like a laundry.

  3. I doubt that the “stables” ever were stables. Everyone has called them that and I doubt we can change the name at this point. The eves are so low that a regular sized horse could not get into the building. One room was very much a laundry in that it has the paint shadows of three laundry troughs with taps still in the walls and cut off drain pipes in the floor.

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