Thursday, 30 October 2008

The Chalk Cliff

The field behind us climbs to above roof level and after heavy rain mud slides down the bank at the corner of the field and across our drive. These mudslides have periodically happened for years and the previous owners had an agreement with Monsieur F (who owns the field) and the local commune that "after the harvest" the corner would be shored up to hold back the mud.

That agreement was made three years ago and when we bought, the notaire confirmed that the work would be done "after the harvest". That was a year ago. From time to time we trotted into the mayor's office and with lots of smiles all round, various excuses were put forward and new dates suggested. So when the mayor said "after the harvest" this year, we smiled, nodded and didn't believe him.

But this year it happened! Three lorry loads of chalk cliff were dumped in our drive. The corner of the field was scraped back, the ditch at the bottom deepened and a bastion of white rock layered with mud created.

It is very white. So I've planted ground cover in the pockets between the rocks: cotoneaster, ceanothus, ivy, vinca, rock roses, variegated elaeagnus. In time they will spread and the whiteness will be subdued.

When it rains heavily the water that runs down into the ditch is milky.

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