After the overflowing streams and mud cascading off the road two weeks ago it was time to clear out the drain into the ‘top’ pond. Both ponds, top and bottom, were refurbished, dug out and rebuilt, twenty years ago, but time and storms have taken their toll and the top pond is now no more than a silted drain off the road.
First stage went well, using the rods, I was able to clear the pipe that runs to the pond from the road, but the problem remained, to clear what was now a clogged ditch so that there was some drainage away to the bottom pond.
That is where I became too ambitious. The only standing as I cleared the ditch into the pond was the grassed over mud bank in what twenty years ago was cleared pond. At first, there was not too much difficulty, but then one wellington boot started to sink deeper despite the grass layer under my sole. It was time to move away, but I lingered too long. Suction built under my foot, then the mud was deeper than the wellie’s length and cold pond water flooded in. At least it was only one foot – I was able to keep the other moving a fraction, but it seemed I was going to have to abandon one wellie to the pond. Even that wasn’t simple. The mud gripped the frail boot and the foot inside, and no hard grounding to the pond was to be found.
Meantime my dog, Canna, was happily ‘four legged walking’ over the pond. I thought Canna might come to my assistance – she’s a Labrador, weren’t her ancestors meant to haul in fishing boats on the north-eastern Canadian coast? She thought my antics, now spread-eagled in the mud trying to spread my weight as I levered at the sunken leg and boot, was a splendid game, she licked my face hovering only inches above the muddy turf, almost the only part of me not covered in mud, and ran off round the pond.
Luckily I was still grasping my long-handled spade. I laid it flat on the mud and grass surface, and inspired by our gold medal gymnasts, pressed up on the bar. Slow, but sure, my sunken leg, with its wellie attached, surfaced and I was able to crawl to safe ground.
Lesson learned, it is time for a cunning plan to dredge the top pond and redesign the road drain so that the run-off no longer silts the pond.