It’s Sunday morning, 23 September 2012 and Christine and Himself was up with the lark at 6.00 a.m.: destination, a leafy street of late Victorian Accrington brick houses in a quiet Preston suburb.
After motoring a sinuous route round the back of Pendle Hill, down through Downham, thence via Clitheroe, Longridge and a string of other attractive Lancashire villages and hamlets, we eventually arrived in the Preston suburb where we were to collect two stone troughs.
Himself alongside the larger of the Frog House, Windy Willows Mews York Sandstone troughs, now on display at our Dandelion Premises.
On our arrival at Frog House, on Windy Willows Mews, the owner Mister Trod, a pleasant mannered, be-whiskered chap, smilingly ushered us through an attractive hand-forged iron gate, then down a pebbly path into a most delightful, verdant cottage garden that was filled with hosts of colourful flowers whose perfume filled the air.
Pointing to a stone paved area close by a rockery of Cumberland stone, Mister Trod said, “These are the two stone troughs you have come to collect”.
We feasted our eyes on two beautiful specimens of stone troughs (actually these were shallow stone sinks dating back to when Queen Victoria ruled a third of the globe – used for washing laundry or for the salting of pig flesh, thus preserving the meat for future consumption).
We had previously purchased the stone troughs on EBAY. The outer surfaces of both troughs were liberally covered in highly attractive bright green mosses and purple lichens, and were also planted out with a dazzling colourful carpet of beautiful alpines that clung on to every crevice of the time-weathered York stone.
The task for Himself was now to lever up the larger of the two troughs by the use of his trusty steel pinch-bar, using a brick as a fulcrum point. Himself quickly achieved this arduous task, the end resulting in both troughs resting on carefully placed bricks. The procedure calls for some degree of patience when inserting the pinch-bar beneath the troughs, thus safe- After wrapping all around with protective plastic bubble-wrap material, both troughs were then up-ended by Himself, whose aging biceps, with not a little effort, took the strain and coped well.
The next piece of DANDELION equipment was then brought into play. Our trusty steel-framed, much abused sack cart. This incredibly functional, and highly beneficial bit of mechanical wizardry was then loaded with the large trough. Himself girthing his loins and flexing his arm muscles in readiness for more muscle-shearing, back-grinding effort then started to propel the sack cart’s heavy load up the inclined pebbly path, thence out past the house and on to the lane where the DANDELION Fiat van was parked.
Wiping the sweat from his brow with muddy hands, and then grasping the tubular handles of the cart, Himself was just about to launch himself into ‘Cart-Horse Mode’, when the genial Mister Trod suddenly popped up with a large glass jug of ginger beer in each hand.
“Ah! MR. DANDELION, I thought you and your good lady wife were by now in need of some refreshment”, he said, displaying a mouth of white teeth whilst lifting up both glass jugs.
Christine and I noticed he was followed by a beautiful pixie-like young lady with golden hair and sky-blue eyes. Pixie was carrying a tray heaped with slices of cherry cake. Directing us both a short distance down to a sunny glade at the bottom of the garden, Mister Trod invited us to take a seat on a limestone garden bench.
“Please partake of my home-brewed ginger beer and my wife’s lovely cherry cake”.
A couple of minutes ticked by as we enjoyed the refreshments whilst watching the comical antics of a little red-breasted robin that was busily gorging itself on a host of ant-like creatures that had emerged from a piece of rotten log.
Following our repast, and with both stone troughs safely manoeuvred up the specially fabricated steel ramp plate and into the back of the DANDELION van, after securing with ratchet straps our work at Frog House was now completed.
With a firm handshake and a flash of his white teeth, the ever-smiling Mister Trod bade us both a safe bon voyage, and we then set off north east towards the distant misty Pennines.
Later, that Sunday afternoon back home in our courtyard, the troughs were safely off-loaded and placed on display on old Staffordshire Blue bricks. Our trough-seeking mission was thus accomplished and what a most delicious, enjoyable day we had experienced.