Pond Life and A Visit

I had a surprise today. This.

In the spring of 2014, as he waded his way through his law exams, the Lawyer asked if we could build a pond in the garden. ‘If you dig it out,’ I said.


He meant it. He did most of it; I did some and some of his friends, emboldened by free beers did the rest.

Over a few weeks, beginning in July 2014 Ā a hole appeared.

Then came a flash flood and we had a pond!

It wouldn’t last, even though we were digging into the clammiest, stickiest, disgustingest clay London’s substrata could throw up.

We were lucky to have at our side the Pond Guru (the PG). ‘You’ll need 2 tonnes of sand and a liner. I recommend hold slates as a lip before we make an edge to hold the liner in place.’

Was it really that complex. And then I was named for the bucket challenge. I do loathe my family at times.

But, having got this far we bought the gubbins and prepared for two hard days of pond building.

We emptied the water (that is,Ā IĀ emptied the rainwater) and the PG came round to set everything up.

We worked hard but…

After a full day in the sun…

We had a sand- lined hole, ready for the liner.

The next day the liner went in…

And we began to fill it with water.

Sooooo exciting.

We were shattered. We agreed we’d leave it a couple of days and then finished the slate lip and edging.

But I couldn’t resist putting in a couple of slates and…


I dropped one and, of course, Sod being my personal Patron Saint, it shot to the bottom, sharp edge first and neatly and effectively pierced the liner. A one inch slit. That’s all. But it ruined the pond. It leaked, the liner swelled, the sand collapsed and we knew we would have to empty it, and dig it out, starting all over again.

Everyone was a little put out by this; they were quite nice ‘Not your fault Dad/Geoff/You-Total-Tosswat) but I knew they didn’t really mean it.

I sourced another liner; this one was made of vulcanised granite and you could drop a Stanley knife on it without the blade piercing it

(a note for those who find themselves in the position of having such a quality product – take the word of the manufacturer – do not actually drop a Stanley knife on it: it will bounce and try and sever a necessary artery).

We waited until the spring and set too again, the PG and me – by now the Lawyer was revising for his finals and a little on the stressy side – lots of knowing looks and encouragement.

He did get involved in one innovation since the first attempt – the sleeper bridge which has proved to be a hit.

This time the sand lining and the liner itself went in quickly. We had prepared the logs and rocks that would edge the pond and numbered them carefully.

It was a far more professional operation and went very smoothly. In a way the delay did us a favour.

Soon enough, it became a focus for us – a happy place. Ducks visited, a heron and we acquired tadpoles and newts, multiple insects including dragonflies.


We thought they had mated but the life cycle of the dragonfly is mostly underwater so we couldn’t be sure.

You have to await the nymphs crawling up the iris leaves and shedding their skins. Today, the first five appeared.

We have families of toads from the spawn and now dragonflies.

It remains a happy place, a family project and a reminder that

I may be a clumsy numpty but I’m a lucky clumsy numpty

because without my depth-bombing slate

we wouldn’t have the pond we have today and may not be enjoying such prolific wildlife. You can’t put a price on such rank dumb luck.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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23 Responses to Pond Life and A Visit

  1. Mary Smith says:

    Well done to you all. It looks wonderful. And congratulations on the dragonflies.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lucy Brazier says:

    Beautiful! I actually gasped ‘oh no!’ out loud when you dropped the slab. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. And it makes a great story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Darlene says:

    What a lovely pond. I love how the dog was always around supervising! He seems to approve of the job.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. willowdot21 says:

    What a glorious and happy post, a garden and pond Mum would be so pleased with … no to mention what a lovely family you have! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ritu says:

    Love this His Geoffleship!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are indeed a most fortunate numpty!! The pond is beautiful. The family is too and the Dog is an ever present wonder šŸ™‚ The ‘sleeper bridge’ idea intrigues me – what made you want it in the first place? And do you perch on it over the centre of the pond and investigate what’s going on down there?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. JT Twissel says:

    You can’t put a price on dumb luck – so true! What a lovely story šŸ‘

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love your pond Geoff, it is so pretty and choc full with character. I did laugh my head off when I read about you dropping that slate!! Thank God it turned out to be a blessing in the end šŸ™‚


  9. Mick Canning says:

    It looks great, and so good to have your own little ecosystem.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A most impressive project. The last lump of slate I dropped saw off a big toe nail

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow! man you certainly did great hard work there

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: I Have Worms! | TanGental

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