When we were headteachers together, our little band incanted that saying we all learned in the infant playground - "I'll show you mine if you show me yours..." We were part of a lovely, trusting group of friends and so all our health and safety policies or home school agreements ... and on and on and on ... would show a striking resemblance. It was great working in that spirit of mutual support in which I could pass other peoples ideas off as my own. I remember one occasion when a friend was expecting a school inspection and asked to use my Equal Opportunities policy. I was pleased to send it across especially since it was his policy in the first place and I'd replaced his school name with ours. I saw it as a form of recycling and energy efficiency. It certainly saved my energy.
So, there we are, at RHS Rosemoor in North Devon for a reverential day looking at plants. Bliss! When, what is hanging there to solve our problem..... but a rain chain made from plastic chains.
Now, let me explain. Our architect, Mike Ellison is superb. But he also likes to challenge his clients. And right, slap bang in the view on the right from our lounge window should be a gutter downpipe. Not the prettiest of things to look at, I can tell you.
Which is where the idea of rain chains comes in. Instead of a downpipe, we have a chain down which the rain trickles on rainy days.
But, my gosh, brass rain chains (with every link in the shape of a butterfly .... or umbrella ... or a bereted octopus playing the French Horn whilst dancing on the roof of a 1964 Ford Cortina) are mighty costly. And then, the RHS Rosemoor revelation. Plastic chains. Why didn't I think of that?
So here you see the first of our two rain chains. Not quite finished yet. The Great Man suggested building a container around each which could collect the rain and create a terrace feature with aquatic plants. The container would conceal the vertical drain pipe, down which the rain will trickle when it reaches the required level so that the container doesn't flood onto the terrace. Brilliant.
And with more than a nod to biodiversity too. It will be so great to provide our own aquatic mosquito nursery with all those wriggling nymphs, just building up a mighty hunger. Till, one warm evening they'll emerge from their watery home and only have to fly a few feet to feed ravenously on us while
sitting on the terrace. Our guests will be like a convenience store for mosquitoes....