“That has to be the world’s most boring way to spend £10,000” remarked my husband after we were given the terrifyingly expensive quote to replace our clapped out septic tank with a shiny new sewage treatment system. He was right, and it got me thinking about all of the other things we spend money on that are absolutely essential but also, when you get down to it, incredibly dull-sounding to most people. Take, for example, the compost pile. We wanted to keep the kitchen garden relatively neat and to try to control the rats we thought we’d almost inevitably get on the piles, so we had the landscapers build us some open wooden bins. Then we noticed Maddie the Dog of Doom sneaking up there on a regular basis to wolf down whatever was smelliest (and then to throw it up again in the kitchen) so we had some gates installed. We also have a shed, and most recently, a leaf liner bin made of some posts and chicken wire which we will use for the massive numbers of leaves that carpet the place every autumn. All of these things are essential on a smallholding, but they’re not exactly thrilling. Well they are to me (just think of all that lovely free leaf mould next year!) but I can understand why others might find them a less than exciting way to spend money. Their eyes glaze over as I march them up to our new compost bins and wax lyrical about all the lovely moist compost we’re going to end up with. By the time I get on to which bin is currently being used, they’re casting desperate sideways glances at the house. More fool them say I. It is an investment, and I’m glad we have them, but I also find myself aching to get on with the “pretty” bits of gardening which is why this weekend will see me outside planting myrtle and hydrangea bushes along with a load of bare rooted roses. Services are all well and good, but bring on the digging!