Today was a short gardening day, because I went to a carol service in the morning, followed by lunch. I'd offered to bring food and help with the lunch, and so ended up having to set the alarm clock because the hostess asked if I could do some cheese scones, and a scone made the previous day is nothing compared to one made the same morning. I've never actually made cheese scones before, and never got to try one, but I gather they were fine. They looked nice. Maybe one of these days I will make some for our lunch, and we could have them with soup. The Systems Administrator admitted to being partial to a cheese scone.
The SA was hard at work while I was out building a pond cover out of wooden battens and galvanised wire netting. Mr Fidget has fallen in the pond twice so far, and as the season for frozen ponds approached we realised we both had the same uneasy vision of Mr Fidget running out to the middle of the ice and falling through, before surfacing under the ice or else scrabbling unsuccessfully at the edges of the hole he'd made as they crumbled further. Neither of us wanted to lose Mr Fidget, or to spend the next fifteen years reimagining his last moments, and neither of us trusted him to stay off the ice. It is true that none of the previous cats have managed to kill themselves in the pond, but Mr Fidget is in a league of his own, jumping on top of the wood burning stove while it was lit, and prancing crabwise up to the neighbours' Airedale at the tender age of four months in the belief that it would run away.
It was the Systems Administrator who came up with the idea of covering the pond, and we debated various methods and materials before settling on a solution. At one point a floating framework was mooted, but the final design sits over the pond. The battens sag under their own weight, and if any of the cats try to walk along them they will soon get wet feet, which with any luck will put them off. If they fall off the wire will stop them going right under, though they will get very wet indeed, and even if one of the battens broke the wire would still act as scramble netting. What we did not want to do was build a structure that was supposed to make the pond safer, only to find that it tempted the cats on to the pond when they might otherwise have ignored it, or trapped them in some way. Two corners of the frame are weighed down with paving slabs, and even without the weight it feels too heavy for the cats to move, and it is so low that I don't think the wind will shift it.
Come the spring the cross battens can be unscrewed so that the rest of the frame rolls up for storage. We shouldn't need it for more than a year or two, as surely Mr Fidget must become a little less hyperactive as he gets older. Mustn't he?
I spent a useful hour cutting the edges of the lawn until it got dark. Thus does progress in the garden creep on.