It’s alpinism, Jim, but not as we know it!

Marigold Noel the Mountain Maker

Austerity measures in the StripeyAnne household mean no Easter trip to the mountains, instead, the mountains are coming to us, our very own peaks, rock faces, gullies and alpine meadows. What’s amazing is, they fit in our garden, what’s even more amazing is, Noel created them!

No, there wasn’t a deity-like ‘Let there be’ utterance from Noel. It was more a mixing of cement, sand and peat to make Hypertufa, which is like tufa, a variety of limestone, except more so, in other words, hyper.

The smelly, sticky cement mix, once dried out on its trough-like template using the cat’s old abandoned litter tray, will become a home for gentian, saxifrage, glacier buttercup and the old bless-my-homeland-forever edelweiss. Messing with geography and geology, we’ll have out very own mini Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa within centimetres of each other.

We love the alpine flowers we see when we’re out in the mountains, they live in cracks and crevices, cling to tiny flakes of rock and push their way through spring snow. Inspiration for this home-made mountain expedition came at the Harrogate Spring Flower Show where troughs for alpines were on sale at massively inflated prices. We’re from Yorkshire, we don’t pay that kind of money for rocks! A quick Google and Noel had the recipe for Hypertufa, a mixture that weathers and looks like the real thing.

So for the price of a trip to Wickes and two specials from Brian’s Belly Busting Butties, the lard wagon parked outside to ambush DIYers who need sustenance before embarking on serious tea-drinking and the thinking phase of the planned DIY, we were ready to rock and roll.

Only the Genesis mountains were built in a day so the Calverley Massif, as it will be known in generations to come, will have reached its peak in a few weeks, when the plants can be planted and enjoyed. We’ll celebrate with a few bottle of Leffe and Mountain Dew.

Meanwhile, Cat and I are laying foundations for the rivers and valley settlements

A little help from my friend

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