Every Summer has a story

The second summer in Our Pile of Rubble was full of exciting new adventures. We were lucky enough to have several return visitors staying in ‘The Bakery’ and lots of friends visiting our Pile of Rubble. Summer for us is a time for concentrating on the outside space that The Tall One had created. Summer 2019, saw us redesign the outside area. This came about after a very good friend of ours found it hard to sleep one night, and came up with an interesting design idea…..

Our outside areas had been designed when Our Pile of Rubble had no usable inside space. The summer house, had been sourced and built by our dream team, before we had even thought about turning the Air Raid Shelter into a bar. As a result it faced away from our Air Raid Shelter bar, which has now been named St Boniface.

Named after the Downs our Air Raid Shelter bar faces & The Tall Ones Grandparents house.

The Air Raid Shelter bar had taken a long time to create, we had various ideas for our Air Raid Shelter, when we first found it at the bottom of the garden. However turning it into a bar, seemed the best idea to both The Tall One and The Short One.

The Air Raid Shelter looked pretty lost at the bottom of the garden

We had uncovered the Air Raid Shelter at the bottom of the garden when we decided to clear the area, and fence around our boundary. It had a blast wall in front of the small side opening, which was removed before the main area had been cleared. We had not noticed the Air Raid Shelter when we first viewed Our Pile of Rubble, however once we had found it, we decided that it needed to be kept, and used for something other than storage.

The Air Raid Shelter had been used for storage
The Blast wall was pretty thick

Both The Tall One and The Short One, thought it would be pretty easy to cut through the side of the Air Raid Shelter to create the bar opening. The Tall One measured the opening, and marked out the size of the beam needed to create the bar. We had kept an Oak beam from the inside of Our Pile of Rubble, and then we ensured that the opening would be just the right size to reuse the Oak beam in the new Air Raid Shelter bar.

Charlie our dream team member who had become head of garden design started to cut through the side of the bar.

Day one, and after finding as many tools as possible, The Tall One, The Short One and Charlie a member of our dream team, began the Air Raid Shelter transformation. Unfortunately, what we hadn’t factored into our equation, was the fact that the Air Raid Shelter had been built to withstand heavy bombing during the Second World War. What we thought would be a straight forward job, turned into a month long labour of love.

Everything got covered in brick dust
The tools got bigger

As the days turned into weeks, and the opening began to take shape, it became clear that we would need much bigger tools, and a bit more muscle, to complete the front of our Air Raid Shelter bar. Absolutely everything in the garden and the surrounding area was covered in brick dust, and we discovered that at evenly spaced intervals, the Air Raid Shelter had thick steel rods running through it. Thankfully one of our best (and tallest!) friends came to our rescue. With very large power tools, and brute force, we finally created our bar opening.

Finally we had our opening, big enough for the Short One to see out of.
Bigger tools, and bigger friends

Once we had our opening, the fitting out process could begin. First we had to make a new door. The old one didn’t fit and was held together with a twig. Next The Tall One designed the inside space. Whilst it was small, with a few clever design additions, our bar became fully stocked, and ready to welcome its first guests.

Now this arrangement worked well for a while, we had some awesome evenings centred around St Boniface Bar, and we even had some famous guests and a TV crew arrive to see what was going on.

Until one night, when our very good friend couldn’t sleep and the Great Summer Garden makeover of 2019 began……….

The Tall One, The Short One and our most famous guest.

First we needed to turn around the summer house. This formed the starting point for the Great Garden Makeover. Our good friend had an excellent idea about how this could be achieved, we just needed to execute the manoeuvre and find some willing volunteers.

We needed to pull back the grass, and extend the base in order to turn the summer house around

The Great Summer Garden makeover, involved turning the summer house around, and placing it against the fence. However in order to do this, we had to remove the grass and extend the concrete base. This would free up space between St Boniface bar and the summer house. We originally had the BBQ and Pizza oven against the garden wall. The Tall One had created garden zones, and our outdoor kitchen ran up to the hot tub.

Gabion baskets had been filled with IOW stone to create work tops and hold a very large ice bucket.

Once the new summer house base had been completed and the summer house rotated round, the idea was to remove the Gabions filled with very heavy IOW stone and build a BBQ shack. Turning the old BBQ zone into a new undercover seating area.

The Gabion baskets also held an old BBQ that had become a large ice bucket.

The first step, which had to be completed before we could lift and turn the Summer house, was to extend the base. We had a patch of grass that had to be removed, and the base had to be levelled and concreted. We enlisted the help of one of the original members of our dream team, and the mixer also made a guest appearance, back in Our Pile of Rubble, where it had started.

The mixer and Tom, made a guest appearance for one day only.

Now apparently, the first step was supposed to be the easiest…… However we had run electric cable down to our summer house, when it was the only usable space in Our Pile of Rubble, and doubled as a lounge and chill out area for our dream team, during the days before Our Pile of Rubble had running water or power. All of this needed to be disconnected and relocated prior to the big move. Again this would be a swift and easy manoeuvre, according to our friends.

Electrics Relocated.

After the male members of our newly formed garden makeover team had a discussion about the best way to move the summer house. The first job was to screw bits of wood to the sides, and then there seemed to be a lengthy discussion about the best way to lift and move. Whilst this discussion took place, The Short One, and the female members of our garden makeover team, picked it up, and moved it. We decided that it looked fine, so retired to the Air Raid Shelter bar, whilst the bits of wood were removed by the male members of the team.

The Female members of our newly formed Garden Makeover crew managed to lift and turn the Summer House, whilst the Male members of the crew discussed the best way to lift it……..

Team Meeting

Lots of discussions about placement…….

After stage one had been completed, the BBQ shack could be designed and built. This was a very exciting development. Our Friend had built one before, and had tweaked the design to fit The Tall One’s brief of the Garden Makeover vision. Materials had been ordered and once again Our Pile of Rubble had deliveries of wood arriving and the big build could begin.

The BBQ shack began to take place, and The Tall One, rearranged the garden trugs, that had been arranged around the summer house, in it’s original position. This formed a sort of walled garden around our newly created garden area. The Gabions full of IOW stone, had also been taken apart and moved, to form a designated parking space for holiday maker’s staying in ‘The Bakery’ Annexe.

The BBQ shack quickly took shape, and the Great Garden Makeover of 2019, was finished in time for our very good friends wedding reception, which they allowed The Tall One and The Short One to hold in our Pile of Rubble’s newly created garden party space.

The 2019 Garden retreat, had one more event to hold before summer was over. The end of summer 2019 saw The Tall One celebrate a milestone birthday. Now those of you who know The Tall One, will know that birthdays are one of The Tall One’s favourite things to celebrate. The Short One, taking this into account, along with a few of our closest friends, had arranged a five day series of birthday events, that culminated in a party, held at our favourite place to end the celebrations. Now The Tall One is not one to shy away from big numbers, and so a few of our close friends made sure that the morning of the big day, was an understated affair.

Obviously the morning involved a few bottles of fizz being opened in our favourite coffee shop, in a very understated and almost glossed over way. Later in the day our Scottish friends flew down to the Island, and brought with them a few ballon towers, lots of sparkly things, and a very small banner, that managed to follow The Tall One around Ventnor for the next few days.

Just a small banner, that no one would ever notice……..

The 50th celebrations ran over five days, all our friends stayed in Our pile of Rubble, the sun shone, we had a birthday meal on the seafront at The Smoking Lobster, and a few afternoon’s were spent ensuring everyone was kept hydrated. The Air Raid Shelter bar, and the new Garden bar held a few evening celebrations, and as with all good parties, we ended the festivities with a night in The Crab and Lobster. The final day saw hangovers cleared away with an early morning swim, before our friends headed back to the mainland, and we closed up Our Pile of Rubble’s garden area, for the winter.

We had a few jobs planned in our Pile of Rubble over the winter. We needed to finish the small room at the front of Our Pile of Rubble, and The Tall One had plans for the fire place in the main room. Winter always gives us a few month to tackle the inside jobs. This year we had less planned time to play with, as The Tall One and The Short One, had planned to embark on 50 adventures throughout The Tall One’s 50th year. However 2020 had other ideas.

Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.


Winter in our Pile of Rubble quickly turned into Spring. We had spent the winter months concentrating on the last two rooms to be finished in the main part of the house. A few interesting nights have been spent putting together flat pack furniture and The Tall one managed to find a desk to fit into the smallest room from an Island internet selling site for free! Once we had taken it apart to get it into our car, and reassembled it back in our Pile of Rubble, both rooms were complete.


We managed to find an amazing local artist who came round had a look at the colours we had used in the main rooms, and created us three amazing pieces of art. Thank you Ebb and Flow.

Now that the major building work was almost complete, we could turn our attention to the biggest adventure The Tall One and The Short One had ever had.

During the summer, whilst knee deep in plaster and living without running water in our Pile of Rubble, The Tall One and The Short One decided to get married. We decided to wait until the following February. Unfortunately our February date needed to be postponed until April, due to a very close family member suffering a stroke, therefore giving her more time to recover and if possible attend the wedding. This April date gave us slightly more time to complete most of the major works. It also gave us time to complete the outside space ready to hold a pretty big BBQ. IMG_1673.jpegIMG_1984.jpeg

With outstanding vision, The Tall One had managed to transform the concrete jungle which was our Pile of Rubbles outside space, into an amazing party space. Whilst the Tall One and The Short Ones wedding was the first main event held in the new party space, many more have since followed.

From an unusable space, to a zoned garden.

Now our Pile of Rubble was ready to welcome guests, we turned our attention to The Tall One and The Short Ones wedding.

The Tall One is always very organised, The Short One not so much. The Tall One had decided on an outfit for the wedding the previous Autumn The Short One was still undecided in March!!! The Tall One decided to take matters into her own hands, and on a flying visit to the mainland one weekend in March, convinced The Short One to go shopping. The Short One would do anything to avoid clothes shopping. Gadgets and useless items, The Short One is great with, clothes shopping The Short One leaves entirely to The Tall One. So after a very quick visit, to about 4 different shops, The Short One made a decision, and went for an outfit that surprised most people.


After much discussion between The Tall One and The Short One, and a lot of trying on, both The Tall One and The Short One decided to get married in dresses.

Living on an Island means that large gatherings need to be planned. Our biggest adventure had been planned in the school holidays, due to many family and friends having jobs connected to the education sector, with little people being able to attend and not need time away from school. This gave some of our friends, most notably some of our closest friends, from Glasgow, Farnborough and Camberley, the opportunity to spend a whole week on this beautiful Island rather than just the weekend. The Tall One thought it would be a good idea to meet with those friends for a quiet meal a few days before the wedding. Unbeknown to both The Tall One and The Short One, our loving friends had other ideas.


They gathered friends and family who either already lived in Ventnor, or who had arrived early, and taken over a local pizza restaurant with an amazing view, and threw us what can only be described as the funniest Hen party ever.

IMG_4519.jpeg The Tall One and the Short One were ordered to wear black Jeans & T-shirts and given sashes and tutus to wear for the entire evening.

IMG_4507.jpegThe Tall One and The short One are very lucky to have such amazing friends. The highlight of the evening was a game of Mrs & Mrs which included a veil making competition.IMG_4525.jpeg

After an amazing night with close family and friends, ending as always in The Crab and Lobster Tap, we turned our attention to the main event. The legal union of The Tall One and The Short One. Flowers had been provided by The Short Ones Mum, and two of our closest friends and The Short Ones Mum spent the day before the wedding making button holes and simple hand tied arrangements. We enlisted the help of all of our guests under the age of 18, and The Tall One and our younger guests created some amazing table decorations. After a few days of hard work, we were ready to make our union a legal one.


Even though Ventnor is a relatively small town, The Tall One and The Short One decided to drive to the first venue, and the classic car came out to play for a much nicer reason than picking up wood.


The Tall One and The Short One had decided to split the wedding into two distinct parts. Our biggest friend had agreed to act as our celebrant for the first part of the ceremony.The Tall One and The Short One wanted to have a non-legal part of the ceremony, where family and friends could come together and celebrate the joining of  two different, amazing and blended families and friendship groups. Family and friends gathered together and The Tall One and The Short One arrived together and early. this meant that The Tall One and The Short One had to drive around Ventnor a few times, whilst the guests sorted themselves out.


The Tall One and The Short One included everyone in this part of the ceremony. They said their personal vows which were exchanged in front of all the guests. This part of the day included messages written by guests and sealed in a wine box containing Champagne to be opened on their first anniversary, as well as a sand ceremony, where all guests were invited to put sand of different colours into a vase to create a blended piece of art.


All of this took place before the legal ceremony and ended with the cutting of the cake and a glass of champagne. Now as many followers of Two Women and a Pile of Rubble will know The Tall One is a Spurs fan, The Short One is learning to love this particular team, however The Short One had no idea that The Tall One was planning a cake surprise. Our amazing friends at The Tea House, Ventnor had made our first wedding cake, and The Short one wanted a beach theme, The Tea House ladies had added some Mice from No 26 Ventnor, and it looked amazing.IMG_0499.jpg

However The Tall One had added a little twist to the cake, and when it was time to cut the cake, The Tall One insisted The Short One scrape the top off of the cake before cutting it…….IMG_4596.jpeg

This revealed a strategically placed Tottenham Hotspurs team emblem. Thankfully The Short One saw the funny side of this and the cake tasted amazing, and had a rainbow theme inside.IMG_0535.jpg

The Tall One and The Short One did not have time to stay and taste the cake as the legal paperwork needed to be completed before the legal ceremony could take place.


During the legal part of the ceremony, rings were exchanged, and as the legal part is relatively short, the party could begin very quickly afterwards.IMG_0502.jpg

We are lucky enough to live in an amazing little town, and a friend of ours offered to drive guests between venues as Ventnor has a few hills. Due to legal reasons, The Tall one and The Short One had started the day at The Royal Hotel, as this was the only place in Ventnor at the time that had a licence to legally get married. After the legal ceremony The Tall One and The Short One and all guests moved down to the sea front for a cocktail and canapé party with friends who ran Hello Sailor, they even created a cocktail just for The Tall One and The short One.


It was at this point that the Tall One and The Short One had cake number two. Crave Ventnor delivered The Tall One and The Short One an amazing dairy free Ice Cream cake to round off the afternoon.


Once all of the cocktails had been drunk and the canapés eaten, The Tall One and The Short One and all their guests, made it back up the hill to the Crab and Lobster Tap to finish off the celebrations, sticking with the seaside theme, this included a magic mirror, popcorn machine, candy floss, sweets and a disco. Magic Mirror, candy floss and popcorn machine provided by a little Island company called Candy Creations. IMG_4579.jpeg

The Tall One and The Short One, made some amazing memories, on one of their biggest adventures so far, all of which were lovingly captured by Orion Heart Photography.IMG_0569.jpg

As the sun set on an amazing day, and this particular adventure moved onto the next phase, Our Pile of Rubble continued to evolve and many more adventures and memories have been made over the last year. In these uncertain times, and enforced self-isolation with any luck The Tall One and The Short One may be able to update this blog a bit more regularly. Only time will tell. For now Keep safe, Stay healthy and Stay at Home.