By December 2008 work on the conservatory was complete and top soil had been laid on the garden.
However, winters here can be severe, and there was no opportunity to start work on the garden until Spring 2009.
This delay was fortunate, because the firm which Helen Cheese-Probert of Hammersmith had sent my £1,000 leaving present to were incapable of doing the sort of work I required! By some means or other I was able to get the money back from them - I think the threat of early morning phone calls from Hammersmith did the trick! The funds were duly transferred to my next door neighbours (who happen to be landscape gardeners) and plans were drawn up for work to start in April 2009.
In the meantime, the 40 days of Christmas were celebrated with due festivity in a cold and frosty conservatory. The frost you see on the branches of the Christmas tree was the real thing!