It didn't take too long to empty, being half drained anyway, but the bottom couple of inches were pretty disgusting; rank, black sludge! I threw in a bit of spare gravel to dry out the last few puddles while I considered whether to leave the liner in place or cut it out.
The rather heavy slabs were the next to be removed. They will be re-used, eventually. Now I just had the problem of what to use to fill this fairly significant hole (I did mention that I originally walked out into the garden intending to attack the pyracantha? I was making this up as I went along - though I do know, ultimately, what I want to do with the reclaimed space!)
The other problem with this area was this stuff...
I don't know exactly what this grass is called, but it began as a single, modestly sized plant about 6 years ago and has multiplied, spread and overwhelmed everything else in this corner of the garden. It took around two hours of battling to fill the wheelie bin with it, but at least the majority is gone.
Now I need to watch the area like a hawk and deal with any bits that begin to grow back.
It all looks a bit of a mess at the moment. Yes, all right, I admit it... a huge mess... and I can't see matters improving much before spring. Firstly, the stuff filling the 'pond' needs to rot down and be compacted, so that I don't end up with a sink hole. After that, the whole area needs to be levelled and then...
Come early summer next year, I hope to be able to show you what it has become :)