I’ve been waiting for today. It didn’t specifically have to be Wednesday 29 January 2020, just any day when in the Venn diagram of my life Willing Spirit and Blue Sky overlapped. Today I have been sitting on the bench outside the back door, perched on my inflatable kneeling pad, coffee at my side, cleaning and sharpening my tools. Because next week I return to work.
Readers of a certain age will understand when I remind them of plimsole whitener. For those of you unacquainted I will enlighten you. At the end of the school holidays our white gym shoes were painted with a proprietary rejuvenator, almost certainly purchased in Woolworths. After application it hardened to a plaster of Paris finish which rendered any actual foot movement impossible for at least a week. The first weeks of PE were marked by a rash of flat-footed waddling until enough cracks had formed to enable freedom. This bizarre tradition was undertaken in order to brighten and freshen up and pretend your daps/pumps/trainers were new. No one was ever fooled. Still, just before return to classes, it was exactly what you or, if you were lucky, your mum did.
This was my equivalent. I cleaned, oiled and sharpened, feeling righteous in the sunshine. But I did not go overboard, it is very important to retain a patina. I have learned from the whitening. There is nothing as uncool as brand new shiny trainers. The same goes for spotless tools. Or is that an excuse for sloppy work? Not at all.
And now it is done, forks and trowels, hori hori and pruning saw, mini mattock, border fork, lawn edger, pruners and of course the golden spade. And five sets of secateurs. Three of mine and two of OH. I was on a roll.
Now I’m ready. But perhaps not for anything.