“’To lose one client, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.” Almost Oscar Wilde in The Importance of Being Ernest.
Today was my last visit to The Buns’. Ever. Yes, another of my clients has wriggled from my clutches, another has sold up and is fleeing my domain, they will no longer be under my horticultural spell. And I am feeling rather sad. This is possibly the only downside for working for people you are fond of, when your working relationship draws to a close, as all things must, you are bereft.
Whilst working this morning myself and Mrs B chatted about our time together, our greatest hits, so to speak. How I first met Mr Bun when naughty Bobbie, their perennial puppy spaniel, made herself very much at home in the herbaceous borders of Cliffe. How Mrs Bun and her buddy came to check me out the next day and how we hit if off instantly. First impressions did not let me down.
Over the following (possibly, a recount has been requested) five years we have had our thrills and spills. On my first visit I ripped my trousers on a particularly vicious rose; Mrs Bun was mortified; I was embarrassed at my clumsiness. I still eye that well-armed but beautifully bedecked shrub with caution. Over my tenure Mr Bun created a well-researched and sublimely successful wildflower patch, he also mowed and trimmed and made fire. Myself and Mrs B planted and shuffled and sowed and pricked out and planted again. The seasons passed. And we laughed a lot. My every visit was greeted in the most exuberant, totally over the top and then over that top, style by the joyous tomato and cucumber thieving Bobbie, putting an enormous grin on my face and warmth in my heart before I’d even started work.
There have been many highlights. I will never forget the waving Father Christmas on route to the local school, courtesy of the Coastguard’s Sea King; or the most splendid chicken of them all, Big Bertha (big boned, I’m sure); or Mrs Bun’s hilarious milk carton, rose cutting container; or planting up the kayak; or wondering for years why the rhododendron was struggling, only to discover it had been planted upon lumps of limey concrete; or Mr B’s pre-wedding weeding; and much, much more. And I will forever wonder if the wisteria will have its inaugural flowering next year, to much applause from the new owners.
Before I woman-handled my tools back to the car park for the last time, we sat on the patio, supping freshly brewed coffee and scoffing some of Mrs Bun’s finest cake. The caring soul that she is, she found me a rug and we sat wrapped up and chatted some more. There was even a guest appearance from Mr Bun.
Mr Bun has tolerated my incessant, compulsive cheekiness and strange habits with good cheer and a wry grin and Mrs Bun has become a confidant and close ally. They have fed and watered me, shown me love, they even provided me with a weekend retreat. These are good people, truly special souls, to be cherished. And I am proud to call them friends.
Today I left with more than one tear in my eye.