Bit Sad

I miss seeing all the clients I haven’t been able visit because of this dire weather.  Today I popped in just to catch up with Zeus.  We had a good wrestle, two cups of coffee (just me, you don’t want to see him caffeined up), a chitty chat with his mum, a wet wander around the garden looking at everything that needed to be done once it stopped raining and then I left.

Zeus is looking a bit sad because I was going home.  I was a bit sad too.

Three Tales

Tale One

Many years ago, when I was still afraid of my own shadow, I accompanied my OH to a posh event in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Some of his discoveries were being displayed in an exhibition, he had been invited to the opening night and I was his Plus One. Of course, it was not just we two. There was a veritable plethora of historians, archaeologists and other non-specific museum types, all in their best bib and tucker looking like scary grown-ups who knew all the answers. After a short while of silently (on my part) mingling, OH excused himself and left me “rabbit in the headlights” within the throng. In the short time that he was away several people approached me, I was after all a lone young woman in her early twenties. In an attempt to strike up a conversation, their opening gambit was without fail “what do you do?”, “I’m a secretary” I replied. I might well have said I assassinated intellectuals. To a man, they hurriedly made their excuses and dashed off leaving me befuddled and embarrassed. In way of compensation, some might say over-, I proceeded to eat fist fulls of canapes and guzzle the free plonk. It comforted. There was however a saviour in the midst, and I will never forget his kindness. He was perhaps the most distinguished person in the room, a man of great knowledge and an expert in his field. I had met him previously when he had been in Bristol to visit one of OH’s digs. Seeing me marooned in a unfriendly ocean, he took me under his wing. He talked to me at length, explaining to me the significance of some of the displays, involved me in proceedings and, most importantly to me at that time, treated me with the respect that I, and all people, deserve.

Tale Two

A couple of years ago I met a friend at RHS Rosemoor, who to spare her blushes will remain anonymous. OK I will give you a clue …. “TT”. Yes, you’ve got it. I had brought my lovely neighbour along for the ride as she had never been to the garden before and was keen to visit. Chatting over tea and cake, possibly before we had even set off around the garden, TT had been reminiscing about her days as a radiographer. My friend, ever inclusive, turned to ask my neighbour if she worked. “Oh” she said “I am just a nursing assistant at the hospital”. Without pausing for breath, she was swiftly corrected “Never say you are just a nursing assistant! A good NA is worth their weight in gold and the whole system would collapse without them. It is a job to be proud of.” My heart swelled with pride. My neighbour relaxed, there was no hierarchy here. She had been shown the respect she deserved.

Tale Three

Today I came upon a conversation on Twitter that suggested that to presume a woman was a secretary was demeaning. It rankled. As gardeners we are often patronised, dismissed as mere muddy frippery. Which also rankles.

Surely we all deserve a little respect, whatever we do to eke out a living on this troubled planet.

Too Soon?

A very enjoyable day at The Mantle’s.  Apple tree and rose pruning.  Spanish bluebell extraction (and to think we got rid of every single one last year).  Cheese on toast and slab cake.  Omphalodes and hellebores.  Magic waterproofs that worked once more.  Waterlilies and a truck load of frog spawn that you can just about make out in my murky photograph.

Too soon?  Are all those fidgeting bullseyes doomed?

Six on Saturday – Resilience

It has been an eventful couple of weeks for the world; fire and flood, plague, false prophets, the whole shebang!  In my own small and insignificant world we have soldiered on, protected from all but a smidgeon of the evil portents, although not always with our smiley faces on.  There have casualties and but many more survivors.  This weekend is set to bring more challenges, which we have no option but to endure.  But there is nothing like nature to demonstrate resilience, the urge to survive is paramount.  To see how the rest of the Six on Saturday world is faring, check out what is going on over at The Prop’s where I am sure positivity will abound.  Let us get on.

First we have a hellebore which, with a little help from its lovely assistant, is showing its hidden beauty.  With its head hung low it has escaped the worst of winds.  Each year I promise to move it to a more accessible position.  Each year I forget/lose my bottle.

The bully boy in yellow pants, Narcissus ‘Tête-à-Tête’, was ravaged by our recent weather.  These flowering spikes were ripped from their planter several feet away and dumped unceremoniously on the ground.  I have no doubt they will return next year, despite their rough treatment.  I am very pleased to see the Aquilegia canadensis showing a leg in the background.

Next the glossy bronzed leaves of Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’ which is snuggled between a hydrangea and buddleia.  No sign of trauma here.  God bless hardy evergreens.

One of the branches of a large and very woody rosemary toppled during the reign of Ms Ciara.  I have decided to leave it be until the weather moderates.  A snail is very pleased that I have chosen a non-interventionist approach.

The Solanum rantonnetii is looking a little worse for wear.  Fried to a crisp and, bearing in mind the toxicity of the plant, not as tasty.  The plant is vigorous and I have every faith it will come back fighting in the spring.

Lastly an osteospermum providing breakfast, lunch and dinner for a small green caterpillar.  I wondered if it was an inch worm of some sort.  Perhaps.  It has had a good munch, which even the most hard hearted could not deny.

Stay safe, keep your chins up and dream of happy days.


Boom, Boom!

True phone conversation earlier today:

Mum: Oh, before you go I have been meaning to ask you something.  I’ve nearly run out of my turmeric tablets, I was wondering if I should get some more, but I can’t remember what I take them for.

Me:  Is this a joke?

Mum: No

Me: You take them to help with your memory.

Mum: *laughter*



Potential New Career No. 1 – Cattle Herding

Due to the incessantly inclement weather, that has scuppered my ability to work on an irritatingly regular and bank account depleting basis, I am considering a career change.  Can I run a few ideas past you?  Here is my first suggestion.

I have often doubted the usefulness of my Cattle Herding brownie badge.  After all these years, yesterday it came in very useful, albeit using my car to complete my task rather than a long stick and a “whoa!”.  Of course I didn’t drive when I was a brownie, a scooter would have been the best I could have managed, but I’m sure if a Ford Focus had been available I would have taken full advantage.  The heifers (possibly) were rather pretty beasts, one black and one golden, and they had set on a direct route to the main road.  This is probably not the best place for snacking when you haven’t studied the highway code.  Even then it is a questionable practice.  Nonchalantly, they turned around and I pootled behind them in first gear as they slowly wandered away from the nasty fast cars.  Suddenly they veered across the lane and delicately tiptoed over a low, perhaps broken fence, back to where I imagine they had come from.  Either that or they would soon be making some new friends, I spotted several sheep and some highland cattle already in residence. They looked the sociable kind; I am sure they were fine.

On the way home I was especially vigilant, but there was no repeat performance.  Hopefully their wanderlust was satiated.  As for me, I think I was a natural at the herding game.  Although I must specify no more than two cows at any one time and I won’t like getting out of my car.  A gap in the market, perhaps?