I sat down to write this – and then the sun came out. Immediately, I could hear my garden calling to me, “Come… come…come and potter”… and so I did.
I find the call of the April garden impossible to ignore, and besides…I had a mission.
I’d promised the grand children Jake (7) and Grace (almost 3) that I would find a ‘spare’ spot where they could have their own little garden, and so, I found some wood, nails and a hammer, and made a small raised-bed area. Then I made a plaque for the fence and wrote on it, ‘Jake and Grace’s Garden.’
When they arrived for their sleepover I excitedly showed them what I’d prepared. It went down very well.
Jake painted some flowers and a carrot on the plaque and I painted a snail. This of course had Jake in hysterics because it looked like a tortoise with a walnut on its back. And apparently I’d given it two pairs of eyes. We let the plaque dry while we dug over the soil in the raised bed. There were one or two lumpy bits that I managed to recognise as Chea pooh and scooped them up before any harm was done. I threw them over the back fence into the field. Dog walkers use it but I didn’t hear any alarm cries so I don’t think I blindsided anyone.
With the knowledge that Chea would most certainly be back to use their garden as a litter tray, I found a wire frame and laid that on the top. Then all that was needed was the planting up. They each planted a potato and a cabbage plant. Then they set 3 runner beans, and labelled everything up, Jake in charge of the marker pen. The watering was a highlight for them. Grace watered my wellies and Jake watered Grace.
After this we decided to make a swing and put it in the old apple tree. Richard was cajoled into parting with his ‘special’ blue rope and set the task of finding a suitable piece of wood that we could use for a seat. There was a bit of pushing and shoving over who was going to have the first go and the honour went to Grace. Then Jake had a go.
Around tea time Richard set up the small gas BBQ. It was his job to cook the sausages. I prepared the rest of the stuff in the kitchen. Ten minutes into ‘sausage cooking time’ Richard, Grace and Jake traipsed in and announced that the BBQ wasn’t working, so the sausages went into a frying pan. They all toddled off and came back 5 minutes later to say the BBQ WAS now working. The sausages went back up the garden. Ten minutes later, Richard, Grace, Jake and the sausages came back…the BBQ definitely wasn’t working. It appeared that Richard had set it up wrong and melted it! This is the second BBQ that Richard has melted, but fortunately for him little ears were present and so he got off with a withering glare and a mouthed ‘Idiot!’ Richard is a hero…as far as Grace is concerned, and I figure she will have many opportunities, during her life, to have her little bubble burst regarding men and the expectations of the male gender in general? (sorry guys!)
They fell into bed exhausted and happy. I just fell into bed. I was too exhausted to know if I was happy or not! I think I was…but I couldn’t be sure. It’s hard work entertaining ‘little people.’
They didn’t sleep too well and one or the other woke on the hour every hour, so I basically didn’t sleep. At 5.30 I heard their little chatter.
“Let’s go and find grandma,’ Jake said.
“Gan gan?’ Grace said.
“Yes, let’s get pancakes.”
Pancakes? This needed chopping in the bud. No nipping here! Chopping was required! I wasn’t rigging up the Kitchen Aid at 5.30 on a Sunday morning!
“Jake! Grace! Come into me, it’s way too early to get up yet.”
The door creaked open and two sleep-eyed little people stood there. Grace had her rabbit by the ears.
“C’mon, jump in with me for a bit…but be quiet.”
Telling children to be quiet is like telling the dawn not to break. Unfortunately, the new people next door had chosen to move in on the day that Jake and Grace spent with us and they were about to be woken on their first morning (Sunday morning) at 5.30 by screaming children. As they snuggled in I said we would have a game of whispering and that I would tell them a story. This went down quite well, except that the story was rather funny and they bounced up and down on the bed laughing and squealing. I decided to discuss the previous day with them.
“So,’ I said, “tell me this. What have you liked best about spending time here?”
“Gardening!” Jake yelled.
“Gardening. Good. But we were in the garden a long time, what part did you like the best?”
Without missing a beat Jake yelled, “When you threw Chea’s cat pooh over the fence!”
“Is that it?” I said, trying not to laugh. “You’ve been here all this time and you’ve done all those things and the best thing you can think of is grandma throwing cat pooh over the fence?”
You couldn’t make it up. I mean. Constructing a garden. Planting seeds. Painting a plaque. Making a swing. Having a BBQ (almost), and all I really had to do to entertain them and remain a ‘way-out-best-grannie-in-the-world’ was to launch cat pooh over the fence.
I’ll bear it in mind for the next time.