Anyone who knows me, or reads this blog, knows that I have an affinity with most flora and fauna. I say most because I have a massive dislike of greenfly, blackfly, slugs and snails. This little foursome attempt to destroy anything green that pops its head above soil level.
I lovingly and attentively attend to my garden’s every need and I can be found on many a 5am morning tying-in tomato plants, watering a thirsty cutting, weeding seedlings etc. etc. so it rather goes against the grain when it comes to cacti and the fact that they thrive on negligence.
When we had the kitchen extended, four-ish years ago, I decided that it might be nice to have a ten-foot high shelf on the wall, near to one of the Velux roof windows, as a permanent home for my cacti collection. OK, so I would need a ladder to access them each time they needed watering, but that wasn’t a problem because they wouldn’t require watering very often. And with them sitting in the lap of the Gods it would prevent me from ‘spoiling’ them and killing them with kindness. However, I do think there is a point at which even cacti become the victims of negligence and recently I fear my cacti fell into that category.
I’d asked Richard to water them 3 weeks ago – you see the job has now fallen to Richard? There is a reason for that. Richard can just about reach them by standing on a kitchen chair and not having to go to the trouble of releasing one of his ladders from the roof of his garage. We call it a garage, but it isn’t because we can’t get a car down the side of the house.
Richard has this massively annoying way of arranging things, usually beneath or behind something else and access is never easy. Even when I turn two locks and struggle to pull back a sticking, massive door I have to lean across his BMW heap of shit just to get a masonry nail out of a cupboard. I’m not actually allowed masonry nails because he goes off on one about how many times I have to bang it into the wall, wrecking the plaster, just to get one picture in the right place. But I digress…
Since my initial request for him to water the cacti I have mentioned it three more times. Saturday, when my son and grandchildren were here, I glanced up at the shelf and merely mumbled, ‘We really will have to get those plants watered.’ The next thing I knew Richard was balanced on a chair, long-handled watering can in hand, holding a conversation with my son, when all hell broke loose. Cacti, gravel, grit and bone-dry compost rained down on him. One hit him smack on the head, bounced off and almost took out little Jake who was on hands and knees retrieving his Angry Bird from beneath the chair. As compost fell like water gushing down The Niagara Falls, everyone froze. Mouths dropped open and Jake, assuming that it was caused by something he had done, dropped his little lip and almost burst into tears. All that stopped him was grandma’s instant bollocking of grandad.
‘You sodding idiot. You’ve smashed 4 of my plants! Why can’t you look what you’re doing?’
You’ll appreciate that this comment was tempered. Little ears were present.
Richard half fell off the chair, rubbing his head, showering compost all over my Kitchen Aid mixer, turning it from a lovely shade of cream into a horrid shade of brown.
‘Why can’t you look what you’re doing?’ I bellowed again as the grandchildren, by this time, had sought the sanctuary of sensible grandma and were over the worst of the shock and were beginning to smile. Jake even chirped up with, ‘Yeah, Grandad, you’ve smashed grandma’s plants. Hasn’t he Grandma?’
‘Yes, Jake, he HAS!’
Richard then bumbled off into the garden, still showering compost, and squeaking, ‘I’ve got pricks all in my head and arm!….I’m covered in pricks!’
Sometimes I find it best not to comment! Especially in front of a 3-year-old and a 7-year-old.
Richard spent the next half-hour out in the garden with two mirrors and my posh tweezers removing cacti spikes from his head, back, shoulder and thumb. I, of course, had my priorities right and set about cleaning my Kitchen Aid, work surfaces, waste bin, sinks, hob, and both pairs of kiddie’s wellies.
Jake, holding the dustpan, enquired, ‘Grandma, is Grandad an idiot?’
‘Yes!’ I said.
I have this thing about telling lies, especially to children. Potentially they have a lifetime ahead of them of listening to lies from one source or another. It certainly isn’t going to start with me.
This isn’t the first time Richard has spiked his ample body with ‘pricks.’ One night, a few years ago, Richard had a drink or six and in the early hours of the morning visited the loo. I was jolted from my slumber by a thunderous crash. I found Richard lying on top of my lovely, huge aloe vera specimen that had right of place between the loo and the shower. He was squirming, squinting, barely able to open his hung-over eyes and groaning.
‘What the hell have you done?’ I yelled. (See how I always tackle disaster with a personal attack?)
He staggered to his feet, holding his head and butt. ‘I fell over,’ he moaned, wincing.
Now call me suspicious but no one falls over standing at the loo having a pee?
We moved to the bedroom and I spent the next twenty minutes removing aloe vera spikes from his forehead and backside. But don’t go thinking that I softened. Oh no. Each spike yanked from his backside was taken with just the tiniest bit of skin and an open smirk from yours truly.
It transpired that he had gone to the bathroom for a wee and fallen asleep standing up. This is what I have to live with. See? Idiot!
But I do have to admit that Richard’s shenanigan’s keep friends and family amused for decades. The aloe vera has long gone…Richard, to date, is still here.
Take care my lovelies x
* Welcome new followers Maggie Wilson, A Woman’s Wisdom and Brian Marggraf.