Do you think I’m a defeatist? Do you think I’m the first to throw my tatty hat into the ring and give up? I’m sure those of you who know me are manically shaking your heads and shouting no, no dear heart, not you …and you are right. Except…
I have been beaten. Thrashed. Flattened. And there is nothing I can do about it – apparently.
My garden has become the meeting place, and the laying-of-a-billion-eggs place, for every cabbage white butterfly in Leicestershire. No one else has a single, miserable caterpillar-creating-machine fluttering around their broccoli and Brussels plants. Just sodding me.
I walk through the gate, off the lawn, and into my veggie bit, and it’s like walking into a summer snow storm. There are dozens of the pesky little gits, flapping, lifting, dropping, fornicating, egg laying and just generally really peeing me off. Their progeny munch and chew, and burp and pooh, and hold little parties on the underside of the brassica leaves.
I have to admit to losing my cool and knocking a few off onto the ground. Then I had a good old spray around with an oil based (useless) spray to see if that might deter the mother ship, but alas, no. My plants cry and shout, ‘help me. Kill the little blighters.’ But I feel bad about it, even the ones I got really angry with and knocked off their perches and onto the ground.
I may have to give up. Such are the joys of ‘the gardener.’
I’ve also had a jolly nice swarm of baby wasps, sucking on the overripe gooseberries. This, of course, is great fun, this game of ‘dodge the wasp’ …not!
And Chea, the demented feline, has flattened and snapped the new cat mint that I planted this year. I made a new border, behind the pond for bee-loving plants, but she has inhaled so much cat mint and become so stoned that she has rolled around, rubbing in ecstasy, and flattened the lot. Why can’t she toddle off and pat off a few caterpillars? Do something useful?
Anyway, that’s that. The garden will take up less time now and I’m pleased really because I have another couple of projects on the go. I’m writing two children’s books. They are first drafted, but here’s the thing. I’m having one illustrated and the other I’m going to attempt to illustrate myself. Stop laughing!
OK, so I’m not an artist but that doesn’t mean I can’t try, does it? I’ve bought some paints, brushes, a nice little table easel box thingy and I’m off and trotting. The really weird thing is …I thought that I would find it massively stressful but I don’t. I find it really relaxing …and Chea seems to like drinking the water that I use to clean my brushes so it keeps her happy as well.
I will admit that one or two illustrations haven’t been that successful. Richard passed by and I asked for his opinion on a goldfish and he remarked that it looked like an alien and shuffled off chortling. Ignorant pig!
And try as I might I couldn’t get a ladybird to look less frightening and not to be the potential cause of sweaty nightmares, so I binned it. And besides, I painted it wrong …I painted the red bit black and ended up with a rain beetle. That might have been OK because I could have crossed my fingers behind my back and lied and said that was the intention all along, but it still looked half crazed and like it might jump from the page and attack the young reader.
I run all this past my grandson, Jake (8). He’s brilliant and, strangely, rather respectful too. He nods his heads and chatters away ten to the dozen, ‘Yes, that’s great Grandma. I really like it …are you sure you painted it?’
If the picture in question is doubtful he scowls a bit (like he’s attempting to come to terms with exactly what it is) then he grins. Then, he gently offers suggestions. I love his sensitivity. And his advice is pretty good too. ‘Out of the mouth of babes,’ and all that.
I figure that if the illustrations turn out to be total crap at least I can send them to a ‘proper’ illustrator and she/he will know exactly where I’m coming from. At least this is the plan. It could all change. I may take it no further. I may have been influenced by those cabbage whites and I too may flit and fly with my butterfly brain, dipping here, landing there, moving on …whatever.
Hoping to have some really exciting news shortly. News that I will simply have to share with you all because …well …you’ll see why.