Pretty Average – But Apparently Good At One Thing!

As most of you know I’m not the kind of person to blow my own trumpet. Never have been. Never will be. And why should I? What’s so great about me? Nothing. I’m pretty average at most things, slightly better at some than others, and before you go thinking that I’m expecting you to rush in with, ‘Of course you are special’ and ‘look at all the things you’ve achieved in your long time on the planet,’ that is NOT where this is leading. This is leading to actually being surprised at learning, straight from the horse’s mouth, Richard, that I AM really good at something.

So, this is how it went – I was in the garden busily minding my own business and watching the garden coming to life before my eyes when, he stomped up the garden and shattered the moment.

‘Can you come and look at this?’ he shouted over the bud-bursting gooseberry bushes.

‘Look at what?’ I said, a tad irritably. You see, he always has something that has to be done NOW and it will never wait, though in reality most ‘urgent’ things could have waited.

‘Just come and look will you?’

‘What AT?’ I said, even more irritably. ‘Can’t you just cut the suspense and TELL me?’

He dithered on the spot a bit before saying, ‘No. I need you down at the garage.’

‘Why?’

‘Because I’ve got something living in there and I don’t know what it is?’

I rolled my eyes a bit and held up my palms to Him above. ‘What do you mean you’ve got something living in there? Give me a clue. If you don’t know what it is how am I supposed to know?’

‘Because you’re really good at this kind of thing,’ he said.

‘What kind of thing?’

‘Shit.’

‘Shit?’

‘Yes,’ he said, as I now caught up with him and started to head towards the house and the garage. ‘I need you to look and tell me what kind of shit it is.’

Eh?

‘What it’s come out of,’ he elaborated.

‘Who am I?’ I stage whispered as we passed the neighbour on the other side of the fence, ‘a crap expert?’ (Or should that be an expert on crap? Yes, I think so)

‘Shush,’ he stage whispered back.

As we reached the garage he pointed to a shelf. ‘Look!’

I looked.

‘What shit is that?’

Well, it didn’t take Poirot to decipher this little mystery, the entire shelf was littered with large rice-shaped droppings and chewed-up insulation foam where the ‘mystery’ creature had obviously entered. ‘A rat,’ I said. ‘Rat poo.’

‘Are you sure?’

You see – he asks my opinion and then questions it. Was my answer a disappointment? Had he wanted it to belong to some creature previously assumed extinct? ‘It’s rat poo,’ I repeated.

‘I mean – it isn’t mouse droppings, then?’

‘Well, it would be a bloody big mouse – or a normal size mouse with a bloody big bum, in that case, don’t you think?’

With that I toddled back up the garden and continued watching the gooseberry buds open.

After I’d finished mumbling to myself I realised that Richard was probably asking the right person. After all, I’ve been dealing with one kind of shit after another, all my life.

Even Chea delights in scratching huge holes in my greenhouse borders and sits doing her business, right under my nose, like it’s the most natural thing in the world and she expects me to applaud at the final squeeze.

I even have bags of the stuff, farmyard manure and horse manure, stacked-up by the side of the greenhouse ready to use if I should deem it necessary. And this doesn’t even take into consideration the crap of life!

So, maybe Richard was right and I am actually good at something? But keep it quiet. I’m not sure I want that little fact as my epitaph!images (3)

Take care all xx

 

Those Weeds Fight Back . . . And How!

There was I – full of the joys of spring and, fuelled by my over enthusiasm, I declared to my newly formed gardening group, ‘I’m off to weed a border!’ No harm there. Nothing at all ominous about that. Just off to weed a border at the side of the path.

Two hours later and after tugging, pulling, swearing and sweating I stood up, stood back, and admired my work. Brilliant! Nothing short of brilliant. Gone was the awful couch grass invading from my neighbour’s garden and tangling itself around willow roots and under the path. Gone were the thick, stubbornly rooted spring-flowering creeper thingy’s. Just lovely rich soil smiled back at me. Happy with my work I toddled back into the house. This was Saturday.

At 3 a.m. Sunday I woke thinking someone had dropped a house brick on my head. The pain was excruciating – I kid you not – I couldn’t raise my head at all without searing pain. Pain so bad that all I could do was lie there – and as we all know pain in the early hours is always far worse.

By sliding my flattened hand under the side of my face and supporting my head I eventually managed to sit up and make it downstairs where I suffered a Weetabix followed by two paracetamol and an ice pack to my neck bones. This went down well in the freezing cold kitchen! By 5 a.m. I struggled back to bed.

Sunday had been prearranged. It was Richard’s birthday and I’d organised a family meal out. When he caught a glimpse of me, shuffling along, imitating the Hunch Back of Notre Dame, he said, ‘You need to go back to bed.’ Yeah. Cheers for that. Back to bed where he could ignore my pain until I died a slow and lingering death because he’d forgotten all about me!’ At this point I had to tell him I couldn’t go back to bed because being the lovely, wonderful person that I am I’d arranged a fricking surprise meal for him. This was met with scepticism, a narrowing of the eyes and a slight nod of the head. You see, he’s a simple soul, enjoying the simple pleasures in life and never really celebrates his birthday. Unfortunately, my mum died on his birthday, some eighteen years ago now and, originally, it did rather take the shine off the celebrations. The twelth of March became the day  mum died, not the day Richard was born. Nowadays, I put him first – after taking flowers to the church.

So, off we went. I looked like the walking dead. I felt worse. I sat at the end of the table so that I could, by staring straight ahead, see everyone without moving a muscle – literally.

Somehow I made it home alive. Richard had a lovely time – and he even liked my gift to him – a new Samsung tablet. However, when, later, he came up to bed he found me sobbing. Yeah, OK, so I’m a wimp. I couldn’t help it. The pain level that had, I suppose, been around eight had soared to ten. The slight window of least pain, if I held my head just right, had slammed shut. Everything hurt. At this point he said, ‘Right, we’re going to the hospital!’

Earlier I’d said, ‘I think I need to go to the hospital’.

My son had said, ‘They won’t do anything Mum.’

Richard had said, ‘Do you really want to sit in A and E for twelve hours?’

I knew they wouldn’t ‘do’ anything and no I did not want to ‘sit in A and E for twelve hours,’ but don’t they have things like heroin, morphine and stuff?

Anyway, I wouldn’t have been able to get my clothes back on so he held me till I stopped sobbing, rubbed my neck (it didn’t help but he was trying bless him) and then fetched me some yogurt and honey so that I could take some painkillers.See how I always try to eat something before taking painkillers? This way I figure I won’t be adding stomach ulcers to my fast-growing list of complaints?

Monday and Tuesday were spent in bed, unable to move. Wednesday and Thursday I got up in the morning and went back to bed in the afternoon. Friday I made it through most of the day and so on and so on. . .

It still isn’t right but I can now live with it without turning into a pathetic, sobbing female. That’s not me, you see.

I know how it happened. Having three degenerative neck discs, whose soft protective padding is fast disappearing, stretching over the borders and applying all that pressure on my discs just didn’t work. They couldn’t support the weight of my head.

But, positives from negatives – I read three novels (I’d hardly read anything at all till then) and I had some rest – although enforced – but rest all the same.

I’ve started pottering in the garden again. Managed to toddle round a couple of garden centres and purchase a few bits . . .  so there you go.

I have found that the hardest thing about growing older is accepting it. I expect my body to keep up with my mind. It can’t. I have things to do popping into it constantly. I remember my darling father, it his last years, getting very frustrated and angry with himself because, due to his ever-increasing health problems he felt useless. He couldn’t do this and he couldn’t do that. I, of course, being the sensible and logical person that I am told him, ‘No, of course you can’t do those things. BUT instead of focusing what you can’t do focus on what you can do.’ At the time it made perfect sense to me – but that was before I was reaching the point of realising that I can’t do some of the things that I used to do.

No more throwing paving slabs around. No more climbing the apple tree to prune the odd branch. No more throwing bags of compost around. And . . . it appears, no more digging borders! I’m sorry, Daddy, I was an insensitive idiot.

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You’re My Precious -And My Favourite!

Are you like me? You have 12 kitchen knives and only ever use 2? You have 3 sets of crockery and only ever use 1? You have 15 pairs of trousers – albeit various types – leggings, jeans etc. and only ever wear 2 or 3? I have a drawer full of kitchen utensils and frankly I tend to use a grotty plastic fork, purchased from Ikea for 50p, a skewer and a pallet knife. These three items serve me well. The rest remain in the drawer, used on blue moons and days that don’t end in Y.

So, bearing this in mind, it will come as little surprise to hear that I have just the one favourite coat that I wear in the garden. This item was purchased 5 years ago from Next in their winter sale. Originally, some £65, but I think I paid £20. Obviously, the coat didn’t start out its little life as a gardening coat, for years it spent summer after summer, pride of place in the wardrobe, re-emerging every winter. It went to all the posh places – Morrison’s, Tesco, Lidl etc.  I must admit, that being padded, it was a tad warm on ice-free days. Anyway, moving on 5 years . . .

Favourite shiny-black padded coat started to look a little ‘tired.’ No longer able to cut the mustard in our supermarket dashes so I decided to put him out to grass – well, out to garden, actually.

For several years favourite shiny-black padded coat served me well, never minding the odd smearing of chicken poo, or being splashed with fence paint, in a rather attractive shade of green. Then, one day, disaster – a large hole was ripped in the pocket area when I didn’t quite navigate a sticking-out nail correctly. White stuffing hung from the gash, so I pushed in back in and tried to ignore it.

A week or so later, chicken wire took out the top of the arm.

Somehow it didn’t seem to matter. The coat was still functional, warm, familiar and very obviously a gardening coat, if anyone should see me in it.

Last week I looked at the poor thing. The pocket hung in tatters, no stuffing left. The arm was no better and horror upon horror, favourite shiny-black coat was rather pongy!

The time had come. The bin beckoned. I slipped him on and off . . . on and off. Perhaps I could wash him? Probably not because more stuffing would weep out and block-up the washing machine. But . . . this was my favourite coat. We had travelled miles together. An old friend. How do you bin an old friend? No, forget that . . . binning old friends is pretty easy. Then a light bulb moment . . .

I could repair him. I had the technology. Well, I had the sewing machine! Yes, that was the answer. I’d repair favourite shiny-black coat.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy. I couldn’t find anything to match his shiny texture, let alone find anything black. Perhaps I’d have to let him go after all?

Another light bulb moment. He was, after all, only a gardening coat, it didn’t matter what I patched him with. I had something black, surely. Yes! I did!

I scurried upstairs, threw open the knickers drawer and grabbed a black pair.

Favourite shiny-black coat has been repaired! He now has black stretchy patches over his left pocket and on his right sleeve. Result.

Some people might wear their hearts on their sleeve – I wear my knickers.

Here’s to the next five years . . .

And, in conclusion . . . I’ve just started a new group – “The Friendly Gardeners Group.” I can’t promise to ever post a photo of favourite shiny-black coat (I don’t show my knickers to just anyone – not that you are just anyone) but I can promise a lot of chat (that will stay on the group – we are a ‘closed’ group) a fair bit of swapped information, banter and friendship so click on the link and come and join us?

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