Saturday, 20 August 2011

Gardener's Big Adventure

Gardener last summer

"Summat wrong here, I thought."

Gardener came by for a cup of tea yesterday.  A loud knock on the back door, a shout of 'hello" and "where's the gardener, canna see her working" ( meaning me), and he's in the kitchen. Bright and cheerful. When I asked if the doctors had given him permission to drive again, he said "Didn't ask them". Of course, what was I thinking. Gardener doesn't ask questions to which he might not like the answer.

"So there I was" he said, "sawing logs on the saw bench; I had the tractor with me and the saw box on the back and sometimes I had to use the chainsaw as well; lifting the trunks on the bench and piling the logs in the box. It was a big job and I thought I'd better get it done."

"I'd been having this pain in me chest for a couple of weeks but I thought I'd just pulled a muscle or summat. Then I got this pain, and it was bad, so I rested a bit and it eased off, so I started again. Every time the pain came, I stopped and then went at it again. And then I broke into a sweat and was sick".

"Hallo", I thought", he continued, "this is not good. Summat wrong here. I knew Mr. Beresford was up the field and wouldn't be back for a twenty minute or so, so I lay on the ground. The pain was summat awful".

"When the amblance come, the chap kept asking how bad the pain was. Nought to Ten, he said. Well,  I didn't know.  Anyway, after he give me the morphine, I didn't have no pain no more".

"In the air amblance they only put me flat on the stretcher and I couldn't see a thing except the roof". Gardener seems genuinely aggrieved that he wasn't given a window seat.

"No windows in the roof, see. So I asked  if they could take me home again by amblance; I've never been up in the air before. It would of bin nice to see everything on the ground".

Throughout his tale he interrupts himself now and then to cackle heartily and take a big gulp of tea. Beloved has given him his usual mug which holds close on twice as much as an ordinary mug.

"When we landed there were all these people round the 'elicopter. This woman bends over me and says she's Sister Margaret and how she's in charge of me. Next thing I know they got me on an hoperating table, slapping summat icy cold on my arm and I'm gone. I don't know nothing".

Clearly, he is still totally surprised by how quickly and efficiently they dealt with him. His foxy grin shows how pleased he is to be telling the tale.

He goes on: "And then I'm in the ward, no pain nor nothing, and the nurse comes and asks if I want a cup of tea. Sure, I tell her, and you can tell them amblance drivers they can fly me home again. She says, no, not yet, we'll have to keep you here for a few days".

"And they've got all these machines on me, and I've got tubes in me arm and me hand and they've got me pinned down. And they keep coming for blood all the time too. So I asks them, what they're gonna do with it all, if they're gonna sell it".

It looks like this part of the tale is coming to an end. He was indeed taken home three days later, by road. But now he goes into medical details.

"So now I've got this stent in me hartery, and they blow it up and it opens the hartery so I get enough hoxigin to me heart. They said that I had a blood clot blocking the hartery and that's where all the pain come from. That Dr. Lambert should have known summat was wrong when I went to see her".

He is right,  his GP did miss the danger signals three weeks earlier; she should have known that Gardener, who never sees a doctor unless he is practically on his death bed, wasn't visiting her from boredom.

Anyway, he is feeling well, if a little scared. "How many lives have I had now", he asks wistfully. He's fallen out of trees, has had several operations on his back and limbs and isn't always careful when it comes to operating machinery or lifting heavy weights. A little of the cockiness has been knocked out of him this time, I think. Knowing him, it'll probably come back before long.

We finished the visit by taking a stroll round the garden. "I see you've had the 'edge done", he says. "Tidy job", he says. That's praise, coming from him. He's never very complimentary about other people's work. I think he is secretly very glad that he won't have to do it himself. "They got me doin' these hexercises", he says. "I must hexurt myself." This is obviously a new word in his vocabulary, he makes several false starts before he trusts himself with it. "Waste of time, if you ask me. They got me on a bike and a treadmill and when I get going properly, they tell me not so fast, take it easy. Better to start doing little bits of work, maybe an hour or two". He means it.

But he knows as well as I do, that he needs to heal first, to build up his strength and that he must be sensible and take care. He cracked one of his cheeky jokes. "When I get back, we'll have to swap. You do what I did and I'll do what you did".

I can't wait to have him back, but I'll be keeping a very close eye on him. I am, however, under absolutely no illusion that he'll listen to me.


  1. We all need someone real and charming in our lives. I'm glad Gardener is back now and hope he will not push himself too hard.

  2. Frisco, Gardener is just like my Bill...over hexurts and ended up the same way, only with 5 of those stents, 3 piggy-backed and two others. How on earth do we slow them down?
    Glad Gardener is feeling spunky again.

  3. Gardner sounds like a delightful fellow; wish I could get to know him. I'm counting on you to keep us posted. I think with his personality and your writing ability, there's a best-seller in there somewhere! Jim

  4. What a wonderful relationship you two have. It's just...sparkly, it really is.

    I love that he wanted to see things on the ground from the airplane.

    What a fine man he is. Everyone should have such a gardener in their lives.

    It sounds like he knows how lucky he is. As are you.

    Very nice post.

  5. The lovely simplicity of this story appeals mightily to me. Three people sharing coffee and their lives.

    One having had an experience that had made him more aware of just how many lives he may have left.

    One who know him well and is patient.

    And one who fills the cup with kindness. Beautiful. Thank you.

  6. Your Gardener tales are always a delight. I'm glad to know he's up and running again.. but has just enough fear in him to take it slow. Thanks for sharing this character.

  7. Everyone should have a gardener like yours! My mum had a gardener who helped her set up flower beds and such when we moved into our new house when I was about three. I think she stole him from the gardens at the hospital where she was a nurse! Those flower beds are still thriving more than fifty years later [under my brother's care now.] Your fellow sounds like quite a character!

  8. What a gem for your garden!!!!!

  9. What an adventure Gardener has had! He can live on this tale for a long time, I'm sure. If he takes it easy and doesn't hexurt himself too much.

  10. A tale well told.

    We all need a gardener in our lives; someone real and honest. Wishing him all the best.

  11. Your Gardener is a true perennial...hardy, true to the standard and totally charming.

    His determination will make all the difference as he recuperates.

  12. gardner is quite the character...whew...glad he was ok...a warm tale friko...

  13. A heartwarming story, very well told, Friko. "Summat wrong" indeed. I love it, but my face doesn't know whether to laugh or to cry.
    I think Gardener's plan for returning to do your chores while you do his makes a lot of sense, although it won't last.
    -- K

  14. Not just a wonderful Gardener, but also a wonderful Friend.

  15. I've worked with so many men like your gardener, in the past. I grew up amongst them, too. They are quite simply, 'salt of the earth'.

  16. I'm glad he's almost feeling his old self again . But he really must get a mobile phone if he intends to hexurt himself anywhere remote .
    Anyway , he needn't worry . That grin and his cheeky curiosity will ensure him ninety-nine lives which he'll live to the full , the way he's always done .

  17. Hi Friko .. wonderfully told .. loved all the words with 'H's .. and the cackle - can just hear it .. and him with his large mug telling life straight ..

    Great he's got his friends and their garden back and all is well .. the camaraderie is there and as Martin says a 'salt of the earth' person ..

    Loved this .. thanks - Hilary

  18. My first thought was that everybody used to be like that . . . working until they dropped dead, and surprised when it happened. That probably isn't true: there probably have always been people like me as well.
    He sounds hugely entertained by, and entertaining about his experience, and I thank you for relating it.
    I'm very glad he's back among the land of the living, and I hope that the little fright lasts a while for him. Once the doctors have hold of him, they won't be quick to let him go, so he's safe for a while.

  19. I love how you can capture the dialog...I can hear him. I hope he recovers as well as my husband did. He had the same experience three years ago and made a full recovery. Diet and exercise and no more smoking.

  20. What a good story with a happy houtcome Friko.


  21. Hello:
    How wonderfully told, and how very alarming. When Gardener returns to work, as surely as eggs are eggs he will, then perhaps an air ambulance needs to be kept on stand-by just on the off chance. You know, employer taking responsibility, a safe working environment and all of that!!

  22. I went through this some years ago and can vouch for the accuracy of G's experiences. When my doctor asked what had been done in the cardiac unit, I told her I'd been fitted with a stent. 'Ah,' she said, 'C'est le brevet d'une longue vie.' (That's the warrant of a long life)
    I hope this is the case with the indispensable Gardener.

  23. Glad to hear Gardener has come around and giving fair praise at that.

  24. Your Gardener is quite the character and I am so glad he came through this all with flying colors. Yes you best keep an eye on him. Ha!!

  25. I enjoyed reading your rendition of his description of the whole ordeal ... sweet, unique man.

  26. Gardener would be so honoured by the following he has through your blog. Like everyone else I'm glad to know he's fighting fit (almost) again.

  27. What a grand man! He's clearly found a way to begin accepting that heart condition and to even follow some medical advice. Some.

    He's also clearly delighted to again be able to see you and investigate how summer has been treating your joint garden project.

    I'll take a chance on a cliche here, and say that this post really was heart warming.

    Best wishes to you and Gardener. xo

  28. We know true happiness doesn’t depend on what we have but who we have..., and you have both, Friko! You and your gardener look a good team. I wish he live the second chance at life with more care about himself. I like your storytelling and the picture of him – he’s so charming!

    Have a very happy weekend.

  29. Over on this side of the pond the rapacious health industry is always pointing to GB as a socialist medical system that doesn't work. They didn't ask the gardner.

  30. You may have mentioned this somewhere before but, is Gardener Irish? He sounds Irish.

    (I enjoyed reading this, Friko.)

  31. Sounds like Gardener had a close call, but now it is the stuff of a great story: a ride in a 'elicopter is quite an hexcursion. I love reading the dialect; it's as though I can hear him in my own kitchen!

  32. Be well, Gardener, and listen to your friend!

  33. What a wonderful character Gardener is, I hope he looks after himself now ... wonderfully written Friko.

  34. I was just reading that men mostly
    have heart attacks while in their 50's,
    that if you make it to your 60's, you
    stand a better chance of avoiding a
    myocardial infarction. Maybe Gardener
    has had chest pains for years, and has
    just been in denial. Wonderful relating
    of Gardner's adventure, with just the
    perfect amount of Friko compassion and

  35. Loved, loved, loved this. I feel like I was in the room with you two. I am surprised that Gardener would put up with a female doctor.

  36. Wonderful news. The worst thing aboubt a stoke or heart attack is that you live for a while wondering if another is on the way. I hope he stopped smoking. Congratulations. You needed him back in your life. Dianne

  37. I love how you wrote this up! Wonderful words and so creative!
    Hope your gardener heeds the docs' advice!

  38. auch wir wünschen ihn zurück in guter Gesundheit und - natürlich - um das Neueste von ihm zu erfahren..:-)!
    Alles Gute für Gardener und auch für Dich! Wie schön, dass es auch Dir besser geht!!! Ganz schön viele Kommentare hast Du ja bekommen, das habe ich woanders noch nie gesehen!
    Ich wünsche Dir eine gute Nacht und gute Träume!

  39. Somehow my comment disappeared, so I shall try again. You've done such a wonderful job of catching the spirit of your gardener, and I am so glad, as we all must be, that he's on the mend. Hard to imagine him on a treadmill (which I find an instrument of torture, so perhaps I project), but may he have good health for a long time to come!

  40. I loved this! He is a treasure. I'm so glad he made it through and is walking and talking and telling about it all. You are a great storyteller yourself.

  41. I sure hope he's back on the job (yours or his) soon. We should all have such wit at our tea table.

  42. He sounds like an a wonderfully sweet and innocent man. So glad that his harteries got themselves fixed before anything worse might have happened. A wonderful little story!!!

  43. Friko - I'm so glad that Gardener lived to tell the tale as well - what a wonderful story and fair doos to Air Ambulance too - they're worth their weight in gold!

  44. Ah, I loved reading about Gardener! His tale is a good one. Listen to our bodies, and take care. I hope he listens and doesn't overdo.

  45. Wonderful characterization, Friko! Gardener is a treasure!

  46. Glad to hear he is up to visiting a bit... checkin up on his bids. Sounds like the mending is well on its way. Thanks for sharing.

  47. What a character (on the page as well as in life)! So glad he is up and about and able to "hexurt" himself. Glad he has you to watch out for him, too. Just be sure to keep the garden tidy ;)

  48. What a loving post and tribute to Gardener, who from here seems like a character right off British TV. God bless him and you and beloved.


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