Saturday, 24 August 2013

“How much blood is there?"

Beloved had another BCC*  removed this week.

Gardener, Beloved and I are having a tea break, not one of us is feeling very active and a tea break is a good excuse to down tools.

"Bleeding a bit.”

"You take thinners do you?”  Gardener thinks that’s funny and cackles. So, they got the scalper out, did they? Yeah, it’s bleeding alright. They ought to have cauterized it".

"They did. Nasty smell, burning me.”

“I don’t hold with doctors much.” That’s rich, coming from a man who had a heart attack a couple of years ago, was taken to hospital by air ambulance and was given a stent within hours of arriving there.“You see some bloody doctor and he don’t know what he’s talking about. That’s all I see nowadays; all them locums, waiting, waiting. It’s a bloody pain, going there.”

We suggest that he changes surgeries, goes to one a bit nearer home.

“The missis keeps saying her might be putting the house on the market; I don’t know if it’s worth it. They’re gonna build new houses round us, two-three bedroom houses all down to the road. we’ll be shut in the middle then. And who’re they building them for? Bloody layabouts from bloody Telford. And we’ll be paying the poll tax for them.” 

“Layabouts from Telford can’t afford to buy two-three bedroom houses?” My remark makes Gardener snort in disgust.

They won’t be buying them, they'll be renting them and we’ll be paying the rent. And the poll tax. That’s what it’ll be for. Bloody overflow from Telford.”

Common sense won’t get us anywhere with Gardener. It’s decades since the poll tax was abandoned. And the new estates are for sale, not rent. Beloved goes into generalities about building houses and we change conversational tack.

“What on earth have you got your left hand in the sling for?” It’s his right arm which had the operation.

“Just to put it somewhere."

"He’ll have his foot in there next”, says Gardener.

A dog is yapping in the distance.

"Ours does that. Her’s in the window and every time her sees a dog in the field her shoots through the conservatory and rushes out to the fence for when they come back. Her never misses anybody. Her’s got her bloody eye on whoever's gonna come down there and her’s out.  Her sits by my side like on the settee, and off her goes. Her wants to join them. But you cannot trust her.” You can hear the regret in  Gardener’s voice. His dog is a maniac, a tiny little mongrel with the heart of a lion and totally untrained.

That’s the end of that topic. Gardener looks round for something else to comment on.

“I see we got some nuts on the walnut. They won’t come to anything, you need a proper walnut for that.” 

I don’t know what’s improper about our walnut tree, it looks  quite respectable to me.

“They come from some other country.” Beloved seems to agree with gardener about our tree being incapable of producing edible nuts.

“Mind, we always had hazelnuts. Hazelnuts, they’re alright. Gardener starts a story about his childhood, I’ve been waiting for him to do that.

"Dad used to come out with us,  on a Sunday morning. He had a big hook he did, and he used to shake the bloody thing like and we’d be picking them all up. He  used to shake the tree really hard and we’d get hit on the bloody head with the nuts. It’s something dad always did with us. He always seemed to know when they was ready. Big nuts they were.

Then he’d put them in the big milk tins like, from the NHS like you used to get milk powder in. Dad put them all in the tins and put some salt on top and dig holes in the garden and put the tins in. We had them for Christmas. Dad always knew where he put them but we never did.” Gardener chuckles affectionately.

It’s time we went back to work.

*BCC: basal cell carcinoma, an operable skin cancer.


  1. ha. he's got some pretty cool stories, esp on the nuts for christmas...buried them, hmmm...that is pretty father has had over 100 skin cancer surgeries...

  2. Oh thanks for allowing us to sit down with you and eavesdrop on your chat. I felt like I was there with you. Sorry to hear that your Beloved has some issues. I hope all is well now.

  3. LOL. I know a few people like Gardener, and you've captured him perfectly!

  4. Your gardener definitely sounds like a character - I think i would recognise him if I met him in the pub!

  5. I remember when Telford itself was a new it has overspill.....

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your tea break - I am not feeling very active here either.

  7. What a nice spot of tea. Isn't that what the English say?

  8. I love when neighbors stop by. I bet you and Beloved had a few chuckles after Gardener left.

  9. It's quite enlightening to eavesdrop on your conversations. I enjoyed it thoroughly. You have quite a knack for telling a story, Friko. :-)

  10. That's a nice slice of life.

  11. It's been ages since I've known anyone I'd describe as "gruff", but Gardener certainly seems to fit the description. I was so surprised to hear him talk about hazelnuts. I don't know where I thought hazelnuts grow - but England wasn't it. I think of England and chestnuts, but that's about it. I guess I think of hazelnuts as Germanic - because of Nutella, I suppose.

    Those skin cancers are a pain. I've been so lucky, working in the sun as I do, not to suffer from them. My dermatologist says it's part heredity and partly that I wasn't a sun-worshipper as a youngster. Best wishes to your beloved for quick healing!

  12. I had to read what gardener said very slowly – I bet if I heard him live, with an accent, I would barely understand him. So Beloved had a round didn’t he? Well on Monday it’s my husband’s turn – back to a round of treatments for his bladder cancer (the cancer’s gone, but the treatments are so that it won’t come back.)

  13. I have a talkative housekeeper. I try to be out of the house when she arrives.

  14. A nice slice of country life and Shropshire brogue. I can only understand regional accents if the speaker speaks slowly otherwise it's gobbledygook.

  15. What a great Gardener, although he'd probably hate that description. Thankyou for allowing us to sit behind you at morning tea.

  16. Great and interesting.
    Yours. Have a nice day.


  17. On my first trip to Dublin, I believe I met the "Gardener" - He was quite like this fellow and we chatted sitting on the hedge on the side of the road. It was a marvelous afternoon with sun warming us as we talked about life in general. He had asked finally, why I had stopped along this particular place - I simply answered "I had to make use of your hedge". Hedge Hopping as it was called back in those days - he,he
    I really enjoyed virtually being a part of your morning tea. Thank you.

  18. yay! i'm having my first possibly cancerous skin thing removed on tuesday.

    right on my face. nice place for it, eh?

    given that i am very fair skinned and as a child every summer meant at least one sunburn that kept me from being able to wear clothes for a week while the blisters were all sticky and i was weak from the nausea (really, a bad sunburn sounds just like radiation poisoning, which it is), anyway, it's not so much IF i will get my first skin cancer thingy, but when.

  19. Great stuff, again I am tempted to post bits in Verbatim!

  20. I'll just stay at the table and enjoy another cup, ruminating over the rich conversation, trying to nail down Gardener's accent.

  21. I believe my father-in-law was an American version of your Gardner. Often as he was going on, I'd have to take a deep, patient breath.

  22. Good morning Friko, and thank you for letting us have a chair near that tea table. You've captured Gardener's conversation so well that I feel like an eavesdropper. Do you actually think that he and his Missus will actually move...or was that just chat?

    Best wishes to your husband on a steady recovery from the recent procedure. (Think you know that I've had some of those removals myself.)

    Oh, before I forget, I do have a question. Does Gardener take sugar in his tea?


  23. How timely. The nuts are falling from my Black Walnut (a native of the East Coast of America)and making awful sounds as they hit the roof of the porch. We toss them in a pile under the Viburnu, but they will be gone by spring. The squirrels thank us very much.

    Gardener sounds like my old FIL who died last year. He had a very negative attitude toward those he called 'lay-abouts'. Unfortunately, we have quite a few of them over here. Dianne

  24. I feel like I was part of the conversation here Friko...thanks for inviting me :)

  25. I love visiting you
    feel as though I am right there with you :)
    helps this long
    hot day...

  26. Quite the character with the stories. ;)
    Hope the spot has healed. My dad has had so many skin cancers removed that he said he lost count.
    I felt like I was taking the break with you.

  27. Universal, and particular well married by a confident writer with an effortlessly likeable 'Voice.'
    Pleasure to read...


  28. You have a knack. Thanks for putting all of this down for us to read.

  29. Gardener is a terrific character and you capture his voice so well!

  30. You have a good ear for conversation.

  31. I love your conversations -- and the way you tell them. Gardener sounds like a hoot!

    I'm behind on your Aquarius posts. I need to sit down when I have time and really savor those and go back through the earlier posts. Your writing is so rich, it is meant to be savored, not rushed through!

  32. I love these snippets of conversation. Hope Beloved is feeling well.

  33. Another interesting piece of story-telling, and every time you do it all so beautifully. One could see the tea party (if I may say so) and feel the leisurely air surrounding it. Best wishes for Beloved; hope he is doing well.

  34. I'm up very early this morning (it's still dark) coffee in hand and enjoying your post very much. Nothing quite like a good chuckle to start the day.

  35. Hi Friko .. I wonder why the walnut tree is 'improper' and won't fruit?! Just been to Norfolk and they had a wonderful walnut tree in the churchyard ... grown from a discarded nut many years ago .. into a patch where chickens used to peck around in - a lady similar to Gardener ...

    Love the story about hazelnuts being buried ... presumably the salt draws the moisture out and the nuts keep fresh in their shells ...

    Lovely typical family and helper conversation .. covering all sorts ...

    Happy gardening time, downing tools, and restarting in what I hope is reasonable weather your end of the world ... cheers Hilary

  36. Dear Friko, this was a heartwarming story. And it so illustrates how we speak out of our own experiences. Also, that all of us live through stories and some of us--Gardener for example--are born storytellers. That's all my memoir blog is about--stories of my life as I remember them.

    I wish sometimes that Mom and Dad could add their views on what happened and why. As it is, I feel the emotion and the sorrow and often the joy of being their child. Now I'm writing about the convent years and I wonder if any of the nuns still at the monastery read these postings and say, "That's not how I remember things." Stories from the deep cauldron of ourselves. That's what we have to offer. Peace.

  37. Probably best to be wary of doctors, not too obedient to them.

  38. I love your ear for dialogue, Friko. Sorry to hear about Beloved's BCC.

  39. Does Gardener know how many people love listening in to his conversations? Perhaps best not to tell him, I'm sure he takes a dim view of internet fame. But thanks for letting us eavesdrop on your tea breaks, and I hope you all enjoy many, many more.

  40. Friko it's been ages since I took some time to read posts butmtoday I was able to find a moment for you and I must say I"ve missed reading your work!
    The hedgde hog lives:)
    The gardener is a character,
    And you cpature it so well that I feel rhat I'm right there in the moment.


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