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.