Give me a corner and I’ll back myself into it. I’ve had years of experience. Allocating two mornings a week for the services of two separate gardeners is a case in point. Both are keen and willing, and perform different functions - Paul, the expert, gets to prune and do the careful weeding round delicate plants, and Gardener, who’s been around for ten years but has still not learned that to chop a choisya ternata aurea in half just before flowering will severely limit the attraction of said shrub, does the digging and mulching and tickling and lawn tending, as well as cooking up a mean compost heap. However, at only a third of an acre the actual garden area isn’t big enough to provide ongoing work for two gardeners and their gofer. i.e. me.
Two mornings a week gone on gardening, a season ticket to hospitals and doctor’s surgeries for all sorts of routine treatments and tests for Beloved as regular as a mum’s school run and a day all-told for housework, plus shopping and afternoon walkies with Millie, leave little time to stand and stare. There’s hardly
time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
The cherry tree almost went unadmired until it blazed at me one evening at dusk and I simply had to take its picture. With an old camera, there’s not been enough time to learn the intricacies of the fancy new one.
Paul doesn’t know yet that he will feature in my blog, this picture was taken on the sly while he’s weeding the fernery. Ferns haven’t unfurled yet, so clearing the bed now will avoid trampling them into the ground later.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
Can you call theatre visits ‘stare’? Sure, I can.
Sixteen visits to be exact, just to be getting on with, between now and February 2015.
Will we still be alive? There’s another corner ready to pounce.
I’m only asking the ‘being alive’ question because we went to another old friend’s funeral today. We’ve been climbing that hill to church far too often recently. I’m beginning to recognise the hymns.
And only four weeks ago we went to her birthday party.
Man muss die Feste feiern, wie sie fallen, my mum used to say. Loosely translated ‘make hay while the sun shines', or 'carpe diem’.
This was brought home to us quite urgently at yesterday’s poetry meeting. A member who hadn’t been attending for a while turned up with his wife. He sat very close to her on the sofa. She read, but he just sat, listening. Not long ago Donald was an excellent reader of poetry, very knowledgable, erudite, an ex Oxford classics scholar and long-time grammar school teacher and clergyman. Now he clings to Audrey, frets and fusses when she’s out of his sight. What is left of his first class brain is rapidly fading and after a life of respectability and courteous good manners he is turning into a coarse vulgarian. Audrey herself is frail and, for the life of me, I can’t see how she copes. But she does. It terrifies me.
I need to get back out into the garden this weekend; hands caked with dirt and a sore back from bending are marvellous means of dispersing morbid thoughts.