Sunday, 28 June 2020

IF ONLY......

...... I can stay abreast of developments in technology, politics, current affairs, fashions and whatever else the modern world throws at me;

...... if only my mental faculties stay sharp(ish) as at present;

...... if only I can stay on top of all physical work required to make life acceptable to me and pleasant;

...... if only my finances last, what with the global economic downturn,

well, then I will never have to grow old and retire from active life.

If only.

Fat Chance.

This bunny has still not been very happy; in fact, I’ve been feeling a bit lost and lonely. At first I welcomed the rain, both the garden and I gave a sigh of relief that the heat relented and gave me a breather and the garden a good drink; after more than a week of on-and-off thunderstorms and showers I am ready to say ‘thanks' but 'no more, thanks’. I should be patient, the rain is still needed, but lack of opportunity to get myself good and dirty and exhausted doesn’t do my mental health any favours.

Hence the opening lines; my recent birthday has given me much to think about. I’m doing a bit better today, having spent the morning carting around watering cans, feeding hydrangeas, clematises, a little olive tree and a couple of lemon trees, the latter three in pots. Indoor ferns have had a good trim and been allowed to come out. Ditto the winter flowerers. They all enjoy a few months out of doors. With me all the while dodging heavy showers, of course. At least the rain is warm.

Paul has forsaken me. He was ailing for about three weeks and the last time I enquired after his progress he emailed to say he was lots better but not coming again. "For personal reasons". No notice or further explanation. Just bang, like that. Fair enough, I have not been very happy with his efforts, but he was a nice chap, nice enough for me to think of keeping him on for the jobs he could do and pairing him with somebody better able to cope with longer hours and heavier work.

However, he has taken the decision for me. Good luck to him.

Since then I have been asking around for recommendations; several friends have mentioned several gardeners, mostly garden labourers without great knowledge but plenty of brawn; I have chosen to interview one chap not so much brawny but wiry and willing and one muscled handsome hunk. If either or both stay the course, one will become WW and the other HH. They will do different jobs. Both are more expensive than old gardener of blessed memory and recent Paul; but I am becoming reconciled to the idea of spending money on the garden, if I want to stay here. Besides, I am planning to reorganise the beds and do away with at least one, maybe two, of the more labour intensive areas. One is to become an area for conifers and junipers instead of herbaceous perennials.

Here’s hoping.

Writing this I have become aware that I am behaving like someone who has endless years of gardening ahead of her. Of course, I don’t. If I had any sense I’d pack up and sell up and go into retirement and withdraw from active life, exactly the opposite to what I am hoping to do above. But while the bullet points above hold true I might as well ignore old age and incipient decrepitude and enjoy what’s left. Like I told my Mum, when she dithered about buying herself a new dress she liked because “I don’t have enough time left to enjoy it”, : "even if it’s a day and no more the new dress gives you pleasure, it’s worth it.”





32 comments:

  1. I just paid a gardener/landscaper to thin plans in my yard. First time I haven't been able to do it myself and I could not believe how much she charged. $100 an hour, not sure how that translates in your currency but the average fast food worker here gets $9.00 an hour. It took her three hours, not doing that again! Good luck with HH and WW, an interesting choice at hand.

    I struggle with the 'what if' questions too. I think I probable wrote a blog with that theme as well.

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  2. Hi Friko - you're wise with your thoughts and I'm pleased you've come out on the side of optimism and to hell with it - I'm staying for now and so I'll get on and do things - why not. I do hope the Wiry Willing and Handsome Hulk match up for respective mentally allocated jobs - it'll be different and give you another outlook on life.

    Being engaged with the garden will take your mind off not seeing friends - I think I and others are loosening our belts a little down here - but I decided I didn't want to use the bus this week (too early) but if I can easily walk then I'll go out for tea in the garden ... some friends are driving over from Seaford - and so we'll have a walk and chat ... each to his own at the moment - but it'll be nice to see them.

    Should I congratulate you on another year ... I'm sure I should ... and here's to some more - for now ... take care and I'm so happy to hear your easier news ... all the best - Hilary

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  3. Friko, I think you are coping well... circumstances being what they are. If it's your garden that gives you joy then that's where you should put your interest and efforts. Why not? But I do wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to get a pet (dog or cat, bird??) I would find it hard to live without something to care for... but perhaps that's the garden issue again.

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  4. I wonder if that's a part of retirement, and of this cursed virus -- the less we have to do, the more we get behind!

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  5. I too think that staying where you are, a place you love, is the best plan. And I too also hope that WW and HH turn out to be just the ticket. I think we need to act as if we have endless time, because nobody knows how long it is, will turn out to be. Sending you big hugs from my home to yours. :-)

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  6. Moving those plats reminds me of the twice yearly corvee when in France...heaving pots out for the summer and in for the winter....and now I have those plants in the garden looking after themselves!
    So glad that you have decided to make the most of the garden and to use the physical force of others when your own is no longer up to the job...we have had to do that and while I would prefer to be in there thinning and pruning and lifting at least it is being done and I have the results that I want. Mostly.
    Looking forward to hearing how it goes with your gardeners.

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  7. Add me to the list of those who believe that staying where you are and continuing to garden to the best of your and WW and HH's ability is the best plan. They will bring happiness with them - which the 'sensible' option so often doesn't.
    And a happy belated birthday to you.

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  8. Hopefully, things work out with the two gardeners.
    Why withdraw from active life? You can choose and adjust your level of activity according to how you feel every day, can't you.
    So very true what you said to your Mum about things that give us pleasure!

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  9. I have had your same concerns. For the first time ever, there is gardening that I can no longer do. I can still mow but weeding has gotten way out of hand and I will have to hire it done. Hope I can find a WW or HH to do the job.

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  10. Whenever I get into an 'if only' emotional state I find it good to stop/recognize it, breathe in and pull my energy away from the parallel universe it happens to be visiting and ground myself into the now and proceed.

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  11. -worth it, indeed! I would be keen to hear about the exploits of both HH and WW, should they be hired, in your garden.

    Ganz liebe Grüsse
    Bea

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  12. I very much like the words you said to your mum and we would do well to remember them. Wiry and willing! Muscled handsome hunk! Stop it. My imagination still works well.

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  13. I just had my gardener put in some boxes and it is so much easier for me, I have a small garden. We are also remodeling a bathroom to make it age appropriate. I worry way too much about aging.
    This is the first time I am able to add a comment.

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  14. I am hoping you continue where you are, perhaps for a selfish reason. I want to read more about WW and HH. My flowers drowned in a three inch downpour and I broke my ankle so my small garden around a tree and potted plants have gone to weed. I'm chalking it up to 2020. Enjoy your garden while you can.

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  15. Absolutely agree with you.
    I'd think of paying the gardeners as just an adaptation needed to keep on living your good life. Adapt the garden a bit. We all have to make adaptations eventually as we age. You love your home. I'd try to stay as long as I possibly could. :)

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  16. “If only” are the words many say today as we go through times we could have never imagined. I am trying to find the positives to get me through the day and it looks like you are doing the same. We, who are older, who have learned lessons in life and who take few chances and are less likely to do foolish things, may outlive them all. We, who have been thrifty, may also be the ones with some money in our pockets when this is over.

    So sorry you lost Paul, but you have mentioned before that he has coping issues and this virus just could have been too much for him. I hope he will be OK and maybe drop by to see you now and then. I hope handsome hunk guy works out. It might be enjoyable to watch him work. As you said, “might as well ignore old age and incipient decrepitude and enjoy what’s left”.

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  17. quitting, selling out, retiring to a non-life will end your life prematurely. when you stop doing pretty soon you can't do. my last birthday I turned 70. not giving up the gardens. may not expand them or I might, just a little. I plan to do as long as I can. though I do understand wanting and needing help. so I hope WW and HH work out.

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  18. I hope it all works out for you dear Friko, you will know when the time comes, I did. And it doesn't have to be a grim institution. Lots of other options. We have beautiful gardens here and the residents do an amazing job. I must take pics soon, our season here on the Edge comes a lot later.

    XO
    WWW

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  19. Exactly, even if it's a day, do it and enjoy. I ponder that question periodically -- what if I run out of resources before I run out of life? Well, I'll deal with it then. I have a feeling you'd be miserable without your garden and WW and HH sound like good additions and possibly very fun blog posts. Carry on!

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  20. Friko, I always enjoy your posts so much. They can be counted upon to inspire reflection on the part of your readers.
    In other words, you make us think. A good thing. I hope so much that one or both of your potential helpers work out well for you. Staying in your home and working in your garden help keep your heart happy. What is more important than that? I wonder if we share a birthday. Mine was this past week. Who would've thought I would live to be 77?
    Please keep us informed about how you are, and what goes on in your garden. Knowing other people through their blogs makes us all feel less lonely. Thank you.

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  21. I agree. Do what you want..not what you think is appropriate. It will take some adjust to a new gardener who does not know stuff...but you can be patient and help him be better at his work. If you do move, that can also be an adventure. Just do pros and cons for all that is ahead. You may have more than 10 years and that is a lot of time for gardening.

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  22. Hope you had a splendid birthday. Life is all about choices! Perhaps there is a retirement community with gardens that someone else is in charge of:)

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  23. A garden, for all the hard work, is such a blessing and your garden sounds magnificent Friko. I hope you find a gardener who loves the job as much as you do. I have been wondering if the hand you injured a couple of weeks ago has healed yet. I hope it has.

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  24. So many wise and optimistic comments that I can’t add much. Except, we had a long lawn and have allowed three quarters of it to run to meadow now with a winding path cut through it. Masses of insects, dragon flies and butterflies now, with far less back breaking mowing. Happy Birthday! x

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  25. You know, I planted my yard as if I had endless years of gardening ahead of me. Then cancer, surgeries, chemo, blah, blah, blah. Now I want to have something much lower maintenance.

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  26. I laughed out loud at this: "If only I can stay abreast of developments in technology, politics, current affairs, fashions and whatever else the modern world throws at me..."

    Why would you want to do that? The modern world currently is going to hell in a handbasket, throwing over centuries of rich, nourishing culture. There's poetry, music, gardening, books... Even with aches and pains, there's a modicum of health, and so much to enjoy. Engage, don't withdraw! Remember what gives you pleasure, and embrace it. Every now and then I mention the "elderly," and I can get a funny look when I do, given my silver hair and age -- 73 now. It's not that I can't believe that -- I never think about it. Someday, my good run will be over, but I'm not going to worry about it. I can ignore issues with the best of them!

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  27. Your advice to your mum about whether to buy a new dress is spot on, and I tell myself the same advice when needed. Having a thriving garden definitely is worth the effort and cost, gardens are so nourishing.

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  28. Glad you are taking the advice you gave your mum :) It's always such a pleasure to read here, and to walk through your gardens, those in your front yard and those in your mind.

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  29. Happy Belated Birthday and hugs to you and may you keep plugging along, taking pleasure where you can.

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  30. Good for you! Work on that garden as long as you can.

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