Friday, 31 July 2020

Good Intentions

Under the huge weight of the pink rambling rose stretched along the middle halfway up the picture are a brick wall, a wooden trellis and a garden door. The trellis is broken, the wall is cracked and the gate is held shut with string. HH (handsome hunk, how could you forget) will come and mend, as soon as the rose has finished flowering. The rose will be chopped and chopped and chopped, until there is little more than it’s thick trunk. That beauty is more than twenty five years old  and still going strong.

I feel like time is standing still. Time was when things just happened, then they were over. Time just passed. We always come to the end of things, it’s a kind of relief to know that. Is that true still?

Urspo, in a slightly pensive post, reminded me of Beckett's ‘Waiting For Godot’, a play exclusively about waiting, waiting for an event that never happens. Is that what happens to us? Will there ever be a vaccine and a solution for Covid19?  Or will we sit, like Vladimir and Estragon, in this desert of humanity’s own making for evermore? Will it help if I turn a blind eye and do what Voltaire suggests in Candide :”Il faut cultiver notre jardin.” I want to take this line literally, without looking for Voltaire’s social criticism. Candide exposes the failings of his society but at the end of the novel, Candide and his companions find happiness in raising vegetables in their garden.  The garden represents the cultivation and propagation of life, which, despite all their misery, the characters choose to embrace.

A lesson to be learned, all the way from the 18th Century. Tending one’s garden (whichever way you read that) is the only way to live.

I have said before that in these uncertain times I turn to either non fiction or novelists who amuse me. Nora Ephron is one such, she can cheer me up during the darkest days. In Heartburn she has a paragraph which seems to be written for 2020:

What I love about cooking is that after a hard day, there is something comforting about the fact that if you melt butter and add flour and then hot stock, it will get thick! It’s a sure thing! It’s a sure thing in a world where nothing is sure; it has a mathematical certainty in a world where those of us who long for some kind of certainty are forced to settle for crossword puzzles.

Tired of Covid, tired of this Vale of Tears we find ourselves in, I will turn my attention to happier thoughts. Will you?


  1. Why will HH chop the rose bush down to a stump?

    Do you want him to do so?

    I guess I don't understand.

    Since it seems, that a beautiful old rose bush, should not be treated thus.

    But I may not understand...

  2. I feel like we are living a life of suspended animation. Never have we not had plans for the future.

  3. Tending one's own garden, is a peaceful way to live.

    Unless the fire, is creeping close, to the garden fence.

    Then, one must make a choice.

    Keep tending, until and while, the fire consumes the garden?

    Or attempt to fight the fire, before it consumes the garden?

  4. About the Wuhan Virus, my feeling is, that a vaccine will be found. Hope for this, is actually on the horizon, in my country.

    But, I do not feel, that this is the last of these horrors, to come creeping across the world. It seems logical, that there will be others.

    How long can mankind keep treading water, with such?

    Not a peaceful thought/question, I know.

  5. I most assuredly will continue to tend my garden - the only place where I have the remotest pretence/illusion of control.
    And yes, my garden includes the literal garden, cooking, and reading. Making particular room for rereading old favourites which bring me comfort and joy.
    The wider world overwhelms me, at the best of times. Which this is not.

  6. really? cut back to its trunk? surely it needn't be that severe.

    oh yes, our instant gratification culture and world. humans have no patience, we're tired of this, we don't want to create a new normal. well, whether we want it or not, change is here. though I confess my particular life is not much changed. we visit with friends albeit at 6' distance and outdoors and no hugs or kisses. we don't eat out but rarely did anyway. the biggest change besides no hugs is no movies which we only went to 3 or 4 times a year anyway. but we are retired. I know this is so much more difficult for people who still work, who have children.

    Yes, it will end. just not as quickly as we would like. they are learning how to treat it if slowly, they are working on a vaccine but it all takes time.

  7. I wonder if, when this is all over, we will look back and realize this was good for us.

  8. I tend my garden daily but it would be nice to have a handsome hunk to do some of it for me. That would certainly make me smile more.

    What will I do when winter comes?

  9. Got a kick out of your reminder of who HH is, since I was the dumb one who didn't remember the last time you posted about him. LOL Your yard is truly lovely! But I can see why you need help to keep it up.

  10. Do you have to be so drastic with the rose, or is this HH's solution? Trim round the door if you must - do you use the door? - but it seems shame to ruin its beauty for several years to come.
    Turning to happier thoughts? Yes...we are planning trip to Mexico when all this calms down.

    1. my solution, would I let anyone else decide for me? see comment further down.

  11. Hi Friko - interesting to see so many comments about your rose - when you're doing the right thing and giving it a new lease of life - sounds an ideal plan ... and so pleased HH is around to help you ... especially as there are repairs too. A good plan, I'd say. I'd love to have a garden and have that problem ... I used to enjoy going out to my uncle's garden and help him garden ... bliss. Now - thankfully I let my brain comfort me - and I need to read more. Wonderful quotes you've given us. take care and stay safe - all the best - Hilary

  12. Vaccine a solution? Not sure about that.
    We'd better lower our expectations, and change our priorities to save our energies.
    A 'loaded' house, a big garden, critters - thse should come second.

  13. I think it's wise to assume this is our new normal. Learn to enjoy what we can. I'm profoundly grateful that I have a home I like, small enough for me to manage alone with a small outdoor space to cultivate. Plenty of drama even in a small garden. And I've always cooked everything I eat, so that's my normal anyway. I've never liked the movies nor restaurants, do I don't feel deprived. Interesting that a lot of the features of my normal have become more universal. I feel for people whose temperament needs much more social interactions though.

  14. Hi it’s FRIKO

    How kind of many of you to be concerned for Rosie’s wellbeing (Rosie is what Old Gardener of blessed memory called her) This won’t be the first time she has been cut down to the trunk and it may not be the last if future gardeners treat her well. Rambling roses of this magnitude need a chop every few years, otherwise they outgrow their space and bring down everything around them when they do. They are fine when growing up a large tree (where they then disappear into the foliage in summer) but even then they will eventually have to be stopped from rambling.

    Cutting down, then feeding and watering for a few weeks will simply allow the old lady to be off for another 25 years, unless overtaken by disease, of course. She’ll be flowering again next year if I ask her nicely.

    1. Thank you!!!!!!

      I feel better! ~smile~ Know that cutting back is good for certain growing things. But this sounded like more, than cutting back.

      But all is well. ~smile~

      Welcome Late Summer

  15. I have actually grown rather accustomed to this new normal, but I hope by the end of it I will not have lost all my former fitness. But even if I do, there is nothing to be gained by wishing it different. I live in the US which has lost control of the virus. :-(

  16. The pruning of your rose is rather a nice metaphor for the pruning our lives have taken. Like your rose, they'll grow and blossom again, but these things take time.

    I was surprised to see your comment on David Gascoigne's most recent post. I didn't realize you visited there, and, thinking about it, I couldn't remember you mentioning the birds that surely must live in your garden. If I were a bird, I'd take up residence in a flash -- there have to be nests in all that glory, and there surely are birds feeding on insects.

  17. I do my best to turn my thoughts to happy ones every day. Always have, always will. Which doesn't mean that sometimes I'm not thinking happy thoughts. I live in the US and we're in such a mess that you can't help but get terribly down and discouraged at times. But I know the things I can change (mostly myself) and the things I can't (the rest of the awful stuff in the world, including Covid) and so I make priorities. To live every day so that should something wretched happen on the next, I will know my last day was a good one, lived and loved to the max. It's far from perfect because life isn't perfect. The hot water heater breaks, you do something to hurt a body part or it's just a rainy crap day and you don't feel like doing anything! But I try. And consequently, I have adjusted to this situation relatively well. That doesn't mean it doesn't get to me because I do worry about (and try to help) those who have less than I and I miss seeing some folks, especially the toddlers. But the rest? Not so bad.

    I think it will be exciting to discover what is behind the rose and the wall. There could be all sorts of life and beauty there. And in another year, those splendid roses will return. Let's all hope we do!

  18. Ah how wonderful to have a HH on call. I would settle for a not so handsome hunk. Linda Myers brought up an interesting thought. Maybe we have needed this? Still it seems a bit severe of a lesson.

  19. Weird to say this but I am growing more and more acclimated to this new normal. I like my own company. And books. Writing, designing and knitting and am surrounded by many Covidiots, the maskless wonders. So I feel galloping (not that I do that anymore) outdoors is a hazardous activity.

    I am awaiting the second wave before I even think of future endeavours.

    I remember dad chopping at a huge standard rose and being appalled but then the blooms over the next few years were staggering.


  20. Well, there's nothing like reading Nora Ephron to pick up your spirits for a while!

  21. For the fist time in my life I enjoy my little garden. I had some boxes put in and now I have a bumper crop of zucchini and trying out all new recipes. I love to cook , it keeps me somewhat grounded.

  22. My hemiplegic migraines keep me inside a lot, has been part of my genetic inheritance. But, God has provided joy in unexpected ways.

  23. I appreciate the shout-out reference; I am always pleased by a fellow blogger reference.
    yes it is all tiresome to wait and wait for something that may not come.
    On a positive note Covid19 will eventually 'poop out' just not as soon as anyone wants.


Comments are good, I like to know what you think of my posts. I know you'll keep it civil.