Tuesday, 29 November 2022

This And That

Considering that I reckon myself to be a keen gardener it is really quite astonishing that I should have forgotten to prune my roses, all 50+ of them, including shrub, bush, climbing, rambling and dog roses. I have made a start and pruned more than half of them over the past few days. I have the holes in my arms to prove it. Roses are pruned twice a year round here, once in autumn to stop the wind rocking and loosening the roots and once in early spring to encourage new growth. Sadly, there were quite a few buds and open flowers left, but I cut them all back ruthlessly. I haven't done so always but that means that the new season's growth is all topsy turvy and wrong. Pity. I do so love the last rose of summer, left blooming all alone, (as Nana Mouskouri used to sing). I often brought the last one into the house at Christmas.



Several of you expressed an interest in what I called my ballerina tree (weeping pear); here it is with the golden leaves of autumn which are silver in spring and summer. The leaves are all off now and the thin silver branches which you can just make out are all that's left.

Enough of gardening.

I have started to go out to one or two of the social clubs again. Admittedly, I have to force myself, particularly now that it's dark by 4pm and often cold and windy and wet. Yes, the rains have come back with a vengeance. Mustn't grumble because the soil really needs it.

People's habits have changed a great deal over the Covid years, I am not the only one who has become a recluse. When I drag myself out I usually enjoy the get togethers, I chat and show an interest with the best of them but, truth be told, there are very few people whose company I have seriously missed. Over the two years I have "lost" two formerly close-ish friends; one hasn't said why and the other believed I had criticised their Covid behaviour. Sad, but I'll get over it. So little touches me deeply nowadays there must be something wrong with me, something I inherited from my Dad, who also rarely felt the need to socialise; strangely, when he did, he was the life and soul of the party. People used to think of him as a jolly good fellow, which he really wasn't. Certainly not as far as company was concerned.

Losing friends for rather trivial reasons means that the friendship wasn't all that solid anyway.

I've had a couple of jobs done round the house and garden. The terrace has been relaid, and a bathroom  has been retiled. So much for moving! I emailed a friend today simply to restart post Covid relations. To my surprise I learned she and her husband want to downsize, they have sold their house and are in the process of getting rid of "stuff" prior to a move closer to family. Here's hoping that their family doesn't up sticks for a new job or something like that. It so often happens. Besides, the couple have many friends round here and will have to start from scratch in their mid 80s. People do the strangest things. 







22 comments:

  1. 'Losing friends for rather trivial reasons means that the friendship wasn't all that solid anyway'. Thank you for that. I needed the reminder.

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  2. 50+ roses is quite a job! I've only got a couple of roses, but the work here is getting the dahlia tubers up for the winter.

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  3. Moving to be near family is something that older folks not born in Hawaii do. But after 36 years here, I don't believe I could flourish anywhere else. In addition, I'm lucky to have some friendships, memories and associations as well as some actual family to keep me going. Cheers to you my friend! I do appreciate your looking in and sharing your point of view and these dispatches of continued existence. Aloha

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  4. The description of your father reminds me of my husband, to be honest.
    The weeping pear looks like a fun addition to any garden. I'm fairly awful at pruning, but I do love to potter around the garden watering and picking up leaves.

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  5. Few things touching you really deeply could also simply mean that you are well-balanced and resilient, but I guess that's not what you think when you say there must be something wrong with you.
    As for post-pandemic socialising, I can only stand many people for so long and then want to be left alone again. It's mainly the noise that gets me, especially if someone in the group has a particularly piercing voice or annoying laughter.

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  6. Moving close to family is the right thing to do if possible. Family's the real thing; friends prove to be an illusion in the third phase of life.

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  7. You are an excellent gardener Friko. I do not prune roses in the fall so that they can better withstand frost. And in the spring I cut off the dead branches. I think that in old age there is no strong friendship. There may be friends with whom it is pleasant to talk, but not to share problems.

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  8. If I was to cash out and move at this late date it would be to another country. A friend of mine is doing just that. She's single, no children, friends have all moved or passed away. She's moving to Mexico.

    I wouldn't think that there would be new growth on the roses to prune away in spring after a fall pruning.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with limiting socializing. I don't have any close friends, not the type where you make plans to do things together. I do have yoga class and volunteering at the food bank that satisfies any need to be around other people. I grew up isolated and so being alone just became normal. Of course I do have a husband here. When I was doing the river guide thing I would tell people I was really anti-social but no one ever believed me. Like your father I guess.

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  9. I cannot bear to cut roses that are still blooming, so that's why I'll never be a 'proper' gardener. I should do it and remind myself that it's for their own good, really. My socialising is mostly with family. My father used to say he had few enemies and fewer friends. I say I have many acquaintances but few friends. Actually, my friends have become acquaintances now, as I never see them. Not many people get past the unconscious barriers I put up, sadly :)

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  10. Friko, I always look forward to your writing. I've been a passionate gardener since accompanying my grandparents when they were taking care of their back "yards" many years ago as a child. To share my thoughts at 83: Lost my very best longtime friends of fifty years and that truly was a difficult adjustment. Next Covid arrived here in the U.S. and, at the very same time, I discovered another breast cancer to deal with. Talk about surreal...going to the physicians and hospitals for treatment - along w/ the Covid situation - was quite something else. One thing about my cancer this round is a specimen was sent out & I finally found what I thought all along: My cancers (2 breast & 1 kidney) are due to genetics. Wow!! At any rate, it took me quite a few years to adapt to these changes in my life. I just turned 83 and finally at long last feel very comfortable in my solitude and peace. I haven't either the desire or the strength to join any groups or, as Nadesna commented, "in old age .... not to share problems." I am enjoying solitude and peace.

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  11. My husband and I were pretty stable compared to the national average, of people moving every seven years -- but maybe that means moving to a different residence, not to a whole new town or area of the country, or to a different nation. Over the course of my adult life, it is many times my best friends who have moved away. I wonder if I would be missed if I moved to be near my children. If I ever do that, I wouldn't be quick to try making friends... but it happens so easily.

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  12. We moved so often in our first 25 years of marriage that I hate even the idea of it. We've had this house for 20 years and are not planning to move again until we have to, hopefully in another 20 years. One daughter and her husband are moving houses this weekend, and I was over helping her pack boxes, a task that reminded me again that moving is a chore.
    I usually prune my roses (only 8 bushes), but the weather was so odd this year that it hasn't been done. I will do a good pruning in early spring. A few buds are still standing stalwart in the cold and bits of snow we've been getting.

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  13. I was surprised to read of twice-a-year pruning. Around here, the major pruning of trees, roses, and such takes place in February, give or take. I suspect it has to do with differences in our climates. To prune now would be to risk rampant growth, cut short by spells of truly wintry weather. But, I'm no gardener, so that's just my supposition, based on observation.

    The various comments about socializing and such brought to mind the witty phrase I still remember, and grin at, from a 1959 Peanuts cartoon. Linus says to Lucy, "I love mankind. It's people I can't stand!" I'm sort of the opposite, I think. I enjoy people tremendously, but sometimes 'mankind' leaves me shaking my head.

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  14. I can relate to all of your post. My father was a street angel and house devil and people adored him and envied me for having a great daddy. Amazing how these fellows would hoodwink the world.
    As to your friends, I so agree with your observation.There is no trust there. No affection. All based on how one makes THEM feel and easily hurt. I toss them to the curb and don't look back.
    XO
    WWW

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  15. I've heard of more than a few families who moved to be closer to the kids only to have the kids move away. I get the idea, but the execution can be tricky! I had no idea about pruning the roses. Well, so much for this year! I admit I've bailed on book club post-Covid. Too many people, too much noise and I wasn't much liking the books. When you have dozens sitting in front of you to make it through, the idea doesn't move me anymore. I miss our retiree group a bit -- we continued to meet via zoom but now it's at restaurants. Maybe in a few months. I can't seem to get enough time to pull myself together as it is!

    I do love your ballerina tree. Thanks for showing it!

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  16. Moving house late in life can be hard if you’re old and frail - surviving the exhaustion of the move, settling in, making new friends, learning the idiosyncrasies of a new house.
    I know of a lady who moved from Yorkshire to Kent to be nearer her son and his family. He subsequently divorced and moved out of the area.

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  17. Thinking of you, Friko. ❄️ Hope all is well! ­čśâ

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  18. Hi Friko - I'm just plain late ... been busy or lazy! - which ever you chose ... or both! Well I'm glad you've decided to stay for the time being ... makes sense to me, as you love your home and are happy there - and as you say the village has its advantages. With thoughts, a big hug and also a cheerful season's end - Hilary

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  19. I love that pear tree. After the pandemic lock down things just are not the same in the US. Fast food restaurants cannot get help, they close dining rooms. Get togethers with friends are few and far between because we are careful about socializing. But you never really know, Wishing you a happy holiday.

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  20. I haven't been on line to read blogs in a while. I want to wish you Happy Christmas and I hope to hear all your news in 2023.

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  21. I know nothing about roses pruning, though reading how you did it was engrossing. The socializing part echoed more with me. Not only the Covid has made us recluse. It is the feeling of instability, as well as pain and losses, in lots of meanings. I'm glad this year is nearly over. There's a lot about it being the worst year ever, though this attribute sounds reassuring to me. Happy peaceful New year to all of us!
    P.S. Your ballerina tree is marvellous!

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  22. I've been cutting off the rose hips too in preparation for spring blooms. Yes, people who move to be with family are taking the chance that family will stay in place. Best wishes for them. I am aging in place and my family is here where my roots are, for the past 45 years. Socializing is weird in this covid era, each event has to be carefully considered by us.

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