Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Trials and Tribulations of a mid-morning weeder

Tidying up and weeding in the front garden hereabouts is a job that has to be over and done with at the crack of dawn, under cover of near-darkness, before the rest of the village is up and about.   Either that, or plan to devote at least three-and-a-half hours to the job.   The garden in question is south-facing, is mainly gravel and rocks, with borders of grasses and plants which are happy to be baked year-in and year-out.   The grasses and some other stuff have self-seeded into the gravel and periodically need a bit of ho-ho-hoeing to keep them in check.  

As I say, this is a task that requires an early start.   Anything after 8.00 a.m. and this will be the morning story:  

The garden has a low wall and is on what passes for the main road through the village.   This low wall is just the right height for the legion of puffed-out dog-walkers (PODW's) to sit and have a rest.    The prickly Berberis hedge hasn't grown quite high enough yet to be a deterrent and make this perch inhospitable.  Well, not to those in Barbour jackets and country tweeds.  Anyway, while they and Rover catch their breath, PODW's always seem to have some guidance for me in my labours.   Or want to know who's buying the house for sale at the other end of the village.   Or what X said to Y at WI last week that caused such a-muttering and a-mumbling.   Before you know it, twenty minutes have gone by and I'm still leaning on my rake, grudgingly accepting their advice, racking my brains to see if I can remember if the mobile library is due this week, or just popping indoors to rustle up half a dozen empty jam-jars for their chutney. 

The passers-by who don't sit down are usually the ones offering a cheeky remark over their shoulder and therefore require a quick getaway before the business end of a garden implement helps them on their merry way.   (You know who you are  .....)   They don't, I have to confess, take up much time, but they are a distraction from my weeding duties, while I try in vain to think up a witty riposte for their return journey.

And then there's the car-horn tooters, who, I'm afraid, hardly ever get an acknowledgement.   By the time I've straightened up and focussed on the middle-distance, they're long gone.   I have to admit to wearing a hat with a big brim these days so that I can avoid making eye-contact.   Either that, or just make a point of waving indiscriminately at every car driver.   Which you have to do anyway when the PODW's are comfily ensconced and the hat-brim-lowering technique can't (politely) be employed.

The least time-consuming conversation is the one I have with the chap over the road.   He's a tough-guy professional motor-bike racer, and walks with a severe limp from injuries sustained in the line of duty.   But he walks very very fast, starts talking to me before he leaves his own drive, keeps talking as he speeds past me and doesn't stop until he's a good many yards down the road.   There's a kind of doppler effect to our exchange, which never varies.   "How are you Chris?"   "Oooh ... you know, Tony.   How about you?"   "Stressed out, Chris, stressed out."   "Oh dear, Tony, what now?"   But I never hear the response, because by then he's almost at the corner and whizzing off down Church Road to see his mum.   I don't even really have to pause in my weeding and Tony seems quite happy to address his remarks to the top of my head.   Good Old Tony.

Thanks for visiting, hope to see you again soon!

The photo's actually the Fire Hydrant warning fixed to the wall, but PODW's beware!


AeFondKis said...

Ha ha Chrissie nice to know that you are as social as me when in the garden! I am surrounded by an old witch from Hansel and Gretel on one side who guards her public car parking space for her imaginary car and on the other side of this prickly sandwich is a painter and decorator who collects invalidity benefit, who keeps the garden from hell! not unknown for wee Jimmy Jr. to be running round brandishing a small stanley knife in that dense jungle!
My motto, I am an artist get me out of here!
Linda x

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! As you well know Chrissie, I always enjoy reading your blog but todays offering had me laughing out loud. What a wonderful picture of our village life you paint ........ and it's all true!
What a tonic you are! Bless you.
Love, Anne

ELK said...

your mid morning garden is lovely ..and the activity made me not work toohard!!

Chrissie said...

Linda - eeek, must make life interesting!
Anne - which category do you fall into ....?
Elk - thank you!

marigold jam said...

Have just come over from AeFondKis and love what I see - will be adding you to my list of blogs I want to follow. I do know what you mean about the chatting - our front driveway is alongside the entrance to the local dog walking wood and people pass often in the summer months and stop to chat - lovely but as you say it does rather take up the time one might have been actually gardening!!


Menopausal musing said...

Brilliant! I know EXACTLY what you mean.

Thanks for the cheeky comment on my blog, you..... you............ trumper! I had totally forgotten about N.O.R.W.I.C.H and had to "google" it. I roared with laughter when I read it....:O))))))))))))))))

Printed Material said...

I am impressed that you do the weeding! Plant 'em close and choke out the weeds is my motto. Lovely photo of the heuchera and the euphorbia. That plummy colour against the acid green is luscious. I used to have a wonderful euphorbia under planted with black Queen of the Night tulips but I lost it. Seeing your photos makes me want to revive the combination. Maybe next year? Don't work too hard! Lesley x

Anonymous said...

What an utterly brilliant post. It all sounds so familiar. You should write for Country Living! Especially liked the PODW and fire hydrant notice. Your post is hilarious and put a big smile on my face. Thank you. Look forward to more!

Cathy said...

Hi Chrissie, I picked your name out as one of the six runners up on my giveaway at One Pink Goose. I am giving a print of one of my drawings, so if you could let me know your name and address. Cathy

Heather said...

This post was so charming, and even though I can appreciate the 'time wastage' involved, and the hindrance your visitors must truly be; I'm still going to pass on some lovely advice that I got when I was pregnant and everyone thought my belly was somehow 'theirs' to touch. "When you're pregnant or have young children (or when you're gardening), the world is a warmer place. Try to enjoy the love inherent in human contact." Believe me, here in Philadelphia, I would be THRILLED if anyone stopped to speak to me...ever!!! XXO-