Mr B and I are standing in the plants section of our local Garden Centre contemplating the geraniums.
There are various colours to choose from and I pick up a pink coloured
plant and a creamy coloured one. Mr B tells me, in his I Will Brook No Arguments voice, that geraniums just have to be red. Another gent, standing nearby with a look of strained patience on his face (his wife is away with the trailing plants for hanging baskets
- £10 for six) backs up Mr B's statement with an emphatic nod of the head. It seems I am out-numbered so four red geranium plants make it into our shopping trolley.
Mr B is not at all convinced of the
wisdom of our shopping trip. He keeps pointing out the warning notices about the possibility that we may yet experience a sharp frost and quoting that well-worn saying: "Ne'er cast a clout till May be out!" He is my own personal Harbinger of Gloom.
The fact of the matter is, he tells me in the cafe over a cup of coffee and a scone (cheese for him, fruit for me - I know you like these tiny details. Or, quite possibly, not) that garden centres are canny that way.
They know that a little bit of sunshine at the beginning of May will lure us all lemming-like to the nearest centre where we can spend a small fortune on bedding plants, compost and trailing petunias for our collective hanging baskets. Then, when the inevitable
frost strikes (is that what is meant by "clout", I wonder, I always thought it was something to do with winter vests) the poor, tender young plants will shrivel and die, necessitating another trip to the garden centre - and yet more expense.
I comfort Mr B with the thought that our back garden, being South facing, is mostly sheltered from the rawest of the elements. Doesn't he remember, I prompt him, the winter's day when there was enough snow for a snowman but
we were still able to sit outside in the sunshine without our coats on. Yes, it was admittedly a very small snowman and a short-lived one at that - but that is to miss the point. "Which is?" Mr B wants to know. I should have known he wasn't listening.
I hadn't realised it was a Bank Holiday until I saw the number of cars in the Garden Centre car park. This is what happens when you no longer work, or have school-age children. It never occurs to you that there might
be a reason why so many people have ignored all the dire warnings of potential frosty mornings and headed out in droves to stock up on a splash of colour for their gardens. And all on the same day too.
home and I lovingly tend to my hanging baskets and my garden tubs. I plant out another dozen beetroot plants and repot a couple of baby lilies. I rescue no fewer than six snails from certain death and re-home them, despite knowing in my heart that they come
into the category of "garden pests." It's a bit like dandelions. Everyone knows they are weeds - but are they not just such beautiful flowers? Who said they had to be weeds, that's what I want to know. Along with buttercups and daisies, no garden should be
without them. You won't, of course, find them on sale in the Garden Centre, but that's another reason to like them, surely? They won't cost a penny but their bright faces will turn up in the grass or decorate the borders just for the love of it.
Mr B unravels the hose-pipe and waters all the tubs I have planted. It is his contribution to today's Gardening Project. Of course, I know exactly what will happen next - it will rain. And it did. Like casting clouts
and saving snails and loving weeds - This Is Life As Lived By Those Who Don't Obey The Rules.
Nowt wrong with that, as they say Oop North.
in that General Direction.