Today I was fortunate enough to make three new acquaintances. I feel sure that we are all going to be firm friends.
The first turned up in our side porch, even before
I had rolled out of bed in search of Weetabix to fuel my morning's activities. It was our new 100 litre water butt, all green and roomy. He wasn't too bulky so I wrapped both my arms around him in the warmest of welcome embraces and carried him in to meet
Mr B and receive his verdict on my latest purchase. Fortunately he approved.
I have decided to call him (as in the water butt, not Mr B you understand) Walter, as in Walter Butt. Our family has an unfortunate
tendency to name anything and everything, from cars to the Christmas turkey. My lovely sister, when she hears about our new friend, will immediately ask: "What have you called it?" My first thought, to be honest, was to call him Albert, which is a family name.
Mr B's grandfather was called Albert Bartlett and whenever I buy Maris Piper potatoes in Tesco's or wherever, turning my back, metaphorically speaking, on the packs of Albert Bartlett's, I feel as if am disowning a family member.
Even as I was thinking of it, I changed my mind. It really had to be Walter, don't you think? It's such a down to earth, horticultural kind of name. Plus, it rolls off the tongue - Walter Butt. Nobody could possibly fail to understand
his purpose in our garden.
Walter was still standing tall and proud in our living room when our new neighbours called round. They have been moved in for a good few weeks but we haven't met them - though they
did put a sweet thank you card through our letter box in appreciation of our "Welcome to your new home" card. If they thought it a trifle strange that we had a large water butt taking up pride of place in our living room, they were far too polite to say so.
Why is it that people always call when your house is in a mess? Particularly when you are keen to make a favourable first impression? Though perhaps your house is always clean and tidy, in which case I salute you. No,
really, I do. As it was, I had to move a small pile of newspapers, my knitting, my outdoor shoes (I'd just returned from a shopping trip) and Mr B's blanket from the armchairs they were adorning so that they our visitors both had somewhere to sit. I also had
to make a hurried exit into the kitchen to remove our lunchtime eggs from the saucepan in which they were just about to boil and our toast from the grill.
Our new neighbours have great plans for their garden
- and it seems that their ideas will benefit us too. We nod appreciatively when they say they hope we won't mind them tackling the ivy which is strangling the trees and shrubs in both their garden and ours. They are also, I am delighted to hear, bird lovers
and hedgehog champions. We have agreed to work together in attracting both birds and hedgehogs to our respective gardens.
We take them down to the very end of the garden so that they can see what's what for
themselves. I apologise (I'm not sure why I felt the need to apologise, but there you are) for the pile of wood which I need to take down to the dump (aka the civic amenity site) sometime. I am pleased to see that daffodils are blooming in the patch of ground
I cleared last summer. It's a good thing that these keen gardeners didn't visit us before I tackled the worst of the jungle at the bottom of our garden.
When they leave, Mr B and I agree that we are extremely
lucky in our new neighbours. After almost a year when the houses each side of us were empty, we are no longer Billy No Mates. It's a comforting feeling.
A knock on the door. It's our new neighbour again.
"I'll be going down to the tip," he says, "I'll take all that wood for you..." He is as good as his word.
It seems we are well and truly blessed with our latest acquaintances.
Okay, so we still have to put Our Walter to the test but I'm sure we won't find him wanting. Anything butt...