Ken the gardener phones to tell me that he did call by our house, tested out the state of the front lawn - and decided there was no way he would be able to take a lawn-mower to it this week. He didn’t knock on the
door, he said, in case we were busy or in our dressing gowns. No, he didn’t actually suggest we might have been in our dressing gowns, I added that myself, knowing it was rather more likely than our being occupied in, well, busyness.
Maybe next week, we agree. Everything is taking so much more time to get going, we say. Summer will surely happen, eventually, we reassure each other. I think of my poor lilies, in
their front garden bed, and wonder if they will recover from the frosts of earlier in the year which have literally laid waste to them. This time last year, I can hardly believe, we actually had a lily in bloom and I was worrying that it had reached its prime
too soon. Ken and I end our phone conversation, doubtless both feeling pleased that we are Of One Mind, at least on all matters Garden-Related.
On a more positive
horticultural note, most of my seeds are sprouting bravely in the trays on the windowsill in the small bedroom. The sunflowers and the cosmos are particularly plentiful though the antirrhinums have yet to show even a single sprout - however, checking the back
of the packet this morning, I see that germination takes between 14 and 21 Days so I am not giving up on them yet. I am still exhorting all my seeds to “Grow! Grow!” after the fashion of Our Rascal but I am also practising heavy breathing on them
ever since my friend Eleanor suggested that the reason Faris’s sunflower seed appears to be flourishing where those of so may of his friends are not is because, in whispering into the plant pot, he is also breathing over his seedling, so treating it
to extra carbon dioxide which (as biology students will surely tell us) plants need to flourish.
Down in the kitchen, my Fairy Garden is also taking shape.
Sort of. Young Harvey (son of Kay, who helps me keep my house in order) wasn’t too impressed with the idea of a Fairy Garden when I explained it to him on Wednesday but he did offer me a couple of his ROBLOX figures. I expect Faris the Rascal will expect
me to add a Dinosaur or three, while Young Morgan is bound to introduce a few Power Rangers. I am not much better: I have already found a place for the pony-tailed acrobat which was my gift in the Kinder Surprise Egg which the Trio gave me for Easter. I rather
think mine will be a Fairy Garden Like No Other.
Incidentally when Harvey came to play, he was wearing a tee-shirt bearing the inscription: Live / Breathe
/ ROBLOX. “ROBLOX is my life!” he declared, theatrically, as he plugged his laptop in to the mains, while reminding me that, as far as ROBLOX is concerned, my name is swimelephant. No, please don’t ask. I wondered aloud if I might be able
to buy a tee-shirt like Harvey’s in my size. It would do wonders for my street cred with the (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys when they come to stay next month. Harvey seemed pleased with this expression of support for his favourite pursuit - he is always
a little disappointed that I don’t play Jail Break, or Dominus Lifting Simulator or even - my favourite - Silly Simulator in between his visits. Especially when, instead of building my virtual strength on Space Weight Lifting Simulator, I am investing
valuable time in something as ridiculously unrealistic as a Fairy Garden.
Mr B and I are currently reading together “The Last Fighting Tommy”,
the story of Harry Patch who went over the top during the First World War at the tender age of just nineteen. Today we read the chapter on Passchendaele and heard, in Harry’s own words, of the dread of never knowing at sunrise if you would see the approach
of night-time and at sunset if you would live to see the sun rise on another day.
I can’t help comparing young Harry’s real-life experiences with the
ridiculous antics of virtual games where people die and immediately “rebirth”: there was no rebirth for the soldiers who died a horrific death in the knee-deep mud of Passchendaele - how dare I complain about having to clean my shoes after squelching
through my muddy garden!
I am sobered beyond words.