Jaqui's Daily Blog

The Principles of Pottering

What’s happening today? Mr B is wont to ask me, each and every morning. My favourite answer as far as he is concerned is “Nothing at all.” Mr B likes it when I am busy doing nothing.



He particularly likes the thought that, with nothing else going on, I will have time to sit down with him in companionable silence to watch The Open Golf which started today and will wend its way wearily through to Sunday evening. The word “silence” is important here because my knowledge of All Matters Golf Related is limited to acute observations on the clothes sported by the golfing heroes (I am particularly impressed by those wearing what we used to call “Rupert Bear’s” in my childhood) and this does not endear me to my companion. 


The thing is, the clothes do matter. It’s one of my major gripes with Golf competitions lasting several days that the players change their outfits daily. No sooner have I got to grips with the fact that a certain player is looking super smart in blue shirt and white chinos with a snazzy white baseball hat atop his head - than he goes and changes into tartan trews, bright red polo shirt and matching baseball hat the following day, totally confusing me.


Incidentally, isn’t it strange that golfers wear a “polo” shirt and a “baseball” hat? You’d think they might have invented some fashions of their own. I suspect that, listening to my wittering, you are starting to have some sympathy with Mr B...


What Mr B doesn’t understand about a day when nothing at all is happening is that I will still find plenty to do. In short, while the golfers are wielding their clubs on the course, I will be pottering. No, not putting, pottering. 


I do love a good potter. The main thing to remember, when pottering, is that it isn’t necessary to set off on a Major Task, one which will take all of the next three days to conquer. Not only is it unnecessary, it is also against all the Principles of Pottering (which, it goes without saying, I have just this minute invented.) 


Successful pottering involves moving seamlessly between small, sometimes inconsequential  activities. Out in the garden, there are plant pots of varying sizes to be gathered up from the flower beds where they were blown in yesterday’s breezes. A little bit of dead-heading of the roses is allowed, but no strenuous digging and delving. On a potter to the shops you should desist from any serious shopping, especially that involving heaving overloaded carrier bags homewards. A selection of discrete purchases such as a six pack of cheese and onion crisps (Mr B’s favourites), a birthday card for my brother, and a small plastic washing up bowl (£2.25 from the hardware shop) is the sign of a gifted potterer.


The small washing up bowl, incidentally, will be my latest piece of equipment to assist my bid to save water. Every time I wash up the dishes, I will carry the dirty dishwater into the front garden in search of Wilting Plants. Yes, indeed, mindful of all the earnest entreaties from the water companies, I am doing my bit, albeit in a pottering kind of a way. I have taken to sharing my morning shower with a bucket in which I gather enough water to satisfy my thirsty sunflowers. All I have to remember is not to accidentally kick the bucket...


In the living room, I change a light bulb. I don’t look at the crystal shades and decide they need a wash because this would move me from pottering to a full-scale job. In the back bedroom I stow four board games left over from the last visit by the (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys back in the top cupboard. I reflect on how long the games have been sitting there on the bedroom carpet, awaiting my attention but I don’t allow myself to feel too vexed about it - this is another Principle of Pottering: no regrets. While visiting the cupboard, I unearth a few clothes which I haven’t worn for years and put them in an empty carrier bag; some day - maybe tomorrow when I am Earnestly Engaged in Meaningful Activity rather than merely pottering, I will take them to the Samaritans charity shop. There I will doubtless spend any spare money in my purse on “pre-loved” toys   which will take up all the space in the living room which I have cleared while pottering about.


“Good potter!” Mr B tells me. I start to list all the things I have done while pottering around before it dawns on me that his eyes are still fixed on the TV screen and he is talking putting, not pottering...



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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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