An amazing post for a garden blog from https://patientgardener.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/my-garden-this-weekend-18th-january-2015/. It’s a frank and open consideration of The Patient Gardener’s reaction to her father’s death, the grief and how she copes with it. Starting from the “what can’t be changed must be endured” standpoint Helen explores her initial puzzlement, through the discovery of what had triggered her grief, then the acceptance and how she managed to move on, but not away, from it. Such patent honesty disarms the reader, I’d be amazed if any of us wasn’t moved by such a beautiful post.
I’ve been out shopping today with The Divine Cook (TDC), we’re looking for a greenhouse for me but we’re looking for different things. TDC is after something aesthetically pleasing, preferably in cedar, yours truly lusts for space at a reasonable price, I suspect I see a compromise coming on. We went to what we think is our nearest greenhouse shop, Superior Garden Buildings in a little town called Tasburgh on the A140, here’s their website http://www.gardenbuildings.co/ They have a good range of greenhouses on display from the less, to the very, expensive. We wandered around in a cold blustery wind checking out the houses, I looked at aluminium, less expensive,
TDC looked at cedar, much more expensive,
the compromise is tanalised redwood pine.
Next came the size debate, I looked at small, say 6 by 6 feet, TDC seemed to think something larger was appropriate, “you’ll have so much more space”, here we eventually agreed on around 7 by 10 feet. Something like this perhaps,
So, here’s the question, does anyone have knowledge or opinions on the Swallow Kingfisher range of greenhouses and/or of Superior Garden Buildings in Tasburgh, Norfolk UK? Any help will be much welcomed, as will any comments on this post.
We’ve had three days of sun in Glasgow for this time of year that’s good in these parts. At the weekend I had Sandy out with me whilst I worked in the garden, after a couple of hours of tidying I took a break for coffee, rest & rumination.
|Looking a bit snooty.|
Sitting on the deck I’m watching Sandy following scents round my flower beds, a big pigeon lands on the grass about ten feet from him and begins nonchalantly nibbling on insects, Sandy spots it immediately and plans his attack. Dropping low to the ground he gets behind the bird, he’s quivering with excitement, judging when to launch himself at this barefaced intruder. Sandy leaps up and throws himself forward, the pigeon rises into the air, ages before Sandy reaches the spot where it used to be, looking up at it Sandy growls and his hackles rise.
|Strutting around on Sandy’s patch|
“No luck there Sandy”.
“I’ll probably catch him next time”.
“Not too sure about that, I’ve been watching you and you’ve tried to grab him quite a few times but, honestly, you never get close”.
“I will next time”.
“Can’t you see that it’s not going to happen, the bird is too quick for you”.
“I’ll get him, one time he’ll be too slow or too old & slow then I’ll have him”.
“I doubt it Sandy”.
“Don’t you believe in persistence Dad”?
“Of course I do but it has to be tempered by common sense, some things are just too unlikely and persistence is just wasted effort then”.
“But you humans can see that way before us dumb dogs, right”?
“Now Sandy you know I treat you as an equal, don’t try to dig me up like that, but yes, mostly we humans are smarter than dogs”.
“It’s true that you do much more complicated things than us dogs”.
“Yes, that’s true”. There’s no point in denying the obvious.
“You can drive cars, run businesses, fly aeroplanes and even go to the moon”.
“All true but don’t feel bad about it, that’s just natural selection”.
“I suppose so, but tell me Dad, how is business these days”?
“Not so good, what with the recession and all”.
“It must be tough trying to make a profit”.
“It’s very difficult just now & has been for some time”.
“Why do you do it Dad”?
“Because I honestly believe that one day, with hard work and a bit of luck, I can make good money at it”.
He looked at me with those big brown eyes, wide open and innocent, immediately I had a sense of foreboding.
“How long have you thought that Dad””
“A long time Sandy, it takes real sticking power to succeed in business”. Foreboding was turning to dread, the wee devil was in manipulative mode again.
Sandy’s face rearranged itself into the semblance of a smile, though not a pretty one.
“Forgive a dumb question Dad, but is sticking power similar to persistence”?
I felt a little nauseous.
“Ehhh, similar, yes”.
“A bit like chasing birds when there seems no hope of catching them perhaps”?
I felt a pressing need to return to gardening, there was something not quite right about the border by the hut and it needed my immediate attention.
“Sorry Sandy, there’s a complex question of the arrangement of plants in the hut border that demands instant action. We can talk more later.”
“Carry on Dad, you’ll get it right yet.”
I felt curiously deflated as I headed over to the hut, surely he hadn’t bested me again?
|Watching me, distrustfully I fear.|
|On the sofa in the TV room|
Set off with Sandy dog but this time went down our drive and turned right along the main road then first right again, he was scared on the busy main road but seemed happier when we left it, that is till we covered about two hundred yards where he stopped dead. Knowing that he’s a bit shy about his fear, especially where girls are concerned, I picked him up & whispered,
“You scared, puppy dog?”
“You bet Dad.”
“What’s eating you?”
“I’m too far from home and I’ve lost my bearings, I want to go back.”
Well thought I, this is no good, I’ve got to get him past this. So, still carrying him, I head on up the road. He doesn’t seem to be a heavy dog when you pick him up but by the time I reached the top of the road I was feeling his weight, I turned right and after a few yards I put him back on his four paws. He stood looking around for a moment then, with ears flat and belly low to the ground, headed home.
As we headed down our road his nervousness decreased a bit, I was glad ’cause I wasn’t sure how much further I could’ve carried the wee devil. He was still moving fast but not pulling and in this condition we reached home.
We stopped in the vestibule for a quick word before going in,
“Was that OK young fella?”
“I’m not so sure Dad, it was a bit frightening but you carrying me up that other road sure helped a lot.”
“That’s good, will we try again tomorrow?”
“OK, let’s give it a go, I’m not promising but there are some real good smells round that corner.”
I started to open the door when he pulled me back,
“Not a word to Mum though, please?”
“Mum’s the word.”
I wandered into the TV room this early afternoon as I hadn’t seen Sandy for a while and he often snatches a wee snooze there during the day. Sure enough there he was sleeping on the sofa with the warm rays of the sun wrapped round him.
“Hey Sandy, what’s the news?”
“Not much Dad but, considering it’s only half way through February in Glasgow, Scotland, I sure am enjoying these rays.”
“You look comfortable but why lying down, why aren’t you sitting on the window seat guarding the house?”
“I was but the sun made me drowsy and it’s low in the sky so it makes being on lookout difficult,can I have a pair of those dark glasses that Mum always wears? I think that would keep me on lookout much longer”.
“Would it help with the drowsiness”?
“Now Dad you know it wouldn’t but if I could see better then I wouldn’t get so bored and boredom brings on tiredness in a dog”.
“So, if I buy you sunglasses you’ll remain on guard duty longer?”
“Well Dad I can’t guarantee that but it might help a whole lot”.
“Sandy, are you sure this is not another of the new gadgets which I get for you, you play with for a couple of days, then gradually ignore”?
“What do you mean, was that a pointed comment”?
“I’ve bought you lots of toys, most of them end up under your bed in less than two days, why should sunglasses be different”?
“You sure are developing a suspicious nature Dad, I need sunglasses to help me see better on sentry duty when it’s sunny”.
“I think you just want a new toy and that you’ll be bored with it in no time”.
“What did you buy today Dad”?
“Oh I got a new laptop, it’s fantastic, Windows 8 with 6 Gigabytes of RAM, wonderful, I’m in love”.
“You sure spent a lot of time on it today, I was amazed. Normally you’re only on it for half an hour or so”.
“That’s true Sandy but this new one is so exciting that I couldn’t leave it alone”.
“How much time will you spend on it tomorrow”?
“Probably not so much, I’ve more or less mastered it”.
“Why did you change laptops”?
“Oh, the other one was old, it needed changing”.
“Had it stopped working”?
“No but it was time for a change”.
“Is it like a new toy to you”?
“Yes it’s a bit like that”.
“Did it cost more than sunglasses for me”?
Damned dog then rolled himself into a ball in the sun, closed his eyes and went back to sleep. What was that all about? Sometimes I think he’s a bit bad tempered, especially when tired.
I’m just back from taking Sandy for “a wee Donner” up the road, (who knew we had kebabs in Scotland when slang was invented?) . An odd walk, about half way up Colquhoun he was spooked by something, stopped dead & refused to move forward, insisting on going back. “Come on Dad I’m spooked, don’t know what it is, some scent I caught on the breeze or from the ground, I really want to go home”.
I was surprised, lately he’d been getting to the top of the road and looked interested in exploring further but now a volte-face, “What’s up young fella?” He looked up at me with those big eyes of his & said quietly “I think it’s a big fox, please let’s go home”. So that’s what we did, turned around & headed home, his ears flat to his head, body low to the ground and stopping every few yards to look back.
When we got inside the storm doors he shook himself, gave me a friendly lick on the leg and said “Thanks Dad, I was a wee bit worried there, no need to let on to Mum tho’, OK?” So he was back to himself already, “Sure, let’s go in” Bouncing in to the TV room, tail wagging he headed for his favourite spot on the sofa, gave me a conspiratorial wink & fell asleep.
Sandy preparing for a gig.
When he’s getting ready he is focused, his whole being zoomed in on the job, nothing: except food, other dogs, Liz, a postman or other delivery person, someone parking their car, a few other vital doggie things or an itchy paw is allowed to intrude. A consummate professional, he gives his all to his art.
We were chatting just the other day about a donkey that, Sandy claims, walks up and down our road during the day when he’s alone. That’s the whole thing, it only happens when he’s alone, never when we’re around to keep him company, so should we believe him or not? He’s usually very truthful but is a bit of a romantic and so you’re never too sure about his stories. The alleged donkey walks up the middle of the road, unaccompanied, wears a large straw hat with holes for his ears and always stops to talk to Sandy for a minute or two. I decide to test him – “what do you talk about?”
“Mostly the weather, scents and other things of interest to poor dumb animals”
“What language do you use?”
“A mixture of English, canine and equine”
“Do you understand each other?”
“Of course, otherwise why would we talk, that’s a stupid question.”
“Does he pass by every day?”
“No, only days when I’m alone.”
“I wonder how he knows you’re alone?”
“You must think all animals are stupid, we can communicate in ways you can’t imagine.”
“We can post messages, don’t look so incredulous, we can and do.”
“Where do you post them.”
“In the dogosphere or the donkosphere, some times both if you’re not sure who’ll be around that day.”
“Where are these sphere’s, I don’t see them.”
“I don’t see these emails and blogs you’re forever talking about, so there’s nothing surprising in you not being able to access other spheres that are outside your reach.”
“And you send posts there?”
“Yeah, for the whole animosphere community to read”
“I’m not sure I understand”
“Nobody’s asking you to, I don’t understand your universe and you don’t get mine, that’s fine from my perspective.”
“I need to think about this.”
“OK, you do that and come back to me when you have.”
I was glad to bring that conversation to a close, I felt Sandy was getting the edge over me, clearly impossible as he’s just a dog and I’m human but he can undermine my confidence sometimes so I thought I’d let it rest for the day.
We don’t get a lot of sunny days in Scotland, well that’s how it feels. So, just for the record, here’s one.