Before you get stung. Long before your back aches and nettles have numbed the pads of your fingers, Stop! Assess the situation, what do you need? Before you take on the task. What tools are available and can you actually achieve what you’ve promised with the equiptment that is there.
Pulling on one blue disposable glove found in the conservatory drawer, I remember thinking, … It’ill do. That was before wriggling my hand into the second glove. A gentle tug at the cuff removed all the fingers, like some 1950’s cartoon.
Mother hides the key to the shed in a closet, why? Mum says, ‘Better safe than sorry.’ In my deck shoes, one blue glove, a blue plastic covered thumb and wrist, I just get on with it. ‘Put your back into it, a bit of elbow grease is all it takes,’ said Mum.
Dad had all his gardening implements in order, clean, hung and in excellent condition. Nine years since Dad and longer since I really took stock. On the surface every thing looked fine. I had taken the mower, rake and hoe for a workout on occasion without a problem. But that day I needed more, so delved deeper to collect things. The bucket had lost its handle, the watering can was missing the rose, secateurs were nowhere to be found and the garden fork had only two prongs.
The day was balmy, the sun, had very little heat as it is early May in England. Everyone who is anyone knows May is the month for catching you without a coat. Last week it was hail with a smattering of snow, like flour on the floor when I bake. But the bright day enthused me to the task. An hour in and I stop, wipe my face and look at the barely touched, rock hard earth. Either dust or concrete Mum suggests tea and a rest, apparently I look a rather good shade of beetroot; thanks Mother.
A Robin had been watching from the fence post, … worm waiting. Mother quipped ‘It’s Dad, checking that you are doing it right.’ Armed with a walnut slice and a napkin she placed in front of me, and nodded towards it. ‘Eat up, you’ll need your strength.’ I cracked on. Two Robins got very close to the two pronged fork looked at each other and twittered. I swear they said. ‘She has no chance.’ And flitted back to a nearby shrub.
Perseverance was the key to success, as three hours in I had wrestled brambles, nettles and bind weed. I had trimmed the ornamental grass and weeded. I planted some random seeds found in an old lone Wellington boot and watered what was left of the 12 foot long flowerbed.
The almost full garden bin was the proof of my labour’s.
Around ten that night I noticed the phone flash with several missed calls from Mum. ‘Hello Mum, are you okay?’ The line crackled she stumbled her whispered words. ‘Someone has been in the garden, they have stolen all my plants up the back, left it bare they have.’ I pause to check myself so as not to make the confusion worse. ‘It’s okay Mum It was me, that was what I was doing weeding and tidying, … this afternoon?’ ‘Oh, yes yes of course, you should have told me dear, I was a bit worried. I am ninety you know, fancy giving me a fright.’ … I guess that being 90 and nearly one, has its downside on occasions.
Lessons learnt 1. Brown owl was right one should always be prepared. 2. Mothers frequently know best. 3. Robins are as astute as Mothers. 4 being over 90 is not always perfect.
This was written for Esme’s prompt Go here to join in or read others responses.
Although not a Northen Flicker My Robin seemed to fit the bill nicely. If you liked? it let me know in the comments.