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Garden Wrangling and Life Admin

I haven’t watched much of the Chelsea Flower Show on TV this year, mostly because the weather has been soooooo lovely this week it would have been a sin to be wasting time indoors. However, I do like to put in my vote for ‘The People’s Garden’ award. I went on to the BBC website in order to do this, and do you know what? I didn’t bother. Quite frankly, I haven’t experienced so much disappointment since, well, since Zoe Ball took over the Radio 2 Breakfast Show and I was forced to defect to Classic FM. What a letdown. The nominated gardens looked, for the majority at least, like the wastelands you find around the back of old railway stations or derelict housing estates. The gardens of Damson Cottage looked in better nick and I have been woefully neglectful of those so far this year. Maybe next year I should exhibit at Chelsea? I could call my garden, ‘Couldn’t Be Arsed At Damson Cottage’ sponsored by Industrial Waste, Claptrap and Rusty Garden Tools. 

Inspired by the notion of ‘Could Do Better’, Himself Lord Malarkey and I have been clipping, snipping, mowing and tidying our own corner of England’s green and pleasant land this last week and I have to say it’s looking pretty darn ship-shape now. The ancient Eglu and the fairly new rabbit palace have both been sold on the EBay and were collected this weekend. No more chickens, no more rabbits. The bits of encroaching jungle invading the hedges have been defeated, the grass all mown and tidied, and random bits of wire netting and wood from various garden projects have been wrangled into tidiness. Andy set fire to stuff in the incinerator-bin-with-no-bottom and has started addressing the wobbly fruit cage, and I risked life and limb climbing into the tree house to prune it therewithin. I am going to turn it into a meditation space. I may need to have a new, sturdy ladder installed for ease of access. Not that I almost came a-cropper climbing up there. (I did.Twice.)

We also had a landscaper visit to give us a quote on block paving the driveway because, Dear Reader(s) my life is too busy to be wasting time trying to keep the weeds at bay. The quote was ‘Cor blimey! How much?’ But then it is a fairly sizeable driveway. And it did include two new gates and a considerable run of four feet high picket fencing to enclose the middle garden and courtyard, and make it Nell safe. We decided to have the area in front of the house block paved and the area up the side of the house re-gravelled. Slightly less ‘Cor blimey.’ Of course, this means I am already thinking about digging up the border that runs along the front wall of the house and installing new planting, and contemplating what’s to be planted in front of the new middle garden fence. The landscaper said, ‘There will be quite a bit of excavated soil, but I’m sure we can lose it in the surrounding fields.’ I said, ‘You can lose it in my soon-to-be-built collection of mini raised beds,’ which seemed a very good idea and has now got me thinking about how they are going to look. Herbalicious, I reckon.

Spent a very interesting and productive day yesterday sitting in the courtyard in the sunshine studying Astrology, specifically my own natal chart. I am amazed at how accurate and revealing it is. Also, it is explaining a lot of stuff about my life and giving me some tools to work with, and manage, the less than savoury aspects of my planetary discourse. There were a few ‘Eureka’ moments, I can tell you! 

The other ‘new’ thing I am into is podcasts. Okay, yes I know they’ve been around for ages, and yes, I know I am, as usual, late to the media technology party but there are two I want to mention which have entertained me. The first is comedian, Jenny Eclair’s ‘Older and Wider’ which she delivers with her writer friend, Judith Holder. Basically, they chat away about all sorts and sometimes the chats go into rants which make me laugh a lot. Jenny Eclair can be quite sweary, but coming from her, it just makes it funnier. I’ve got tickets to go and see the ‘Older and Wider’ Tour in October. I was thinking about this podcast when I was in my Pilates class on Tuesday, and it made me smile. I think the instructor thought I had wind. 

The second is called, ‘The Rabbit Hole Detectives’ which is Dr Cat Jarman, Rev Richard Coles and Charles Spencer. Each week they discuss three subjects and go down all sorts of rabbit hole segues in doing so. It’s the kind of podcast that a writer like myself finds very useful as a source of writing ideas. It is historical, cultural, light hearted and amusing, and even though Richard Coles likes the sound of his own voice a teensy bit too much, it is fascinating and entertaining. 

(I said to Andy, ‘We should do a podcast. We’d be HILARIOUS!’ and he agreed that, indeed, we would. But that’s as far as we’ve got. Being entertained by thoughts of our own hilarious podcast…)

Nell has been exhausted by all the gardening and being outside all day business that’s been going on these last few days. Here she is, trying to stay awake on the back of the sofa in case she misses anything, but desperately wanting to go to sleep…


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