At heart I am a gardener. My grandfather gave me my first sunflower seed. My father dug over a bed for me (underneath an apple tree) and showed me how to make a drill and how deep. Weeks later I sold parsley to my mother.
Gardening is not a straight path to happiness. In fact, it’s the path to downright misery. You start with hope. Then you battle with elements. May they be of weather or wildlife. Like something out of a Wilkie Collins novel, and a fully grown woman (years later), I’d stand in my English (first rather vast, later diminishing) gardens collecting snails off their breakfast. In my nightdress. Five o’clock in the morning. My neighbours not being curtain twitchers and asleep. Since I am not American, neither do I live in America, I didn’t have a shot gun. Otherwise I’d have seen those squirrels off. Squirrels are selfish. They won’t give one measly thought to why you plonked a bulb here or a seed there. They think your garden is a free for them. Don’t talk to me about Karma or “you’ll reap what you sow”. You won’t. Any accountant will tell you that a farmer’s bottom line does not tally. Still, battle was done. And many a war lost.
Yes, I know you can tell: I currently live inner city with not a garden to weed. No lawn to mow. No courgettes to pickle. No mint to take over the plot. No cat to curse. No snail in sight. No nothing. For my sins I will walk our city’s parks of which there are plenty, squirrels keeping me company. If ever there was an irony.
There is a short crime novel in the above reflection. Think Edgar Wallace or Cluedo: Someone in the shed is hanging from a rope.
And YOU thought YOU had problems.