If you aren’t interested in boats – don’t go to THE BOAT SHOW.
If you are interested in people watching – go anywhere, even THE BOAT SHOW. You will not be disappointed.
My relationship with water is not as amicable as that I have with human beings. I trust humans. Water? Nah. It’s too deep, dark, full of fish, mysterious. On top of which you may drown. Though of all methods other than keeling over by natural causes I’d prefer to drown rather than, say, burn. From all I gather, drowning is serene, peaceful. BURNING? Why do you suppose hell is fire not water? Bet you never thought of that one.
Yes, so some people (particularly of a particular age and demographic) go on a cruise. Leaving aside the horror of being cooped up on what is essentially a hotel on unstable grounds how do these people sleep? Remember, noise is magnified in the depth and silence of the night. All that water lapping round the keel. Lovely. Who needs nightmares when you can just buy yourself a cruise?
I am convinced that people who go on cruises have a need to lull themselves in the sense of security money gives. Let those on the run drown somewhere off some god forsaken coast. What do they expect without a staff ratio of three to one per passenger? For heaven’s sake, keep perspective.
Fire and water, the other elements are earth and air. On the spur of the moment I’d say the last two are benign. Though, obviously, you wouldn’t say that if you sat on Mount Vesuvius when it has one of its turns, or being suffocated by a pillow, strangled or whatever – take your pick.
Sweethearts, what can I say? You don’t know what you are being spared.
I will start posts only to be interrupted. Which is fine. Doesn’t matter. Hours later returning to them I am so happy I never got to press ‘publish’. What the hell was all that about? I do write some truly incomprehensible stuff. Maybe I should employ a finely meshed sieve to filter a momentary fallout. A bit like getting rid of lumps when making Sauce Bechamel (white by another name).
The only reason I am writing this minute because I need a garden. Urgently. Let’s leave aside that I love all things soil, growing, weeds and dandelions: I am getting more and more disenchanted with the world of print. Print which has dominated my life before I could even read. I read on a wide spectrum of genres. Both for professional and private purposes. But more and more – a couple of hundred pages in – I feel like flinging the matter into the next corner. Obviously I’d never do that to a book. I just close it. An image of the glutton who has overeaten does come to mind. Saturated to the point of nausea.
It’s disconcerting. I visit some of my old friends on the shelves with joy and recognition. Yet, with new stuff coming into my focus I am overcome with a certain ennui. If someone had forecast this as recently as a couple of years ago I would have laughed in disbelief.
Yes, so I need a garden, a field. Soil. Something to grow. Something solid. Something to stick a spade and fork into.
It’s not good. And it’s getting worse.
I don’t know what my life expectancy is. I am modest. So don’t expect much. But, for sake of maths forgetting genes and taking my doubt into account, let’s say I have another thirty years. If I keep going like I have the last few weeks I won’t need my book shelves so much as a garden. I am fed up with print. Absolutely totally fed up. Let’s be fair. Maybe not so much print as content. Yes, so I’d like to have a garden again. It is so maddening that I don’t know where. Which country. People say the world is my oyster. HA. My oyster has shut up, clammed up. Where there is too much choice indecision will set in. Like mould. The only anchor in flying sand round my ears is the Angel. One does need a reference point in life. Purpose.
In the meantime I might preserve lemons. I like lemons. They are yellow (my favourite colour), they are friendly (as am I) and they smile (as I do at you). And they taste good. Talk about win win.
I wish I had a cat. They are good at giving you feedback without suffocating you. The only reason I didn’t get another cat because cats are wild at heart and you can’t keep them in an inner city flat. Amounts to cruelty. Back in the early Eighties a friend of mine kept a Siamese in his apartment. The apartment being next door to mine. At night he’d send me little Morse code signals through our joint adjoining walls (he was gay – and a hairdresser; probably dead now). His cat was bonkers. The most neurotic being I have ever encountered. Other than a particular blogger who is so bonkers the Angel is questioning my sanity as to why I even bother to read her stuff. Well, there is such a thing as “morbid fascination”.
Big sigh. I wish I could dig over a garden. Plant seeds. And bulbs. Chase squirrels digging up same bulbs. Curse cats doing what cats do – namely, digging up – without malice – that which you had hoped will become a flower rather than a toilet. Give a beer bath to the ever encrouching army of slugs and snails. They are good at lacing all your greenery. And then there are Nasturtiums. Edible flowers in other words. I don’t know how restaurants do it. All my Nasturtiums were always infested (in biblical proportions) with blackfly. Disgusting.
I like doing battle with nature. Mainly because I am a meadow person. I don’t mind weeds. Nothing manicured for me. But god damn it: Can’t one expect at least one radish for one’s efforts? It’s why I like courgettes/zucchini. They grow and grow and grow and grow. Unperturbed. In any old condition. In the meantime they spout beautiful yellow flowers (see above reference lemon) which you can stuff to great effect. No blackfly in sight.
I am sickening for something.
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.
If I were a mole I’d now make a hill, or several. No, not on someone’s manicured lawn (I do have compassion) but somewhere in the countryside where you can still make mountains and shift plateaus without anyone calling in the pest police.
I am not sure I have got my facts right but I think moles are blind. Which is why they don’t mind living in the dark. There is an awful fairy tale, can’t remember the title this minute, where a young girl is being forced to marry a mole. Obviously it’s not the mole’s fault he is a mole but still. A girl deserves better. I think she was rescued by a swallow.
I’d just done a runner. And seek shelter under a toad stool.