That’s SO not a wolf

I thought John had got his middle-aged crisis out of his system some years ago: it’s thirsty, British Racing Green, the same age as him, requires arms like a fucking gorilla to steer, and does about 400 miles a year.

thin patch

(I can see the thin patch. His mother can see the thin patch. I know YOU can see the thin patch. John REFUSES TO ACKNOWLEDGE the thin patch, so if we could not dwell on it anymore that’d be… um… diplomatic. Kthx.)

It seems I was being optimistic. A pal came round last night to show us both the finishing touches to his new tattoo and his latest love;

 motorbike middle age crisis

Hubby displayed distinct signs of (I pray: transient) acquisitive fervour (“I think I want one”).

name that beastie! 

We spent a fair old time hotly debating the actual species depicted: ‘feline’ and ‘canine’ both had their staunch adherents and we were eventually obliged to compromise on ‘mythical’.

dog or cat 

If he does get a motorbike (which, incidentally, he would have to ride over my bloody twitching corpse before he got onto an actual road with) then I’m not sure quite where it will fit. The household already contains a sports car, one telescope that is literally bigger than I am, plus a behemothic tripod and accoutrements, three rucksacks and dozens of cardboard boxes containing his camera equipment, an enormous hi-fi complete with floor-standing speakers that he is – seemingly – emotionally attached to, and several squillion back copies of The Sky At Night and Practical Photography magazines.

If he moves a motorbike in, then something will certainly have to leave. John has accused me plaintively of orchestrating a subtle campaign to move him – and all of his possessions – out of the house and into a shed somewhere in the garden. Apparently, the under-stairs cupboard, the garage and the spare bedrooms are only the thin end of my gradual-spousal-eviction wedge. These wild and bitter insinations are a vile… vile… um… accuracy.

Speaking of garden, some of you may remember my wails of woe when we had no lawn suitable to host Harry’s first birthday party on. The whole topic of ‘garden’ is a contentious one currently – it hovers somewhere on the marital stress chart between ‘divorce proceedings’ and ‘frosty’, and any mention of the word ‘summerhouse’ generally triggers tears in one or other of us – but John has undoubtedly provided… green.

lawn-ish

I, personally, would be reluctant to term it lawn just yet.

sparse grass

In response to my frantic yammering, John keeps giving assurances that it will ’tiller out’, but I think my chances of having a lush playing surface for the beginning of August are non-existent. Once again, I am seeing… thin patches. 

If the lawn doesn’t break us apart, the steps leading up to it just might. This is the product of over 2 years of collective masterly non-activity:

steps 

and I am thinking of holding a pickaxe party in the desperate hope of getting it finished before ummm… summer.

That thing that’s already, like… here.

Echoes Inhabit the Garden

Did you know that 3am is the new 6am? Yes, it is. And our son hates his naps, his cot, his room, his bedtime, his sleeping bag, all of his teddy bears, and most of all, his parents.

We’ve gardened hard today. Some people use lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, secateurs, and the like. We feel they lack vision.

heavy-gardening

I drove the blue tractor & trailer on the road to bring them here, and I’m worryingly out of practice. I had a brief insight into how those pensioners who end up driving 10 miles down the wrong side of the motorway must feel, and there’s a helluva lot more sticks and pedals on a tractor. There are also snags to using tractors as everyday vehicles when your (exceedingly lardy) spaniel only has one hip joint.

tebbit

My hens were a little alarmed by the machinery influx, and retreated to squawk at us from a distance. I’ve decided I need, yes, need some more hens to entertain me. My Golden Brahma and Gold Laced Orpington chicks are all grown up now,

hens

happily shagging their friends, siblings and mother (poultry are Bad for this sort of thing), the weather is getting kinder, and Hubby has just blown silly amounts of cash on a camera lens, ergo, I am totally allowed to purchase some more fancy breeds with crazy feathers; I have recently borrowed my SIL’s incubator again.   

I’m bidding on some Silkies, because they have mad hair. I have mad hair.  John has mad hair. Harry has a double crown, and madder hair than either of us when it grows longer. These’ll fit right in.

silkies

I’m also bidding on some Lemon Pyle Brahmas

lemon-pyle-brahma2

 and some lavender/splash cochins

lavender-splash-cochins

Hubby is alarmed at the (unlikely) prospect of my winning all 18 eggs, which then all prove fertile and hatch. He should have thought of that before he bought the lens, yes?

…and suffocate the ants, in an English Country Garden

I have been gardening. I am hot, sun-burned and cross. I bet this never happens to Alan beatific bloody Titchmarsh.

It hasn’t been the best of weeks: child has been teethy – the sixth one has broken cover – and hubby and I have been unhappily and increasingly squabblesome about tensions that we must and will address. You’d think that merrily surviving the trials of infertility would subsequently render us bomb-proof, but seemingly not. In consequence, the garden has not progressed much beyond the default state of untidy scrub, and the car-full of plants I bought on Wednesday were beginning to look stressed. They were starting to realise that they had not come to Kew.

So, today I concentrated on a 10ft by 3ft border, that, until I attacked it violently with a fork, was a matted tangle of creeping buttercup and grass with a single crocosmia and three ornamental grasses protruding listlessly. One of those is dead, but I left it anyway, as it vaguely looks like a circa 1983 Tina Turner has been dropped feet first into the ground from a great height.

The ground here is clay. Solid clay. A randomly-chosen spadeful would doubtless make a nice little pot for a deserving granny, as they tend not to mind things that look rustic, cracked, and a bit shit. Hence, when you drive your favourite earth-inverting implement hopefully into the… look, lets call it soil for the sake of argument, yes? all you tend to achieve is a gigantic clod balancing heavily on your fork. Assuming you’ve missed your sandalled foot, which I only narrowly managed on a number of occasions. My clearance technique consisted of grabbing all clods that had grass still attached and hurling them savagely over the fence into the field towards my startled geese. John obligingly ignored this blatant fly-tipping onto his land, and wheelbarrowed over some of what he cheerfully termed ‘topsoil’. Yeeeeeeesssssss. This would be the agricultural variety, as opposed to the horticultural, then. The boulders are significantly bigger in the former.

I made the mistake of covering the head-sized chunks in the border with this… substance, before I dug the holes for the flowers. As soon as I began to move the stuff about, the smaller bits promptly flipped me the sedimentary bird and disappeared under the bigger blocks, leaving me once again with what could accurately be described as a really fucking lumpy layer of crud. Undeterred, I kept mining away at the rock-hard slabs to create planting holes. I’m sure gardening should not be about scratching what looked like (and will doubtless amount to) shallow graves for these hapless plants, followed by scrabbling about to back-fill the edges with a bloody cairn of some of the smaller pieces.

There is still a 45ft stretch of border along the front of the house to tackle, and 2 trays of pot-bound dahlias left, all desperate to get their roots into something squelchy. John is out there now, hopefully armed with a mattock and a HRRrruUUUaaAAAaaarrRR attack-mode mentality, as nothing less will dent the thick carpeting of weeds.

Bastard things. We had been consoling ourselves that the pampas grass that mother planted was doing well this year – and occupying a useful 6ft of border to boot – but then I read something the fabulous Antonia had written, and since then we’ve been a tad uneasy about it. It may meet with an accident this autumn. 

After all this, I bet it will piss down on Friday, when I have approximately 20 (Yes. Party has out-grown its original specifications.) small children, all replete with a mama, descending, and we will all be tightly confined to indoors.  There is also a vague threat that Severn Trent are planning to cut the water off that afternoon as well.

Christ.

Brownie points for any commenter who can include an couplet from the school-assembly title ditty. I’ve been humming it all day. No cheaty-googling!

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