As I cast my beady eye around the garden the other day, I was alarmed by the extent to which it had become overgrown and unkempt. Yes, I am allowing the bush to creep up into the garden but not at the expense of aesthetics. So I embarked on a massive clear-up; pruning, weeding, clearing – basically asserting myself again, despite the sure knowledge that in the long run I will lose the battle. At least I shall go down fighting.
One aspect of the garden that really pisses me off is the front lawn. No matter how much it is weeded, it is NEVER weed-free. I don’t use poisons in my garden but last year I was blinded by the desire for a perfect lawn and, in desperation, I resorted to spraying the lawn when dandelions threatened to overtake it. They are an absolute bugger to get out as they have a long tap root. However, for every dandelion killed about 5 other varieties of weeds sprung up to fill the gap. “That’ll teach me” I thought – never again will I resort to measures that go against all my convictions. That doesn’t mean to say that I intend letting the lawn get the better of me. I exacted my revenge by digging up a strip of it and I’m going to plant indigenous grasses to create a sort of meadow effect instead. Thandi, my once-a week-helper in the garden, was rather dismayed. She thinks that the lawn provides a barrier between the house and all manner of wild critters lurking in the undergrowth, just beyond its weedy edges. We’ll see.
I’m quite relieved that I’ve got my gardening mojo back. Books are spread out on the dining room table again, designs are being plotted as we speak and it’s even got Edna going through her books and giving me advice on what plants to use. She once told me that when she was a little girl all she aspired to was having a garden of her own. Wherever she lived she always created a lovely garden and she never employed anyone to help her, even grassing an entire tennis court on her own. And it’s only now that she is 91 years old that she grudgingly allows Thandi to help her in the garden (and her house) with things that she cannot manage herself. When the sun shines, she’s in her garden, in her element.
I love my mother very much but she does drive me to distraction sometimes. I read somewhere that our parents always know exactly how to push our buttons because they put them there in the first place, and omigod can my mother push my buttons . Mondays are curry days and I prepare enough to feed Peter, me, my mum, Thandi and Kho. To start with I toned down the volume of the curry to make it more palatable for my mother. However, whenever I asked her the next day how she enjoyed the curry she would reply “Oh, you mean the stew”. So eventually, I thought “fuck you” and amped up the curry powder. She claimed to enjoy it but I have my suspicions that it landed up in the bin. You just can’t win.
I am really enjoying my volunteer work at the Curry’s Post Primary School. There is something so rewarding about seven little kiddies being so delighted to see one!