Spring has definitely taken over the Rectory garden. No sooner had we finished ooing and ahing about the wonderful daffodils (and they were particularly good this year) than we were spotting the bluebellls. And now the nettles and ‘goose grass’ have moved in! Now, them nettles is powerful strong. They can sting through your clothing, and I have yet to find the gardening gloves that are thin enough to feel through and thick enough to defy spring nettles.
Then, at the weekend, inspiration came upon me and I dug out my ‘extra thick, tough, black rubber gloves (suitable for those tough jobs)’ that had been lurking in the bottom of the gardening cupboard since the last time the drain got blocked. (They didn’t smell too badly.) Armed with these and a large green plastic bag pinned into a currugated plastic box with a motley assortment of clips, I ventured out into the garden and began to work my way round systematically, pulling out nettles.
I have to say, the gloves were brilliant – no stings through them at all. Mind you, I had to be carefull not to grab a handful of bramble – straight through the rubber! Oh, and the task had to be conducted in a measured and restrained manner – lest a nettle do a back swipe and get one in the face. Not pleasant. Apart from the odd sting, through the trouser leg, by an unnoticed nettle at ankle height, I did quite well.
An hour and a half (and 2 bagsful later) I was at the entrance to the orchard (you may recall this is the area with 2 apple trees in it – actually, I read somewhere that any space with a minimum of 5 fruit trees in it can be called an orchard. If you add the 2 apple trees on the lawn + the crabapple that leans at a dangerous and drunken angle in full view of the sitting room window – oh, and the cherry tree behind the garage which OV nearly set fire to with the last bonfire – then we have 6 altogether – a veritable orchard.) But I digress.
As I was saying, I reached the orchard just ahead of teatime. So there bag number 2 awaits further action. Looking at the sea of nettles there, I retreated to the kitchen and cooked sausages. The only answer to the need really. Today, when I get back from work, if it isn’t raining and if I can face it…. I’ll tackle the orchard. The sea of nettles (why are they a ‘sea’?) near the compost bins and surrounding the rhubarb, will have to wait. I took a swipe at them last week with my purpose-made nettle slasher – a fiercesome tool that is shaped like an ancient weapon of war and is absolutely excellent at laying waste to large areas of nettles – and getting rid of any pent-up emotions in the process. The nettles do tend to bounce back, but then you can have the fun all over again! It’s not the tool for the herbaceous border though!
I had plenty to be ‘nettled’ about yesterday – all my tension about whether or not my short story would get anywhere in the competition (it didn’t) had to go somewhere. Why does one put oneself into such situations? It’s not as if I need to know I’m ok – needy I am not… am I? Oh, how lovely it would be to write, publish and move on to the next piece… I wonder how many budding (or in my case, somewhat overgrown) writers have felt the same? And rejection, in any shape or form, is a hard pill to swallow. Hey ho. ‘Their loss’ as a kind and entirely biased friend said.
Back in the garden – we had a ‘flying visit’ from number 2 son (all of 9 minutes younger than his brother – yes, 9. Not the 7 on the birth certificate. I was there – I should know!) at the weekend. He was press-ganged into helping to mend the canary coloured caravan. Botch-a-job inc. (aka ov, son + self) worked for a couple of hours on the task, managing to spread the sticky black tar around librally – annointing said son’s ‘best’ jeans in the process. (We are good!)
The caravan now sits shyly in the corner of the garden, hoping (if inanimate objects can hope) that it doesn’t let us down in the next heavy shower.
Don’t you just wish you were here?
Mind the nettles!