Mentally I’m a fair bit better this week. Resigned to my fate might be a good way to describe it in terms of panicking about my near hormonal future. There’s not really anything I can do about it, so after a good few days of stomping, flouncing and flinging I am back to eating biscuits and buggering on.
Physically I have my suspicions that my body is acclimatising to the chemical menopause drugs in some way, so I have a feeling that they would not be a long term solution instead of surgery. The joint pain has been gradually decreasing, but I still have it, and it is noticeably uncomfortable. It is no longer making me cry, but it makes doing certain things difficult. I am also in hot flush central at the moment, to the point where my legs actually slide off each other if I try to cross them and a flush happens. It’s all slowing me down, which aggravates the crap out of me, but again, I am buggering on.
This is all a pre cursor to a long and rambling post about my garden. If you’re interested in gardens, you might be delighted. If not, I suggest wandering off and coming back later.
Oh, and the dressing room is almost finished. There are a few shelves to go up where we ran out of brackets, which still haven’t arrived, but other than that it’s all good. Photos, should you wish to see my slapdash handiwork, are on Instagram. I am @thevoiceofboo
The garden progresses slowly. I have painted three more doors of the door fence. I envisaged one as a sky scape with a beautiful golden sun rising and spreading its rays. I painted it. Tallulah came out and said: ‘That looks like a wizened potato with hair.’ I stepped back to survey my artistic efforts. She was indeed correct. Although at some angles it does look like a lot of dogs’ bottoms disappearing over a barren hill. I was going to get Tilly, who has all the art skills, to paint over it for me and create something more like my mind’s eye view. However, every time I go outside and see the door it makes me laugh, so we’re stuck with wizened potato/dogs’ bums forever now.
As for the rest of the garden, my wonderful friend Jenn came over yesterday and as well as bringing me pandan cake and curried octopus and aubergine, she also helped me dig up the rest of the grass.
When we bought our house, the garden was a cross between an apocalyptic wasteland and a builder’s yard. The previous owner had been minded to landscape it, but had only got as far as craning in an enormous hot tub, which at that time was sitting on a hillock of twisted metal, shards of broken glass and fire debris. It was all a bit Mad Max meets hot tub time machine.
Two years ago we got round to tackling the garden rather than just ignoring it and hoping that Monty Don had popped in overnight to work his magic.
It’s an awkward space. We have a corner plot and instead of it narrowing like a wedge of cheese, as many corner plots do, ours gets wider. It’s huge. Not only is it huge, but there is no side access as we are attached to the neighbours on one side, and the previous owner extended the house on the other side. This means any grass clippings/plants etc have to come through the house. Our area has an erratic green bin collection system, which you pay for. If we went too grass/foliage/plant heavy, this would mean lots of mess and lots of tip runs all through the summer. Also, we are not very green fingered.
I designed the garden with the aid of Pinterest. I wanted a third decking, a third raised beds and walk ways, and a third, secret garden hidden behind the door fence, which the children could run wild in.
I wanted no grass whatsoever. Partly this is because I hate grass. I find it boring to look at, uncomfortable to sit on, and a hot bed for ant activity. Ants mostly make me shudder. The lack of grass is also because mowing has always been a marital bone of contention. Mowing should not be a marital bone of contention because frankly grass and mowing are far too boring to get aerated about. Hence my solution to remove all the grass and retain marital harmony.
Unfortunately, Jason is a big fan of grass. He is an advocate for lawns, he is that passionate about them. Despite this fixation on the need for every proper family to have a lawn, he never sits on grass and hates mowing it. Hence the marital strife. In previous years he has used child labour, but this is erratic and prone to tantrums, and causes more marital strife. It’s all been very wearying.
We used to argue about duvet ownership. I solved this by buying two king sized duvets and we now have one each. No more arguing about duvets. It has enhanced our marriage to an unimaginable degree. I believed eradicating lawns would up the levels of marital bliss 100 fold.
I put this to him. Would he listen? Would he buggery. It took months of negotiating until we reached a compromise. Down each side of the garden would sit a small, grassed area, big enough for a couple of chairs and a table for those members of the family who wished to lounge on the lawn. Sort of garden side burns if you will. He was satisfied. I was not. I thought it was a bloody stupid idea, but as I had won most of the argument, I yielded.
As the garden company we hired were putting my plans into action, they demonstrated to us that on one side of the garden, the grass would be about two foot long, and would look ridiculous. It was clear to see, and therefore unarguable with. That grass went, much to my relief. This left the grass on the left hand side of the garden intact. It sat as a small hill with a shed on top, and tapered down to the door fence area. I thought of it in my mind as ‘the grassy knoll’. Sadly, nobody was shot on it, which was a shame, because that would at least have made it interesting.
As I predicted, even though it was only a small area of lawn, it still proved to be an MBOC (marital bone of contention). Despite the fact it took approximately five minutes to mow, the mowing argument was still going strong and protesting child labour was involved. Also, nobody ever sat on it, played on it, did anything with it at all. And because there were times when mowing strikes occurred as various parties downed tools and denied all mowing responsibility, the grass would grow to such an extent that you couldn’t get the shed door open to get the bloody mower until you cut the grass’ hair with kitchen scissors.
Also ants. Red ants.
We ran out of money before we had entirely finished the garden, just as we ran out of money before we’d entirely finished the house to our satisfaction. This year there is a little wiggle room money wise, and we decided to use it to try and finish as many domestic projects as we could before the money would inevitably run out again. Hence all the activity in recent weeks.
Jason finally admitted that the grassy knoll was not a success, and agreed that I could get rid of the lawn. Budget restrictions mean that we are doing as much of the work ourselves as we can so that we can make the funds stretch further. I knew that despite the admission of lawn failure, if we paid someone to dig it up, it would get put to the bottom of the list of things to be done, because there is a residual lawn love hanging in there sub consciously, so it was down to me to eradicate it entirely.
Yesterday the last forkful of grass went the way of all things, and I cannot tell you what pleasure that hacked up piece of cloddy earth gives me. We have gifted the mower to a friend, and I have never been so pleased to see the back of an appliance in my life.
Today is planting day, and I have trees, trees, lovely trees to plant. I am going to make a mini wood. This is pleasing for many reasons. Firstly lack of grass involved. Secondly, trees are fucking excellent.
Thirdly it will spite the neighbours who overturned a tree protection order on the gorgeous, ancient trees on our boundary line (next to the grassy knoll) and had three felled last year, and have killed one of the remaining three stone dead this year. I have not and will not forgive them for the diaspora of woodpeckers and squirrels, and also the fact that I miss the beautiful swishing of the wind in the foliage singing me to sleep every night. And I don’t want to see them sun bathing on their immaculate lawn while I am painting dog’s bottoms. We have stuck up a fence, which I have painted blue and am going to grow rambling roses all over, and now I shall have my very own forest as well, and because it’s on my land they can do one. Ha.
I’d like to say that the advent of the trees will also promote more marital harmony, but I suspect we’ll find something to fill the gap left by lawn arguments with quicker than the trees will grow.