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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

Being There: a Day at the Garden
Saturday, July 9, 2022 @ 3:12 PM

Like many people, I'm not much of a gardener. Sometimes I remember to go and squirt everything with the hose, for which the shrubbery is suitably grateful, perhaps even rewarding me with a flower or two. Other times... well, I was doing something else, you know how it is. 

Here in our neck of the world, it's hot, and the garden (lovingly laid down by my mum back in the sixties) needs lots of attention. Unlike the household chores, which brings you back to where you were before you scruffied things up, or made lunch, or spilled a gin and tonic on the carpet, the garden moves slowly forward, and of course, upwards.

There's even the odd occasion when, in a burst of enthusiasm, I find myself driving over to the vivero, to buy something which could be perfectly de-potted and decanted into that space near the olive tree which hasn't produced anything of interest since the dog dug up the marihuana plant last year. 

Gardening means pruning, cutting, digging, uprooting, weeding, bug-removing, planting and, above all, watering.

Three times a week, I say to myself, water everything you love and the garden will one day look peachy, just like it used to a generation ago. 

Then of course - and this is key to a happy horticulturist - remember to switch off the garden-tap after use.

Once you have forgotten to switch off the hose, and moved on to other duties like shopping, watching the TV or driving to Barcelona for the weekend, the gaily-coloured tube will carry on pumping water to that one surprised, grateful and eventually waterlogged and dead geranium until such time as the call to put on a straw hat, rinse one's face with Factor Fifty and go outside and water the garden returns. Which - at best - is every two days. It's not like forgetting to switch off the soup, or pull up one's zipper, or watch the news. When one is not in the garden, one is not switching off the hose.

The water bill, which arrives at the end of every two months, is suddenly through the roof. It's happened to me a couple of times, and blast it, it happened again this weekend. I forgot to turn the hose off. I had filled a watering can to access an outlying violet and then went off to save the world from the space invaders and, well, you know how it is.

By the time I had retaken Aldebaran, the garden was looking like the Red Sea. 

This brings about another problem; I mean, besides the bank-loan to pay the water company. 

The unseasonable flood has brought me a ton of weeds and stinging nettles. And snails. 

I am also pretty sure that my mum visited me last night. I wasn't asleep when she came. 

I'm in the garden now. 


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