Sunday 26 September 2010

Couch coug...cutitout..ough

Some nice hops... very 'Our Town'. The gang are off to Hastings today to visit the Pud Lady and family but go armed with food with which to cook lunch, and some serious gardening kit, with a view to some heavy pruning. The Pud Lady's garden is described by the more sympathetic as a "wild woodland" garden, and by the less sympathetic as a jungle glade, top billing going to a massive and old cricket-bat willow which towers a good 50 feet and has a girth of more than a metre.
This gnarly old beast looms over all the gardens in "The Crescent" like an ancient matriarch and the rest of the garden aspires to catch it up. Our mission is nothing like brave enough to take on the willow, but we are there to start off by taking out the top 6 feet of whippy dog-rose, blackthorn, ivy and Forsythia which is allegedly just this year's growth on the northern hedge.
Pud Lady puts my Dad and his brother Tom to work on this hedge, which Haggis and I rootle about in 'the jungle' (Dog Heaven, of course, and in my case I translate ' the jungle' to include any neighbouring gardens I can get to within the crescent (plus one over the road, from which I have to be retrieved by Tom, who spots me while retrieving some loppers from his 4x4). Mum goes to work creating a magnificent fish pie, but keeps an eye on the boys and gets a bit frustrated that they are pussy-footing and not getting really stuck in.
This, the boys argue, is due to them knowing "The History", in that the Pud Lady never lets anyone loose in her garden without hovering anxiously and stopping them if they snip more than about 3 inches off the end of anything, or more than a few leaves. Today though, with her increasingly 'autumnal' years she stays in her comfy chair and although she can see the tops of the afore-mentioned 6 feet of hedge (and watches happily as Dad and Tom lop and stack), she can't see anything lower down due to the window sill height.
Mum, hopping from foot to foot with frustration strides down the side path and chides them to 'get on with it'. Her ideal garden is a lot less jungly, and she would dearly love to get to grips with 'this mess'. At one point Dad is messing around gently with the front of the hedge and Mum appears to be having a coughing fit, but it's one of those 'stage whisper' words-disguised-as-a-cough things. Cough cough- cut it out cough! The boys gird their loins and start to hack back into the hedge reducing its billowing front back off the path, back off the long-buried spare washing line, and then downwards to clear nettles, brambles and eventually grass to expose a lovely former spring-bulb bank at the foot of the hedge.
Far from upsetting Pud Lady when she does come out for a tour of inspection, she is delighted, as she finds she now has room to perambulate her wheelie-zimmer down the wider path and can actually tour the garden as she has not apparently been able to do since May. Dad hadn't known that and is delighted to have re-opened the access.
The fish pie was superb too, according to the humans, washed down with pink wine and followed by 'Cartmel' brand sticky chocolate pudding or sticky ginger pudding with cream.
A good day all round

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