Waiting - is there anyone in the world who is good at it? Apart from the Dalai Lama, but I suspect even he chews his fingernails waiting for a phone call sometimes. Oh alright, he doesn't, he remains calm and serene at all times.
But in the real world - of all the things I am bad at, waiting is right up there. When my lovely husband used to be in hospital a lot, I would ceremonially remove my watch and tuck in into the bottom of my handbag every time we settled in. There was absolutely no point in wearing it; hospital time is a concept entirely divorced from actual time. On the day we were tantalised with the promise of leaving again, I would (stupidly) put the watch back on. This meant our last day in hospital, and by inference the healthiest day my husband had experienced in that period of unlucky health, was the one in which I fretted worried and moaned the most. Because I could now tell how many minutes were passing, how many hours since we had been promised information or paperwork, and how many more hours it was likely to be before pharmacy stirred themselves and bunged some pills into a paper bag for us.
So, waiting. Not a skill I ever perfected, although heaven knows the Lord tried to give me the practice. Waiting is an experience I have particular sympathy for. And so do the lovely people who created the charity Poems In the Waiting Room. They edit, create, print and distribute thousands of copies of free poetry pamphlets every few months, purely to ease the stress and agony for people in waiting rooms. In hospitals, in doctors' surgeries, up and down the country - thanks to this hard-working charity, the wait is a little easier.
(They were also generous enough to print one of my poems in their latest publication, so that's all very nice too.) But the main thing is, if you realise too that this is a wonderful charity helping people who in some cases are under untold strain and anxiety, do please spare a thought and support them:
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
Thursday, 26 July 2012
The most striking thing about this summer in Britain has been the sound of the rain on the ground. It has been relentless. So when we had two consecutive days of warm dry weather, it would appear that I missed the puddles, because I thought the thing to do would be to dig a pond. My colleagues refer to me (fondly?) as their resident albino, so choosing to spend long days working outside in 28 degree weather was always going to end well. I'm not brilliant white any more. I'm shocking pink. (Yes, I wore a hat and lots of sunscreen - without those I wouldn't be pink, I'd be crispy.)
I have lived in/with this garden for 2 years. It was well-loved before I moved in, and it's taken me a long time to decide whether I wanted to make any changes, and to be sure they would be improvements. Typically for me, after 24 months of deliberation, I made a decision and then needed to implement it within 24 hours. So I spent a day clearing the ground on my own, realised the next morning I could only move around with the aid of a series of winches, and then roped in my sister.
|After day 1 of ground clearance|
Only after she'd agreed did I admit there was one little problem in the way. About ten years ago, the two of us did battle with another garden, clearing it for turf. The episode became known as The Mighty Root. There was more dirt on us than it by the time we finished, and we could barely lift it between us to pose for a picture. Yesterday was The Mighty Root 2 - This Time It's Personal. A buddleia had been occupying the territory quite happily for a long time, but it had to come out. We have the blisters to prove it. We were too tired/hot/sweaty/irritated to be photographed holding it this time, so here's a spade posing with the remnants for scale:
|And this excludes all the roots we cut off and had to dig out one by one after the stump...|
Anyway, after only minimal swearing and muttering, we not only finished the hole but made it fit the pond liner.
Now, some people put fish in their ponds... but I figure this way cuts to the chase. She might be less keen once there's water in there. (Note for animal lovers - there will be no fish huddling in fear from felines and herons in here - this is going to be a water-lily zone only.)
And almost finally, it was time to wheel out my much-loved statue, that has been sheltering in the garage ever since I moved here. It wasn't part of the original plan, but as soon as we cleared the ground and placed the pond, I knew I had found its new perfect spot.
Now, if only the delivery of cobblestones and sand that was due 2 hours ago would actually turn up, I could finish it off. Oh, except I need to wait for the blisters on my hands to heal, and for my ribs to stop cracking. The joy of building something with your own swollen aching hands, eh? (I'm rather proud of it.)