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Saturday, 12 June 2021

The shed renewed

The gardener is no longer “the gardener”, he’s Martin, tough and competent. He agrees to re-stain the shed, last done by me over decade ago. He’s going to B&Q anyway and will buy the stain but feels he must warn me “It’ll be expensive.” I don’t ask how much. Hereford’s “expensive” is nowhere near what’s expensive in Kingston-upon-Thames, 12 miles from London, where we used to live. In Hereford people tip taxi-drivers in coins and not many of them.

Next job will be to rid the brick-laid driveway of weeds. I have a wire brush but the bristle constantly clogs with greenery. Martin’s brush has much longer bristles and he gives me a demo. An example of “Don’t work harder, work smarter.”

Also of the apopthegm, “Don’t bend if you don’t have to. In fact, don’t bend.”

Threesome, a novel. 5117 words

GLADYS arrived at the concert hall a quarter of an hour earlier than scheduled but he was there before her. Wearing his new shortie overcoat even though the mild weather hardly warranted it. It was of course more a uniform than a form of  insulation… 

As he bent to kiss her cheek he raised a hand to the side of his face, paused, then lowered it. A tic which had puzzled her until she’d accompanied him to his favoured suitings supplier and found him gazing yearningly at a shelf devoted to outdated clothing accessories: detachable shirt cuffs, foulards, sock supports and… hats. Three trilbies, one of which might have been a snap-brim fedora. And then she realised. Had men’s hats still been fashionable Arthur would have worn one. Since they weren’t he made do with a gesture that went with hats, raising a hand to sweep off the trilby preparatory to kissing a maiden.


  1. I am thinking about a garden odd job man (many who advertise themselves as "gardeners" are really that. A little while ago I decided that my own garden shed needed a new felt roof. I drove to B&Q, bought the felt and roofing tacks and put it into the shed to do "later".

    But ladders are no longer possible with a dicky left leg and I now have balance problems in such conditions anyway. It went against the grain so I employed a man to do the job for me.

    Things I have always taken pride in doing myself are no longer possible. So, remembering "Desiderata's" advice to "Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth" I am, not gracefully, giving employment to the working man.

    1. Avus: In my more limber days I did re-felt the shed's roof. It was then that I discovered the desirability of an industrial strength staple gun, bought one and never regretted it.

      I have done various major DIY jobs in my life including re-wiring a house and (in the USA) installing an air conditioning unit. I'm proud I was able to do this soul-destroying work but took no pleasure in it. There are things I do better, genuinely enjoy and would prefer to be doing so, since I have the money, I'm pleased to farm this stuff out.

      The downside about DIY is that in many instances one performs these tasks just once in one's life. On reflection one realises they could have been done better. The maggot of unease exists. Better to employ someone who has done the task many times.

  2. I need a Martin to obliterate the Fallopia Japonica / Japanese Knotweed in my back yard... Aiee!

    Back from four days in Portsmouth, NH and finally popping by...

  3. Marly: You may not have Martin. Not only does he do things he is, to quote my favourite passage of Shakespeare, referred to at the top of this page:

    ... the mark and glass, copy and book,
    That fashion'd others

    Our imaginations have been released. The overgrown conifer at the centre of the garden may be replaced by a low-based bubbling pebbly fountain which will tinkle throughout the summer. And there's more.