Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pleasure under difficulties

It's our two-day mid-term holiday and I've been gardening, though this is not a picture of me. For one thing, I'm rather plumper than this, though happily my head isn't quite as large. For another, I don't have a faithful dog keeping me company. My faithless cats are slumbering in the warm living room. Very wise. It's FREEZING out there - literally. I've just emptied the bird bath because it contained a mixture of dead leaves and ice. Nor is the garden as green as in the picture - well, the grass is, but not much else. And I'm wearing a red down jacket and thick trousers rather than the pinafore dress and bare legs. There is no need for a sun hat.

"Gardening" is a bit of a euphemism. I've been raking up large quantities of soggy brown leaves. This is not my favourite occupation but it's a very necessary one, since they're everywhere (where do they come from? - well, yes, trees, but we have far more leaves than could be accounted for by our two trees and anyway I raked them all up in October). Under the leaves are bulbs, snowdrops and crocuses and chionodoxa and scillas, all trying to get through to the light and give us a little touch of spring, so it's a worthwhile task to rake up the leaves and allow the flowers to shine through. But it's backbreaking for a person with a bad back, not wonderful for a person with a lately-broken ankle and I've had to come in to thaw out my frozen hands and feet.

Ah well, we're not here to enjoy ourselves / the labourer is worthy of her hire / it'll be worth it when I've finished and suchlike remarks. Meanwhile (oh ye of little faith!) Tony the Painter arrived exactly when he said he would on Monday (well, or Tuesday; but it was Monday) and has been working away non-stop ever since, listening to intellectual programmes on the radio. So that's good.

Feet and hands now able to sit up and take a little nourishment. Maybe I'll give them a cup of tea before venturing outside again. Say it firmly: I enjoy gardening. (Convinced?)


  1. convinced?
    no, not really.
    but only because i've seen pictures of your gardens...
    and i know that you must, or you wouldn't.


  2. Well, at least the painter isn't listening to rap music! Can you imagine if you came in to warm yourself and had to listen to thump thump all day long?

    I think leaves sprout from the earth over the winter. I clean all of mine up in the fall too, yet, magically every spring there are more.

    Loved the little self portrait you chose! ;-D

  3. Ah, what is better than a "brisk" day, eh? well, yes, a warm one inside with a cup of tea (or two). I am sure your garden will be splendid and well worth the dreary days of mud and leaf raking!

  4. Cute picture all the same.
    I too hate picking up leaves . The raking isn't so bad it is the picking up that gets me . I don't have a sore back but that makes it groan after a short while. I wonder exactly how many leaves a mature tree actually has? ( Too many is not an answer )

  5. Think of yourself as Mother Nature's accomplice Isabelle. When she takes a bow later in the Spring you can curtsy right along with her....Maybe by then you will need a sunhat.At least we can hope

  6. Yes, convinced. I have seen your garden and your garden in the winter looks better than my garden in high summer or spring. Or any time, really.

  7. Will you come and rake my leaves in the heat and I'll rake your leaves in the cold? Pleeeeeease!

  8. Anonymous2:35 pm

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  9. Anonymous4:51 pm

    Cassie and Sirius have the right idea. Have you replaced your plum tree?

  10. I have that exact scenario of tasks in front of me - but I am staunchly waiting until ALL the snow has gone before I tackle the mats of wet leaves.

  11. No way is that thing in the picture a dog.

  12. Lots of hand cream now, and perhaps a hot toddy...

  13. Anonymous10:42 pm

    Isabelle - thank you for your comment on my blog. Can you believe, you got me blogging again! Have neglected it for so long, but the thought that someone might read it, made me have another go. Thank you!