Yard Work

I’m lucky that a have a small-to-reasonably-sized back yard. 

I’m also lucky that’s it’s in a pretty neglected condition.

I wouldn’t normally be saying that, of course. On a normal day, I’d be looking out of the window at my back yard, berating my utter lack of gardening motivation and general uselessness. But these are not normal days, are they?

Yesterday morning, being encouraged to stay at home, I ventured out into the back yard and had a look around. There’s no doubt that I value the idea of being outside much more now that I’ve been told that I shouldn’t leave the house. 

On a normal Saturday morning, I’d be running to the shop for breakfast provisions. I’d probably have some writing workshop thing that my mind would be full of. I’d be a man on the move. But these are not normal Saturdays, are they? So, to get some air, and to get out from under everybody’s feet in the house, I ventured out into the back yard. I figured that a little day-to-day yard work will get me out of the house and into the air and might even wreak a small improvement on my valuable amenity.

Look, don’t get me wrong. My yard is not a disaster area or anything. It’s not like a toxic wasteland where three-eyed froggies freely roam. In fact, it’s quite a pleasant little corner of the world. Me and the cats seem to think so anyway, as last week’s post confirmed.

As I surveyed my tatty domain, I started to get a tiny sneaking ‘what’s the point?’ feeling about the proposed work. The place is just too far gone, what good could old ‘Soft-Hands Ken’ possibly do?

But I reminded myself of a Twitter pal, Josie George, who shared with us how she did a very small bit in her garden regularly and how, day on day, these small endeavours brought about improvements that were both satisfying and rewarding.

So, I gathered my tools.

I don’t have very many tools, as you would expect from a home-boy wuss like me, but I found a secateurs and a spade and a brush and a long-handled snipping-thing that I can already tell will be my ongoing weapon of choice. I WD-40'ed the shit out of the few moving parts and then I picked a corner and started snipping and clipping and dragging and piling.

The ginger cat from last week’s post sat on a flat sun-drenched stone round the back of the trampoline and studiously ignored me, choosing instead to clean itself from head to paw and not even flinching when the oil-drenched clipping tool came out.

I cleared some space around the twirly clothesline area, such that all three sides of it is now accessible where only one-and-a-half sides was before. In the end, I may have done little more than transfer an unclipped area of bramble to a clipped pile of bramble across the yard. But, hey, the sun was shining, and I stopped at unreasonably short intervals to just lean and breathe and watch the cat’s studied cleaning regime.

I realise I’m very lucky man to have a little space that I can go out in without being a hazard to anybody else and I’m not trying to rub anything in either. I suppose I’m just thinking that, as our world closes down for a time and as a great challenge sits ahead of us, we have to do what we can to remain strong and clear in our thinking. We gotta use what we have, be it a book or an open window or a pet who is glad to have you around so much more.

What do I know? I’m off to clip a thorny bush. It’s funny how the bush will always get a little nick out of me before I’m done. That seems fair, somehow.

And hey, Monsieur Cat, isn’t that bit clean enough yet?


Marc Paterson said...

I'm like you there, Ken in not being a natural gardener, but I do relish being outside so I've been doing the odd little job too. It's always nice when it's warm and I can have the back door open. The dog can come and go as he pleases, which puts him on equal footing with the cats.

Jim Murdoch said...

When my mum phoned me up to tell me Dad was dead my second thought (after Christ! My dad’s dead) was Christ! now I’ll have to do the gardening. Perhaps it wasn’t exactly my second through but it wasn’t long coming. That said dutiful ol’ Jimmy got on the train every couple of week in the summer and mowed the lawn and trimmed the hedges as best he could and hated every minute of it.

When Carrie was looking for the flat we now live in I placed two conditions on her: 1) we should both have our own office, and 2) no garden. I didn’t actually see inside the flat until she’d bought it I trusted her that much and I’m sitting in my own office right now writing this to you. Technically there is a garden or at least an outdoor space directly behind the property to which I have access but I don’t have any responsibility for it and only ever venture out there because that’s where the rubbish bins are.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate nature but nature by its very nature really shouldn’t need any help from me to get on with what it does. Beauty doesn’t need lipstick or eye shadow and it certainly doesn’t need tattoos or body piercings. Nature doesn’t need mowing or trimming or hoeing or decorating every Halloween and Christmas. IMHO.

As regards the lockdown it’s been business as usual here. I’m certainly not going stir crazy. Far from it. I’ve been trying to work out when I lost interest in outside. I guess it was when I lost my last job, curled up in a metaphorical ball inside the flat and found contentment. Tesco brought goodies to eat, Virgin brought connectivity and Amazon bought pretty much everything else. I had an office and a bigger desk than I ever had when I was employed and stuff to do every day just like a real job. Outside quickly became a chore that needed tackling when I had to get a prescription or (less of a chore) have lunch with my daughter. We won’t be lunching this month. That’s annoying. But at least I know she’s safe and has the kind of job where she can work from home.

Ken Armstrong said...

Hi Mark: We do sound alike. :)

Ken Armstrong said...

Hi Jim, you paint a contented picture and that is so important. Keep on, eh? :)