Mozart wrote some of his most sublime music for Aloysia Weber, before he married her sister Constanze. I trust that he made Stanzi a few tunes that were absolute belters, before she accepted him. Picasso painted Marie-Thérèse Walter naked on a sunlit sofa, in order to tell her and the world that he thought she was luscious. Frank Lloyd Wright constructed Taliesin as a suitable setting for life with his mistress. Attila has just built me a compost heap.
In an earlier garden, I threw refuse in a pile at the base of a manky magnolia bush. I augmented the mess with guano from our flock of white pigeons which I mucked out on a regular basis. When we left that house five years later, the magnolia was twenty feet high and bloomed so lavishly that the spectacle caused car crashes. Until recently we employed huge plastic bins which stored the suppurating greenery while it putrefied in slow motion. After three years of abysmal stinks, I ended up with a fair number of wriggling invertebrates and a lot of marinated, still viable weeds. Another experiment saw me throwing biological matter into a barrel with slide up sides. Always willing, I threw in everything including used sawdust cat litter and countless corpses of dead animals, courtesy of our little hairy feline terminator. When I lifted the first slat to start spreading the stuff around, the whole edifice overbalanced and fell on top of me. The odour was unbelievable and I can still recall the smeech, shame and disgust with only a little loss of self control. Brave men wearing silver containment suits had to take away my working boots and trousers.
Eryngium planum (sea holly)
Now I am ecstatic, elated and delirious with glee. This is an undertaking on the scale of any of the aforementioned tributes to feminine charm. Attila’s first attempt at bricklaying has produced three bays, stapled to the existing walls with steel ties, which will enclose garden and kitchen waste. The fronts are made of treated decking timber and should slide out to enable me to remove the contents without my making a meal of the operation. Hernias make one’s walk so unattractive, don’t you find? I have room for a rolling program to shift the percolating greenery from one container to the next, thus aerating the mixture. This will increase heat in the rotting process, helping to kill roots and seeds and sterilize the finished product. I maintain that the finest activator is a splash of human urine, best added after consumption of a pint of cider. I don’t possess the necessary applicator, so come on ‘round boys, the drinks are on me. Just ensure that the neighbours aren’t watching.
I got so excited on completion that I went out on the hottest day of the year and gave the wild spurge and shepherd’s purse a seeing to it will never forget, for at least a week or two. I’ve hoicked grass out of the borders and scarified moss from the lawns. I refrained from adding mare’s tail and ground elder, since nothing short of Armageddon will kill either of them. The first bay is half full already. The garden will receive a copious supply of material which will add nutrients, improve moisture retention and encourage earthworms. I’m not going to need to smell like the municipal tip – Attila can move stuff between the bins and thence to the garden, so that he can prove that he loves me.