It’s time for the man in my life to stick cold medicine all over the kitchen worktops. Why do partners always appreciate quality in cookware when they’re burning the ass out of your favourite saucepan? They do not necessarily recognise excellence in dresses or superiority of manufacture in shoes. Too weak to scarify, Attila has baked many beans and watched a lot of soccer to build up his strength. He plies his handkerchief like a thunderclap, frightening cats and children. When he sneezes in the house, he cracks the plaster on the walls. If he coughs in the conservatory, he shakes the spiders from their lurkims in the rafters, where they are too high for me to reach. Once grounded, they may be corralled in a glass and ushered outside.
Jasminum officinale in bud (common white jasmine)
His malady has done him no good. I’ve chased him up a ladder to tame the Acacia dealbata (mimosa) which has finished flowering and is pressing against the ceiling in the garden room. There is always a place for pruning like a man and Attila has hacked and chopped like a cyclone. The climbers and creepers are looking chastened and despite his proximity to Death’s Door, he’s cleared up his debris behind him. The sitting room windows look out over the tropical assembly. Sometimes I regret not commanding a view over the outdoor borders as others enjoy. Then, in spring, I watch the fresh leaves of Agapanthus (Nile lily) growing noticeably by the day. The Jasmine is peppered with buds, awaiting that burst of blossom and tsunami of perfume. The Passifloras are still a dream of summer.
Phoenix canariensis (Canary Island date palm)
I have been re-homing, moving the most needy specimen into my Xmas present mega pot. Phoenix canariensis (Canary Island date palm) now looks fabulous in the company of a self seeded fern and this years’ exhausted Hippeastrum (amaryllis). The bad hair Billbergia (friendship plant, queen’s tears) is in new quarters, propped on top and I’ll see how it settles. The sharp pointed leaves of the palm used to stab me in the eye as I passed, causing pain, tears and expert swearing. Raised in height by twelve inches, it is now ideally placed to rake exquisitely along the parting in my hair. Please don’t worry, I have a suitable word to hand whenever that happens. Once a huge container became empty, I started working my way through the collection, transferring each plant on to the next size up, as it became free. The Lantana (shrubby verbena) now has some leg room and the Orchids have been re-organised. On the smallest scale, I’ve lost a couple of cacti. Their bulbous bodies have rotted from within, so I can’t tell that they’ve snuffed it until I prod them with a cautious finger.
Just waiting for summer
After a day’s hard graft, my spouse retired to his bed of pain in the company of his fifth favourite football team. He’s using beer as an anaesthetic, with a helping of Bombay mix under doctor’s orders. Every mouthful is well deserved, although the chilli is making his eyes water. I have hauled my weary carcass out of my crunchy trousers, regretting for once that my mental vacations consist of reading books on horticulture. I’m so tired, I don’t think that I could lift a lentil.