Such a ticklish word. Sounds like it wears a smile – if words wear anything?

In any case, perfectly describes the last couple of weeks since coming back from that big hike the length of Wales. Just one of those periods. Stuff to sort out. Bits and pieces. This and that.

Disruption in the kitchen. A smallish alteration turned, inevitably, into something more major. Contents of cupboards disgorged. Dust everywhere. Drilling. Cups of tea. No running water unless from the outside tap. Chaos. All at sixes and sevens – as my mother would have said.

I never thought about that phrase before. Why those numbers? Where did it come from? Apparently two livery companies (Merchant Taylor’s and Skinners}, both founded in 1327, quarrelled for more than a century about which had precedence in the chronological pecking order of livery companies. A Lord Mayor with a gift for compromise finally resolved it by making them alternate sixth and seventh place each year. I bet Mum didn’t know that either!

Decided to concentrate on rescuing the garden. After a few weeks of absence, it was high time. It’s a small garden – about 40 feet long by about 15 feet wide. Still it took about four hours of hard labour to trim the hedge on the left-hand side where pyracantha battles with ivy and honeysuckle along a dilapidated fence. Virginia creeper muscles in this time of year so there are squabbles to resolve and limbs to disentangle as these forces of nature are tamed. Put in their place – for a while at least.

A nocturnal army of slugs reinforced by snails – carapace-encased combat troops – has been feasting on whatever it fancies. Especially my treasures. Hostas in pots that started out in glory have been gored. Polygonatum, a gift from a friend, perforated, its arching stems bearing Kellogg’s shredded wheat instead of ‘ovate leaves and nodding tubular, creamy-white flowers, that the label so earnestly promised. Parsley planted on Friday was devoured by Saturday morning. Grrr! What’s a girl to do?

Guiltily, I’ve resorted to chemical weapons. Months of careful tending with regular and dutifully administered doses of nematodes have not deterred the slugs and snails. Well, maybe a bit but still they are monstering my little garden. Counting the dead one morning I got to more than 40 corpses.

And felt even guiltier. But there are no hedgehogs in the garden. Not for years. Though I’m a little worried about the birds.

  • Chris Kelly
    Posted at 14:31h, 22 June Reply

    Lizzie, what you need is a weekend in the West Country!

  • Anna Campbell
    Posted at 19:57h, 22 June Reply

    Oh, I hear you on being discombobulated! I’ve been like that since I got back at the end of May, not helped by the fact that I had to pack up fairly much straightaway and head down to Sydney for a week. One of the nice things is that I left a very dry Sunshine Coast and my garden could have been an extra in Lawrence of Arabia and I arrived back after a few weeks of good rain to lovely green lawns and happy plants.

  • Sarah Fordyce
    Posted at 10:16h, 21 July Reply

    Love the mix of the hum drum, the hassle, the garden battle and the history of sixes and sevens. Captures the mix that home life so often entails – interesting contemplation, physical work, consideration and angst about – perhaps – minor issues. thank you.

Post A Comment