After an intense week or more of work during which I managed to ignore the deleterious effects of perspiration for much longer than is either desirable or healthy, I decided yesterday that I had to restore the balance between brain and body, so attacked the less romantic aspects of gardening for which there are no photographs.
My little plot is neater, although the chores are by no means complete. What I have succeeded in doing is ensuring that I look as if I have been spending my time at the beach. I have also now exhausted myself both mentally and physically such that the only thing I can usefully do – while perspiring and drinking copious amounts of water – is give you three more stories from Scatterling, one of which, coincidentally, has a gardening theme:
LEAST FAVOURITE VEGETABLES
I was about nine when my mother had a bumper crop of gem squash* in her veggie garden. That was when my sister and I each got a pair of brand new gumboots**. Now we could pick gem squash to our heart’s content without scratching our legs.
There were boxes and boxes of gem squash piled high in the pantry and all over the kitchen in every available nook and cranny. And that was after everyone we knew had received plenty of the jolly things.
Two years later, there were no gem squash. But there was an awful lot of celery about. At least you can make a decent pie with cheese, egg and celery.
* Round green squash about the size of a softball. Normally boiled, pips removed before mashing. Eaten with a dash of salt and butter. Flavour range: limited.
** Wellington boots.
The next story contains something my mother used to say which shall be forever imprinted on my brain:
“Stop fighting! I did not have you both so that you could argue with each other! I had you so that you could be friends!”
Thus spake the mother while my sister and I pulled our tongues at each other when she was not looking.
This made about as much sense to me as putting on a jersey because my mother felt cold. Especially that awful burnt orange one I took ages to grow out of.
It also rendered me incapable for many years of arguing effectively with anyone else.
I made up for it by arguing the toss on most things political with my father when I was a teenager.
If picking gem squash amicably with my sister could could be considered work, then there was always play time to enjoy oneself:
That day, the other two girls in the school who played marbles and I went across the field, far away from the rest to a patch of bare earth under a jacaranda tree.
“My daddy’s going to the army tomorrow. Ra-ta-ta-ta-ta!” said the girl who always beat me at running, but was too short to have a hope against me in the long jump. She cavorted around like that with her imaginary gun the whole of our break time.
She made us laugh, and won all our marbles, so we had to play hopscotch instead. We wrote “1972” with a stick in the dust.
The next day, she did not feel like playing, but let me eat her jam sandwiches as usual anyway.
If you really want to read all the stories at once, you can order a hard copy from Amazon. The book is beach-friendly, and does not demand too much concentration. If you don’t like sand, buy yourself some crayons, and have fun colouring in the drawings in the comfort of your own home. Click on the picture below:
© 2015 Allison Wright