Blimey, that was much-needed. Anyone in the UK knows it’s not really been gardening weather for the past few weeks – but it IS gardening time, and there were loads of little things that needed doing from planting the gorgeous gooseberry bush (birthday present from Maggie & Mike’s allotment) to fixing the hose, filling in the newly-dug fox hole under the fence, a little late pruning of a few roses that prefer it that way, tidying up the poor lemon tree that didn’t enjoy the snow, and clearing loads of weeds and winter leaves that were making it tricky for the bulbs to show themselves.

But the things to do aren’t why ‘time in the garden’ was much needed. It’s because I’ve been having a scratchy, irritable, grumpy few days, where every time I manage to tick one thing off the work list of urgent things, another two things arrive to take its place and they are all urgent and all need doing NOW (inevitable with both new book Money in the Morgue just out and Fun Palaces 2018 launch last week) and I’ve been behind myself and playing catch-up solidly and I hate that feeling and it makes me very grumpy indeed.

So I ignored the things I HAVE TO DO and went out to our little garden* and did the other things that were not on any list except the one in my head and I reveled in bringing order to chaos, knowing that order will again give way to chaos because that’s the way of gardens (and everything else) and I could feel that the sun – when it showed for five minutes – had real warmth in it.

I was born in a council flat in south London and my Mum had always wanted a garden. When we moved to New Zealand when I was a kid, she got her wish. She was in her mid-40s then, and the garden was a big old patch of nothing, unloved, un-cared-for, with our little Tokoroa weatherboard house (matching all the other little Tokoroa weatherboard houses) plonked right in the middle of it. And she and my dad used to come home from work at the Kinleith mill and spend hours on that garden, working on it late into the evening when they were already exhausted from work, or dad would do a full night shift and then come home and work on the garden all morning. I didn’t understand why when I was a kid, I do now.

IMG_3595 2
the gooseberry

Thanks to Amanda for offering this joy (and for almost 40 years of friendship, but that’s another story …)

For more on #55Joys, see here.

* yes, of course I know I’m lucky to have a garden. and grateful too.