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Sunday, 18 July 2010

Out, damned spot! out, I say!


This afternoon I suddenly realised that my extremities were covered in a red rash. I had had chicken pox as a child so I didn’t think and certainly hoped it wasn’t that. When I had fallen prey to chicken pox I was despatched to bed, given a bunch of grapes to eat, a jigsaw to play with and Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies to read. Having been struck down today with some unknown ailment, I posted a comment on a web page I am wont to peruse and was flooded with advice, including the laconic response that perhaps I had the plague. More pertinent advice included the suggestion that I might have had an allergic response to something I had eaten or else possibly rosea. I decided I needed to get to the chemist for some anti-histamine tablets as a matter of urgency as well as get in provisions for a siege. Nowadays all manner of groceries can be delivered to the front door, but I would still have to lug them up four flights of stairs and did not know whether I would have the energy to do so if my condition worsened.

As I stepped into the garden the OF was returning with his own shopping. He wanted to know who had ripped the garden gate from off its hinges. Gentle Reader it was me. I had ordered a Thai takeaway on Friday, the first such indulgence since last summer. Earlier in the day I was annoyed to see that the postman had left our mail on the rubbish bins. At first I thought someone in the house had simply dumped junk mail there. Then I realised some of the mail was for me. Full of righteous indignation I carried the mail indoors. Later in the evening, as I spied the delivery man on his motorbike I was puzzled as to why he didn’t come straight into the garden but waited outside. Then my phone rang. The delivery man could not get through the gate. The violent winds and rains had meant the latch had been twisted onto the wrong side of the gate. I went downstairs to investigate. Through the gap I could see two other delivery men, destined for another flat. Unable to get the latch to twist back I forced the gate open and threw it onto the grass. I think the men were all rather impressed by my show of strength as the wooden gate was as tall as me and rather heavy (unlike me!). The OF said he had put the gate back on its hinges and began to lecture me about it until I crisply cut him short saying I had to dash to the shops. Actually he has something of a cheek to complain as he had been responsible for affixing the original latch to the gate and it had proved a nuisance from the start.

When I returned from collecting my Red Cross boxes of food and medical supplies I decided to water the garden. To my annoyance the OF had managed to trample on my flowers when he dumped the grass cuttings onto the compost heap and caused a small pumpkin to become detached from its plant, when he had roughly manhandled my trough in order to use the grass trimmer around it. Still, I suppose it could be worse. Last year he yanked up all my spring onions and threw them away, thinking they were weeds. He was oblivious to the fact that I had placed an illustrated label bearing the legend Spring Onions by them. A gardening tip for the novice: there are some perennial garden pests that can only be got rid of by burying six feet under.