Half term has arrived for me with the amazing coincidence of fine weather too. So we decided to clean the greenhouse.
This time last year, Claire was in hospital undergoing her final chemotherapy and stem cell transplant, so even going out and scrubbing down a load of glass seems like a treat – particularly as only six months ago she might not have had the energy to contemplate it. Last year Lynn very kindly washed the greenhouse, so this was my first attempt at an early spring clean in the garden. It was no big deal, but only when you get up close and personal to it to do you see why Greenhouse is not a misnomer for a shed made of glass: Fungus the Bogeyman would not have felt out of place in this moldy residence. So I did the outside, Claire wiped the inside and the results speak for themselves.
As usual, I did it all with the sound of the OM’s voice in my head, advising me on how to do it, but unlike this time last year it really is just in my head: I knew he would not be wandering down the garden today to dig leeks or check what I was up to. It seems a shame that he does not come down the garden, but I guess he might be keeping out of my way (unlikely) or more probably he just does not have the motivation these days.
Mind you, despite my cynicism of the “I wouldn’t do it that way if I were you” kind of comment from on high, I gave more thought to the advice I had been given as I dumped a load of manure into the beds in the now crystal-clear greenhouse (glasshouse is now a recognisable description). As I dug with the spade then broke it up and spread it with my fork, it occurred to me that perhaps all those years digging and muck-spreading in the garden must count for something. My views are skewed by memories of having to share the experience of him taking an hour to methodically change a fuse (which probably required the shutting down of half the village’s electrical supply to ensure safety) but maybe, just maybe, his way really is the best and most efficient. So fork it was – and it all worked nicely.
And I even managed to save a little manure to put around our Silver Wedding Rose (now safely ensconced in the “Silver Wedding Bed” – a rose from our Silver wedding in the bed created for my parents’ in 1982). This is based another story from my childhood of my paternal grandfather following horses down the street to collect their detritus for his roses. I never knew either of my grandfathers: my mother’s father was born in 1868, so I was never likely to have known him. The other died before my father reached his teens – but we will have to explore all the Freudian overtones of that another day. For now, let’s just celebrate a clean, un-green greenhouse and some roses that are looking just fine and dandy.
And much of that is down to the use of knowledge and stories passed on across the generations.
Final job was to put together the Wicker Salad Planter (Christmas present from one of my brothers). This did not require generations of knowledge to assemble. And I don’t think I will be passing on either the planter or the assembly technique to my own children…