Back to school after a half term break of mixed fortunes. I started out with a burning desire to get the veg patch properly started with visions of raised beds marked out next to what promised to be a dazzlingly constructed greenhouse, risen from the pile of aluminium and glass in the corner of the lawn (well, field).
After a wet but enjoyable weekend in Liverpool with the youngest, the week stretched out before me with the promise of constructive horticultural efforts to come. But the North West rain followed us south (very cold and very wet) to put a major dampener on my efforts. And then, while carrying out the first garden dig, my back gave way. It was not one of those minor tweaks. The movement in my lower spine was of a tectonic level that registered on the Richter scale. The sound of my spinal plates collapsing was only drowned out by the sound of the pouring rain and my heavy breathing as I maniacally turned the sodden earth to transplant the rhubarb.
My first reaction is always one of anger and frustration combined with feelings of stupidity that – as someone with a history of back pain – I had allowed myself to nearly rupture a disc once again. The sentiments regarding my own stupidity were clear in the look Mrs B gave me when I told her later but, frankly, I can’t live my life trying to mitigate against potential injury, when I am needing to design and dig a garden. It’s just a risk you take – like face planting in snow board in big air or tripping on the start line in speed skating. You just gotta go for it.
But from there the week did get better and with Mrs B’s able assistance we got fence panels erected at the back and managed to construct the greenhouse. We constructed the frame, levelled it and glazed it without losing a single pane or running out of screws, although I nearly lost a thumb when I impulsively wiped some green mould off one of the panes. Instead of wiping the face of the glass, my thumb ran along the corner edge – carving a long slice down the length of the thumb pad.
Two plasters stemmed the flow of blood, and two visits to the osteopath seem to have mended the back, so this weekend I was able to (carefully) start the construction of those raised beds. I even managed to delve deeper into my atavistic gardening spirit by burning a very effective bonfire.
The garden is beginning to take shape. Is that spring I see just around the corner? Answer: No. We have a week of Siberian conditions to get through first.