Well, its 3.07 p.m. and for a change, instead of my usual pose and position at the computer indoors, I am actually sitting here today with my laptop in the lower part of the garden, a delightful area that is strewn with pea gravel and surrounded by an abundance of foliage and that can really make one feel almost as though one were enjoying a Mediterranean sojourn. As I sit and type to your good self I am feeling most replete after a spot of lunch – rosemary focaccia and cheese with an accompaniment of watercress and cucumber drizzled with balsamic vinegar – and I feel quite companionable as I set out once again with my mission led missive.
The quintessential English garden is, I feel, a place most conducive to lucid thought processes. All that fresh air to blow the cobwebs away and allow for a clarity of mind that keeps one totally focussed on the task at hand.
Our little patch of green has certainly been in need of some tender TLC of late and it has been most vexing that the inclement weather has, up until now, foiled all efforts at titivation and cultivation on the part of our elderly but stoic gardener, Mr Thremblewaite. His pins certainly lack the stamina that he had in his youth and his stature is certainly more diminutive than when he first took up his post with us but, nevertheless, after my sister has given him a fairly swift rubdown with some old horse linament that we keep in the garage on the little shelf just inside the door, then he’s quite sprightly and can usually manage a good 20 minutes before needing further muscular ministrations.
It occurs to me that I have been most remiss in not mentioning my dear sister before. I mean, as this is the third of my literary loquations in your general direction, I do feel that we know one another well enough for familial introductions to take place.
Maria Fantarina Stamatina Shepherd, to give her her full and most glorious appellation, is a little more advanced in years than myself, but nevertheless still a pretty gung ho kind of gal and more than able to wield a cake slice with the best of the ladies of the local Women’s Institute.. Why, only last week she managed to lay out a rather ribald rogue with one of her famed rock cakes after his attempts to remove our gnome, Mr Tipperton from his position at the base of our wishing well in the front garden! Alas, we have had less success with dissuading the local felines from using our well for their ill-timed ablutions, however, apparently a little chilli powder should do the trick according to that nice gardener from the television, Mr Wombwell … that or apparently there is a new produce on the market called ‘Silent Roar’ which apparently consists of pellets that have been soaked in lion dung, so should the chilli powder fail to be a suitable deterrent then we feel that this will assuredly be our next course of action.
I do feel that I became a little distracted there, and must apologise profusely for this as this is something that rarely happens, and so I shall now continue just a little more with reference to my most wonderful sister. This is a lady that enjoys crochet, croquet, needlepoint, macramé, baking, prize vegetable growing and astonishingly still manages her fencing class once a fortnight … although that is dependent on the arthritis these days … doesn’t do to be waving a rapier around when ones fingers are a little dextrous than is needed.
Ah, I find I am sitting here smiling to myself as my fingers skitter hither and thither across the keyboard with rarely a pause other than to help myself to the rather delicious long drink of strawberry crush that is resting on the table on the furthest left corner where you can just see the lobelias and aquilegia spilling over the middle raised bed. It’s a positive delight the way the sun dapples across them and the breeze almost seems to gently run its fingers across the petals and foliage.
I must say at this point, Mr Fry, that you are most definitely a tonic for the soul and I do so enjoy the times that I sit and write to you for I feel that you are most definitely the man that can help me with the small quandary that I find myself in, and which has been the pressing reason for my availing myself of your mailbox and your most precious time.
Alas, and as always seems to be the case just when I am reaching my crescendo, other matters are calling for my attention. I can see my dear sister beckoning frantically as it is now 3.21 p.m. and we are due to attend a late afternoon rendition of Tom Lehrer songs by our very own Mr Pemberton … such an astonishing timbre that he still has to his voice in spite of his advancing years and habit of smoking anywhere between 7 and 9 cigars a day. Poisoning Pigeons in the Park and I Hold Your Hand In Mine are two of my favourites and I do so hope that he will be kind enough to include those in his repertoire … plus, who knows, he may just finish off with a rousing and rambunctious attempt at Be Prepared, although he does tend to falter a little on that one.
So once more I take my leave of your most excellent company and I shall, of course, put hands to keyboard at the very next opportunity … and, until then, remain your delightfully dotty and deliriously dithery new acquaintance …