The perils of gardening in the dark

I DON’T think it has anything to do with the clocks going back; I think it is just us.

Most normal people, faced with a bright, if cool and slightly damp, Sunday will get up in the morning, have some wheatybangs and get on with the day.

If there are gardening tasks to be done – say some hacking back of shrubbery – they will cock a weather eye to the sky and say; “If we get on with it we can be done before it gets dark.” That is the sensible approach.

We, on the other hand, follow the garden path less trodden which involves waiting until the day’s light begins to fade and then rushing out into the gloom armed with choppers and cutters and laying waste to anything that looks vaguely bush-like.

Last Sunday was a classic. Small But Fierce of Ipswich and I decided that the unidentified shrub (they’re all unidentified, to be honest, apart from the holly) sticking up 6ft above our 6ft fence had to be the first to feel the cold steel of Mr Spear and Mr Jackson’s bluntest offering.


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This was about 4.15pm. It was pitch black about an hour later when we admitted defeat and retreated into the house, having created an immense heap of cuttings in the middle of the grass.

It was all very cathartic and rewarding, though examination of said bush in the morning revealed a sorry sight; it looked like a blind man had given a haircut to one of the Jedwards using only dentures and a sharpened cucumber.

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We’ve always done this at weekends. Saturday morning dawns with hope and bright intention and Sunday night sees the first serious action actually happening - sometimes for as long as an hour.

I will then spend the week formulating plans, often including the making of some lists, to make sure that it doesn’t happen again and of course it does.

We’ll have to get on top of this procrastination though, as things are moving on apace in Castle Towers.

The builder boys have built the utility room, which now also has nice lights, and torn down the kitchen ceiling.

This was an exciting moment. What could be up there after all these years? The answer was a t-shirt, some wasps’ nests (vacant) a 1949 box of Rawlplugs and a pair of somewhat shabby Army khaki trousers of similar vintage, wide of waist and short of leg.

I was looking forward to trying them on, but SBF fixed me with her customary steely gaze and in tones which brooked no nonsense, suggested that it was not my best idea of the day and lobbed them in the bin.

Pity. I had entertained a notion of putting them on, camoflaging myself with a few bush clippings, getting my old air rifle out of the loft and recreating the closing credits from Dads’s Army. Stupid boy.

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