Not So Secret Garden

I’ve spent the last couple of days working with my brother Ian revamping part of our mother’s back garden. Our remit the trimming and removal of numerous bags of overgrown clematis, buddleia, dead vines; along with the unearthing a low retaining wall and rectangle terracotta planting tubs.

Also among the clerk of works (Mrs S senior) project aspirations was the laying of stone pebbles in areas designated for house pots. Domains earmarked to eventually display tubs, returning kaleidoscopic views of a recently neglected section of horticultural domain.

Ian and me put in a couple of decent shifts. Our finished job resulting in a far tidier, more aesthetically pleasing back fence area for mater.

Unearthing the long lost stone retaining wall, built around thirty years ago by my father, was hardly akin to Mary Lennox finding the key to the secret garden – A catalyst to her adventures in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s classic The Secret Garden.

Sure our kid and I found a piece of our old man’s long lost handiwork, but we had previous knowledge of it’s existence. Subsequently, our experience was bereft of the miracles witnessed by young Mary in the highly acclaimed 1911 book.

Unlike in Ms Burnett’s tome, us Strachan lads saw none of the heartwarming, yet unlikely, sights of a crippled boy finding he can walk again. Or indeed our Ian signing up to participate in next month’s charitable campaign ‘Go Sober For October’.

To be fair to my younger sibling, during our graft, he did commit to partaking in ‘Go Sober For The 1st October’…… Although, he had a caveat it doesn’t fall on a Friday or Saturday night, along with the condition wine wasn’t counted as alcohol.

gary ian

Akin to times we were young kids playing on the same football or cricket sides, Ian and me re-ignited our sixth sense teamwork while digging, pruning, hoeing, trimming and bagging of garden waste. Both of us bringing different skills to the table, I the project lead, my brother willingly embracing the labour intensive elements of the task.

As alluded to above, when we wore younger mans clothes, the two of us had a almost telepathic understanding on the football field. He the box to box midfielder running tirelessly throughout the game. Me the more skilful but lazier midfield partner, feeding off the ball winning attributes of our kid to create chances in offense.

We were also a decent partnership playing together for our local childhood cricket club. In fact, when Ian become the first Gateshead Fell bowler to claim a wicket with his mouth full of jelly wriggler candy, he did it consuming my gummy sweets.

I didn’t willingly provide my bro with the confectionery, he’d stolen them out of my trouser pocket in the changing room, but it doesn’t stop me basking in the glory of my part in this record.

At the conclusion of our hard graft, Mrs Strachan senior gratefully told her two middle-aged sons “Did you know there’s still some nettles behind that pyracantha?”

Soaked in labour induced perspiration, visage red of hue, the landscaping brothers looked at each other in disbelief. Both of them rolling their eyes as if to say “The bloody ungrateful mare!”

Seriously, though, mater was a key member of this successful project. Her provision of bacon sandwiches and brews invaluable at sustaining her offspring throughout their work.

A job well done, team!!


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