Today I’ll get to see my brother Ian for the first time in 2019. The sibling two years my junior travelling down from the home he shares with his fiancée in Pelaw, Gateshead, assisting me with some garden maintenance work for our mother’s home. This labour the heavier elements of horticultural work I’m not yet allowed to undertake post my cardiac arrest in January.

These tasks including digging borders, aerating the lawn and a few other bits I’ve been advised by the cardiac rehab team to avoid for another month or so. That being said, I’ll chip in with lighter jobs, such as instructing my bro “Work harder you lazy get!” and “The devil makes work for idle hands!”, along with several other unhelpful platitudes.

Ian, a much calmer soul than I, will no doubt take my semi-confrontational cajoling with a pinch of salt. Letting my well-meaning but slightly off-hand approach wash over him, a behavioural trait he inherited from our late father. At least I hope our kid responds well to my idiosyncratic motivational technique as I reckon a fist-fight between the two of us more detrimental to my recovery than undertaking the heavy digging.

This temporary diminishing of body strength, along with the sloth-like recovery from a heart attack, frustrating me. Despite a huge importance I behave to the contrary, it do get frustrated at being hamstrung by these labour restrictions.

Ian tries to be supportive of my unstable emotions. Recently telling me by phone “Your health is the most important thing, Gaz. It’s really important you look after number one***……. Oh, and by the way, don’t forget to get s**t loads of beer in so we can have a good drink on Saturday night.”

*** – I’m assuming when saying “look after number one” my brother is advocating I adopt a self-care strategy for the well-being of my health. Not that he’s given me a mission to ‘dispose of’ a member of SMERSH.

From Russia With Love 158

As I write, I’m awaiting the arrival of my sibling here at our mum’s Wakefield home.  Looking out at the back garden, which will shortly receive TLC from the Strachan brothers, I’m mulling over whether in the interim to utilise the weeding stick in the garage to make an earlier than planned start with the maintenance. This tool allowing the removal of unwanted flora/fauna in the borders with minimal strain on my upper torso.

It’s now an hour since I penned the previous paragraph. In that time our Ian’s arrived in Wakefield and yours truly has undertaken some of the preliminary lighter weeding tasks. Currently my bro and I are troughing a ham and pickle sandwich, prior to heading garden in situ for our Monty Don act.

Incidentally, the above paragraph took me twenty minutes to complete. Not through writer’s block, moreover being distracted by our kid’s penchant for gabbing while watching football on TV. One of my sibling’s mutterings the ‘riveting’ news he’d heard the Norwich City’s goalkeeper’s favourite palindrome was kayak…… And there was me thinking Sky Sports News and ex-BBC football commentator John Motson had the duopoly on worthless trivia!!!!

Desiring to conclude this literary piece over our lunch time, I politely asked my brother if he’d grant me a little quiet. Being an accommodating guy, Ian agreed to watch the game in silence….. He’s a smashing guy is our kid.

Right, lunch is over, time to curtail this literary ramble and get ‘on it’!