I’ve just undertaken my inaugural piece of gardening for 2020, with a couple hours cutting back shrubs, hoeing and cutting the front lawn. In all honesty, the borders and grass were too damp to undertake the task. However, the daily witnessing of the aesthetically unsightly border by the bay window, along with a lawn of erratic blade length, moved me into a spot of premature horticultural maintenance.

Footnote – When I say I’d been hoeing this morning, I’m of course referring to aerating the compounded mud in my garden borders. Not that I’d spent the early hours in the company of ladies of questionable virtue…… Just saying!

Maintaining the bushes (Yes, I’m still talking about the garden!), coiffuring the grass blades into some sort of height equilibrium and breaking up the soil to encourage root growth has consequently refreshed the tired garden canvas, A view which a few hours earlier had been a sight for sore (and still focussing) eyes.

With the yellows of the three forsythia shrubs about to erupt in full view of the front bay window like a solar fountain, by the end of the week the garden’s chromatic paucity should improve markedly…… You could say it’ll be nice to see you, to see you nice, forsythia.

Footnote – If you’re not au fait with the catchphrases of late entertainer Sir Bruce Forsyth, that last sentence won’t make sense. Trust me, though, its a clever whimsical line……. Actually, even if you are up to speed with Brucie’s trademark quotes, that aforementioned last sentence might note make sense either!….. Blimey, tough audience!


Mrs Strachan senior, whose residence is my prevailing fixed abode, was very grateful for my efforts. Her over the top appreciation on my return into the home post-gardening coming in the form of the comment “Are you going out this afternoon, Gary?….. I was going to mention to Jo (our next door neighbour) that visitors to her party can park behind you on our drive!”

I assured mater I’d no plans to venture from the front room so the parking arrangements were fine from my perspective. I’m still awaiting a thank you. To be fair to Maggie, she did say the front garden looks nice, however, as that’s her stock descriptive adage for any person and most life events, it’s meaning is somewhat devalued…… Only kidding mum!

Footnote – I’m unsure why I felt moved to apologise to my mum above as she won’t be reading this prose, which, as with my other 1780+ narratives, she deems pointless nonsense……. Well, the way I look at it, missing out on the forsythia quip above is her loss….. Possibly! 😉

Seriously, though, Maggie often relays how appreciative of the gardening, cooking, washing up, chauffeuring, and odd jobs I do around our West Yorkshire home. Likewise, I’m exceedingly grateful for her washing/ironing of my laundry, along with the fact she does all the cleaning, despite being only six months from turning 80 years young.

Living with your mum again after thirty three years of occupying a marital home can be a challenge. Her overly-trusting nature is admirable, however it leaves her vulnerable as, despite her protestations to the contrary, everyone she meets isn’t nice.

My pointing out of this observation to mater often leads to fraught conversations, which ordinarily end with me being admonished with a terse “You’re a bad b***er you are, Gary!” Judging situations/people from a baseline of positivity has it’s merits, however it also makes me worry more about the old lady than if she was a little more judicious with her evaluations.

Anyhow, it’s taken nearly nine months, but for the first time since I departed the toxicity of my marital residence, I’ve finally come to terms with this abode on the Leeds/Wakefield borders being my home……. Cheers, mum!!