You can choose your friends

Friends can be special creatures of uncertain habits. Now before all of you come knocking at my door with a baseball bat, wrapped in barbed wire, called Lucille, fear not, identities will be unrecognisable to those who do not actually know the individuals in question, so that the innocent are protected. Those who fail the innocence test will be guilty as charged and can fend for themselves!

This past evening gone was one where time could be spent in the garden as Spring had, for a couple of days at least, given way to a mini heat-wave that in this country passes for Summer. It will not last, it never does, but while it is here, the most should be made of it. G & T (friends of ours for many years) live in a lovely little village that is rapidly turning into a town. England has many such places, but poised on the very cusp of proximity to La Manche, I am sure that further expansion would see it re-named as Folkestone Without, or something similar, as it is being absorbed into the outer suburbs of its nearest sea port. On this fine evening, G & T had invited E, M and me, along with A & J, as a constant group of friends who have stood the test of time in the playground of not only the local primary school but also that of life itself, to descend on their garden in celebration of the Anniversaire of the day T had entered this world. T would, I am sure, like us all to forget how many of these she has had and this is not the time or place to mention just how many! In this particular issue I have no leg to stand on, although I have always maintained that it is only those anniversaries spent in the country of your birth that count. So in my ready reckoning, as M endeavours to have me in foreign climes every time late August approaches, I am 38…… As good fortune smiles upon the prepared, the brave or the downright mad as a box of frogs, with a jumper as well as a coat to protect me from the sudden climate change that these parts of the world suffer from, we arrive to find that G & T have a patio heater the envy of the known universe. In fact, global warming has nothing to do with pollution from the combustion engine or Industrial Revolution or refrigerator gasses leaking into the upper atmosphere as we have been led to believe, as this particular patio heater is the sole reason for the rise in ambient temperature this side of the pond! What a fine specimen of engineering it is as we gaze upon the glowing mantle and feel the warmth invade our longing bones.

Reclining in the garden, putting the world to rights, celebrating in fine form the fact that another year has been survived, our attention passes to the shrubbery that passes for plants rather than weeds within the garden. Although the Blog ‘When is a plant a weed?’ is still to be released, I can see that this particular garden belonging to G & T, has been lovingly cared for and well maintained. To my side is a large plant pot, of tres moderne design, which contains a tree with fine red leaves which I instantly recognise as an Acer.

In our own garden we have many Acer Palmatum trees, (‘it’s a Japanese Maple’ as T informs me). They are all of various shapes and sizes and to be fair, according to those in the know, I do have a big one. In the past year or two, one of the deep red varieties has unfortunately come over all feeble in the production of anything worth writing home about. Its usefulness seems to be at an end and when all hope has been lost to it ever recovering anything of its former morning glory that others show, I am of a mind to root it out and cast it into the very flames of destruction so that it might no more be known amongst its former companions.

However, throwing a line to a sinking ship at the eleventh hour, sickly members can sometimes be brought back to life, so, according to J’s theory, as the falling down water flowed, she expounded at great length on the subject, setting forth in instructing us all on the prescribed method of doing so. I must state at this juncture that I have no prior knowledge of this procedure and am not purporting it to be accurate or something anyone should do unless the method has been tested and proven by qualified personnel with suitable assurances and certification provided.

The afflicted article often exhibits black spots or ‘sores’ which need to be abrasively stroked with an up and down motion of the wrist whilst firmly holding a scouring pad, (the like of which can be found in the kitchen (below stairs) for cleaning dishes), wrapped around the branch or trunk. With an energetic motion and in an excited fashion, J demonstrated this manoeuvre to the assembled throng. By this method, the failing strength is apparently restored and new growth occurs. If J was saying she would be coming round Chez Moi to rub my wood, then M would probably need to be in attendance ensuring correct safe working practices are adhered to……

How does one write a ‘Risk Assessment’ for such a task? J knows…..! “Nurse, the screens!”

Happy Birthday T

Carry on regardless!



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