Mr. P. and his family have become family to us. We exchange gifts at Christmas and get invites to their children's weddings and grandchildren's birthdays. But he doesn't often visit our backyard - maybe once or twice a year. So last night, just as I was putting the monkeys to bed, Mr. P. knocked on the door in search of a wheelbarrow. But he got distracted by my veggies.
First he clicked his tongue at the seedlings I'm attempting on the outdoor table.
"These no good!"
"Why you no eat?" he admonished.
But before I could stutter an excuse, he'd plonked his boot into the patch onto an emerging corn seedling and started pulling off the dead leaves of the bush. Evidently Mr. P. was having trouble seeing the little brick paths I'd made in the fading light 'cos he was ripping and tossing and stomping all over the place. He demanded rope and a stake and a hammer and started yanking out weeds and a few teeny carrots and attempted to straighten out the artichoke. It was too dark in the shed to find the rope so Mr. P. told me he would be back himself tomorrow to tie up the artichoke - because he didn't trust that I would do it.
|bald artichoke bush|
"You water this?" he questioned in amazement.
|Tomato bed - clearly in need of more water and digging|
When I came back empty handed Mr. P. was eyeing off another patch.
"What about here?"
Nope, that was where I'd planted my bean seeds a couple of days ago. Mr. P. asked what sort I had and told me that he would bring over some beautiful climbing butter bean seeds for me. He didn't seem too interested in accepting my offers of heritage lazy housewives or climbing purple beans.
I suggested that maybe I could manage a new veggie patch in front of the potatoes where the kids' slide was. We are in the process of dismantling the kids' slide. Actually we've been in the process of dismantling the kids' slide for a few months now with not much progress. This seemed to appease Mr. P. who put his hand on the frame of the slide and gave it a bit of a shake. He looked just about ready to shake it down then and there himself but I managed to persuade him to leave it to Monkey Man to dig out properly tomorrow. He instructed me to get Monkey Man to dig up the other tomato patch too (clearly I was not up to that job).
|Climbing frame for the slide - ready to come down|
So I've spent a few moments this morning tending to the artichoke and watering the garden and pulling a few weeds. But Monkey Man is going to need a lot of persuading to dig that slide out when he finishes work today. And I suspect that Mr. P. will be most displeased with our efforts.