8 June 2008


Nice word don't you think... pottering. And a much under-rated activity. I picked Ian and his girlfriend Ruby up from East Midlands airport at two in the morning and finally got to bed at four. I rose at ten, showered and spent much rest of the day just pottering around in the garden.

It was a lovely blue sky day and as the afternoon proceeded, the temperature rose to 29 degrees centigrade according to my electronic thermometer - though this may have something to do with the fact that the outdoor sensor gets hit by direct sunlight. I lay prostrate on the grass and trimmed away at the corner where the wooden toadstool is and the shy little stone girl. I tugged away at grass stalks and clipped the invasive brambles.
Nesting swallows made various journeys to the temporary home they have made under the eaves of next door's house while a mother wren fed her babies in the nesting box I screwed to a fence post a couple of years ago. You could see two tiny beaks at the little round hole, begging for life. A familiar robin cheekily landed on the giant sycamore shoot I was in the process of hacking down. He seemed to be watching me all through the afternoon, darting from lawn to apple bough, sipping at the bird bath, pecking at the niger seed feeder.

At one, Shirley and I ate chicken biryani and nan bread on the deck when who should join us but Boris, returning from his feline morning patrol. I rubbed his belly and he sheltered in the shadow under our garden table.

A veritable mountain of clippings and prunings, twigs and branches is building at the bottom of the garden. One of these nights I will be out there with matches, intent on arson.

When you're pottering, time drifts by and you think lots of thoughts. They wash across your mind screen like random sea waves. It's therapeutic. And when you are pottering, it doesn't matter what you achieve or fail to achieve. There's no pressure. No big project. No deadline.
Ian arrived for Sunday dinner and the three of us ate it on our sunny decking around six thirty. He'd been in Egypt for two weeks so I told him all about the Tigers' triumph at Wembley and Shirley told him about his grandmother's departure. We had insisted he should go ahead with his holiday come what may and he flew out to Sharm el Sheikh on the morning of May 24th just a couple of hours after Winnie passed away. And when Ian went back to his house, I continued to potter a little while longer as well as trying unsuccessfully to connect up the Orange Live Box to our computer. This piece of technological wizardry arrived through the post and is part of the deal when you switch phone and broadband provision from British Telecom to Orange. "No problem!" they assured me. I should have known better.


  1. I could always ask Keith to come round and sort it out for you, YP! ;)

  2. I myself do 'digging and delving,' which is what my mom always called working in the garden. Pottering works too. It's been raining quite a bit (we are soaked all about the roots and are a little cranky for lack of sun), and that's great gardening weather because the ground is so soft. Slugs love it too-- you should see all of the slugs I've trapped! They love cheap beer, and that's just what I give them. They die a happy death, I hope, and my garden doesn't get chomped on as badly.

  3. Hope Ian enjoyed his trip to Sharm..we're in the process of opening a dive centre there which is about as easy as connecting your Orange box. Good luck!

  4. I miss having a garden here where we're at now. Back in the UK, I liked nothing better than to go out and cut the grass, plants flowerbeds and just enjoy the hot weather - though the sunburn at the end of the day wasn't usually so pleasant.

    We're in the process of looking for a different place to live though, so maybe, one day soon, I'll have a garden again, even if it's a planter garden.

  5. "Pottering" is one of those great verbs that is site-specific. You can potter in a garden, and maybe in a shed, but not really anywhere else. I've never heard of anyone "pottering" in the office, or at the grocery store, for example.

    Sorta like "while." Upi can "while away the hours" but you can't really "while away the green onions."

  6. Upi can "while away the hours" ...

    Should be "You can ... (fingers moved one position over on the keyboard)

  7. so you too have had the heat wave, l seem to have been lost somewhere in a sort of time space continuum and need to do some serious catchup!

  8. JENNY. Yes send Keith over immediately to sort out the Livebox IF he will forego his usual locksmith callout charge!
    ALKELDA. I am amazed that you can be so cruel to slugs- they are living creatures like us. At least give them decent beer!
    HADRIANA - Yes he did love Sharm and good luck with your dive school. Free guided dives for fellow bloggers I presume?
    RUGRAT - There's nothing like an English garden in the summer and I hope that one day you have another garden to potter in amidst your maple saplings.
    GODDESS. Lay off the wine when blogging! "Upi" for you. Isn't that Rwandan?
    MUDDYBOOTS. I was beginning to think you had fallen into churning vat of raspberry ripple! Glad you're still around. Still haven't seen any Mr Moo! I think you imagined this product! It's all just an elaborate hoax sponsored by Primark!

  9. Forego his charge, YP? No chance.
    "It's not personal - it's business" as they say in 'The Godfather.' ;)

  10. Surprised Reidski hasn't been on yet about Orange Broadband. Suffice to say you aren't the only one who has suffered with that.

  11. I'm not certain, but I think pottering is illegal in Ohio.


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