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.