Wednesday, 20 February 2013

296: Gone With The Wind

That weatherman still hasn’t lived it down, you know.  It’s been over 25 years and most people remember him for saying that hurricane wasn’t coming when it was.  Nice bloke and it must be hard to get the weather right all the time.

We weren’t expecting bad weather even because the winds were supposed to be somewhere else in the country we thought.  I suppose we got off lighter than a lot of places though, because nobody lost their roof or their shed and nobody died round here.  Gerald was very cross about the garden though.

He had spent every weekend digging and planting and raking and all the other garden things men do.  Well not just men I know, some women enjoy gardening too.  I enjoy the results of gardening, let me put it that way.  I can’t bear getting mud stuck under my nails and my knees creak far too much to get down on the ground for long.  They did even back then, as I recall.

So, Gerald.  He had pretty much finished remodeling the whole of the back garden.  There were just the last few fiddly bits to do and then we were to have a grand garden party to show it off to our friends.  I wouldn’t mind that and he did work so hard it would be churlish of me to deny him the chance to preen a bit.  It would just that his dreadful mother would be there, like always.  The garden revolved around her precious clematis and the party would revolve around her.

He would never hear a word against her and she could be such a handful.  When he was around she was simpering and hopeless, then as soon as he left she became the most hard-nosed so-and-so you could imagine.  And she hated me.  I was never good enough for her son, which didn’t worry me too much.  I can be a bit like that with my own boy Matthew.  But she didn’t even like the non-son-stealing parts of me.  My hair, my clothes, my driving, my choice of book to read.  She hated everything.

In return I hated her too, but I did my best to bury it down deep for Gerald’s sake.  The party would be a trial but only yet another one of many.  It was set for Saturday 17th October, 2.00pm.  Most likely there would be a quick tour of the garden and the rest of the time would be spent inside the house, probably discussing that afternoon’s football.

Then the storm came.  I’ve never known anything like it and apparently in some places it was just like the wartime bombings all over again.  We stayed in hearing crashes and bumps all night then woke up the next day to see devastation outside.  I won’t go into all the details, but virtually all of Gerald’s hard work was gone.  Pots were smashed and plants and branches were strewn everywhere.  Nothing had all of its leaves or petals any more.

Even the clematis was destroyed.  I only thought I hated it but it was quite nice really.  It didn’t know its own provenance and maybe I projected too much on to it.  We did get to cancel the party, though.

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