So far this a – z has been a celebration of the gardens I have inhabited. So now just half way through I thought I would have a little whinge.
I have not enjoyed every aspect of gardens. Back when I was a child there were set occasions I dreaded. The first was winter. I have always remained convinced our evolution shows up many faulty design points, teeth is one, another is our inability to hibernate. In what world was that considered good. Sensible mammals curl up in a nice warm fat ball and sleep it out.
We had harder winters back in the 40s and 50s than we have now, and we were less prepared for them. We lived in unheated homes, sadly lacking in insulation. We could huddle around coal fires and hug hot water bottles however, if you left either of these you froze. Outside was worse. Girls wore skirts and small boys wore short trousers. Only a sadist would think this was adequate cover for bare flesh – okay we had long socks, but that patch between socks and hem. Blue maybe my favourite colour but not on my legs. We suffered from chilblains and sore, chapped inner knees, which could descend swiftly to rawness. When it snowed, which it mostly did every winter, the snow got down our boots, was thrown down, via snowballs, our necks and turned our finger tips to icicles when patting snow together for the ritual snowman.
Why is snow considered pleasurable? Children are expected to – and I know often do- rush out in excitement to frolic. Well this one didn’t!! I have photos of my snowmen; because Dad helped me they were ‘okay’ structures and I look vaguely pleased. I was pleased for the photo because it meant the snowman was finished, the agony was over and I could go in and warm up, also I got to have my photo taken just Dad and me, I suspect he had enjoyed the whole session.
The whole slippy sliddy bit was not for me. I suffered from two left feet, Dyspraxia makes one clumsy. I spent a great deal of my time slipping over; what is worse than the cold gap between sock and hem is lying full length on ice and snow and not being able to get up because feet keep slipping. I stayed away from the garden through those months, I still try to.
Spring was a favourite season I could go and play. The one downside to the season was the regular Easter egg hunt.
It was meant to be fun.
I was told to have fun.
Told I was spoiling other people’s fun when I sulked.
It was impossible to have fun when year after year I was humiliated by my inability to find my egg.
I knew my gardens like my hand but could I ever find an egg?
They were wrapped in bright, bright colours but could I ever find the egg?
Well at least not until everyone else had, with shrieks of fun, and had gone back indoors to eat them. Dad would hover helpfully near me, trying to guide me; I wouldn’t let him show me, that would have been the final straw. He kept me company it helped.
Summer was okay I liked summer. Then came the autumn which I also enjoyed except for the beginning of November. I do not, have never, liked fireworks. Come November the fifth it was obligatory to let off fireworks. I do not, have never, liked the dark, to see fireworks they are viewed in the dark. I do not, have never, liked loud noise and fireworks on the whole are explosively noisy and the crowds watching are not much better. The preparation started early and I was expected to help find the firewood, build a stack and make a guy to put atop (I always ducked out of the last).
I was expected to get excited at the purchase of fireworks,
I was expected to have fun.
I just wanted to stay in the house and read a book, preferably with cotton wool in my ears.
They would gather, friends and family, on the evening, happy talk, then the trip into the evil and distinctly chilly/cold darkness outside, followed by the noise of the rockets, bangers and Catherine wheels, the roaring spitting fire, the grotesque guy on top. Even the sausage rolls didn’t help.
They meant it for the best, I am sure, just a shyness to be weaned out of me. I still do not like them the difference is now I can choose to ignore everything about it, and don’t even mind when I am accused of being a curmudgeon:).
So you see it was not pleasure and light in my gardens.
Far from it:)