Gardening and Golf

The end of May looms. I am not sure whether time is dragging or accelerating. Each day we seem to be trying to hurdle our way through golden syrup. Then all of a sudden the week has ended and we reset ourselves for the next bout of steeple chasing. I always seem to embarrass myself at the water jump. It must be an age thing.

The garden is changing. The last bluebells and primroses hang on by their fingertips, nails screeching down the green sward as they slide reluctantly to the ground. The docks point high and the pignut spreads itself throughout the copse. The nettles are in waiting for the unsuspecting. I have had one brush with them. A rub with a dock leaf sorted me in a few seconds. The azaleas are past and the rhododendron will follow. I have started to open up a path behind the pond. The irises are still budding and now a fringe of vivid yellow breaks through like a chick emerging from its shell. All they need is a few dragonfly larvae and I shall be happy.

We have raised the crown of the large fir tree in the front garden and removed a leylandii. These 2 simple steps have created much more light and a sense of extra space. Behind the fir the Monkey Puzzle is revealed to the world, blinking at the unaccustomed brightness that pours down onto it. The lawns have been cut, the terrace strimmed, part of the laurel hedge cut back and a rickety fence torn down, lying vanquished on the floor, waiting to be removed from the battlefield. This will provide more access. A case of misidentity leads to the early demise to a Kiwi fruit tree. Sadly I find three plastic bags of rubbish hitherto hidden by the hedge. Beer cans as far as I can tell. A broken ceramic pot appeals to me as a possible nest site for a not-too-picky bird. Light and airy (hole in the roof) with an open living space that is versatile for any avian family. Beautifully decorated in cobalt blue outside and a smooth, durian cream on the inner. Available on very reasonable terms. I leave it in the garden, wedged in a place that looks safe from predators. A “To Let” sign may follow. Maybe I shall call it “Trespassers Will”.

At the rear I have found a chestnut tree poking a few branches out. Ash saplings spring up in all the wrong places. They will have to come out. It has been agreed that we will coppice the hazels later and that will create more light in the under growth. I will have some fine hazel poles. Even wilderness has to be managed not neglected.

The moths continue to trickle in. Thursday was a bumper morning. Friday was a disappointment. Still, I am now on 116 species and June should be more productive.

We have a trip to HK planned and that will give us respite from the refurbishment. Already we are starting to think about a world in which the house is largely finished; our container can come out of storage; life can return to some semblance of normality. What I wonder does normality look like? There was an outing today to Farley Mount. It poured with rain. As we drove past the golf club there was a suggestion that I might join and rekindle my old passion. What’s your handicap? asks the old joke. The clubs and the ball, is the usual pithy riposte. I once, in another life, played off 13. Became disillusioned one day, put my clubs in the back of the garage and never played again. I lie. Once in 25 years. A story in itself and for another day. I really don’t see me out there again in all weathers, sporting my Rupert Bear trousers and Pringle sweater. Golf is for ambitious youngsters, who yearn to be like The Golden Bear, peeling off a sweater at St. Andrews to drive the green. And for good-humoured oldies who relive those days of power and glory without the need to prove their virility by outdriving all others. Now they craft their way round the course, rather shorter off the tee but a lot smarter reading the greens. Me? I’m too old to rock’n’golf and to young to die. Alice Cooper is an accomplished golfer. Did you know that? How did he get from “School’s Out” to “Fine putt, sir”? No, I think I’ll walk around my garden a few more times yet. We need each other.

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24 thoughts on “Gardening and Golf

  1. It’s ok to take one extra approach shot and be just where you need to be for a one putt. I say this as I know absolutely nothing about golf, but used to attend the obligatory company golf games – Texas Scrambles most. But the old duffers kept their true and steady drives and usually outsmarted the young and the reckless.
    The garden sounds to be coming along a treat. Hope you can take down the ‘for rent’ sign quickly.

  2. Well, no photos provided here but you did a great job of providing a visual with your words. Yes, I did know Alice Cooper was an avid golfer. Turns out that despite his outrageous stage antics, many say Alice is a normal guy.

  3. That is lovely Andrew – descriptive, dreamy, nostalgic, sad, hopeful, expectant, funny, just beautiful. You don’t need the golf – just write!

  4. Yes, I do think you will enjoy the HK getaway to recover from all the adjustment to The Lodge. It all does sound exciting as new discoveries, even if not all that wonderful, reveal themselves and you shape your dream…hopefully without Alice welcoming you to his nightmare. 🙂

  5. Your writing is deliciously vivid in this post, Andrew, from “The last bluebells and primroses hang on by their fingertips, nails screeching down the green sward as they slide reluctantly to the ground,” to the golf details and the decision to take another walk. Excellent post.

    • Thank you Marylin. Sometimes I feel I can do without the photos. I feel my style is changing a little. Time to experiment more.

  6. Yes, Andrew. Forget golf and hitting a little ball over grass. Your writing is lovely and gives others joy. I mean, if your golf score is a good number; so what? Your moths and words are a full plate and in any case wearing golf pants would not suit you. What next, smoke a pipe and say ‘joly good?’

    • I don’t think I could be a ‘pipe man’ Gerard. You need a cardigan for that. My dad smoked St. Bruno flake and had a cardigan but I didn’t disown him.

  7. Whoa, this post is my cup of tea. I absolutely loved your “suave” description of the emergence of various garden plants and then their slow demise. I think you have a winner here.

    I’m not really a fan of golf but I used to watch it on TV some. I confess to being stupid but I’ve never heard of the Texas scramble. I was going to look it up before commenting but….

    • I think the texas scramble is where all 4 players drive then choose which ball to play and so on. Supposedly you get very low scores that way but it isn’t real golf.

  8. Please give your adoring public more of your writing. I echo the sentiments of each and every one of the commentors above. This post was delicious. Thank you 🙂

  9. I don’t care much for golf but even I, in my time would “yearn to be like The Golden Bear”. Alice Cooper must have too much time on his hands. Gardening is the route to lifelong happiness.

    • There is something therapeutic and cathartic about gardening and in particular weeding. Happiness is wheelbarrow-shaped, perhaps.

  10. Normality? It’s one of those states you just keep thinking about, and which has no intention of ever arriving. We had a day out at Wentworth for the PGA Championships, followed by a visit to the Savill Garden (a serious pleasure) next day. That’s as much golf as you need, otherwise the garden, the moths, the birds… will suffer. Hope you get a trespasser.

    • The only time I played golf in the last 25 years I took my binoculars with me and bird-watched my way around Sentosa. My partner, known to us in the bank simply as “Big Jim’ said it was the most enjoyable game he had played in years as he learned so much.

  11. Andrew, you are an eloquent poet. I enjoyed this post so much~sorry it took me so long to catch up to it and here we are well into June. (I embarrass myself at the water jump, myself, entirely distracted by all that goes on there)

    Do hope some enterprising soul took you up on your Trespassers will to-let.

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