Friday 7 September 2007

Z receives a Compliment

It seems to have been a long day already. It started early, at 3.20, when I woke after an hour's fitful sleep. I knew I wouldn't sleep again, so went downstairs and got on with some work. For reasons quite beyond his control, the Sage had not been able to put lot numbers on all the china, so I could not finish the catalogue. However, I expected to this morning, so I dressed in efficiently office-style clothing and sat at the computer looking capable.

I had forgotten that our friend Magnus, who helps in the garden when he has time, was coming this morning.

He looked slightly disappointed when he saw me dressed unsuitably. I told him, with keen joy, about our plans to rip out the laurel hedge and he approved. He set to work, clearing the areas I'd hacked about. After a few minutes, I suggested I go and get changed and help him. "Well, it's not like you not to join in when there's work to be done" he said.

I dressed in a tight, knee-length skirt which is my idea of gardening garb, strapped on my pruning saw and secateurs and put on disposable gloves and Wellington boots. I went to help.

We were getting on quite well when there was a phone call to say there was a problem with the electricity at the church, and could we call out the electrician, urgently, as there's a wedding on tomorrow. The Sage dealt with it, but no one waited at the church, and so when Sam the electrician arrived, he phoned plaintively to say he didn't know what the problem was. I stomped off, still wearing wellies and blue gloves. After some searching, we discovered the problem. The hoover, which is actually a Miele, only two or three years old and used once a week, is faultly and was blowing the trip switch. Not worth repairing, so I must buy a new vacuum cleaner. It will not be a Miele.

I returned to the garden. There were dead stumps to remove and thick ivy to cut away. I was sufficiently bad tempered to have a considerable effect. Magnus watched me as I heaved a large dead thornbush stump to and fro until it cracked at the root and I could lift it out. "You know," he said, "I really respect you."

He is a great friend and we like each other, and he is a very hard worker, and I was vastly touched. I don't think he could have thought of a higher compliment. We, and the Sage, work well together and chat and joke cheerfully, while getting a lot of work done.

Some friends came to see the china and stayed for quite some time. After they left, the Sage remembered he was due to go to a funeral. He had, while Magnus and I toiled, finished lotting the china, so I said I'd catalogue it. However, I had only had an hour's sleep and I did find it necessary to fit in another hour.

I did the catalogue and the condition report at the same time, and was just finishing when the next clients came to view at 6 o'clock. Their catalogue, unchecked, was hot off the press (the sale won't be on the website for another ten days or so, as I haven't done the photos yet) I was scrubbing potatoes when the phone rang. It was a friend to tell me that there were complications for Sunday. We sorted it together and I shoved the spuds in the oven. I fetched the goats cheese, pepper and onion tartlets out of the freezer (I'm unrepentant, it was that sort of day) and prepared the veg. The Sage went to finish Al's deliveries.

He has just gone out again, to fetch El and Phil from Diss station. The weekend will start in about 40 minutes. First, I must go and change their bedclothes. I've just remembered I didn't do it after my sister Wink came to stay.

P.S. I should like to make it clear, particularly to Dandelion, that I was fully dressed at all times. Not mentioning a particular garment does not mean I was not wearing it.


Anonymous said...

Only an Englishwoman would wear a fitted skirt while doing aggressive plant removal and gardening! You are amazing and multi-talented Z.

Z said...

I did do an odd range of things today. Coffee and a dram would go down well now, I think

Brom said...

If one wrote a long essay about Diss station would it count towards a degree?

Z said...

Splendid, Brom!

martin said...

I have a friend who says you can always tell a gentleman as he will always garden in a suit. An old one of course.
You had me going there for a mo,tight skirt,Welingtons and disposable gloves....

Dave said...

Right. I'm going back to bed. You appear to have done enough work for both of us there.

Z said...

You have described my father, Martin, although he would have seen no especial need to change into an old suit.

Dave, put your feet up. It's all under control.

mike said...

Good GRIEF, how busy? Here in the cottage, it is 3.15pm and I have achieved the grand sum of bugger all today.

My late grandfather always gardened in a suit and tie. In fact he never dressed in anything else, not even in the nursing home. (Leisure wear? The very thought...)

I am prepared to forgive you about the frozen tartlets. Just this once, mind.

Z said...

Mike, I'm afraid it's an instant first course tonight too. My daughter brought a selection of terrines from Fortnum and Mason. I will cook the main course though.

Yesterday was a little over-occupied, but I'm very lazy actually, and quite capable of lying on a sofa for days on end, with just wine and books to occupy me.

When I married the Sage, he wore, for work, shirts with separate collars, fastened with studs. I told him just what I thought of scrubbing and starching those.

luckyzmom said...

I'm impressed that you all get dressed up to toil in the garden.

Z said...

A fitted skirt is best, as it doesn't get caught in the brambles. I am a practical woman really.