Monthly Archives: June 2014

Extensive landscaping . . . (episode 39)

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Exotic planting, Greater Dipstick, Corsettshire, UK

June 28 1998

10 Forsythia Grove
Outer Hamlet
CORSETTSHIRE ZY6 4GT

My Dear Bayleaf

I am just writing to thank you pet, for sparing a whole day to wheel me around the (hilly) streets of Bright Litton in order to take a long series of photographs of drilled millstone water features and ornamental metal gates. At least, that is what we were ostensibly doing, but we certainly viewed one or two front room interiors – and associated radio reception equipment – using my new telescopic zoom attachment, didn’t we! Even now – in my hour of extremis – I am pleased to say that the Service has not forsaken me. And Bright Litton has its fair share of ‘sleeper’ agents engaged in covert operations as you know – often located in plain view – and not, as one might expect, at the far end of a dripping laurel avenue . . . The experience of exiting Forsythia Grove, for even part of a day, has given me new-found confidence in the partly-recovered function of my whole left side!

In the meantime, I have received a long epistle from former garden clients who have purchased a large villa – in an even larger plot of land – out at Greater Dipstick. And they tell me that the grounds contain an Italian Garden constructed circa 1840. They are writing to ask me to clear it with my petrol-powered brush cutter and recently-refurbished chainsaw. How exciting dear! I am sure that, in a week or two, I will have nearly thrown off my currently – slightly limiting – left-sided hemiparesis and intermittent diplopia! They are also in the process of sinking two boreholes in order to access sufficient private water to power a 10m-high fountain jet, a waterfall feature, and two rills planned to cascade down the north-facing slope in front of the villa. Whoo hoo pet! I can scarcely wait to deploy my extensive knowledge of terrace construction on a long slope of steep gradient . . .

Yours (examining my store of trenching spades)

Evangeline

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Bayleaf in attendance . . . (episode 38)

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10 Forsythia Grove
Outer Hamlet
CORSETTSHIRE ZY6 4GT

June 18 1998

My Dear Bayleaf

It is now some weeks since my release from the stroke unit at No Return District General Hospital – not having succumbed either to MRSA or any other of the infections so easily acquired in such settings! And I wanted to thank you for your kindness in showing up whilst I did not know where I was or, indeed, know even who I am. It is further fortunate that, owing to my being so thoroughly dazed and ‘out of it’ that I was not able to be my usual – rather acidulated – self. I believe you might have been spared any of my remonstrations on topics such as attendance at the dentist, hearing aid clinic, or purveyors of intact socks! It is certainly many years since the days of our prime, when we were toting about sacks of unmixed concrete, paving slabs, and fence posts. Will we return to such activities I wonder?

I have now – despite being, rather annoyingly, parked in my new self-propelling wheelchair – been able to ascertain the whereabouts (and condition of) both Ralph and Harriet. Ralph is still, sadly, confined in the drug rehabilitation clinic but his fears of being surgically lobotomized have not (exactly) come to pass. He has, instead, been chemically lobotomized by a substantial cocktail of drugs and is reduced to penning me notes characterized by drool marks on the paper and anodyne comments to the effect that things are ‘very nice’ at the clinic and that he is ‘a happy bunny.’ I am actually hoping that Miss Fothergill’s supervisory attentions will move on elsewhere now that he is unable to speak his mind! And, as for Harriet, I fear that she has not learnt from her long-term run in with my son, The Rt. Hon. Austen Tankful MP, for she is still in Cuba – and residing with an unregenerate capitalist writer going by the name of one Edgar Hummingway. This individual sounds sadly similar to the late Sir Charmer Tankful OBE – with his well-known predilections for carrying on in multiple awful ways! But it is her life and she must live it.

I myself am still ensconced in Forsythia Grove and in receipt of multiple visits a day from persons known as Carers. Some of them, I must admit, are very nice and intelligent people, but others arrive clad in American Tan hosiery and positively speak to one as if one was aged about four! They all have different styles of extracting me from my electric hospital bed (rented) and seem intent on attiring me in my most ‘fuddy duddy’ outfits. Fortunately, I don’t actually own any Crimplene frocks or I imagine they would instantly attire me in it . . . They have poured the contents of most of my bottles down the sink!

However, one interesting aspect of it all is that they talk about the negligible travelling expenses they receive from their company. According to one of them – a particularly fresh and inspiring individual – they only get paid a fuel allowance for 43% of their total mileage and don’t get paid anything at all for wear and tear! This sounds frankly wrong to me pet and I may well wheel myself over to importune our local MP – one Frank Hotfoot – for a change in the law in this arena. At least, I will if I can work out how to properly use the double-metal-wheel steerage device fitted to my wheelchair! And I might even suggest (radical move though it is) to the Carer that s/he might sit down with the company owner and have a person to person chat about it all. Sometimes this is simply the best – and frankest way – especially if one feels that the person to whom one is speaking may well be human. For it strikes me that for Carers to have a buried grievance of some kind – fostering resentment and affecting motivation – is an indirect cost to the company well worth attending to.

Do you think I will ever be able to fly my black ‘Little Bird’ helicopter again dear? I think I must live in hope, don’t you?

Yours

Evangeline