May 2 1999
10 Forsythia Grove
CORSETTSHIRE ZY6 4GT
A slight hiatus Harriet, I’m sorry. I don’t know quite how it has come about.
I have been somewhat engaged in my experience of bladder pain and urgent urination – whilst out gardening – for over a year now. And although human urine is a well-know compost activator, one hardly likes to own up to any form of human weakness in international print!
However, I am now in receipt of an invitation for an ‘intra-vaginal ultrasound’ from No Return District General Hospital. And will have to imminently attend for this experience! It has taken me quite some while dear, to connect with the fact that symptoms of this nature might (as any one of hundreds of hypotheses) be associated with the pressing of an organ upon the urinary bladder. And, naturally, as a fearing thinker of the first order, it has (finally) occurred to me that – in a worst case scenario – ovarian cancer ‘the silent killer’ could be behind the panoply of symptoms that I have been experiencing.
I have been contemplating recently whether – if the worst should come to the worst – I would actually fight for my Life. And, despite some considerable initial hesitation, I do believe I would. I have, after all, a copy of Bernie Siegel’s ‘Love, Medicine, and Miracles’ to hand! I might, after all, be one of Life’s exceptional survivors at odds of 1:10 . . . Also, of course, as one not suffering from appetite loss and abdominal bloating – I might even be experiencing the symptoms of some, far more benign, condition.
It has further occurred to me – as one with an extreme tendency to make a plan – both to consider my style of haircut post radiation/chemo- therapy and also to consider whom I might invite to my funeral bash. These are interesting subjects. Firstly, I would have my head shaved prior to any zapping by X-ray/chemicals (wear one’s scalp in pride) and, secondly, I can think of any number of people (mostly women) resident in Outer Hamlet, whom I would like to attend a creative celebration of my life. My doctor, hairdresser, supermarket checkout operator, massage practitioner, and resident of a house in a local alley, feature amongst these. I feel I would like quotations read from ‘Voss’ (by Patrick White) and from my own poems and also songs sung by artists like Annie Lennox (Eurythmics) and Adele. There is something wonderful about like a song title named ‘No more I Love You’s’ for instance . . .
Anyway, whatever the situation with regard to the above, I have also been deeply engaged with the design of parterres and beds and borders. Just today I have been writing to a garden owner on the subject of Melianthus major (the giant honey flower). Every border, in my opinion, needs a ‘wild card’ for unexpected drama and effect. And there – amidst the roses, veronicas, perennial cornflowers, and foxgloves – might stand a glaucous evergreen with long, red-shooting, flowers.
When one becomes – over many years – a gardener, dear, one gradually moves from a knowledge of the basics to a knowledge of the exotics, alpines, and conifers that transforms one from a basic practitioner into a (virtual) expert. And even, in my own (tiny) plot, I find I am gazing out – through the foliage of a tall silver birch – upon a vista of Potato vine (Solanum crispum); Tamarisk (Tamarix gallica), and the white-tipped leaves of Actinidia kolomikta (relative of the Kiwi fruit).
How fascinating is the creation of beauty Harriet.