The First Cut Is the Deepest

People, we are fighting in a WAR. Yes, it’s true, although by "we", of course, I mean "me". I am fighting in a war. My enemy? The garden. Yes, it is that time of year again: the time of year when I begin a relentless and monotonous cycle of fighting back the garden, only for it to grow like billy-o (Who IS Billy-O, by the way?), forcing me to fight it back AGAIN the very next week. * Deep sigh *

I hate our garden. I hate it with the kind of all-consuming hatred I generally reserve only for Crocs. It’s not a very big garden, but despite not being very big, it somehow manages to be extremely high maintenance – which I guess makes it a lot like its owner, now I come to think about it.

Anyway, this year I put off that first important grass-cutting for as long as I could. As anyone who hates gardening will tell you, once you’ve given the grass that first cut, that’s it, there’s no going back. You will have to keep re-cutting it every few days now for the rest of the summer, in a boring and occasionally dangerous procedure that will give you absolutely no pleasure at all. It goes a little bit like this:

1. It rains all week
2. On Saturday morning, just as you’re contemplating a long, leisurely lie in, the sky will clear for a few, brief hours, and the sun will come out.
3. While everyone else is enjoying this unexpected sunshine, you will have to rush to throw on your oldest clothes, and begin the backbreaking labour of GARDENING.
4. At some point during this hard labour you will burn your scalp. It will be painful to brush your hair for the next week. Despite this, you will forget to wear your hat again next week. Someone should slap you.
5. As you finish the aforementioned backbreaking labour, it will start to rain.
6. It will rain steadily for the next week, so you will not be able to actually use or appreciate the garden that you have so carefully tended.
7. Until the following Saturday, of course, at which point there will, once again, be a few precious hours of sunlight, all of which you will spend up to your knees in mud.

And the thing is, gardening is HARD WORK. On TV, they always make gardening look like a very genteel kind of activity, normally involving a pretty sun hat (gah) and one of those little pads which you kneel on while gently plucking some flowers, which you will later arrange tastefully around your beautiful home. Yes, Bree from Desperate Housewives, I am looking at you…

In real life, of course, gardening is nothing like that. NOTHING. Actually, gardening involves wearing your oldest clothes with a pair of wellies (mine have pink and orange flowers on them, but even so, people, EVEN SO!), and hauling a piece of machinery twice your weight over a piece of rain sodden ground until either it breaks or you do. Normally I am the one who breaks first. Then, this Sunday, as I roughened my hands and almost broke my back giving the garden that first tedious going over of the year, THIS happened:


Yes, that is my back: my battle scarred back, maimed by Public Enemy Number 1: the tree in our back garden. It reached out and maliciously scratched me as I bent down to work like a slave on the ground underneath it. It was the tree’s fatal mistake, for if you are a tree, you really, really don’t want to get on the wrong side of a woman who has an axe in her garden shed. I mean, I don’t think I actually DO have an axe in my garden shed, but I could get one. And trust me, if these hostilities are ever repeated, I totally will. The flora and fauna are not my friends. The garden is not a green and pleasant place: it is the scene of my torment every single weekend in summer. Still, at least I didn’t burn my head this time….