The Weather although hardly subtropical, has turned Spring like and my mother decided the time had come to face the horror that is my garden. Two years of thorough neglect and the unfettered destruction wrought by two hairy canine berserkers, has made eighty foot of gravel and turf come to resemble the battlefields of the Somme.
So armed with steely determination, extra thick garden waste bags and rusty secateurs, my Mum took on the garden and managed to prune, hack, scoop and shovel it back into some semblance of order. However she got a bit snip- happy with the privet hedge and now there are tempting holes through which the furry terrorists have been hurdling into next door's garden.
There they have made merry; liberally fertilising my elderly neighbour's lawn, digging crater size holes and burying their terrifyingly prehistoric- looking bones that the local butcher gives us, under her prize petunias!
Mortified, I tried to block the holes with garden chairs but to no avail, as with ears flying and tongues lolling in derision the dogs simply used the garden furniture to vault the obstructions and carry on their nasty playtime with glee! So my Mother and I conceded defeat and decided it was time to "Call a Man in".
After admiring my friend's immaculate ,velvety new turf and woven willow fences, I rang her gardener who, after a few near misses (him turning up to view the garden whilst we were sitting in A&E with the walking wounded) finally agreed to come and assess the problem, on a sunny Tuesday evening. Simultaneously my Mother phoned another chap who had popped his card through the door, to come and "Quote us happy" for fencing the boundary between the two houses. However due to a breakdown in communication, neither of us realised we had arranged for both Gardeners to come at the same time, on the same evening?
Already slightly lacking focus from a glass of wine with Supper, my Mother answered a knock at the Door and greeted a small, dishevelled man covered in bits of mown grass, who said he had come to see the garden. Assuming that he was the chap she'd arranged to come and quote for a fence and calling him by the wrong name, she led him up the garden to look at the boundary. Then came another knock at the door and I opened it to Tall, handsome "Quote me happy". Realising my Mother's error and that Tall handsome was here to quote for the fence and Small dishevelled was here to quote for the turf, I tried to interrupt my mum who was in full flow explaining what height fence posts we would need. Small dishevelled was looking suitably bemused, as his strengths clearly lay in shovelling, weeding and turfing rather than bevelled panels and concrete posts, but he was far too polite (or confused) to interrupt her and even responded to her calling him Matt when he was really called Alan! Meanwhile Tall handsome (you obviously can't be small or ugly and deal in large panels and gravel boards) was trying discreetly not to laugh at my discomfiture.
Mortified that it appeared that I had invited them both to engage in a quote off for the job I decided to engage Tall handsome in a muted conversation about the best way to erect a good barrier. Now I have been out of the game for a while and the farcical situation had thrown me off my guard. Tall handsome fixed me with his cornflower blues with a smile playing around his lips and asked me what the problem was? Unused from lack of practice, to being flirted with overtly and slightly overcome by this unexpected upsurge of testosterone in my back garden I replied that I had a very big hole in my bush and I needed something big and strong to fill it! (OMG OMG OMG!!) Rising to the occasion he said he had exactly the right thing for the job and could fill my hole very quickly with no problem and that the thing for the job came in six inch increments! Then.. and I swear on my life this is true... he added "Fnah Fnah!"
Well at that point my inner teenager took to the fore and I fell about laughing, scarlet with embarrassment squeaking something about it having been a very long day and that wasn't meant to sound quite the way it did?
At this point my Mother came over suspiciously to make sure I wasn't being won over by his earthy charms and demanded what he was going to do about my turf because it was looking a moth eaten and could do with fertilising adding that it hadn't been seen to in a while!
Spluttering incoherently I tried to explain that Tall handsome was the fencing man and that Small dishevelled was in fact the gardener and wouldn't know about a good solid upright if it jumped up and bit him? Meanwhile the two men eyed each other competitively vying to out quote each other, while the dogs circled sniffing their crotches enthusiastically!
Eventually I managed to give the correct attention to each chap and explain the confusion and apologising profusely for the chaos.
Sadly it seems that Small dishevelled will come in at the right price for the work and so will have to be the man for the job . But both my Mother and I agreed, that although more expensive, it would be churlish not to invite Tall handsome back for a little monthly maintenance of this Lady's garden!