Gardens and barking dogs

by | Jul 26, 2017 | Latest Post | 0 comments

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Monday 25 July 1664
I do miss a day here or there of Pepys Diary but all can be found via the link above.

He gone, Mr. Cole (my old Jack Cole) comes to see and speak with me, and his errand in short to tell me that he is giving over his trade; he can do no good in it, and will turn what he has into money and go to sea, his father being dead and leaving him little, if any thing. This I was sorry to hear, he being a man of good parts, but, I fear, debauched.

I promised him all the friendship I can do him, which will end in little, though I truly mean it, and so I made him stay with me till 11 at night, talking of old school stories, and very pleasing ones, and truly I find that we did spend our time and thoughts then otherwise than I think boys do now, and I think as well as methinks that the best are now. He supped with me, and so away, and I to bed.

I find this excerpt an indication of Pepys’ caring nature. Here is a friend who has failed in business and decides to escape to see with what little resources he has. The least that Samuel can do is to cheer him up and remind him of the good times. How nice that people still have time for each other when there were many other things that  Pepys could have been doing. My goodness is his personality complex but very productive overall.

I am writing now about Tuesday, 25 July 2017. The main feature apart from a visit to the dentist to have some temporary caps replaced was a garden client who is divorced, living on his own, and spends a lot of time compiling quizzes for pubs and other organisations. he says he has compiled about 500 of them so he has got some idea of what he’s going. This is a typical English understatement which people from other parts of the world do not understand.

Stratton on the Fosse is an unremarkable village with houses situated either side of  a main road. It has no shops. It has one but it is where the Roman Catholic Downside Abbey is situated. This is a famous historical building and very active.   The area of my client  contains lovely views particularly an imaginative play area on undulating ground designed and paid for by the local council, in part anyway. It is so nice to see children relaxing and playing in safety.

His own small garden abutted on a field and was being attacked  by brambles. They were long, fat and dangerous to anyone without the right type of clothing. Excepting the Japanese knot weed, this is my least favourite plant.  The former I will never touch and it is the only one that the recycle will refuse. The only way of getting rid of Knotweed is by injection with Roundup or equivalent.

The poor client who in my view did not have a lot of money to spare, just could not bring himself to do what was necessary in the garden plus the fact that he didn’t have the right tools. in this case we are morale boosters and counsellors as well as gardeners. I spoke to him about a ‘tipping point’ which is the stage where chaos in the garden  goes beyond a certain amount and the human spirit gives up.  He said he felt embarrassed by it and I told him not to worry, we come across this every day.

We started work at about 6.30 in the evening and finished at 9 PM and delivered him a clean garden free of brambles with hedges and trees trimmed. This would not have been possible without the right tools and it is really a good investment to make sure you have the right range of tools and that they are in good order.  the customer was happy at the transformed nature of the garden and so we took ourselves along to the local pub where an unexpected surprise awaited me.

I have a fear of dogs. I open the pub door to be greeted by a huge dog which blocked. I was completely taken aback and froze. it must look funny because everybody laughed. Anyway I composed myself and went to the bar and ordered a drink. We sat down and the very same dog, the one that I was so afraid of, came along and started licking my legs which was not an unpleasant situation. I realised that he was short of salt and my legs provided the necessary nutrition bearing in mind that I have spent the last two or three hours sweating which of course includes saline material. anyway, we parted on good terms and I learnt a little bit about the psychology of dogs namely that its bark was worse than its bite.

Earlier on I saw a possible customer who wanted a regular gardener, a contract gardener moreover  to service a group of eight bungalows. The reason he called me was that the previous gardener had asked for a rise of £300 a year. We were shown around the gardens and they were very well mown and pretty. However the problem was a huge elm tree and I mean huge which was listed. For three months of the year I would have to clear up sack after sack of leaves and take them four miles to the recycle in Radstock.  Even with compacting methods, this would have meant two round journeys in the car and I considered this too much like hard work. Also, when I shook the man’s hand, I felt sick  and disorientated. I am quite good at picking  up people’s unsolved problems. whether this is a curse or a blessing I don’t know possibly a bit of both but I realised that I was not going to be able to deal with this man who although he smiled I felt there was an area within where I did not want to go. I don’t like turning down money but it is better to find out earlier rather than later that there might be problems.



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July 2017



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