He has long lost his squeak!


Today’s local walk took us around some roads we’ve never ventured down before, though we did look at a house for sale in one of them, years ago, which needed too much work for us to take on and was also too far from the station for our liking. I remember it had an enormous hallway; something I’ve always fancied. We also spotted a very odd-looking house further along, with no downstairs front windows. It had a front door and a top floor window but just a blank wall area at the bottom.  I’ve never seen a house like it. Anyway. I’m digressing, although I always love to see different styles of houses and what people do with their gardens (or not, in quite a few cases, tut tut).

Those “Open gardens” days are perfect for a legitimate snoop, although I can also see the point of view of someone I used to work with, who said she’d rather be spending the time in her own garden. You do come away with ideas, though, plus it’s handy to see what grows in your area and on your particular soil.  We dug umpteen bags of horse manure into our garden when we first came here and things do seem to flourish out there, more or less. I guess this year we will all be spending much more time in our own gardens.

The current situation is so frustrating for us gardeners! It’s bad enough, not getting our fix at all the lovely Spring fairs and garden shows and the like, but I have pots to fill, people, and I had planned on buying a few more perennials to dot around the borders. I can’t see it happening now.  Some councils are cutting back on the green waste bin collections, too, I’ve just heard. They’re advising us all not to prune until September.  Our gardens really will be rewilding at a rate of knots and turning into jungles. Could be interesting.

Talking of gardens, I have a friend who is good friends with a famous TV gardener and has known him and his wife for many years.  She is a hairdresser and has always cut their hair, as well. She works from home and one day they both tipped up to have their hair done and she was mortified when her husband showed the FTVG around their small suburban patch, as she hadn’t been able to get out there to tidy it all up for some time. Now she can’t do anyone’s hair for the time being, of course, her garden looks immaculate, with nobody around to see it. I’m going to be talking about silver linings at some point, because I’ve already heard of several as a direct result of the current crisis, and here’s one for you for starters: said friend’s husband has, after a great many years, given up smoking. Good for him!

On our walk, we noticed a few teddy bears in windows – we’ve moved on from rainbows – and some of them were cheerily waving, which was nice to see. I love old teddy bears especially and still have my “Ted” from childhood. He has long lost his squeak but I will never part with him. Keeping him company are my panda and golliwog (am I allowed to call it that on here?) and sundry others from way back in the last century.

I also still have the funny little rag doll I made at junior school. I don’t know how I managed to make her, and even a few simple clothes, since I’ve always been rubbish at anything like that. Someone must have helped me. I called her “Lupin” for some reason (I think maybe after a character in a book) and she has dark hair and blue eyes, like me. I can still see myself sitting working on her at my desk, the only one making a dark-haired doll in the entire classroom, and feeling puzzled and more than a little annoyed that all my dark-haired friends were making soppy blonde dolls! Why didn’t they want to replicate their own lustrous locks, as I had done? What was so wrong with having dark hair, anyway?

I remember, too, the headmistress, also very dark, patting me on the shoulder approvingly and saying: “We dark-haired girls have to stick together.”  (She had long hair and always wore it in a bun and walked several miles to school in all weathers from the next village. This impressed me then and it still does today.)

We passed the allotments along the main road, eerily deserted. Next door, in the bee-keepers association’s area, two keepers were wrestling with a hive and definitely not social distancing, although I doubt that any viruses could have penetrated their head-to-toe protective clothing.

Finally, a sweet message chalked on someone’s drive reminds us all of who we are grateful to at the moment. It reads: “Thank you NHS, delivery drivers, postman.” I would add to that all the refuse collectors – particularly the green waste ones!




Author: Hampton Caught

The rants and ramblings of an ex Deputy Fiction Editor of Woman's Weekly magazine.

One thought on “He has long lost his squeak!”

  1. Ah, the fun of a daily walk from home. Loving the excuse to see other gardens myself! Have not seen any teddies or even dark haired dolls to date. Our neighbourhood is all the poorer for the lack of them!

    Liked by 1 person

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