Well, my wrist was fine this morning. I guess the excessive exercise did it some good. However, the same can’t be said for my upper arms. It was ridiculously difficult to lift my arms up this morning. But the hedge could not wait so, after shopping and talking to mum & dad, it was back into the hacking, sawing and lopping.
I was joined, today, by Dave next door, who was busily trimming his side of the hedge. He finished in quite quick time because he was using an electric hedge trimmer.
Am I alone in hating these things? Ok, I’ll admit they do make things easier and quicker and I’m not adverse to things that do that. There’s no way I’d beat eggs into a meringue with a fork, for instance and our washing machine is an essential part of my life (I well remember mum’s boiler stick and mangle). So it’s not so much the convenience factor. It’s more the imposition.
Firstly, the imposition of the noise on my ears. I hate the sound. So loud and intrusive and, if the wielder has a big hedge job, it can drone on for ages. I’m possibly a bit more irritated by sounds than most people (apple crunching, crisp munching, tinny earplugs, etc) so I guess this one is a tad spurious and more than a little self centred.
The second imposition is on my joy. This sounds quite odd if I discount the sound thing. Let me explain.
One of the overridingly joyful things about gardening is the ambience. You work in the garden surrounded by the sounds of nature, be it the birds singing their many and varied songs or the insects buzzing around and this, particularly on a sunny day, is wonderful. The combination of working with nature while almost feeling like you’re part of it, is a delight. And in some ways you are.
When I dig a new bed, it isn’t long before the robins come down and peck around, hoiking out the worms I’ve disturbed. And I always love the sound of foraging blackbirds as they become used to my presence. (Actually, the foraging blackbirds can be a bit disturbing when you’ve grown up in Australia where a rustle in the undergrowth could mean sudden death. Fortunately I’m used to it now.)
I’ll admit to having the radio on but it’s always Radio 4 and the voices almost become part of the soundscape. It’s never loud enough to disturb anyone or anything and it’s informative as well.
Possibly that’s enough about my dislike of electric hedge trimmers…Nicktor would be asleep by now if he had started reading this. But it does move nicely into my conversation with Dave, across the hedge, once he’d finished making a racket. He told me the Story of the Hedge.
Dave’s Story of the Hedge
The people who lived in our house before the people who lived in our house before us, had two boys. Like most young boys, they liked to kick balls around. This was when there were no fences separating the gardens. For some reason unknown to Dave, the father of the boys was convinced Dave was irritated by the ball continuously finding its way into his garden, forcing him to retrieve it. Dave assured me, it didn’t bother him in the least. This makes sense, as I reckon Dave is the nicest man in the street.
Anyway, to remedy this imagined problem, the father put up a three foot fence in the back two thirds of the garden so they could kick the ball against it. I didn’t ask Dave how he felt about the constant thump, thump, thump but I knew how I’d have felt. Obviously, a three foot fence isn’t going to stop any balls kicked higher so, as a sort of slow but effective form of natural boundary, the father put in the hedge. The family then moved out, the hedge barely started, selling the house to Maxine and her family.
Oddly, the Crazies (our neighbours on the other side) were the ones who had a problem with Maxine’s girls. Not because they kicked balls but because they’d say things. The situation grew so bad that the Crazies put up a six foot fence to keep their nasty little faces out. I should add that I have always found Maxine’s girls to be nice and polite whenever they’d come round to collect the mail and find it difficult to think of them as horrid…and, of course, the Crazies are crazy.
One thing that Maxine and her family were not that good at was gardening. At least as far as the hedge went. They just let it grow. And it did. When we moved in, in parts it was ten feet high. While I quite like the privacy this sort of giant hedge affords, Mirinda dislikes the amount of sun the garden loses out on because it’s long and narrow. They’d also have regular burnings up the back which scorched the leaves of the final two plants meaning they’ll never be green again. Mirinda particularly hates that end of the hedge.
Now, our hedge may be tall but it’s minuscule compared to these trees.