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‘Pain is life - the sharper, the more evidence of life.’ Charles Lamb

Simon tells me he prefers my quotes so we have abandoned his jokes as a headline. I can’t allow you to be spared so you will get todays anyway:

’I’ve been learning meditation. It’s better than sitting around doing nothing.’

I’ve always fancied a day bed. Now it’s a part of my life, being confined to one part of the time, I confirm it ain’t that great, although I can still see the appeal if it is not enforced.

Day 5 post op and first full day back at home in Lot et Garonne, South West France.

It started early as has become the recent norm. Pre-sparrows fart o‘clock is about 05h00 by my reckoning. Waking, desperate for a wee, it is only when I struggle to get out of bed I realise how much this actually hurts. Bizarrely, descending the stairs is much less traumatic than I had anticipated pre-op to the spinal fusion.

The lovely morphine sparkliness has left my body and leaves me with a sharp dose of reality.

Mission accomplished, I make my way back up the rickety old staircase to down yet another paracetamol and hope that takes the edge off things. As I roll back onto my side I sleep fitfully and painfully, not restfully, on and off for another couple of hours.

By the time I get up properly it is a full twelve hours plus since a decent dose of strong analgesics. Paracetamol on its own helps a little but it’s definitely best with added codeine and the other prescription only strong stuff. Alone, it is the poor relation and merely shaves off the sharpest points.

Upon eating breakfast, I frantically ram the hard drugs into my mouth hoping for instant relief. Alas, that‘s about 15 minutes away. A replay of day two follows with the clamminess, head swimming and heart pounding, so I retreat temporarily to the day bed that Nursey Simon has expertly prepared.

It appears someone else likes the day bed too. There is uncategorical and physical evidence in the way of dirty clumps of soil and muddy footprints which safely pins the blame on Arnold. During the winter, his preferred slumbering places are beneath a blanket, twisted round and round and encased in it like a canine Viennese whirl with a fleecy throw for icing. It’s very endearing to watch him do it but not ideal that he used my bed and my spotlessly clean white linen to do so. Simon tells me he was still shamefully tucked up under the mound of duvet when he came downstairs this morning. Arnie was steamingly hot and wagging his tail. He must have thought it heavenly. Guilty as charged m’lud.

Both he and Ruby are very out of sorts and are not their usual bouncy selves. They know something is amiss.

Simon too is not up to scratch, as he was up out of bed and then downstairs not long after my early morning call of nature. I’m beginning to think I should have stayed in hospital. Simon with a tired head is not a happy Simon. He retreats to his workshop to fashion a basin stand for the new bathroom or somesuch, gaining a little fashion accoutrement of his own in the form of a dusty spider’s web in the process.

There didn’t appear to be any chickens in the chicken house yesterday evening. Could they, the only two that remain, have gone broody yet again?

Yet more evidence - apparent for all to see. Monsieur le Fox obviously pounced on them in broad daylight while Simon was fetching me from Bordeaux yesterday. Poor little loves. What a way to go. I can only hope the cubs benefitted from it although I would far rather they hadn’t. That’s it now, for a while at least. No more chickens. It’s too upsetting. Finding their eggs and retrieving them from whichever potluck hedgerow they deigned to lay in had become something of a sport, albeit tedious and prickly. They have the best life while they are with us being 100% free range and organic, but it’s hideous to think what they went through at the end. No more now. A very sad day indeed. No wonder the cat seemed terrified when she eventually emerged from wherever she was hiding yesterday, if she bore witness to their slaughter.

So for me it’s a very lazy and subdued Sunday. Bulbs are wonderful things. It’s one of very few gardening tasks where upon completion, nothing looks better. In fact it can sometimes look slightly worse. They are tedious and backbreaking to plant. Forgetting about them afterwards is usual. But how they repay you! Thankfully, as I take a stroll around the garden at the pace of an disabled and aged old codger, signs of that backbreaking work and Spring are everywhere, with bulbs emerging overnight in their anxiousness to flower, before the snow is forecast next week.



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I’m Jill, a RHS gold medal winning English professional gardener, garden designer and landscaper living in South West France since 2012. This is a personal account of my gardening life, some of the jolly and occasionally not so jolly japes that ensued while working, that probably caused my subsequent back problems.

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