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’Have you seen the new film ‘Constipation’?’

‘No, it isn’t out yet.’

’I can’t believe it’s Shrove Tuesday all ready! That’s crept up on us!’ Simon’s joke of the day on a Pancake Day that is dominated by logs.

A jolly card above, received from UK friends Penny and James who share our sense of humour. Thank you both xx.

Those are most likely the least offensive couple of sentences in this entire blog. If you are of a delicate persuasion I urge you to scroll on by.

Day 7. No joy.

Simon is outside cutting and stacking up the wood that was delivered the other day. His skilful log pile is significantly more pleasant than my unsavoury log jam. It’s another warm February day with no wind outside but plenty rumbling about inside.

Like a waiting room full of restless people when the door is jammed shut.

Or a machine filling sausages where the off switch has broken.

Toilet humour has played a significant role during a few humorous points in my life. Working in the rural great outdoors for nigh on thirty years, inevitably means one becomes very adept at grabbing toileting opportunities as, when and where one can.

As we used to work on the gardening maintenance rounds in pairs or threes in the past, there was always another person to keep a watch. Sometimes there was no need for a sentinel but other times, it would be a quick look out, a swift drop of the drawers, plenty of forceful and quickly initiated muscle-assisted bladder emptying, a quick drip dry, before ‘bish, bash, bosh’, knickers and trousers whizzed back up, and nobody was any the wiser. Simples! Nature wees are the very best for the planet too incidentally.

Only when it comes to number twos does it require some element of forward planning. In fairness, usually there was a lovely customer who availed us of their toileting facilities for every such kind of medical emergency.

It was different though if the customer was out. We usually only worked for nice people - more on that little gem another day - the result being that I possessed a bunch of keys to customers houses that would have given a burglar or warder at HMP Wandsworth a small orgasm. Most of the customers were happy to allow us access to their house whether or not they were there. Nevertheless, there were occasions where, for example, if I forgot the bundle of keys, should one of these emergencies arise and the customer was out, well, ‘Houston, we have a problem’.

For fear of major embarrassment to her, my nameless co-worker one day found herself in just such a sticky situation.

Definitely the worst time of day would be just after lunch - the two o’clock moment, we called it. Lunch was usually 30 minutes, at about 13h00. We’d sit outside, reclining against a wheelbarrow, or at the customers outdoor table and try to unfurl our backs for a short while. It was a relief to sit, and even lie down on the ground, particularly if we had been weeding all morning.

Back to work, and it was the following thirty minutes that would be the decider. As we weeded or pruned, derricking up and down, things would start working their way through. Sometimes it was a question of a little internal rumble or squeal before all would subside and calm. Other occasions, the internal howling would mount in it’s ferocity and volume, sweat would start to prickle on the brow, and concentration would begin to lapse.

I seem to remember a ‘white delphinium moment’ happening on one such occasion. Put simply, as my trusty colleague toiled in the borders, trying to no avail to staunch her internal ruminations, she swiftly and cleanly snipped off the customer’s only prized, single white delphinium flower spire.

When all hope of quelling the looming flow was lost, penguin-like and tight-buttocked, she traversed the lawn towards the woodland area. Reaching the ‘no time to lose’ stage, she happened across a badger sett. Unable to get any further, the die was cast. It was there or the inevitable substantially more embarrassing consequence.

I’m certain the badger would not have enjoyed stepping out over his threshold that evening, but suffice to say a hole was required and a pre-dug hole was found. Job done.

She emerged from the bushes smiling and a lot more comfortable. Happier than the badger methinks.

Me on the other hand? Well, I seem to be building a poo baby inside. My poor stomach is swollen and distended akin to a six month pregnancy. It definitely ain’t normal and bejeezus, it’s starting to hurt a bit.

I can’t help calling to mind the Monty Python sketch ‘Mr Creosote’.

In an effort to get things moving even more walking and water is required, but nothing is shifting it. While out doing yet more walking this afternoon I heard a humming sound. Looking up, the mirabelle blossom is out and covered with bees.

Meanwhile, copious fruits and vegetables are not having the desired effect. Laxative liquid is quietly working away on the slumbering mass that lies within. Emergency rations of dried apricots and prunes will arrive tomorrow with a friend Gail’s visit. An email has been sent to the surgeon which bizarrely, I found incredibly embarrassing to write. Yet I can talk about poo easily to all and sundry others.

I guess there is no alternative but to sit it out and wait.

Apparently it can go on for up to four weeks. Shit!


Below is another harbinger of Spring, my chaenomeles or Japanese quince, in full flower.


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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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