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“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.” Vernon Sanders Law

‘Our pancake day yesterday was a bit of a flop.’ Simon’s latest, for your delectation.

Without further delay I am very pleased to announce the safe arrival, this morning at 10.37, of a not so little brown bébé.

Advice given yesterday evening by the nurse administering the usual injection, centred on the necessary use of item one, a suppository (the French do love a suppository) and failing that as ‘backup’, item two, une lavement, literally a washing, or enema. Yikes!

Simon arrives back from the pharmacy with two frighteningly small boxes. I am distinctly concerned that using either of them or both together will not be up to ‘evacuating’ the ‘big job’ in hand, expecting as I had, yards of hosepipe, a funnel and a nuclear warhead sized incendiary device.

With the nurses alarming expectation management of ”it will effervesce“ ringing in my ears, I duly follow the instructions and place a single item number one where the sun don’t shine.

Goodness, gracious me! Within five minutes there is a definite change of sensation in the South Pole area. Hurrying as best I can to a suitable depository point, I prepare myself for the task in hand. A full clammy half hour later, after sweating inordinately and over excessive yowling, much to an audience of two dogs obvious concern and their quizzical stares, I finally birth the bundle of joy.

Apart from the fact that it looks as if it had been dropped on it’s head several times, it is a disappointingly unprepossessing specimen.

Who would have thought there could be so many puns relating to constipation, eh?

’Moving on’ with no doubt an enormous sigh of relief from you all…

These arrived today.

The picture doesn’t do them a jot of justice as the light through what we laughingly call windows - actually sheets of very old, tobacco coloured and brittle Perspex - is pretty appalling. It casts a sepia hue on even the sunniest and brightest day, giving a feeling of a day long sunset. Thank you Tom, Harriet and Revy.

Thank you too to the many dozens of people who have sent messages wishing me well.

Washing and dressing myself is something of a production. T shirt fine, jumper fine, but anything that requires any degree of bending presents quite a challenge. Back surgery requires me to be ramrod straight for at least the next two months, necessitating the use throughout the day of a back brace. It does help to wear it but still there is a need, when it comes to knickers, trousers and particularly the infernal compression stockings, for some degree of flexion. Mr Back Brace, he say ‘No!’. Consequently it becomes a frustrating struggle of seeing how long my arms can become as I inch towards pulling up the various items. I’ve conceded defeat with the compression stockings and enlisted Simon’s help but FFS, if I can’t even hoist up my own underwear…!

Sliding open my full chest of drawers is also quite problematic, especially this morning upon realising the only pair of anything resembling comfortable, stretchy trousers were half length pilates pants. So it is I cut a stylish dash as I take my prescribed saunter up the drive towards our neighbour‘s house, which luckily is empty today.

Imagine the look starting from the top: no make up, unbrushed hair, a busily floral, knitted coatigan over a black and white striped jumper, exercise trousers at 1/4 mast, compression stockings, and a pair of something resembling Doctor Martens Boots, albeit with a furry top.

Enough said.

It has to be then of course that a car appears, making careful and steady progress towards me, the two dogs and Titi the cat who has bounded off Simon’s finished log pile and accompanied us all the way up the hill as usual.

My heart sinks. It had to be when I was outside didn’t it?

The lady inside winds down her window and asks if I was Madame Foxley, swiftly presenting me with the beautiful bunch of flowers in the above picture.

Back down the hill I go, bedecked in the garb as described and now clutching a bouquet of flowers, having been seen by someone I’m not married to. Oh, the shame.

I heave a huge sigh of relief as I reach our house at the bottom of the long drive with no further human interaction.

Picture below for no particular reason other than I do feel somewhat, after this mornings efforts, as if I’m cosseting a small cauliflower between my buttocks.


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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