It’d been a long day. I’d spent the morning cleaning the rampant bindweed from the pond, cut back the geraniums that’d past their peak, tidied the garden shed I should have tidied months ago, disturbing a mouse in the process, no doubt hacked off at losing his warm spot behind the logs, and tried without success to fit a new gas cannister to the BBQ – I’d bought the wrong one! All this frenzied activity on a Sunday was in preparation for my son and his family coming over from France for a week. When he took up his new posting in early January after four years in Lebanon, we were looking forward to seeing them more often and a few weekends in Paris. Little did we know coronavirus was lurking around the corner.
At about 5:30 pm, limbs aching and my throat parched, I dropped into one of the rather dilapidated garden chairs – hoping I wouldn’t worsen it’s decaying condition – holding a long glass of water. A few minutes later, the water gone and beginning to think about my supper, I realised a proper drink was needed to resuscitate me. After fixing myself a giant-sized gin and tonic, I returned outside to sit and watch the sun disappear behind the tall conifer trees the other side of our garden wall. My wife away for the night, I spent the next half-an-hour sipping on my drink while watching two beautiful dragonflies flit around, and bees, too many to count, work hard gathering pollen from the lavender bushes.
By seven, having fixed the correct gas cylinder to the BBQ, I started to cook my supper with another large G & T close by. About half-an-hour later, I sat at the garden table looking at a plate of crispy king prawns and squid, peppers, fennel and lightly smashed new potatoes, topped with a spicy BBQ sauce and accompanied by a glass of red wine.
Later, after sunset, with twilight descending and one or two bats swooping low, back and forth across the patio, I felt grateful. After a day’s toil, I’d been able to sit in our garden, revived by food and drink, and surrounded by nature. I was lucky, many are not so privileged.