Black and blues.....

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 18 March 2017

So I pruned the ivy on the studio wall. I pulled the stems, I cut the dead wood, I filled the purple plastic holdall and emptied the contents into the incinerator.

It's a silver dustbin with holes in it.

I pruned and pruned and pruned. I tiptoed through the pretty lemon primroses which are everywhere. The clumps of purple crocuses are dotted throughout the garden. I've planted hollyhocks and lavender. Laying my trowel between plants - just like they taught me to do at Chartwell. So i will have a hedgerow of lush lavender. The old man replanted the raspberries. I planted up more lupins and a very delicately coloured foxglove.

So imagine the garden, getting neater and prettier by the minute.

I took old newspaper, a firelighter and dry kindling, and stuffed it into the incinerator, lit a skinny candle, then set fire to Sunday's news. I fed the dry leavers, and severed branches into the bin. Put the lid on, smoke came out of the chimney like the Steam Trains on the Bluebell Railway.

I've been making fire, weeding, making more fire, stoking and raking, then washing my clothes and hair, since I smelt of ancient smoke and my father.

Then on Tuesday I set about clearing behind the studio. A lot of our dead pets are buried there. Oscar, Dinah, Kipper cats, Jeremy, the spaniel, and the lurcher from next door. I raked dry leaves, adding them to the newly made bonfire, I cleared planks of wood and put them in the woodshed. I took lumps of concrete to the verge so I can take them to the tip on Sunday morning. I cleared and cleared. Had a cup of coffee in the sun with the old git. Then went back to the shady spot behind the studio when

BANG.

WALLOP.

THWACK.

I stood on the ruddy rake. The force of the handle on my head shot my glasses off my head into a mound of leaves.

I howled. Loudly howled. Jim said it was classic comedy action only it wasn't funny. The lump on my head came up. Not a tennis ball more an ostrich egg. Have you seen the size of an ostrich egg? Jim held me. I cried. When I looked at myself in the mirror I cried some more. Jim got me an ice pack and I sat dissolving Arnica in my mouth as the pain spread.

Off he went to The Arcola. The bump on my head had travelled down to my nose. It looked like I was wearing a knight's helmet, my head had gone flat into my nose.

Wednesday I drove to Brighton, with the hood down of my little red car. I listened to music and thought nothing of the blue swelling that was covering my forehead.

Stopped off in Lewes to buy a birthday present, then into a friend's for two cups of Earl Grey tea and chat. I did not mention the rake's progress.

Thursday saw me parking my car in the all day car park, buying a Travel card, and boarding the 9.51 to London bridge. A brisk walk to Borough Market, where I met with two friends I hadn't seen for 31 years. Canadian creatives who didn't mention the egg poking through my fringe. We had coffee and lunch and talked and talked then off I went on the Jubilee line to meet my new benefactor. More of him when I am allowed to tell.

I walked down Marylebone Lane, three different streets all following on from each other. I met with the delicious man, we talked for two hours. I came away my head aching from ideas not the rake.

Took the 38 bus to Hackney and met with the dawter in 'Tonkotsu', a delicious noodle type restaurant. We sucked on edamame beans, broccoli in mayonnaise and slurped our way through hand make Ramen and mushroom soup.

I leant forward to look at my dawter who said;

'What's that?'

'What's what?' I said.

Took my little flip top mirror from my bag and there were stains on either side of my nose. I had no idea what it was.

'Oh! It'll be the rake' said the girl.

And by gum by 9.00p.m, two days after the accident, the bruising had come out either side of my swollen nose.

I took the bus to The Arcola, sat in the bar nursing my nose until Jim came out of 'The Cherry Orchard', and we drove home, in the dark. Arriving to pick up my little red car that was sitting on its own in the top car-park.

Home by midnight. And heated up left overs. Then a very welcome bed.

Thursday turned into today. The wind's up. The daffodils are being blown about, March brings breezes sharp and shrill shakes the dancing daffywatsits....

The stains have spread.

As I write I have two black eyes and a line of bruising over my right cheek. I look like I've been playing rugby with the North Samoan Rugby Team and taken them all on in a scrummage so tough i can't even try to explain.

It's now at 01.01 of a Friday night I've cancelled Chartwell, I've cancelled a birthday disco in Plumpton and I'm feeling sorry for myself. I am not accident prone, although I'm wondering whether it is some kind of self sabotage. I've never thought about where to put the tines of a rake before, I know now though. I've never slapped myself in the face with a wooden rake handle before, and I've never been this bruised, although working with Australian telly men back in the 80's comes a close second.

As an addendum, covering bruises with a blemish stick, does not make it any better it just looks like the 'oosbind has hit me round the head with a wok, which is something he would never do.

I must say that I've learnt that I don't really care what I look like, although maroon staining on my skin doth not become me. Tomorrow I'm mowing the lawn and pouring the grass onto the compost there won't be a rake in sight.....

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Comments

1. At March 18, 2017 4:43 AM Shelley Pedersen wrote:

Sounds similar to the bruising I received a couple of years ago from my dog. I was bending down to pick up his toy to throw it for him in the park and at the exact same time he jumped up to grab it from my hand and his whole body weight of 55 lbs hurled into my eyebrow/face area. It was horrible and I screamed, ended up very bruised with a large bump.

2. At March 19, 2017 5:09 PM lisa osullivan wrote:

Last September I went back to work after Chemo, three ops and radiotherapy. I was really happy to be back to 'normal' but within two weeks had fallen over multiple times - more times than when I was a child. The last time I fell the painters were doing some work outside our office and had put a dust sheet down. I was carrying my laptop and handbag and literally fell flat on my face. Is there a reason for this I wonder? I hope you and your mashed up face feel better soon xx

3. At March 20, 2017 10:48 AM 'L' wrote:

Naughty girl! Please take more care! You're not 20 anymore! You most probably hated yourself for causing such unnecessary distress as you've already had your fair share of ailments over the past couple of years.
But nevertheless, I admire you for your energy and will with doing all the gardening jobs and house chores on your own. Nothing could be better for your well-being, physically and mentally. So carry on doing what you are doing to keep you in shape and good health.
Thinking of you.
All my love xxx

4. At March 26, 2017 7:17 PM June wrote:

Hi Jeni

Just wanted to wish you a belated happy birthday.
I so hope you enjoy this summer in your garden, to make up for 2016.
Best love darling girl
June x

Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.