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“I laugh because I must not cry. That is all. That is all.”

Abraham Lincoln

To say our current travails with the building project have taken their toll would be an understatement. At times over the last few weeks I have just caught myself before having an attack of the vapours. After taking a long hard look at my finances least week I decided that we could continue, albeit on a very tight rein, joking that it would be ironic if the garage adjoining our house, which does not belong to us, came up for sale. And then on Thursday, finding a car parked directly across our front gate, I discovered the owner of the garage clearing it out in readiness for putting it on the market. For ten years I have been waiting for this moment, and now it’s come when I’m almost broke. Typical.

Immediately following this revelation the skies darkened and we experienced 24 hours of torrential wind and rain. Slugs the size of walruses started to slide out from beneath every pot and overnight two troughs of white begonias were bizarrely displaced from their shelves, landing unceremoniously on the outdoor hob. Begonias do not recover well from that kind of trauma. During the night, in between claps of thunder, I dreamt of bowler hats, pondering why no-one wears them any more. Then, this morning, what did I spy in the window of our local antique shop? A bowler hat. Probably the only time I have seen one first hand.

I don’t believe the sudden, severe change in weather or the random appearance of a bowler hat is an omen, but both have contributed to a rather unsettling feeling that’s been niggling me all day. We all like our comfort zones, me especially, and I am right on the edge of mine. The temptation is to believe that disaster lies ahead, but I suspect that’s far from the case. Whatever will be will be. In the meantime I can take control of one thing, the slugs, treating to them to an afternoon tea of little blue pellets. I can take organic and humane so far, but not when it comes to slugs and snails.

To be continued ……


Raindrops on Colocasia esculenta, The Watch House, September 2016


Categories: Foliage, Musings, Photography

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

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32 comments On "Omens"

  1. I am almost 70 so have been through much of what you are going through several times over. There are opportunities I missed out on – didn’t have the cash at the time& remember & regret. And those I took on despite lack of finances. So – beg, borrow & steal to get the garage if you really want it. 5 years down the line you will realise it was the right thing to do & the finance will have been absorbed into your budget. And yes the trauma will all be forgotten & you will delight in all you have achieved.
    And maybe one day I will get to see your beautiful garden.

    1. I hope you do Jacqueline! I am going to do exactly as you suggest, because it would be an eternal regret if we didn’t try. However I imagine we will have stiff competition as it’s in a prime location; well, as prime as you can get in Broadstairs!

  2. You’ve taken care of the slugs the size of walruses (great description!) and you can only offer what you have for the garage, but the most important thing I feel, is the bowler hat. Try it on. If it is a perfect fit, it’s meant to be yours!

  3. Ahh life has a way of dangling carrots like bowler hats and dry cars in front of us and then reminding us that real pleasure is dead slugs. Buy the bowler hat, it will be cheaper than the garage, and every commissioner of a wildly expensive building, about to have an attack of the vapours, should have one.

  4. Serendipity! NOT Disaster…

    Now then, the ‘old girl’ from downunder advises to buy that garage immediately. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have furniture in the new ‘wing’ for a few years, or a fancy holiday, or hot water for the shower!, but it is probable that you will never get an opportunity to get that garage again. This is possibly a once in a lifetime chance. If it means having an attack of the vapours on a daily basis for a while, then so be it. If it means going into some debt and not buying some plants, (and some other nice shiney things) for a bit, then so be it too! Go to the bank manager and beg, do whatever, but don’t let that chance go by. No point in having a beautiful home if you have to park the car in the lane for the rest of your days and worry that some hoon will do damage or that it will get stolen. (Besides will give you more space for all your lovely treasures)

    As for the bowler hat.. take a photo so you can look at it and smile daily.

    As for the big fat slugs… get out your biggest boots and stomp on them and treat it as a ‘stress reliever’.

    And.. I will shout the Pimms at Chelsea!!!(and I am happy with a sausage roll or scotch eggs, even bread and water will do(whoops- meant wine) but buy that garage!…H xxxx

    1. I do intend to Helen! I have a couple of options. As you say, I won’t get the chance again and will be bitterly disappointed if it goes elesewhere. Even when I come up with funds it still won’t be straightforward as I am confident there will be others with a very keen interest in buying it. This is the drawback of living in a town centre. And even Him Indoors is not keen on the idea of losing the parking space for his beloved car.

      Right, must get on, as we are clearing the “old” house in readiness for knocking through in 10 days time! I’m going to focus on the exciting stuff for a while 🙂

  5. When I was in England this summer visiting friends, mammoth slugs would slide out every night to eat the kibble they put out for the hedgehog we’d named Nigel. To keep Nigel from having to forage like a commoner, I picked up the slugs and threw them over the fence and into the road, straight into the path of oncoming traffic. I’m hoping someone went home and told their loved one, “It rains so much in this bloody country, that it’s now raining slugs.”

  6. Gah! Isn’t it always the way. And while I would never encourage anyone to take on a debt that might endanger their future, I’d have to second Helen of Oz and at least consider how you could afford to buy the garage. After all, in time to come, it will make your property that much more attractive to potential buyers.

    All the very best of luck and always remember that in the end it’s just bricks and mortar, you’ve still got the people you love.

    1. You are, of course, both 100% correct Anne. I am going to do what it takes. Most people assume the garage is ours anyway as it appears to be so from the street. It would be a huge asset to us …… and unfortunately the seller knows it!

  7. Excellent…that’s the attitude and the reply I wanted to hear!!!!

    I am sure him indoors will have some strategies to deal with the negotiations in this sort of matter. Now get that packing happening for the big ‘breakthrough’ and find a way it make that garage purchase happen, as I know you can do. Realistically a garage on its own won’t be that attractive to someone… The owner will of course do what he can to drive the price.. It’s all part of the ‘game’ for him. Take care and good luck 😘😘😘😘😘

  8. Oh my, omen or not…you are at a fork in the road and that can lead to a kind of excited anxiety! Having just finished 9 months of a major remodel including two bathrooms down to the studs in my 1905 Victorian…I can empathize with your fund situation. Went over budget and the recovery will take a bit. Our business has suffered from all our torrential rains, extra 30 inches each of the last two years, and we have lost two months of work this year already, ouch! As to the garage….as everyone else has said…go for it! It will be a good investment, better for you as you own a home connected to it! Sorry about the slugs….and the begonias. With all our damp I am having a problem with snails…little buggers! I am hoping as I write this across the pond you are enjoying a late afternoon in your garden with a soothing drink and as always remind yourself this to will pass! Cheers

    1. Well, funnily enough I am! It’s a beautiful, balmy afternoon, a light breeze rustling in the trees, and I have a very big mug of tea to keep me going. I don’t need to do much watering tonight as everything has had a good drenching already.

      Sorry to hear about you woes. Sounds like you have a good idea what we are going through, but at least our business is not relying on the work being done, or the weather being kind. Wishing you a good week ahead. Dan 🙂

  9. Keep going Dan, Mr TT and I know what it is like taking on projects, everything takes twice and long and costs lots more, and even ‘contingency funds’ have a habit of disappearing very quickly. And as for the upheaval and mess! It will work out and sometimes biting the bullet and getting on with things is hard work and leads to nightmares, though I have never dreamt of bowler hats and I would look daft in one. Perhaps I should get one for a laugh – or wear it to go out on a slug hunt here. I hope it all works out for you both, it will be worth it.

    1. Thanks Tina. Things are looking up this week, not least because we are going on holiday and leaving the builders with the run of the house. I will have renewed stamina and enthusiasm for the task when I get back …. and maybe a couple of nice rugs 😉

  10. I was thinking about our bloggers’ meet the other day, then realised that I haven’t had the pleasure of delving into your wonderful blog. Now I find you all at sixes and sevens and suffering with the vapours. I think the bowler hat dream is of immense significance. I do think that you are truly fortunate to dream of bowler hats. My dream life rarely extends beyond shopping lists involving wine and the occasional pint of milk. Then again, my waking life generally involves buying wine and milk… trust your dreams… they will come true. Or at least, mine always have. Good luck!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Sarah, and for delving into the blog. I have so many posts to finish off at the moment. All I have dreamt about since the bowler hat is Christmas! Looking forward to supplanting the latter with wine, mint tea and carpets 😉

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