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Olly Buckle


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The weather has been cold in this part of the world, with some strong North winds, up to 50mph we were told. They have dropped now and it is cold, but it is clear, so the urge to get outside is strong, to stay there, maybe not quite so strong. There is plenty needs doing before the garden comes back into life, but now is not the time for much of it. The layer of litter and dead leaves may harbour all sorts of potential problems, it will have to go before Spring, but for now it is the winter blanket, not to be disturbed except by blackbirds and thrushes turning it over.

No need to disturb plants to find things to do though; inanimate objects can be remarkably animate sometimes, especially when there is a strong wind in almost the opposite direction to the prevailing wind (South East here). There was a temporary construction, a prototype, held together with garden string, and the string broke. Re-erecting it, no damage done but a broken piece of string, I tied off each end, not just the centre, with thin rope.

As I looked at the bowline that I had tied I remembered the sailor who said “A loop and three half hitches will hold The Queen Mary if the rope is strong enough”, whilst watching me put a couple of extra turns on, to be sure to be sure.

It is instructive in many ways; use the right materials in sufficiency for the desired result; the simple may control the immense; don’t waste time and effort creating a tangle to undo. It has stayed with me for over fifty years. The sailor who said it would be about a century old by now. He served as an apprenticeship as a 16 year old on a brigantine bringing coal from Germany and had sailed “Everything from a three masted schooner to a square rigged, double ended, catamaran” as he once told me, but that is another story.

One of the advantages of leaving things be; the rudbeckia died back and dried out after flowering, and earlier a charm of gold finches was hunting through the seed heads. Think, if I had tidied everything up in Autumn; the finches might have starved, the plants might have died from frosted roots, and I couldn’t have used that collective noun.

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  1. bobo's Avatar
    A joy to read about something one doesn't practice oneself
    Make a little quick-step, clap your hands, and twirl around when the weather is too cold for comfort.
    Your neighbour may think you're crazy, but so what
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