It being a Tuesday, ActorLaddie and I have collected from school my niece’s children, Chantenay and Nantes. We are now picking strawberries and raspberries for our tea: the garden’s been rather neglected this year but the berries just did their own thing and we’ve ended up with plenty. Which is cool and groovy as Pa joins us for a meal on Tuesdays and he’s a good eater.
In the kitchen, we wash and strain the berries, then virtuously put the water on the sweet peas.
“Now we need to hull the strawberries,” I say. “That means, take the green bits off the ends. Some people cut them off with knives and some use their thumbs and sort of dig them out.”
Chantenay quietly goes to the kitchen cupboard where we keep the drinks, roots around in the back and reappears with an old plastic straw. She pushes it into the pointy end of the strawberry and it appears out the top with the green stalk neatly strawed up.
“That’s brilliant!” I say. “How did you know how to do that?”
Chantenay shrugs nonchalantly. “I saw it on YouTube.”
So that’s me told.
“The thing is, before I retired, I used to rush around on a Sunday trying to get everything done. But I’m finding now that I say ‘I’ll do this, that and the other tomorrow’ and do something else instead. Then whatever it was never gets done. Do you find that?”
I’d popped into Lidl’s really for some packets of herb seeds. I’ll not say this too loudly, at risk of causing a stampede – we’re not too far from the site of the Great Ikea Riot of 2005 – but you can get a packet of parsley seeds for just 49p in Lidl’s. I know, amazing isn’t it! And then I spotted a packet of Mixed Annuals.
It’s a quarter to three. There’s no-one in the place except ActorLaddie and me. And Willow. ActorLaddie is curled up peacefully; dreaming, I expect, of livery companies. Don’t ask. Really, don’t ask. Willow, at a guess, is investigating the strange oval shape which has recently appeared on the lawn. I am lying on my back, hoping for a car to drive past and counting my blessings. One – ActorLaddie.