2 May Today is Mayday, so Mr Young and I gird our loins (try it – such fun!) in readiness for our annual tradition of dancing round the maypole/rotary clothes line, dressed in white breeches and ribbons….no, I’M KIDDING! Of course I’m kidding! Mr Young does have a fine pair of well-turned calves, admittedly, but he rarely shows them off.
No, we indulge in another Mayday tradition which involves a great deal of serious discussion over breakfast and then a tour round the garden, pointing out gaps in the flower beds to each other and debating whether to grow courgettes and tomatoes again this year, or whether to branch out (horticultural pun there, just in case you missed it) into other vegetables as well.
Yes, for one day and one day only, I become a gardening enthusiast.
We decide on courgettes, cherry tomatoes, a golden hop for the pergola and black-eyed susan for the pots, then we head off in a purposeful sort of way to the garden centre.
As usual, Mr Young loiters by the climbing plants, inspecting all the labels. The man does love a climbing plant. Or rather, he loves the ever-perplexing task of choosing exactly the right climbing plant for our pergola. I believe he will be quite disappointed if he ever manages to find something that really will successfully cover its wooden framework.
I don’t like garden centres (it’s something to do with the smell of peat and all the ceramic frogs peeping coyly out at me in between the terracotta pots) so I don’t want to loiter anywhere; I waste no time in finding an assistant so that we can grab everything and go home. I’m already bored with gardening. But Mr Young’s annoyed because my efficiency means he has no further reason to amble about and squint at plant labels. I can tell he’s annoyed because he rams the trolley into the back of my ankle as I march down the aisle towards the tomato plants. He swears it was an accident, but I’m not so sure. Hell hath no fury like a frustrated horticulturalist. To make up for it, he lets me choose a cheeky little yellow courgette plant. Damn the man. He can wind me round his little finger. Like a clematis round a pergola.
After lunch, Mr Young puts on his Gardening Clothes. Now, because we have a dog that eats absolutely everything, we can’t grow vegetables at a conventional/Archie height. Thus, Mr Young has been forced to attach various containers to the back wall and the pergola at a level which even the most athletic of bull terriers could not reach. Wall space is becoming limited, however. If we want to grow any more vegetables, we shall either have to get an allotment or a longer ladder.
6 May We take Archie for a walk down to the Polling Station. Or, rather, Archie accompanies us to the Polling Station. (Rights For Dogs doesn’t seem to have occurred to him yet, which isn’t very surprising. He barely has enough intelligence to scratch his own ear, let alone form a canine suffragette movement.) The two women behind the desk make a huge fuss of him. Bull Terriers are most definitely not the most attractive of dogs and it’s surprising how many people think he’s very handsome. “Ooh, you’re lovely,” says one woman, coming round the desk to pat him. Archie obligingly licks her hand. “Would he like a pork pie?” she says. Archie’s ears prick up and he tries to look adorable. “He’d love a pork pie,” I say. “It’s organic,” she says, as if he might need further persuasion. “But are you sure?” I ask. “Won’t you want to eat it later?” “Oh no,” she says. “We’ve been grazing all day in here. We’re not allowed to leave, you see. We’ve still got six Cadbury cream eggs and a packet of biscuits left.”. Outside, Archie eats the pork pie in 0.4 seconds. He’s not much of a grazer.
“My back’s very sore today,” Mr Young says, coming into the kitchen. “Oh dear,” I say, arranging my face into a concerned expression. (Other people’s ailments are never as absorbing as your own.) “And I had the strangest dream last night,” he says. Now this is far more interesting. “We were in a biplane, and you were flying it, and then you made me go outside,” he says, pointing accusingly at me. “What, while it was still in the air?” “Yes, but it had some sort of running board, so I was standing on that and just clinging on to the side. Then someone started shooting at me, so I shouted ‘Let me in!’ at you, but you just said ‘Shut up!’ and ignored me. Then I nearly fell off and had to hold on with one hand so I was being thrown about in all directions by the wind. It was very realistic.” “I expect that’s why you’ve got a bad back,” I say. “All that twisting and turning.” But I’m not really interested in his back. I’m keen to work out the meaning of this dream. “So, how did it make you feel?” I ask. “Were you puzzled as to why I wouldn’t let you in, or angry with me?” “Oh yes,” he says. “Let’s make it all about you, shall we? I was being shot at, for goodness sake! In mid-air! I don’t think I had time to wonder if I was puzzled. I was too busy avoiding bullets!”
He stalks off self-righteously. I wonder how long it will take him to work out the dream, which is a pretty basic metaphor for our life together.
I’m the pilot and he’s just hanging on by one hand.