14th July 2023

Despite massing clouds, there was no replay of Thursday’s storm.

Two like that in a row, unlikely.

Though more and more one feels anything is possible.

Evening light has such a yellow hue.

Not unpleasant. Just strange.

(see below)


My father could probably have explained it to me. He was an artist and photographer and knew all about light and colour.

A few days ago I found myself unexpectedly remembering his talent.

Our neighbour is away so Grant has been watering his garden and had been urging me to go along to take photographs.


Gardening was my mother’s passion. For my father it was an interest.

For me? Until I acquired a garden of my own at the age of 60, I had never had a chance to watch plants develop from a seed or bulb, or cutting.

Hadn’t had to decide if I should battle with slugs or let them have their way.

Mum’s approach was harsh. I found myself wanting to make reparations.

Silly, perhaps. I compromised, attaching copper tape around a few pots which the slugs stayed clear of.


They dined well on my Hostas.

But before long I found myself watching my step so as to avoid stepping on a slug and by the time I left that house I had reached a stage where I went around telling them I was off and wishing them good luck with new owners.

My experience with flowers has been mostly with the cut variety.

Very touched to receive them, I always had to place them out of the way of curious cats which meant they were difficult to get to when they needed the water topped up.


In truth, I don’t like cut flowers.

Even with careful care they soon die and I cannot bear the sight of flowers dying in a vase.

Mum used to keep cut flowers until the very last shadow was gone. They made me sad.

Flowers, in my mind, should be seen as they grow, in a natural setting.

It would mean not ever getting to see many sorts that are cultivated and shipped around the world, but to me it would be no different than not being able to see all the wild animals that I do not wish to see in captivity.


Nor do I want to intrude in an animal’s natural habitat unless it can be done without risk to the animals. Generally where people go they leave their mark, no matter the good intentions.

We have the benefit of video technology and for me it is enough.


Our species makes big business out of everything. It’s a compulsion. But we need not subscribe.

In retirement I’m quite happy with weeds adding to the colour of my flower beds.

If I want perfection I can look at pictures of Kew Gardens.


This jogged an old memory. Long ago I lived for a short time in Kew Gardens.

Not that one.

In an attempt to gain control of my life at the age of 22, I took an apartment with a colleague and we co-existed with cockroaches for some months.


Coming home at night it was always a problem parking and though I wasn’t bothered walking past the cemetery, I was keenly aware that a woman had been raped and murdered nearby only a few years before.

Even that wasn’t my major concern. Mostly I worried whether I’d be able to open the front door as my key didn’t fit properly.


Somehow I’ve got dragged away from my neighbour’s flowers, back home to my charming weeds.

In the meantime my right foot has seized up which is a little distracting.

It’s nothing serious. It was much worse in the days when I had to drive 30 miles with this sleeping foot.

Even that was preferable to the days when I kept nodding off!


Perhaps I’ll take my foot for a walk to see if I can wake it up.

Maybe I’ll bump into the bunny as I did yesterday.

But I will bring you my neighbour’s flowers and maybe the memory it evoked.

In due course.

4 thoughts on “Sidetrack

  1. When I had a patio garden in a house in London’s Docklands at Rotherhithe, I invested in some Hostas, and had a lovely display. I returned home after an early shift one day to find them covered in dozens of snails. I was so angry, I plucked off each snail, put them in a bucket, and tipped them onto the main road (a bus route) outside. I let the traffic seal their fate.
    I know, harsh!
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Stunning flowers, especially those beautiful dark pink flowers. I also like flowers in nature. There has been so much good rain this winter and just yesterday my mother sent me pictures of the first spring wildflowers. Apparently it’s going to be a beautiful wildflower season on the West Coast of South Africa 🙂.

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