Generally our house is reasonably tidy but as the week passes what earlier might have been classed as uncluttered slips into lived in. This means dust my mother’s disapproving finger would have tested, various stacks of papers, bills and magazines, all of which lie in wait on the carpet ‘in tray’, before moving to ‘pending’ which is the coffee table, from there to ‘waiting for action’ which means within arm’s reach from the recliner. Spending a lot of time on my computer my personal filing system consists of bits of paper tucked into various locations around my small but perfectly formed desk. Because of the bad weather we seem to have become a tad more orderly so being trapped inside brings the mucky aspects of our nature into awareness, dealing with insurance policies, searching comparison websites and organising bills etcetera, borders on obsessive. A side effect to being ship-shape is that our old dog becomes agitated as dragging out the vacuum is a signal for guests. She stares longingly out the window, scouring the cul-de-sac for new human contacts. Her most enthusiastic is when we take out the spray polish and dusters from their resting place which triggers ‘action stations’, someone’s coming mode.
After fifty hours hold up indoors due to the bad weather, full of food washed down with numerous cuppas and goggle eyed at day time telly, broken only with games of scrabble where I get badly beaten. All this whilst listening to the tortured sound of torrential rain pounding the conservatory roof. Even our cat ventured out through the cat flap only to shoot back straight into his litter tray. Whilst the dog prior to her early morning walk onto the Little Orme, watches me dress up in waterproof gear Sherpa Tenzin and Sir Edmund Hilary would envy, but on the door being opened raises her sad little grey face to mine and with tail between legs telepathically informs me “So you expect me to go out in this?” Needless to say we still do, otherwise I would have to feel the hard done too glower of “Have you forgotten something?”
This year hubby and I promised ourselves that we would buy a bird bath for the garden. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, in this summer? It really is summer even though we have had three months of washed out fun filled days. Hey Ho! We do know that being British means that if the sun comes out the past soggy week can be brushed aside as if it didn’t happen, however soggy days have been on the menu for the last quarter and my optimism is weakening. You might also be thinking ‘get a life’ but we are retired so buying a bird bath is part of being put out to pasture. Feeding and encouraging birds has become a past time and so far they have not turned up their beaks at the use of a large Pyrex dish for drinking and bathing, so now it’s luxury for them and us.
Heavy rain or not we proceeded on our tour of the garden centres. Following a circuit of north Wales finest, trolling Rhyl, Bangor and Anglesey, Colwyn Bay and Conwy, sauntering through garden furniture whilst listening to the background music of ‘whale song’ and ‘sounds of the sea’ we gave close examination to various shapes and sizes. We wondered the isles of plants and pottery, in our waterproof gear. We hovered beneath huge industrial sized umbrellas provided by various stores whilst perusing the many and varied stone ware ornamental fixtures and fittings. Part of the joy of all this is to partake of assorted cafes which are the main attraction to any garden centre of course, coffee and cake are a must in the arduous task of bird bath hunting. I have done a survey of garden centres especially in relation to jacket spuds which I will return to later.
During this deep and meaningful investigations into bird baths there are various tests which have to be undertaken for example having rain water overflowing from the dish indicates the bowl is too flat and my husband’s strategic engineering test of pointing his index finger downwards into the water indicates depth which is of course the ultimate decision making tool. It mustn’t be too shallow and definitely not too deep. Then of course if the bowl isn’t wide enough then black birds are denied the luxury of wallowing, too narrow means delicate wings catching on the sides. Surprisingly Hubby was drawn to the more decorative designs with carved rabbits at the base or moulded tree trunk models with squirrel and owl adornments, whilst I opted for the classical look leaning towards the Greek urn. It had to be high enough to deter the dog from drinking from it and low enough to fit into the right corner of the garden.
Whilst we trailed these garden centres I became aware of how so ungarden like many of them are, more like gift shops, displaying arts and crafts from ‘painting by numbers’ to jewellery making kits. Books and cards for all occasions, I was confounded by the decorative flowers adorning cafeteria tables which turned out to be plastic. A garden centre displaying imitation flowers hardly bode well for us would be gardeners. On bowing my head with nostrils wide to take in the wonderful aroma of a beautiful orchid on display I was repelled by dead plastic. Yuk! I have never liked plastic plants no matter how realistic they appear. As for the lunches and jacket potatoes I have yet to relish one that hasn’t been resting in the fridge having been cooked the day before then warmed up badly in a microwave on demand. My husband’s egg and chips also necessitates comparisons, some have nice eggs done on a clean griddle others have burnt bases, the chips vary in shape and size but what he petitions is hot and fresh. My need for jackets is generally due to whether I am on a diet or not but it seems there are very few places who know how to make a truly good jacket spud.
We did eventually get a bird bath and now it has proud place in our garden, however it could take weeks before the birds accept it, hopefully recovering from the grief of the loss of the old Pyrex dish.