So plants repay kindnesses but they are not exactly friendly and proper company while gardening is always appreciated. Four-legged-friend and Bertie Baggins are always happy to sprawl nearby. Watching someone else work can be so exhausting; looking out for strangers or monsters or rabbits or tossed morsels of something delicious is always tiring. But seldom so tiring that you actually fall asleep because you remain ever hopeful and alert to the possibility of one of those aforementioned morsels that might if you're very lucky come flying through the air and smack you on the cheek. And that might happen at any minute. So you fidget. And scratch. And stay awake. And watch.
Sometimes you have two people to guard or bother or cozy up to. You never know when an increased number of two-legged-friends in the garden might mean more morsels.
Or not. Unless Littlest is hiding morsels in her wellies.
For example: New fence. Perennial battle with burgeoning bramble bushes. But apple crumble without brambles ...
and I know the farmer hasn't sprayed these ones
... leave them?
Littlest, dogs, grateful plants and soon-to-be-brambles are good garden company, not too noisy and not covered in flies and not protesting loudly that the farm-hand is late with their mobile food delivery
While contemplating cattle and weeds and generally procrastinating, I came up with an idea for an imaginary line; a scale of sorts. Stick with me while I explain: start by anchoring it firmly in central London and lie it out straight, like a tug-of-war rope all the way to Paris. Now attach flags to the rope to denote level of sporting endeavour - arbitrarily the lowest level in London and the highest in Paris (which is not intended as a comment on English and French sportsmen but does have a point as you'll see in a mo). Okay? Yes, I was indeed a bit bored of the gardening. A bit day-dreamy. A bit in awe too ...
In my I-should-be-writing-making-supper-sorting-my-pension-procrastinating head I would appraise my rope and, clutch of flags in hand, start by giving tennis players soggy feet and suspending them somewhere over the channel, closer to France than England - just off the coast, near Dieppe, perhaps; like ancient gladiators they battle on and on, often in searing heat, through what must at times seem like a relentless, roll of rallies, as set after set, match after match they pit themselves against each other. Rugby players would fall just short of Rouen, just on the London side of the iron-men and women. I'd suggest scattering squash, hockey and volleyball players along the rope on the London side of the tennis players. Now for the champions. Now for the sporting giants. Froome and his Grand Tour friends would be ... are! ... dancing in Paris - the ultimate sporting trojans who do ridiculous things like hitting walls, picking themselves up, running uphill as they wait for a new bike, cycling 70km after suffering a crippling fall with a fractured pelvis (not all Froome this Tour, although being a cyclist he has probably done the riding-while-broken stage of racing) all while incredibly covering 3, 535 km in 21 days with only 2 days of rest and climbing roughly the equivalent of (drum roll please ...) seven Everests from sea level to summit. Yes, SEVEN! How utterly incredible is that?! How far beyond the reach of normal mortals? Their flag sits deservedly in Paris. In your own mind, you can place your favourite sports somewhere along my rope. Golf, sailing, canoeing, swimming, baseball, skiing etc etc but I suggest none will challenge the cyclists for the centre of Paris. Have I forgotten anything? Any other significant sport? Oh, yes - football and footballers - those vastly expensive prom-donnas who flail on the ground when hit by a puff of wind and would never ever do anything broken - their flag is hanging limply somewhere north of Croydon.