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Date: 30/07/20

Obscene And Absurd

I did say that once I 'retired' this garden wouldn't know what hit it.

Well, I have been getting to grips with the neglect of the last few years. Wednesday and today this has involved getting the ivy out of the side lawn.

There was virtually no ivy here at all until about three or four years ago, but since then it has been snithing in the hedge on that side and - more to the point - creeping out across the grass. Something Had To Be Done.

So, once the green bin had been emptied on Tuesday morning, and I'd done the little bit of branch cutting on the willow, laurel and oak at the back, I went head-to-head with the hedera with a will.

I hadn't bargained for how much there was. I don't mean in the hedge; I'm OK with that because it fills some gaps and - although this may be merely a desperate hope on my part - deters people from shoving litter through it. No, it was that it was infesting the side lawn. Due to it being left to its own devices, it had spread, rooted, burrowed (call it what you will) right across the six feet or so as far as the side and front paths, creating a network of runners as extensive as the railway network before that oaf Beeching got hold of it.

I was in the tunnel formed by my over-extended buddleia (which meant that the ivy was the only thing that was growing in that semi-darkness; growing in profusion as well, even by comparison with the rest of the side lawn), and had temporarily ceased my tugging (which might have caused anyone passing by to think that I had a haunted hedge, because what was in the hedge was rooted in the garden itself, and so rustled eerily when I was pulling it out of the soil) when I heard two people going by on the pavement beyond (I was totally screened from them by a thickness of privet). One was a male of indeterminate age, and the other was female in - judging by the voice - her late teens. As they passed, I heard her exclaim brightly:

"Oh, I didn't know gherkins was on Tuesday!"

And on they walked. Leaving me to wonder what on earth was - as they say - the back-story of the conversation. Did our local kebab house only have that particular pickle on one day of the week? Was Gherkins a television show of some sort, either a comedy programme in which the lower orders were again made objects of derision by the assembled Joshuas and Annabelles who seem to run these things nowadays? Or was it an animation series featuring small green anthropomorphised marinated cucumbers who team up to Have Adventures and Save The Day?

I shall almost certainly never find out, unlike the other previous through-the-hedge mystery I encountered last year.

I was standing by the back door - this time shielded from sight of the road by another thick extent of hedge (possibly hornbeam, but I'm not convinced) - when I heard two people going by. One was male and one female, both of a late-teen vintage. As they passed along, I heard the girl say:

"...so I was on top of him, and then he got off..."

And no more did I hear.

I stood there for a few moments pondering the nature of her encounter. Had she gone to bed with Möbius? Had she humped Escher? Or just got it on with an ordinary, run-of-the-mill contortionist of the sort you might find in any village?

It then dawned on me what she meant (that formulation was never used around here when I was that age; not that I can remember, anyway).

I think I preferred my version...