Sharing the load

Tuesday October 11, 2005

I woke from my afternoon nap to hear a strange noise from outside, one I’ve not heard before.

“What on earth is that, Dolly?” I asked.

She lifted her head momentarily, then curled up again against my legs, tighter than ever. Obviously, it wasn’t a noise she felt to be either interesting or threatening. That was the moment I tumbled to what was going on.

“Oh, my goodness, it’s Graham cutting the grass! With the electric mower!”

So I stumbled myself upright, being careful to leave a fold in the quilt, lodged against Dolly as a substitute for my legs, and wandered over to the window, to catch sight of Graham as he reached the front end of the long strip at the side of the house. I made the “tea?” gesture, and received a delighted nod of his head but he didn’t pause for a moment.

Not long afterwards I went out, one mug in each hand, and we sat for a while, sipping tea in the gathering gloom.

“You’re using my mower,” I observed. “Something wrong with the petrol one?”

“No, except that it’s clapped out. The electric one might be silly but it does a grand job.”

“We’ll have to buy a new petrol one.”

“Don’t be daft. You’ve managed with this one right through the summer and I’m sure I can handle it over the winter. Besides, we don’t know what kind of grass, if any, we’ll have in the next place.”

“True,” I said, and then I looked up at the sky. “Mind you, we’ll have to get the floodlights out…”

“Oh, shit… right, let’s get it finished.”

He’s much quicker than me, and the job was soon done, with him cleaning the worst of the gunge from under the mower body, me winding cable back onto its reel, and two green sacks of cuttings stuffed full and ready to put out for civic composting when the trashmen call. The light was almost finished and, overhead, there came the swish of air on eider and a glimpse of a bird formation going off in the direction of the open fens.

“What’s that?” he asked. “It’s too dark to see.”

“It’s a flight of wild ducks. Did you catch the geese earlier on?”

“Couldn’t miss ’em. Noisy blighters.”

Soon enough we were back inside, lights on, Dolly purring, and us enjoying another mug of the hot stuff.

“Didn’t expect you to pitch in this soon,” I said.

“Got to be done. I want the garden all neat and tidy by Thursday when we go and see the estate agent.”

“I didn’t know we were going to see the estate agent on Thursday.”

“Oh, yes. Time we kicked this business into action.”

Do you know, there are lots and lots of things that are better, much better, when all three of us are together under one roof. Not least among them is the comfortable feeling that I don’t have to be in charge of and responsible for everything that goes on. Sharing the load, it’s called.



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