A Friday (short) Story
by Mike Rooth
Its Gardening Season. Again. Why does one dread it? After all, at work all day there is a reasonable assumption that the Other Half will assume the responsibility for reducing burgeoning growth to the aspect of tundra. And in fact this is the case. So why the sinking feeling when on the return home, another clipped hedge is evident? It may well have something to do with the fact that in this Land Fit For Idiots, household refuse does *not* include garden rubbish. Garden rubbish will, therefore *not* be collected by your friendly Local Authority, who appear to be more concerned with keeping their operatives hands clean than providing a service which is paid for. Right. It has proved to be an absolutely *foul* working day. Nothing works. You wish you'd stayed in bed. Upon arriving home, you are informed; almost in passing; "Oh, and we've got to go to the tip". How do they do it? When you protest that it positively stinks, you are informed that its only going in a Land Rover, for heavens sake, its not a damned Bentley. But its *my* Land Rover, and its *me* that's got to live with the residual pong for the next week. Even diesel doesn't overcome the smell of rotting vegetation, which, despite anything you can do, remains like a ghostly presence for days. You really didn't think, did you, that you were growing anything *that* noxious in the back garden. There ought to be a law against it, and there probably is. I once even had to ditch a perfectly reasonable length of rope because there was no way on earth I could stop it smelling. OK, so you've got to do as you're told. Let's have a look. Oh God, there's *piles* of the damned stuff, is there anything left growing for miles around? This *is* an 88" you know, not a 130 crewcab pickup. Oh, all right but leave room for the dogs, the poor little sods *do* need to breathe you know. Preferably oxygen, if there's any left. I'M NOT SHOUTING! Just a minute, what's that bucket for? It looks a perfectly good bucket to me. *And* its empty. You.... you want WHAT?? Horse muck? What the hell for? The compost heap? You mean there's *more* of this stuff? Within ten yards of the house and you're letting it go nuclear? And are you aware that at this time of year, even *I* hold my breath handling horse muck (which, dear reader, in case you didn't know, and believe me you dont want to find out, has an aroma that defies description, and resembles particularly ripe pig shit, only more so).
There really is no defence against this. Or at least, if there is, I, for one have never found it. The modus operandum is this. Open both cab windows. Open scuttle vents. Cold? Tough, put more clothes on. DO NOT OPERATE HEATER. Ten minutes of heater hatches more insects than the rain forest ever dreamed of. Smoke. Chain smoke. Believe me, the dangers of smoking are as nothing compared to what's riding behind you. Load the dogs last. That way they may, just, survive. And if you can possibly get away with it, dump the plastic bags the stuff is in as well. Make sure the road is clear *and go like hell*. Lots of luck...
Reprinted from the OVLR Newsletter, July 1998