Tuesday 11 June 2013

Now I Notice Plants: Strange Consequences of Home Ownership

As I continued my patio-based War on Dandelions* in the sunshine last Saturday, I mused on how your perspective can change when you own your home. I never took any interest in plants before I owned somewhere with space to grow them. Gardening was largely a mystery to me, mainly because there were other interesting things to do, like read graphic novels and go diving. Both of which are still very interesting, but I now find I notice plants more since I started tending a garden. I walk past the border at the Civic Centre and think “Interesting – they’ve interspersed the flowering plant with the leafy evergreen; I wonder if either of them tolerate shade?”

I never noticed plants before; they were just there. Now I see that someone actually had to decide on what should be there, plant it at the right time in the right place, feed and water it, and generally take care of it. You find the world has hidden depths, when you start looking for them. I doubt I’ll ever become someone who reads gardening magazines for fun, but like many things, it’s good to know a little about it. I can now understand why people get into it; the notion of having your own little realm with control to shape it as you please is quite appealing. Particularly since I spend a fair amount of time in a realm where I have naff-all control over what happens, and have to survive alongside forces which could swat me out of existence. (Insert your own joke about whether I’m referring to where I go diving or my place of work.)

Another amusing consequence I’ve noticed is that people, particularly workmen, keep calling me “Mrs”. I’m not ready for this, it makes me feel like I’m forty. Not that I’m saying that being married and female is the the equivalent of being forty, or fifty, or whatever… just that for most of my life, if I bothered to think about when I would be married, the answer was generally “in the future sometime, like maybe five, ten years”. Which for me, now, would be pushing forty.

I’d like to think it’s more due to the fact that I live in a flat which I’m paying for works being done to, and therefore am more likely to be settled and in a relationship, rather than the fact that I look and sound old enough that “Miss” isn’t an option. Though it would be nice if they asked. I’ve always believed that if you don’t know a woman’s title, you use “Ms” on the grounds that it’s impolite to start making assumptions about someone’s private life. “Ms” is the title I use if one is needed, and I rather intend that it shall remain so if I ever do get married. I don’t really see that my marital status is the business of anyone other than me, and perhaps one other person J

* The buggers are winning. In fact, I’m reminded of the old story of the man who wrote to the Ministry for Agriculture with a two-page letter detailing all the ways in which he had tried to kill the dandelions in his garden, and ending “What do you suggest?”
They wrote back saying “We suggest you learn to love the dandelion”.

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