Posts Tagged ‘My Father’s Garden’

My Father’s Garden: Incinerator by R J Dent

May 7, 2016

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One evening, about a week after the plum tree/creosote/bomb incident, my father rolled a very large empty oil drum down to the bottom of the garden. He rolled it noisily down the path, right to the end of the garden, rolled it in a sharp left turn, then stopped and stood it up so that it was screened by the lilac bushes.

I got up and wandered down the garden, followed by my brother. As I got nearer, I could see that my father was putting some bricks on the ground, arranging them in a roughly square symmetrical pattern. Intrigued, I stood back and watched, not sure what was going on. I didn’t really know what I was seeing – was it some obscure pagan ritual; a valiant attempt to contact alien life forms; my dad’s workaday version of Stonehenge, or something so obscure that it hadn’t been heard of by anyone other than my father? As my dad stood up – all of the bricks now obviously in their rightful positions – I had a feeling that I was about to find out.

– What’s he doing? my brother whispered.

– I don’t know yet, I answered. Let’s wait and see.

– Okay, my brother said, cheerfully enough.

And so we waited, watching carefully and quietly as our dad stood the empty oil drum on the bricks. Then he knelt down on the ground, picked up a hammer and a metal chisel and proceeded to knock holes in the side of the oil drum, about four inches up from the bottom. He made a hole, then moved the chisel a few inches to the left and made another hole, then repeated the process and made another hole, working his way around the oil drum until there were several holes all the way around its base.

– He’s making air-holes.

– What for?

– So an animal can breathe in there.

– What animal?

– Whatever animals like oil.

– Penguins.

– Petrels.

– Sardines.

– Oil lamps.

– Oil lamps aren’t animals.

– No, but they like oil and they need air-holes.

– You’re an air-hole.

We would have started trading insults at that point, but our father stood up abruptly, looked over at us, and asked what we were doing. Read more…

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Incinerator

Copyright © R J Dent 2014

 

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My Father’s Garden: Wasp Nest by R J Dent

May 6, 2016

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1: Location

There was considerable excitement in our family when my father cautiously mentioned that there might be a wasp nest in the garden.

          – Where?

          – I just said: in the garden.

          – Any chance you could be a tiny bit more specific, father? my brother asked. The garden’s ninety feet long and thirty feet wide. There are twenty trees, several unidentifiable objet d’art, three buildings, two tall hedges and a partially cut down pear tree. It’s not going to be possible to pinpoint a carefully disguised wasp nest without a clue as to its location.

          – I’m not telling you where it is, my father said. Wasp nests are dangerous.

          – I thought wasp nests were just harmless wood pulp structures and that it was the wasps themselves that were dangerous, my brother said.

          – There’s no need to try and be clever, my father said. Wasps will attack and sting humans, particularly if they or their nests are threatened, so care should be taken around wasps and their nests.

          – I’ll take the risk, my brother said. I want to see what a wasp nest looks like at close quarters.

          – Well, don’t come crying to me if you get stung, my father said, as my brother dashed out into the garden.

          I followed my brother outside. He was dashing around the garden, peering in every corner, diligently searching for any sign of the new garden interlopers.

          – Where do wasps like to nest? I asked. Read more…

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My Father’s Garden: Fireworks by R J Dent

January 25, 2016

 

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Bonfire Night was always fun.

Bonfires are great and fireworks are even greater.

My father never bought lots of fireworks on Bonfire Night – there were never more than eight to ten in a box, but there were Catherine Wheels, Roman Candles, Fountains, Jumping Jacks, Bottle Rockets, Fire Crackers – and we always had Sparklers.

I don’t mean to sound churlish, but sparklers are not the most exciting type of firework in existence. You light them, wave them around, they fizz and sparkle for a minute, then they die. They’re the firework world’s equivalent to the mayfly. One great (or in the mayfly’s case, not-so-great) aerial incendiary burst, and then gone, done, nothing left but the inevitable fall… Read more…

 

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Greenhouse by R J Dent

May 5, 2014

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Greenhouse

 

1: Frame

 

Several lengths of silver angle-iron had been in the garden for over a week before my father acknowledged their existence.

      – Ah, yes. I’d better put that together, he said cryptically, one morning.

      Later on, he’d assembled several lengths of the angle-iron into a cube-shaped frame.

      – What are you making, dad?

      – Assembling.

      – What are you assembling, dad?

      – A greenhouse. With a gable roof.

      – Are you going to grow anything in it?

      – No, I thought I’d leave it empty for years, and then knock it down.

      – Oh. What for?

      – Not really. I’m going to grow tomatoes in it. Read more…

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Greenhouse

Copyright © R J Dent (2014)

 

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My Father’s Garden: Gnomes by R J Dent

May 3, 2014

 

 

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Gnomes

 

1: Off-white

One morning, I found twenty-two garden gnomes standing on the drive.

     My father was walking around them, looking thoughtful.

     The gnomes were made of resin and they hadn’t been painted. They were all an off-white colour and they looked eerie, like an army of albino midgets.

     – What are these for?

     – What are gnomes usually for? my father countered.

     I thought for a moment, and then shrugged.

     – I have no idea. Read more…

 

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Gnomes

Copyright © R J Dent (2014)

 

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My Father’s Garden: Summer House and Brewery by R J Dent

April 29, 2014

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Summer House

 

Once my father realised that my sister never went near, let alone into, the tree house he’d built for her, he decided to dismantle it and build a summer house instead.

          For the next few evenings, he very carefully disassembled the tree house and stacked all of the individual pieces against the shed wall.

          He then drew a plan of the new summer house. He used a piece of butcher’s paper and a wax crayon, and then explained the diagram to me.

          – It’s got a hexagonal back and sides and a flat front for maximum sunlight capture.

          I nodded, wondering about the ‘maximum sunlight capture’.

          Anyway, within a week, my father had built a summer house. It looked exactly like the one in his diagram, which ordinarily would have been a positive factor or a compliment, but which, in this case, was not.

          It was a wooden structure that looked a lot like a very large sentry box. The back and sides nodded at hexagonality; the front was two huge sliding patio doors.

          – It looks like a public lavatory, my brother said.

          – It’s a bit open-fronted for that, my father protested.

          – That’s why I said ‘public’. Read more…

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Summer House and Brewery

Copyright © R J Dent (2014)

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Caravan by R J Dent

April 28, 2014

 

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Caravan

 

There was considerable excitement in our family when our mother mentioned that we might be getting a caravan. We talked it up into something more than it was, so that when it finally arrived on our drive, it was something of an anticlimax.

          The caravan itself was a bit scruffy; it would need painting before it was ready for use.

          My father, as ever, was ready for the challenge.

          He and my mother debated the colour-scheme.

          – Beige is nice, my father said.

          – Dove grey is nicer.

          – Pale green’s quite nice.

          – Dove grey is nicer.         

          – Magnolia’s nice too.

          – Dove grey is nicer.

          – I think dove grey would look nice, my father said, but only if it’s contrasted with a brighter colour – something like maroon or lime green.

          – You can paint the roof maroon, my mother said, but the rest of the outside needs to be dove grey. Read more…

 

My Father’s Garden: Caravan

Copyright © R J Dent (2014)

 

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My Father’s Garden: Tree House by R J Dent

April 27, 2014

 

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1: Ash

 

My sister had been pestering my father for a tree house for months.

          – All my friends have got one.

          – Use theirs then.

          – It’s not the same, my sister wailed.

          – Why don’t I just throw a shed up into the ash tree’s branches? my father said. You can use that.

          – You always say something like that when you don’t want me to have nice things, my sister whinged. It’s so unfair. All my friends think I’m a freak because I don’t have a tree house. It’s embarrassing.

          – Well, you should always listen to your friends.

          – What do you mean? my sister asked suspiciously.

          – What I say. It’s not a secret message.

          – I don’t understand.

          – I’m just saying your friends are right, that’s all.

          My sister smiled victoriously.

          – I knew it, she said.

          My father walked slowly down to the bottom of the garden. I followed him discreetly.

          Right at the foot of the garden, about four feet away from the fence that separated my father’s garden from the neighbour’s garden was an ash tree. Ash trees grow very straight and very tall. This one was no exception; it had been there for years and was very straight and was about thirty feet high.

          My father looked at the ash tree for a very long time.

          – That ash tree’s got to go, he muttered. Read more…

My Father’s Garden: Tree House

Copyright © R J Dent (2014)

 

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My Father’s Garden: Wagon Wheel by R J Dent

March 17, 2014

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1: Tyre

 

– Some gardens have a wagon wheel in them, my mother said.

          – What for? my father asked.

          – For decoration. It leans against the house wall as a decorative feature.

          – I see. Well, I might be able to get hold of one for you, my father said.

          – Oh, good. That’d be nice.

          My father’s first attempt was a dismal failure; he brought home a huge tractor tyre.

          It was taller than he was.

          My father rolled it into the front garden and leaned it against the house wall. It loomed there gigantically as he went to find my mother.

          – Oh, no, that’s not right, my mother said, on being shown the tyre.

          – Is it not? my father asked, clearly surprised.

          – Well, it’s not a wagon wheel, is it?

          – It’s very similar.

          – Not really. Wagon wheels are made of wood or metal and have spokes. This is a spoke-free rubber monstrosity. It needs to go. Read more…

My Father’s Garden: Wagon Wheel

Copyright © R J Dent (2014)

 

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My Father’s Garden: Metal by R J Dent

March 12, 2014

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1: Statues

– What this garden needs is a couple of statues, my father said one day.

     He was standing in the back garden, looking at his horticultural empire. My mother was sitting on the garden bench, drinking a cup of tea and skim-reading a newspaper.

     – That’s a good idea, she said. Let’s go to the garden centre and see what they’ve got.

     My father cleared his throat and shuffled his feet.

     – I was thinking more along the lines of making them myself.

     My mother’s smile faded.

     – Oh.

     My father took this as encouragement. Read more

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