...... already the second week of January has nearly passed and it only feels like a blink of the eye since I resolved to write more upon these not so hallowed pages. Well really I should be showing more sense and be heading up the wooden hills to the land of nod, what with another 'busy in the life of a professional gardener' looming at the morrow's dawn.
'Professional gardener', well these two words do seem to be alien to my vocabulary when people ask what I do for a living. In a previous life it was easy for me to say "I'm a grease monkey" when folk asked how I earned a crust, these words seemed to satisfy both the asker and myself. Of course at the height of my industrial powers I could have referred to myself as 'Senior shift engineer', which was indeed my working title, but grease monkey seemed to sit in my mind as a description of myself far better and seemed a tad less pomposs. I have known several folk who truly revelled in such titles as senior engineer, it did not make them any better at actually performing the work the title suggested. Indeed it seemed to me that the more a person loved a grand work title the less adept at doing the work they actually were. But we come back to the here and now and the career I now ply to earn a crust (although on present earnings the crust as somewhat smaller and a tad stale) and how to refer to myself when asked. When I say 'gardener' the usual response is "ahhh you cut grass" with actually does needle me a tad. Yes I cut grass but my work involves many facets from understanding soil structure to composting, from pruning to understanding specific plants and their care and a whole host of other aspects of producing peoples perfect ideal of a garden (although the majority are not my perfect ideal truth be told). Not only do I use my skills for the 'gardening' side of my business but I have now extended my business to the servicing and maintenance of garden machinery, I bloody well knew that over thirty years plying my trade as a grease monkey would come in useful one day! So "ahhh you cut grass" does get up my nose just a bit.
But 'professional gardener'? yes I know in essence that is exactly what I am these days, I mean do actually earn my wage gardening so a professional gardener is what I be. It just does not feel right to have this title associated with me, after all my closest friend Chunkster Jones would I fear wet his pants with laughter if I dared suggest to him that I was professional in any aspect of my life. And he should know being as we worked together in the Fun factory for around a decade before he buggered off to fix motorbikes (and yes he is no bloody professional either before you ask). I guess 'Weed Monkey' would sit on my shoulders more easily but I have a nagging doubt that I would not gain clients as easily with a moniker such as this...
Besides this conflict in my head over a suitable job title/description my chosen path is not going to badly. As I inferred earlier money now is far less available then when working the factories and the adjustment to less than half an income that what I used to earn even now is hard to adjust to and I seemed to be in a permanent state of robbing Peter to pay Paul. I probably work far more hours these days as a 'weed monkey' than as a monkey of the grease, for there is work to be done when away from clients gardens such as sourcing, researching, bookkeeping etc. for when you walked out of the factory work for the day was generally over. Our own garden still looks like the proverbial bomb site, not because I have had enough when I come home but because there are simply not enough hours in the day to tend my own garden. This vexes me somewhat as the development of this small strip of urban garden is perfect for me to show people that a wildlife friendly garden can also be a restful and 'tidy' retreat for busy or like my own, troubled minds. In affect an advert for my own skills and hence business but also an example of what can be done to live more in harmony with the little flora and fauna still left in built up areas....though the village in the hills where we now reside could hardly be described as an urban sprawl.
Speaking of which, this village in the welsh hills is the first place in many a long year that actually feels like home and at last I believe that I, together with G. have found a place that we can say that we are content to live. Tis a far cry from the nomadic life that my broken mind led me to live for such a long time. In fact the village reminds me somewhat of one of my favorite blogs, that of John Gray called 'Going Gently' and I feel perhaps that there are many local characters that reside here shall grace the pages of this
blog one day.
Well I guess that's about it for this post as my body is telling me it be truly knackered this evening, even though I know that tonight (as with most nights) sleep will elude me as my mind still chases a myriad of thoughts around without rhyme nor reason, a legacy from the days when the Black dog had a stronger hold on it I think.