Waiting for Agnes

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Oh what a difference a few hours make September 14, 2010

I hate being woken up by a migraine. Like a tiny person is trapped under my temple, trying to get out with a hammer drill. Pain, nausea, yadda yadda yadda. It’s 4am. No matter how many times this happens, I will always try and convince myself that if I just shut my eyes and press my fingers really hard into my temple I’ll fall asleep and wake up cured. 530am. Not cured. Shuffle blearily down hall, praying that my absence won’t wake small early, take two panadol, shuffle back to bed. Small still sleeping. Beloved getting ready for work. Shut eyes tightly and resume temple-pressing. 7am. Small awake and using me as climbing frame. Seems to be winking at me. Realise one eye is partly swollen closed. Super. Phone the beloved at work to accuse her of breaking the baby. She’s not here, so it must be her fault somehow. Boil kettle. That will help. Tea. Shower. Wash small’s eye with cool, boiled water. He’s thrilled. Contemplate breakfast. Still feeling sick and throbbing-heady. Eat toast anyway. Small begrudgingly eats some porridge, is mainly interested in making me play with his maraca. Loud noises. Day stretches out in front of me. Eggs sit accusingly in egg-crate on bench. Cannot bake today. Still recovering from coconut extravaganza. Had planned on lovely gardening. Would rather lie down with ice-pack clamped to my head. Thankfully one of the LMFs is having a slow work week. Take small to her place for a change of scenery and fun times with his two year old friend, L. Both children too grumpy for any kind of fun. More panadol. More tea. More toast. Small scoffs a quarter of my piece of toast with nutella and perks up instantly. L takes one look at his nutella-smeared face and tells him he’s a disgrace. This declared sternly from behind her own mask of chocolatey goodness. Quite funny really. Sense of humour returning. Must be feeling better. Wander in LMF’g garden, making grand plans for its future. Am inspired to reconsider own gardening.

Take small home via nursery near LMF’s house. Nursery run by two endearingly peculiar women who dispense gardening advice like a stream of consciousness as they meander through the pots and stands of mysterious acrylic knits. Just get down the op-shop and get some terylene curtains to fling over these, that’ll keep off the possums, you don’t want to bother with those bags of topsoil no put those back just dig in lots of poo, blow up old wine cask bags and tie them to the branches, put a clothes line on its side and pull one lot of strings this way and one that way and then throw another curtain over that, don’t let the afternoon sun at your canes, get out at night and look on some hard rubbish collections for old trellis, you don’t want to go spending money on fancy new stuff, those plastic bits in the bottom of fruit boxes very handy for this, make sure your tomato bed is 18 degrees before your seedlings go in….. Go home with many bags of poo and a mandarin tree. Unload car into front garden. Feeling quite excited by prospect of gardening now. Lunch with small. He semi-happily gets through some pumpkin goop, a bit of yoghurt and half a salada with cashew spread. He sleeps. I loll on the couch with supremely trashy crime novel. Have not thought about tiny person with drill for some time now. Am cured. Huzzah! Eat some chocolate to celebrate.

Small wakes up. Beloved gets home. Afternoon sun streams into front garden. We all sit in sun drinking coffee. Well, not small. He just scoots around with no pants on, eating leaves. Man-next-door waves happily to us over newly exposed and surprisingly low fence and drags around his garden bin for me to use. Agnes clacks down the drive, ecstatic at this rare opportunity to shuck of the responsibilities of managing the workforce and forage alone in the front garden. LMF arrives with six year old M, my excellent gardening assistant. Beloved, small and LMF lie in the sun. M and I do digging and ‘crunching’ (M’s favourite activity, stabbing the ground with a pitchfork to loosen up our heavy clay soil), and find homes for a beurre bosc pear, a nashi, the mandarin and some rhubarb crowns. We carefully spread straw around the newly planted trees. Agnes carefully scratches it all away, glaring hard at us (did I say you could put that there? who authorised this?). The light begins to fade. LMF and M go home. Beloved and small go in to potter in the house. I do a last bit of pottering outside. In a spurt of enthusiasm I decide to give these chard chips a try:

So, I may have been a little enthusiastic with the salt, but otherwise a success. Even small thought they made an excellent pre-dinner snack. Dark now. Chooks in bed. Beloved cooking dinner. Bath for small and I. Happily tired and grubby from digging and crunching and planting. Restorative pasta dinner. Tangy lemon tart, courtesy of The Granny. And now it’s time for a mug of tea. Good night all. Good night tiny person with drill. I’m glad you took the afternoon off. Feel free to take the rest of the week.

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