Grandad taught me long ago that it’s okay to put your tea cosy on you head to go fishing if you can’t find your hat and if someone has put something in a skip you can claim it as you own treasure and build something wacky looking but practical out of it. Useful lessons? Well I have never done either of these things! Honest. But he did. He was a hoot!
He was also born to an extremly poor family and he left school at 12 years old. He worked all day fetching and carrying in a hotel, scrubbing and cleaning, this young boy just for his meals and the occasional tip. That was his wage, his meals and th eoccasional tip! His mum and dad couldn’t afford to feed him so he needed to work for food, It’s shocking isn’t it? He would also be sent out to follow the coal cart until it dropped a piece then he would scoop it up and run off as fast as he could and take his treasures home. I guess this spirit stayed with him. He hated wasting money.
As Spring has come around I think about my Grandad making seedling pots from newspaper, using manure from the local stables that he would wheelbarrow home, on his flowers, using simply his mower and fork for lawn care . He would cadge plant off neighbours, cultivate cuttings and do swaps, exchange his blackberrries for tomato plants.
I don’t recall Grandad ever setting foot in a garden centre or spending money on his garden but as Spring came and through to the end of Summer you never saw a more beautiful or bountiful garden than his. He taught me well and oh he was such a funny, kind and lovely man. How lucky was I?
Now where is that tea cosy? There is still a nip in the air.
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