18 February 2005
Good grief. This morning I went out on a whim, and then out on a limb; I came home - you wonít believe this - on a bus.
I have lived in this house ten years, and I have never, never gone out or come back on a bus before, despite the stopís being right outside my door. Lady Curzon (I think) said that anyone seen on a bus past the age of thirty has been a failure in life, and the dreadful thing is, I believe her.
But anyway, it happened. My excuse, I think, is fairly typical of me. Itís chilli-planting season, and the first seeds are just starting to hatch, and so colonise my window-sills; and so, as ever at this time of year, I have been pining for a garden, or more specifically for a greenhouse, as I only have two south-facing windows and thatís not enough (I have just ordered a dozen new varieties of chilli-seed, without anywhere to grow them). But my local supermarket is selling little plastic mini-greenhouses for twenty quid, and I could just fit one of them into my back yard, so Iíve been thinking about it; and being in town and shopping, I thought Iíd look around the city stores. So I found a better mini-g, for thirty quid; and was thinking about it in that general way that almost always means Iíll come back and do it later, when I saw the little notice that said this was the last one in stock, and so half-price. Bargain: I bought it without a second thought. By the time Iíd carried it up from the basement, I had decided not to carry it all the way home; its skin and jointings may be plastic but its tubes are steel, and itís too damn heavy to be quixotic with. Thereís a taxi-rank right close, and any reasonable citizen would have thought ďIíve saved fifteen quid on this, might as well give back five and take a taxi.Ē Chaz thought, ďIíve saved fifteen quid on this; donít want to blow five of that now, hang on to your margin, boy,Ē and so the bus-adventure. Love the way I can be open-handed and absurdly mean, both at once.
I did survive the bus, thoí it was horrible (they tell me there is profit to be had, from listening to peopleís conversations on buses; I tried that, and it was just so dull. Endless reports on other conversations, talk about talking, Ďhe-said-she-saidí - like living inside a soap opera. How can anybody bear it?), and Iíve spent a happy hour doing self-assembly. ĎNo tools requiredí, it says on the outside of the box. Hah! No tools except a large and heavy hammer, for banging recalcitrant joints into place. But the frame went up with no trouble, once Iíd understood the necessity of the hammer; and then the skin went on, and only nearly blew away the one time when the wind filled it, and people have been telling me for years that itís easier to put a cover on your duvet if you get inside the thing and I still donít believe that but itís certainly easier to skin a greenhouse from the inside.
And now the thing is standing there, all zipped up against the hail, and I hope to go out in the morning and find that it is conspicuously warmer inside than out, thoí I think right now Iíd settle for just going out in the morning and finding it still there.
© Chaz Brenchley 2005
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.