Whenever friends or relatives visit Tense Towers for the first time, I issue a set of directions to ease their journey from the M1 to our front door. I appreciate that wall-to-wall roundabouts aren't everyone's cup of tea. These instructions always end with "we're up the top of the street behind the pampas grass"... at least, that is, until now.
You may be surprised to learn, dear reader, that our front lawn wouldn't be out of place at the Chelsea Flower Show. To be fair, at the Chelsea Flower Show after 100,000 people have walked over it and then the RHS used it as a lorry park. The only gold medal we would be winning is the Skankiest Bit of Grass Award.
We err on the side of native wild flowers, er... ok, weeds, with lashings of moss, a few blades of "bad hair day" lawn and the aforementioned pampas grass.
Patagonia's third greatest export (after sheep and more sheep, I believe) has dominated the easterly aspect of Tense Towers since well before our residency. It has slowly spread outwards, a bit like its current owner, but with a better-formed plan for global domination. Every few years, I would don protective gear from head to toe, take my life in my hands and attempt a grassy short, back and sides (in deference to South America, I nearly wrote " a brazilian" there). The razor sharp leaves would counter with accurate blows to any exposed skin, the feathery plumes would try to dislodge my safety goggles and a myriad of mercenary spiders would abseil down the back of my neck. You can't imagine how much I looked forward to it.
So the time has come to say "Adios, amigo!" and set our sights on pastures new. Some nice and friendly, fragrant lavender to be exact. Good for butterflies, excellent for bees, but terribly poor for getting spiders down the back of your neck. Win, win!
Yesterday, we spent a happy morning at a local garden centre, selecting said lavender and a tea rose (as MGLW seems to think I need a bit of garden danger. She's wrong). Then, fortified by a mug of tea and a large slice of cake, we loaded up our truck with several hundred kilogrammes of hard landscaping to construct the edge to our new flower bed.
This morning, whilst up to our armpits in mortar, shovels and a wheelbarrow, we were hailed in a soft Scottish accent by a passing cyclist. A lady, who I occasionally see pedalling along our street, stopped and bemoaned that it was sad to see the end of a landmark, as it had been there for such a long time. I was starting to get a bit nervous that she might produce a Pampas Grass Preservation Order and command us to make good our wanton vandalism, but our assurances that there would soon be lavender and roses seemed to calm her worries. I saw fit not to mention the fact that I'd previously tried to set fire to the object of her affections with a blow lamp, as I find that this often polarises opinion quite early in a relationship.
Suffice to say, we're now officially "ne pam pas".