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Much of the ‘gardening’ thus far has been discovering exactly how many roots have been lurking under the soil and forming a more unnecessarily complicated network than Facebook. I say roots, what I really mean is fully developed underground tree branches than could be used for firewood, fencing or the construction of a small shed. My garden is the bottom corner of a giant, higgledy piggledy tumble of backfill, lawn and random leftovers from previous occupants including two random fence posts, a tyre and several rubbish bags. There is a hedge running along the back which leads to the netherworld. Or yet another abandoned council property that is used for nefarious purposes and a random Asian volleyball club. At one point, there was a gap in this hedge which led to local vermin schoolchildren using it as a shortcut. Thanks to previous experiments, I have now learned that the reason why my garden looks like it is running away from itself i.e. sloping in all directions at once is thanks to the enormous pipe running under the edge of it. There are four ‘gardens’ in one, with a shared drying green in the middle. All of these are lumpy and misshapen plots except for my next door neighbour, who is 76 and puts us all to shame by paying someone to do her garden for her. The roots have invaded the plot of upstairs mysterious thumping flat. Or perhaps they came from there, who can say for sure? Mutant roots know of no such concept as Property Boundaries. They laugh in the face of such things. Of course, successive owners of the flats have also laughed in the face of such rationales as good fences make good neighbours (forever intoned in the voice of Robert Frost, thank you YouTube) hence cigarette butts on my patio and the world’s largest pampas grass plant slowly making its way into my vegetables but perhaps most importantly blocking the light in its attempt to reach the moon. I have been engaged in battle with these roots in the process of moving large amounts of garden debris compost from one place to another. In theory, this will then become the garden boundary and compost bins. Or maybe they will go in the long bit of garden at the side once delusionally earmarked as the perfect chicken run. Delusional as I don’t actually eat eggs. Attempting to plan things in advance with a noisy brain like mine usually means staring at the large hole in the ground or empty space wondering why it doesn’t look like what I wanted to put there. Best of all the garden shenanigans has been my temporary sojourn as a tree surgeon. A highly unprofessional one. In fact, you would be forgiven for the fear you would have experienced at the sight of the madwoman wielding a hatchet. I really want to do it again. Now please. If only it wasn’t for these t rex arms...It’s highly therapeutic, hacking down large bits of tree with pseudo weaponry. Less gardening, more anger management. There is something very satisfying about purposeful destruction, a direct relationship between how much effort you put in and what comes out. Definitely an improvement on office days when it felt like churning with no butter at the end. Hatchet tree; no more tree that was meant to be a shrub in the powerlines. Or the neighbour’s garden. Almost a metaphor for life that.


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