One of my many bad attributes is that I’m always hoping things will look after themselves. Whether it’s housework or gardening, I have such unreasonable faith in the un-bounded self-reliance of objects, I’m forever being surprised the hoovering hasn’t done itself or the fence fetched a brush from the shed and painted itself over with a new water-proof coat (complete with sunscreen).
The little table and matching chairs that the garden centre man sold us as ‘pre-rusted’ has continued in its inexorable drive to ‘post’ everything and, early last year, one of our benches collapsed. No-one was sitting on it. The back simply fell off all of a sudden. We heard it sigh and watched it keel over.
Summer came and went. Did I paint the other bench? No. (Though I bought new gravel for it to put its feet on.) Did I pare the new rust from the rust we were sold when we bought the table? No; I covered it with pots of plants - ones I wanted to keep an eye on - so it turned into a sort of glorified staging. That meant we couldn’t use it for meals outdoors . . . but . . .
There will come a time when my garden furniture will die and I’ll hope for more. I’ll look sadly towards the spot where it used to be and hope my husband notices. And if ever any more does arrive, I’ll give it a good talking to before I put it in place and explain how, round here, things simply have to look after themselves . . .