A new lifestyle...

 This is an easy perennial to grow in the front of the summer border.
Blue Scabious

This marks the first day of my retirement from being a music teacher. As of today I am a free agent. I choose. I have a new lifestyle which I should be able to describe as serene, relaxed and gently paced.

Thursday 11th December

I will be able to write more (hopefully not just ravings and ramblings, but purposeful and meaningful prose). I will want to play the piano more (I am trying out some Schumann). I will be able to take old-lady naps in the daytime. I will be able to listen to cricket in February and March (that is a wee way away, but hey! it shows I'm thinking ahead...) Even if we suck at cricket this season, I will be able to immerse myself totally in the commentaries.

The garden will be transformed - hopefully! But this transformation will be leisurely, tempo andante, with much attention to detail. This is the end of the mad scrambling Saturday zoom-around sessions. Cool! One possible negative - this garden diary could become incredibly boring as I faithfully describe the morning sweepings of the patio, or the deadheading schedule for every individual penstemon. Right - I am about to put on sunscreen and go outside to cut fresh flowers for the house. Then I'm actually not sure what I'll do! So begins my first day of retirement.

 Taj-dog is keeping me company.
Moosey Reading

My First Retirement Apres-Gardening...

It's a bit early at 1:30 pm but I have to get some things from school and buy a replacement hand digger). I have been a legend - weeding in the Eggy Garden and transplanting several very brave rhododendrons dug out of the Hump. They have been bathed in water, dunked in the water race, and replanted in large well watered holes near the Willow tree. Surrounding soil has been coated with old horse-poos and straw - these lucky rhododendrons WILL jolly well be happier. They have had such a deprived life at Mooseys so far that I don't even know what colour they are. It's lovely working over there in the shade of the Tree Lucerne with the water burbling past, so I have deliberately left spade and wheelbarrow there - I have a little bit more digging to do, and then the Moosey ritual of the defining of the edges.

Friday 12th December - Day Two of my Retirement

It's 8:30 am and I've got heaps of things I want to do - and no idea what to do first. It's a good day for photos (there's cloud cover, but it's still quite bright), so that's what I'll probably do first. I have lots of non-gardening tasks, plus the enjoyment of finishing the new diggings (sounds archeological). Wonder if the rhododendrons had a pleasant night in their new beds? I'll be back when I've actually done something constructive.

Time for a mid-day rest. I've almost finished the new diggings, and have slopped (sorry!) another bag of horse-poos around. There are now just one or two rhododendrons in the Hump to be rescued and replanted in here, and a batch of surviving annuals in pottles to plant. I've edged these new borders with wood. The cloud cover didn't last, and the mid-day sun is beautifully hot, so I am off to buy a new hand digger (with the car's air conditioner on!).

 Just wait - this garden is soon going to get bigger.
Moving in the Rhododendrons

Later, Apres-Gardening...

It is very very hot still. I worked for a couple more hours, but have now retired indoors. The hoses are going, and I am about to drag a chair onto the decking and settle down with a book and a cup of tea. So far I have kept up a high standard of personal grooming in retirement - my hair has been clean and well brushed, with no tangles, and I have been remembering to put my anti-aging face cream on, as well as my hand cream. And I have ironed my apres-gardening white flowing shirt.

Saturday 13th December - Day Three of my Retirement

It hasn't sunk in yet - my changed circumstances, that is - probably won't until late next January when I will have zero responsibilities outside the garden. I keep expecting to feel different, like a child who has just had a birthday. O well!

Jerome the cat presented me with a second mouse (this one shaped like a courgette) at exactly 4:48 am this morning. I know this because I got up and turned the light on immediately. The mouse was "rescued" and tipped gently over the balcony to fall softly into the vegetation below. Jerome couldn't care less - heartless cat! So I start the day feeling a little sleepless. Today I might write my first list, which will involve chores for Stephen to do as well as explanations, if needed.

OK, it's time to start. Sunscreen and hat on. It's a little foggy outside (interesting ambience), and the birds are twittering - there's not a drop of wind. Long may this remain!


I have replanted and watered the sad rhododendrons. It occurs to me that this is their third home - let's hope it's third time lucky. It's beautifully hot now. I've only done two of the things on the list, though. What's the point of such a list if it is only going to be ignored? Stephen considers it unwise to burn, so we might take a trailer-load of tree prunings etc. to the dump.

 Jerome the cat has no fear of the water rushing below.
The Water Race

Sunday 14th December - Day Four of my Retirement

I returned to the garden about 4:30 yesterday and planted all the remaining pottles of annuals near the Willow tree. Then I came inside to watch cricket (Australia versus India) and sank into mental sleep, neglecting to write up my diary. Today I've been pottering on the computer for a while, but now I'm ready to go outside. It's hot and there's a blustery hot wind, so today will be spent in the shade. I will however try and do more of the things on the list - it's an impressively long one, and should be taken seriously. The gardens over the water race were irrigated last night, so it should be pleasant raking and clearing the dog-paths. Back soon.

Ha! The joys of real summer gardening - I have been standing in the water race weeding the banks by Rooster Bridge. I scared a batch of ducks who came swirling past the upstream flax, saw me, and panicked trying to reverse against the current. I've been in the shade, the wind has been roaring in the trees above, and the water has been swirling up to my summer knees. This is the life (apart from the noisy trees). I'm inside for a break now - will drag a chair onto the decking and read my book. My confidence and energy are returning. No mouse visits last night - resulting in a better night's sleep.

 These roses are in the side house border - they are Graham Thomas, Phyllis Bide and Iceberg.
More Roses

Oops - just went back outside to do some more work and lasted about ten minutes. It's really hot now. This is real summer ambience - time to get a jug of iced water organised for the fridge. Stephen is out somewhere up Halkett Road fighting a large fire (the hot dry wind is causing havoc). There have been a lot of sirens and helicopters buzzing around overhead. The news isn't that good - and the fire is rather close to us. This doesn't happen in New Zealand!

Much later... Stephen has returned from rather a long day. He tells me that a neighbour caused the main fire by lighting a rubbish pile. Eek! Several houses have been gutted, and the roads around us are still blocked by police. How simple it all seems now - yet a few days ago I was itching to burn my rubbish pile, wondering if the summer fire ban was in place. West Melton is now sadly on the national news.