There are many things I can do myself about the house, and that I enjoy doing (I am still going around drilling holes and filling other holes that I don't want). There are other things that I cannot do such as plumbing. I tried and failed, so now we are waiting for a plumber to come and fix it. I cannot do electricity, and although Staffan has performed miracles with English plugs neither of us dares putting up ceiling lamps, so we are waiting for an electrician to come and do that. We are also waiting for a gas man to inspect our oven. (I know it sounds like a song by Flanders & Swann).
I have been forced to admit that I cannot trim hedges. They are too big and too many and you need special tools, and I have always told myself that I do gardening for fun and not as a heavy duty. So now we also have a gardener. I stayed home today to meet him because, apart from trimming hedges, I wanted his advice on many enigmas of my garden. Because the climate is different, I am not familiar with half of the plants and trees and shrubs, and those I am familiar with are also different. I don't know whether something coming out of the earth is a weed or a very precious exotic flower. I don't know what must be pruned and when.
The gardener is very young. His name is Luke. He listens patiently to my silly questions. We go around the garden, and more or less everything has to be pruned, trimmed or exterminated. Especially the ivy. The ivy that is so pretty. "Yes, says Luke, you keep something because it looks pretty, and then it smothers everything else".
Suddenly I realise that what's to be done in the garden, the minimum of what's to be done, will demand my full attention seven days a week for months and months. And the temptation to let Luke do the job comes creeping over me, just like it happened with the floors.
We agree that he will come for a whole day, do the hedges and whatever else must be done urgently. He even promises to get rid of the dandelions for me. Unfortunately, he won't have time until two-three weeks from now.
I should really go to work after that, or at least sit down and write the review I have been trying to write for the past few day. Instead, I put on my gardening gloves and attack the ivy. Now I know: dandelions are child's play. Even brambles are easy as compared to ivy. As I cut myself into a large conifere completely overgrown by ivy, Staffan comes out with a phone. It's Luke. He is coming on Saturday. I think he has reconsidered his priorities.