Margot tries the good life - February 2014


- Credit: Archant

As her thoughts turn to spring, it’s time to attend to the gardening - and wreak revenge on Jerry for his early Valentine’s Day present

Just when I felt like I had been hibernating almost as long as the local hedgehogs, spring seems to be trying to peep its jaunty head round the corner in our little part of Hampshire. I can’t wait for walks round the village to be strewn with carpets of snowdrops. It is most strange to find myself living alongside the cycles of nature when not so long ago, February would have spelled disappearing off to Chelsea’s answer to Mecca for a new spring wardrobe.

The drabness of winter has seemed never-ending so imagine my surprise, dear reader, when I found myself tickled with laughter reading a parish email which dropped into my inbox last week. (I do love a good parish mag – titbits of gossip alongside a short sermon from our charming vicar and a rundown of the month’s village highlights). “Watch out for illegal ravers in our woodland”, it read, alluding to problem visitors they’d had before we moved here. Initially I thought someone had been at the sherry as the villagers have been ‘raving’ of late - but not quite in the way the email suggested.

No, all talk here has been of bluebells and the promise of spring in the village’s rather groomed gardens rather than of illegal dance gatherings.

Shears and forks are at the ready to begin the spring’s revitalisation of kitchen gardens; sweeping pea-green lawns, abundant orchards and floral displays akin to a flower show. In fact, I might even go as far as to say that the village is the horticultural equivalent of Stepford Wives. Very off-putting, dear reader, if like me you are a clueless cultivator. So, having foolhardily promised to tackle our garden in the New Year, I find myself poised to transform patches of earth into an idyllic Hampshire cottage garden. The problem is I haven’t a clue where to start and our little corner is looking more mud and manure than manicured microcosm, especially after Primrose’s birthday party. Jerry hasn’t forgiven me yet for hiring a mini farm, complete with donkeys, goats, turkeys and pigs. He claims that the pigs ruined his precious lawn. To be honest I think that he is probably still sulking after I laughed at his longing for a sit-on mower.

Starting at the very beginning, I engaged the services of a local tree man to give a few of our spindly trees the heave-ho. After I had waxed lyrical about Margot’s vision of organic fruit and veg, he gave a sharp intake of breath and said “Oooooh no, no, no! You’ll not grow much in that patch. It’s all chalk here.” Surely not! Everyone else is growing prize parsnips and award-winning apples. Perhaps I ought to be putting my newly-found neighbourhood watch skulduggery skills to better use spying on the village’s gardening gurus?

Thinking that I would never make any headway with the muck heap we call the garden, I stomped back into the house feeling utterly dejected. It was at this point that Jerry saw fit to bestow his Valentine’s Day gift early; a pair of garden shears and a fork - a rare moment in my life when I have been rendered speechless. Days later, I decided to have the last laugh - not at all at Jerry’s expense, I promise dear reader. In the spirit of giving love tokens to ones beloved, I prepared one of his favourite meals, lit the candles in the dining room, poured a glass of red and presented my Valentine’s gift to Jerry - a hand push mower. Well, all’s well that ends well, don’t you think?

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You can read Margot’s blog at: and follow her antics on twitter @Margotgoodlife