Plans, Planes and Plasterboard Pallets

I first met Cornelia (see Cornelia’s blog at ) some years ago in Brasov.

She seemed intelligent, curious, sociable … and spoke incredible English (with intuitive understanding of both idiom and my – some would say peculiar – sense of humour). Our friendship developed in the few days together and we remain connected in a way that social media is so good at allowing us to do.

What then was more natural than inviting her to come and stay with us when she found herself in London as part of an international project?

She capably managed the train journey to Birmingham International and we spent some fine times together as she learned, for sure, that England is about more than London.

She visited the allotment and was absolutely captivated by the sense of growing and community on the site. So much so that she volunteered to go back and hoe potatoes: above and beyond the call or what?


Watching BBC Countryfile (an item on Jersey potatoes, famous here as the first new potatoes we get from within the U.K.) she is nonplussed. The tubers are tiny, there are so few of them. In Romania it seems they plant the potatoes in autumn, snow stops them sprouting and they are harvested in prodigious amounts in June. You live and learn eh?

Image result for jersey potatoes harvest

It is fantastic to compare gardening and agricultural notes with someone from another national background.

In a leisurely fashion we walked over Cannock Chase (Brocton Coppice down to the stepping stones with an obligatory tea and cake at the Springslade Tea Rooms). We visited Lichfield Cathedral where I lit a candle for Cristina ( a mutual friend) and looked at the historical buildings around about.

Image result for brocton coppice cannock chase   Image result for stepping stones cannock chase  Image result for lichfield cathedral

Too soon, of course she had to leave and both the Plantation Owner’s Wife and I were sad to see her go. Real friendship is a marvellous thing, but the penalty of international ones is the inevitable time you must spend apart.

I drove her to Manchester Airport, dropped her off at the wrong terminal and joined a traffic jam for several hours on the way home.

Then my mother visits. She is flying from Birmingham to Valencia via Amsterdam on Thursday. Can I take her to the airport? No problem I reply. It means I have to be up in time to get her there for oh-seven-thirty but it is manageable.

Image result for birmingham airport

After all she did use my internet to check in for the flight: change the seats, ask me to leave my mobile ‘phone number instead of using her own (for flight up-dates and latest info) and give my e-mail address too.

I don’t sleep very well; get up before the alarm goes off, turn it off and mooch about until the appointed time. We make good time, I pay the one-pound minimum charge at the car park and, once again – you’ve guessed it – join lengthy queues to get home.

Plantation Owner’s Wife meanwhile was unable to sleep because a scaffolding team arrived very early to dismantle the equipment from the house next door but one. I try and sleep for an hour, but eventually give up, get up and set about that bench-from –pallets project.

So, it’s out of the garden shed with my trusty, ancient Black and Decker Workmate, two seen-better-days saws and a dyspraxic’s-dream tool box.

Then my ‘phone goes; the train-entering-a-station ring tone that annoys me, but that I, lazily, cannot be bothered to alter.

It’s KLM. My mother’s flight has been cancelled. She can fly tomorrow, they will book her on to the flight … can they speak to her about these changes?

Of course not!

She’s at the bluddy airport!

If only she had given them her ‘phone number instead of …

So I ring my brother. He is ferrying his daughter and we smile about the confusion and potential chaos.

He will ring her, let her know, fetch her or ring me.

Fine: back to my tantric bench building.

For ten minutes. I hear the house ‘phone, nearly kill myself running through the house to answer it (I really should tie my laces when I am working and racing about!)

This time it’s mom. She has persuaded KLM to pay for her to stay overnight at the Airport Hotel. All is fine. To save her paying for a text could I please ring my sister to explain all?

Before she can give me further taskettes to do my brother calls on the mobile ‘phone. I put the ‘phone down to mom. My mother is not answering her ‘phone, he tells me. Either she has switched it off. Or cannot hear it.

I explain the story-so-far.

Phew! We can both go back to our normal lives – as normal as is possible in twenty first century Britain anyway.

Back to planning that bench: now where was I?



2 responses to this post.

  1. Modern life eh?


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