It’s almost time for my husband to return to work following his hip replacement, which has gone so well even his surgeon is surprised how swiftly he’s recovered. Four weeks ago Dave was tamping at the bit, bored and anxious to return to his job, but both his surgeon and GP were adamant he takes the full 12 weeks’ recuperation. After the glorious weather we’ve been having here in the UK this week, I don’t think he’ll be so keen to return to the 7-til-7 schedule. Particularly after days like today.
We are, as you probably are aware, keen gardeners and our patio already resembles the local garden centre, full of row upon row of seed trays and bedding plants waiting to be planted out, and the greenhouse is stacked almost to the roof with shelves of plants, so many in fact, you cannot actually get in the thing, and have to be careful how you open the door. So, with little else to do now until we are clear of frosts, he decides today he wants to go somewhere, go for a drive. I had other things planned, but heck, when he says he fancies going out, I don’t argue, equally eager to take a day away from the computer screen to enjoy the sun.
We headed for our favourite garden centre some 30 miles away deep in the Gloucestershire countryside, where we couldn’t resist buying a few more plants. But neither of us can stop at one – garden centre, that is. And with the boot of the car (good job it is a small one) full of plants and several on the rear floor inside, we set of for another. And then another. The pleasure isn’t just the plants and the looking and loitering, the planning and imagining, deciding shall we, shan’t we; it’s the actual drive we enjoy the most, and the Gloucestershire countryside in Spring is glorious. Dave knows lots of little side roads to take, bypassing the busy main roads, up and down valleys, round steep hills and narrow, stonewalled lanes, where we jealously admire the honey-coloured houses set in acres of green fields full of springy, bouncy lambs (aah) and steeped banked verges in an early flush of bluebells, green shoots of wild garlic, and blossom and drifts of daffodils and primroses.
We stop in a small village shop and buy pasties and Coke and treat ourselves to a couple of pastries and then drive further on to pull up on the verge of a quiet lane with views overlooking a cascade of small lakes, turn off the engine, open the windows, and with silence except for birdsong, we enjoy our impromptu picnic watching robins, chaffinches, thrushes and bluetits in the trees, and pheasants strutting their stuff across the fields. I’ve never seen so many gathered at once. Stupid birds but so beautiful, elegant and graceful. Except when they try to fly, usually straight at the car.
As well as a love of bluebells, I also have a passion for lavender and my three pots on our front garden have taken a hammering this winter, so Dave drives to the Lavender Gardens near Ozleworth. I only wanted three plants, but we end up buying nine, three for each pot.
Finally arriving back home, relaxed and happy, we settle in the garden with a couple of G&Ts (me) coffee (him) and reflect on what has been a perfect day, even more so as I don’t have to prepare a cooked meal as we are both still replete from our lunch. “If this is retirement, bring it on,” Dave says. Going back to work is going to be hard for him. At least he only has another nine months to endure. Then we can enjoy a lot more days out together – days like today.