The Land Rover Owners Wife

Indignant child, indignant bird and a nice fresh salad

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Tomato pyramidAlthough the temperatures during the day never really got towards baking, it remained dry and yesterday morning I was able to get some work done in the garden. I had planted out the leeks into the beds on Saturday and yesterday it was the turn of some tomatoes. A couple of weeks ago, I had picked up two more tomato plants (Sweet Million) from the village plant sale and these were going into one of the beds with 3 of my home grown Gardeners Delight Cherry tomato plants.

Planted up

Planted up

First job was to build the support against which the plants were to grow, so I sorted through my stock of bamboo canes and managed to get 15 the same height and one longer one and before long I had my tomato pyramid constructed. The seedlings were then planted against the middle cane of each trio and I used plastic coated rings to secure them in place.

After a quick watering of the greenhouse plants, I decided to take a snap of Mrs Blackbird, who has built her nest in a seriously silly position, on top of the Mudlets toy kitchen, right by the doorless entrance to the storage shed, within easy reach of any opportunistic cat! Mud is really unimpressed with this location, as he had hoped to empty the shed this Summer and start refurbishing it in readiness for it becoming his new office. Mrs Blackbird is equally unimpressed by the fact that I need to be in the shed to get the Mudlets garden toys out for them and she shows absolutely no appreciation of the fact that we have placed a blanket ban on the Mudlets going anywhere near the shed and that I have to keep interrupting my jobs to get their toys out.

The Mudlets do fine it funny when I tell Mrs Blackbird off, suggesting that perhaps her chosen location wasn’t the best in the world and would she stop giving me those baleful and indignant looks! There are at least two babies in the nest and I now live in daily dread of walking past the shed on a morning to find that the noise of the chicks has attracted the unwanted attentions of a local cat. We are used to fairly intelligent Blackbird parents but this years pair are definitely lacking in the common sense department – their first nest was in the pile of laurel trimmings!

Shed position  nest position Silly blackbird

I rounded my time in the garden off by cutting some whole lettuce and salad leaves for dinner. This was the second night in a row I had supplied fresh lettuce for the table and I had also pulled some carrot thinnings for Saturday night, as the tub of Permex Carrots was looking a touch crowded.

Give Mud an old Land Rover to tinker with and he is in his element. He will happily spend hours stripping down, cleaning, painting (if necessary) and then rebuilding the various components, enduring (usually with some highly colourful language) bodged ‘previous owner’ repairs, impossible to reach fastenings and seized nuts and/or bolts, and wearing with pride (albeit with a lot of grumbling) the resulting bashed knees, grazed knuckles and pulled backs that seem to come hand in glove with Series Land Rover refurbishments.

Leeks - planted out and watered in

Leeks – planted out and watered in

However, when it comes to the females in his household, Mud often has the sensitivity of a house brick and this is particularly true when it comes to his comprehension (or to be accurate, lack of it) of the complexities of a 6 year olds feelings and self-perception, although to be fair, I don’t believe this is a failing unique to Mud, more a a prime example of a fundamental difference between males and females and how they handle the youngsters in the family group.

In Muds lexicon, Little Mudlet is 6, she is the youngest of the Mudlets and in some instances she needs to be treated accordingly. I can understand how he arrives at this conclusion but Little Mudlet sees things in a completely different light.

As the ‘baby’ of the family, Little Mudlet has a lot to deal with. For a start she is a half pint, with diminutive features and a dainty air about her which tends to make the adults around her think of her as the baby and this drives her mad, especially as Middle Mudlet is tall for her age and often appears older than she is.

“I am NOT little! I am quite big now,” is my youngest daughters’ indignant response to attempts to treat her like a child and pointing out her ‘child’ status to her can often result in a major outburst brought on by hurt feelings.

Recently she has had to cope with the knowledge that Middle Mudlet is now tall enough to be able to travel in the car without a car seat, something which, unless she has a massive growth spurt, is unlikely to happen for Little Mudlet at age 9 and we have had to restrict height measuring to the first day of each month, as her daily demands to be measured against the growth marks on the lounge door frame, were driving us mad, especially as they tended to culminate in tears when the mark remained in the same place.

Bedtime is another bone of contention, with frequent queries as to why she can’t stay up as late as her sister, although on those rare occasions where she has stayed up a little later, we’ve then had disgruntlement from the Middle Mudlet who resents having to go to bed at the same time as her younger sister – that half hour difference is very important one way or another, so it would seem.

Yes, upon reflection I think it is fair to say that Little Mudlet is a tad sensitive about her status as the youngest child and tries to demonstrate just how grown up she is at every opportunity and so when Mud inadvertently wounded her sensibilities yesterday evening, we had tears and the cause of this upset? A dinner knife!

Lettuce and carrot for Saturdays dinner

Lettuce and carrot for Saturdays dinner

Every now and then, we ask our elderly neighbour around for a meal and yesterday was one of those occasions. Mud was barbequing the meat section of the meal and I, having prepared the leaf salad (from the greenhouse) and rice salad earlier in the day, was chatting with the neighbour in the lounge.

It was during the laying of the table that Mud made his error. With Little Mudlets help he had put the place mats out and was in the process of putting the cutlery out when I heard a very indignant, “But that’s not fair,” followed by tears.

Muds exasperated “For crying out loud, you are the youngest” not surprisingly did absolutely nothing to appease a furious and very upset Little Mudlet.

You see, we like to use the very sharp steak knives instead of the normal everyday knives when we have a meal and over the last few months the Mudlets have been using these as well. But we only have 4 of them and so today, with a guest for dinner, there weren’t enough to go around. So what do you think Mud did?

a) Give each of the adults a sharp knife and both Mudlets a normal knife; or
b) Give each adult and Middle Mudlet a sharp knife and Little Mudlet a normal knife because she is the youngest?

Whilst I understand his frustration at these ever frequent battles over who is allowed to do what based on age, I do think some sensitivity wouldn’t have gone amiss here. But then I was the youngest child to and so I guess I have a lot of empathy for my little girl, knowing exactly how she feels because I went through the same sort of thing as a child myself. Thankfully, by the time we sat down for dinner, Mud had seen the error of his ways and had furnished both girls with normal knives and harmony had, for short while at least,  been restored to the house but I know it will only be a matter of time before the issue of age rears its’ head again and I have to smooth the ruffled feathers of one or other of the girls and Muds’ exasperated non-comprehension of whatever situation has arisen this time.

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