Quite Contrary

Sidey’s weekend theme is “Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet” ……

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At first they had thought it was a thunderstorm, since it started with a low rumbling sound.

That had been over a week ago, but it had grown louder, and been accompanied by loud metallic banging, the shouts of humans and a banshee-like screeching that would sound for about a minute at a time before tailing off in a spluttering of motorised coughing.

The fairies had cowered at the bottom of the garden in fear.

Now all was quiet and the four sisters, Ivy, Holly, Daisy and Katemoss emerged from the weeds and flitted through the undergrowth in the direction of the human-occupied house. Half way there they stopped in horror. The thorn-bushes, the nettles, the briars were all gone, revealing, among other things, a long-forgotten 1974 Ford Cortina up on blocks. There was now just a desert of brown earth, dotted all over with grass-seed and with already-emerging dandelions, because nothing gets rid of dandelions.

That wasn’t all. One of the formerly over-grown hedges had been shaped into an ostrich. A round fountain had been built which a cherub standing on one leg was filling with an impressive stream of spit. A small pond had been dug in the middle of the garden at the edge of which a gnome stood unsuccessfully fishing. He turned to them with a look of utter despair on his face.

“What’s been going on?” gasped Ivy.

The gnome uttered two words in a voice filled with contempt. “Landscape gardener,” he said.

The sisters’ blood froze at these dreaded words.

“He’s not finished yet,” said the gnome. “He’s going to turn your end of the garden into a vegetable plot.”

“That’s what he thinks,” said Holly darkly. “Come on, girls.”

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Claude the Landscape Gardener sat on a deck-chair and looked around him in satisfaction. His last job had not been a success, he had been driven from the premises in derision and the back of a white van. This job was going much better, though. His pond, fountain and topiary were done and he still had plans for a folly, a pagoda and a maze. In other words he was big on ideas and short on taste. Had he been a Wedding Planner the church would have been built out of swans.

Suddenly he was hit in the face by a stream of water. He looked up in surprise. Daisy had stuffed compost into the mouth of the cherub and the water was now gushing out though any other orifice it could find. As Claude wiped the water from his eyes he saw what appeared to be the gnome flying towards him, since of course he couldn’t see Ivy and Holly carrying him. The gnome dropped onto his head, his fishing-rod sticking up Claude’s nose (Claude could have sworn he did that deliberately). Throughout this ordeal he could hear the screech of the hedge-trimmer, which seemed to be working itself as it made rapid alterations to the ostrich. He looked at the finished sculpture, then fled in terror.

Katemoss turned off the hedge-trimmer and flew over to her sisters.

“What did you do to it?” asked Ivy.

Katemoss slung the trimmer over one shoulder. “Ever hear of Cock Robin?”

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It was six months later. The cherub had a nest of sparrows on its head. The pond contained weeds and a frog. The topiary now looked like a giant fur-ball and the grass was again lapping around the Ford Cortina. Daisy and the gnome had shyly begun a romance.

The other three sisters sat in the beautiful evening sunlight and clinked their glasses of nettle-wine together.

“A toast,” said Holly. “Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet”.

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