The gardening implements at Swanky Towers have Rab McNeil feeling slight pangs of envy – though he wonders if they would work for him anyway.
Why are other people’s things always better? I don’t just mean in restaurants where everybody else’s meals look bigger and more interesting than mine.
I don’t mean their houses. All my pals have bigger, better houses than mine. I am, as ever, at the bottom of the pile. Even my pile is bottom of the pile.
But no, I mean, you know, their things. To be more specific, to highlight the issue nagging at my soul, I mean their gardening tools.
Looking after the cats recently at Swanky Towers, just one of the many better homes that all my friends have, I decided to tidy the garden.
I do other people’s gardens better than my own, because I want to do a good job for them. Doing my own, I don’t give a damn what the owner thinks because, frankly, I fancy he’s a fink.
However, in tidying the flower beds and raking the lawn at Swanky Towers, I found myself deploying tools that outranked mine in every department. First, the lawn rake.
It was right sturdy, with a wooden pole and strong, metal rakey bits, if that is the technical expression for which I am groping. Moss came out of the lawn with its hands held up in surrender.
My own plastic rake merely lifts clods of turf at random and always gives the feeling that it is in an arm-wrestling match with the moss, which wins most of the time.
Next – would you believe it? – their watering can was an implement of joy. The water came out steadily and well spread, like a good, decent and honest downpour of rain.
I have two watering cans at home and they each start well before declining to a drip. I clear them of leaves. I blow on them. I say prayers to Zeus (someone said he’d retired: surely not). And all I get is a dribble.
Then, in their palatial shed, I found a hand-fork with a crooked handle that I fancied allowed a smoother wrist action and wiggled into the soil like a worm on steroids.
They also had a bulb planter that was handy for planting some cuttings that I found lying about doing nothing. It sooked out the soil brilliantly.
I didn’t cut the grass but I do recall they have a hover mower that glides over the grass, cutting evenly. When I had one, it just got on my wick and had a mind of its own – which is more than I have.
Mindlessly, when I got back to my wee slum, I stravaiged on to yonder internet to see about buying the same tools, or at least putting them on a wish list and, needless to say, they were all a bit pricey. Even the shears were a cut above.
I also had the nagging feeling that they wouldn’t work for me anyway. Machines and tools treat me with contempt. They mock me. Sometimes, they even down tools. And frankly, it’s a poor tool that blames its workman.
It is possible, too, that I am deluding myself. Maybe I just fancied that their tools were better. Perhaps I got carried away by that fork with the crooked handle.
That’s the trouble with gardening: the grass is always greener on the other side.
“Machines and tools treat me with contempt. They mock me. Sometimes, they even down tools. And frankly, it’s a poor tool that blames its workman