The day I beat the twisty thing in my garden into submission

There is a devil in my back garden. It stands there in the centre, taunting me, especially when the sun’s out. Its tentacles hang down all reproachful and that. But today I’ve made a small victory.

Laurence doesn’t get what the big deal is. He doesn’t understand why I have spent well over an hour of my life prodding it, staring at it, twisting it to try to work out how to get the metal demon to obey.

Well, this time he wasn’t around. So I had a fight with our airer or whatever it’s called. I’m partial to calling it the evil-umbrella-washing-line-twisty-thing. I tend to get physical with misbehaving household items when the “real adult” isn’t around. The sorry-looking smashed pieces of smoke alarm would tend to agree.

The washing was done and in the basket, smelling all fresh (I’ve recently discovered fabric softener and am a little obsessed) and I was about to take it upstairs when I noticed the glint of the sun on the twisty thing outside.

I can do this, I thought, After all, you don’t need a man to do it and what happens if, God forbid, there comes a time when Laurence isn’t able to do it and as a matter of fact he’s not around to do it now, so there. He’s probably more worried about the conversations I’d have with myself if he weren’t around at all.

I pulled, I pushed, I swore, I cajoled. The twisty thing would not become erect. I just want to hang my washing! I lifted it out of the earth and turned it upside down. It was surprisingly heavy and fell into the mud. I lifted it up, put it back in the earth and wiped the mud off.

Now it stood there reproachfully with all its tentacles messily tangled. Carefully I put them aright. Then I went inside to have a cup of tea and to calm the lemon chicken salad down. I went back outside, convinced that I would not take a hammer to it or – and this was more likely – hurt myself in its abuse.

I pulled again. As if it had never been a mystery, the twisty thing came alive. I pushed it with more force than my stomach muscles were happy with but it gave. It was a moment of triumph. I was even able to take it down and put it up again to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.

It’s a small victory, perhaps, but I’ll take them where I can.

PS: Yes, I know the garden’s a mess. Do not rain on my parade.


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