Not Quite The Man I Was

Bay branches

When Jackie heavily pruned a bay tree in our front garden last autumn, some of the branches escaped into the untended jungle next door.

This morning, I decided to do the decent thing and remove them. I cut them to size and filled one of the gravel container bags with them. Later, Jackie and I donated them to the Efford Recycling Centre, along with another bagful we had collected during the week. We only came back with a large cut glass bowl.

This afternoon we visited Mole Country Stores where we bought a new post for the uprooted side gate and three bags of Landscape Bark. This outlet hast vast areas both inside and out where can be acquired most garden materials I can think of, and quite a few I wouldn’t have known about. Among other goods, the outside yard alone displayed


 stacks of timber stakes in all shapes and sizes;

Mole yard 1

house coal;

Mole yard 2

Irish Moss Peat;

Mole yard 3

compost, topsoil, and landscape bark.

The company also caters for equestrian needs, such as harness and bedding. Unless someone is breeding very large rabbits, I imagine


these bright orange carrots are intended for horses.

As I make my way through my eighth decade, it is only time that travels faster than it did in earlier days. Certain adaptations have to be made. It was when my arthritic right wrist, perhaps suffering from this morning’s exertions, made me aware that I could not lift my share of the Landscape Bark bags that I was reminded that I am not quite the man I was.

Young women carrying Landscape Bark

The offer of help from two beautiful young women was therefore gratefully accepted, and I did my best not to feel embarrassed, but to stand back and enjoy it.

Back home, it was almost warm enough to sit down with drinks. Instead, we wandered around with them.


Daffodils lining the Heligan Path have a marked, pleasant, scent.

We dined on Jackie’s excellent lamb jalfrezi, succulent savoury rice, and vegetable samosas; followed by chocolate sponge pudding and custard. While The Cook drank Kingfisher, I finished the madiran.


  1. I love this post, Derrick. I’m sure Jackie would say that while your arm may not be as strong as in earlier years, the essential you has gotten stronger and better. But if it gives you an opportunity to be helped by pretty ladies, well, then!

    1. I helped a man probably not very old even and he was offended because i was so much stronger but I’d do it again and if I were a man I’d delight in younger women’s offers!

  2. Why is it always a revelation to realize that I can no longer do something that I’ve always took for granted? ? I’ve decided not to be embarrassed. Rather looking forward to that senior discount savings.

    1. I too am wondering what I’m going to be when I grow up. I have been mad since I got the offer to sign up for ARRP in the mail box. How dare they!

  3. Ah, yes! I certainly understand. And wandering around with drinks in the garden sounds like the perfect solution.

  4. I loved the picture of the ladies and the daffodils put together as if the women were likened to daffodils 🙂
    In Europe I used to love loitering around the garden centers just looking at the material there and thinking of all I could do in my garden with it. I hope your wrist gets better 🙂

  5. I, too, am into my eighth decade, and am always amazed when a “youngster” spots my slowness or lack of strength and freely offers help. I shouldn’t be amazed, I guess, but it does touch me deeply, and gives me that same hope of the ancients for the future of the human race.

  6. I also would not have guessed you were in your eighth decade. You seem to have enormous strength and stamina. It was great that the young women offered to help People can have weak wrists at age. It sounds like you still had a wonderful day.

      1. Wow. I knew about the killer fogs, but did not know about house coal. Can you burn wood? I remember as a child smelling coal on cold mornings. I still smell it here once in a while, but most people don’t have coal furnaces anymore, thank goodness. Thanks for the info!

  7. Thanks for asking about the house coal, arling-lass. I’m off to find a recipe for that chocolate sponge pudding. I wonder if it’s the old-fashioned kind with self-sauce??

    1. It was the old-fashioned kind. You have already liked this post, but if you click on the relevant image (twice) you can read the recipe, and possibly print it off. Thanks, Yvonne

  8. House coal – another reminder that you reside in a different country. 🙂

    Great sequence. Green goes the garden hoe ! Sigh, our April is presently a bit piqued that February and March tried to emulate her mild tempera(ture)ment. She is giving us all a severe cold shoulder accompanied with icy looks.

    Eighth decade – tremendous.

  9. Always buy horse carrots. They’re the same – except they haven’t been ridiculously priced. (The same goes for caviar – fish eggs are fish eggs… ) And I still have to get used to people thinking I’m “an old man”.

  10. You’re a humble man, Derrick.

    My father helps everyone but never likes to be helped. If my brothers requested his expertise, he’d end up telling them to get out of his way. When he turned 76, we started a conspiracy: Don’t Break Dad. So when anything got too hairy, we’d trick him into getting something from the hardware store while we handled it. Or he’d be coming to a brother’s house to work on cabinetry, and the night before I’d go over and hold upper cabinets overhead while my brother secured them, leaving only the floor cabinets.

    He just turned 81. He’s had knee surgery and various parts are wearing out, but he’s not broken. 🙂

Leave a Reply