“I Can’t Get Up”

Between us we spent much of the day on garden maintenance. Not only did Jackie continue

her work on redesigning the Pond Bed planting, composting, weeding, and tidying,

but she has begun filling containers with petunias in the chimney pot; pansies in the iron urn, in a basket yet to become hanging, and, with geraniums in this stone urn.

I carried on with my weeding of gravel, clearing Florence’s feet,

and a mass under the Japanese maple beside the decking.

The aluminium garden chair has become an essential part of my weeding kit -in, as it turned out, more ways than one. I now use it on which to sit and ease the stress on my knees. It only hurts when I need to get up and shift it for the next row. I left it out of the way when working under the maple while I perched on the edge of the low wooden platform. When I had finished I had to call Jackie from the other end of the garden. I could see her looking for me as she made her way along the Gazebo Path. She wasn’t expecting me to be where I was. I called again and confessed “I can’t get up”.

Mrs Knight made a valiant, but vain attempt to heave me to my feet. I really needed something from which to support my efforts. Then I spotted the chair. Jackie placed it at a suitable distance with its back to me. She sat on it to hold it firm. Gripping with both hands, I forced my screeching knees to the perpendicular.

As I typed the last sentence on my draft, Elizabeth turned up with her gardening gloves. Neither Jackie nor I was capable of doing any more, but I took my sister into the garden to set her to work. No sooner had she fully prepared herself than rain set in for the rest of the day.

So she had a cup of tea and stayed for dinner.

This fusion meal consisted of Jackie’s flavoursome savoury rice topped with an omelette; spicy beef and black beans, and Singapore noodles from Mr Chan; a rack of pork spare ribs marinaded in barbecue sauce from Lidl; and tempura prawns from Tesco with sweet chilli sauce. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, I drank more of the Malbec from a new bottle, and my sister abstained.


  1. Like a friend who went to our church once told me: “Getting old is a pain…then another pain…then another pain…” Glad you and Jackie engineered you rising from the garden. Well played!

  2. All your gardening activities – and a little rain – have inspired me to plant some flower seedlings in a tiny patch of garden where I breakfast in the mornings whilst watching birds.

  3. Getting is a real pain in the ______ (fill in the appropriate body part). Not good for the ego either I applaud your perseverance.

  4. Thank you for painting that picture of Jackie helping you get up hahaha. It’s funny, but it’s not. At physical therapy, the first therapist gave me exercises to do that you need a table to lie on or you have to do them on the floor. I valiantly tried the floor and pulled some back muscles, so he had to modify the exercises for standing position. I think for anybody over 60 they ought to automatically do that! We all have our different body part issues, but getting up gets more and more impossible.

  5. You and the Head gardener, and you and the assistant photographer are always such a great teamI
    I do hope that your knees don’t get any sorer. All those years running London’s pavements?
    Your garden has much to see in every direction – so much work, but a beautiful testament to you both

    1. Thank you very much, Emma. Probably the running was the main culprit, but fast bowling and second row forwarding until 45 – not to mention years of badminton – didn’t help much either. Amazingly I never had any problems until a hip replacement about 12 years ago.

      1. I’m so sorry – that seems contrary to my mother’s experience of hip replacements. Perhaps she is lucky. I do hope that the warmer weather to come will help.

        1. Thanks very much, Emma. The hip replacement was fine. I was back to normal within weeks. That is why the knees have been such a shock. I only mentioned the hip because that really was the only problem I had ever experienced in such an active life.

  6. Oh Derrick, I know the feeling and the arduous task of returning to a perpendicular position from an a very low sitting location … I think one situation to be avoided in the future … !!

  7. Gardening can be quite hard on the knees as well as the back. Gardening seats on wheels are available but I don’t know how well they would work out on your gravel path.

  8. The resolution that you and Jackie used to get you upright again was a good one..,but if you want to continue to have a well maintained garden, you need to “investigate and invest” in some tools to assist you, and your knees…because having a garden is so good for your well being, when you and Jackie can’t get out to look at nature in your area. And you have a wonderful garden that’s for sure…

  9. You don’t realise just how heavy a person is until you try to lift them up off the ground. Even little old ladies seem to weigh a ton.

    1. Indeed. Although, just a few years ago I caught my mother as she was falling, and I was amazed at how light she was (6 stone). And that wasn’t from the ground. Thanks a lot, Tootlepedal

  10. Oh, my and Oh, gosh! So glad Jackie came to your rescue!
    The hard work you all are putting in the garden is so good and makes the garden even more beautiful!
    Looks like Elizabeth got a break in working when the rain showed up! πŸ˜€
    How are you knees feeling now?
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚

  11. Your poor knees! I haven’t had joint replacement (yet!) but I know what it’s like when knees stiffen up, get locked in one position or just don’t have the strength to do what I want them to do. Richard often tries to help me up but it never works and I have to have something to hold onto, as you did today. You are both working so hard in your lovely garden and it’s all looking so wonderful.

  12. I can understand how it would be hard to get up from being “perched on the edge of the low wooden platform.” And I’m very glad the Knight team was successful in the recovery. Your garden has inspired me to define the pathways in my urban forest. Who knows, maybe I’ll even plant something flowery in a pot or get a statue.

  13. I am sure the garden will never find either of you lacking in industry. I feel sorry about your knees: I was expecting more fluid performance from your bionic enhancement. The rain did sound like a respite today.

    1. Thanks very much, Uma. I was hoping for more fluid performance, too – and by and large they are better than pre-op. They just don’t like bending much beyond 90 degrees.

  14. You are both doing a wonderful job on the garden.
    I’m sorry about your painful knees, if it’s any consolation I think you’ve done really well since your knee surgery.

    I remember when when my hip first began to ache, it crossed my mind that this might be the start of getting old, I dismissed the idea by telling myself I was far too young. Then I began to add to all the aches, the knee, the neck, the back and now I realise I’ve made it, I really am old! ?

      1. My brother was fifty-five, that’s much too young, a similar age to Michael I think. You also lost Vivien and Jessica and they were most certainly too young.

  15. Oh, Derrick, I think you need one of those little padded garden stools, about six inches high, with high handles on both sides so you can kneel and get back up. I had a similar experience when planting flowers along my front walk last weekend. I sat down on the walk and after working there for awhile I found it very difficult to get up! I did finally make it up again.
    It is so good to get back in the dirt each spring!

  16. I am sorry to hear your knees gave you trouble, Derrick. I am glad your sister was able to come assist Jackie in finishing up. I have one troublesome knee where I was kicked in the knee by a horse in my youth. I have to be careful, too.

    Jackie has inspired me to get some pansies and petunias!

  17. All of last week, I had a little twinge in my right knee, and thought, “Uh,oh” — particularly since I’ve had no particular problems with body parts. I finally decided that I’d been twisting a bit getting on and off a certain boat, and determined to just wait it out. Sure enough, I seem to be healed up.

    I did smile at this: “I’m still daft enough to believe that nature’s gym will improve my flexibility.” I’m absolutely convinced that my boat work is what’s kept me flexible, and I feel no need to go to a gym or yoga class.” My mother once complained about my work to her doctor, asking, “How long is she going to be able to do this?” The good doctor said, “As long as she keeps doing it, she’ll be able to keep doing it.” That was fifteen years ago, give or take.

  18. All that gardening–I think you and Jackie both had a good workout! I’m sorry about your knees, but I’m glad she was able to help you up. Elizabeth has good timing. ?

    1. Both knees have now been replaced – so I can walk much better, but they’ll never be right for kneeling. Perhaps my height makes it more difficult. Thanks very much.

        1. Some people do better, but I am apparently doing quite well. Maybe it depends on what one did before and after. Even after the hip replacement I would happily walk up to 3 hours a day; now 40 minutes is about it.

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