Hod-Carrier Once Again

Yesterday evening Jackie produced two photographs from along the Shady Path and Dragon Bed beneath the strong evening light,

and later of the strawberry moon claiming the sky from the sun.

On a much duller morning she recorded the current progress of her replanting in the Pond Bed.

For more than a week now, the Head Gardener has been slowly emptying and sifting the contents of our centre compost bin. This process is made more time consuming because a full wheelbarrow is too heavy for her to shift to where she wants the material.

Now she has nearly finished I decided to lend a hand and

filled a barrow to capacity and wheeled it over to the Oval Bed which, like all the others, will require extensive weeding before its soil can be topped up. Once again I was performing the role of “The Head Gardener’s Hod Carrier”.

This afternoon we lifted the New Dawn rose that had been dropped by the recent storms, retied it, and placed the white aluminium bench in its corner.

Are your dreams worth waiting to bring to fruition at the expense of a more pleasurable earlier life? This is the essential question behind Anton Chekhov’s story ‘Gooseberries’. I was impressed with what translator Elisaveta Fen describes as the ‘evocation of the Russian countryside on a rainy day and the feelings of relaxation, cleanliness and comfort, experienced by the men after hours of exertion ….. conveyed with Chekhov’s characteristic directness and subtle power’. The author’s simple descriptive skill is so evident in this narrative.

For ‘Nikolai ate the gooseberries greedily’ Nigel Lambourne has depicted this man’s happiness which is questioned by the narrator.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips, garden peas, cornichons with chillis, and pickled onions, with which we both drank Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2020.


  1. Strawberry moon picture is a keeper. How magnanimous of you to help towards the end of the project. Bet that is earning you a lot of good husband points. πŸ™‚

  2. Your compost looks magnificent – aren’t worms amazing!
    Your roses are magnificent, too. So interesting that you know all their names – did you plant them all yourselves?
    Beautiful – you are both clearly very talented, hard working, green fingered gardeners πŸ™‚

    1. The Rose Garden was a mess of a kitchen garden when we arrived. Apart from wild under growth it contained buried concrete slabs, bits of metal, and a bath complete with taps. We dug out the rubbish levelled the soil, laid the paths, then enjoyed choosing our own roses for scent and repeat flowering. Otherwise we wouldn’t know them all by name πŸ™‚ Thank you very much, Emma

  3. The compost looks very good! I like where you have placed the white bench and Jackie’s Pond Bed is filling out nicely with lovely lush growth.

  4. !0.30am here in Geelong, and no early rise for me after a Thursday evening a the pub …and your aluminiun bench in a quiet corner is the spot for me !!..

  5. You’re doing a great job! I love evening light. It looks like there are fairies dancing under the strawberry moon.

  6. That is a particularly bright evening and even a brighter moon pretending to be the sun, and it has had a startling effect on the photos.

    The juxtaposition of your hard work in the garden with the protagonist’s in Chekhov’s story, coupled with relaxation and contentment felt after a hard day’s work as reflected in eating is ingenious.

  7. I beg to disagree. Nikolai is no less a symbol than Gogol’s famous pig wallowing in the puddle in “The Dead Souls.” He even looks like a pig, and his servant looks like a pig, and even his dog looks like a pig. The story is very sharp social satire, almost a call for action. It builds up on “The Man in a Case” and culminates in “About Love,” presenting different facets of ‘a little man” in stifling conditions of pre-revolutionary Russia.
    It seems that I have gone on a rampage – I apologize, Derrick.

    1. No apology necessary, Dolly. You know so much more about the author and the system. I do recognise what you say, however, to some extent I identify with a man who works hard to achieve a later dream. That coloured my response. Thanks very much.

      1. You are very welcome, Derrick.
        I can see your point of view, yet the dream itself is unrealistic, consuming his entire life, driving his wife to her untimely death.

  8. Glad you didn’t wait until Jackie was completely finished before offering a hand! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€ Timing is everything! πŸ˜‰
    Dragon and owl…oh, YAY! πŸ™‚ Love seeing them!
    Love the strawberry-moon photo! Goodnight, Sun! Hello, Moon! πŸ™‚
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚

  9. You both have done so much hard work in the gardens! It all looks beautiful. So this month is a strawberry moon? It was delightful to see it rise here last night.

    Sunday is forecast to be around 113 degrees Fahrenheit here, atypical for June. It’s going to be a hot weekend for working outside.

  10. I only learned yesterday that this full moon is known as the strawberry moon, and here it is in your blog. When I read your title, the phrase that came to mind was ‘carrying coals to Newcastle,’ and I found that’s at least reasonable, since one definition of ‘hod’ is coal scuttle, or a bucket-like container for carrying coal.

  11. I always enjoy spending some moments in your garden.
    I just started reading Chekhov recently, and Gooseberries was the first story I read. Next is Three Sisters.

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