Sunday, 24 July 2011
Laughing so much
I adore Mrs Mills, she is an agony aunt for the Sunday Times. She never fails to amuse me with her snobbery and high standards when it comes to delicate matters using subtle inference and innuendo.
As she is just played for laughs, she could be described as a comedian, and her advice is obviously not to be taken seriously, since doing so could result in one losing one's family, friends, job or lover. For example, one young woman who wrote to her was worried that her boyfriend's new smart, funny, attractive flatmate may tempt him, and hoped Mrs Mills would reassure her. Mrs Mills replied "Your worries are justified - they are obviously sleeping together". She has been described by one of her clients as "the most un-empathetic, cold hearted person I have ever encountered."
The last few weeks have included some gardening questions which I'm sure you will gather quite quickly from this example is not about the garden at all!
Dry spell continues
I have been following with interest the correspondence regarding hosing practices (Style, July 3). My own husband has, over the years, developed a lacklustre attitude to this activity. When the garden was new to him, he would have the hose out with great enthusiasm, sometimes even two or three times a day, especially at weekends. Nowadays, even offering to get the hose out for him and start him off doesn’t spark any interest. I could do it myself, but I do feel that, for the good of our relationship, it is better to have some shared activities. I am becoming frustrated and my patience is running out. I am thinking of hiring a gardener on a regular basis in order to get the job done to my satisfaction. Have you any other suggestions?
Have you explained the situation to your husband? It is surprising how often men assume that, because they haven’t had the hose out for while, they needn’t bother, as the garden looks perfectly all right to them. You need to show them that while all appears well from a distance, up close things are beginning to wither. They might moan that their hose is inclined to leak unexpectedly, and that you’d better get a new one, but there is no need for such drastic action, as all kinds of fixes are available. Don’t hire a gardener on a regular basis, as this will fatally undermine your husband’s confidence in his own capabilities. It might be an idea, however, if you consulted a professional gardener to get some tips on how to revive your neglected garden. Don’t let your husband know — if he comments with surprise on your new expertise, tell him you read about it in a book.
... And continues
I heard there is the possibility of a hosepipe ban being declared in certain parts of the British Isles. Would you agree this is an absolute necessity?
As an avid reader of your advice, I cannot but think, as I sit in the sun, baking in 23 degrees, that it must be time for a hosepipe ban?
Isn’t it interesting that the letters calling for a hosepipe ban should all come from men? It’s just laziness: a bit of hot weather and they can’t be bothered to do anything. Like most women, I find that as soon as the weather starts heating up, my garden needs more attention than ever.
Send problems to: Mrs Mills, The Sunday Times, 3 Thomas More Square, London E98
It has amused me and YSL over the past few weeks and I sent him this morning this:
In connection with recent other letters you have received reference the garden.
For many years I tried to get my husband interested in the garden as I was having to do any tending alone. Eventually I gave up and after trying several handymen I now have found an excellent gardener.
I have totally changed the garden and have a developed totally new tastes that certainly Alan Tichmarsh would raise his eyebrows too.
The husband has indicated he now wants to start gardening again but I fear he does not have the ability or knowledge to attempt to maintain such a garden nor do I intend letting the gardener go.
What would you suggest?
YSL replied in Mrs Mill's style, it had me weeping with laughter....
It sounds as if your husband would find difficulty in orientating his way around your remodelled garden, let alone how to tend to specific areas of interest, such as the trimming of the bush, facilitating/encouraging development and growth and areas for laying seed, so I should advise that you continue with your professional assistance, not least because he will be adept at using his hose appropriately. However, to allow your husband to develop his knowledge and skills, perhaps he could be guided by the numerous blogs that I believe are becoming popular on topics such as this.
Although you may need to bear in mind that your husband may not welcome the idea of the handymen and labourers that you have employed for this transformation, nor the visitors who have enjoyed viewing the fruits their hard work.
......if any queries are raised about access rights and how he thought that only he could have free use of the garden, just mumble something about having to bow to pressure from the Ramblers Association about the 'right to roam'.