Sunday, 3 April 2011

Of mothers and hills

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

I was going to do a whole thing about the Mothers, and how generally amazing they are, and how they never get the credit. I had a whole riff about how there are no awards ceremonies for knowing all the words to The Wheels on the Bus, and singing it twenty times a day. I know that bringing up a happy human is reward in itself, but all those film actors get paid millions of dollars and sent free shoes AND then they get a little gold statuette as well. I was going to have a little rant about that awful collocation:  only a mother. There shall be no only about it. It's really hard, and sometimes scary, and often baffling, and always unremitting. It's the kind of thing I watch in awe and wonder.

But then I went outside and there was my neighbour, a very nice gentleman, building a shed. Now, there is nothing wrong with a shed. I love a good shed, myself. But the shed is going BETWEEN ME AND THE HILL. They are taking away my hill.

The neighbour must have seen my expression of bemusement.

'Oh,' he said, diffidently. 'Do you mind?'

He was digging the foundations. It wasn't as if there was anything I could say.

'I talked to the landlord about it,' he said.

'Yes,' I muttered. 'Of course.'

'We discussed it,' he said.

'Will it be a lovely shed?' I said, sadly.

'It's just a shed,' he said.

This is the very definition of a First World Problem. It is not life and death. It is not fighting for democracy in the streets. It is not nuclear meltdown in the Far East. It is just a small building made of wood. I am ashamed to say I felt like weeping.

It's not as if I shall never again see the hill. I can walk round the garden and a few yards to the south and see it from there. It's just that it will no longer be the first thing I see when I walk out of my door in the morning. I shall see a shed instead.

It makes me sad that everything was done and dusted without asking. But then, why should anyone ask? Why should the landlord and the neighbour know of my love for the view of the hill? And how can it matter, in the scheme of things? I really must butch up and stop getting so sentimental. In the Chilterns, people are having to deal with the fact that an entire fuck-off high speed rail line is going to be built in their back gardens. That is something to weep over.

So I shall gather myself and send out love to the Mothers instead. My own mum got a bunch of tulips and anemones and eucalyptus. These pictures are the internet equivalent of a great big bunch of flowers for all you mothers out there.

3rd April 1

3rd April 2

3rd April 4

3rd April 3

3rd April 6

3rd April 6.ORF

3rd April 7

3rd April 9

3rd April 10

3rd April 11

3rd April 12

3rd April 14

3rd April 15

The canine loveliness:

3rd April 5.ORF

3rd April 13

And my dear old hill, as stately and blue as I have ever seen here:

3rd April 8

Happy Mothering Sunday.


  1. Yes, it IS important that you have your view of the hill. Is the shed being built in the only possible location? I very much wish that your neighbor and the landlord had consulted with you. As many of us live closer together it would be kind of neighbors to have more forethought.

    In my crowded suburb the fashion over the last months has been for residents to install mega-watt outside security lighting, and this in one of the least crime-ridden neighborhoods in all of Tidewater Virginia. Glare has dimmed Orion rising and the pleasure of sitting out of an evening. I understand very well how you feel about this new block between you and nature.

    My complaint may seem silly to some, but I say - plaintively - that that humans could learn something about consideration for others.

    Best to the Duchesses.


  2. Sorry about the shed. It does seem a bit much for him to build it right slap bang In line with your door without asking first.

    As a city dweller who has had high speed trains revving up at the end of her garden in the not so distant past I dont have a huge amount of sympathy for the no to HS2ers. You get used to it. Small boys love it. Plus the ones I know have acres of land so plenty of opps to look the other way!

  3. Minnie - how kind you are. Orion is my favourite constellation, so I sympathise with you. At least I do still have very good stars.

    Betty M - love the idea of the small boys being made happy by the trains. Excellent silver lining. :)

  4. Sorry to hear about the shed. First world problem though it may be, I'm right there with you. It might help you feel better to go ahead and tell him that the hill means a great deal to you. But then, when someone can say, "It's just a shed," it does seem somewhat hopeless.

    I have been marveling ever since your first buds started showing at how much further along your flowers and leaves have been than ours, even though you are so much further north (and on a different continent). It's been fun to watch.

    Also, thoroughly enjoyed your rant on Friday.



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