I steeled myself to cut the dead wood out of the fig tree this morning. I’ve been putting it off for a long time, a matter of a few years, in fact, but the real reason only goes back a year.
When we built the big workshop, it finally gave me a suitable wall against which to plant a fig tree. I knew that the roots must be restricted, so we dug out a two-foot cube and lined it with paving slabs before planting the young tree. It had done really well and I had a lot of lovely figs from it. Russell never ate any – having once tried dried figs in his childhood and not liked them, he never ate one again.
A few years ago, I pruned it fairly hard, as it was growing bigger than the barn. That winter was very cold and I was upset, the next year, to find that there was a lot of dead wood. I thought it was the pruning that had done it. I didn’t say anything, Russell wouldn’t have been interested, I thought – the next winter was hard again and, though the tree was alive, it hadn’t recovered. I left it, I was so dispirited., though it did grow again after that.
After Russell died, Jamie told me that he had poisoned it. On Russell’s instruction, he’d drilled a hole and poured in weedkiller. Apparently, Russell was concerned that it was so large that it would damage the building – it wouldn’t have because of the slabs restricting the roots, but he’d forgotten that. He didn’t tell me because he wanted me to think I’d accidentally killed it, said Jamie. He laughed about it. He developed an odd sense of humour in the last few years. It was unexpected.
Anyway, the tree has recovered and I’ve cut out all the dead wood except one piece, which I need a ladder for, and I picked and ate a fig – there are some other ripe ones, but the ladder is needed to get those two.
Then I did fetch a stepladder, but only to clear the guttering on Roses’ bungalow, and while I did that, Eloise worked out how to push open the cat flap in the back door, so that was a happy moment for her.
Next, I practised hymns for tomorrow’s service – two of our ministers are celebrating the tenth anniversary of their ordination, so we’ll have a big congregation – and then picked flowers for Russell’s grave. I’ve done most of the work for the tortoises’ winter quarters, filling it with soil, and will finish that and bring them in tomorrow, if I can find them. I haven’t even looked for them for a week or more. It’ll be quite enough bother, having to pick food for them every day once they’re in.