Thursday Interview: Wendy Wheelbarrow


Wendy, you’ve kindly accepted to – Wendy? Are you all right?

Yes, I’ll manage, thank you. I’m just a bit tired. I’m on my last wheel, you know.

Which is why I’m very grateful for this interview. Just how old are you exactly?

I’m afraid I lost my birth certificate a long time ago. But I was here when you arrived and I was with the previous owners for about 30 years, so that puts me over 50, which isn’t bad for a barrow. Of course, if I’d been born into the bourgeoisie, sleeping indoors, hardly ever doing an honest day’s work, I dare say I’d still be in my prime. But I was never pampered. Slept outside, made to lug stones and earth and branches all day, with nary a word of encouragement. A tough life, it was, but in those days you didn’t complain. You just got on with the job.

You never thought of going on strike? Demanding better conditions?

I was all on my own. I’d never even heard of NUBGI so it wasn’t –

I’m sorry? NUBGI?

National Union of Barrows and Garden Implements. But I don’t know if I’d have joined in any case. Bunch of troublemakers as far as I can see. I’m not saying everything in the garden’s lovely, but we have to make do with our lot. If I’d been born with another wheel, I’d have been a bicycle, wouldn’t I? But I wasn’t, so there’s no point worrying. I wouldn’t have wanted to be one anyway. All those fancy gears and what not. More trouble than it’s worth. Down to earth, that’s me. Never led anyone up the garden path.

Well, that’s admirable, Wendy. But I still think you could have been better looked after in your old age. We have no photos of you younger, but in my research for this interview I came across a portrait which a visitor did of you in 2003. You were in quite good shape back then.

barrow2Yes, I remember posing for that picture. The artist was rather irritable, as I recall. Kept saying my features were too wooden. Heaven knows what he expected. For me to put on a steely expression, perhaps.

And how do you see the future? I don’t want to be too blunt but there’s not a lot of you left.

Do you think I don’t know? I’m all wheel and no barrow. I feel pretty rotten, to be honest. But I’m not ready to throw in the trowel just yet. Where there’s a wheel, there’s a way.

Pic’n’Post n° 15


What is the picture of?

Well, last week’s picture of an object drew a few responses, so maybe an alternation of where and what would be a good idea, with another what for today. Many thanks to all of last week’s participants!  Guesses came in from Thumbup at Live Love Laugh, Matt from thebookblogger, T.J.Paris at amaviedecoeurentier, Atthys Gage at Speak More Light, and Johanna Massey. Both Matt and Johanna said the spout of a watering can, so are worthy runners-up, but the first to do so was Atthys, a relative newcomer to blogging, which goes to show one doesn’t need to be an experienced blogger to recognise a watering can.


Congratulations, Atthys!


Actually, it wasn’t a spout but a snout 🙂


Atthys being the first to get the answer gives me the opportunity to put in a word of praise for Spark, a YA / sci-fi / paranormal novel he has recently published. It’s not only well-written and entertaining, but includes some fascinating (but understandable) discussion of topics such as entropy, so if you like that genre (or blend of genres), it’s well worth reading. Along with a few others from Book Country, notably G.D. Deckard (who had the idea), Atthys and I are setting up a Writers’ Cooperative as a place where writers can promote their books and find tips on marketing. Making hesitant progress, I should say, but we’ll get there eventually – I’ll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, happy guessing with today’s Pic’nPost! As it may be a bit easy, for those who really like guessing, here’s a second picture to tax you a bit more:


Zen and the Art of Mosquito Murder


The neighbour was burning leaves again. Driving us crazy. ‘What’s the point of having a garden,’ I said, ‘if we can’t sit out in it?’

‘If he does it again, I’m calling the police.’ When it comes to the neighbour, Carole’s fury runs even deeper than mine. The smoke, she says, gets into the sheets on the washing line. At times it’s so thick we can hardly see our beautiful Aleppo pine.

Bruce, an old schoolfriend come to visit, smiled and nodded in that soft, placid way of his. He’s been a practising Buddhist for thirty years, and apart from his bony, ascetic appearance, everything about him is placid. I watched him watch a frenzied Carole massacre mosquitoes – he didn’t say anything, but it troubled him.

I found that intriguing. ‘Yes, I know all life is precious,’ I said, ‘but a mozzie? You just let it bite you? And turn the other cheek, I suppose.’

‘Oh, no,’ he said, pouring himself more wine (the asceticism only goes so far). ‘If it was really bothersome, I’d kill it. In a Buddhist way, that is.’

‘You mean there’s a Buddhist way of killing? Meditate for an hour first? You’d be bitten all over by then.’

‘No, quite the opposite, really. One sharp slap and think no more about it.’

That was a couple of days ago. Now we’re sitting in the garden again, and a glorious Indian summer bathes the Aleppo pine in a golden glow. The mozzies are out in force, though, and Carole’s getting all jumpy. ‘Still,’ she says. ‘At least there’s no smoke this evening. That’s a blessing.’

‘Oh, I don’t think we’ll be bothered by smoke again,’ I say. ‘That problem’s settled now.’

‘Really? You called the police? That’s good!’

‘The police? Good heavens, no.’ I smile placidly. ‘That’s not very Buddhist.’