Time, and lists, on our hands...

 There's a joke doing the rounds at the moment: "Spare a thought for all the husbands who have spent the last few years saying I'll do that when I get some time". And so it was on Saturday I woke to find my wife planning a roster of delayed jobs. At first glance it looked insurmountable, but it turns out that the best way to shorten a list is to tick things off it - so we got started.

First we got the teenage son out of bed and broke the news, a task in itself. Our ten year old daughter was far more willing.

The tree which has been encroaching upon the south side of house and progressively blocking daylight from above for several years was heavily trimmed, as were the hydrangeas and various other bushes advancing from below. Two trailerloads of trimmings out to the bonfire pile in the paddock later, the rastafarian grapevine was tamed back to to within a metre or so of the high fence it had completely engulfed.

As we were gathering up the debris I attempted to explain to the teenage son that if he put half as much effort into doing the job as he was putting into avoiding it... you know how that goes.

After lunch I rediscovered the old flourishes and flair of my brief stint cleaning windows (thirty years ago!) as I regaled my wife with my own confessions of a window cleaner. I don't think she was very impressed. As it happens I started with the easiest window and as I went round the house they got progressively more difficult, ending with me up a ladder in the middle of a large and resolutely obstructive bush, clinging to a narrow window ledge reaching out to the furthest corner of the damned window and failing to get the last bit, for fear of taking a short cut back to earth.

Feeling righteous and virtuous I went into the house to find all three of my co-internees had drifted back inside and were watching television! What about the jobs?

Their enthusiasm had waned but I was on a roll so I was back up the ladder in a flash and gouging  a good few season's worth of sludge and leaves out of the gutters. I was fascinated to see how, in a relatively short period of time, mini-ecosystems had formed - complete with proper soil. How did it get up there? In one place there were weeds growing in soil in the gutters. Well not any more; there's a place for plant-life and it is not in the spouting. This particular job was cut short, fortunately just as I had almost finished, when I reached up into a valley between two sheets of iron and disturbed a nest of paper wasps! I would have slid down the ladder like they do in the movies (particularly old musicals), but mindful of the wasps above and the spikey lemon tree below my descent was less elegant than rapid.

So now I've got the jump on the list of jobs which is stuck to the fridge - about a third of the items have been ticked off. Although I have noticed an alarming development; there seem to have been a couple of new lines added to the bottom.

How are you getting on with yours?


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