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Thursday 16 March 2017

130. Confessions of a hypochondriac gardening bore

This week’s news: I’ve still got a cold. My ears are so bunged up, I greet everything Rob says with a loud ‘What??’, which I’m sure he finds thoroughly charming, even after 10 days. I’m still coughing up interesting things, too. All comedy has been banned after this spoof trailer sent me into a coughing fit that lasted longer than the trailer itself. Every night my lungs wake me up – actually wake me from my sleep – with the sound of their rattling.

On the plus side, it gives my health anxiety something real to get its teeth into. You know, instead of the usual (wholly imagined) ailments. I’m one of those annoying people that, as soon as I hear about an illness, I convince myself I’ve got it. Whenever I have to work on medical content, I start exhibiting the symptoms I’m reading about. I can’t watch health documentaries anymore, or any of those awful Channel 4 programmes (The Boy with Eight Legs and that sort of thing), because I’ll convince myself I’m in the early stages of Eight Leg Syndrome or whatever. I’m that sort of person.

I never used to be like this, though. I used to be really slack about my health. When I was a teenager, I had an infected body piercing and I just IGNORED it. Oh well, I merrily thought to myself, that’ll probably clear up by itself. Now, how can I get Liam Howlett from The Prodigy to marry me? And you know what? It did clear up by itself. Well, after several weeks. If that was now? I’d be obsessively Googling infected piercings five minutes after getting the piercing and checking myself into hospital at the first sign of pus.

Nowadays, a tiny pain in my calf is deep vein thrombosis (especially if I’ve flown anywhere in the last week. Lord, I’m a nightmare after I’ve flown anywhere). A headache is a tumour. If I forget a word, it’s early-onset dementia. Toxic shock syndrome, MS, meningitis … I’ve imagined I’ve had it all at one point or another. Working in the garden the other day, I accidentally jabbed myself in the finger with AN ACTUAL RUSTY NAIL and it was like Armageddon.

Maybe it’s an age thing. I don’t know. But the good news is I don’t have tetanus. *Checks jaw isn’t locked* No, I definitely don’t have tetanus. Yet.

Speaking of soil-dwelling bacteria that can kill you, the garden is coming to life. Our first crocuses are flowering (a delight, as I’d forgotten we’d planted them), along with the primroses. And the alliums, peonies, hollyhocks and aquilegias are starting to emerge from the ground. In the veg garden, the rhubarb is poking through and seems to have survived our dividing it last autumn. Garlic, asparagus and chives are also popping up.

More primroses.

Crocuses refusing to open today due to the crummy weather,
but I promise they looked very pretty yesterday.

We'll be eating rhubarb crumble in about two weeks' time.

The weather has been a bit mean to us, though. After a week of glorious spring weather, we’ve just had several days of heavy rain, sleet and a touch of snow. So, we’re back to being indoors by the fire instead of outdoors getting the garden ready for this season. We managed to weed and get a fresh layer of compost on the veg beds while the weather was still nice. And Rob has pruned the grape vines. But that’s about all the outdoor gardening we’ve managed so far. Indoor gardening is kicking off nicely, however, and our bedroom is slowly turning into the usual seedling factory.

Best of all, Gardeners’ World is back on the telly. If anything can distract me from the weather and my struggling lungs, it’s the comforting sight of those braces. Welcome back, Monty Don’s braces. I’ve missed you.