As is befitting of my slow-lane life-style, I've finally received the draft copy of my House for Sale advert. It was ok but the external photos didn't look too inspiring. It may well be that the photographer was lacking enthusiasm due to the monsoon, but given that I have been out in it for days carrying out my special version of sit-down slow motion weeding, I don't have much sympathy. I've got quite a large garden and while I need it to be manageable I don't want all concrete and hard landscaping. I get someone in to do hedges etc and last year I acquired an ancient and unpredictable ride-on mower that rapidly became one of my 'indispensables'.
I have quite a few Indispensables. They bring me great joy and a sense of achievement, and as such, I get a little over-enthusiastic about them. These are devices that mean I can still do things that I would otherwise have no chance of doing due to mobility / pain issues, and they range in size from a battery operated tin opener (utterly brilliant - get one, you'll wonder how you ever managed without it - no more throwing the tin across the kitchen in frustration) to the aforementioned ride-on mower (superb invention and, once you learn the hard way to avoid steep banks, great fun).
Sitting alongside the ride-on mower in the shed is the electric log splitter. What a fantastic contraption! Fond as I was of the axe that lived by the front door and caused consternation to callers, that emotion is nothing to the adoration I feel for its successor, the electric log splitter.
As there is no gas in the village, my central heating and hot water are provided by a multifuel stove. Much as these are pretty and cost effective they require a lot of physical work to run. Periodically, large loads of dry wood are delivered by the local timber yard and these need to be split and stacked under cover. They are then brought into the house on a daily basis.
Before my spinal problems I used to be very reluctant to ask for help but now I've become a little less so. On occasion, I have heard the word 'demanding' muttered from the mouths of loved ones but I think they're being too harsh on themselves. I don't find them demanding at all. When friends and significant others arrive, instead of offers of coffee and chat I hustle them outside to the log mountain. I sit on a pile of cushions in front of my electric log splitter, pressing the button, and generously allowing them to stack the split logs for me. They love it. They do love it I tell you. I tell them as well.Often. Some of them seem a bit dubious about this but I've found that repetition works well in convincing someone, and outrageous flattery on their fitness, strength and stamina (and how stacking my logs is contributing to that) is very effective. As I can only sit pressing the button for short periods they never get over-tired and there have actually been incidences of them wanting to continue! I fulfill this need in them by inviting them to carry a few buckets of coal in for me. They are always very appreciative of my consideration.
Although I refer to my gadgets as my Indispensables it's obvious who the real Indispensables are. And without their help and support I'd be well and truly paddle-less, a long way up the river. Not to mention log-less. The definition of indispensable is : 'cannot be dispensed with or neglected, absolutely necessary or required.' That partially sums it up. But it omits the important bits about appreciation, gratitude and love. So I suppose there are the Indispensables and then there are the Utterly Indispensables.
My Utterly Indispensables all live across the Solway. I look over to them and see Skiddaw and the Lakes in the distance. They look across to me and see Criffel, who is basking in gentle evening sunlight tonight.