Friday, May 16, 2014

Oh, for the Fizz...

I'd been to my physiotherapist, to get my back strong and straightened. It began when I was at school, my bad back, when I lent over my desk at nights studying hard for too long, over subjects I sometimes liked and sometimes hated. I knew it was going to be a lifelong struggle.
So I feel for things that don't quite come up to scratch. This monumental, circular bed has only ivy growing in it when so much more could have been achieved with it. Yet it's comfortable the way it is, not needing a 'makeover'.
It's meant to be autumn here, but it's increasingly feeling that autumn is the new spring. I'm sitting here in a light dressing-gown, the window open, the 20 degree temperature about the same as it has been throughout the day, though it's nearly 7pm. Having just read that Australia is likely to suffer another el Nino year - when increased warmth from up out of the Pacific Ocean circulates then an oscillating heat wave that eliminates rain - I am feeling the fizz evaporate.
These photos, as I wandered away from my physiotherapy, were taken on my mobile, but the blurring may well be germane. We're meant to be upside down here, in the southern hemisphere, but our upside down-ness is itself flipping upside down. Things are, in the streetscape, in the gardens, looking remarkably well, after a savage summer, but will we be able to anchor ourselves in an environment that seems as if it's being eliminated?
The exercises my physiotherapist has given me are doing something fine...I am feeling somehow more vertical. I know I can stand up to whatever it is I must. Can the gardens of Melbourne do the same? 
This isn't pleaching, is it, when older branches have been bent into a form to hold the effusion of new growth? Dunno. I'm just hoping that bits of garden history like this live indefinitely here or we'll be getting gardens made out of concrete slabs with bits of green plastic tossed over hem, to look as if they were a real garden. 
God knows I need my physiotherapist. There will no doubt be an even more awful summer than the one we just had, but I will not be able to lug wheelbarrow-load after wheelbarrow-load of mulch over the outline of my garden unless there's some sort of body filling out the outline. Like, I don't do things without a reason.
My mother's nickname for me as a boy was Knuckleduster. Can you believe it? As if I'm meant to stand up to all this dessication without blinking! You need some sort of results sometimes, out of this life, or else it gets to be a bit of a play within a play. Declaration: Gardener Needs Help.  
( PS I got some help today in the form of a new job in a bookshop ).


  1. Hello Faisal:

    Climate change! And what, if anything, is being done to reverse, if that is at all possible at this stage, the whole process by governments the world over? Little, or so it would appear, and what is done is, in our view, half-hearted, too little and most likely too late. Meanwhile, we do so sympathise with you experiencing unseasonable warmth and looking ahead to another blisteringly hot summer with insufficient rainfall. A gardener's nightmare.

    So very sorry to hear of your back problems. The only advice we are able to offer is that you must keep on with the exercises, even when you do not feel up to bothering, and most likely for all time!!

    Your blurred photographs have a certain attraction and do, from Europe, contribute in atmosphere to our view of 'down under'!! The large, ornamental container of ivy is, in our opinion, perfect.

    1. Dear Jane and Lance,
      indeed, whatever's to be done now about the climate? It will keep us on our toes. So many places seem not to have altered much at all, and others seem to experience drastic change. Nightmares? I don't need any more.
      Thank you so much for your concern. The good news is that I've always been able to work out, to some degree, what it is my body needs to be better. It just takes some rehearsing.
      I'm glad you like the huge bed of ivy, as I do. I like it when gardens can be a it slapdash like this sometimes, when they don't try too hard to be anything in particular.

    2. That's a "bit" slapdash, not "a it slapdash". He writes, slapdashedly.

  2. Dear Faisal, congratulations with your new job. At least your back will hopefully be spared this way from too much physical strain. But I hope you'll still have enough time left for some gardening and writing as well, as you seem to be made for it!

  3. Dear Hannah,
    the new job is a relief. My back will always go on feeling some sort of strain, and that is OK, because I can work with it.
    I hope there'll always be time for gardening and writing, for they are the places where I connect best to the world around me.

  4. Happy news about your new job! Sorry that you have chronic pain in your back as that can cloud everything! Have you worked with a chiropractor at all? We feel so helpless in the midst of global warming - What can one person do? It seems like our organic gardening, recycling, etc. is so tiny in the face of industrial waste and car/airplane pollution.

  5. Thank you, my friend. Yes, sometimes everything we do seems too little. Yet it is the little that overcomes the powerful.

  6. Hi Knuckleduster (I rather like that - suits you), congrats on your job, commiserations on your back. Are you doing the 'plank' exercise? It helped me. And pleaching is more forming a hedge on tree trunks (if you see what I mean). Not sure what it is you've photographed. Keep smiling - if you can through the pain. I suffer back pain too sometimes, so know how bad it can be. Dave

  7. Hi Man with a Hat - the old back issue...I haven't had a plank thing but I get to do some twisting to straighten my middle back. I'm amazed how quickly it's helping.
    I've got to look into this pleaching matter with some level of seriousness one day...I don't blame you for not altogether being able to see what the heck it is I've photographed - when I looked at my mobile photos I thought, no way can I blog about these. But I did - I just had to post something. Obsessive? "Obsessive, with back problems, unable to take proper photographs". There, now I've said it.

  8. Dear Faisal,
    As they say, I 'hear you' when it comes to back issues although for me its the hips…
    You got a job in a book shop? That sounds like heaven!!

    PS I hope it doesn't get too hot next sum me, otherwise I shall need to break out the sola topee when journeying outside the house!

    1. Dear Kirk,
      I take it you'll be in this part of the world next summer. I hope we're not going to get streaks of rainless 40 degree days, but it may be so. You might need TWO topees!
      Yes, bookshops are my second home.

  9. Congratulations! Is it an interesting bookshop? I remember you often used to post about fascinating books.

    Was reading about a climate refugee from Kiribati, who New Zealand is sending home to continue subsistence farming, under a few inches of seawater.

    1. Hi Diana.
      Yes, it's an interesting bookshop, with a large collection of owls. I hope to keep posting about books, but who knows, maybe I'll find other sources/inspiration too!
      You'd think marine life is all you could farm under seawater, if you're lucky. It sounds to me like the refugee is being treated without any humanity. What a cruel world it is, or rather, we make it, sometimes.

  10. Replies
    1. Thank you, Matthew! It's nice to feel a bit more real.

  11. Hi Faisal, I've been missing in action so have a bit of catching up to do! So sorry about your back pain, just takes the edge off life, doesn't it! Keep up the exercises. As for the job in the bookshop, that's great news! A bookshop! Way to go... I look forward to more bookish posts.

    1. Thanks, Carol. Perhaps I'd do well to get back to some book posts?
      I hope you're fine, not missing in action for any serious reason. Take care.

  12. Hi dear Faisal, I enjoyed this stream of consciousness post. It sounds like it's going to be a very challenging summer, hopefully people are learning how to grow appropriate plants for this climate. Sorry to hear about your sore back, congrats on bookshop job. Working in a bookshop is the best job to have, I reckon.

  13. Hello dear Catmint,
    if you're in a good bookshop, it can be like you're in a novel...I don't know how to explain it any better than that. Definitely a labour of love, though!
    Thank you for your back is getting better by degrees. I'm loving all this gentle rain we're having, healing the garden.