There’s no better way to say ‘screw you, political turmoil’ than by making a fairy garden…
…and I’m sure Sarah Waters agrees.
I am currently reading The Night Watch. It’s been on my shelf for a while, my emergency un-read Waters to be opened in a time of need. It’s a slow and nostalgic look at the lives of four young people in post-war London, making their lives again while still living with ruins and rationing. Waters writes the best type of nostalgia, the clear, honest sort that makes us glad people are no longer imprisoned for homosexuality, but appreciates the warm glow that accompanies visualising the sprinkling Vim on a cloth.
The following paragraph particularly touched me. Helen is having a picnic in the sunny park with her partner, Julia, laying in the grass, drinking beer from a teacup and listening to the splash of oars on a boating lake –
Was it crazy, she wondered, to be as grateful as she felt now, for moments like this, in a world that had atomic bombs in it—and concentration camp and gas chambers? People were still tearing each other to pieces. There was still unrest, in Poland, Palestine, India— God knew where else. Britain itself was sliding into bankruptcy and decay. Was it a kind of idiocy or selfishness, to want to give yourself over to trifles: To the parp of the Regent’s Park Band; to the sun on your face, the prickle of grass beneath your heels, the movement of the cloudy beer in your veins, the secret closeness of your lover? Or were those trifles all you had? Oughtn’t you precisely, to preserve them? To make crystal drops of them, that you could keep, like charms on a bracelet, to tell against against danger the next it came?
And I thought, yes. Totes. I’m going to make a fairy garden, as some of the worrying countries and situations may have changed since the forties, but the issue of threatening turmoil still applies. And the issue of thinking about it too much. I lay there last night thinking about Iran restarting its nuclear program and a stressful argument I’d had at work, and very much wanted a break from all people, including myself and my own annoying brain. So I went on Pinterest, the home of all the best distractions, started looking at miniature gardens, and the next morning was out with a hammer smashing at my own already frost-damaged pots. This was also a frugal thing, as I had most of the plants already, the ladybird is a drawing pin, and the little toadstools are a Christmas wreath decorations. The fence is just twigs bound with garden wire I found in the shed. The trees were bought a couple of Januarys ago, ten pence each in Tesco, sad, glittered, living leftovers. I did buy wee house, but it was only a few quid and has a tiny solar panel so will apparently glow at night. *eagerly awaits darkness*
*update – darkness came, cute but a tad underwhelming.
I then tried to get a nice shot of the cat looking at it, maybe sniffing the house attractively, but she’s a stroppy little madam who deliberately looked away from me.
It was also Eurovision weekend, the best weekend in the year. I had snacks and scorecards ready, and was ready to feel some international, glittery, rainbow-coloured love!
*update-Denmark was robbed. As were Moldova. And apparently we turned down Austria’s song, which won the judges vote, probably because we enjoy the mileage we get from complaining about doing poorly. Doing well would break the narrative.