Monica, a seventy seven year old who just happens to be my mother, is unique in oh so many ways. Up until two months ago when she had knee replacement surgery she was still playing tennis three times a week, riding and walking kilometres a day as well. There is so much more I can tell you about her exercise obsession, needless to say though you now see why a knee replacement was necessary. As you will see not all excersise was welcomed by my mother.
When our family home was sold fourteen years ago Monica chose to down size and purchased a unit. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms plenty of room for all the kids, grandkids and great grandkids to visit. Like many retirees of her generation she had absolutely had enough of gardening. Our particular property was approximately half an acre in size and other than the percentage of land used by the house and shed, most of it was lush green lawn. All of which was mown by Monica, in her gum boots and lycra leggings. She could be observed most weeks pushing that lawn mower up and down the length of the yard cause she couldn’t bare to have a blade of grass out of place.
When Monica finally moved into her new unit the first thing she did was rip out any blade of grass or garden that existed in her long “L” shaped court yard, replacing the offending greenery with terracotta paving stones. No living thing was spared, never more was she going to be tied to the upkeep of a garden and the regular mowing it required.
There was however one aspect of gardening that she did actually like, Monica really loved her strawberry plants and thanks to the horses that lived in the paddock beside our house, were the biggest, juiciest and sweetest strawberries that anyone had ever tried. Monica perfected the art of composting horse poo so that the stimulating effect on the strawberry plants had to be seen to be believed. There was no match for her strawberries, they were legendary.
When she took her one year old lawn mower back to the shop for repairs, they mower mechanic was stunned at the poor condition of the machine. He had never seen a lawn mower disintegrate the way hers had or as quickly. He said he simply didn’t have an explanation for the state the mower was in.
He may not have know how it had happened but my mother certainly did. She never actually admitted to the mechanic but every week she ran over piles of manure collected from the paddock. Back and forth, breaking up every last nugget of horse poo gold to spread on her beloved strawberry plants.