So I there I was, innocently minding my own business, secretly yearning for a chocolate digestive, but hoping not to have to make the tea. It was nearly tea-time. Well it was some while since lunch, anyway. I hadn’t broken anything for an hour or two, I’d ripped up a bit of bindweed in the corner, moved some stuff about in the shed, picked a few raspberries. I deserved, at least from my point of view, a biscuit.
She comes to the door of the shed. She puts her fork down, wipes her slightly sweaty brow with a muddy glove and she tells me her idea.
“Why don’t you do the compost heaps?”
I reply: “Do you want a biscuit?”
Her: “No, I mean, why don’t you take charge of doing the compost? It could be your job.”
Me: “What about a cup of tea, AND a biscuit?”
Her: “You just need to clear that corner, the other side of the bin. Then you could build another heap. Or make a new bin. You know, if you were my compost steward, it would really help. What do you think?”
I thought: “I want a biscuit.” But I didn’t say it.
This conversation wasn’t going well. Apart from the obvious fact that she was trying to get me to do some work, I mean some actual WORK, on the allotment, which was in my opinion a clear breach of our agreement, it was also obvious that she wasn’t interested in a cup or tea, or a biscuit.
Recklessly, and in the interests of creating goodwill, purely as a precursor to creating the circumstances for moving the subject closer to farinaceous products, you understand, I said: “Er, well…, um, I suppose I could, maybe.”
She said: “Great. It’ll be great. We can do it together. You do the compost, I’ll do the rest. I’ll help you with the rest.” There was silence. Or at least silence apart from the sound of goalposts being torn out of the ground and moved several yards to the side.
She went on: “Otherwise, you know, I don’t think I can…we might have to…it just takes too long all on your own… and you’re the one who wants to keep the allotment and…”
That was a series of unfinished sentences which added up to her saying this: “I’m too busy to keep this allotment going on my own. You are the one who likes coming down here and sitting on your fat arse eating biscuits. If you want to keep it going. Pull. Your. Bloody. Finger. Out.
“Digestive?” I said, proffering her the packet.