Today is Bean Planting Day, in the world according to my Grandad. Grandad is 89, and he’s grown beans every year since forever, and they’ve become a symbol; something to hope for. Every year, we have to trench and double-dig, build a special wigwam, winkle out stray dandelions right down to their root-tip.
We’re to be at his house for 11 ish, which means leaving at 10 ish. So forced to walk dogs at 9 ish, and did not go to bed until 3 ish.
Am scared to open eyes in case bleed to death.
I can’t bear to think in any way, so dogs and I are trundling around the bottom meadows. The sun is very bright.
We reach Emma’s meadow, and I have to shut my eyes completely, I cannot cope with so many dandelions. They appear to be roaring. I get half way across the meadow, and decide to lie down.
The dogs think I’ve gone mad and try to bounce me back on my feet, but I play determinedly dead, and eventually they give up.
Lying here is very naughty, and I know that, which makes it all the sweeter. The damp grass is like a cool ruff around my aching head, and the weird rules of Sound mean the sheep’s cries are no longer grating my brain. I can smell oil seed rape and rusting blackthorn blossom. There’s a thrush nearby, singing very carefully: Hey-Arthur, Hey-Arthur.
I think about dinner last night – the food, the laughing. The tremendous gossip. I really can’t believe –
After a while, I can open my eyes. The sky above is a deep, brilliant blue, the clouds ragged and fast-moving, but still dodging the sun. I prop myself up on my elbows, and I can see into the Railway Field, and up into Dawn’s field, with Mary and Taz two dark shadows, endlessly cropping grass.
I roll onto my belly, knowing I must get up, get on, but am distracted by a little black beetle in a buttercup. It keeps lifting up one foot, then the other, like a lizard in a desert.
My knees are wet, and when I look, muddy. I stand up and stretch, my head back, my hands reaching up, as high as I can, feeling my life right to the tips of my fingers. I hold it, hold it, until my muscles burn.
I look like a loon, but I feel much better. My thoughts are no longer pickled in gin, red wine and Baileys (Why? Why did that happen?)
The dogs and I walk home, ready to load the car, drive to Coventry. Ready to help Grandad plant those beans.