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Dandelions: an apology

But first, a thank you. The estimable @wombat37, of whom I am sure you are aware, has reminded me, indirectly, of something I had quite forgotten. He has caused me to think about the house where I grew up, which is a subtly different place to the house where my parents still live, and I have remembered summer evenings and the war on the dandelion.

My part in the war on the dandelion was to race round in an astoundingly inefficient search pattern locating the enemy, then hold position (optionally imitating a pointer-hound the while) until Dad had finished off the previous victim. I realise, now, that this was an almost entirely superfluous role, but I thought it was important at the time.

 Where this memory has been all these years I couldn’t say, but it has come back to me in quite remarkable detail, and very pleased I am that it has. I’m not sure I trust it entirely – I have no idea, for example, whether this was a regular occurrence, or whether I am remembering an isolated five minutes before I got bored and wandered off somewhere else – but I am quite certain, now that I’ve remembered it, that there were never any dandelions flowering in our lawn.

I’m not saying that it was a great lawn. There was so much moss and clover (though again, never flowering, because one advantage of having four children is that there’s usually someone around to mow the lawn when the weather provides an opportunity) and so forth that we never dared attack it with weed-killer for fear of how awful it would look whilst the grass was growing into the spaces, and it was a random hodgepodge of bents and fescues and Yorkshire fog (which is a very beautiful grass in its place and very cute in its pink pyjamas*, but makes lousy turf), and was completely worn away under the swing†. But it never had dandelions and it never had daisies – not when I was a little girl. I remember quite distinctly being mystified by Dad’s insistence on this, since Granny’s lawn was almost all daisies and, I always thought, all the better for it.

This is why I’m feeling a little bit guilty about my #sundaypics entry. (If you don’t know about #sundaypics you should go and look at the hashtag, or at the blogs here.)

 . . .

  . . .

   . . . you came back? Oh, thank you. Anyway, this week’s #sundaypics being The house where I grew up, and not having any suitable photos, it seemed like a good idea to draw my parents’ house in big blocks of colour in the style of a child’s drawing, and to make it into a sort of cartoon strip explaining why I was drawing it that way . . . and I was rather pleased with how it was turning out, because it had all the classic house that all kids draw (©T Pratchett) elements – the door in the middle and the smoking chimney and even the apple tree down there on the left. Actually there were four trees, and only one of them had little red apples, and you can see that I was already on a slippery slope before I came to the lawn. But the lawn of the house all kids draw should have flowers in it, yes? And I knew they couldn’t be daisies, I was never going to forget that. And I had a vague notion that there had been dandelions, somewhere . . .

. . . somewhere in the night the memory came back, as freshly as if I’d been conscious of it all along. And I’m damn glad it did, because it’s a lovely, shining fragment of the past, so I can’t say I regret putting in the dandelions, and I’m not taking them out now, but all the same:

Sorry, Dad.

And for the record:

There were never dandelions in my father’s lawn.


*Holcus lanatus, which has soft, pale sheaths with pink stripes or veins, useful in identification and also known as pink pyjamas

† There, you see, I could have solved my whole conundrum by putting the swing in instead. How could I forget the swing? But it’s a bit late now, and anyway, I wouldn’t have remembered about the dandelions otherwise.


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