Today was perfectly filthy, blowing a gale from the south, but nonetheless, we decided it was now or never about THE LEAVES. The bed at the top (north) of the lawn has a fence behind it, and innumerable trees to the south. They pile up about six inches deep. In deep winter, this is potentially an asset, it keeps stuff warm in the worst of the snow. But with this oddly warm winter, all kinds of plants started on their onwards and upwards journey weeks ago, and have been being suffocated beneath this (literally) wet blanket. The Apparitional Gamekeeper was asked to do it last Friday, and stropped mightily – he is absolutely passionate about the demarcation between ‘Gardener’s Work’, which in his opinion, he should never be asked to do, and Forestry, Land Management and Gamekeeping, which are his mysteries (oh, and mowing with the ride-on mower, but of course, that is playing dodgems for the nearly grown up). He turned up today, disposed to treat the kitchen as his club, as is his wont, and we said, ‘Leaves’. Predictably, he threw a trantrum, but for once, the Northern Professor threw a tantrum right back at him, the result of which was that he, I, the Gamekeeper, and the Northern Gentleman, sallied forth in a body to deal with the leaves. It was not pleasant. The wind was tearing across the garden – but because the leaves were very wet, they were not quite as blowy as they had once been, and it was possible, after a fashion, to get them into the wheelbarrow, and, weighted beneath two hessian sacks and a log, to get them to where they should go. I did begin to wonder after a while if the AG was deliberately standing on as many things as possible just to make his point, but probably I malign him. Thirty or forty bales of leaves later, innumerable pale yellow, white, or pink shoots turned out to be feebly poking up from the ground. It will be interesting to see how long they take to go green. I can’t say it was either graceful or fun, but it was long overdue, and a good thing.