A garden centre in Palma. | S. CASES


As some of you may know, over the past year or so I have “consciously de-coupled” from parts of my erstwhile working life. This is not to say that the dreaded ‘R’ word can be used willy-nilly, because it can’t be, as I still grind-out articles for the Bulletin and one or two other publications in the UK for a mere pittance, but such is life. However, because my work is portable i.e. I can do it anywhere - this state of affairs has enabled me to free-up my time, because as long as I meet my deadlines and occasionally pay homage to my editor - no-one cares what I do, or in fact where I do it. So far, so good; or you would think so, wouldn’t you? The trouble is, after a number of years having to be in radio studios, newsrooms, offices, and other places and then going home at a certain time, most of my days are free, save for sudden outbursts of typing and lots of staring out of the window. On non writing mornings or afternoons, I pop down to Andratx town and buy a Bulletin and some other British newspapers - that is, apart from the Daily Express, because I’m not that old - and by noon I’ve drunk four cups of coffee and am twitching like a gerbil on speed.

Unhappily, I am hopeless at any type of DIY, so apart from doing gardening stuff which I really enjoy, I’ve been banned from any other household endeavours. For instance, after lunch one day recently I decided to hang a few pictures - so I found a hammer and later a man came to re-plaster the bits of wall I had loosened. Then I tried to fix our water heater which is a little temperamental to say the least; unperturbed, I went in our ‘boiler room’ with a spanner and later another man came to put it back together again. The very next day I was about to start repointing the wall beside the BBQ area when she took me on one side by my earlobe and explained that builders do not, on the whole, spend their spare time writing, so ergo - writers and the like, should not repoint walls because they are bored. It’s expensive and dangerous she said - fair enough I suppose.

Once I have finished my writing session for the day, I may look in the fridge a few hundred times, hoping against hope that I had somehow missed a plateful of cold sausages and the last of a six pack of beer that I’d been saving since er, er, yesterday. As I have confessed on other occasions, I do love the garden but have been banned from visiting any garden centre unaccompanied. Mostly, this is apparently because I will buy almost any plant, shrub or flower, on a whim. I mean, come on - do you really need a fully developed and costed gardening strategy to buy the odd geranium? Yet, to conquer what I will call occasional lacuna’s during my new daily routine I have started to visit, for no apparent reason, what my kids used to call ‘gifty-wifty’ shops to inspect the cushions and candles so beloved of all manner of bunny-boilers out there. The only trouble with this is that the smell of potpourri is so pungent the next day you still smell gently redolent of Mary Berry’s knicker drawer. I have also found that when you are flat-out busy, you dream of being bored - but once you ease away from daily certainties things can get tricky. My son has two children, his wife is a district nurse, he has a challenging job himself and before the current lockdown, the older of their two boys plays both football and rugby with occasional forays into other activities. He tells me that almost every minute of their week is already pre-planned and committed before they collapse into bed on Sunday evening. I remember when life used to be like that and I don’t want to go back there again thank you very much - but, at least I didn’t take up golf.

Come on Frank use the ‘B’ word will you? Okay then, boredom will force you to ring people in the UK you haven’t seen for fifteen years and halfway through the conversation you remember while you left it so long. Boredom means you start to read stray Hola magazines that feature lots of glamorous couples that you’ve previously never heard of - and in Castilian! Boredom can, and usually does mean - that you start to get on your own nerves. I reckon that to overcome bouts of boredom, we all need to re-invent ourselves, such as not trying to be the exact same boring person that we always have been. For instance, I have grown a beard which I think looks rather cool and she hates with a vengeance. I’ve also taken to looking longingly at Harley Davidson motorbikes and listening to rap-music - surely that’s better than traipsing around garden centres really slowly with my hands behind my back? Anyway, that’s me done; I’m off to my daily Cross-Fit session - don’t be daft, only joking!