Three Ways To A Red Nose

Three things come together this week that make me feel nostalgic. One the garden looks lovely and especially the hostas and irises.

Second the warm weather justifies the start of the moth trap season to see what if any moths are flying around the garden just now. And third the first test match of the year begins at Lord’s, this year versus Pakistan.

In the garden, I’ve been reorganising the working area so that is less obtrusive and more accessible utilising as many old pieces of wood, doors etc as possible.

I had help but the new space is better and, well, I know how pleased mum would have been to see the are set up using stuff I’ve sourced from behind the shed and, especially, from neighbours’ skips.

There wasn’t a plank, a piece of flotsam or a mammal’s dropping that mum wouldn’t collect in order to develop her garden. When eventually she had to empty the attic to move into a bungalow following dad’s death the house sighed with relief and sprang free from the foundations.

I believe it is now living wild in Carmarthen with a much younger terrace, having sired several cottages and a couple of dodgy Prefabs it met on the House To House dating website where ‘bricks mix’.

The second was that the warmer weather justified the first appearance of the moth trap.

As it happened it rained so the pickings were sparse but there’s no memory of dad that is complete if it doesn’t contain a moth or butterfly, a caterpillar or a chrysalis.

There was always a palpable frisson of excitement every morning when we switched off the mercury vapour light and removed the bulb.

What would the night bring? Sometimes it wasn’t much; at other times the trap jostled with activity. But dad never lost his enthusiasm. There was always hope, always a better day tomorrow if today was poor. And if today was good then tomorrow might still be the best yet.

Oddly, if dad could be optimistic about his moth trap, attending a sporting event where an England participated, he was much more likely to be clouded in gloom. Many were the times he would lapse into a pre match gloom as we discussed one side’s strengths (the opposition) versus the other’s weaknesses (England).

But within that self protective, self imposed depression lurked a sliver of hope, like a little child peering through spread fingers. On those days, when the stars aligned, especially if Australia were the opposition, he’d squeeze his pudgy fingers into fists and widen his eyes slightly demonically and meet my gaze. That expression, that revived belief suffused every pore. It said ‘yep, I knew it all along’.

And afterwards, he would ride that release of euphoria with stories from the 40s and 50s when he watched other teams pull rabbits from hats. He might even allow a little hope to carry him into the next game. Until the first set back when the clouds gathered and the possibility of silver linings melted into some imagined cumulus.

Mum saw hope in rubbish and rot, she perceived a renewal, a future. Dad showed how you can both hang on to hope and refind it when you think it gone.

Both have long gone, but those memories remain. Even today, as a wicket fell and England looked likely to slide towards a collapse I could recall the day in 2005, a few months after he’d died when England pulled off the coup of my lifetime, beating the best visiting team there’s been, on an overcast afternoon in South London. That day, shared with my uncle and son, had me sniffling that the old boy wasn’t there. My red nose was lost amongst the outpouring of a different kind of emotion from the crowd. That day it was my lad who clenched his fists and cheered, a generation skipped. Maybe the tears were of hope. After all that was as good a legacy as he could leave. Thanks

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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42 Responses to Three Ways To A Red Nose

  1. Mary Smith says:

    Love the nostalgia for your parents and seeing your beautiful garden and dog – cricket, not so much.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sue Vincent says:

    I’m with Mary 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Not one for cricket, but your garden is beautiful, as are those moths.
    We had one indoors which was trying frantically to get out against the patio door glass, so I managed to guide it outside, only for a bird to come along for an easy lunch. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ritu says:

    My Pops, Brother, Husband and son would totally get your cricket nostalgia…. I live your garden! And the moths are beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely garden; a return to moth traps; debacle at Llord’s. Summer is here

    Liked by 1 person

  6. sherylc6060 says:

    It is a beautiful garden and a gorgeous dog. Your parents would be proud.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Darlene says:

    I love when I see traits of my father in my son so I know how you must have felt. The garden is fabulous and of course you know I love pictures of the dog.

    Like

  8. You have a beautiful garden Geoff. It does look tidy!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. JT Twissel says:

    Nothing wrong with a sentimental sniffle or two on a lovely day in your beautiful garden. Have I told you lately how jealous I am? I’m fighting poison oak…. nasty stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your garden is so lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. willowdot21 says:

    Beautiful 💜💓💜

    Liked by 1 person

  12. How I miss those ‘Summers of Cricket’ days! Days when the beauty of outside got ignored in favour of rushing around to get all the chores done by 11 am so we could spend the rest of the day and evening glued to the one day matches. The emotional roller coaster rides would leave us exhausted – hope never faded, even when it turned into a white-wash! Beating Australia was cause for jubilation, beating anyone else was cause for the sorries – they were such nice guys, they tried so hard, they never gave up – we were just too good 😀 Sometimes there were even days at actual matches which while being fun, as I got older I preferred to watch on tellies that kept getting bigger purely for our cricket season maximum viewing pleasure. Now it’s all on Sky and I don’t have Sky so my life is cricketless and so much poorer for it!

    But your garden is beautiful, the moths are amazing – to think the rest of us without moth traps miss all these exotic sights fluttering about our houses at night. And its always lovely to see Milo enjoying his domain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      It’s shaping up to be a spectacular year… well in the garden at any rate. I don’t think I’d cope without access to cricket. At heart I’m still a radio man… the pictures are better.

      Like

  13. Elizabeth says:

    I never heard of moth traps. Are they for collecting or to eliminate garden pests?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Lovely memories and lovely garden, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Charli Mills says:

    Your garden, moths, and memories are beautiful. Nothing better than a legacy such as this: “Mum saw hope in rubbish and rot, she perceived a renewal, a future. Dad showed how you can both hang on to hope and refind it when you think it gone.”

    Liked by 1 person

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