Saturday, 23 August 2008

Listless in London

The shadow across the unruly lawn long neglected enticed my gaze up the evergreen which is now towering above all at the foot of the garden. It stands testament to how long we have been in this present place, a cornerstone of my memory set in a faraway land that is England.

This is our fourth place that we call home. I remember the surge of excitement when I saw the size of the garden. What do we do with an 80 ft garden? We know nought about gardening so, it certainly helped that the house came with a garden savvy neighbour, who instantly took charge. An apple tree was immediately put in place and several border perennials became our pride and joy, with tomatoes, potatoes and even sweetcorn. The perennials in my hands, eventually died. Even the apple tree wilted and went, now replaced with a Japanese acer that gives a lovely colour in summer. But it is the evergreen standing stoic and proud that still holds a special place in my heart.

Hardly a foot tall, we brought it back from a friend’s place in Weybridge and Mick dutifully plonked it in. That was twenty three years ago, when child number two must have been about one and she sat on the swing among the tall trees in Rachel’s backyard that summer afternoon as we selected our plants to bring home. Today as I looked up that tree, she is somewhere in Hampshire attending an office meeting. Child number three was still a baby in my kangaroo pouch when we visited Weybridge to bring this tree home and as I write this, she is on her way to India.

It didn’t seem too long ago that they were out there riding their three wheelers, playing catch and jumping on bouncy castle in the garden, neatly trimmed by Mick. And when they were brave enough, joined by friends from the neighbourhood, they camped out in the night but we found them sprawled in the lounge the next morning. The foxes must have paid them a visit during the night!

A basketball net used to be the centre of activities for family and friends and saw one of the most hilarious matches between sons and mothers. Now it is replaced by a punchbag, cutting quite a lonely and useless figure from where I am sitting now.

The garden in summer had witnessed many a barbeque party with the wind bringing the sweet smell of grilled satay over to the other side of the A40. Farewells and reunions or just plain get-together were held in the garden and we would stay out enjoying the summer nights and what’s left of the barbeque.

Today, as son of Mick laid out a plastic sheet across the front lawn to control the weeds and try to save some so called perennials wilting in the borders, I wonder where did all those years go.

And today, I ventured out and looked up the evergreen and felt a kind of melancholic feeling sweeping over me. It has grown so tall, lording over the neighbour’s pear tree. And more importantly, it now provides a permanent shade for Jasper in his final resting place. The garden was Jasper's playground - his and his alone, chasing other cats away across the fence.



And today, with Jasper out of the way resting at the foot of the evergreen, Tabby, Snowbell and Kissinger were free to laze about in the summer sun.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yg alim.

Kadang2 saya rasa sayu apabila memikirkan masa yg telah berlalu, kata Pak Malim sambil memakai kot bulu. Masa mengubah anak2 yg
kecil menjadi dewasa, dan insan2
yg dahulunya pernah menjadi penyeri hidup kita, kini sudah tiada.

p.s : Arwah Meow, moyang
Pak Malim, kita tanam kat pokok pisang, belakang rumah (kelihatan Pak Malim sedang duduk dlm khemah).

Life for Beginners said...

The cats lazing around in summer --- a perfect picture of bliss? Summer should go on forever...

melayudilondon said...

Lah kak, bitter sweet entry this. which one of the cats did Alia tried to ride?

Kak Teh said...

Pak Malim, apa nak kata,
depa nak jalan merata-rata,
kita dulu pun dok diam rasa tak kena.

Arwah Jasper tetap dalam kenangan,
kata kak teh menyapu air mata dengan lengan.


kenny dear, summer should go on forever, yes, but for my hayfever, it does mean I will be indoors all the time..!

melayudilondon, I think it must be Tabby kut! Am sure di singapore banyak kucing, kan?

[danial][ma] said...

hej! kak teh...yeah, season changes, children grow, and the memories linger...

Madam Tai Tai said...

Kak Teh, I can feel the melancholia of this posting. I'm sensing that you are missing your children and wishing all of them are at home with you - safe and sound.

Apa nak buat, Kak Teh...they have grown up. But I'm sure soon at raya all of you will be together again.

So, at this moment of time you have three cuties to pamper. Your cats are simply adorable! I hope you will allow Tabby and Kissinger to grace your blog later.

Chahya said...

Cute cats!

Re children...they grow up so quickly I forgot when was the last time I kissed the soles of their feet...
I only have two..one is already a teenage..one is going to be in primary sch next year..

Your posts make me feel wanting more children!

ainee said...

salam kak teh. lama dah tak update twitter ye. kalo tak tgk twitter akak, tak teringatnye nak baca blog kak teh. heheh. anyways, that is such a cute cat.

Hi&Lo said...

Kak Teh,

You made me like am in your garden.

Puteri Kamaliah At-Tarawis said...

Kak Teh, cuddle and kiss those adorable kitties for me please..sebak dada saya now tengok those beautiful cats of yours.. mengenangkan I no longer have any feline in my home now.

Dah la tu, with your melancholic writing pasal your garden..lagilah terasa sedih semacam..

Kak Teh said...

[danial][ma], yes thank God for the memories! and phtographs and cats!

Madam Tai Tai, yes, yes, it is one of those days when I truly want them around me. The cats are really enjoying the sun...just as well because it is raining today and all of them are indoors. I have Tabby, Snowbell, Kissinger and Arwah Jasper in the entry - the only ones missing are Gizmo and Moaner.

Kak Teh said...

chahya, errrr, i don think I want to kiss their feet now...dulu2 masa kecik selalu gigit jari kaki depa.
Go on then, have another one, you are still young!

ainee, twitter? I think dah lama kak teh tak ada twitter. I cant cope with too many techy things on my blog. But thanks for dropping by again.

Kak Teh said...

hi&lo, if you are in my garden, can you do the lawn, pleaseeeeeeeeee???
Hehe, I could have taken picture of the whole backyard, but it might look like a nature reserve. We are certainly makingan effort this year and when it is done, will post a picture here.

puteri, what happened to your cuties? I saw lots of pictures of them in the blog but where are they?
Laaa, i was feeling a tad melancholic as my daughter is now on her Indian leg in the tour. Right now in Mumbai and later this evening in Udaipur...I am tracking her by googling maps of India...teruk, kan?

kak e said...

salam kak teh,
i can 'see' what your garden looks like already! one of the things i missed in UK (though only able to appreciate it for 2 years) is the big long backyard... used to have one in oxford, with a single apple tree. nostalgic. but now, in malaysia, there's only 10 feet behind your house (only if you don't extend all the way to the boundry!)

Puteri K said...

I had to send some to SPCA and the rest given away masa nak pindah to condo because of the no-pets ruling. for the first time in my life, takder kucing at home...

Kak Teh said...

kak e, I must confess that we have somewhat neglected our garden. I have made a promise that we shouldmt waste the space and next year will see a proper garden put to good use. The English are so proud of their gardens, and I should literally take a leaf out of their books. Thanks for the visit Kak E.

Puteri K, You must have been devastated to see them go. You know we cant even leave them to go on holiday - thus the reason why until recently, we never went on holidays together. I knew that the day we took a cat in, our life eas bound to change. And it did.

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Aunty Teh,

80 ft garden?!?!? Wow!!! That's huge!

Gosh, that was a lovely walk you took us down...Evoked memories of 'The Secret Garden', and made it feel like there is life in every nook and corner (whcih there is lar, right?) and also plenty of mystery...

Thanks for sharing, Aunty Teh!

Kak Teh said...

Daphne dear, good to see you here again. How is life in the new country?

Yes, my garden is too big..especially for people who have no interest in gardening. However, it does hold a lot of memories and mysteries too.
Take care Daphne.

farizahb said...

Kak Teh,
Now I feel like I have to go and hug my 6 year old! Very moving entry. If only the trees and the flowers could talk - the tales they would tell huh? Happy times mostly, that's what it sounds like. Mick must be your neighbor. At least Jasper gets to spend eternity in his favorite place!

Pi Bani said...

Aiyah, your posting reminded me that I need to mow my lawn before puasa...

Which means I need to do so by this coming weekend!

elviza said...

Dear Listless in London,

You have an 80 feet garden? Wow... Now must really find the money to go to London just to see Jasper's final resting place.

I must say I have been a fan of this blog for years now. But the birth of Listless in London just adds fancy flavour to it.

Melancholic, superbly-written and why on earth can't I write like this, Kak Teh? Hu hu hu hu...

p/s: Just off the the phone with the Samad sisters. Bapak's condition is not good apparently. I ll go to Pantai tomorrow and let you know his condition. Take care of yourself. Don't overdose on the ventolin!

Yours truly,
Sleepless in Setiwangsa

Kak Teh said...

farizahb, my backpacking daughter is travelling with her cousin and a friend. Yesterday, it brought tears to my eyes when my niece sms'ed and said, mak teh, nona rindu makteh, and she wants her cousin to scratch her back.
Yes, if only th eflowers and plants can talk. what beautiful anecdotes they can tell.Go hug your 6 year old before she grows up and go backpacking!

Pi Bani, pi buat garden cepat!!! dah nak posa ni, nanti penat.

Dear Sleepless in Setiawangsa, you prod me on to do this!
Been smsing Eba abt Bapak. Alhamdulillah he is more stable but let's hope he pulls through.

JALAN REBUNG said...

salam kak teh,

semalam dalam SARAPAN DI MANA ada slot awang goneng dengan kak teh. Klasik la rumah lama pak awang yg banyak dengan rak buku.

RIZAL

Kak Teh said...

Rizal, thanks for telling me. Kak teh dah lupa pasal programme tu. Sayangnya tak dapat tengok. Memang masih banyak buku dalam rumah tu, tapi kebanyakannya dah dimakan anai-anai - sayang betul.

Typhoon Sue said...

sayu sikit entry kakteh kali ni. tgh melayan perasaan ye?

comey nyer kucin' kakteh. bulat2 belaka. u must miss Jasper so much. I know, I too miss my old cat Jambu despite having 3 wonderful kitties now.

teringat satu cerita. My sister was feeling melancholic and showed the grave of her beloved cat Oren to her 4 yr old son and told him how much the cat meant to her. The lil boy asked her if he could dig up Oren's grave. My sister was taken aback. "Why?" she asked.
"Along nak kaji tulang2 dia..." came the reply. Sungguh la tak sentimentalnyer budak tu!

Kak Teh said...

sue, tersedikit sayu mengenangkan anak saya sedang mengembara di negara orang, tidur dalam kereta api, makan entah di mana.
Dah dua hari tak dengar suara dia sebab dia belum dapat local SIM card.

Jasper? yes, I miss him so much. I kept mentioning his name all the time, each time I call out to the other cats. I hope the others are not sensitive. Jadi macam my mother - calling out name of the child who is not there with her.

Hey, anak saudara you tu nak jadi vet ke? memang tak sentimental!

Zabs said...

Salam Kak Teh,
Sungguh selesa kucing2 tu merehatkan diri di halaman rumah. Kucing pun tahu apabila kehadiran mereka diterima..

Hi&Lo said...

Kak Teh,

I was a boy scout. I will mow with a wide smile. May be can turn it into a national park with waterfall. hehehe

You keep well.

Kak Teh said...

zabs, kucing-kucing ni di mana pun depa selesa. Terutama sekali bila kita dah kemas tempat tidur, di situlah tempat depa berehat. Tapi tak apa - sayang punya pasal, kucing buat apa pun tak apa.

hi & Lo, we spent the daya today buying pebbles and things for the front garden - the intention is to create a japanese garden. I dont know how far that will go and how long the enthusiasm will last.
Yes, I can do with you and your smile to do the back garden.

wonda said...

To have a garden like yours is a luxury, compared to the handkerchief garden in Japan. Your post made me reminisce the garden back in Malaysia where we used to have a mango tree and also banana trees. Pulling off the grasses and weeds was a chore. It was a hassle to keep off the bats and the pigeons from dirtying our balcony, so finally it was turned into a concrete garden for parking our cars.

Salt N Turmeric said...

Kak Teh, Michael was sitting beside me when i opened your blog. Terus dia kata, those are fat cats! lol. he loves cats btw. ;)

farina

Kak Teh said...

wonda, if only you are nearby, i can get your advise on japanese gardens. We are preparing the front garden for something that can be called a japanese garden. How on earth we are going to do that i dont know..must look at pictures. so far we've got stones - white stones - well, small ones. But it will be cold soon and we might have to continue in spring - hehe! so much for enthusiasm.

salt&tumeric..yes, they are fat and lazy! makan and tidur banyak!

Manal said...

Boleh kot bikin cat-u-mentary on your cats running and lazying around the garden and send it as some cutesy short video competition! Sambil2 tu instil la some malay-ish ambiance and trivia despite having cats in english names like pantun, awang goneng's syairs, kids growing up stories and so on....And then add some Hayao Miyazaki fantasies that makes it look like Spirited Away movie (re those japanese plants).

And kak teh boleh la just duduk2 dgn awang goneng style Forrest Gump and his mum watching the sunset yonder...classic nya.

OK enuf with my imaginations!

Kak Teh said...

manal, LOL, have u ever thought of writing a script for a drama? My cats have all kinds of characters - ada yang samseng, ada yang lemah lembut, ada yang hero - memang boleh buat drama. The but abt me and awang goneng tu - insyaallah, next year nak buat pavillion dalam garden - bolehlah kami berdua duduk main congkak!

MrsNordin said...

Lovely posting! Sedih pulak bila baca part Jasper tu... huu... huu.. :(

Kak Teh said...

mrs N, thank you. Jasper is so precious to us - in life and in death. Our very first cat.

Jane Sunshine said...

Ah, the famous tree in the garden. Miss you all so, so much, miss having lunch/tea/dinner together.

Way to go to the Backpacking Miss, be still hovering momma-she will be back soon with many a tale in typical Nona style!!!

Kak Teh said...

Jane, if you want to know the truth, i think we are a bit envious of Nona. Today she went horseriding - in the hills and into the villages, then tomorrow off to Johdpur and then to some desert before flying to Sikkim. And we are stuck doing the front garden here. Sigh!

[danial][ma] said...

hej! kak teh & family...wish you a blessed ramadhan el mubaraq and may you have a lot of blessings throughout the fasting month. happy 51st.national day too and may malaysia has a great future ahead...

Kak Teh said...

Danial ma, thank you so much and selamat ramadhan and selamat 51st merdeka day to you too. Any celebrations? Do come to Brickendonbury for the Malaysia Carnival!

simah said...

salam akak.. selamat mberpuasa di bulan amadhan mulia..

Kak Teh said...

simah, terima kasih dan sama juga kak teh ucapkan selamat berpuasa kepada simah sekeluarga.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

Kak Teh
So, the listlessness has gone somewhat, although not completely. Not to worry unnessarily KT. You are always shadowing her with your endless doas, and her humongous common sense will steer her away from untowards incidents, insyaAllah. Is she going to perform classical Indian or bhanggara dance soon, heh he?

aMiR

Kak Teh said...

aMiR, I must admit that it is getting better, especially when i can speak to her at least once a day. She has just completed a six hour journey by bus from Udaipur to Jodhpur. and enjoying a stay with a family in a guesthouse. I have googled pictures of Johdpur and duly reported it to AG. I feel as if I am there - tracking her movements and see the kind of hostels she stays in, the tracks she goes on. And people are telling me: let go? I cant.