Needs Must


I say to Hat, ‘this is good shit’.

Hat groans, almost inaudibly.

We are on a walk , Pili disobediently strays ahead and vanishes into rows of pruned tea, all we can see of her is her yellow tail wagging furiously above the trimmed green, a submarine’s periscope, an antenna.

And we are collecting shit. We do this regularly. A basket between us, my hand gloved in plastic so that I can stoop to scoop.

Cattle manure. Conveniently dropped in pats the length of our route.

For the garden that I am trying to cultivate on a chilly, exposed hillside.

My children are used to my eccentricities. This is the lady who sat on an Outpost airstrip waiting to clear a bag of grass (the mowable variety as opposed to the smokable kind) through the airport because she hankered for a lawn.

They barely bat eyelids when I ask them to come on a shit run. Hat doesn’t object to the principle per se, she doesn’t even mind lugging a basket of dung; she objects to the stopping and starting, ‘it takes so long to go on a walk with you when you’re shit gathering’, she says.

Sometimes I wonder if the quirkiness that we – their father and I – exhibit will mean they will adopt a less conventional approach to life or whether it will drive them to conform? Or will I foist a useful ‘needs must’ discipline upon them?

I need a garden ergo I must collect shit.

And they must help.


4 Responses to “Needs Must”

  1. Addy Says:

    As a fellow-gardener, I can understand that. We will do many silly things, all in the name of gardening!

  2. Tapping Per Tutti Says:

    That shit works! And how can one survive without a garden?

  3. Jackie Brice-Bennett Says:

    This made me happy. Not because of the topic, although as a gardener, it’s an important one. But because you sounded more like your old self. And that’s even more important!! So if shit gathering is what it takes ….may many more cattle pass your way!xxx

  4. Sue Says:

    Shit and making compost helped me make a garden in a desert. Nurturing plants is good for the soul and your flowers look beautiful!

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