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A Pakistani Country Garden

June 19, 2013

My ayah is not happy.  Apparently my bathroom is old.  I should have a new bathroom.  My kitchen is also, apparently, dated and should be replaced.   Someone who lives a few doors down has a new kitchen.  We should have one too.

I would like it to be noted that I am very happy with my bathroom and my kitchen, notwithstanding that my oven has a grill above the hob.  Here is a picture of my oven:

photo-3

Quaint, isn’t it.  I used to have a ‘grill above the hob’ oven when I was a student living in a hovel, 20 years ago and I’m pretty sure that our then landlord, Mr Joshi, hadn’t gone out of his way to get the latest in cooking gold, given his relaxed attitude to mould, slugs and holes in the bathroom roof (we had an umbrella in the toilet for when it rained).  I don’t know how old this particular oven is but my husband and I have made our peace with it and with the grill in particular after an initial period of bedding in when much toast and, tragically, some very rare crumpets were burnt in our attempt to calibrate just how much flame was needed for how long to create the perfect brown.  It’s a precision art.

I’m not sure why my ayah cares so much.  I fear that there is a hierarchy amongst the ayahs and cleaners in our little complex of rented properties and that our house is languishing somewhere in the primordial soup of house evolution.  This bothers me not one wit as I’m just delighted to be living somewhere we can fully unpack. I know that our return to anywhere approaching a London suburb address will mean that my cherished Terry Pratchetts (I’m not ashamed – he’s a comic genius) will most probably have to bite the dust although there will be a “one out one out” policy with A’s dusty tomes of worthy political commentary (you can easily fit two TPs on the space taken up by “The Israel Lobby and American Foreign Policy”).

Our ayah’s quest for home improvement doesn’t stop with nagging me about bathroom fixtures.  She’s taken to turning up with plants and setting about our garden with a trowel.  So far we’ve benefitted from a new grapevine and two basil plants.  I’m slightly concerned, however, just where this may lead.  We’re going back to the UK for a tranche this summer.  I told her that she doesn’t have to come over to our house all the time that we’re away, just occasionally to check everything’s in order.

“Oh no”, was her earnest reply, “I have much to do.  I’m going to transform your garden whilst you’re gone.”   I think our little square of lawn is about to become Pakistan’s first cottage garden.  I’ll keep you posted.

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10 Comments
  1. abbeyjones permalink

    Our bearer tried to convince me today that we need a faster option to start the generator when the power goes out. Apparently the process we have, which takes maybe a minute, is much too long.

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  2. It all puts my worries about cheap gin into perspective… (It’s not bad, by the way, and I accidentally put a lime in the freezer and have hacked it into bits as garnish)

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    • Apparently Aldi Gin is the way forward – any views? I follow important reporting of such things from the UK with great interest.

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  3. A cottage garden could be fun…

    I like your cooker. I like an eye level grill. I don’t have one. I risk burning our inquisitive dog’s nose every time I grill anything.

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  4. Was Living Down Under permalink

    May I suggest though that you do ask her to come into the house at least once a fortnight (if not once a week) to give them place a quick vacuum and dusting. It’s a warm country and when things stay too still, the bugs start finding their way around. Also, with dust comes dust mites.

    The garden might be nice. We’ve got strawberries and tomatoes growing right now courtesy of my oldest daughter…and weeds courtesy of her parents 🙂

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    • Fear not – she’ll be coming often enough to ensure we don’t have too many new ecosystems before we get back. The words “deep clean” were mentioned. It’s all good.

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  5. Cottage garden or Japanese zen? Or rockery? Or wetlands?

    The possiblities are endless….

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    • The area around the paddling pool is currently pretty swampy. We could introduce a couple of alligators and conduct boat tours.

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