The last time

Isn’t it funny that you don’t know it was the last time until it’s too late?
Have you seen any swallows lately? No I don’t expect you have – I haven’t either but I remember them swooping round our garden I remember them high in the sky catching flies and I remember them clinging on to the telephone wires in long chattering lines. But I don’t know the last time I saw one, sometime in September I guess. I only know that they are nowhere to be seen now. They have just disappeared like magic. Of course I know they’ve gone to a warm country like Africa. And now I won’t see any until next spring.
It was like that with our secateurs – I had been using them to trim the leaves off the tomato plants in the greenhouse in the warm summer. And it wasn’t until it was dark, late that night that I realised I had not put them away and I went out to retrieve them. But they weren’t there. They were nowhere to be seen. And that’s when we had the conversation. When did you last see them? I last saw them in the green house or did I? Did we last see them in the tool shed or did you see them on the garden table?
Anyway whoever saw them last they were not to be seen now. They were gone – disappeared like magic like the swallows. And I wouldn’t have minded but they were one of those posh pairs with red handles that you see gardeners using on the telly. Expensive too – I wracked my brains when did I see them last but it was no use I could not remember.
It’s funny though seeing something for the first time is easy to remember and you know it straight away. As you see it you know it’s the first. I saw the first redwings today. They appeared in our orchard after coming all the way from a cold country like Russia and they are only a little worse for wear after their journey. They are a sure sign that autumn is here and as if on cue we had our first frost last night. And it could be the last time you mow the lawn this year – although you never can be too sure until its winter and you suddenly realise that the grass has stopped growing and the last time you mowed your lawn was in October.
Oh by the way the secateurs appeared up this morning - I’m glad I didn’t have to wait until next spring to see them like I will have to with the swallows. They were in the compost heap and when it was being turned there they were buried in old rotting tomato stems that I had pruned that hot summer day. I must have thrown them by mistake with the trimmings onto the heap. They were a bit mucky and rusty but after a good oiling hardly the worse for wear. Mind you if they had not turned up until next spring I don’t think they would have been as good.

That’s definitely the last time I am going to do that! (Well maybe - but like I said with the last time you never can be too sure.)


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