I was a bit late writing a letter to Santa this year, so I opted for the new technology bit and emailed him instead (I also couldn’t afford a loan to use the Royal Mail’s man-in-shorts-delivering-letters service). So somewhere up near the North Pole, a benevolent bearded old gent is scratching his head and wondering what on earth he’s going to do.
My wife suggested that I needed a cat scarer because there are so many cats here that David Attenborough is thinking about filming a series. Depending on the website, a three-set of stick-in-the-ground black feline-shaped things could cost anything from almost £25 to just less than £13.
Great idea – the shapes of the cats scare the birds and cats trespassing on the territory of other felines. We once had a Rhodesian ridgeback dog which was a mass of muscle and testosterone, but even he couldn’t deal with the local cats, so I vetoed the waterproofed powder-coated steel imitation moggies.
I did the same to the telescopic electric hedge trimmer; at almost £150 it seemed a bit on the expensive side and I came to the conclusion that if you allow a hedge to reach a height of more than seven feet, you should have to prune it manually, praying to the gardening gods that they – and your neighbours – will forgive you for your trespasses.
So what about a lawn roller (as much as £60) which you fill with water or sand to flatten the imperfect sward? No thank you. And the same goes for a bird bath with its own solar light (£29.99) and the solar cherub (£49.99 but on offer at £24.99). Made from marble-effect poly-resin, it’s bound to catch the eye – for all the wrong reasons.
I was tempted by the idea of a twin pack of scarecrows, traditionally dressed and mounted on bamboo poles. For just less than £20, they would make a statement and provide the garden birds with a talking point.
But no, the only thing I want for the garden this Christmas – and this is what I have told Santa – is a minion to do all the clearing, the weeding, the pruning, the shaping, the dead-heading, the mowing, the composting... in fact, to do everything, including making cups and tea and providing a plate of chocolate digestives. And a brand new seat so I can relax and take in the views of my pristine garden.