What is Better, Cheap Happiness or Lofty Suffering?


Written in June 2014

Our Home work to write on the above title and I decided to write about my current situation at home.

I had recently come out of hospital after an operation and the workmen came 3 days after and commenced rendering the outside walls on either side of my bedroom.

3 weeks later they left – walls complete but cleaning up very unsatisfactory. I have been spending time cleaning up behind them.

Cheap Happiness

The simple things in life are free and this is my garden. A place to sit, relax or tend the garden from Spring to Autumn. In the winter months life outside continues as I watch from the inside.

A plague, given to me by my daughter, hangs on the wall and reads:



Container growing is my passion. it enables me to move and redesign the garden as I wish. Inevitably each year no year is the same except for the borders where my ‘memory’ plants grow. Each plant here is a reminder of my late Aunt, Friend and Mother.

The containers of various shapes and sizes are divided into permanent flowers, Fruit Trees, Shrubs and the Annuals are always very colourful. I also have Rhubarb, a present from my son, Raspberry, Gooseberry, Alpine Strawberries and a variety of Herbs that grow all year round. This year my colours are White, pink, mauve, deep red and yellow in Petunias, Sweet Williams, Stocks, Chrysanthemums to name but a few in the Spring collection. The garden will be a blaze of colour fir for a Queen. On the 114 or 15 July The Judges will be visiting to judge the garden for the local ‘garden in Bloom’ competition.

Since the beginning of the year I have kept on top of the gardening knowing that at some point I would be called up for my operation. Throughout this time my illness debilitated me in the afternoons and was spent in pain and in bed for the rest of the day. When coming home from my operation I anticipated to enjoy all my different areas in an abundance of colours and smells.

I would relax, listen to the bird song. Watch the Sparrows visit the feeding station where the fat balls hung in containers. Observing the adult Sparrows sitting close by their nests up in the Eaves is another delight to enjoy. They chirp frantically as if to say, ‘come on, come on, it’s time you youngsters left the nest.’

My garden is a haven for all the insects including bees and Butterflies as they visit the flowers and vegetables of their choice, to rest and fees. Spiders weave webs to catch unsuspecting insects. After a wet spell the slugs and snails attack the flowers and vegetable unaware that blue slug pellets will end their lives promptly.

All was ready for my speedy recovery.

Lofty Suffering

A week before going into hospital the man in the upstairs flat decided on having the walls outside by bedroom outlook, ‘rendered.’ Explaining about my pending operation didn’t seem to deter him as he wanted it done ASP. We share the cost of this work. Incidentally a few years back I’d asked that it should be done but he declined to say his wife suffered with her nerves, When the work would be done his wife was in work all day but has now retired!

With this pending my son came over to help move a majority of the plants, leaving the very large pots for the workmen to move. The boss had re-assured me that everything would be put back as it was and everywhere would be clean.

The work was scheduled to be finished in a week but my next door neighbour decided to have her wall done at the same time. This was common sense as all the mess would be over in one go.

It took the builders 3 weeks to complete the work instead of 2 due to another next door neighbour causing a confrontation hence they did not return for a week and gave me the impression they had lost interest because the place was not left as promised.

Three days after my return from hospital the work began. Scaffolding erected and my bedroom became dark and dismal. Throughout their working time my curtains were drawn. The flat was dark, with no light, sunshine or fresh-air and windows remained shut.

For 3 days, 8 hours of continuous hammering, drilling and removing the old concrete made it impossible for me to stay at home. My daughter took me out and we were lucky the weather was hot and sunny.

Each evening the bags of rubble were put into sacks and taken away in the van that came to take them home. next two layers of plaster were applied , followed by the pebble-dashing. Up to this point the boys worked hard but there was disappointment to come.

Early on in the work all the pipes came down and water from upstairs and mine flowed freely onto the yard. When they put them back and began to clean up myself and upstairs had to stand over them and tell them how to put back the covers on the drain gulley!! After they had gone that evening we tried the pipes out only to find water did not flow correctly. They came back the next day and sorted that out.

They had no idea how to clean as I was left with dirty windows, cement on the window ledges, door frames not clean, a window that will not open. My Victorian tiles a mess. The drive way and side yard another mess. Outside on my front lawn a ton of pebble-dash and some sand.

Throughout the whole time I had nowhere to sit as they had their building materials in all of my areas. I even had to have my car on the road as they had the skip in the driveway and everyone one had to squeeze past it.

The weather, hot and sunny, made it good for the workmen but for the flowers and vegetables who were getting thirsty. My hose pipe not accessible because the work men had acquired it. Not being allowed to lift heavy things I watered with my jug.

It broke my heart to see the garden like this after I’d planned on how I would get better.

4 July 2014 the workmen left. 4 -10 July have spent in cleaning up after the workmen. As I write there is still more to do but the garden is ready for the garden competition. I can now relax and enjoy sitting outside with Spotty my dog, and all is PEACE.

To sum up:

Sunshine, light and fresh-air are the key to:


Confrontation with neighbours, noise of workmen, no Sunshine. Light or Fresh-air life becomes:



About marystreasurechest

Life provided me a long variety of experiences in skills, careers and hobbies. Countryside, nature, gardening, reading, cooking, knitting, cross-stitch. Originally from Reading/Newbury areas, now reside in S. Wales. Writing stories, telling tales of everyday life . Take a peep in my 'treasure chest' and enjoy your read. All work on this site is copyright of the owner
This entry was posted in Challenges, Event, Garden, Health and wellness, Illness, Life, repairs and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What is Better, Cheap Happiness or Lofty Suffering?

  1. mavimet says:

    Good luck in the judging Mary. I’m sure your garden is beautiful!

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