Many years ago when Gina was carefully crafting a natural riverside garden the river itself brought us a gift. The river was high on its natural drug, rain, when it presented us with a large tree stump. Too large to go over the sluice it laid there for several days its thump, thump, thump as it struck the concrete supports of the sluice disturbing our slumbers. Eventually there was nothing for it but to summon the river men to restore our peace, they duly arrived and with the aid of a stout rope the stump was manhandled onto the riverbank. They offered to take it away but Gina said to leave it as she had plans for it.
Gina told me of her plans for the stump and the next weekend, for we were both still working then, I was dispatched to attend to the stump, first we wrestled it into an upright position at a corner of her still unfinished garden and then armed with a blunt chisel and a coal hammer I was set about the task of carving, nay hacking, out a shallow bowl; it was to be a bird table. Now when it comes to working with a chisel my skills have no beginning, I am legendary for my incompetence but gradually my efforts produced a shallow bowl which met with Gina’s approval.
For a couple of years it served its purpose as a eat in or takeaway for the resident birdlife and all would have been well if it had not been for one duck, far more intelligent than the rest, who found a way to half fly half crash onto the feeding table and as is the nature of ducks others soon learnt the required technique. Its days as a bird café were over.
Now with Gina sadly no more it serves a function as a plant stand. As I have aged and become creased and lined so has the stump soon I am sure we will both fulfil and finish any remaining usefulness. The stump to return to the riverbank from whence it came and me to rejoin my Gina.