Scrimming with Mary Poppins

In sixth grade, I was Mary Poppins in the school play. One of my lines during the tidying of the nursery scene was, “You find the fun and spit spot…the job’s a game!” At that same time, my very favorite movie was National Velvet, a British film about a horse named Pie starring Elisabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney. I think the collision of British influence at such an impressionable age has had a lasting effect on me. In high school, sometimes I’d go to parties, introduce myself to strangers as Sophie and speak with a British accent because I thought it was fun. I now find myself on a farm in Southern Spain owned by a very British couple. They have thick accents and use British words that make me laugh. It’s become almost impossible for me to respond to Olivia without using a British accent. I have adapted quite well to their English ways, drinking gin and tonic with a couple of slices of cucumber and enjoying midmorning tea. Yesterday we discussed the importance of learning and understanding Spanish verbs and verb tenses. Olivia said, “Not knowing Spanish verbs is quite like finding your knickers ‘round your ankles and the elastic gone and trying to run.” I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

Today I used the scrimmer – that’s British speak for weed wacker. After a quick practice session near the house, I walked down to our Easter garden to chop down the weeds that surround our new patch while Olivia and Victoria were at the round pen with the horses. I got the scrimmer started, wacked a small patch of weeds precariously close to our new baby zucchini plants, got nailed in the thigh with a flying rock and then lost power. Try as I might to start the little motor again, I had no luck. I called Olivia and she came to my rescue, leaving the horses and getting the damn thing started. I’m afraid I traumatized every last plant in our garden. I tried not to pelt them with flying weeds, but it wasn’t easy. And the scrimmer is loud. Note: Next time wack before planting. Scrimming results are instantaneous because the weeds are there one second and the next they’re gone, but overall I found the process a tad violent and painful (pelting pebbles hurt). I’ll try to stick to weeding the old fashioned way and leave the scrimming up to someone else. I’m going to walk down to the garden before dinner and check in, apologize to the plants again for disrupting the peace, and stick our “Easter Garden” sign in the earth. Then the plants will be official. All they have to do is grow…

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