Some of us oldies may remember Ken Dodd and his tickling stick (as well as his Diddymen).
Well, my Dad didn’t have a tickling stick, but he did have a couple of rather large feathers.
A builder by trade, he never really retired, and died at the age of 67.
I’ve already mentioned his success with horseradish, and he found a lot of relaxation and pleasure in his garden. This was a mass of overgrown grapevines (home made wine), loganberry bushes (more wine), red and blackcurrants (home made pies, and of course wine), rhubarb (more pies and more wine), and a couple of small apple and pear trees (wine), plus a makeshift greenhouse and 2 cloches for his melons and cucumbers.
The only flowers that grew in the back garden were from the various fruit and veg Dad was culturing. Mum had her rose bush, tulips and irises out front.
I visited them one day and Dad was outside in the garden whilst Mum was baking apple pie. She’d collared some that weren’t destined for the wine press and like me, would batch bake and freeze them down.
I heard Dad talking and not wishing to interrupt, waited patiently by the back door.
Mum asked what was wrong and when I told her Dad was in conversation, she said he was talking to his ‘bloody cucumbers’ and those ‘damn melons’. (My Mum very rarely swore, so obviously she was a bit peeved, probably having had to fight for her apples!)
Sure enough, there was Dad with his feather, tickling the melon plants and encouraging them to produce nice big fat fruit for his latest wine recipe.
Then taking another feather, he gently caressed (yes, caressed) his cucumbers with similar words of endearment.
My snort of laughter made him spin round in surprise and embarrassment at being caught in a comprising position with his plants.
He grinned sheepishly and said he thought that talking to them would make them happy to oblige him with some giant produce after his gentle feather tickling fertilisation.
There’s got to be a moral in that somewhere!