|From Asterix in Britain|
The kind generosity of the Good Fella's grandmother allowed us to get the garden landscaped at the earliest possible date. How I laughed when people asked if I was going to break up the concrete myself! It took two men and a pneumatic drill a whole day. After a bit of a misunderstanding owing to my ordering a trellis when what we really wanted is called a pergola (there is a substantial difference in price between these two features!), the landscape gardeners set to work and laid out a vegetable patch, a much more appropriate size of patio than we would have created, a sturdy pergola, a flower-bed and a good size lawn on which the Piglet and other piglets love to disport themselves.
We followed without question the tradition that the lawn should primarily be Good Fella domain. He it is who maintains its trim cut and decides whether it should be in Wembley stripes or some other mowing pattern. On the rare occasions when it needs watering, the Piglet begs to join in, dancing and laughing in the combination of green grass, glittering sprays of water and evening sunlight. Like all natural ground the lawn is prone to weeds, in particular clover which spreads happily through the grass stems. Rather than spray it with chemicals, I occasionally fetch out a small garden fork and dig out the weeds, gently replacing any grass tufts I have dug out by mistake.
Although we will never be able to completely clear the lawn of weeds - notwithstanding Goscinny and Uderzo's suggestion that we spend a couple of thousand years on the task, there is something calming and satisfying about ten or twenty minutes spent clearing a small patch of ground in the impossible ambition of creating a flawless patch of green in our damp and shady back garden. In that sense, we do now have a British Ryōan-ji. Just as the monks at the temple of the dragon at peace achieve tranquillity by raking out the sand in the garden each morning after the hundreds of visitors have tramped over it all day long, we catch a few moments of peace in the land of the red dragon, trimming the grass, watering it and clearing the continuous settlement of weeds in our green and pleasant back garden.