Every garden should have a resident gnome. Especially if a friend of yours edited the well-known magazine Garden n Gnome. Or was that Garden n Home, Lesley?
My gnome lives in a ‘hanging’ pot on the cottage wall and yesterday morning having breakfast I glanced up and spotted him. Next to him was a packet. One of those paper sacks fancy shops use to put gifts in. String handles and a tag you can write happy birthday on.
Ah, I thought, Annerien has left us a gift as a thank-you for staying in the cottage.
Inside was a green box with Mr NWH Humphrey on it. And Oakleigh Funeral Home.
I found Neil!
I had lost his ashes, forgetting I had put them in such a clever place where the gnome could look after him.
Luckily Janet had said she’s not up to it yet, when I suggested she gooi his ashes where Bella is buried and where we – well, some of us – OK, me – had put Aitch’s ashes. So I didn’t have to confess at the time that I’d lost Neil. I just mumbled vaguely that I had put him “somewhere, I think in the garage.”
Now he can stay right there in the gnome hanging pot till Janet gets back from Maun. And when she’s ready she can go down the special path Tobias cut to the site where, in the middle of me clearing my throat to say “OK, we’re going to put Mom’s ashes here” the kids stomped their feet, slapped their knees, jumped up & down, shouted ANTS! and ran off, leaving me to bury the box on my own.
Later: Janet did come back and chose to scatter Neil’s ashes where Aitch’s are. Along with Aitch’s favourite mutt Bella, a hamster and a gerbil. Tobias helped her by cutting open the path and steps down to the site, which disappear every summer in the undergrowth.
Even later, Trish and Janet’s Mom Iona’s ashes joined the gang under the copse of trees down the bank in our front yard.