Tag Archives: spade

2038. Edna’s unsuccessful foray into murder

Edna wasn’t exactly made of money, but she could get by well enough in her old age. She still had her independence and lived in the same house she and her late husband had bought many years ago.

The only problem was that the garden, although not huge, had become too large for Edna to manage on her own. She figured that if she made a few adjustments on her grocery bill (for example, who really needs fabric softener in the washing machine every time?) she could afford to have a man come around once every couple of weeks and tidy things up in the garden.

Edna had been a keen garden and was especially proud of her raspberries. She had cared and fostered them for at least forty years. The harvest of raspberries each year was a phenomenon to be admired.

And then the very worst happened. The man pulled out her raspberries and threw them away. He was “tidying up”.

In her youth Edna had read a story by Guy de Maupassant (about a fisherman dozing on a riverbank being hit over the head with a spade and his brains seeping into the creek). She wasn’t a spring chicken (Edna) and had gone to school in the days when they were made to read proper books.

And then she saw her opportunity. The man she hired was kneeling down weeding the garden where the raspberries had been. There was a spade stuck in the soil next to him. Edna went out and spontaneously grabbed the spade.  She raised the gardening implement high.

An old lady (or man) doesn’t have much strength but the weight of a heavy spade should do the trick and slice off the top of his head.

Edna missed. She hit him fairly lightly on his arm. It caused more of a bruise than a scratch.

The man packed up his gear and said he wasn’t coming back. That was that. Enough was enough.

To some people murder comes natural; others need a lot of practice. One can’t blame Edna for missing; it was her first attempt. Maybe she’ll have better luck next time.

1883. Garden tools

Let’s face it: Stella wasn’t a greedy person. She was a spinster, lived alone, and was retired. She had worked as a nurse all her life. She had looked forward to her retirement. “At last! After all these years I shall be able to potter all day in the garden!”

She owned her own home, and it had a fairly extensive garden. It was one of those gardens that looked bigger than it was. One could get lost in it. Go through a gap in the shrubbery and a new vista, a new “room”, was revealed. Stella had a “theme” for each area; vegetables, flowers for cut flowers, herbs, and so on. The problem was that Stella could live satisfactorily in retirement but there wasn’t much left over for much else. That was when her lawn mower broke down, her garden rake disintegrated, her hedge clippers fell apart. It seemed that at least half the garden tools had gone on strike.

It would be simple enough to replace a garden trowel or something, but to replace half the tools at once was a burdensome impossibility. Stella conceived a plan! She advertised through the local Garden Society that the following weekend she would have an “Open Garden”. It’s true! Stella’s garden was a picture. At her gate she would have a sign and an honesty tin with a slot cut in the lid: GARDEN SHOW: ENTRY BY GOLD COIN.

When it came to gardening Stella wasn’t simply a weed-puller; she was an artist. She arranged the watering can, and the wheel barrow, and the spade, and all the garden tools (even the broken ones), in a nonchalant way around the garden, as if to say the gardener was busy but had just taken a break for a cup of tea. It was artistic; it was… well… very Stella. The arrangement in the delphinium bed was perfect: all that the placing of the watering can and spade needed was a robin to perch on the spade handle to create a postcard scene!

The Saturday was sunny. Quite a crowd came on this first day. Stella didn’t want to appear to be nosy, but at the start she could hear the gold coins go clang as they were put in the tin at the gate. She knew the tin was collecting even more coins when it ceased to clang as if it was empty. What a successful day!

When she went to collect the honesty tin in the late afternoon it had been stolen. As had all her garden tools. Even her spade that awaited the perching robin had disappeared.