Hindsight Is Always 20/20

If I could rewind the year and start it again, there are things I would remember.


1. There is a sound argument for owning more than one pair of reading glasses. A repair with insulation tape is so NOT a good look.

2. Refrain from getting a passport photo straight after a trip to the hairdressers. It seemed a good idea at the time. But now it has come back attached to the document in question I realise the fatal flaw. When I disembark from a plane looking my usual scruffy self (and let’s not even think about a night flight) just how well is it going to go at Border Control?



3. An upholstery needle has a point at both ends. Making it perfectly possible to incur a stab wound to the hand and the thigh simultaneously. Ask me how I know this.

4. There is a universal truth known as Murphy’s Law. Or Sod’s Law if you are so inclined. Either way: if it can go wrong, it will.

5. If needing buy-in for a project from the Other Half the optimal time is Friday evening. Gin and Tonic night.



6. Never let crocosmia run to seed. Especially when the previous house owner laid chicken wire throughout one of your largest borders. Should this unfortunate eventuality occur, on no account leave the plants so long that the bulbs grow wider than the holes.

7. Never declare that a garden border is “done”. Especially if you have a blog and publish it in full view of the world. If you do it’s a cast iron certainty that the very next week you will rip the whole lot out and start again.



8. If there is a gap in the fence sheep will find it.

9. If an electric gate is going to fail it will do it on the day you are already running late for an appointment leaving you trapped on the wrong side.



10. Always tackle a pest problem before it multiplies out of control.

11. And NEVER start a decorating project six weeks before Christmas with sweeping ill-conceived assertions like “oh there’s still plenty of time..”


Ho Ho Ho.


2018-04-24T19:35:21+00:00December 19th, 2014|Tags: , , , , , |


  1. Sue December 19, 2014 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    Hindsight is lovely isn’t it 😉

    • Jessica December 19, 2014 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      Do we learn from it, that’s the thing..

  2. Linda December 19, 2014 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Morning Jessica…..thanks for the early chuckle! Sorry…..that it was at your expense!
    Great idea for a post….good luck with your Reno….
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!
    Linda :o)

    • Jessica December 19, 2014 at 9:02 pm - Reply

      Thanks Linda, you too.

  3. Mark and Gaz December 19, 2014 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Pearls of witty wisdom there Jessica 🙂

    • Jessica December 19, 2014 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      It’s not for the faint hearted this gardening thing, is it? 🙂

  4. woolythymes December 19, 2014 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    definitely words to live by……
    love the mouse tally. We’re only up to 8. I need to get the chalkboard out. Lots of winter left. (I think you are going to win this one, though, but I’d be happy to play along.)

    • Jessica December 19, 2014 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      Eight! I remember you having one.. Best not to get the chalkboard out, it makes the tally go up far quicker than you’d like.

  5. Denise December 19, 2014 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    And Number 12 – “Always share the highs and lows of your life with your blogging pals, as such stories are the stuff from which many a smile is made.” So thank you for all the smiles Rusty Duck has sent our way this year! Xx

    • Jessica December 19, 2014 at 9:21 pm - Reply

      Thank you Denise for reading. (Even if you have yet to embrace grey.) I am avidly awaiting each new instalment of the Much Malarkey Manor Christmas Tale.

  6. Jo December 19, 2014 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    Brilliant advice. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    • Jessica December 19, 2014 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      It is. What’s to say though, there won’t be just as long a list next year? 🙂

  7. Marian St.Clair December 19, 2014 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    I hope your repaired glasses and unfortunate stab wounds don’t show in the passport photo. And just think how fast gardening improvements would go if a fairy godmother turned your mice into gardeners!

    • Jessica December 19, 2014 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      Imagine it. All those extra gardeners. I could afford to spend some time with my feet up and still put the garden in the Yellow Book. It would mean all those mice could have escaped being ex-mice too.

  8. Crafty Gardener December 19, 2014 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    Ah yes, if only we knew then what we know now. Happy holidays to your and your family.

    • Jessica December 19, 2014 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      Hindsight is a wonderfully perceptive thing. You too Linda.

  9. Helen Johnstone December 19, 2014 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    I have gone from one pair of glasses to 4 this year, I buy them in waitrose. I think it’s ok when it’s just reading glasses.
    I am intrigued as to why the previous owner put chicken wire in the border
    As for projects 6 weeks before Christmas, I haven’t started mine yet and a border is never ever done no matter what you think!

    • Jessica December 19, 2014 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      Reading glasses are so cheap it seems ridiculous not to have more than one pair.
      The chicken wire is laid over the steepest part of the slope, presumably in an attempt to stabilise the soil. It doesn’t work.. the earth just slips down behind it and creates a bulge at the bottom of the hill. I am removing it with wire clippers (an essential part of the gardening tool kit) as I plant and hope that a stronger network of roots will do the job far more effectively.

  10. Vera December 19, 2014 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    Just to say that I hope you and your husband have a wonderful Christmas and that you have lots of success and fun during 2015. Thank you for your wonderful blog, and those photos which always have me thinking that I should pay more attention to the quality of my photos.

    I do not always have the time to make a comment on your blogs but I always read them, and looking forward to see what you get up to next year. Vx

    • Jessica December 19, 2014 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      Thanks Vera. A very merry Christmas to you and Lester too. I hope you manage to get some time off to relax, having a smallholding gives you precious little time for that.

  11. Sue Garrett December 19, 2014 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    We all live and learn don’t we?

    • Jessica December 19, 2014 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      Indeed Sue. Gardening is a constant learning curve.

  12. Kris Peterson December 19, 2014 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    Well, think of it this way: you’re entering 2015 all the wiser! I hope you have a splendid holiday season despite the renovation set-backs, Jessica!

    • Jessica December 19, 2014 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      I’m thinking the renovation will still be there next year. Maybe shutting the door on it for a while would do no harm at all.

  13. elaine December 19, 2014 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    A very entertaining list – do e ever live and learn – I think not.

    • Jessica December 19, 2014 at 9:47 pm - Reply

      Living is easier than learning!

  14. CJ December 19, 2014 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    Eek, that upholstery needle is a fearsome looking thing. I’d have stabbed myself as well, without a shadow of a doubt. I’m desperate to try some whittling, and I have a whittling knife saved in my Amazon wish list, but… I just daren’t. The crocosmia thing is exactly what I’d do, or rather neglect to do. A while back a weed came up in the front garden. A long single slender stem. I could see it clearly from the living room, several times a day. We used to look out the window at it and comment on how big it was getting. I left it and left it and when I finally tackled it, it was almost a tree and I had to get a man in to dig it out. By then its roots had reached next door though. They now have a big one, right on the boundary between our two gardens. I think it’s elder, it’s very hard to get rid of. I wonder if we’ll learn from this kind of thing. It seems unlikely. CJ xx

    • Jessica December 19, 2014 at 9:53 pm - Reply

      It sounds like elder, they do grow quite fast. Elderflower wine maybe? I planted a bamboo in the garden of our last house, quite close to the boundary because I wanted to hide next door’s rather ugly extension. I often wonder how it did..

      • CJ December 20, 2014 at 9:33 am - Reply

        I planted a wisteria where I used to live. It’s been allowed to run absolutely wild, entwining completely round a stone balcony, the house is gradually disappearing.

        • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 11:48 am - Reply

          That must mean the new occupants like it. Either that or they hate gardening.

  15. Beth @ PlantPostings December 19, 2014 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    Sage advice. I’m afraid to ask about the upholstery needle… Ouch. I LOVE your new slideshow header! Good luck with the decorating project. Most of all, enjoy the holidays!

    • Jessica December 19, 2014 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      It’s hard graft upholstery, for sure. You too Beth, look forward to catching up with you again in the new year.

  16. wherefivevalleysmeet December 20, 2014 at 8:00 am - Reply

    I have enjoyed your ‘ups’ this year Jessica and chuckled at your ‘downs’ – shut that door and both of you have a Happy Christmas

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 11:44 am - Reply

      Thanks Rosemary, you too. Tomorrow the replacement floorboards are arriving, they will be put in the study to ‘acclimatise’ and then the door will be shut.

  17. Eleanor December 20, 2014 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Sound advice 🙂

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 11:48 am - Reply

      The best lessons are the toughest ones.

  18. Brian Skeys December 20, 2014 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    I have enjoyed reading your blog this year, following your garden and house, I hope the ‘ups’ out number the ‘downs’.
    Do you think if we had the benefit of hindsight, at the time of making a decision, we would ever do anything?
    Wishing you a restful and Happy Christmas.

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 11:52 am - Reply

      Possibly not. But it would also save a lot of aggro, money and pain! A very Happy Christmas to you too.

  19. Amy at love made my home December 20, 2014 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    A wonderful thing indeed, but probably better that we don’t really have it, otherwise we would never do half the things that we do would we! I think that I prefer not to always know everything, far more exciting!! Happy Christmas! xx

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 11:54 am - Reply

      I’m sure you’re right Amy. Although too much of anything is a bad thing, excitement included!

  20. AnnetteM December 20, 2014 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing those words of wisdom and a few smiles too. Hope you both have a wonderful Christmas.

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 11:56 am - Reply

      Thanks Annette, and the same to you. I was smiling as I wrote it.. you have to, don’t you 😉

  21. starproms December 20, 2014 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    All hilarious and some experienced by myself. No. 3 is my favourite.

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 11:58 am - Reply

      I must get more done on that chair next year, I don’t know where the time goes. But at least now I’ll know where all the pointy bits are.

  22. angiesgardendiaries December 20, 2014 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    I read this post on my phone at work during the night. It was blowing a gale, raining horizontally and bloody freezing – your post put a smile on my face Jessica 🙂
    That needle looks awfully dangerous, especially in the wrong hands.

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 12:16 pm - Reply

      That’s a really nice comment Angie. Thank you.
      I don’t suppose I’d get that needle on a flight these days would I?

  23. Jennifer December 20, 2014 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    This was such a funny, insightful read, and I completely agree with so very many of them. I will never forget when I started college, and my academic advisor called me in for a get-to-know-you meeting. They had asked us to send a photo of ourselves ahead of starting school so they advisor would know us when we met, and I sent my high school graduation portrait. I’d worn makeup, had pretty, styled hair, was wearing a nice sweater. The day I went to see the advisor, I’d been moving into the dorm all morning and it was also pouring rain. I looked like a sweaty, dirty drowned rat when I went to his office. He looked at the photo, then at me, back and forth a few times, and tried unsuccessfully to hide his horror!

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 12:20 pm - Reply

      I can imagine it Jennifer, having been in a very similar situation. Living half way down a remote hillside and spending most of my time in the garden I tend to forget about what I look like. If I go out with Mike I can see the sidelong glances to ensure that I pass muster before we leave the gate.

  24. LInda from Each Little World December 20, 2014 at 9:59 pm - Reply

    For the first time ever, I had a spare pair of current glasses when I recently broke mine. It was a fabulous feeling and well worth the original expense. Our mice total is not as high as yours but I am taking that bit of advice to heart for the future.

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure we’ll ever keep up with the mouse population. I read somewhere, and I’m doing it for memory so figures may be inaccurate, but it’s something like four months to sexual maturity, three litters a year and average 12 babies each time..

  25. ginaferrari December 20, 2014 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    Sorry but I am laughing so much… With you of course! Pest problem… Decorating… Glasses… I’m with you all the way!

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      I still haven’t found time to order more reading glasses, too late for Christmas now. I’ve resorted to carrying around a spare roll of insulation tape instead! 🙁

  26. Dorothy @ The Nature of Things December 21, 2014 at 1:09 am - Reply

    Hindsight IS 20/20 and experience is the best teacher – maybe the only one that some of us can learn from. But those lessons learned will not be soon forgotten! Especially that one about the sheep.

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      Yes, the sheep were bad. I am still finding (and stepping in) the poop a month or so later.

  27. CherryPie December 21, 2014 at 1:24 am - Reply

    Ha Ha Ha, I love it 🙂

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks Cherie 🙂

  28. Anna December 21, 2014 at 11:24 am - Reply

    Thanks for the chuckles Jessica : ) xxx

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 12:31 pm - Reply

      My pleasure. I think?

  29. sustainablemum December 21, 2014 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    Quite a year! You will look back and laugh by the end of next year, here’s to 2015 and all that it brings………

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 12:33 pm - Reply

      I bet I am writing a very similar post at the end of next year. Such is life.

  30. islandthreads December 21, 2014 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    sounds like your eleven days(months) of christmas Jessica, I hope the twelfth will be nicer, I am a firm believer in s*ds law, it never seems to fail unfortunately, at least you have started your decorating, my wallpaper is still looking at me wondering when it will be used ………….. Frances x

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      It was not a clever idea to start decorating, the house looks like a tip with stuff from the study now in every room except the kitchen. I have decreed tomorrow will be the last of it for a while so at least I have a couple of days to conquer the dust before we take a bit of a break!

  31. snowbird December 21, 2014 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    Lol….Life eh??? I love the glasses, at least you didn’t have to use a lollipop stick like I did! Here’s to 2015 being amazing!!! xxx

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      We tried a matchstick under the tape to try and achieve a bit of stability but it didn’t work. The most annoying thing is that the glasses no longer fold up. I have been carrying them along the street as they are because there’s nowhere else to put them!

  32. frayed at the edge December 21, 2014 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    One advantage of declaring on the blog that you are going to do something is that you then have to do it – or hope that your readers have collective amnesia!! Here’s to another year of your delightful tales!! Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy (and mouse free!) New Year!!

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks Anne. It is a big advantage actually, and one of the reasons I record the progress of a bit of the garden each month end. It means that at least 12 times a year it has to look good… whatever!!

  33. hoehoegrow December 21, 2014 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing !
    Hope you and yours have a very peaceful Christmas

    • Jessica December 21, 2014 at 9:34 pm - Reply

      It is. If only foresight were as accurate. But then I’d have the lottery numbers each week and a permanent fleet of helpers.
      You too Jane x

  34. Donna@GardensEyeView December 22, 2014 at 1:12 am - Reply

    Oh can we all relate and add to this list…I hope you have some good times this holiday and wishing you a Merry Christmas…

    • Jessica December 22, 2014 at 11:13 am - Reply

      It’s a list that can only get longer! A Merry Christmas to you too Donna.

  35. threadspider December 22, 2014 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Ah, hindsight how we do admire it! Loved your insights-made me laugh! Have you really caught 49 mice?

    • Jessica December 23, 2014 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      I’m afraid so. Mostly in the garden. A few in the outhouses. But, worryingly, now one in the house.

  36. Amy December 22, 2014 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    Oh noooo, Jessica! I did manage to stab myself in the thigh with a double point steel knitting needle once (through a muslin tote, no less); luckily for me the other end went into the chair back. Okay, go ahead and tell me…! As for the fashion statement, I suppose insulation tape shows up worse than the Scotch tape I used years ago, but it probably keeps the glasses together better too. The bit about the crocosmia made me laugh and then… well, I’ve been thinking about putting some in. Now maybe the summers here will slow them down, but I’d better consider myself warned! I’ve so enjoyed your posts; thanks for sharing your trials – the little stuff and the big! Hope your Christmas is bright and happy in spite of… everything 😉

    • Jessica December 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm - Reply

      Thanks Amy. I believe (hope) it’s only the common montbretia type of crocosmia that is rampant. When I am brave enough again I will try one of the modern hybrids and see if they are any better. I do like the flowers. I also have ‘Lucifer’ and despite his name he does seem better behaved!

      • Amy December 26, 2014 at 5:29 am - Reply

        …and a plant named Lucifer ought to fit in very well in my hell-hot little garden next summer! 😉

        • Jessica December 26, 2014 at 12:22 pm - Reply

          It’s worth a try!

  37. Rosie leavesnbloom December 22, 2014 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    well we all learn from our mistakes … my hubby learned the hard way when he thought that he’d captured a mouse and had released him into the back garden. He learned the hard way that a mouse needed to be released at least 2 miles away as we heard the patter of tiny feet in the attic the next night. Hope you and yours have a great Christmas and that you finally get all that decorating finished in time.

    • Jessica December 23, 2014 at 2:06 pm - Reply

      Yes, they can find their way back! We started off by live trapping the mice but as you can imagine, given the numbers, a four mile round trip per mouse proved less than popular.
      A very Happy Christmas to you too Rosie. Great to see you blogging again.

  38. Helene December 22, 2014 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Oh…I could add to the list…so many things, I think we all have been there, done it, got the T-Shirt!
    Thanks for the list though, made me smile 🙂

    • Jessica December 23, 2014 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      Such is the pleasure of gardening Helene!

  39. Vintage Jane December 23, 2014 at 11:27 am - Reply

    All so true …
    I hope you have a merry Christmas and a very happy, peaceful … and mousefree … new year!
    M x

    • Jessica December 23, 2014 at 2:11 pm - Reply

      You too M.
      I was wondering whether we’d make the mouse half century by Christmas.. touch and go!

  40. Cathy December 23, 2014 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    Ho ho ho indeed Jessica – Happy Christmas to both of you, whatever you spend it doing! 🙂

    • Jessica December 23, 2014 at 8:03 pm - Reply

      The door to the study is now firmly shut. When it will be opened again is anyone’s guess.

  41. Caro December 27, 2014 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Surgical tape, like Duct tape, should come under ‘Essential items’ in every home. My tape is currently patching a hole in my wellies. Mice are a nuisance, aren’t they? It’s the reason I keep my kitchen pristine clean, I can spot any droppings quickly. I’ve twice been invaded (and I live on the second floor, they love a bit of drainpipe access) but never actually seen any. (And would like to keep it that way!). Will look forward to decorating updates in the new year, glad you’re finding time to put your feet up over Crimbo. Have a great Xmas, Caro x

    • Jessica December 27, 2014 at 10:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks Caro. It is amazing how far mice can climb. They seem to have established quite a stronghold in the attic here now, but we did manage to catch one whilst the floorboards were up in the study. Having them in the garden is bad enough, but in the house I definitely draw the line!

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