Coming into gardening as a newbie allows me little in the way of comfort. The pain which brews neatly between the shoulder blades and arrives fully three days after digging; the wearing of flowery ladies' gardening gloves as I haven't any man-sized ones; the trenchfoot effect that's started to eat into my trainers as i have no wellies. After all, you can't be expected to buy everything at the start.
And yet after a weekend of digging, I'm able to look back at what I've acheived and feel exceedingly happy. I've dug in two thirds of the manure over two thirds of my plot. No mean feat as I found a turgid thick layer of clay resting neatly below the topsoil. While doing this I made friends with a robin, who typically, like all robins, sat on my fork handle. I even fed him a worm (which he guzzled up like a fat starving Texas boy who hadn't seen food for years). I'm sure David Attenborough would complain at me interfering with the balance of nature in this way, but the little blighter doesn't seem at all impressed with the bird food I put out for him. So it only seems fair to give him something to munch, even if it is wriggling and alive.
I even managed to startle a neighbour who lives in the flat below us. I bet my builder's bum beaming bright was the last thing she wanted to see as she woke, although it was about 11.30 when she peered out of her window half asleep. That'll teach her for being a moany old fart.
But the best thing that happened was the finding of a 1943, 2 Franc coin. I can't find out much about it, although the inscription says a lot about the state of the country in that year. Travail, Famille, Patrie (bury your money, bury it in your back garden! quick!). Even though it wasn't a Roman pot, it certainly made me ask how it got here. And that's the point of digging I think, to ask questions and wonder about things different to your everyday life.
It's not every day that I get to ponder over whether that bit of dirt's too clumpy, or whether that little robin chewed the worm enough (did he choke later and leave a whole family of chicks? Oh I couldn't bear it!?!). I might not be Tom Good just yet, but I'm a little bit further away from the nine-to-five existence.