Thai Days: The gigantic cucumber


Hugh Paxton’s Blog was looking at a dull but satisfactory afternoon. We’d bought an Apple TV gizmo that had worked and offered us limitless options of TV dramas and movie choices. After one Hercule Poirot and a Sherlock it stopped working. Our neighbor, Pascale, can probably fix it. It was her idea in the first place. We’ll see how that goes.

Our gardener normally looks like a man facing a twenty stretch in Bang Kwang prison (the Bangkok Hilton, one of the last places on earth you would want to stay in, utterly penal and terribly dangerous) but this afternoon he arrived smiling.

Extraordinary what a smile does to a face.

He looked handsome, alert, and even his silly banana leaf hat had a jaunty tilt.

I thought right! I’ll ruin his day! Trim those trees! Trim those shrubs! Work, man work! And work he did. Trees were trimmed, shrubs were trimmed, a birds nest was discovered and trimming stopped. We both looked at the fledglings with a sense of awe and hope and then I grabbed our cat and flung her into the living room. No worries there. The cat’s used to it. And richly deserves it! We then checked the bush for snakes. None. These little birds looked like a proposition. Nothing around that would tear them to shreds or gulp them.

About an hour later the gardener and I were still pottering about in the garden. He did the work, I did the pottering and I brought him iced water and money and we didn’t say anything because he can’t speak English and I can’t speak Thai (if he is a Thai) or Lao (if he is a Lao) or Vietnamese (if he’s Vietnamese) ) or anything else (if he’s anything else). But it was a comfortable time. I was the lazy boss. He was the fairly busy gardener. He likes it that way. It’s steady, reassuring. Comfortable. And a lot better working for a polite, overly generous white man than digging drains for the Khmer Rouge and getting shot in the bollocks then bashed in the head by a ten year old wearing a red scarf and black PJs. After all was trimmed and the security of the fledglings and nest was assured, the gardener gave me an extreme smile and staggered off with his ladder and a very very very long pole with a hook on the top. He uses it artfully to cut tamarind from the trees and he carried with him fruit and more than his average day’s wages.

Chang then appeared looking triumphant waving a cucumber that was the size of a water melon. It was a huge cucumber! By huge I mean HUGE!

It was the biggest cucumber I have ever seen! And Monsanto had nothing to with it!

“Take a photo!”

“Great idea, Chang! But there is a but. My wife’s taken the camera!’

BLOG ED NOTE: Did anything else happen?

Hugh: Yes. Lots of people arrived and they all brought things, strange intriguing things. And a giant turtle splashed into the pond. It was almost twice the size of my cucumber and wanted to eat my tropical fish!

BLOG ED: No photographic evidence of your Guinness Records cucumber? Or your turtle?

Hugh: She’d taken my camera! My wife! She took it!

BLOG ED: So no evidence?

Hugh: The cucumber’s in my fridge and there’s a turtle in my pond and why am I arguing with you?

BLOG ED: Why are you posting this blog? Nobody’s interested in your day to day what I did today blather.

Hugh: You are right, it is a bit dull. I’ll stop. And I’ll go and have a very large cucumber sandwich.

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