The Mattock.



Who would have thought I would go out and buy a mattock on a hot day? This is what happened to me a few days ago when the heat became so bad, lethargy started to creep in. You know how it is. You sit in a reclining chair and let the heat numb you almost into a comatose state. You look out but  your eyes see nothing.  There is nothing worse than letting the days slip through your fingers and yet that’s what heat seems to be very good at, stealing your time.

There are those that try and relieve this ennui by licking ice creams or go out to an air-conditioned McDonalds and buy a Big Mack with a Coke.  On hot days discarded hamburger big McDonalds’ cartons and bags litter the bitumen roads, sticking to it and expressing seeping despair. On those very hot days even the birds are sunk in gloom. The hot air is simmering, the town is empty but for a lost dog on the nature strip, scratching listlessly. Even the fleas deserted the dog.

For no reason at all, or at least not one that I can remember, I looked at a very tall bush at the back of the sunflowers, that apart from being tall and green, had refused to give enough satisfaction for me to gaze my eyes on for any length of time ( while seated in the recliner). It was one of the salvias that I had taken with me from my previous address. Yes, the home of the pathologically impaired garden slasher, as some of you might remember. This salvia had grown very fast but refused to flower and was now on the way to their wilting journey that salvias go into before resuming growth again after winter. 

I suddenly got up and decided to dig it out. I tried first with an ordinary shovel but it was too difficult, especially in the 35 +C. I needed a tool  specific to the task. So, I went to this enormous cavernous hardware shop ‘Bunning”. After perusing a stunning variety of gardening tools I decided on the one shown above in the photo. It was an honest Spear Jackson mattock with a nice wooden handle . It felt nice too. It did the job admirably and my day came good.

It wasn’t wasted

Tags: , ,

33 Responses to “The Mattock.”

  1. auntyuta Says:

    I reckon in some way, we can enjoy any day! And being alive is just such a gift!

    I prefer to not do much in the middle of the day when it is very hot. I enjoy the very early morning hours, when it just starts to get a bit light. Then I go for my walk before it gets too hot.

    Later, refreshing myself with a cool shower. Drinking a lot, not just water but also delicious teas. How good is that!

    Turning the airconditioning on for a little while. On a very, very hot day I don’t mind that, not at all. But before it gets that hot, just to let the fans going might give enough relief.

    Gardening? I would never like to do it in the hot sun. Not that I can still do a lot of gardening at any time of the day.

    Stretching out on the garden recliner in the shade of trees, with a little breeze going, looking up into the trees, oh, these are ways for me to enjoy hot summer days! No time wasted.

    I hope, Gerard, you can get some more enjoyment out of hot summer days and that this beautiful mattock may come in very handy in the future for a lot of different tasks!

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Very wise of you, Uta. Enjoy the time you are in. Glad you have shade to escape to during the heat of the day.

      Yet, right now we are back to cold weather. Last night I had both gas and electric heaters going, it was 14C outside and raining. Glorious rain though. I like rain.

      I have a few domestic duties today. Take in the washing that I usually dry in the garage spread over a fold out dryer. When the garage is open the neighbours always know about my washing cycles. So lucky with my new neighbours, friendly and helpful. When I see Annette in Sydney, they look after Milo, feed him, keep him company.

      Yes, you are right, the mattock wil come handy. I don’t know what happened to the last one. I think I might have left it on the farm.

      Liked by 1 person

      • auntyuta Says:

        This is great, Gerard, that you have good communication with your neighbours.
        My son, Martin, shares his dog, Millie, with his neighbour on a permanent basis. By the way, I am in luck, Martin is planning to visit me! He wants to leave Benalla on Sunday. I hope he can stay for at least a week, and I hope, that the borders wont close again. Martin is probably bringing Millie along again. I am looking forward to that! 🙂
        Right now, here too it’s raining a lot: Temperature is still around 20C though. Yesterday, before the rain started, Monika came along with all of her four grandchildren (my great-grandchildren!) and we went for a walk with them to the playground at the back near the grassy soccer fields and near all the beautiful trees. The kids were full of beans. It was cloudy and not very hot.
        I think last Tuesday, we had about 40C. This would not have been a good day to take the kids on such a walk.
        Strangely enough, yesterday, we were the only people roaming about, walking along the footpath, then across all these grassy areas, and having fun at the playground. Very strange indeed. We had the whole place to ourselves! So, isn’t that lucky, that we had such a good time before the rain started?
        From next week Lucas, 8, and Alexander, 6, are going to be back at school again.
        Lucas and Alexander are the cousins of Carter, 4, and Evie (16 months). The two little ones just love to be with their ‘big’ cousins, and the older cousins love to look after the little ones!
        It reminds me of my early childhood when I was so very fond of my older cousins.
        Evie is already a good walker and also tries to talk a lot! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. catterel Says:

    All my sympathy, Gerard. I like nice sunny weather but not above 31C unless there’s some sea around. Had to smile that you bought a Spear Jackson mattock. If my memory serves me aright, that was one ofbthe good old solid Sheffield companies. Don’t know where they are based nowadays, but it’s comforting to see that the brand remains. I had several uncles and cousins who worked for them back in the say. And while you are struggling with the heat, we are wondering how to get the car out of the garage, as the municipal snow plough has piled everything up right outside! Some shovelling is called for, I’m afraid, but not with a mattock! May end up with an igloo in place of the garage.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Therese Trouserzoff Says:

      Snow, you day ! What even is that ?

      It’s been stinking hot here in Sydney of late – after a surprisingly cool and wet Christmas- New Year. The last recorded snow in our town was allegedly in 1932 when the population was about 1/4 of what it is now and there were things called frosts .

      I recall, as a child in the 50s, walking across dad’s sacred lawn, making crunchy sounds and footprints in the frost. A thing of the distant past 😊.

      Liked by 3 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        We are back to the cold and rain. Heaters are back on again here in the Highlands and people are bracing themselves against the icy wind.

        The sunflowers must also be wondering what is going on. They usually turn their faces towards the sun. This morning I noticed they are moping and their dials are downwards bent.

        Yes, Trouserzoff. I remember the frosty mornings dad trying to get rid of the ice on his car windows.

        Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      How nice it would be to have some snow. I once spent a winter in Finland and during a few days it was -35C. I remember trying to see how long one could be outside without discomfort, fully wrapped up. About 15 minutes and the eyebrows and nostrils would freeze up. Something out of Dr Zhivago.

      The farmhouse I was staying in was solid logs with a huge wood stove and was as warm as toast. The bedrooms had solid fuel stoves too. A stunning country.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Hiya Gez.

    FM is going through a gardening obsession phase at present. It’s paying off. The backyard and the front yard, and the side courtyard are resplendent in their green finery.

    The spring started with another big year for black spot on the roses and the lerps had a decent go at destroying the hellebores aka winter roses. So I treated myself to an ozito 7 litre electric sprayer, which eliminates all that pumping razzmatazz. Helped us claw back blooming wellness.

    The heat and the ferocious winds have been playing havoc with the Japanese Maples. Much toasted leaves and a sorry state. I bought some ridiculously expensive plant sunblock called “Envy” tagged with the pithy “Make your plants green with Envy”. It allegedly stops about 50% transpiration losses of moisture and reduces the impact of too much sun or too much frost. Thankfully 2/3 are making a nice comeback.

    That mattock work is tough on the back. I usually discover some other pressing job when FM decides to uproot a few hundred acres of lawn. If you look closely at your Spear & Jackson, you’ll see the tiny sticker “Sponsored by the Australian College of Physiotherapy”. Coincidence ?

    Fond regards, Therese.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, my three Japanese maples too are struggling and I was told to give them more shade. They are used to grow in the shelter of bigger trees and really don’t like heat and too much sun.

      I bought bundles of thin bamboo grass and laid this out on top of my pergola. It looks nice and the maples responded by allowing fresh new leaves to sprout up. I keep them well watered although now with the cold weather returning, they too must wonder what is going on.

      I am surprised to hear they now sell a sunblock for trees. Amazing!
      I planted a Banksia rose, but true to form, not a single rose so far. I should have known. We never managed to grow roses and even Helvi stopped nurturing them and grew salvias instead.

      Nice to hear about FM gardening obsession, Therese. Do you watch her hoeing away from behind the cool and safety of the window?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Therese Trouserzoff Says:

        I do, Gez. I drink a little extra foamy ale on her behalf too. It’s hard to concentrate on the cricket because the morons next door are digging out a hole for a swimming pool right on our boundary – with an effing jackhammer. It’s taking weeks. Any normal person would hire a backhoe and get it done in a day.

        Do you remember the giant brick pit at St Peter’s ? Back in our youth it was reminiscent of King Solomon’s Mines. Except that they were mining clay to build our city. And when they quit at a few kilometres down it became Sydney’s garbage dump until it got so high that it was a threat to aviation. So they put a thin crust of turf on it and Lo, on the 7th year it became Sydney Park.

        Well that rich clay lode is what the clowns next door are mining with a jackhammer.

        With the rain it becomes a huge mud hole. And they have to pump it out.

        Could not resist telling them that a lot of people put in a cement or fibreglass liner and tile it before they fill it up. Just trying to help 😊

        FM prays to the patron saint of neighbouring pool victims- Saint Piscinia – that it’ll be their house and not ours that collapses into the bloody home made sink hole.

        Oops, I think I just missed another wicket falling.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, that happened to us while living in Balmain. It was hard rock though and it took months of jack hammering. Of course, the fun wore off quickly and from then on we had kitchen renovations next door. The more money spent on the kitchen the less cooking was done. Husbands used to come home with pizza boxes, while the lonely wife, tearstained face, used to just wipe the solid stone benchtops with Pino-clean!

        Finally, neglected unused pools get filled in and covered in lawns and grevilleas. Future geologists together with historians will find a treasure trove of hidden pools throughout suburban wastelands.

        Be careful of those falling wickets, Therese.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Robert Parker Says:

    Man, those salvia will be quaking in their boots when they see you coming! That looks like a medieval war ax, watch out for your toes! Around here a lot of people call them grub hoes, or grubbing axes. And most people leave them hanging in the shed, when it’s 95 degrees F., and go hang out in a hammock!

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I too thought they were called a hoe when someone corrected me and said it was a mattock. ”Hoe” is both a noun and verb. The main thing is to keep legs and feet well apart when hoeing.

      I doubt I could get out of a Hammock these days. I can just see the headline in the Herald. ” elderly man found deceased in hammock”. at the bottom of the photo would show a mattock.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. shoreacres Says:

    I’d never heard of a mattock, so I looked it up, and found this in the venerable Wiki: “A mattock is a hand tool used for digging, prying, and chopping. Similar to the pickaxe, it has a long handle and a stout head which combines either a vertical axe blade with a horizontal adze (cutter mattock), or a pick and an adze (pick mattock).It is also commonly known in North America as a “grub axe”.

    Well, I’d never heard of a grub axe, either, but I see that Rob is familiar with them. What did occur to me is that the tool is probably the source of an expression I do know. For example: “She was grubbing around in the closet, looking for the lost book.”

    I have a little ‘garden’ chore that needs to be done, but none of my tools have sufficed. I realized, reading this, that a long-handled tool is what I need — not a mattock, but something like a long-handled garden fork. I’ll have to look around and see if someone makes such a thing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I thought it was called a hoe but a woman in my Cricket café group corrected me and said it was a mattock. It is used for hoeing. It seems ‘Hoe’ is a noun and a verb.
      A grub here is sometimes used to describe a child that needs a wash. Mothers would say ; come here you little grub and let me wash your face;

      I noticed they were selling mattocks made of fibre glass. Twice as expensive but it did not feel right. This mattock that I have feels nice when prying out a stubborn ball of salvia roots.
      I don’t know if anyone would know what a grub axe is either here in Australia. Nice to have those differences though.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sandie Says:

    Love your hard work Gerard. Especially on an extremely hot day. Keep your stories coming. Lots of fun to read.


  7. auntyuta Says:

    I just found the mattock mentioned here:
    This is what Tony Peters writes: “I decided to research the actual garden tool, the Mattock (thanks again to Google) and I was a bit surprised, and a little confused, as to its history. I won’t bore you with it all but part of the (Wikipedia) blurb that stuck out to me was, “Mattocks are the most commonly depicted tool in Byzantine manuscripts of Greek poet Hesiod’s Works and Days”.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. auntyuta Says:

    Here is something thay Tony Peters published yesterday on drinking wine on hot days:
    How about it? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I am almost always surprised by wine connoisseurs who write about wines. Invariably those wines cost between $30 to $60 a bottle. Do people spent that much quaffing wine?

      I never spent more than at the most $15. and on average $ 9. a bottle. Lately though I don’t drink wine much at all. I prefer to get a high from butter milk.

      Liked by 1 person

      • auntyuta Says:

        I am amazed too how much people are prepared to spend on wine. I find I do not like so much to drink wine when I am on my own. I like to drink a glass of wine in company with a good meal! 🙂
        Peter and I often had a glass of wine with our dinner. At ALDIs we would quite often buy really cheap wine. 🙂
        When there was Henkel’s Sekt on special at ALDI, we would buy several bottles and keep them for when there was something to celebrate. 🙂


  9. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    What a handsome mattock! And GREAT work of using the handsome mattock, Gerard! 🙂
    We had about 8 inches of snow the other day. Another snow storm is due tomorrow. So I could box up some snow and send it to you. ??? 😉 😀
    Find ways to stay cool and be safe on hot days!
    (((HUGS))) 🙂
    PATS and RUBS to Milo! 🐶

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I like it a lot with its carbon steel head and solid wooden handle. It is guaranteed for ten years too.

      Even the name suggests sturdiness and masculinity.

      A man leaning casually on his own Mattock wearing sturdy moleskin trousers would not have much trouble attracting a nice female, I would think.

      Hugs to you too dear Carolyn and pats for Cooper

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I once spent a hot summer night cutting a fire trail with a mattock on a steep ridge with a forest fire bearing down on me, Gerard. The hill was so steep that I had to hang onto brush with one hand while I chopped with the other. Fortunately, at 18 I was young, foolish and strong, so I considered it an adventure. 🙂 I have a mattock now. It’s a heavy son of a gun, but comes in quite handy for various chores outside! –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, a mattock is now part of my collection of tools. It leans against a variety of spades, shovels, cutters and other tools. I have a compressor too in case of a power shorting. I am half inclined to install battery back-up as my solar is producing more than I can use and the electricity companies don’t pay for export power, only give credits on future power bills.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. gerard oosterman Says:

    I can well imagine an advertisement in a lonely hearts magazine;

    “Man with own mattock would like to meet a nice woman (ns, nd, ng) who would like to share his life and mattock with hoeing and grubbing the wild salvias.”


  12. freefall852 Says:

    Remember That Abbott and Costello ; “Take your pick” sketch..

    Liked by 1 person

  13. rangewriter Says:

    Oh my gosh. Your Mattock resembles the Pulaskis that we use in trail maintenance in these parts! Such a serious instrument for a Salvia? Ha. Our Salvias grow to less than 12″. (Well, mine probably only reach 6″). I guess it’s not hot enough here for such meaty Salvias.

    “Even the fleas deserted to dog.” Oh I love that! I’m waiting for it to warm up around here so I can go back to licking ice cream.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, when I read that that tool is called a Pulaski in your neck of the woods, I felt like conquering Poland wielding that tool.

    I love holding it. It has a polished solid oak handle and gleams in anticipation. I dug out a formidable lump of salvia roots. Here in my garden they grown to two meters and can take over, dwarfing other plants such as daisies demurely trying to raise their sunny flowers, which is not fair.

    I believe certain salvias are banned in the US for being used to get high. I would have thought with the Trump fiasco the entire nation could do with some form of medicinal salvia induced intoxication to get over those 4 years. Those staunch republicans of course need a compulsory rehab in Siberia. No salvia will change them.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Rainy Days – AuntyUta Says:

    […] You can find my reply here: […]

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: