Monday, 12 December 2011

Gardening Leave - The Third Week

At ten to six the traffic really gets going. This little alcove, that should be a sanctuary of light with its view of the trees, becomes a place of noise. Tonight, it’s particularly bad because the road is covered in rain.

I should be out there too. Have been for the last four and a half years. But now there’s nowhere to go.

I’d be in my little blue car, the radio on and smoking a cigar. It might be a strange thing to say, but I was always happy on these journeys. I could run the day’s events through my head and smile. My job was fun! Naturally, my bank account was a disaster, but I could sleep at night and we got by.

Drops of rain hang from the telephone wires at more or less even spaces. They look like little balls of mercury. But wait; my mobile buzzes. This is an event! What could it mean?

It’s a text from my friend Ruth. She says Did I hear about the job? Hope you are well. Started work last week. People are really nice. I think I will be fine. Ironic. It was me that saw that job advert and said she should apply. But I’m pleased that she’s going to be fine. We were both casualties from the same work. She was part of what made it fun. No. I haven’t heard about the job. The abyss still waits.

Not that I’m worried on my account. If it was just me, I might enjoy this situation. I’m on my third week of gardening leave. I’d heard the term before and not really understood what it meant. Basically, you’re paid to stay at home. They want you out of the way so that you don’t start getting sour and malicious.

Gardening leave. What it would be to take those words literally! To spend four weeks in the garden pottering around and getting to know myself. I suppose, in a way, I have been doing this. I’m two thirds through this period of enforced leave. Then the axe will fall, I’ll be chopped, cut, pruned from the company. So I will have to find another way to grow. But sometimes I’m so frightened all I can do is wilt.

There’s just time to jot down my impressions, memories of gardening leave. I might return to them later. They go like this…


  1. the idea of catch phrases really bother me, they seem particularly hanus when used for something like this. i have visuals of men in offices high up with windows that look upon the poor
    who have put then there,

    this piece is hard
    this reality is everywhere

    i love how you ended this.


  2. Thanks Robert. Reality did bite me hard in 2011. You live and learn...



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