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Foxes and hollyhocks of the apocalypse will herald my rise to power

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14.12.2019

I lead a rich fantasy life, and early in the mornings in these times of cruel and apocalyptic weather I often go out into my garden not as my famous 21st-century self but in my imagination as sister Florence Nightingale (1820-1910).

Let me explain.

Ian Warden gardening, circa 2019. Picture: Getty Images

I have an extensive garden that, like all suburban gardens at this time, is a dry, gasping, summer-hammered, climate-change-tortured oasis in the greater heat-shimmering desert of desiccated suburbia.

I find it necessary to water every plant by hand (my place is blessed with five rainwater tanks of rapidly diminishing contents). And it strikes me how, by painstakingly going from plant to plant with my watering can, ministering moisture and whispering a few words of encouragement, I am doing something vaguely similar to what the saintly nurse Nightingale did on her busy wards in the Crimea, ministering to her wounded soldier-patients. Just as she, gliding through her wards at night, was famously The Lady with the Lamp, I am kind of The Man with the (Watering) Can.

I am not so vain as to make a moral comparison of myself with the wonderful Florence. Nonetheless, imagining myself to be her (often cross-dressing as her to make the illusion more complete) makes my watering work more of a play-acting game and........

© Canberra Times