Wookiee remains on the stoep. His tail sweeps left and right. Left and right. His front paws stamp out a two-step and he whines at across to me – not a cars-length away. He wants to come to the garden but the dew laden lawn presents and impenetrable barrier.


I pull up bird netting, ready to duck under and into the bed of basil. A thousand tiny white flowers confetti around my mud smudged boots.

“Been away too long.” I mutter. The leaves that had juicily promised the taste of Italian summers are leathery. I pick a leaf and rub it between my fingers. The savoury, liquorice scent from a few weeks ago has become somehow darker. Rancid. I reach for my barrow (a fancy, plastic- moulded affair – badly designed so that it tips over unless perfectly balanced) and drag it closer behind me.

And then I reach for the basil plants. Each woody stem supports a bush so with a few tugs I can strip out all the plants and shove them into the waiting receptacle. Its done. The bed is naked and waiting.