I normally don’t think much about my attire while I’m out working in the garden, but today I was caught out by a young work colleague who dropped by to return some stuff he’d borrowed. At the office I’m neatly dressed, usually in jeans and no fashion queen but generally quite presentable. Today, I realized, I was quite a sight. It was a drizzly day and I had light gray track pants on that were soaked to the knees, one muddy trouser leg half caught in the top of a crusty Australian boot. On top I wore a couple of layers of disreputable t-shirts, nothing matching, topped off by a dirty and wet red rain jacket. My hair was pretty wild under the broad rim of my once-beige Tilly hat, the crowning glory of an eccentric attire, and I had mud on my face – a nice broad streak where I’d wiped my runny nose with a filthy glove. The poor fellow caught me while I was in a death roll with a large weed tree that I was trying to extract, and when I realized he was there I turned around face-to-face with some very wide eyes. Ha. He didn’t stay long.
Strangely enough, it didn’t bother me in the least. An image flitted through my mind of another gardener I once knew, a beautiful slender blond herbalist who always floated through her fairy gardens in flowery sundresses, looking tanned and magazine gorgeous. But I instantly dismissed the image with a grin; no matter how I may appear, I am never more beautiful than when I’m outdoors in my ridiculous hat playing gardener in the mud.