If at this time of year you spend a week trying (and failing) to get at least one of the four book reviews finished while you clean the house, pack for a two-day Sydney trip, prepare for the meeting that said trip is about, and prioritise above all else some time out for a fleeting visit from a distant beloved, and if you finally stagger out to the cab for the airport secure in the knowledge that you've ticked everything off the packing list (except your hairbrush; bummer) and that there are biscuits and coffee for your elderly father when he comes over to feed the cats and that there is enough money in the accessible bank accounts to get you through whatever staggeringly expensive Sydney events may arise (for Sydney absorbs one's money like blotting paper) -- if, as I say, you spend a week like this, too busy to go outside, then be prepared for chaos in the garden by the time you get home.
The ground cover will be choking the pansies and violas.
The bloody blackbirds will have pulled out all the loose soil from under the lobelias.
The lovely healthy Roma tomato plant will be nearly dead.
The evil bastard bougainvillea will be growing through the garage guttering again.
The sweet peas will have started to bloom, in a neon shade of tangeriney pinky red that clashes nastily with the last of the ranunculi, which are a neon shade of shirazzy pinky red.
A new family of honey-eaters will have taken up residence in the overgrown tangle of climbing rose, bignonia, jasmine and nasturtiums that's threatening to pull the fence down, so of course you can't cut it back till this latest family of fledglings has taken off.
The bugs will have eaten the basil, just like they do every bloody summer no matter what you do.
There will be weeds everywhere, including growing up through the pavers, because you can't spray them until there's a still, dry day with no deadlines in it, and we don't seem to have had one of those since about June.
So this morning I went out into the jungle, took a deep breath, did a load of washing, hung it out, and watered the garden. And it immediately began to rain.