Rosie Lee was the sort of woman who, had she been born in another era, could have quite easily been called a witch. She had all the necessary qualities; long and wild hair, a mole just above her left ear, an unusual laugh, and a propensity to dress from head to toe in all black - a habit she never quite shook from her gothic youth. Rosie also had a black cat to match her fashion sense, and he was called Snafu. He was a rescue,
and like his owner, had been abandoned by the world. Together, they forged an unbreakable bond of wit and mischief that held through every adversity. In the great flood of '--, they had shared the arms of a rather dashing young fireman, when Kitt walked out on Rosie, Snafu gave him a great bite on his ankle, in every storm, they would snuggle up together and watch the lightning crack the sky open,
and when Rosie was thrown out of her home, Snafu stayed by her and keep her warm. The pair would share everything, right down to a plate of beans on toast. By the time Snafu had lived with Rosie for twelve years, both of them had passed the nadir of life. Arthritis was paining the cat's knees as much as the woman's, and although their minds were as sharp as
ever, their senses had begun to dull. If anyone had been there with them, it would have been quite amusing to hear Rosie yell about the house for Snafu, while he would trot in the other direction, yelling for her. Neither would be any the wiser that they were being sought until eventually, they ran into each other. Sometimes they would laze in their old favourite chair with a biscuit, the cat wrapped about Rosie's boney
shoulders, purring contentedly. More often, however, the pair could be found in the garden. Aside from her cat (and her heavy metal collection), Rosie's garden was her pride and joy. Whatever the weather, she would tramp outside with a mug of tea and a trowel, and spend a few happy hours weeding and sowing, and doing whatever else was necessary to keep her little Eden perfect.
Being Rosie, however, her version of perfect was far from pristine. The lawn (what little there was of it) was not perfectly manicured, and the compost heap was used as a nest for slow worms. Up to a few seasons ago, Snafu would hunt the unfortunate lizards for sport, but now he was content to leave them at peace. The tinned cat food required far less skill to sneak up on, and the rewards were far tastier.
The flower beds had long since lost their dividers, and various vines and creepers had sprawled out across the path. The apple tree was in sore need of a prune, and ivy had almost entirely covered the shed. But to Rosie, the garden was exactly as she wanted it - untamed but inviting, difficult but bountiful. Everything had its place, and not one leaf was left without a purpose.And it all smelt of fresh rain and honey.
There were vegetables, fruit bushes, herbs, and spices. In the back were nettles for nettle tea, and roses about the kitchen door to aid digestion. In pots were dill, strawberries, and catnip. Snafu always made sure that the latter of which was well attended. In the tiny greenhouse were a curry plant and a collection of chillies that Rosie had carefully grown from seed. With each plant, she hoped that they would be hot
enough to replace her store-bought pastes, but they never quite did the trick. One year, feeling particularly rebellious, the sprightly pensioner had grown two cannabis plants. After some testing and surreptitious searches in her local library, Rosie had perfected the art of cultivating, drying, and processing the buds. She found that the oil did wonders for her
arthritis (Snafu turned his nose up at such botanical treatment) but when smoked, she simply could not palate it like she used to, back in her more hedonistic days. At the ripe old age that she was, all it did was give her a headache. In the end, fearing her neighbours would report her to the constabulary - and she could not very well play the innocent old lady with her witchy looks - she dug up the plants. Wistfully, she piled
her harvest into her old wicker basket and walked down to the end of the garden, and left them atop the compost heap. That year, the slow worms had the most marvellous summer.