March 2009

woolies4A slightly sad, reflective moment on Sunday as I was planting a few seeds, with the munchkin. After digging around in a large carrier bag for fibre pots I pulled out a little pack of cardboard planting modules which the junior gardener pronounced “Really Great!”, in the way of small children, who love things that are in scale with them.

I then noticed where they had come from and how cheap they had been. Whilst I never shopped at Woolies very much, it was certainly the place for all kinds of bargains and things that were just not sold elsewhere. 

On reflection, I would have doubtless picked the pots up on a Monday, because we sometimes used to go to the café cum restaurant of our local branch then. It wasn’t great food, but their chips were OK and unlike MaccaD’s they were unsalted, and the place wasn’t fullof gobby youths, chavvy scroungers and other tedious shitheads.

Like our Mondays, Woolies are gone forever and not only that – so is the possibilty of my nipper being able to experience the teenage right of passage that pinching the pic’n’mix presented.



Last night I got fed up trying to upload a photo to the last post. Either WordPress is rubbish, or I am. I suspect we both are.

Barely tempted to continue with my note making (trophic & nastic responses no less), and seeing as it was a late night, post-college, I decided to watch something on the iPlayer instead.

“How about Gardeners’ World?” I thought, not having watched any of the specials. But having set the thing going I realised a couple of things, as Joe Swift‘s perennially confused looking visage sprawled across the screen. First that I had the sound on mute. Then as I sought to rectify this, that I had no desire to watch the programme even though the subject [green walls and roofs] is something that interests me. This was solely due to the presenter who is to garden programmes what Ray “Butch” Wilkins was to football. I still haven’t got over the programme where he described Acers as “quite Japanesey”.

I went to bed instead.


 As Sinead O Connor once sang “I’m full of good intentions”. I am too, but they often fall by the wayside. It’s a theme of my life – orphaned good intentions.

So Friday night, with a busy Saturday ahead, not to mention an early start, I had planned to get all my stuff together for the following day and turn in quite early.

Needless to say, at something just before midnight I was fuddling around in the kitchen making sandwiches, whilst gathering secateurs and the like, whilst intermittently misplacing a glass of red wine, and listening to some old rubbish on the radio.

Consequently 6.30 came a little too bright and unwelcome, but by 7.45 I was on the allotment. But I wasn’t the first one there. I passed someone just leaving -I think they may have been down on the site burying a body or something.

It was deliciously sunny, but the site’s ever present chill wind, impelled me to crack on rather than sit for half an hour with a cuppa. I managed to get a reasonable amount done and it was very edifying to be leaving the site an hour and an half later just as other people were arriving. I cannot describe how strong the desire was to return their greeting of “Morning” with the reply “Afternoon“, but it was only just gone 9.15 so that might have been taking the piss a bit too much.

On to college for a RHS3 practical day, which was amusing enough. I didn’t as well as I should have on the plant ident, which annoyed me, but the fact is my heart wasn’t in it. How could you not yearn to be outside on what was the best day of the year so far?

How most of the class stayed indoors at lunchtime mystified me, but then people generally do.

blog-booksI wish there was a standard text book for the RHS level 3 exam, it‘d make my life a lot easier.

For the RHS Level 2 all you needed to do was get hold of a copy of Peter Dawson’s A Handbook for Horticultural Students, written especially with the course in mind, and you were away.

But for the next level there’s no such manual. So, because my classnotes tend to be hopeless, even when legible, I have to create my course notes from a number of sources. Though this is to an extent enjoyable, it’s frankly a time consuming practice I can ill afford.

What feels a little weird is that I soon realised that much of the botany contained things I had learned way back when I was a teenaged A-level student. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember that much of it. Although I suppose it did mean I was familiar with, and not put of by, the botanical terms. I would love to be able to say that it’s been just like riding a bicycle and it all came quickly flooding back. It hasn’t.

Another side-effect is that I have a good idea what books to use to find what I need to know, although it is a bit odd to be buying copies of books I thought I’d seen the last of in the mid-eighties.

In the way that with gardening books no single one is complete and has all the answers, so I’m having to shuttle between a few botany ones to create a set of comprehensive notes.

It’s taking ages. Hopefully I’ll be finished in time for revising.

linseedAt one point this year I thought I was ahead of the game.

Somewhere along the line it flip-flopped and now I’m chasing the ace as usual. 

So anyway today I was giving a load of my tools a good dose of linseed oil – something I should have done last month.

Vague innuendo aside, it was one of those stupidly enjoyable jobs to be doing on a sunny day, with the light and the oil bringing the wood to life and of course made me wonder why I didn’t do it weeks ago.