May 2009


boots classI’d like to say that I’ve finally buckled  down to some revision, in light of my impending RHS exam.

I’d like to….but I can’t.

Mind you, I’m not sure that even the tutor is entirely focused on the matter.

Last week, instead of a class we went to look round the grounds of a very posh private school where one of my fellow students is a groundsman.

Some of the other students were  prettty cross at the timing of this “jolly” so close to the examination. Others may well have been cross afterwards because it was, well, a bit crap to be honest.

Apart from a couple of Wellingtonias there wasn’t really a plant worth looking at.

The groundsmen tend the grounds (including a nine hole golf course and more cricket pitches than we have decent players of the sport in the UK) and the gardens proper are the preserve (as in pickle and jam I reckon) of an octagenerian former caretaker who won’t let anyone else help.

So what were they like?

Like they had been looked after for years by some old dodger well into his eighties with limited gardening knowledge.

Add to that a debate with an idiot about whether a Victorian water feature was a 17th century Italianate water garden, and it all slipped from fairly pointless into wholly farcial.

Only those sad sacks who are interested in how the incredibly rich educate theirsprogs would have found it of any worth.

Me, I’ve got an exam to pass – and this didn’t help.

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victorIn just over six short weeks I have an RHS exam. Am I honing my revision programme? Am I focussing on the areas where questions are always asked and tailoring my revision accordingly.

Am I chuff.I’m indulging in what can only be described as displacement activity. Chief amongst which is finishing reading a few books.

One of them is Digger’s Diary by Victor Osborne, which is about a year on his allotment. It’s OK, but not great, and there are better books in then same vein.

I have just read how he (an alleged organic gardener) killed a bumble bee nest in one of his compost bins. I felt a bit ill, which is unusually soft of me, but I do love bumblebees.

The author’s stated reason was that he was worried about being stung. My other half felt the same when I charged indoors a few years back incandescent with glee because bumblies were nesting in my compost bin. I explained that I have never been stung by one – not even the time I had one in my mouth (long story) – but nevertheless it was still difficult to explain what an exciting thing was present in our garden.

It never crossed my mind to destroy the nest and I hope the author later realised the needless folly of his actions.

Still we all do things we later regret.

I just hope I don’t regret not doing more revision.

For Little Boots and I it was a weekend of simple pleasures.

 Making popcorn to accompany a favourite old movie, pricking out some seedlings, making a small cold frame from a load of old wood and junk, and just general noodling.

All in all it was very satisfying and a paen to these cash strapped times.

Until the whacking great HD TV and tardis-sized fridge-freezer turned up – purchased by virtue of a modest legacy.

I know which I preferred.

But I am being a Luddite I know – after all if you haven’t seen Adrian Chiles’ nose-hair you haven’t lived.