September 2010

Mostly I try not to go to my local chain-store garden centre, because, well let’s just settle for because, as I really can’t be bothered to get into all that. Overpriced and non-gardening tat. ‘Nuff said?
But yesterday I was passing on the way back home from an errand, when I realised I was starving. This may have been a Pavlovian response owing to the knowledge that the adjacent café does a full English breakfast that is reasonable in both cost and quality.

I was also looking forward to reading Mark D’s 5 page article in the Sunday magazine, and knew that this was unlikely to happen at home until much later in the day, due to LB-inspired bedlam.

Needless to say the obvious happened, and I was just unlocking the car, feeling sated in both body and mind when I thought “Oh, I need some mache”.

I know that calling Valerianella locusta, by it’s French name makes me sound a bit poncey, but I’d rather that than call it lamb’s lettuce, which is far too twee, or corn salad, which makes it sound wholly unappetising.

So I gingerly traipsed across the car park into the chain-store garden centre, partly expecting that they would not have any.

“Oh Bugger!” I thought realising that they had taken away all their displays of seeds – no doubt to make way for an orgy of what I can only describe as “Christmassy shite”. But then I noticed to one side they had a couple of tables set up with wooden tubs on top brimming with seed packets for 50p each.

At first I didn’t think I was going to find any mache. But I did. Although by that time I had a fistful of packets of other stuff.

“Proper job!” as they say down Otter Farm way.



Undoubtedly the “Can you guess what it is?” question on my last post was an impossible task – this may be why so few took part – it is certainly why I amended it to the most imaginative answer.

Of the three who took time to answer the most imaginative must be Jo’s cat poo and sundial one*, but the other two both mentioning pottery/clay weren’t I feel so far from the truth, in a bizarre way.

You see the photo was a close up of shell damage on a Nazi gun turret at St Malo, and as you can see from the larger image, the impact of high-explosive shells on the thick steel, does look not unlike the results of heavy stones thrown into deep mud (except the one that looks like a rose).

*Jo – if you would like to email me at with your address I’ll post the book to you