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.

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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

muddyboots1@hotmail.com with your address I’ll post the book to you