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“Manger” He Insisted, “Not Minger. Away in a Manger”

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More than a month since I last wrote this blog. Ooops.

Odd how sometimes one has lots to say and other times the conversation dries up a bit and we lapse into a convivial silence for a bit. I then worry that I should be blogging while you sit back and enjoy the peace.

I also have a mild problem in that (whispers) this is not the only blog I write and sometimes one of the others snaffles the ideas. Yes, I am a blog bigamist, I am faithless and feeble of will, I will chase after any old blog shaped skirt that winks at me to the detriment of this old and faithful thing. Unspeakable and caddish behaviour but, in my defence, (which is a pathetic defence) I am going through a mid life blog crisis and will attempt to mend my ways.

At times like this I think the snappy checklist school of blogging is what is called for: in no particular order except the order in which they tumble from my head.

1. Last month was the Garden Media Guild Awards at which I won nothing although the sibling of this blog (see above – the use of the word sibling makes my unfaithfulness somehow worse) was shortlisted. I fear that there may be a drift away from self-indulgent nonsense blogging towards fact and useful stuff about gardening. Such is the way of the world.

2. Chelsea Press Launch. On the same day I compered the press launch for Chelsea Flower Show 2013. It was in the Connaught Hotel (thanks to the kindness of M&G) where each person was provided with a little tin of mints: to be perfectly accurate two tins of mints: one from M&G and one from the Connaught. Small tins of mints are obviously the absolute bees-knees of corporate gifting.

3. I returned to the Connaught after the GMG Awards thing. Many repaired to the pub, some hastened home and others simply lay down in the nearest doorway and slept. I thought that what the afternoon demanded was not a hot, sweaty and loud pub but ridiculously expensive cakes and small sandwiches to the sound of a harpist. We were an exclusive and generally delicious band of cake eaters – The Connaught has an exquisite entrance with a narrow revolving door. A proper one with brushes on the floor and room for no more than one person at a time.

4. I drove to Devon in the worst of the rain. Usually I am sweetness and light to my fellow man, always happy to give the benefit of the doubt and lend an umbrella to a stranger (i) but the odd moment of schadenfreude is always satisfying. Picture this: early morning, skiddy roads, grey skies, rain and general dullness. Everybody trundling along carefully avoiding accidents and driving too quickly through large puddles lest we soak pedestrians. Everybody? no, not everybody one person (sex unknown but the smart money is on male) in a low slung BMW is driving like a jerk. Swinging around, overtaking badly, all that stuff. We approach a large flood. I drive in, he drives in behind me. I drive out…….. Oh dear. I am alone.

5. Lectures: I seem to have given a load of lectures over the past month or so – at one I was described as “not as buff as Chris Beardshaw” which as good a thing as any to have as an epitaph. I know my place and I no longer have buttocks so taut you could bounce 2p pieces off them.

6. I have a newish car. I am unnecessarily thrilled by the little extras and left cold by the important bits. The engine size, mileage per gallon or resale value is of very little interest to me. I am, however, very excited by the fact that my telephone plugs into a little USB thing in the glovebox. That there is a button that shuts the boot automatically. That something beeps when I reverse anywhere near any solid objects – the closer you get, the more frantic the beep, this is particularly useful to avoid incidents such as this. All this and an entire picnic table in the back seat which I will never use.

7. I have laid out a lot of plants in various parts of the country. Sometimes in truly horrid weather. I have got an interesting project in Sussex at a garden called Borde Hill. We have just replanted a narrow border which is romantically named Paradise Walk. It has been stripped and replanted with a spatter of herbaceous stuff. There are Monardas, Kniphofias, Zizias, Geranium Rozanne and many other jolly things. I would show you a picture except that a patch of mud covered wityh pots is not a terribly inspiring sight. Instead I urge you to visit Borde Hill next summer and see for yourselves.

8. That is probably enough for the moment, other things have happened but if I tell you everything you will never get round to eating poultry and flatulent vegetables.

Next time I blog there will be a new Episode of intoGardens in the App store. It is a thing of extreme beauty and deserves to be seen by every iPad owner in the world. My problem is that I do not know all of them so would very much appreciate any help you might be inclined to shovel my way. Spread the word please, people and I will be forever in your thrall.

I am listening to a slightly stroppy ticket collector on the Euston-Manchester train. The picture is of the window of Scott’s Restaurant in Mount Street looking festive.

Happy Christmas to all and thank you for reading my tosh once again.

 

(i) This may be the reason why I have no umbrellas

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. jacqui #

    great read. i have a photo of beardshaws buff buttocks taken at a prestigious flowershow. tried to flip coins at it but my aim is terrible. was distracted by his herbaceous borders x

    January 6, 2013
  2. byrnesunit #

    I am reassured you are unlikely to stop. You had me worried there.

    Merry Christmas.

    December 25, 2012
  3. Tosh is exactly what’s needed after an exhausting day wrapping presents and putting up decorations.

    Happy Christmas!

    December 24, 2012
    • Any time you need festive tosh, Juliet, you know where to come.

      December 28, 2012
  4. There are few things better than a pillock getting their comeuppance, other than a pillock in a BMW getting their comeuppance. And yes, ridiculously expensive cakes they may have been but how very delightful was the company

    December 24, 2012
    • I can think of few ways in which the company could have been improved.
      Although Juliette Binoche or a young Lori Singer would not have been out of place.
      As a sort of reserve.

      December 28, 2012
  5. simon.w #

    Happy Christmas James, thanks for the mention on the Gardeners World blog,not long found it thanks to carol,will have to put my prices up now ;-) .
    Si.

    December 24, 2012
  6. Arabella Sock #

    Borde Hill garden needs a complete makeover so hopefully your border will be a start. The gardens don’t do justice to the great location, they should employ you to redesign the whole thing.

    Have you actually tried bouncing 2p pieces off buff Beardshaw’s buttocks? Was he wearing the black lycra shorts at the time? And did you get any pictures?

    Have a merry Christmas

    December 23, 2012
  7. Oh please continue. Enough of the facts, it’s the extras that are so much more interesting. And I so agree that good tosh is hard to find.

    December 22, 2012
    • I fear that I am unlikely to stop – and even less likely to tell you anything even vaguely useful.

      December 24, 2012
  8. brotchie #

    As long as you write tosh, I will read it. Gleefully. Good tosh is hard to find.

    Am about to finish decorating my tree (a Douglas Fir, fortunately for the well-being of the ceiling cut off in its youth.) It gets topped with a crow, because in my corner of the world, Trickster Raven outranks the angels, a point of view you may appreciate.

    And a merry Christmas to you, James.

    December 22, 2012
    • I mis-read that. I thought your tree got topped with a cow. I wasn’t sure what made a cow festive. Crows on the other hand, spring readily to mind at this time of year.

      December 23, 2012
    • Tosh across the oceans.
      A crow is an odd festive bird. Lacks the cuteness of a robin, the flavour of a goose and the traditional heft of the turkey.
      Quite good for threatening recalitrant children, however.

      A very Merry Christmas to you and all of Vancouver Island.

      December 24, 2012
  9. Sue #

    Reading your blog as the tumbleweed blows by (on closer inspection it’s Limonium platyphyllum, but no-one likes a smart-arse).

    You are on the money with fact-based blogs. All my top-scoring entries start with ‘How-to…’. All those hours spent honing a leaf-shape metaphor to perfection and all anyone wants is a 30 second video clip of ‘How to fit a tree tie’.

    December 21, 2012
    • In this age of Fifty Shades of Grey one should never underestimate the allure of a rubberised tree tie..

      December 24, 2012

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