11 September 2011

Heavy Plant Crossing ?

A few months ago I was out with several friends when one announced that we should have a pumpkin growing competition and produced a handful of small brown envelopes each containing  a single seed. (A risky procedure in a crowded pub) I thought I might as well play along and took one.
Not being a gardener - the occasional lawn mowing is about my limit - I went out into the back garden, made a small hole in the ground with a bit of twig, dropped the seed in and covered it over. Except for the occasional watering during a dry spell (you remember, back in April/May when it didn't rain for ... well a couple of days) that was my sole contribution to what followed.
After a couple of weeks a shoot broke through the surface roughly in the area I remembered burying the seed, leaves quickly followed, and day by day it proceeded to get bigger. As the plant spread along the ground, several yellow flowers appeared and eventually what was clearly a fruit (or is it a vegatable? or a gourd?) started to appear. The pumpkin visibily increased in size by the day and the plant carried on growing untill last week it had reached about 12ft in length and had run out of garden as it was now up against the fence and could go no further.
This is where the things took a strange turn (if you'll pardon the pun). As you will see from the video below, unable to extend any further the plant has decided to make a left turn and is now growing at right angles across a concrete path. Meanwhile the pumpkin continues to expand.
I've no idea when it is time to harvest my "crop", I assume it must be around Halloween time. It should make a few pies, some pumpkin soup and a decent Jack-o-Lantern by then, but it does leave me wondering how big the plant might have got if I'd looked after it.
Next year I'll be changing my name to Jack and planting a bean stalk!

07 September 2011

...And Relax !

The school holidays are over. 

As a kid they seemed to go on for ever but never for long enough. As an adult I hate them twofold.
Firstly because my shop's business includes selling school uniforms, which builds to a peak of frantic stressed parents panicking because the "back to school" day has caught them unaware. Year after year I take a secret smug satisfaction in having sold out of an item that a parent needs "now" because Little Johny/Jane starts school in five minutes and nobody told them what day they started / what uniform they needed /  where to get it. Despite 99% of other parents in the school knowing all this, of course it's never their fault. And why they think if they repeat the words "What am I going to do now" over and over again I'll be able to magic one out of thin air I've never understood.

But frantic as it all becomes, it's a necessary part of business. My second, but much bigger "hate" is the fact that my wife works as a teaching assistant. Not only can she spend the beautiful summer days lazing around sunbathing in the garden (well not this year obviously) she gets to have 6 weeks of lie ins. Accustomed as I am to having a nice "wake-me-up" cup of tea brought to me in bed (who are you calling spoilt ?) I spend the summer weeks getting myself up and - shock horror - having to make my own cuppa.

Now it's all over for another year - normality is resumed.