We still call it “the tip” even though it has now reached “Household Recycling Centre” via “Civic Amenity Site”. But that’s incidental information about local government grandiosoness (If Mrs Daffodil’s reading this, that is my invented word for this week; meaning’s pretty apparent).
On the way home, I was involved in the sixth accident of my 45-ish years of driving. They all have a common factor. Rear shunts. And in each case, I’ve been static, stationery, non-moving in a queue of cars. And the idiot behind me has either decided to move before the cars in front have or has not bothered to stop before hitting poor old tail-end-Charlie (me). Some of the excuses would help a budding stand-up comedian with his act. Like “I thought the lights had changed” when they hadn’t and neither I nor the five cars in front of me had thought they had. But that idiot took off at a sufficient speed to knock my car a couple of feet forward into the one in front so he (or his insurers) had to fork out to repair two vehicle fronts (his and mine) and two vehicle rears (mine and the chap in front of me). But the ominous six reared its head again – there were six cars (me plus 5) in front of him in that queue.
Today’s excuse was that “the baby” had crawled from the passenger seat onto the driver’s lap and so startled him. The baby should have been secured in a baby seat. The police took a dim view of things (when Mr Plod is walking past isn’t the best time to have an excuse like that!). I’ll get a new rear valance out of it. No other harm done, at least to me. Come to think of it, Mr Plod (or more than one) has been present to witness the previous five accidents, which helps to achieve a speedy resolution. But maybe I should avoid driving anywhere near Mr Plods. And I’m not sexist; I’ve met many female PCSOs but never, yet, a female policeperson.
But I’m not going to tempt fate. I’m going to present a bit more than six things. Call it insurance.
1. Edifice 2 Delivery
The starring role has to go to this little pile that arrived on Thursday, bang on schedule.
This is also my insurance. Six things? Excluding the wrapping, strapping, boxing, pallet, instruction pack and photobombing Polyanthus, there are actually 1,750 things in this photograph. Not at all daunting, though, apart from the need to count everything. Finding something missing once I’ve started the build would potentially be disastrous. Particularly if the missing something happened to be destined for the bottom of the eventual edifice. And a pain when QC (see 3 below) wants feeding when I’m at something like 1,740 and I forget the exact number so have to start again.
Someone asked me about the cost of this stuff. OK, more expensive than sleepers but easier to work with. On average, each bit costs the same as a Mars bar. And lasts longer. Takes me back to my childhood when a Fry’s Turkish Delight cost four (old) pennies and a Mars bar six. I consumed more Turkish Delight than Mars. Still do.
2. A Nice Little Touch
This may be cheating a bit but after giving you 1,750 things on Saturday, I can ease off a bit.
The people at WoodblocX always pop a tiny surprise into their packs for us to find. Nine sucky sweets, as Victor Meldrew used to call them. Not that I’m a grumpy old git like him (whatever Gill Heavens might have you believe). On previous experience, one to start and then one for each hour of the build and I’ll have at least one left over. That gives you an idea of how long it takes to put 1750 bits together. I’m not counting some “enhancements” I’m planning such as installing an irrigation system which may use up another sucky sweet but will save me a lot of watering time in the long run.
By the way, I lied. There were actually 1,759 things in the first photo, if you exclude the packet the sucky sweets came in.
3. 600 Litres of Compost
I bet you couldn’t carry 300 litres of compost under one arm. Or store them using only one square foot of floor space. As I was ordering some seed and potting compost from Fertile Fibre, I thought I might as well add the compost I’ll need when something over 1,500 bedding plant plugs start arriving around the end of the month. Compressed coir bales take up little space and are as light as a feather. Pop one in a wheelbarrow (preferably watertight) and add water and in no time you have 75 litres of the best peat-free compost money can buy at under a fiver a time. Every year I plan a blog post about the wonders of coir and every year I don’t get round to it. I have lots of drafts though so maybe this year ……
Talking of which, have you noticed the shrinkflation of cheap compost. No more than four years ago, you could pick up three 75 litre bags of Westland multipurpose for a tenner. I noticed the other day when picking up a bag of John Innes Number Two (asking for a bag of “your number two” always elicits a snigger at the builders’ merchant where I get stuff like that) that the three-for-a-tenner bags are now 60 litres and actually cost a tenner plus 1p. I’m amazed at the number of people who go for that offer and ignore the next pile of (far better) compost in 75 litre bags at a fiver each with a buy-two-get-one-free offer. Shows how we’ve become accustomed to the three-for-a-tenner scenario.
But I digress (as usual, again).
The nice thing about Fertile Fibre is that however much, or little, you order, next day delivery is free. The local delivery chap for the courier company they use is a regular here as several nurseries I buy from use the same company. He likes his exercise. He knows the house well but always parks half way up (or down) the close and carries things further than he needs to. And, as a keen gardener himself, he usually comes with a little list of questions and sometimes a little plant he’s grown. Sometimes he takes a plant away. That’s the nice thing about living “out in the sticks”. You soon get on first-name terms with the regular drivers. And he brought the 600 litres of compost in one go. One pack under each arm.
The “other stuff” came “made up” in three 60-litre bags. Took him two trips. My QC (quality control) staff, aka Resident Cat, liked those. He was curled up on them before I’d finished signing for the delivery.
4. Emerging Bulbs (Not)
I’ve said before that I’m not going to post photos of emerging bulbs. But I think it’s time to return properly to the theme of the meme (notice the subtle introduction of poetry into this post?) and get a little bit planty. Or not.
There are 100 bluebells (English variety) and 50 fritillarias planted in this little border. None has yet poked anything above ground.
So this is a photograph of non-emerging bulbs. OK?
This little collection of pots holds lots of promise. I hope.
They’re destined for the new alpine compartments of Edifice 2 (see above). With my usual flair for organisation and process, I managed to get these delivered before their new home was even delivered in pieces, let alone built.
The nursery grew them hard and I’m growing them on hard. Unheated accommodation in a growhouse. Doors open in the daytime and closed at night to give them the ventilation they need. This is how to grow alpines. Ventilation is the key. Ventilation, ventilation and more ventilation. And a bit of watering when the compost feels dry. Not too much of that though. Did I mention ventilation?
6. More Unseasonality
Another BBC moment but I couldn’t resist finishing with a repeat appearance of Helenium “Short and Sassy”. As it enters its seventh consecutive month of flowering.
So that’s my six for this week. Or 1750, 1759, 2359 depending on your counting skills. Or I could count the alpines individually and add numbers 4 and 6. The possibilities are endless. Don’t say I don’t offer options. I’m not offering alternatives, of course, because there can only be one of those at any one time. Poetry and now dictionary definitions; educational, wot?
Now why not pop over to our multi-talented glorious leader’s blog where you’ll find his contribution to today’s events and also (scroll down to the comments) links to the blogs of other worthy contributors. If you want to contribute yourself, there’s a handy guide there (specifically at the Participants Guide). And, of course, we all hope that he doesn’t have leather-upholstered furniture given that he’s just welcomed two playful little kittens into the fold. If he does, there may be a call for contributions of another sort. I know, thanks to resident cat’s immediate post relocation activities, just how much leather repairs cost.