Documents: Gardening From: Gardening From Scotland:

War Horse, The Iron Lady and Kevin Bacon
by Patrick Vickery
by Patrick Vickery


Patrick Vickery lives in the Scottish Highlands and runs a small hardy perennial nursery (part-time). Patrick is also a part-time garden writer, and part-time special needs teacher.

Married to Liz, they have three children, two goats, two dogs, an assortment of small animals, and lives in a two acre wood in a wonderful part of the world.

Patrick gardens using a raised bed system and all, of course, chemically free - a chemical free zone!
Visit his blog
His first book was published in January 2002 by Capall Bann Publishers, UK:-
"In Pursuit Of Perennial Profit - The Pot Of Gold At The Bottom Of The Garden" (ISBN: 186163 1480)

Also visit his website at

March 25, 2012

"This is the time that decides the future”. Not a phrase emanating from the G20 summit, the United Nations or Ross County Football Club, but wisdom imparted by a wise old man talking about his vegetable garden. In other words, now is the time to till the soil and to tackle the weeds if you want a bumper crop this year.

The winter just past was an ‘open’ one with the much anticipated arctic blast failing to materialise. As a consequence travel disruption in the Highlands was kept to a minimum and we were able to travel to the cinema in Inverness on a regular basis. Eden Court Theatre is our preferred venue. It’s very comfortable.

We saw War Horse (a very ‘horsey’ film and something along the lines of Black Beauty goes to war) and more recently The Iron Lady (a simple story about old age and retrospection with Maggie Thatcher as the central focus). A recent review of War Horse on the Culture Show, BBC2, included an interesting analysis from one particularly unfathomable fellow: “The horse,” he said, “lacks depth of character and is devoid of personality”. Good Lord, I thought, it’s only a horse, and a horse is simply a horse, not a Kevin Bacon or a Jim Broadbent. The horse did well though, very horse like, and that’s what matters.

Now any film about Margaret Thatcher is bound to be controversial. Even today she arouses deep emotions. I saw her a couple of times although I can’t be sure she actually saw me. I was background, she was foreground – like ships passing in the night, her lights blazing, mine an obscure glow.

The first occasion was a regal wave from her chauffeured limousine in Parliament Square, 1982. I was eating a hot dog at the time. The second occasion was Ted Heath’s funeral, 2005, Salisbury Cathedral. Quite coincidentally we were wandering the Cathedral grounds, a respite from shopping, admiring the spire and no doubt eating something tasty, when half the Cabinet from a previous political era emerged from the hallowed portals and trundled across the lawn to Ted Heath’s house in the Close for post funeral snacks. The ever jocular Ted would not have been amused to have Maggie in his house, but of course there was little he could do about it at this stage.

With reference to The Iron Lady, Dennis Thatcher is portrayed in the film by Jim Broadbent who has been in many films over the last thirty years or so and brings to mind, for me anyway, the ‘Kevin Bacon Game’ - otherwise known as ‘The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’. Due to his prolific screen career it is maintained that any Hollywood actor can be linked to any other Hollywood actor in a handful of steps based upon their association with Kevin Bacon. I suspect the same might be true of Jim Broadbent. The measure of proximity to Bacon, by the way, has been mathematically formalized as the Bacon Index.

Connections are interesting. I remember introducing two complete strangers to one another in Invergordon. They knew me of course, I was the Bacon that connected them, but within minutes they had unearthed a stronger bond based upon genealogical and geographical association.

Both were born in the Highlands and both were related in some way – distant cousins twice or even thrice removed, something like that. I am tempted to say that they both hailed from the Isle of Eigg (bacon and egg!) only they didn’t, so I won’t.

The next film on our agenda is probably The Woman in the Fifth which stars Ethan Hawke who was in Mystery Date with Michele Little who was in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon. With this thought in mind I shall now make a sandwich for my lunch tomorrow. But what to put in it? Bacon?

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