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The 'Inanimate Object' Blether
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

June 11, 2006

"What size of shoe do you take?"

"A shoe the size of my feet."

Well I didn't expect that sort of answer, of course, a bit off-beam if you ask me, given to me by a child actually, quite logical of course, perfectly correct, but still unexpected.

On this note, have you ever had one of those days when things go a bit off-beam yourself? I'm sure you have. Haven't we all? The sort of day when an inanimate object hits you square in the face for no apparent reason. Or a stupid day - a day when you do stupid things? I had a stupid day recently. Very painful it was too.

I was ambling along the pavement and admiring the shrubs in the park (Buddleia, Jasmine, Philadelphus, that sort of thing) when a lamp post hit me on the side of the head. Not really the sort of thing that you expect to happen, is it, and very similar, in fact, to an incident a number of years ago involving a young lady called Cassandra: 'The Cassandra Incident'.

Cassandra was sauntering along the roadside verge without a care in the world - just like me - when she was hit full in the face by a road sign, dented it too, and even now, years later, the imprint of her face (main features only - nose, chin and forehead) are clearly visible beneath the words 'Please Give Way To On-Coming Traffic'. For some reason she didn't see it, you see, and this despite the fact that she was looking straight ahead at the time. Now there's a mystery for you. And what do you say after witnessing an incident like that? 'Are you alright' is a bit lame, a bit weak, isn't it, particularly when the poor woman is holding her face and making such horrible moaning noises. Or do you say nothing and pretend not to notice? Now there's a dilemma. I said nothing at the time, of course, because I didn't want to embarrass her. Sometimes it's best to turn a blind eye, isn't it, so I admired the wild poppies in the field opposite and pretended not to notice anything untoward as she lay dazed and horizontal on the grass beside me. (In hindsight though - if I recall correctly - this was an error of judgment for she was not best pleased, no, not best pleased at all).

But anyway, the final outcome to this saga was simply a matter of dented pride, dented road sign and no lasting physical injuries to speak of. To this day, however, I can still hear the sound of Cassandra on Road Sign as she connected with metal - a ringing, tinging sort of noise.

The lamp post and the road sign incident were accidental of course, but sometimes this is not the case. Have you ever been tempted to stand on a garden rake that's lying 'wrong-side' up on the lawn, I wonder?

Well of course you have. Who hasn't?

You know that you shouldn't, of course, you know what will happen if you do - it's inevitable, isn't it? - but you stand on it anyway, just a bit, just enough to get the handle rising slowly off the ground, then wallop, it hits you full in the face before you can say 'Jack Robinson', 'Gordon Bennet' or whatever your colloquial phrase might be. Very painful. Do it once and never do it again.

But no matter what dangers lurk out there in the garden (and who invented the garden shredder for heaven's sake!) we still opt to pursue such a satisfying pastime with obsessive zeal.

So how about life without gardening?

Would that be a good idea? Cut down on some of the risks associated with life in general?

No, that's unthinkable, isn't it? Give me a bit of risk and stupidity any day. After all, isn't that what life's all about?

(© Copyright 2006 Patrick Vickery)

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