May your lawnmower be non-explosive
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

April 29, 2012

We bought a salmon crumble. It was very tasty. On the packet it said that you can follow this particular brand of salmon crumble on Twitter. Has the world gone mad? But enough of salmon crumble.

It’s now April, daffodils are blooming, gardens are re-inventing themselves and summer is emerging. An important consideration at this time of year is to ensure that your garden machinery is safe and in good working order, although clearly this is useless advice if the operator lacks common sense.

I recall the following incident which clearly demonstrates common sense ‘gone missing’. The lawn mower spluttered to a halt. The operator transferred his cigarette from hand to mouth, bent to unscrew the petrol cap and peered into the ‘hazard’ zone. At this point the petrol ignited and he executed a number of acrobatic feats rarely seen outside the Olympic Arena.

He was not badly hurt - a bit scorched - although the shock was certainly a major one. He picked himself up and surveyed the surrounding area to determine who had seen the chain of events leading up to this embarrassing moment. Satisfied that there was no one, he buried the still smouldering cigarette beneath the newly baked purple foliage of a Bugle (Ajuga Reptans ‘Atropurpurea’) and rearranged his expression into one of glazed bemusement as people began to gather around the burning relic of what was once his prized machine. There was much talk of spontaneous combustion, scorched eyebrows and the inherent dangers of garden machinery over the next few days.

In our house the most recent mechanical mishap (nothing to do with common sense ‘gone missing’) occurred in the kitchen – not very startling, no explosions, just a broken dishwasher. Consequentially the phrase “you wash and I’ll dry” is common parlance at the moment. If the kids were still at home it would be a good opportunity to catch up on the latest music and film happenings of the day, only as they are no longer in residence this doesn’t apply.

I’ve been informed, by the way, that a good way to clean Compact Discs is to put them in the dishwasher. This is very exciting, although it does require a fully functioning dishwasher to test the theory. I would recommend an experimental cleanse with a Geri Halliwell or a Barry White before subjecting your entire collection to an intensive 70 degree wash. I have a Geri and a Barry, although as I write this I am already having serious reservations about experimenting with a Barry. Maybe a Christmas Hits Album would be better?

In fact, so enthusiastic was I about this dishwasher notion that I mentioned it to the guy at the petrol station who seemed equally enthusiastic, although I later realised I had inadvertently substituted the words ‘washing machine’ for ‘dishwasher’. Putting your entire music collection into the washing machine is probably not a good idea. I was tempted to seek him out and revise my advice, but if he’s already ruined his CDs and his washing machine I wouldn’t like to remind him that it was me who gave him this advice in the first place.

Moving on to matters of a non-mechanical nature, we visited Stirling recently where there is a superb cafe called ‘The Junk Rooms’. Highly recommended. As well as serving excellent food they sell many of the items adorning the walls and even the tables you eat off and the chairs you sit on. While we were there one of our number took a liking to a glass vase, a red one, and turned it upside down to view the price. It was full of water and the consequences were predictable. I laughed a lot because it was just the sort of thing that I might have done. In fact I chuckled and snoozed my way back up the A9 as we headed north for home.

Have a good summer when summer emerges – and may your music collection be clean and your lawn mower non-explosive.

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