As I lazed on the grass at the End of the Road festival at the weekend, I could see people doing funny arm movements. You know how some people 'dance' to World Music. Yeah, that kind of flailing arm behaviour. But this was to country music (yes, I went to a festival where they played country music, but I promise it was good country music. What do you mean there's no such thing apart from Johnny Cash? I bet you love Dolly when you're pissed. You haven't lived until you've danced to Dolly).
Then I realised they were batting away wasps. I'd almost forgotten what a wasp was, so absent have they been this summer. Then, as I was being bronzed by intermittent rays of unnervingly hot sun, I realised that summer never really came this year. In fact it has been a disgrace.
As Claire describes in her guest post 'Sorrow', tomatoes remain green and no doubt many other vegetables have failed to show what they're made of in gardens across the UK.
Now, the last thing a hapless gardener needs is to have the elements against him. I mean, come on, I'm still mastering how to look after a bloody courgette, the least I can ask for is the basic sunshine to help the thing grow. So it will come as no surprise to anyone that my garden is now starting to resemble one of those homes where they send the SOS squad into after years of neglect. The following pictures may disturb some readers:
|Nasty vine killing all around it|
In the carnage above you'll see rotten fruit, sorry looking runner beans and blackcurrants and the foliage above? Well, that's what you get if you don't tether your tomatoes properly! And to prove that the elements have it in for me, when I came back from the festival I found this horrific scene:
It's enough to make a grown man take up a smoking habit. Like country music folk do.
Bet you're dancing whilst no-one's looking.
Anyway, I've spent the best part of two days recoiling in horror and despair every time I dare step outside and brave the wind and rain. I'm wasn't actually sure I'd have the strength in me to tackle this without an Indian summer to help.I'm ruing May, when things started to go downhill; ambitions for a bumper summer harvest dented by neglect. In fact I've been asking where it all went wrong? Am I destined for a life of garden failure. It really strikes at the heart of your being. Where will the doubt end? How can I ever hope to one day raise a family if I can't even raise a runner bean?
Well, as Sophie eloquently described in her guest post 'Love', the garden is a forgiving place. And as my eyes adjusted I spotted hope: