The Idiot Gardener

WARNING: This site contains information on gardening, brewing, curing meat,

building shit and hunting, all done in a piss-poor manner. It is not suitable for the

feeble-minded, the weak and lame, those of a nervous disposition, vegans and

vegetarians (and those other ones that only eat fish and the occasional bacon

sandwich - I think they're called 'hypocrites'), those who practice any

manner of folk singing or dancing, people named Colin or fans of Barry Gibb.

Just when you feel like putting both barrels in your mouth…

Most people view me as an optimist. I might seem to be the one that pushes on through adversity to achieve the goals I’m focused on, and yes, sometimes I do sneakily realign those goals to ensure I get there. However, in truth, I am a pessimist. In fact, when I used to attend the annual Pessimist Convention, others used to ask each other, “who is that gloomy bastard over there?”. There’s nothing wrong with pessimism. If things turn bad, you’re ready for them. If things don’t turn bad, it’s a good day. If things go well, it’s like waking up next to a naked Lorraine Kelly holding a frothing pint of Kipling!

In recent weeks – the weeks of my inactivity on this tissue of misery – I have been in a dark place. It’s been raining. A lot. Dark gloomy days with untold levels of rain. Everything is a quagmire.

In the garden, the greenhouse build is on hold as the ground is like a swamp. In fact, parts of the garden resemble the Hippo’s hotel! I have built the herbage, but I haven’t filled it with soil as the soil heap (from the greenhouse footings) is like slurry after the annual Cow’s Guinness and Curry Evening. Trying to pass it through a riddle is like pushing the contents of a baby’s nappy through a fine Chinoise! The bed sown with parsnips, carrots and salsify is sodden and lifeless. The weeds, however, are up and wearing great big happy hats! I just trudge around the muddy waste muttering “ballsacks” and feeling generally hacked off.

In the shed, there are a bunch of seedlings getting leggy because they have no greenhouse to move to. There are seeds unsown because the space they are to live in is filled with those that cannot move to the greenhouse. It’s like a Syrian border camp; no space and getting fuller by the day. It’s the middle of May, for Barry Gibb’s sake. Is anything going to grow this year?

In the field, the spuds are up and the onions that the rooks deigned not to pull up are shooting. However, nothing else has happened because the ground is too wet and cold. Add to that the lethagy that seems to affect many of the others with regard to fund raising, and I might even excuse myself for kicking of at them all at the last allotment association meeting.

My latest batch of beer won’t clear, to the point that I am having to do something I’ve never done before. NO! Don’t be silly, I’m not throwing it away; I’m adding gelatine solution to the barrel. I’ll let you know if it works. I was going to add Isinglass, but I’ve recently found out that it only has a shelf life of 4 weeks, so by the time it passes through the supply chain it’s quality is degraded. Big breweries get it fresh delivered, but home brewers rely on it being supplied through wholesale distribution to retailers, and then on to them. There is dried Isinglass, but the process to prepare it properly requires a high power vortexing mixer. In short, home brewers pay through the nose for Isinglass because it is more effective than gelatine, but poor stock control and inadequate instructions mean it’s actually inferior to gelatine in our hands! I can write a whole post about it if anyone gives a shit!

We did have one sunny morning. At lunchtime I set the cabbage and kale seedlings outside, then went indoors and began to sort out a few more seeds for sowing. In a minute the sky went black and the deluge began. The rain was ferocious that it flattened them in seconds. They never recovered.

Now, some of you might think, “This is the Idiot; any second now a knock at the door will see him face to face with two ladies whose car has broken down. He’ll recognise them as Tracy Cahill and Lorraine Kelly. They’ll explain that they were on their way to film a lesbian video, and could they possibly film it in his house!” Well, there was a knock on the door. It was old bloke come to read the gas meter.

Is there any good news? Well, I woke up today, so I guess I’m not dead yet. I might not be dead tomorrow either. Every cloud has a silver lining. Still, it has to stop raining soon, and there’s always next year!

Oh, wait! There was some good news. Last weekend I stood in a muddy field in the pissing rain and watched a couple of bints balance on horses!


You see … just when you feel like putting both barrels in your mouth, along comes a happy ending!

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14 thoughts on “Just when you feel like putting both barrels in your mouth…

  1. Sue

    So sorry it’s gloomy there. It’s gloomy here too. Unfortunately, girls balancing on horses don’t do a thing for me. So, I sit with my COLD and rain and gloom. No happy ending…..

  2. the cuby poet

    Wow I have just waded through your amusing wanderings. No direction just rambling. I enjoyed the mud filled wailings! Third day of pouring rain here so Mucky lane really is. Came from Going Gently. Do pop over and see me sometime.

  3. Andy Brown

    I love the word quagmire. And its friends sodden and boggy and swamp. But lexiophilia aside, yeah, our persistent drizzle seems to have demoralized the beans and made the bees fractious. At least the cats are now too fastidious to use my potato trenches for their toilet.

  4. Turling

    Isinglass? Never heard of it, but I would give a shit with a full post about it. So, is there an issue with drinking cloudy beer? I thought it was just asthetics and didn’t affect the taste. I’m undoubtedly wrong as I usually am.

  5. Chants Cottage

    I feel your pain. My garden would be more suited the production of crude receptacles / pretend pigeons at the moment. Seriously thinking of investing in a potter’s wheel, except then I’d have to grow a beard and start wearing hemp jerkins. Though the docks and nettles seem to be thriving in the sludge, mind. Enraged, I took to pulling them up, entwined as they are, with my bare hands this morning. My knuckles are still tingling.

  6. Sharon Longworth

    Just got in from a day out, walking round Highgate cemetery in the pouring rain – beat that for gloominess!
    Now I’ll just sit here waiting for the knock on my front door…

  7. Phil

    My vines are still treading water; the peas have drowned; the shallots have floated away; my carrots and beetroot seedlings have sunk without trace; the potatoes are floating in a straw and potato soup and when I tried to pick some rhubarb I almost lost my wellies in a deep soil porridge. I’ve had enough of this bloody rain.

  8. Brigitta Huegel

    Dear IG,
    you want to see an optimist? I’m packing Highheels and silk stocking for my visit in London next week (though the weather forecasts speaks of ‘long sleeves’ and might mean ‘woolen woolies’). But the realist in me smuggels two jumpers into my suitcase, and the pessimist an umbrella – though, of course, it is pink!

  9. 5olly

    I have recently invested in a new American venture. the HoverBarrow. For just $419 YOU TO can own a HoverBarrow.




  10. txtriffidranch

    Feel free to send some of that deluge to the other side of the pond, por favor. Our problem is that we have much the same muck and mire for soil that you have, but we’ve had one rain since the beginning of April. (At that point, we also had some 19 tornadoes in the general Dallas area, too. The Day Job is at a big tech company, and it’s rather disturbing to realize that the glass-and-aluminium that we favor for tech company offices is one big blizzard of death when a tornado hits it.) You may complain about shoving your muck through a riddle, but at least you aren’t facing breaking an ankle while mowing the lawn. When Dallas clay gets this dry, you literally get cracks wide and deep enough for puppies to get lost in them.

    Anyway, send rain. Because my house is on about ten feet of clay, I have to water the foundations when things get dry. 25 percent relative humidity for the last four days, and you’d never think we got any rain at all on Friday.

  11. John Gray

    dont get pigs then … their pen will look like your plot within say a week, regardless of size….
    my pig pen is only starting to grass up…… months and months after they left!!!
    chin up that man


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