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.

What the hell happened to Easter?

I feel lazy. No, not in a good way, but in a “bloody hell, I haven’t written a load of drivel in nearly ten days” sort of way. And I haven’t written a load of drivel in nearly ten days, so that feeling is justified. Then something dawned on me; Easter came and went and I was so busy I nearly didn’t notice it. So, what’s been going on? Well, there are new tools, advances in the field and the garden, a chronic miscalculation or two, some good news, some bad news and a right royal result.

So, let’s start off with the new tools. I have entered the mysterious world of Wolf tools. Wolf tools are German-made, but we won’t hold that against them. The Wolf system (yes, it’s a system) comprises a handle (yes, a handle) and detachable heads (yes, detachable heads). The handles come in varying lengths. I opted for the 1.7 metre one, because as a man I insist on getting the biggest/longest/most powerful of everything. It’s actually a bit too long for some jobs, so I’ll be supplementing my handle collection soon.

For the heads, I went for the Claw (it’s a seriously demented looking three prong hooky job with metal pointed heads – if Gangster Rappers spent time in garden centres they’d be packing one of these babies), the Grinder (a sort of set of tine wheels with pointy edges), the Skullsplitter (a heavy blade with three sharp spikes on the back), the Tomb-maker (a lovely ploughesque blade) and the Rake (yes, it’s a rake). Obviously, they’re not the names that Wolf tools give them, more’s the pity, but I’m too lazy to look up the proper names.

So, what do they do? They turn this…


into this…


in about thirty seconds! Okay, I lied, about thirty minutes really.

In the garden the broad beans are forging ahead, as are the Hispi, leeks, shallots, celeriac and kale. The upside-down rhubarb has revived itself, but I’ve lost my calabrese to damping off.

I’ve also made three variants of beer using Nelson Sauvin hops. One is an all extract variant, one is part-grain part-extract, and the third is all grain. A slight miscalculation meant that the first two will be around 5%, while the all grain will be around 3.5%. It’ll do for breakfast-time drinking! I also made another miscalculation and ended up planting my potatoes on Good Friday, all 230 of them! I didn’t think about numbers, just types. I ended up with Pentland Javelin, Rocket, Jersey Royals, Estima, Pentland Crown, King Edwards, Maris Piper and Pink Fir Apple. I think we might have what some folks call a surplus. I also realised that I have over 400 onions!

Work at the field is still of the hard variety, and the good news is that in the last month I have lost exactly one stone of fat. Indeed, Mrs IG collected me from the pub after a day at the field, and she said I looked like I was ill, because my clothes were hanging off me. All the stuff that no longer fits has become gardening attire, so I’ve been digging in a rather natty blue three-piece suit!

There has also been some bad news. Those who read this nonsense every now and again will recall that after Christmas I stepped off a ladder without bothering to climb down it first! Well, the doctor was a bit more concerned than I was, so I was packed off for blood tests, xrays and a scan. Finally, the results are in (they’ve been in a while, but I haven’t been organised enough to see the Sawbones to find out what they are).

She (yes, a lady doctor, but I think she does know a bit about medicine and stuff) started off with the good bits: liver, kidneys, gallbladder, bowels, pancreas and all the tubes and gunky bits are fine. I have remarkable guts for an aging drunkard. Then she told me, well … confirmed, what I kind of knew was coming. I have severe spinal errosion and disk damage. Having broken my spine as a teenager, I’ve been spending the rest of my life – thus far – using my back in a different way, and as a result I’ve worn the bloody thing out. It’s shagged. The disks are pretty much flattened and torn, and the bones are rubbing each other away. I now have an on-going repeat prescription for painkillers, and some sage advice.

Yes, I got medical advice! Well, it was more of a command, I suppose. She told me that I could no longer partake in contact sports. I smiled, and said, “Doctor, I’m a grey-haired unfit overweight (nearly) fifty year old man. Contact sports are not on my fucking agenda!” Still, it’s nice to know for definite that I’m broken beyond repair!

Come Easter Monday I’d had enough, so Mrs IG and I sodded off to Brands Hatch for the opening round of British Superbikes. It was wet, windy and fucking freezing (that’s an accurate meteorological description). Not only that, but a chronic fuel spill on the track resulted in the second Superbike race being cancelled. Ho hum. Still, I promised a right royal result at the start of this post, and there is one. We decided to forgo the chocolate eggs that celebrate the Christ child’s nail wounds this year, so had an egg-free Easter. However, on trudging out of Brands Hatch, wet and shivering, both Mrs IG and I were presented with top quality Thorntons Easter eggs by one of the sponsors.

I’m knackered, broken, facing a surplus of spuds and dead calabrese, but I got a free Easter egg. Happy days!

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14 thoughts on “What the hell happened to Easter?

  1. Hippo

    Bad luck about the back. I see it as justification for importing one of those young Thais to walk up and down it periodically. You can always tell your missus that it is the latest in domestic and kitchen appliances.

    Some pics of the tools would be nice. The Wolf tools, I mean.

  2. Turling

    Whew! I thought the lady doctor was going to tell you to stop drinking. I was going to mail you a bullet. Although, it is very bad to hear that your late in life rugby career won’t be taking off. Harlequins are crushed, I’m sure.

  3. Britta

    Dear IG,
    sounds like April news, a mixture of good and bad ones! So Garden work doesn’t count as sports?? Maybe because it’s even harder for the back, so don’t tell her – you will know how much is good for you (as your beer calculation shows). The ground you worked on looks fine, and the tools are impressing, your seeds even more so! When I read your beans are already growing, I looked at the seed packet of Runner beans on my desktop — umph, tomorrow I will sow them. Good luck to your plot and your back! Britta
    PS: This comment is German-made, but I hope you won’t hold that against it 🙂

  4. Dene Wood

    Wow it seems like an Age since i read your Blog IG, been real busy, i see you are doing a more advanced type of homebrew than last time i read your blog, im still on kits but thinking of making the leap to mini mash or partial extract. Im finding the Coopers kits (especialy the IPA) are coming out very well indeed id even say comparable to the shop bought pastuerised crap. Ill have to have a read back a few entries to see what you mean about the ‘field’ and ‘deer fence’. Stay cool.

  5. John Gray

    m knackered, broken, burdened with a deer fence, facing a suplus of spuds and dead calabrese, but I got a free Easter egg. Happy days!
    love that statement

  6. Shyrlene

    IG – what has happened? I slip off the grid for a bit and you’ve crashed n burned?! So sorry to hear! Your gardening seems to be coming along well, in spite of all your injuries. Your word-smithing still excels as well – whew.

  7. Sharon Longworth

    Sorry to hear about the back, but, given that, I’m even more impressed with the fine tilth of your soil (did I just make up a word, or is tilth a proper term?)
    Brands Hatch is just along the valley from where I live – on a good day I can hear the cars / bikes while I do my own soil turning at the allotment, but Easter Monday was too foul to be outside at all. Glad you at least got an egg out of it.

  8. Jane

    Clearly ‘someone’ was looking down upon your ‘knackered, broken, burdened with a deer fence, facing a suplus of spuds and dead calabrese’ body & thought ‘an
    Egg’ll cheer the poor bugger up!’ Thank God for Easter…literally!

  9. debsgarden

    Sorry to hear about your back. As one who deals with arthritis in almost every joint, you have my sympathy. But are you sure that activities that involve a Skullsplitter and Tomb-maker would not be considered a contact sport? Nevertheless, I think I could use a Skullsplitter!


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