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…
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!