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January 2004 Blether:
2004 Patrick Vickery


The Moon Blether:


'Blether' is a Scottish word meaning a good chat (a good blether), often a long and lazy relaxed chat at that, and sometimes over a dram or two of whisky!

e-mail Patrick at: aldieburnplants@aol.com

Patrick Vickery lives in the Scottish Highlands with his wife, three children, two dogs, two goats and an assortment of smaller animals. They live in a two acre wood in a wonderful part of the world.

Patrick runs a small Garden Nursery (part-time), is a Garden Writer (part-time) with a particular interest in the humourous side of things (especially the things that go wrong!), and works part-time as a Special Needs Teacher.

Patrick's first gardening book  In Pursuit Of Perennial Profit - The Pot Of Gold At The Bottom Of The Garden. ISBN: 186163148 has recently been published. A 'how-to' book - a book that shows how to make your garden productive in a variety of ways, for both expert and gardening novice alike, at minimum cost and in an innovative and self-financing way, using a raised bed system of propagation, and concentrating primarily on hardy perennial plants that can be raised and grown outdoors without the aid of a polytunnel or greenhouse.

Available direct from the Publisher at: Capall Bann Publishing, UK; from bookshops; or from Amazon.co.uk via the Internet.

more info:

In Pursuit of Perennial Profit - The Pot of Gold At The Bottom of the Garden...

It's an everyday ordinary sort of late afternoon, the sun's going down, the moon's coming up in a ragged half-eaten sort of way, the 'Northern Lights' flicker on the horizon and to my right, through the open car window, the Oil Rigs in the Cromarty Firth shimmer in the gathering dusk. The 'Port' lighthouse announces itself by gently breaking through the blanket of half-light and a tornado jet hangs briefly over Dornoch - ever so briefly - before dive-bombing Inver (or so it seems) and then heading south for home. Yes, an everyday ordinary sort of day and one far removed from the hurly burly essence of modern life (except for the tornado jets, the nearby bombing range, a low-flying helicopter heading for Skibo castle and, of course, the Oil Rigs). That's Easter Ross for you!

I'm on my way to Tain, you know, the Ancient and Royal Burgh of Tain, neatly packaged between the A9 and the sea. No suburban urban sprawl here, not yet anyway. Pete Atkins sings "Session Man Blues" on the radio, geese browse the fields, the old brick works on my left allow a brief glimpse of a long defunct chimney stack, then into Arthurville where a Farrier shoes horses on the roadside, the lights from the back of his landrover forewarning distant traffic to be wary, dazzling and bright, then onwards and into town.

My first stop is the supermarket; a crunch corner yoghurt, a litre of milk, savoury crisps, a hotdog lunchable, and box of wine perhaps, why not? Not busy here this evening, no, not really. Passing pleasantries with the 'trolley man', a smile or two at familiar faces, their names long gone, dimmed or mislaid by the passage of time, though comfortingly familiar faces all the same. Next stop, the High Street. The zebra crossing is empty. Post a letter. Smiles, waves and nods along the way. The garage for unleaded petrol and then home.

The moon is now as smooth as it should be, the evening's turned to night, the Oil Rigs are Christmas trees, the jet fighters are gone, pitch blackness has enveloped the browsing geese and Andrea Boccelli's operatic voice booms forth from the car audio system.  I share my route home with a startled rabbit, two roe deer and a fox. Yes, all is how it should be.

Time for chicken kiev and chips.  And a glass of wine or two perhaps?

Now what's on the telly this evening?  A man who 'grows' cows down at 'Riverside Cottage', heaven's forbid;  Alfie and Kat in the 'Queen Vic'; Alan Titchmarsh in somebody else's garden.

Yes, an everyday ordinary - with a touch of the extraordinary - sort of day.   How was yours?


(Footnote for those outside the UK:
'Riverside Cottage' is a weekly television program about a man in Devon with a small-holding.  'Alfie and Kat' are characters in a long running 'soap' drama set in the East End of London, much of which revolves around the 'Queen Vic' pub. Alan Titchmarsh is a well-known UK gardener with his own television series. Easter Ross is an area of Northern Scotland in the Scottish Highlands, some 30 miles or so north of Inverness
).
 Of course I never use chemicals myself.  Far too expensive.  And do they always work? 

(Copyright Patrick Vickery 2004)