Holiday time, a Greek island in the Mediterranean, Corfu, sun, sand, sea
and relaxation. Perfect.
A long drive to the airport of course, a good breakfast required first, so
what's it to be today, I wonder, Porridge or Spoff?
Well Spoff, I think, one of the finest breakfast cereals in the land, made
locally, interesting name, once heard never forgotten (sheer marketing
genius, that's what I say), then a quick shave (and do you shave your ears
as well as your face of a morning, sprouting like the best organic veg, that's the burning question!), feed the goats, dogs to kennels, a
fond farewell to the chickens (I recently heard, by the way, of a chicken
called "Peckalot" - good name, that), check on the ducks in the hanging
basket, admire the garden and then off to the airport to catch a plane.
'Bob's your Uncle' and we're away.
A pleasant flight of course - and aren't they always - a 'dwam' or two,
brief view of the Alps below and reached Corfu safe and sound around
A 'dwam', by the way, for those unaware - no, not a dram, a 'dwam' -
being a pleasant state of conscious unconsciousness. 'Sometimes I sits and
thinks' as the saying goes, and 'Sometimes I just sits', or in other words
in a state of 'dwam-ness'. Not a word you're likely to find in the Oxford
English Dictionary, however, as I believe it's a word peculiar to the
Scottish Highlands (so could be associated with a wee dram or two after
all then, who knows?) Anyway, enough of my haverings. Onwards.
Lovely island, Corfu. Enormous tomatoes, you know; stupendous melons;
leggy geraniums; giant marigolds; evidence all around of extraordinary
horticultural splendours; a marked preponderance of 'topiary haircuts'
too, if my memory serves me right, the sort of haircut usually associated
with topiary gardening, Kew Gardens or Chelsea, that sort of thing. And,
do you know, it was a few years back, whilst holidaying in Lanzarotte, one
of the Canary Islands famed for its volcanic ash, giant cacti, active
volcanoes and the international artist Cesar Manrique (he, of course,
being renowned amongst other things for creating a giant cacti plantation
on the island - renowned in the Spanish speaking world of giant cacti
cultivation anyway) when I first noticed the 'topiary haircut' phenomenon.
Extraordinary. Perhaps hairdressers should do topiary, don't you think,
and topiarists should do haircuts? Now there's an interesting idea.
Trim your box hedging in the hairstyle of a Percy Thrower, an Art Drysdale
or a Leonard Perry perhaps? And why not? A hairstyle to influence
your pruning habits.
And then in reverse a hairdresser could do 'topiary style' haircuts.
"I'll have a Kew Gardens please, hairdresser - you know, that laurel bush
just past the parrot shaped box hedging and before you get to the café, a
duck-like bouffant with just a smidgen of hair gel ("lavender passion"),
do me fine, that will.
What an excellent opportunity for a good blether on the High Street, don't
"Gor blimey, interesting hairpiece, that, saw something similar on
'Gardener's World'. A 'Kew', is it? No? Oh, an Edinburgh Botanicals with
a touch of the Wisleys thrown in for good measure? Very good."
"What happened to that beech hedging on your front lawn? Had a 'dwam'
during pruning, did you? What? What's that? Oh, a Percy Thrower, is it?
Well, looks like an untidy mess to me. You'll need to prune it in the
style of a Drysdale, a Perry or a Gertrude Jekyll next time, might do the
trick, might just sort it out."
Yes indeed, the opportunities for light-hearted banter over the garden
fence - even neighbourly warfare perhaps - are endless.
And what about me - my hairstyle? Well picture this. A touch of the
Hampton Courts, I think, with just a smidgen of Compton Acres thrown in
for good measure; and then there's that beech hedge to be found in central
Inverness, the one with the bare patch on top that holds a passing
resemblance to my coiffured' bonce'!
Topiary and haircuts, they have a lot in common, don't you think? I do.
(Acknowledgements: thanks to Leonard Perry and to Art Drysdale for
permitting their hairstyles to feature in such topiary bletherings!').
(Copyright Patrick Vickery 2003)