Around the Ragged Rascal the Rugged Rugmaker Romped


I have returned from Gardeners World Live at the NEC Birmingham. I was there for five days and I have the following to report….

  • I have hosted forty theatre sessions and one birthday party for Gardeners world Magazine
  • I have introduced the world to Adam Pasco’s mullet
  • I have dined in a fine Indian restaurant in a place called Knowle with Joe Swift.
  • We discovered the restaurant a few years ago and it is now regularly colonised by a lot of rowdy types from Gardeners World Magazine. There goes the neighbourhood.
  • I have eaten the sickliest chocolate pudding in the West Midlands. I defy anybody to actually finish the thing. Even Matthew Wilson.
  • I have heard Mr Titchmarsh do roughly the same talk about Roses eight times in two days.
  • I have seen some pretty appalling gardens, some quite good and a surprisingly nice one consisting mostly of shopping trolleys.
  • I have avoided the hotel sausages. I find that, as a rule of thumb, almost all hotel sausages should be avoided as they are the place that the very last remnants of the unfortunate porker go to lie down. There are honourable exceptions, most noticeably the Cottage in the Woods at Malvern.
  • I have attempted to persuade many people to buy subscriptions to Gardeners World Magazine. To my certain knowledge at least one succumbed to my silver Tongued sales pitch.
  • I have (amongst other enquiries) answered a daft question about a dead Phormium.
  • Matthew Biggs is loking wan and a bit shattered. He scurries into the Green Room to nibble on a dry biscuit before retreating back into the weather to tend to his gardens.
  • There was a card from the Manager of the hotel in my room accompanied by some fruit and three chocolate truffles. This is the height of luxury, NEC style. Alan Titchmarsh had complimentary cheese in his room. That is a service to which we all aspire.
  • Whenever I emerged onto the stage to strut my stuff they play different music: I have had Peaches (by the Stranglers), the themes to Mission Impossible, Superman and James Bond, a snatch of The Stripper (that phrase may be open to misinterpretation by those of a certain bent), the Bare Necessities from the Jungle Book and the music from Steptoe and Son.
  • I have watched The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance while in the bath.
  • I have tried valiantly to eat some Sainsbury’s Angel Slices. I am not usually defeated by cake but these were really very nasty indeed.
  • Joe Swift talked about golf and my eyes glazed over.
  • I have interviewed Monty Don about his garden for a total of four hours.
  • I have witnessed Carol Klein yell “Up yer bum!” at an annoying driver.
  • I managed to filch a pair of secateurs. And a cereal bar.
  • I discovered the nicest loo in the NEC. But I am not telling you where it is.
  • I have been unimpressed by the size of the complimentary face flannels. They might, at a push, be suitable for use by small, fastidious rodents.

That is probably enough information.

Cottesbrooke Plantfinders Fair this weekend: hope to see some of you there. Voting for the RHS Council has now closed so we wait in eager anticipation.

I am listening to Narcissist by The Libertines.

The picture is of Erigeron Dunkestealle and Trifolium ochraleucon