“Not Turnips, Turn-Ups” Yelled The Exasperated Tailor

Sometimes it is the small and insignificant moments that give the greatest pleasures. Of course there are times of earth shattering wonder but they are, I’m afraid, few and far between. Instead there are the little things: new bread, finding an orange flavoured Revel on the dashboard, electric blankets, ripe pears, new underpants, a letter, an overheard song, a telephone call, a chance meeting, sunshine etc etc. One of the other things that I would like to add to this (potentially) very long list is finding a real and genuine email in my Spam filter: lurking like a red Jelly Baby amongst the Viagra, Fake Rolex, winning lottery tickets and a selection of accommodating Slavic ladies.

Apart from that it is turning into a week of rushing from one place to another or, if you need an idiom, from pillar to post. The origin of this phrase is, I believe, to do with pillories (where one stood in order to be roundly abused by the village toughs) and posts (where one was tied for a good whipping). Quite why anybody would want to rush from one of these to another I have no idea: if it was up to me I would prefer to dawdle along the way rather than hurrying along – it would be good to recover from one ghastly experience before launching into a bit of whipping.

As I mentioned last week I have had bulbs landing on doorsteps all over the shop and have had to rush about scattering. In the past two days, for example, I have either self-scattered or organised the scattering of somewhere in the region of eleven thousand bulbs in six different places ranging from the far Cotswolds to the nether reaches of lower Leicestershire. I am rather hoping that I never have to handle another tulip but I fear that might be wishful thinking on my part – is is probably preferable to dealing with a large and ancient septic tank which has been another of my tasks this week. Amongst other gardeny things that have happened is the planting of about six hundred yews, twenty five metres of 2m high beech hedging, three laurels and one Sisyrinchium striatum. I was hoping to plant roses as well but the rose supplier has disappeared without trace (see past crossnesses and grumpling in previous posts) and has not answered telephone calls or emails for over a month so I have had to go elsewhere.

On the subject of grumpling there has been much of it going around: especially when it comes to Mr Titchmarsh’s new programme where he swans around various gardens explaining history and heritage. All well and good: interesting facts, nicely made, pretty pictures and the odd black and white photograph of chaps with good whiskers. The programme then darts off to other places to talk to other people – like the terminally enthusiastic Tom Hart-Dyke (who, for those interested in genealogy, is a cousin of mine) or the excellently bearded Graham Alcorn at Ascog Fernery on the Isle of Bute (who is not a relation but who I know from Mount Stuart).

Where the complaints seem to gather is when AT stops talking and explaining and suddenly starts making something in the style of  whichever garden he happens to be in at the time: for example: a turf seat, a bit of trompe d’oeil, an ace of spades planted with Thymes or an example of false perspective. It is quite an odd concept but you can understand how it happens: as I mentioned in a comment on Helen’s blog it would have involved a BBC committee deciding that all this wandering around big gardens it was maybe all a bit high falutin and elitist and what was needed was a bit of practical help for the average gardener. It is an attempt to make everybody happy which, as every government from the Romans onwards have discovered, is very difficult and usually only succeeds in mildly annoying most people.

People get remarkably worked up about garden television – a quick look at the BBC Messageboard will illustrate this marvellously (although make it a quick look as there are some extraordinarily vitriolic folk out there). I am sure that there is not as much fuss about, say, programmes about history or antique furniture or beaches or fluffy bunnies or whatever. But it is really just a programme about gardens and the intention is to mix a bit of entertainment with a bit of information. For most people it succeeds, Alan is (whatever you may think of his jaunty hair) an excellent presenter and as it is the only garden programme we have then it is better than nothing.

Tomorrow we are filming the Three Men Went To Mow seasonal extravaganza: we are as yet uncertain exactly what form this will take but hope that inspiration will strike before we all freeze or get ejected. On Friday I am lunching at Wisley with no lesser being than the Director-General of the RHS: last time I did such a thing, with the previous incumbent, she had resigned within a month. Let us hope that history does not repeat itself otherwise I may well end up in a pillory.

My shoulder is fine (thank you to all those who expressed concern and interest) and is now being subjected to physiotherapy which involves a certain amount of constructive pain every week and some tedious exercises in between sessions.

I am listening to Spor by Warrior Dubz.

The picture is of some Crocii.

In 2007 my posts were mercifully short.